GOD'S WARNING AND UNMIXED WRATH
WHAT is God's final warning against false worship?
"If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb." Revelation 14:9, 10.
NOTE.—During probationary time God's wrath is always tempered, or mingled, with mercy. Thus the prophet Habakkuk prays, "In wrath remember mercy." Habakkuk 3:2. God's wrath unmixed with mercy is visited only when mercy has done its final work, and evil has gone to the limit, so that there is "no remedy." (See Genesis 6:3; 15:16; 19:12, 13; 2 Chronicles 36:16; Matthew 23:37, 38; Luke 19:42-44; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7.)
In what is the wrath of God filled up?
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; -for in them is filled up the wrath of God." Revelation 15:1.
How does Joel describe the day of the Lord?
"Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." "For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" Joel 1:15; 2:11.
What has Daniel said of this time?
"And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." Daniel 12:1. (See Ezekiel 7:15-19.)
NOTE.—The seven last plagues will be the most terrible scourges ever visited upon man. As Ahab accused Elijah of being the cause of Israel's calamities (1 Kings 18:17, 18), so, in the time of trouble, the wicked and those who have departed from God will be enraged at the righteous, will accuse them as being the cause of the plagues, and will seek to destroy them as did Haman the Jews. (See Esther 3:8-14.) But God will miraculously deliver His people at this time as He did then.
What decree will be issued by God just prior to the "seven last plagues"?
"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:11, 12. "Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, 0 nation not desired; before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger come upon you." Zephaniah 2:1, 2.
NOTE.—Revelation 15:8 reveals that no man can enter the temple in heaven while the plagues are being poured out. All mediation for sin ceases. Revela- tion 16:11 shows that there is no repentance after the close of probation. The pouring out of the plagues is the beginning of the judgment of God against the wicked. (See Revelation 18:7, 8; 16:5, 6.) The plagues are poured out unmingled with mercy. (See Revelation 14:10.) They are the ex- pression of God's justice. (Revelation 16:5-7.)
THE SEVEN PLAGUES IN ORDER
What will be the first plague, and upon whom will it fall?
"And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image." Revelation 16:2.
What will constitute the second plague?
"And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea." Verse 3.
What will be the third plague?
"And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood." Verse 4. NOTE.—The second plague affects the sea. The third plague comes closer to the habitations of men, and affects the land. The water supplies are con- taminated.
Why, under these plagues, does the Lord give men blood to drink?
"For they h.ave shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy." Verse 6.
NOTE.—In this is shown God's abhorrence of oppression and persecution. The plagues are God's rebukes against colossal forms of sin.
What will be the fourth plague?
"And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire." Verse 8. (See Joel 1:16-20.) NoTE.—Sun worship is the most ancient and widespread of all forms of idolatry. In this plague God manifests His displeasure at this form of idolatry. That which men have worshiped as a god, becomes a plague and a tormentor. Thus it was in the plagues of Egypt. Those things which the Egyptians had worshiped became scourges to them instead of benefactors and blessings.
Will even this terrible judgment lead men to repent?
"And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory." Verse 9.
What will be the fifth plague?
"And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain." Verse 10.
NOTE.—This plague strikes at the very seat of the great apostasy of the latter days, the Papacy. It will doubtless be similar in effect to the like plague in Egypt, which was a darkness that could "be felt." (Exodus 10:21-23.) By this plague that iniquitous, haughty, and apostate spiritual despotism which has set itself up as possessing all truth, and as being the light of the world, is enshrouded in midnight darkness.
What takes place under the sixth plague?
"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." Verse 12.
NOTE.—This, we understand, refers to the drying up of Turkey preparatory to the battle of Armageddon. (See preceding reading.)
What gathers the nations to the battle of Armageddon?
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, work- ing miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." Verses 13-16.
NOTE.—This scripture shows that it is the spirit of Satan which incites men to war, and explains why the great nations of the world are now making such preparations for war. The dragon represents paganism; the beast, the Papacy; and the false prophet, apostate Protestantism—the three great religious apos- tasies since the Flood. (See note on page 297.)
At this time what event is imminent?
"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Verse 15.
What takes place under the seventh plague?
"And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air. . . . And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings, and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell." Verses 17-19.
What accompanies the earthquake?
"And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." Verse 21. (See Job 38:22, 23; Psalms 7:11-13.)
What will the Lord be to His people at this time?
"The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel." Joel 3:16. (See Jeremiah 25:30, 31; Haggai 2:21; Hebrews 12:26; Psalms 91:5-10.)
NOTE.—To prepare His people and the world for these terrible judgments, the Lord, as in the days of Noah, sends a warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. (See Revelation 14:6-10.)
Just before the pouring out of the plagues, what call does God send to His people still in Babylon?
"And. I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." Revelation 18:4, 5. (See Genesis 19:12-17; Jeremiah 51:6; and page 249.)
How suddenly will the plagues come upon modern Babylon?
"Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourn- ing, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.... For in one hour is Thy judgment come." Revelation 18:8-10.
THE FAMINE AND THE FINISH
What famine will come at this time upon those who have rejected God's messages of mercy?
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." Amos 8:11, 12. (See Luke 13:25; Proverbs 1:24-26; Hebrews 12:15-17.)
What announcement is made under the seventh plague?
"And there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done." Revelation 16:17.
NoTE.—God made man to bless him. (Genesis 1:28.) When His blessings are abused, He withholds them, to teach men their source and their proper use. (Haggai 1:7-11.) Judgments are sent that men may "learn righteousness." (Isaiah 25:9; 1 Kings 17:1.) That men do not repent under the plagues is no evidence that God has ceased to be merciful and forgiving. They simply demonstrate that all have determined their destiny, and that even the severest judgments of God will not move the ungodly and impenitent to repentance.
What psalms seem to have been written especially for the comfort and encouragement of God's people during the time of the seven last plagues?
Psalms 91 and 46. (See also Isaiah 33:13-17.)
"THE great decisive day is at hand!
The day when Christ will come,
To call His children home
And to seal the sinner's doom,
Is at hand.
"Where will the sinner hide in that day?
It will be in vain to call,
'Ye mountains on us fall,'
For His hand will find out all
In that day."
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