Wednesday, 5 December 2012
The Great Tribulation
In last week's Blog I suggested that the comparison of the Revelation Judgments and the Plagues in Exodus will give us some clear clues about what we might expect in the Great Tribulation.
In order to make sense of this suggestion, it is important to realise that the LORD has a method in the Bible which enables it to commentate on itself. This is effected by a process of Word and/or Phrase Association.
For example, when Jesus says in Luke 19.10, 'The Son of Man has come to seek and save those who are lost', He is referring to Ezekiel 34.11 and 16:
Thus says the Lord GOD: 'Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.....I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away,'.....
The Word Associations of 'seek' and 'lost' are designed to guide us from Jesus's comment in Luke 19 to Ezekiel 34......and not only to guide us to verses 11 and 16, but also to the whole chapter in which there are three separate Prophecies about what Messiah will do as a result of the abysmal and irresponsible failure of 'the shepherds of Israel' who failed to 'heal those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.' Ezekiel 34.4
The whole passage of Ezekiel 34 provides a commentary on the single phrase that Jesus used in Luke 19. This is how the process of Word and Phrase Association works.
So, when we operate the same process of Word and/or Phrase Association in the passages which describe the Great Tribulation in the Book of Revelation, we can see some surprising Associations. Here are 5 striking examples:
1. There are 3 Judgments in Revelation in which the sea and rivers become 'blood':
Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. Revelation 8.8-9
Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died. Revelation 16.3
Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Revelation 16.3-4
Exodus describes how 'the rivers were turned to blood' in the first Plague on Egypt:
All the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. Exodus 7.20-21
2. Revelation 9 describes how 'locusts' will torment men:
Then the fifth angel sounded: So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. Revelation 9.1-6
The same torment of 'locusts' was the eighth Plague in Egypt in Exodus:
If you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. And they shall cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the earth; and they shall eat the residue of what is left, which remains to you from the hail. They shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians. Exodus 10.4-6
3. Revelation describes 'hail and fire':
The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. Revelation 8.7
Exactly the same phenomenon is described in the seventh Plague on Egyp in Exodus:
I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field… Exodus 9.18-28
4. Revelation describes the Judgment of 'darkness':
Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. Revelation 16.10
The ninth Plague on Egypt in Exodus was the same 'darkness':
Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt...and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. Exodus 10.20-23
5. Revelation describes how the Euphrates will be 'dried up':
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. Revelation 16.12
After the Plagues on Egypt, Exodus describes the same famous phenomenon:
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Exodus 14.21-22
What are we to make of these 5 clear and striking Word and Phrase Associations between the Plagues in Egypt 3500 years ago in 1450BCE, and the future Revelation Judgments that will happen immediately prior to the Second Coming of Messiah?
The obvious and logical conclusion is the the LORD is going to effect the same series of phenomena again.
So....how did He effect the Plagues? Were they just a series of miracles....or did the LORD use His Creation in some way to bring the Plagues so that they seemed to be an out of the ordinary natural phenomenon?
There is a clue in the following quotations from ancient documents that were contemporaneous with the Plagues in Egypt in 1450BCE. The Plagues that the LORD brought onto Egypt were seen and experienced all over the world. They were NOT confined to Egypt:
Manuscript Quiche of the Mayan Indians: ‘The river is blood’
Finnish Epos of Kalevala: ‘The world was sprinkled with red milk’
Altai Tartars: ‘Blood turns the whole world red’
Aboriginal tribes in the East Indies: ‘Water of fire rained from the sky’
Vogul people in Siberia: ‘God sent a sea of fire on the earth’
Peruvians: ‘The sun did not appear for five days’.
Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh: ‘Brother could not distinguish brother for six days’.
Chinese records in the reign of Emperor Yahou:
‘For five days and five nights the sun did not set and Yahou sent out scholars to find North, South, East, and West by observing the sun’s rising and setting and the motion of the stars.’
The answer to how the LORD effected the Plagues in Egypt is found in astronomy. In 1450BCE there was only a visible 4 planetary system of Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, and Mars. There is no mention of Venus until after 1450BCE.
A Russian astronomer, Immanuel Velikovsky, posited in a book in 1950 that the planet Venus was formed out of a comet that spun out of Jupiter at the time of the Plagues in Egypt. This comet described an elliptical orbit around the Earth for a period of about 40 years before spinning off and establishing itself as the planet Venus.
This theory of Velikovsky was ridiculed by astronomers and his book was banned. However, some 20 years ago, most astronomers came to the conclusion that Velikovsky was right!
What is particularly fascinating about this theory, now perhaps fact, is that when this comet orbited the Earth in close proximity, the following effects were observed and experienced:
1. As the comet passed the Earth meteorite dust fell from its tail. This was a fine dust of a rusty coloured pigment which was soluble in water. It turned water red.
2. The meteorite dust irritated the skin of humans and animals causing boils, sickness, and death.
3. When the comet approached, the internal heat developed by Earth and the scorching gases of the comet made vermin propagate at a feverish rate. This propagation of vermin can be compared with the effect of a Khamsin or Sirocco in today's weather system in North Africa and the Middle East. When the wind blows from the hot desert the ground around the villages teems with vermin.
4. After the meteorite dust ‘stones of barad’, translated ‘hail’, fell. These were meteorites and they were accompanied by ‘loud noises and thunderings’ which frightened people as much as the destruction that they caused.
5. As the Earth entered deeper into the tail of the comet, there was an enveloping darkness and the Earth, forced out of its regular motion, reacted to the close approach of the comet with a worldwide earthquake.
So....what can we conclude from the evidence of clear Word and Phrase Associations between the Plagues in Egypt and the Revelation Judgments, together with the evidence of the formatiion of the planet Venus?
The answer is that the LORD used an astronomical event to cause the Plagues of Egypt...AND that He will use a similar astronomical event to cause the Revelation Judgments!
Luke 21.25-27 seems to confirm what will happen:
There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
If this is what we should expect, what will happen to you and me?
Will we experience all the pain, fear, and horror of the Revelation Judgments?
The Word and Phrase Associations in the Bible suggest not....but only on certain conditions...
Until next week..