It wasn’t until nearly 4,000 years after God created the first man, Adam, that He sent His Son, Joshua the Christ, to begin giving revelation of spiritual matters that had not been known before. Christ also began revealing much more about God’s plan and purpose for the very creation of mankind.
As the time drew closer to the end of his three-and-a-half-year ministry, many Jewish people, including his own disciples, thought that he had come to be their Messiah and would set up the Kingdom of God on earth at that time. They actually believed he would remove the oppressive Roman rule that was over them and establish his reign instead. Although they could not grasp what he told them, he clearly revealed to them that his reign would be at a later time.
Christ spoke of the end-time and of events that would lead up to his second coming as the prophesied Messiah—the one anointed to be King. None of them grasped that he had come to die as the Passover Lamb. Even soon after his death and ascension they were still anticipating his return to earth (during their time) to become established as the Messiah over the nations.
A few decades later, the Church was still looking for Christ to return, so he began to reveal to them that his return was not imminent, and yet they had no concept of the amount of time that would actually pass before he would return—nearly 2,000 years later. Christ revealed to the apostle, Paul, that there were some very specific events that had to first be fulfilled before he could return a second time.
The main event Paul spoke of actually happened on the 17th of December in 1994. What Paul described is so significant to the completion of 6,000 years of mankind’s self-rule that it is revealed to be the most important prophetic marker ever for counting the time to the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. This was to be the actual sign to God’s Church that Joshua’s return was now imminent. That date was the day that the First Seal of Revelation was opened and the actual countdown to WWIII began.
The Seals of Revelation
Nearly 90 percent of all prophecy in the Bible is about the end-time. Yet even though so much end-time prophecy has been recorded, the understanding and actual revelation of those things have remained hidden, closed, and sealed until the time for their unveiling and fulfillment. We are now living in that time!
It was covered earlier how God gave prophecies about the rise and fall of nations and kingdoms to Daniel. The last of those prophecies had to do with the revelation of a European empire that would rise and fall many times within a period of just over 2,000 years. The last prophesied revival would be the time for unsealing and revealing final end-time events to the world, although most will not listen to the warning of these revelations.
God had shown the prophet Daniel these prophecies that were about the rise and fall of prophetic world kingdoms and of prophetic timing that would lead to the second coming of the Messiah. At the end, Daniel wanted to understand more about what he had received. God simply told him that what he had been given was not for his time and that these prophecies were to be closed up and sealed until the end-time.
The Book of Revelation is primarily about final end-time events that are written about in much greater detail than what had been given to Daniel. However, it has been nearly 1900 years since those prophecies were given to John, the last of the original apostles. He was given these revelations to record while he was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos by the Roman government.
Although John recorded what he was given, he did not understand it. That is because it was not the end-time, and just as it was for Daniel, all that John wrote was not for his time. These things had also been closed and sealed. It was nearly 1850 years before God began to reveal a small portion of its meaning to Herbert W. Armstrong. Then, it wasn’t until 1994 that God began accelerating a progressive unveiling of all that pertains to this end-time.
Revelation goes through a story in the beginning about how no one was found worthy to open the Seals and to reveal their meaning. Then it is revealed that Joshua the Christ, the Passover of mankind, was worthy to do so. This part of the story is given in order to explain more fully about how God would reveal the meaning of the Seals and that it was Christ who would open them.
Whatever truths and revelations that are given to Christ from God is what Joshua then gives to the Church, over which he is the head. It is through God’s current end-time Church that these things are being revealed. It is the same Church of God to which God called Herbert W. Armstrong to be an apostle—the same Church that began in 31 AD.
So what are the Seals of Revelation? They are end-time revelations of events with very specific timing that lead up to WWIII and the end of this current age of mankind when the Kingdom of God is then established to rule the earth. Ever since the Seals were first given to John to record, they have been closed up to any understanding, and sealed with that intent, until the proper time came for these events to begin to come to pass.
Reading the Book of Revelation can be very confusing to people because it is divided into so many areas of revelation that are described as Seven Seals, Seven Thunders, Seven Trumpets, Three Woes, and Seven Last Plagues. Then, when focusing upon any one of these items, it can begin to seem overwhelming. It is for this reason, and because of the focus of this book, that the Seals are covered in the manner that they are. As one moves forward it may seem difficult in the beginning, but it will all begin to fit into place.
The focus of this chapter primarily concerns the Seventh Seal, which is about the fulfillment of the events of the Seven Trumpets. It should be sobering for all to learn that all Seven Seals have already been opened by Joshua the Christ. That is just how close the world is to the start of WWIII. The meaning of all Seven Seals has been revealed to God’s Church.
Although the Seventh Seal has been opened and the Seven Trumpets have blown, the events of those Trumpets have not yet begun to be fulfilled.
As previously stated, the First Seal of Revelation was opened on December 17, 1994. Although this will be covered thoroughly in later chapters, it is good to understand here that the first four Seals are about events that happened to God’s Church—prophetic events that would be the sign that signaled the beginning of a very specific countdown in this current end-time.
Those who profess to know the meaning of these first four Seals, which are often referred to as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, do not understand them at all. That is the very reason that many who have a surface knowledge about things written in the Book of Revelation are going to be so caught off-guard once the complete demise of the United States begins, which happens in the events of the first four Trumpets of the Seventh Seal. They will be completely shocked when WWIII breaks out because they currently believe that war is yet far off. They have believed that the first four Seals are about events in the world that in time lead into WWIII. They do not know that these events have already happened and are about the Church and not about the world.
Ever since that event of the First Seal spoken of by Paul came to pass in December 1994, Christ has been revealing much, much more about other events that have also become fulfilled.
Because of so many things Christ had been revealing so quickly to His Church about prophecy for this end-time, and due to so many of these events falling so perfectly into very specific prophetic timelines, the Church believed that the actual date for his coming was being revealed. However, that was not the case.
So mistakes have been made about setting dates regarding the actual year for Christ’s coming. Now the Church, and specifically its leadership, has matured and learned from such mistakes and has actually come to understand much more as a result of this experience.
The Church now simply gives prophetic markers of time that have been revealed for this end-time so that people can then choose to stay alert, on guard, and closely watch these timelines as they unfold. In this manner, people can be far more fully prepared for the catastrophic events when they do happen.
Outline of End-Time Events
An outline of the various divisions of Revelation can serve to help a person better understand a structure that exists in the fulfillment of prophetic end-time events. Not all of these areas need to be focused upon in this book. However, those that are the most pertinent to understanding the major events of this end-time will be covered.
Seven Seals: Opened by Joshua the Christ
1st – 5th Seals opened: Events about God’s Church
6th Seal opened: About Seven Thunders to be fulfilled
1st Thunder was 9/11
All Thunders continue up to the 7th Trumpet
7th Seal opened: Seven Trumpets to be fulfilled
1st – 4th Trumpet: U.S.A. collapses
5th Trumpet: 1st Woe—EU’s use of nuclear weapons
6th Trumpet: 2nd Woe—Third of mankind destroyed
7th Trumpet: Begins with Christ becoming King
Ends with the 3rd Woe
First in this outline are the Seven Seals. Joshua the Christ was revealed as the one who would open each Seal. Over the past several years, as he has opened every one of these, he has been revealing their meaning to His Church.
These have gone unrecognized by the world, and even unrecognized by the largest portion of the Church that became scattered after the Apostasy, and that is because the first five Seals are about God’s Church. That Apostasy, and events of these Seals, are important to understand and are covered in Chapter 7. It is because of these events and their timing that one can know of the actual countdown to WWIII.
Then the Sixth Seal was opened, but Christ did not reveal that event until some time later once the Seven Thunders were revealed. These Seven Thunders were given to the apostle John, but God told him not to record them because they were not to be revealed until the end-time.
These Thunders are not pertinent to the subject matter of this book which is about the countdown to WWIII. These are recorded in a previous book entitled 2008 – God’s Final Witness that can be found on the Church website (www.cog-pkg.org/publications/).
Only the First Thunder is important in the context of the flow of these Seals because the day the Sixth Seal was opened was on the 11th of September 2001. This event was the revelation of the First Thunder, which is about the beginning “terror of war” for this end-time. This Thunder has sounded many times since, but people are deaf to it because they do not recognize it.
After the Sixth Seal is the opening of the Seventh Seal. This Seal is then divided into seven specific segments of time (the Seven Trumpets) that are about major cataclysmic end-time events that begin to unfold. These are events that the whole world will experience, and if they know what is written here, they will know exactly what is taking place and what will happen next.
The first four Trumpets (of the Seventh Seal) are about the demise of the United States. All of the Trumpets and their meaning are the subject of this chapter, and all will be explained.
The Fifth Trumpet begins to be fulfilled when the ten nations of Europe agree to engage in war—the last war. This is called the First Woe and there are two more to follow. The first two Woes describe massive destruction that will destroy over 1/3 of all life on earth.
Then, once the sound or announcement of the Seventh Trumpet begins to be fulfilled, Christ will become established as the King of kings in the Kingdom of God. When this event takes place, God will bring an end to WWIII.
God is very ordered and precise in how He fulfills His Word. Prophecies are fulfilled in a very exacting manner. Even the use of the prophetic number of seven that defines “completeness” reveals how God brings an end to mankind’s self-rule and the establishment of the rule of His Kingdom. It is after 6,000 years of mankind’s self-rule followed by the reign of Joshua the Christ for the next 1,000 years that a complete 7,000-year plan for mankind is revealed. This is then followed by what is known as the Last Great Day (and also the Great White Throne Judgment) which covers a span of time that goes 100 years beyond the Millennium.
The Seals began to be opened in 1994. We are now at a time when the Seventh Seal has already been opened. There are no more Seals to be opened, and this in itself cries out loudly of how close WWIII actually is. It is closing in fast!
Seventh Seal Opened
The Seventh Seal was opened on the 14th of November 2008. This was then followed by the blowing of the Seven Trumpets on the 14th of December 2008, but the events of the physical tribulation they announced have not yet begun. These are currently being held back and the reason they are is an incredible story.
There is great knowledge and understanding that can be gleaned from knowing what that specific work is that is holding back the events of the first four Trumpets. The completion of that work is what determines when the worst and most fearful of final catastrophic end-time events can begin. These events that are being held back from happening are those that will result in the complete crippling of the wealthiest and most powerful single nation the world has ever known—the United States. Then shortly following this will be a full-scale nuclear WWIII.
Notice what is stated about the angels who blew the first four Trumpets.
“After these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God, and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not hurt the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.’ Then I heard the number of those who were sealed. A hundred and forty-four thousand were sealed…” (Revelation 7:1-4).
As covered earlier, from within this complete period of the past 6,000 years, God has been calling and working with those whom He has given opportunity to become trained and fashioned by Him. The purpose for God doing this is to prepare future rulers for His Kingdom when it is established at the beginning of the Millennium. Later in Revelation, these are shown to be the very ones who are resurrected to reign with Joshua the Christ at his second coming.
These individuals are described as maturing to a point in their life where they themselves become sealed by God to be among that count of the 144,000 who come with Christ. There will be more stated about this, but it needs to be understood here that until this work is completed by God and the remaining ones who are to be added to this count become sealed, the major catastrophic end-time events cannot begin. There are still a few who need to be sealed so the count of all 144,000 can be completed.
This is a sealing accomplished on a spiritual plane within the very minds of those with whom God is transforming, molding, and fashioning who are to be placed in very specific areas of His government. The timing of one’s sealing can only be known and completed by God. The preparation and completion of such a task is not something that is exact as a process. The reason is because God has given to all people a mind that has free moral agency—free choice.
A mind that can become sealed is only accomplished as a person chooses to accept what God reveals to it. If a person continues to accept what God reveals and also strives to live by what is true, then after a long period of time that mind can then become changed—transformed—to a point that God can say, as He did to Abraham, “Now I know you.”
The 144,000 who are resurrected to spirit life to reign with Christ have gone through that long and trying process to where they are “set”—transformed—in faithfulness to the will, purpose, and way of God. That way is the way of peace, sound thinking, prosperity, and fullness of life. It is not some pious or fake way that some in religion have often become accustomed to falsely exhibiting and portraying.
Indeed, God has been working to prepare 144,000 to be in His Kingdom to govern with Christ. When each person is sealed is something only known by God because He is the one who performs the work. It is for this reason that no one can know the exact date or hour of Christ’s coming.
But know this! The fact that we are at this juncture when the catastrophic events of the first four Trumpets are being held back should be sobering. It should not be hard to grasp that these will not be held back much longer before that work of sealing the few remaining for the 144,000 is complete and these first four events are unleashed. The fact that all Seven Seals have already been opened and only great devastation remains to be unleashed at a moment’s notice speaks volumes. We are at the end of the end-time.
FIRST FOUR TRUMPETS:
Revelation About the Crippling of the U.S.
The first four Trumpets of the Seventh Seal are about the demise of the United States of America. She has been the greatest single nation in the end-time, and the events of these four Trumpets are structured to end her world dominance, influence, and power. She is the first of all nations to be humbled by God because she has been given the most by Him and has been given the greatest opportunity to listen but has not. This humbling process that will be poured out upon the United States will be very strong against her.
The impact of these four Trumpets will also be felt by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and they will suffer mightily; however, the extent of their suffering fully depends upon how each country responds to God once the impact from the First Trumpet becomes realized. If they do not listen as the full force of each Trumpet begins to be unleashed, then they will only multiply their own suffering.
Although the sounding of the Seven Trumpets took place on the 14th of December 2008, it was later revealed that the catastrophic events announced from the first four Trumpets were being held back because the sealing of the 144,000 was not complete. Once that is finished, then the beginning of the demise of the United States will start. It is something that will immediately be recognized by the whole world—far, far more so than the events of 9/11.
Once these events start to happen, this will be the actual beginning of WWIII, and the greatest exchange of nuclear weapons in an all-out nuclear war will begin shortly after this.
Revelation 7 reveals what is most important in God’s plan that must first be completed before He will allow the events of the Trumpets to begin their destruction. God’s government must be fully in place and ready before the governments of the world can be brought to an end.
Revelation 8 shows in very prophetic language the events that will lead to the fall of the United States as the first nation to be brought down. This unfolds once the events begin that result from what is announced in the sounding of the First Trumpet.
“The first angel sounded, and hail and fire followed mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth, and a third part of trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up” (Revelation 8:7).
Although it will be explained in Chapter 7, the first four Seals of Revelation were about individual events that rapidly followed in sequence and then culminated in the fulfillment of the fourth. The first three continued to play out and their destructive power simply continued to grow. Their combined destruction multiplied in what is described in the fourth.
In like manner, that is the same kind of process being described by these first four Trumpets of the Seventh Seal.
This First Trumpet begins with what John could only describe as “great fire being cast to the earth.” It is then mixed with much blood. This is about modern weaponry that can appear as bright fire coming out of the sky engulfing life in its path. It not only kills humans and animals in its immediate path, but it also reaches far beyond, causing massive destruction on all forms of vegetation.
It needs to be understood that this does not say this happens across the entirety of the nation, but for where it happens, this is what follows.
It does not reveal where this attack comes from and prophecy does not specifically declare who is behind this, but it will happen. It will happen to the most powerful nation the world has ever known.
What is described next in the Second Trumpet is not something that happens much later down the road. By the prophetic language used, it tends to reflect that this may be something that can happen simultaneously. John’s description of what he saw is something that happens in port cities.
“Then the second angel sounded, and something that looked like a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea, and the third of the sea became like blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed” (Revelation 8:8-9).
How do you think a person living nearly 2,000 years ago would describe a vision of catastrophic events that used the most powerful weapons in this modern age? If one is describing such a thing occurring in a port city today, would it perhaps be like seeing a mountain on fire that was cast into the sea?
This is about destruction in certain major port cities in the U.S., a result from what finally happens because of the sounding of the Second Trumpet. Many ships will be destroyed and this carries a dual fulfillment. One is a destructive strike against global commerce. The other is a massive strike against a powerful naval force.
It states that this fire killed a third part of all the life that was in and on the sea and the water then became like blood. Then there was something else given to see about the event from the sounding of the Third Trumpet.
“The third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell upon a third of the rivers, and upon the springs of water. The name of the star is called Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it was made bitter” (Revelation 8:10-11).
In each case, John is describing as best as he can what these events looked like as he saw them. His description of a star was describing something that appeared as a bright light falling from the sky that had flames like a torch.
In the specific areas of the country in which this occurs, it destroys life in rivers and spreads a deadly contamination in a third of all water in that region. The description of these events is simply a continuing accumulation of an overall condition of destruction being multiplied. Each Trumpet focuses upon specific destruction, yet they are all connected to the same overall event as the Fourth Trumpet reveals more fully.
“Then the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. So the sun did not shine for a third of the day, and likewise the night. Then I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth because of the trumpet blasts from the three angels who are yet to sound!’” (Revelation 8:12-13).
The Fourth Trumpet blast is a culmination of the effects from the first three Trumpet blasts which includes even more destruction to follow. The destruction that results from the events of the first three Trumpets is about that level of destruction that will occur in the specific regions where these weapons are used.
Specifically, within the region of the United States, the Fourth Trumpet reveals that the normal amount of sunshine will be reduced by one-third. Weather conditions will be horribly altered as one-third of the sun’s light will no longer be able to warm the surface of the land. Normal growing cycles will not be sustained by the sun as in the past.
This reduction of sunlight will also begin to affect other nations around the world who will also be impacted in their regions by the effects of what happens in the United States. The destruction that takes place from all four Trumpets will result in the beginning of famine in many nations of the world. Many depend upon what is produced in the United States. The worldwide effects from the Fourth Trumpet blast will eventually result in widespread death—into the tens of millions.
From the description of these events from the first four Trumpets, it is possible that some of these effects could be the result of using a nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon. With all the devastation caused by nuclear weapons in a few major cities, including certain port cities, the addition of an EMP attack would prove to be crippling for a time.
Scientists have tried to calculate the kind of effect an exploding nuclear EMP device over the central part of the U.S. could have. Since such a weapon exploding high in the atmosphere over a region has never been used, the known effects are not absolute, but they would be absolutely devastating in the light of such widespread modern technology being used within the U.S.
If three or more such weapons were to be strategically used, it could cripple an entire nation in ways that people cannot begin to imagine. Such an attack could literally cause motorized vehicles to cease functioning and lose control, which would be devastating on highways. It can also cause airplanes to fall from the sky.
Detonating an EMP weapon could also destroy most electronics and most electronically controlled devices. Such a thing alone could totally cripple a nation overnight, as well as cause massive death on a scale that is unimaginable. Consider the complete temporary crippling of the military, communications, hospitals, emergency responders, power grids, gas transmission, manufacturing, businesses, gasoline services, food and product movement, financial centers, water supplies, waste management, other electric supply, etcetera. The word “temporary” does not mean this would be something that would only last a few weeks, but the overall crippling effect could last for many months.
This does not even account for the kind of destruction that can come from just a few cities being struck directly by nuclear weapons. People do not even begin to truly grasp just how vulnerable the world is to the kind of destruction that can come upon it or any nation in a moment’s notice.
The ability to coordinate such a strike is not a difficult thing in this age of hypersonic missiles, submarines used for launching missiles close to major cities so that there is no time for a response, or even the use of nuclear weapons in satellites which can circle above any nation and then be used in an EMP strike at any moment.
Regardless of the exact way and timing in which these events occur, the result of the first four Trumpets will be that the United States will be crippled by a small nuclear first strike.
More Destruction Upon the U.S. After Being Crippled
The crippling of the United States will lead to a great power vacuum in the world; nations will race to fill the void. Many areas of the world that have been held at bay by the influence of the United States and her closest allies will now be determined to accomplish their own will on others. Just consider the nations that have had long-lasting border and territorial disputes, as well as nations who have religious and political disputes which have never been resolved. Now they are no longer held back!
Due to the decline in morality and the increase in arrogance and dishonesty, the United States has become more evil over the past seven years and God has recently revealed that it will now suffer far worse than what would have been prophetically fulfilled upon her if the timing for this to happen had taken place in 2012.
The corruption and lack of soundness within the mind of many leaders and much of the general populace has grown so fast that NOW the destruction and death that comes upon her will be much more severe. The divisiveness, hatred, false news, malicious slandering of others, perversion of thinking, excessive greed, and overall spirit has become so corrupted that more destruction is now going to be allowed to come upon her in the events of the first four Trumpets.
Pride has mushroomed mightily during these past seven years, and her refusal to listen to God has become more fully set against Him. Yet after this massive destruction does begin, she can always change and begin to listen and thereby suffer far less from the effects of the trumpet blasts that follow, because there is much more suffering to follow. The crippling of the U.S. is only the beginning, as much greater catastrophic destruction is prophesied to follow.
In the Book of Revelation, God reveals that He has two witnesses in the end-time who will work side by side to deliver and magnify His warnings to nations, beginning with the United States first. Once the events that these four Trumpets announced are finished, then the extent of further suffering and death is fully dependent upon how people begin to respond.
God has placed the main hope of the United States squarely in the hands of His two witnesses who alone are given power to help deliver them. The extent of further destruction inflicted upon her depends solely on the degree to which she will humble herself and listen to God’s two witnesses.
If she will not listen, God reveals that more catastrophic events from natural disasters and plagues can have just as massive an impact as the first four Trumpets did. These actually have the ability to become far more destructive than the nuclear weapons that will have already been used against her. It all depends on her response toward God and those whom He has sent to her. The fate of the people of the United States rests fully in their own hands and whether they can be humbled quickly, or not, once all this begins.
Remember as you read about these end-time events that are going to soon begin happening around the world that this is a time of great transition for this world. It is a time when God is allowing mankind to begin the inevitable process of destroying itself. All these prophesied events are about what must happen in order for the kind of change that must take place, for His Kingdom to become established at the coming of His Son to reign. This can be difficult to grasp, but it will become much clearer.
God is allowing mankind to come face to face with experiencing the distinct possibility of self-annihilation. It is in this experience that mankind can be moved toward a change in its very nature. God knows to what level of degree this experience must become in order to bring a complete end to mankind’s self-rule and its acceptance and support, willingly and desirously so, of His rule that will be established.
The United States of America is the first country to be impacted on such a massive scale of destruction by end-time events. The first five Trumpets are focused squarely upon her. Again, prophetically so, that is because she is the one nation in all the world that has received from God the greatest wealth and power of any single nation on earth through all time, and yet the one that has resisted God the most. She has not listened to God when, above all other nations, she has had the greatest opportunity to have done so over the past 70 years.
The United States’ government and its people would not acknowledge Herbert W. Armstrong as God’s apostle nor would they listen to his warnings, but instead tried to take control of and destroy the Church in the late 1970s—the Church over which Mr. Armstrong was God’s apostle. She also tried to destroy God’s Church again in 2012. God has not taken this direct affront to Him lightly.
However, at any time, the United States and/or her people can begin to humble themselves and begin to listen, if they so choose. This is what God prophesied so very long ago. Above all other nations, the U.S. has been given great opportunity to hear God’s warning for this end-time. Most certainly, God will humble the United States. It is pride that has led the U.S. up to the brink of a massive economic collapse—one that has been working to produce a complete global collapse. This is the very thing that is at the forefront for the trigger of the first four Trumpet blasts.
Prophecy reveals that in addition to the devastation from the first four Trumpets, the United States will begin to experience the power of plagues and devastation from the prophesied Thunders that will escalate against her unless or until she begins to listen to God. This process is largely determined by God’s two end-time witnesses.
The more the United States holds to her pride, the more she will suffer until she is humbled. This is a matter of God’s judgment and what He has determined concerning how the U.S. should be humbled.
This is in similar fashion to God humbling Pharaoh in the time of Moses. God humbled Egypt in order to deliver Israel out from under her, but it was at great cost to Egypt and to all her people due to their pride. Most every bit of Egypt’s agriculture was totally destroyed, most of its livestock became destroyed, and finally, even all the firstborn of Egypt died. Lastly, Pharaoh and his military were destroyed in the Red Sea. Pride is a great evil, and it is a stubborn foe to sound reason.
FIFTH TRUMPET: The First Woe!
Although the devastation that follows the first four Trumpet blasts results in unimaginable destruction, along with the death of hundreds of thousands of people and potentially much more, the last verse of Revelation 8 gives a warning of far worse events that will quickly follow. Once nuclear weapons are used against any major nation, it is certain that a far greater nuclear war will follow.
“Then I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth because of the trumpet blasts from the three angels who are yet to sound!’” (Revelation 8:13).
The expression of “woe” refers to dire consequences that will be far, far more destructive in the world. There are three “woes,” which refer to what will follow in events that were announced from the last three Trumpets. These woes are about the execution of God’s judgment upon mankind for their refusal to listen to Him.
Next, the events announced by the Fifth Trumpet will begin and the First Woe will be fulfilled. This Trumpet is expressed in such terms in order to stress the kind of destruction that will begin to take place on earth. This is many times greater than the destruction that will come upon the United States as a result of the events of the first four Trumpets. This will result in the beginning of an all-out thermonuclear war—a full-scale WWIII. In reality, that war began when the U.S. was first attacked, but what happened then is very small compared to what happens there next.
The events recorded about this Fifth Trumpet can be difficult to understand because some of the events mentioned are about God’s Church, and these have already happened. However, the rest of those events that are yet to be fulfilled in this Trumpet are about when Satan is fully released from his spiritual restraint that was spoken of earlier. It is when he is able to use his full power to lead the world into a massive nuclear war. This is the time in which he will move the ten nations of the European Union to use nuclear weapons in a manner that is currently unimaginable and rather unbelievable.
Although it was given to Herbert Armstrong back in the 1950s that 10 nations in Europe would rise and use nuclear weapons in a third world war, it has not been fully seen how all this can come together—until now.
As it is easy to get bogged down in all that is revealed in the related prophecies that pertain to what happens during this Fifth Trumpet, it will simply be explained what these verses are prophesying. It is about this last revival in Europe of the old prophetic European empire. The primary role of the last revival is to fulfill precise prophetic timing that powerfully escalates into an all-out nuclear confrontation between nations.
God is intervening even now to help prevent an apocalyptic war that mankind would inevitably enter into anyway—a war that would destroy all life on earth if He did not intervene. God must intervene directly at a specific moment in time to end WWIII. However, before that occasion, He will intervene periodically in the timing of some world events and work through certain end-time events in order to help bring about a change in the very attitude and nature of mankind, away from evil and toward what is good.
In order to begin this overall process, God will allow ten nations in Europe to arise at a very specific moment in time, which will bring this final war to a scale and momentum where God will need to intervene to save mankind from itself and its own annihilation. God’s timing for his intervention is revealed to be at a point when the magnitude of this war has come to the level of destroying 1/3 of all life on earth—rather than all of it, which is what mankind would do if He didn’t intervene as He does.
Remember, it is not God who brings mankind to war. Mankind of itself always wars and it is only a matter of time before mankind will enter into a third world war—an all-out nuclear war. If God did not intervene as He will do, mankind would indeed annihilate itself. God knows what is best for mankind and He has chosen this moment in human development to help mankind come to see itself realistically. God knows what it will take for mankind to be humbled and the precise amount of self-inflicted suffering it will have to experience in order to finally turn to Him.
“Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth, and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit [place of spirit restraint]. And he opened the bottomless pit, and there arose smoke out of the pit like the smoke from a great furnace, and the sun and the sky were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Out of the smoke there came locusts upon the earth, and they were given power like scorpions of the earth have power” (Revelation 9:1-3).
God reveals that He will once again release Satan from a spirit restraint that He has kept upon him since the end of WWII. He has been restrained from using all his power—that greater power that leads to great destruction and war. He is the Destroyer, but he has not always been able to use that power. Instead, he has had a spirit restraint put upon him for much of human history.
The locusts are about vast armies, and the description of scorpions is about the power they possess to strike quickly when they attack. Armies have never possessed the kind of power as they do today because of modern technology—especially that of nuclear weapons.
It was described earlier concerning the Fourth Trumpet how the U.S. will experience the effect of nuclear weapons that will lead to 1/3 of the light of the sun no longer being able to reach the surface of the earth in the areas these weapons are used. A large reduction of light being able to reach the earth’s surface will affect much of the U.S., but to a lesser degree, it will also have an impact on other areas of the world.
In the instance of this Fifth Trumpet it reveals a further darkening in the atmosphere and of the sun, but this time in large regions of the world. This alone is going to wreak great havoc and destruction on the earth that can easily lead to death in hundreds of thousands. This is due to the vast destruction of agriculture and famine that follows. It is also due to plunging temperatures that result in extreme cold in many regions.
The prophetic fulfillment for these 10 nations of Europe is met when they come into agreement to use the nuclear arsenal over which they have control. Although these nations are weakly aligned (the toes mixed with clay), they have great strength of power (the iron of the toes) that they can wield.
We are very near the time for the fulfillment of these verses. It needs to be understood that the exact 10 nations may not yet be set. Although 10 have signed a military alliance, one or more could still opt-out, but when this event finally comes to pass there will be exactly 10 nations in Europe who come to this final agreement and fulfill this prophecy.
There are really only a few scenarios that possibly fit into the unfolding of these prophetic events that are described in this Fifth Trumpet. God has not revealed the specific thinking and all the actions of every nation involved, but most of the major nations that will be involved are known. Regardless of all who are involved and how they are involved, the scope of destruction will be exceedingly great, and it is certain.
Who Does Europe Strike?
So the real question becomes, “Who will the 10 nations of Europe agree to use nuclear weapons against?”
At this point, when Europe feels pressured into using nuclear weapons, the world is in a state of profound shock and horror. For any who remember the kind of shock many around the world felt on 9/11, this is many, many times greater. This time, the United States will have been attacked with nuclear weapons and fully crippled. It cannot adequately respond to what happened during the events of those first four Trumpets.
Prophecy has not been revealed that would show who it is that initially attacks the U.S. It can be some rogue or proxy nation, or some larger nation that carries out such an attack disguised as a rogue nation. But it is apparent that it is not done directly by any large nation.
Nevertheless, after the destruction from the events of the first four Trumpets, the world will be at a point of waiting to see if the U.S. is able to respond in a limited but lethal manner. Although it is not revealed if a meager strike by the U.S. is carried out against whoever is responsible for the attack, it is made clear that the next great event is what this Fifth Trumpet reveals.
Prophecies speak strongly of Europe actually striking the United States in a very powerful attack at this time. But why and how could such a thing happen? It is unthinkable that they would do so. It is truly unimaginable, and so much so, that most will not believe this possible until it actually happens.
The prophecy of the Fifth Trumpet primarily involves 10 nations in Europe who will act against the United States, yet the reasons for such action have not been fully revealed. There really are only a very few scenarios that can possibly fit where these 10 nations make a decision to use their arsenal of nuclear weapons—which they are going to do!
It is revealed that as a result of the events of this Fifth Trumpet that there will ultimately be destruction and loss of life in the United States of up to one-third of all plants, animals, and human life. Depending upon the kind of response that the people in the U.S. have toward God after these nuclear weapons are used against them, this will determine the level of destruction they will ultimately experience.
As a result of the events of the first four Trumpets, the United States is struck a horrific crippling blow to its infrastructure that temporarily renders it incapable of adequately responding to whomever this attack came from. As mentioned, it could possibly come from a rogue nation that uses just a few nuclear weapons, including one or more of these in an EMP strike. This would create massive infrastructure nightmares in communication, transportation, commerce, and in many other areas as well, including great loss of life.
Such a limited nuclear attack does not fulfill other prophecies that concern one-third of the nation being destroyed, but the event of the Fifth Trumpet does fulfill this. However, a limited attack can fulfill prophecy concerning the first four Trumpets where one-third of plant, animal, and human life is destroyed in the specific areas of detonation.
If a quick and totally unexpected event occurred in which the aggressor might not even be immediately known, then there would indeed be great panic among the nations of the world as to what happens next. The question would likely involve wanting to know how long it might take for the U.S. to be able to respond and against whom, or it could also be a matter that the U.S. does respond and uses nuclear weapons against the aggressor, and then Europe would be forced to decide what is in their best interest.
If those in Europe believed that China or Russia, or both, had any connection whatsoever in what took place in such a strike against the U.S., then that indeed could lead to Europe deciding on a very hard choice that they might feel forced to make. However, prophecy does not indicate the involvement of China and Russia until the Sixth Trumpet.
On the other hand, if the U.S. had initially been attacked by a nation who has a close relationship with either China or Russia, then Europe would be highly concerned with how China and Russia might ultimately respond to them.
In any scenario, the question will become one regarding the consequences from the U.S. eventually engaging in a full-scale nuclear attack against Russia and China, as soon as they are able to do so. In such a scenario, it might well become the thinking of these 10 European nations that if the U.S. were to do such a thing, then Russia and China would likely feel compelled to react quickly to preempt such a possibility. It would then be rightly perceived that Russia and China would also attack these European nations since they could be seen as likely allies of the U.S., especially because of NATO headquarters being in Europe.
If a nation or group of nations clearly see that they are going to be drug into a nuclear war, what are their options? If you truly believe you will have nuclear weapons going off in your own cities because of such a scenario, is it possible you would consider preempting such a thing first by finishing the job of taking out the greatest military power the world has ever known while there is still a window to do so?
So could it be seen that it would be better to strike the United States in order to preempt an attack from Russia and China, and could such an act be seen as potentially helping to stop an all-out nuclear war on earth?
A choice such as this would be an easier conclusion since it would appear to be the one that could produce the best outcome. Such a choice could avert an attack in the use of nuclear weapons upon their own soil. It would help restrict the major threat of radiation by better confining it to a part of the world that separates Europe by nearly 5,000 miles from the coast of the U.S. This would be seen as a better option than having massive physical destruction and very large amounts of radiation settling throughout their own countries in Europe, not to mention the potential massive loss of life within their own continent.
Is it possible that such an unthinkable scenario becomes the reality among the 10 nations of this last revival of that prophetic European empire? There are other prophecies about this last revival which give this scenario a distinct and clear possibility for coming to pass.
Regardless of any scenario, the reality is that it is revealed in the Fifth Trumpet that 10 nations in Europe will use part of their nuclear arsenal to further prevent the U.S. from recovering from the attack that was made against it. However, this attack is far more devastating than the first, which will not simply cripple but render it incapable of any recovery for decades to come.
The Ugliness of War
The major world powers in this end-time will inevitably become deeply involved in the massive destruction that will take place on this earth. There are specific nations who will cause the greatest amount of destruction and death due to their arsenal of weapons. These are named in the Bible (by their Old Testament identities of that time period), but even those who are not specifically identified will all be part of this final world war. Some nations simply play a greater role than others.
All who possess nuclear weapons will use them, except possibly the United States. This is a war that stirs great fear among the nations of the world. It is a kind of fear the world has never known to such depths. It grows into a fear that sees the distinct possibility of self-annihilation. Mankind has never faced such a likelihood, but this great war must come to this level of fear and destruction before mankind will begin to see itself realistically and thereby begin to abhor the ugliness of its own selfish human nature.
As horrible as this sounds, this will actually be the very thing that will begin to help mankind. God reveals that these events taking place will be what it takes to bring mankind to a spirit of humility and of a true desire for change in its own nature.
It is a horrifying thing for God to see His own creation kill and destroy as mankind has done for nearly 6,000 years now. Throughout this time, God has continuously told mankind what would bring about true prosperity and peace. However, mankind has consistently refused God’s instruction. Instead, mankind has chosen to live the way that produces unhappiness, suffering, war and destruction of life, even to the extent of affecting children and the innocent.
In this final war, God cannot intervene sooner to save the lives of so many innocent ones in the world or mankind would never learn what it must. Through its self-imposed suffering, mankind must learn from these lessons in order to obtain peace by finally embracing God’s way of life. God has provided in His plan a merciful second physical life in His world for all who have suffered and died under the selfish nature of mankind. Sadly, mankind simply has to learn the hard way. God isn’t responsible for killing people, mankind is, and God is letting people make mistakes to learn from them, just like a parent often has to do with a child.
Through the hideousness and horror of such a massive nuclear war, people will begin to finally want to change their ways and the corrupt ways of this world. They will begin to see what God has placed before them and they will want to embrace it—real peace for all time.
Once this war has been ended by God’s intervention, people will actually begin to cooperate as it had never before been possible. They will eagerly support a new age for mankind where war is seen for what it is. This will be the beginning of a change in the very nature of mankind that could come about through no other means.
God is going to intervene and begin to show mankind the way to real peace—and now at a time when they will actually want to hear what He says. War is no longer going to be glamorized within nations. Joining some part of the military will no longer be promoted or advertised as being heroic or patriotic. There will be no military anywhere on earth.
Fighting in war will not be something that children grow up learning by playing with the kinds of toys that are manufactured for the purpose of pretending to kill people or fighting in a war. Video games will no longer promote war, leading children to think of war or to think of killing and destroying others. Books and movies will no longer romanticize war or the killing of others who are seen as enemies.
People will have learned the true ugliness of war. Nations will learn to cooperate in all areas of life, and that will be enhanced by the fact that there will be only one world government—God’s own government. People will no longer have the need to create some form of “United Nations.” The idea of this has been fruitless in itself and peace has been impossible to achieve because the governments of mankind have been prejudiced, self-centered, divisive and arrogant in thinking.
This final war—WWIII—is indeed the war that will end all wars.
SIXTH TRUMPET: The Second Woe!
By the time the effects of the Fifth Trumpet have ended, massive destruction will still have taken place across the United States. The level of destruction from the events of this Trumpet destroy a third of the U.S., which also means the death of one hundred million people and potentially much more.
Finally, the time of the Fifth Trumpet comes to an end, as John wrote, “One Woe is past, and behold, there are two more Woes coming after this” (Rev. 9:12). That first Woe was only the beginning for wide-spread destruction and a far greater loss of life.
“Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar, which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.’ The four angels were released, who had been prepared for the hour, and day, and month, and year, to kill a third of mankind. I heard the number of the horsemen to be two hundred million” (Revelation 9:13-16).
This Second Woe is about the destruction to come from the announcement of the Sixth Trumpet. This Trumpet refers to a massive army that quickly comes together, primarily from an alliance of Russia and China, who escalate the world war that has already begun. But this number also includes many other nations who quickly work to enlarge their military might. All do so because the whole world then becomes drawn into this final war—and they all know this is all-out war that has come to them!
There is not much to be said about this Sixth Trumpet because this prophecy means exactly what it says. This great “Woe” upon mankind will result in one-third of all mankind being destroyed. This alone will account for the death of over 2.5 billion people! This is unimaginable, but it is soon going to happen.
God is allowing mankind to come to this level of destruction and death. It has been by mankind’s own choices that this has come to pass. However, even at this point in time, there will yet be massive arsenals of nuclear weapons that can still be used by nations upon one another. The level of destruction at this stage will be caused by the use of only a small portion of that arsenal. It is at this point that if God does not intervene, mankind would annihilate itself. But God intervenes to stop the madness.
Still, the Unimaginable
It is also at this very time, with the level of destruction that has occurred and massive worldwide death, that God reveals how most of mankind still thinks.
Pride runs very deep in human nature. Even after everything that has happened to this point, the majority of mankind will still continue to resist God and will not listen to why these things are happening. By the end of the period covering the first six Trumpets, a few billion people will have died.
Although the vast majority still will not listen to God by this time, there will be several million around the world who have been conquered that will begin to cry out to God and will begin to listen to Him. Still, the overwhelmingly vast majority will refuse to consider God or to listen to Him.
This is what is being spoken of in the verses which follow the description of that army that numbers two hundred million:
“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, still would not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. Neither would they repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).
This expression about the rest of mankind does not mean every person, but that which encompasses and reflects the spirit and attitude of the vast majority. There are those few million who have been conquered to this point and many of them have begun to repent and listen to God. They are crying out to God for His intervention and deliverance.
Although the destruction is unimaginably massive by this point, as just at a third of everything has been destroyed, most of the great nations who still have much power in their control are filled with hideous pride and believe they can still survive, come out on top in all this, and reestablish themselves great again. They still believe in their own ability to win this war and to solve all the problems caused by it. The last thing on their mind would be to look to God or repent of “their own ways.”
Unless humbled, man will not listen to God. So, that is exactly what God will do—He will humble the resisting powers that remain. If He doesn’t, they will blindly and stubbornly destroy themselves and all life on earth. The haughtiness and pride of mankind runs exceedingly deep.
The Great Transition in Time
This nuclear war cannot continue or extinction will follow. It cannot last for years, but only
for a short time, and only God can stop it.
The beginning of fulfillment for the Seventh Trumpet is when God intervenes to stop WWIII and end the nuclear war that has destroyed so much of the earth and well over one-third of all life on it.
Up to this point in time it is good to note that God has revealed the meaning of the first six Trumpets, and most of what comes to pass. As it has been covered, there are those things that are written prophetically about these Trumpets that are absolute and will come to pass exactly as written and revealed. It has also been stated what has not yet been fully revealed about some specific details.
The world has been given more than enough to know and to understand what is about to come upon it in the form of this final war. It does not need every specific detail. Most of the finer details will not be clear until they actually happen. The problem at this time is that the world does not want to hear these things, nevertheless, they will experience them.
Then it comes time for the Seventh Trumpet. This will be touched upon only a little here, because the events and greater meaning contained in this Trumpet will be covered in the following chapter.
“The second woe is past, and behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Then the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord, even of His Christ, and He shall reign from now and forever more’” (Revelation 11:14-15).
This is the announcement that man’s reign over the past 6,000 years is finally being brought to an end, and now, God will intervene and begin His reign on earth in His Kingdom, with Joshua the Christ at its head. It is here that Christ finally becomes the King of kings over all the earth.
“Then the twenty four elders, who sat before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, ‘We give you thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who is, and was, and is yet to come, because you have taken to yourself your great power, and will now reign’” (Rev. 11:16-17).
God has always been in control of His creation, but He chose to allow mankind to rule itself for 6,000 years. This has always been part of God’s plan in order for mankind to learn that only God’s way of life produces good, lasting, and true results. The witness of man’s ways over the past 6,000 years has proven to be disastrous.
God magnifies the importance of this transition between the end of the Sixth Trumpet and the beginning of the Seventh Trumpet. He does so by interjecting two important prophecies before the events of the last Trumpet begin.
First, God interjects information about what He calls the Seven Thunders, and it is at this time that they will cease to sound. The Seven Thunders began sounding when the Sixth Seal was opened on 9/11. It is also at this point of transition between the end of the Sixth Trumpet and the beginning of the Seventh that God declares that the “mystery of God” will begin to be revealed until it is fully finished. God is addressing these things in this manner in order to stress the significance of what is stated about this transition.
“Now when the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write, but then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Seal up the things which the seven thunders sounded, and do not write them.’ The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land then raised up his hand toward heaven and gave oath in Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be time no longer [Gk.- “any further”]. But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished [Gk.- “shall or should be completed, fulfilled, accomplished”], as He declared to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:4-7).
Seven Thunders of the Sixth Seal are spoken of which God would not let John record. They were to be revealed in the end-time. God’s Church believes those Thunders have been revealed and they are covered in other literature of the Church of God – PKG (Preparing for the Kingdom of God). However, the reality is that these cannot at all be seen as true by the world until after they have all come to pass and the Thunders have ended.
The reason for mentioning these Thunders at this interval in the revelation of all this is because since the time these Thunders began, they have been continuing through time and they will ultimately lead to this transition (just before the Seventh Trumpet) for their complete fulfillment. In a short period of time that leads up to the event of the Seventh Trumpet beginning is when the last two Thunders will have their greatest impact and final fulfillment.
Second, God interjects the prophecy about the “mystery of God” that is to be finished. The process of this “mystery” becoming fulfilled will prove to be one of the most dramatic times of all human history. So what is stated about the moment the events of the Seventh Trumpet begin to be fulfilled?
It states that there is a “mystery of God” that will be finished, which means it will be completed and fulfilled. What mystery is it that has never been understood by mankind that the prophets of God have declared from the beginning? It has already been covered what that mystery is all about. It is called a mystery because mankind hasn’t grasped what it is even though it has been spoken of for thousands of years.
The world has only partially grasped that a Messiah was to come. Even the disciples did not grasp what all this meant until after Christ had been resurrected and they had received of the holy spirit beginning on the Pentecost of 31 AD. That mystery has been about the rule—the reign—of the Messiah in the Kingdom of God, in which he will rule over all the nations of the world.
There is a moment in time when that becomes a reality! There is a moment in time when this event is clearly revealed for all the world to see. There is a moment in time when God intervenes to bring an end to mankind’s self-rule and establishes His Kingdom to reign instead. There is a moment in time that God sends the “Stone that the builders rejected” which will crush the power of all nations and end their self-rule, including this last war that they will be engaged in. They will not be able to resist what God does next.
The mystery of God spoken of here has much more meaning and is covered more fully in the next chapter. The mystery includes those who are resurrected to spirit life and what that truly means. It is about those who come to govern along with Christ. The mystery is about that government and its greater purpose for leading billions of others to be able to receive that same spirit life that they have been given. There is much to be fulfilled—much to be accomplished and completed in God’s plan that mankind has never known. Hence, it has been a mystery for nearly 6,000 years.
But in addition to what the Seven Thunders of the Sixth Seal are about, there is one other thing revealed between the events of the Sixth Trumpet and the beginning of the fulfillment of the Seventh Trumpet. It is about God’s two end-time witnesses. God’s Church believes it knows who those two witnesses are and some of the work that they do. Their revelation to the world is in God’s hands and in God’s timing. All that they are to fulfill and how they do so is not fully known—not even to God’s own Church.
Indeed, the very beginning of the events of the Seventh Trumpet of the Seventh Seal mark a very distinct moment in time. It is being revealed as the most meaningful and significant moment of all human history. It has generally been believed that at the end of the fulfillment of this Seventh Trumpet, Christ would return to establish the Kingdom of God over the nations of the earth. But that is not the case—that is not true. Instead, his return is only the beginning for the fulfillment of the Seventh Trumpet.