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Revelation; The Third Woe

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posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 04:04 PM
I want to offer some thoughts on the last of the seven trumpets of Revelation, which the angel sounds at the end of Revelation ch11.

It also counts as the "third woe", because the dwellers on the earth were told, at the end of ch8, to expect woe" from the final three trumpets.

So I'm going to be asking the question; what is the third woe?

When the fifth trumpet was sounded, the effect was the release of the army of "locusts", and that was the first woe.
When the sixth trumpet was sounded, the effect was the release of the army of "cavalry", and that was the second woe.
Nothing like that happens, not immediately, when the seventh trumpet has been sounded.
Instead we get a series of announcements and explanations which are designed to help us understand just how important the event is.

The first reaction comes from the loud voices in heaven, which tell us that "the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever".
In other words, the request in the Lord's Prayer that "Your kingdom come" has finally been answered.

The same is implied by the opening words of the praise of the twenty-four elders.
The Lord God Almighty had been described, in ch1, as "the one who is, and who was, and who is to come".
When we look at the words of the elders, in v17, we find that the "future" part of this formula has been left out.
His reigning in full power is no longer a future expectation, but a present reality.
The rest of their praise echoes the words of Psalm 2, which tells how the nations raged and the kings of the earth set themselves "against the Lord and his anointed" (Psalm 2 v2), and which then goes on to record the Lord's promise of power to his anointed Son.
Then the elders proclaim (and the noisy activities of the last verse of the chapter carry the same message) that the time of judgement has come; the servants of the Lord will be rewarded, and the destroyers of the earth will be destroyed.

The next two chapters are a "flashback" sequence, which takes the story back to the birth of Christ. The purpose of the flashback is to introduce the Beast, and to explain the spiritual background of the Beast's hostility to the people of God. This prepares the way for the proclamations of ch14 to explain the significance of the "hour of judgement" in terms of the destruction of the Beast and its associates.

At the beginning of ch15, it can be seen that the "sea of glass" around God's throne in heaven is now "mingled with fire". That is to say, the "fire" of God's judgement is now burning so fiercely upon the earth that it becomes visible even through the crystalline lens of the firmament, which is what the sea of glass represents.

Then the seven angels step out of the Temple, and they're given the seven bowls "full of the wrath of God".
This is the event we've been waiting for, the active response to the seventh trumpet.
The "seven bowls", taken together, are what happens when the seventh trumpet is sounded.
(Just as the seven trumpets themselves, taken together, are what happens when the seventh seal is opened)
If the seventh trumpet is the proclamation that the Last Day of the world has finally arrived-.
then the seven bowls are a depiction of the Last Hours of the world (I don't quite mean that literally, but that's the approximate relationship).

There's also a close relationship between the individual trumpets and the individual bowls.
I touched on this in the discussion called Battered Planet (q.v.)
This is how I described it;

These two sequences, the trumpets and the bowls, are very similar, and they're sometimes regarded as duplicate versions of the same story. But the real clue to the relationship is that the state of the world after the seven bowls is considerably worse than the state of the world after the trumpets...
So I see the trumpets and the bowls as the beginning and end of the same set of events, with each trumpet/bowl combination representing a different aspect of the process. On that basis, I feel entitled to cross-reference between the two sequences, and use them to throw light on each other.

Taking the combinations one by one;

The effect of the first trumpet included an echo of one of the Exodus plagues.
Similarly, the effect of the first bowl, the "foul and evil sores", echoes another of the Exodus plagues (the boils and sores of Exodus ch9 v10).
My conclusion was that the first item in each sequence was a kind of "signature", which had the purpose of pointing us towards the Exodus events.
The implication is that these events, too, are about the redemption of God's people from oppression.

The effect of the second trumpet was that a third of the sea became blood, and a third of its living creatures died.
The effect of the second bowl is that the whole sea, presumably, becomes "like the blood of a dead man". I once asked a medical friend what the blood of a dead man would be like, and the answer was "black and crusty". So the state of the sea suffers a catastrophic degradation, and the result, not surprisingly, is that "every living thing died that was in the sea".

The effect of the third trumpet touched a third of the rivers and fountains, with the result that their waters became bitter and poisonous.
The effect of the third bowl, like the effect of the second bowl, takes the degradation a stage further, so that all the land-based waters "became blood".

The effect of the fourth trumpet was that the sun and the moon and the stars lost a third of their light. This implies that the light was being blocked by some kind of pollution in the atmosphere.
The effect of the fourth bowl, on the other hand, is that the sun is "allowed to scorch men with fire". I speculated that this might be the consequence of a depletion of the ozone layer.

So the impact of these first trumpets and bowls falls upon the physical environment of the human race.
I was suggesting in the previous discussion that these might be different aspects of a single, world-wide catastrophe. I speculated on the nature of the cause, but deliberately left it as an open question.
But the outcome, whatever the cause, seems to be that the earth is being rendered almost uninhabitable.

The effect of the fifth trumpet was that the human race was plunged into intense despair. It was the kind of despair which would be felt by someone who was being denied even the escape-route of death.
This was an echo of the complaints of Job;
"Why is light given to him that is in misery,
And life to the bitter in soul,
Who long for death, but it comes not,
And dig for it more than for hid treasures"- Job ch3 vv20-21

The effect of the fifth bowl is that the kingdom of the Beast is plunged into "darkness". Given that the sun is currently "scorching men with fire", I take this to be a spiritual or psychological darkness, in keeping with the fifth trumpet. We're told that men "cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores", and this is another echo of Job, because they're following the advice which Job received from his wife, when he was suffering from his own "loathsome sores" ("curse God and die"-Job ch2 v9).

This appears to indicate that the population of the world are undergoing a collective "Job" experience. Their physical world is falling apart in these chapters, just as Job's world fell apart around him, The loss of hope in the future, the abandonment of faith, would be a very natural consequence of these events.
Thus the impact of the fifth trumpet and bowl falls upon the psychological environment of the human race.

The effect of the sixth trumpet was that the world was invaded by forces which came from the Euphrates.
The effect of the sixth trumpet is the gathering together of the kings of the world, but at least some of them are coming from the east, from the other side of the Euphrates.
The waters of the Euphrates are dried up, which serves a double purpose.
It symbolises the fulfilment of Jeremiah's warning to Babylon, that her waters would be "dried up", that her power would be drained away, in the time of her destruction Jeremiah ch50 v38.
There's a practical purpose, at the same time, because it makes it easier for the kings of the east to cross over.

But we need to remember the significance of the Euphrates to the inhabitants of the Roman Empire of John's time. As I was discussing on a previous occasion, it was part of the boundary between the civilised world, the Graeco-Roman world, and the world of barbarians "outside" the ordered world. The cavalry of the "second woe" was clearly modelled on the horse-riding Parthians, who had broken across that boundary in recent times.
Therefore the armies which come from "across the Euphrates" might be understood as representing all those forces which come from "outside" the social order, and which would have the effect of causing disruption and weakening the bonds of society.

I suggested that this destructive anarchy would be a very natural consequence of the psychological collapse taking place under the fifth trumpet and bowl. If the human race in general had lost their hope in the future, that would be undermining all the motives and foundations of social existence.
(There's also significance in the summoning and destination of these kings, of course, but that point is important enough to deserve separate treatment)
Thus the impact of the sixth trumpet and bowl falls upon the social environment of the human race.

In summary, we've seen that when the seventh trumpet was sounded, the effect was the release of these "bowls of wrath".
They represent the climax and culmination of a destructive process which began with the sounding of the first trumpet.
And they appear to be tending, inexorably, towards the cessation of human life on this version of our planet.
Therefore it is very appropriate to identify these bowls, taken together, as the Third Woe.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 04:39 PM
Great understanding of the bible and its prophesies. I have been studing alot these days with the Jehovah's witnesses and following the seventh day adventist teachings of herbert armstrong. Its unbelievable its all comming to be. We dont have much time to spread the message of christ, which you are doing here by getting the word out to make people think.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 04:41 PM
reply to post by itsawild1

Thank you for that encouragement.
Although you'll find that I disagree with the Jehovah's Witnesses in many ways.
This probably comes out more in other threads.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 04:51 PM
I think its interesting while talking to a brother [witness] 2 weeks ago when he stopped by for discussions. His elders told them all TO PACK A BAG--Meaning they are about to walk away from society soon.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 05:02 PM
reply to post by itsawild1

I can't help remembering that the Jehovah's Witnesses, when I first met them, were expecting the decisive date to be 1975, which was supposed to be 6000 years after the Creation.
I'm convinced, myself, that we still have most of the events of Revelation to come, so I'm not expecting any "end" in the near future.
We haven't yet experienced a great persecution of the church; we're still waiting for the world-wide power (the Beast) which should be expected to initiate that persecution, and we' haven't yet experienced the crisis of Revelation ch6 which precedes the rise of the Beast.
The Four Horsemen should be the first item on the list.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 05:40 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

Interesting take on these woes. I firmly believe that we are at the end. But I do not consider it the end. To me it is the beginning of something new. I take the stance that the end times is not a physical event necessarily, but reading your interpretations in the physical sense, helps solidify my reasoning that we are indeed at the end of this cycle of madness. I also think we can all chose which side we want to follow. Illusion or the truth. We get to chose.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 05:53 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

hey are you talking about the woes in this verse?

13And I saw, and I heard one messenger, flying in the mid-heaven, saying with a great voice, `Wo, wo, wo, to those dwelling upon the land from the rest of the voices of the trumpet of the three messengers who are about to sound.'

my guess is the last woe is the last trumpet?

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 05:54 PM
reply to post by ExPostFacto

Thank you for those comments.
I have to agree with your remark that "the end" would actually be the beginning of somethng new; that is the point of the description of the "new Jerusalem" in the final two chapters.
And of course "choosing the right side" is one of the themes of Revelation. It's the moral of "don't take the mark of the Beast" and "come out of her, my people".

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 05:57 PM
reply to post by freedish

Yes, quite right, I mean the woes in that verse. Perhaps I should have spelled it out more, but this was a sequel to threads on the first two woes.
And, yes, I do mean that the seven bowls are the third woe which goes with the trumpet you mentioned; it isn't immediately obvious because of the chapters which intervene.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 06:24 PM
I was wondering when you were going to do an article on the third woe. I think that the point of it's beginning is when the antichrist begins his reign. When the 'Wicked One' is revealed and then those who marvel and wonder at his/her appearance trample down the Christians at its command.

Revelation 12:12
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.

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 06:32 PM
reply to post by iamnot

I wanted to get the description of Babylon out of the way first.
But I think the antichrist has been on the scene longer than that; I see the Beast/antichrist as the target of everything God has been doing since the sounding of the first trumpet.
This is my theory that ch12 is a "flashback", not in chronological sequence.

edit on 9-1-2011 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 9 2011 @ 07:50 PM
I should have added links to the threads on the first two Woes, since I refer back to them;

First Woe

Second Woe

posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 04:23 PM

The effect of the fourth trumpet was that the sun and the moon and the stars lost a third of their light. This implies that the light was being blocked by some kind of pollution in the atmosphere.
The effect of the fourth bowl, on the other hand, is that the sun is "allowed to scorch men with fire". I speculated that this might be the consequence of a depletion of the ozone layer.

This combination always reminds me of a science-fiction story I read many years ago.
I think it was called "Hunters of the Sun".
The theme was that the sun was completely hidden from the inhabitants of the world by a thick blanket of pollution in the atmosphere, but there were brief intervals when a "spot" of sun would manage to break through to the ground.
The "Hunters" of the title were future motor-cycle gangs who were making it their mission to try to catch these "spots" and experience them before they disappeared again.
The climax of the story was the sudden discovery that the ozone layer had been lost, and that exposure to the sun had become fatal.
This was my introduction to the idea of ozone-layer depletion, before it became a headline subject.

posted on Jan, 11 2011 @ 05:55 PM
NB I am aware that a good chunk of Revelation ch16 has been omitted from this discussion.
There will be a further thread, in due course, which will be entitled "The roads to Armageddon".

posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 01:45 PM
reply to post by itsawild1

well if thats true, and it probably is coming from JOHOVAH'S witnesses. not long now. well am going to go and see a witness friend and confirm that claim you made. ill contact you when i get back, if there's time. ha ha. Gary13

posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 01:49 PM
reply to post by Gary13

The first time I met the Jehovah's Witnesses, they were expecting the end in 1975.
They don't have a good record of successful prediction in this.
If you take their expectation at face value, you may be making a mistake.

edit on 12-1-2011 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 02:01 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

I'm not sure about the entire story behind the "1975 thing", but I do know that they currently and for many years have constantly preached and believed in not setting dates for when exactly Armageddon will occur.

As for "packing a bag". From what I've been told, they're not aiming towards a certain date to travel anywhere, they're simply preparing for any emergency situations that are bound to happen sooner or later, by making sure that they've got a decent amount of supplies on hand. Instead of "packing a bag", it's more like getting together an "emergency kit". Again, this is what I've been told by a reliable source.

posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 02:09 PM
reply to post by shasta9600

I was allowing Jehovah's Witnesses to visit me around 1974 ("know your enemy"), and hints were being dropped then, which made sense when I saw from their literature that this would be 6000 years from the Creation.
If they're not keen on setting dates nowadays, that would make sense, given the number of times their fingers have been burned, historically.
If they're just saying that people need to be prepared for anything, they're not really adding to what people could work out themselves from current news. So the fact that they're saying it is not an additional reason for doing it.

posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 02:21 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

I'm curious what it was that caused you to view them as an enemy? Am I understanding you correct, that the main reason you had discussions with them was because you wanted to "know your enemy"?

posted on Jan, 12 2011 @ 02:32 PM
reply to post by shasta9600

Because I'm a Trinitarian.
I was getting to know sects in general- moved on to Mormons a little later.
I get the impression, if only from their comments on ATS, that the Jehovah's Witnesses would reciprocate.
More energy seems to go into criticising the "main-stream churches" and the great wickedness of Trinitarian theology, than the combatting of atheism.
Isn't that the business model of the Jehovah's Witness movement- that they are the only true representatives of God, which means that all other Christian movements must be false churches by definition?

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