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Prophetic Gleanings

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Future Judgments

"A Great Earthquake"

that shall shake the earth from its center to its circumference, and shall cause the stars of the heaven to fall unto the earth, is mentioned by a number of God's prophets. Christ spoke of "earthquakes" in connection with wars, famines and pestilences (Matthew 24:6). These earthquakes are becoming more frequent and severe in these closing days, but the "great earthquake" of prophecy will cause all former quakings of the earth to fade into utter insignificance. Earthquakes that we know about cause certain sections of the earth surface to tremble and often destroys life and property, but THE EARTHQUAKE of prophecy shall "shake not the earth only, but also heaven."

Haggai speaks, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, saying, "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts" (Chapter 2, verses 6 and 7).

Zechariah, referring to the second coming of the Lord, said, "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south" (Chapter 14, verse 4). The context of this verse proves that this event will take place in connection with the "day of the Lord" and at the time of the gathering of "all nations against Jerusalem to battle." This will be a time when the Lord shall "go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle." We know that these things will be done at the close of this age and immediately preceding the return of the Lord in great glory. The moment His feet touch the mount of Olives again the "great earthquake" will be felt throughout both earth and heaven.

John, on the Isle of Patmos, saw this terrible judgment of the future. He says, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:12-17) John speaks again in the 16th chapter, verses 18-21, saying, "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great."

Christ Jesus spoke of this same terrible judgment in His Olivet discourse concerning the end times, as recorded by Matthew, chapter 24, verses 27 through 30, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

This universal shaking of both heaven and earth will remove "those things that are shaken, as things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (Hebrews 12:27). After the destruction of all that is man made, God shall set up "a kingdom which cannot be moved." We need to remember that the mere work of man cannot endure the coming judgment, but "whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

Pestilences

are also spoken of by Christ in His Olivet discourse recorded by Matthew in chapter 24, verse 7. These pestilences are many in our present day, and it is true that the human race is being tormented with an increasing variety of pestilences and they are becoming more and more severe in their attacks upon mankind, but the pestilences spoken of in connection with the day of the Lord shall be such as mankind has never known before.

We quote Revelation 9:1-12, "And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of 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."

The "star" of verse 1 will be a person as the word "him" of the same verse denotes. He shall be none other than Satan himself. We remember the words of Christ, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18). The key to the bottomless pit was "given" to him because he could not open the prison house of demons without Divine permission. Perhaps this is why the demons which possessed the Gadarene besought Jesus that He would not command them to go out into the "deep" (Luke 8:31). They knew that if they were cast into the "deep" (Bottomless Pit) they would be confined until a time of Divine release.

The locusts that are known to man destroy grass, green things and trees, but the terrible locusts of this future time of trouble will only hurt "those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads" (verse 4). They will not be permitted to kill men, just "torment" them for a period of "five months" (verse 5). The torment will be such as to cause men to "seek death" but they shall not "find it" for death shall "flee from them" (verse 6).

The ordinary locusts "have no king" (Proverbs 30:27); but these tribulation period locusts will have as their king the "Angel of the bottomless pit" (verse 11).

This painful plague, along with the many others prophesied in the book of Revelation, will not produce repentance on the part of the sufferers. They will seek death, but they won't repent of the "works of their hands." Evil men shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived as they "worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk" (Revelation 9:20).

Suffering and misery are powerless to effect the work of regeneration. Man may think that if they have trials and troubles in this life that resemble hell on earth they will be spared the condemnation of the lake of fire, but not so. The devil will give man hell both here and hereafter. There is only one way to escape the death grip which Satan has on the natural man. Jesus Christ is that ONLY WAY. He, Himself, said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

God offers His own eternal life to sinners through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. His salvation is centered in a person, and not in a religion. The sinner must come to know Christ, and not just know about Him. Every saved person has a personal Saviour, and the only person who can save is Christ.

Jesus Christ was delivered on the cross in our stead and for our offenses. He was raised from the dead on the third day for our justification. He now lives in glory as the "one mediator between God and men." Soon He will be coming to catch us up unto Himself and change us into His own likeness.

He died to save us, He lives to keep us, and He is coming soon to glorify our vile bodies.

Famines

are mentioned by our Lord as recorded in Matthew 24:7. These famines are in connection with "the beginning of sorrows." The famine of all famines will fall upon the earth during the great tribulation period.

John describes the effect of this famine in Revelation, chapter 6, verses 5 and 6. "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine."

A "measure" of wheat represents about one quart dry measure, the daily allowance of corn for a slave in the days of our Lord's earthly ministry. A "penny" was considered a days wage when our Lord was here among men (Matthew 20:2). The penny of that day was silver coin with a value of about 17 cents in our money. This means that in the time of trouble mentioned above the famine will be such as to cause wheat to be sold by measure and for a penny per measure, or approximately 17 cents per quart. At the same time barley will be selling 3 quarts for 17 cents. These prices are something like seven or eight times the average prices of our day.

Ezekiel points to this future day of trouble and describes the famine in the following language. "Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it. When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it" (Ezekiel 5:14-17).

God used "a famine in the land" to test Abram (Genesis 12:10). The Book tells us that "Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land." He left the land which God had given to him and his seed after him. We may be sure that the famine in his own land made the green fields of Egypt look greener. However, God's grace was manifested toward Abram and his seed. He was brought back to Bethel, the place of prayer in the land of Canaan. Abram was tested and failed; God was faithful and restored him.

"Seven years of famine" in Egypt and the surrounding territories brought Joseph into prominence before the king of Egypt; thereby making it possible for him to nourish and comfort his father, Jacob, eleven brothers, and their families in the time of starvation. The careful student of Genesis, chapters 41 to 50, will readily see that the famine which was "sore in the land" in the days of Joseph is highly typical of the famine that will prevail over the whole earth in the future day of Jacob's trouble.

Over and over God uses the famine to test and purge the peoples of the earth. In recent years we have felt God's hand of judgment in this respect. Famines and dust storms in increasing numbers have reminded us that we are living in the days immediately preceding the "great tribulation" with its earthquake, famine, and pestilences.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

such as are now raging in Europe were prophesied by our Lord according to Matthew 24:6. However, we are definitely told that we should not trouble ourselves about such; "For all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Indeed, we may expect wars to increase both in number and in destruction of life and property as we draw toward the close of this present age. But let it be understood that the war of all wars will be the battle of Armageddon at the very close of the great tribulation period.

John explains the assembly of kings with their armies for this great day of battle. "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon" (Revelation 16:12-16).

The "kings of the earth and the whole world" mentioned above are included in the "ten kings" which shall "receive power as kings one hour with the beast," and which "shall give their power and strength unto the beast" in the great battle against the "Lord of Lords, and King of Kings" (Revelation 17:12-14).

This battle between the Anti-Christ and the kings of the earth with their armies on the one side, and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords with His "called, and chosen, and faithful" ones on the other side will be the battle wherein the blood shall flow to the bridles of the horses (Revelation 14:19-20).

This will be the time when the angel standing in the sun shall "cry with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God: That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great" (Revelation 19:17-18).

The outcome of this battle is clearly set forth in Revelation 19:19-21. "And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."

The destructive sword which shall slay the remnant will proceed out of the mouth of the Son of God as He returns in power and great glory to judge the nations and to set things right in the earth.

The great earthquake, the pestilences out of the bottomless pit, the sore famine, and the sword which shall proceed out of the mouth of Him who shall tread "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" all go to make up the four-fold judgment of God upon the earth in the future period of great tribulation.

The "Four Sore Judgments"

of Ezekiel 14:21 are, "the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence." These four judgments are determined upon God's people, Israel, and they shall not be felt in their fullness until the day of "Jacob's trouble." The prophet declares that these judgments will fall upon the people "when the land sinneth against" God "by trespassing grievously." He says, "Then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof," and will "cause noisome beasts to pass through the land," and will "bring a sword upon that land," and I will "send a pestilence into that land" (Ezekiel 14:13-20). He declares also that even if Noah, Daniel and Job, were numbered with Israel in this day of judgment "they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness." Even though these three outstanding men of God would not be able to deliver the people, "yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters."

This shall be done on a basis of God's grace. He says, "Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it" (Ezekiel 14:22). He is telling us here that the nation of Israel shall be comforted concerning the evil that shall befall Jerusalem. This will be so because the judgment shall cause the people to change their ways and their doings. God's only reason for judging His own at any time is that He might bring them to Himself and to His ways and doings.

When the great tribulation shall have ended the little remnant of Israel will be looking upon Him whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10). Their song will be "We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:1-3).

The Psalmist saw this day of glory for Israel and said, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah" (Psalms 24:7-10).


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