The Third Woe

“And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!”
Revelation 8:13

The Bible says that God will do nothing until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).  Here we have somewhat of a two-fold problem…

  1. Nobody can make God do anything, because He is God!  He can do anything He wants, whenever, however and to whomever He wills.
  1. Who are His servants the prophets and when will they be able to know of God’s plans?

In this situation, problem number 2 will be resolved before problem number 1 is carried out.  Therefore, God will reveal His plans when He has somebody that is able to hear Him.  Of course, it is still at His discretion as to the “when” of problem number 1 because it will still be at the behest of God to then send his servants the prophets to proclaim these plans to those God wants to hear.  There certainly have been many ministers in the past centuries and decades that have written and spoken powerful messages and prophecies but those messengers were not living in the last of the last days.  We that are alive now have the benefit of being able to digest and evaluate all that has been proclaimed through the ages by God’s servants.  Is it not reasonable to assess that the closer we get to the return of Jesus Christ (the Truth), that more of the truth will fully be revealed to His people?  It also seems that, based on Daniel 12:4, the full revelation is intentionally sealed up until the time of the end.  At which point Jesus removes the seals and opens up the book of Revelation.

One thing that I’ve noticed about the term “servants the prophets” is that both words are plural.  The end time Body of Christ is not going to be raised up by the voice of one person but multiple voices edifying and complementing each other and ultimately attaining to the fullness of the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 10:7).  With that in mind, I submit this to the Body of Christ for examination.  Though it is a small piece of the puzzle, I believe that it fits.  This piece will no doubt fit together with other pieces that others have. I believe that those that can hear and are not concrete in their thinking will take the pieces of this puzzle and put them together with spiritual eyes and ears and be able to see and hear more clearly as we edge closer to the end of this wicked age.  We must be humble to accept the truth even at the expense of what our own perceptions have been.  I must be willing to lay aside anything that I write here, if at some point greater revelation comes to light that supersedes any of my beliefs and suppositions. 

I believe that part of what the Lord is telling us is that the mystery of God will be fully unfolded (finished or ended) on behalf of His people.  This refutes any claim that no one will ever be able to understand the book of Revelation as some have taught.  If this really were the case then why would God even bother giving it to us in the Bible in the first place?  A mystery is solved by stringing together clues that are examined and weighed for validity.  The clues are then either regarded or disregarded.  I believe that by examining the three “woes” mentioned in Revelation 8:13 we can see clues to helping us to understand sequences of events as the end times are carried out.

The Seven Trumpets

First, let’s look at the seven trumpets that are sounded starting in Revelation chapter 8, which opens with verse 1 telling us that Jesus has just opened the seventh seal of the book of Revelation.  Prior to the trumpets being sounded an angel throws a censor filled with fire from the altar before the throne of God to the earth.  This results in “voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake” (Revelation 8:2-6).  I may be mistaken, but I believe the word used for earthquake (seismoV -seismos) is singular.  This probably means that there will literally be “an earthquake” before the sounding of the trumpets.  Could the earthquake that triggered the tsunami of December 2004, be this earthquake?  If it was, it would mean that we are very close to the first trumpet being sounded.  It could be an earthquake that is yet to come, but either way, I believe that the sounding of the trumpets will mark the beginning of the seven years of tribulation otherwise known as “Daniel’s 70th week”.

It seems as though a major war must be on the horizon if we are to consider the prophecy of Daniel 9:27, which seems to speak of a seven year peace treaty, which must be on the heels of some kind of war in which Israel is involved.  With the current unrest in the Middle East, it seems a certainty that we are on the brink of a culmination of the conflict between Isaac and Ishmael.  A “religious” war being waged with nuclear weapons that bring such mass devastation would not have to last very long before the global cry for peace would be heeded and a “treaty” put in place. Revelation chapter 8 tells us of the first four trumpets being sounded.  I lean toward these events being a combination of two things: the results of a war that has just ended and “natural” disasters taking place, which will not really be “natural” but rather “supernatural”.

The first four trumpets:

  1. Hail and fire mingled with blood…a third of the trees and all vegetation is burnt (Revelation 8:7). This could be the result of nuclear catastrophe.
  1. A great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea…a third part of the sea becomes blood, a third of sea life dies and a third of men’s ships are destroyed. (Revelation 8:8-9).  Scientists believe that a great volcano on the African coast, if erupted at full magnitude would collapse into the ocean causing such a massive landslide that the subsequent water displacement will result in a tsunami that could easily reach the east coast of America.
  1. A burning star from heaven called Wormwood falls on a third part of the rivers and water sources (Revelation 8:10-11).  Wormwood describes a bitter gall or something poisonous such as nuclear radiation or fallout from nuclear explosions making a third of the world’s water poisonous.
  1. A third part of lights of the sky are darkened (Revelation 8:12).  This could be the result of smoke from fires due to a combination of natural wildfires and devastation from war.

Revelation 8 closes with verse 13 telling us of a messenger flying through the middle (second) heaven saying “woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!.”.  As terrible as the events that have unfolded with the first four trumpets, how much more devastating will the last three trumpets be that we are being forewarned with three emphatic cries of “woe, woe, woe”?

The First Woe

Revelation chapter 9 follows with a description of the next two trumpets.  This is where I believe we see a shift of natural or man made disasters to disasters that are loosed via supernatural powers of darkness, which is the reason for the proclamation of the three woes…as if to say – it is really going to be terrible from this point on.  The fifth angel sounds and John tells us that he saw a star (angelic being) fall from heaven to the earth and to this star was given the key to the bottomless pit…

“And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
Revelation 9:2-12

So we see now that the first woe is the result of what occurs after the fifth trumpet being blown.  I’ve heard this passage being perceived as John seeing tanks, helicopters, jet fighters etc., but I am not so sure about that.  I’m not saying that it is not absolutely visions of warfare but it seems to me, that what we are seeing described here is something utterly demonic.  It makes sense in that these things that John describes have a king over them –the angel of the bottomless pit.  The names Abaddon and Apollyon translate as “destroyer”. I believe that this is the fallen angel that we knew from mythology as Apollo who was the god of medicine and healing, light, truth and archery (more on him later).

Next, the sixth trumpet is sounded…

“And 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 which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
Revelation 9:13-21

We’ve already seen one fallen angel loosed from the bottomless pit to command all kinds of spiritual wickedness to inflict man.  Now we have four fallen angels loosed from their chains from somewhere beneath the Euphrates river.  The result here is that one third of the population of Earth is killed…and still mankind will have not repented.  It is important to keep in mind that while this is all happening the church will be going through the Earth proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

The Second Woe

Revelation chapter 11 is where we find the second woe starting with the account of the two witnesses prophesying for 3 ½ years (Revelation 11:2-3).  These two prophets have the power to cause drought and to turn water to blood and to inflict plagues on the earth (Revelation 11:6). Two prophets that fit this profile are Moses and Elijah. There must be some significance to this when we also consider the account of Jesus taking Peter, John and James up to a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28-31).  Who would actually believe that these two witnesses could really be these two “men”, Moses and Elijah?  We know that Moses died (Joshua 1:2) and Elijah was caught up to heaven in a whirlwind (2nd Kings 2:9-11).  It is not reported that Elijah died so this is all we have to go on...that he was translated.  The world would say only a “crazy” person would believe that these two would really be the same Moses resurrected from the dead by God and Elijah sent back down to earth.  It makes me wonder why God didn’t allow the body of Moses to be discovered by man (Deuteronomy 34:5-6, Jude 9).   The events that take place during the first four trumpets being sounded bear a striking resemblance to the judgments that God inflicted on Egypt through Moses.  However, the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27: “and as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement”.  That would seem to exclude Moses as being one of these witnesses since we do know for certain that Moses did indeed die.  Some therefore say that the two witnesses are Enoch and Elijah.  The scripture is specific about Enoch and says in Hebrews 11:5: “ By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”. There must be a logical explanation for this if God said “it is appointed to men once to die…”…What it must mean is this...God warned Adam that if he partook of the forbidden fruit that “in the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die” - Genesis 2:7.  Yet Adam lived for hundreds of years after he fell from God's presence.  This is speaking of a spiritual death which is separation from God because of the sin nature which Adam fell into - he was not born that way but he became that way.  We are all born in this state, so effectively we are all born DEAD!  As soon as we are born - we are dead, therefore it is appointed to all men once to die.  Enoch did not physically die but he was indeed born under the Adamic curse.  He was dead.  Elijah may have never phyically died but he too was born dead as were we all.

At this point I am persuaded to believe that the two witnesses will not be Moses and Elijah either but it will be two elders from this present time period.  I figure that God has allowed Moses and Elijah to enter into His rest as their particular assignments have been carried out, but that's just my personal belief.  In a sense, they have had their turn at bat. Someone else will be standing up at the end of the age standing up as the Word of God in the power of the Spirit (Moses and Elijah). Besides, if I where Moses and Elijah - I'd be saying “Please Father - please don't send me back down to that hell hole”.  Moses and Elijah led lives of serious tribulation - to be subjected to another three and a half years of life on Earth after being in heaven around the throne of the Most High?  That would hurt.  That would be a tall order...but I could be wrong - again it is just my personal opinion on the matter.  Whoever it is, these two witnesses will be the catalyst for the opening of the eyes of Israel and the fullness of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25).  While these two witnesses bring forth the power of God in Jerusalem, the overall Body of Christ will be doing the same world wide.  The result will be severe persecution and wrath from the world as exemplified in the end of the testimony of these two witnesses:

“And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
Revelation 11:7-14

To this point there have been six trumpets sounded with severe calamity being inflicted upon the earth and on the people, all the while the Gospel is being sent forth to bring the world to repentance and acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as Lord.  I believe what we are seeing here in this calamity is the wrath of Satan being vented on the world as the last seven years of the age unfold.  We’re told now in Revelation 11:14 that two “woes” have gone by and that the “third woe” comes quickly.  Immediately following in verse 15 is the seventh trumpet being sounded and our attention is centered on the glory of God Almighty. I don’t think that this means that the seventh trumpet of God sounds and the age is immediately ended.  Besides, who says that the seventh trumpet here in Revelation is the last trumpet or the trump of God , where the so-called “rapture” takes place?  God might just have eight trumpets before it’s all said and done!

The Third Woe

Cleary we are told of two “woes” and are given somewhat of a sequence of their occurrences, but we really do not see anything specific about the third woe outside of Revelation 11:14.  I believe the “third woe” is in Revelation chapter 12 verse 12 - “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time”.  I see Revelation chapter 12 as an encapsulation of the entire history of the Body of Christ or the Bride of Christ (the woman) from Genesis to Revelation.  Here also we can also see a snapshot of the seven year tribulation period. We see the manifestation of the birth and resurrection of our Lord depicted in verse 5.  The church, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, is led into the wilderness by God’s will to dry up and be purged of all worldliness culminating in a final 3 ½ year period of ministry and persecution that correlates to the fullness of the Gentiles be completed (Revelation 12:6).  The woman in verse 6 is the remnant of the Gentiles.  We are then told of “war in heaven” that has no doubt been occurring but will be soon culminating when warring angels led by Michael finally overcome and oust Satan and his rebels from the heavens where they are cast down to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9).  This is not a depiction of a war that took place in the heavens when Lucifer first rebelled and was rejected by God, but of a futuristic end time spiritual war that will manifest in the natural realm on earth!  We know from Daniel 12:1 that the archangel Michael is guardian of the chosen people of God – the Jews (“thy people”).  The mid point of the seven years will culminate in the manifestation of the “man of sin” or the “son of perdition” (2nd Thessalonians 2:3).  Revelation 12:12 says “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  The third woe is Satan being cast down and confined to the earth. His wrath will then be fully manifested and vented on humans through a human.  Now Satan’s attention is turned to the Jews, because it is through the Jews that salvation comes (Jesus Christ) and he will persecute them as never before (Revelation 12:13-17).  The woman in verse 14 is the remnant of the Jews.

Let’s take another look at three woes spoken by Jesus Himself:

  1. Matthew 24:9And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”
  1. Mark 13:17But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”
  1. Luke 21:23But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

In all three of the end time prophesies spoken by Jesus in the Gospels we are first warned to not be deceived.  We are given a picture of great unrest in the world – times of travail followed by persecution and hatred being directed toward His disciples.  In all three Gospel accounts there comes a point when He directs our attention to the abomination of desolation and Judea (the Jews) (Matthew 24:15-16, Mark 13:14, Luke 21:20-21).  He says “woe to them that are with child”.  I believe that this is more than just a literal cry of compassion to pregnant women in this time, but more so a cry for that remnant (woman) that has repented of their hardness of heart and now believe and follow after the prophesied Messiah.  The time has come when the Israelite’s eyes have been opened and they now understand the Word of God as has been prophesied by Gentiles (the true church), in the first half of the seven years and they are now with him (child).  They’ll see and recognize the man of sin as evil incarnate as he would dare to declare himself as God and demand worship.

Going into perdition

I will now venture more into some areas of speculation and to put it like Paul did, “bear with me a little in my folly” (2nd Corinthians 11:1).  Many Christians believe that there will actually be a man that will rise to preeminence and be the human embodiment of the anti-Christ as revealed in (2nd Thessalonians 2:3) who will come into a physical place of worship (the temple in Jerusalem) and claim to be God.  Others believe that this is strictly speaking of the human race as a whole becoming reprobate and falling away from God in the sense that the individual person sees himself/herself as God in their own body or temple.  I believe that both will be the case.  I do wonder if it will be Satan himself that actually enters into this one individual known as “the man of sin” or “son of perdition”.  We know for a fact from scripture that Satan literally entered into Judas Iscariot who is also called “the son of perdition” (John 17:12, Luke 22:3, John 13:27). Judas hanged himself but Satan was not destroyed at that point.  I wonder if it will be the same with the end time Son of Satan or will there be a slight difference?  Satan was attempting to destroy the personage of the Son of God who indwelled the body of Jesus of Nazareth.  Did Satan enter Judas in order to personally give him a “kiss of death” (Matthew 26:47-50) in order to personally see to the betrayal and death of Jesus in order that Satan (as he thought in his own lying mind) could eternally rule the world?  Will Satan personally enter into the anti-Christ or could it be another?  The reason I speculate on this is because of what we see in Revelation 17:8 coming out of the bottomless pit and “going into perdition”.  Also in Revelation 17:11 we see a beast that “goes into perdition”.  The “beast” of Revelation is depicted as this governmental system which is representative of Adam.  It also stands to reason that this “beast” will also be representative of Adam in human form (Revelation 13:18).  I keep thinking of Lucifer saying “I will be like the most high” (Isaiah 14:14).  I believe that it is possible that Satan will be performing an end time imitation of the God head as he “raises” up his “son” in the form of a human man.  I wonder if he will actually command Apollyon who comes out of the bottomless pit (Revelation 9:11) to “go into perdition” .  This will effectively be the incarnation of Satan’s son who comes to oppose God and exalt himself above God, which is in effect the definition of the word “antichrist”.  Apollo was considered the god of the Sun.  Mythology has him riding in a chariot driving the sun across the sky.  Apollo was the son of Zeus who was “king of the gods”.  In mythology, Zeus led a rebellion against his father Cronus and overthrew him and took the throne of the gods on Mount Olympus. Here is where mythology mixes truth with lies.  The truth is in the rebellion against the father.  The lie is in the overtaking of the father’s throne.  Do you see a connection here?...Apollo – son of god?
Another aspect of Apollo that I never considered until I was actually writing this is that Apollo was depicted as an archer or the “god of archery”.  Could there be a clue here as well as we see the one riding a white horse with a “bow” in Revelation 6:2.  Many see this rider of a white horse as Jesus but I do not.  I believe that this depiction is a man that will take the world over by bringing peace to a war torn and divided world (Daniel 8:24-25).  This is why we see this picture of a man with just a bow and no arrows!  Jesus will be riding a white horse with a sword (Revelation 19:11-15) coming to destroy this “man of peace” and to throw him into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:19-20).  The Bible says that “when they say ‘peace and safety’; then sudden destruction will come on them” (1st Thessalonians 5:3).  The world will see this man as a wonderful man of peace and love who has brought nations together in the name of “God” – he has ended this horrifying war, ended much suffering and has been a great healer – they will believe that he is the “Messiah”.  It will seem “so right” to the carnal, natural mind but it will be totally evil incarnate.

The 70th Week

To summarize, the end of the present age is culminated by entering into the last week (a week being a 7 year period according to Hebrew tradition) of Daniel’s prophecies (Daniel 9:24-27).  The seven years is started with parallel events building to a crescendo. One event being the Body of Christ coming together, from scattered and dry bones, to proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus Christ (as depicted in Ezekiel 37).  The other event will probably unfold as World War III (‘Ezekiel’s war’ of Ezekiel 38-39).  I am not really sure if the war will have already ended at the beginning of the seven years, hence the covenant of Daniel 9:27 or if there will be on-going war during this time, which will finally end when it is finally declared - “peace and safety”. It does seem as though it will be more of a chaotic time rather than a time of peace.  The first 3 ½ years is marked with the proclaiming of Christ by the two martyrs (paralleled by the church moving globally), who are killed off and soon after (“the third woe comes quickly”) Satan is confined to earth, the man of sin is revealed and his wrath is turned toward Israel for the remaining 3 ½ years.  We may sometimes wonder how such horrifying events could ever take place in a world inhabited by what most believe to be “good” people.  With the world spiraling downward in corruption we must be prepared to see the times when the world will say that evil is good and good is evil (Isaiah 5:20-22). The people of the world that are not going to bow their knees to Jesus Christ will be reprobate and totally given over the powers of darkness in their minds.  It will be in effect a demon possessed world.  They’ll think that they will be doing God a favor by killing (John 16:2). The “peace” will finally come when the detractors to their global harmony are gone (the true followers of Jesus Christ) – then will come the wrath of God and sudden destruction.

Sometimes I wonder if we are already in the final seven year period.  I wonder if the insanity that we see loosed on the earth is really that which comes from the bottomless pit.  I wonder if Satan has already come down here and is wreaking havoc on the world. Then I consider Jesus saying that the tribulation that is coming to the earth will be such that has never been seen before in history.  As bad as the condition of the world is – it will actually get worse.  Then we try to rationalize how the events of Revelation could possibly unfold without the vast majority of the world recognizing what is going on.  Wouldn’t a seven year peace treaty be a sure give away that the end of the world is imminent?  Surely, the world would be able to see that if the Roman Catholic “pope” actually crowned the new world leader that this would be the “anti-Christ” spoken of in the Bible.  What could possibly be happening in the world that only a small minority will actually be able to obviously see and know that the book of Revelation is manifesting before our very eyes?  What is it about the unfolding of Revelation – as it is written – that it will actually happen without the majority of the world being able to see it happen?  

It is because God will be sending them strong delusion – that they should believe the lie…

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
2nd Thessalonians 2:7-12

 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”

Isaiah 5:20-25

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