Reading through Chapters 15 and 16 of the Book of Revelation, one discovers something very terrible for the world.  In Chapter 15 the seven angels with the seven last plagues appear.  The plagues are the last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.  In Chapter 16, the seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out on the world.  The first bowl brought out ugly and painful sores on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped his image.  Those beings that had been created in the image of the Living God are now worshipping an image of the beast.  The second bowl brings blood, like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.  The third bowl turns the rivers and springs to blood.  Imagine cooking your food in blood, and the thirsty drinking blood.  Those that shed the blood of God’s people have been given blood to drink.  The fourth bowl brought global warming like never before, and the 5th bowl plunged the kingdom of the beast into darkness.  The sixth bowl affects water again as the great river Euphrates is dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.  Spirits with the appearance of frogs appear; spirits of demons going out to the kings of the world to prepare for battle.  Then, in verse 17 of the English translations of the bible, the seventh plague is poured out, causing great catastrophe in the earth.  We notice something terrible as we read through these chapters and on through chapters 17 and 18 too.  To find out what that is, let us go back to the Book of Exodus and the judgements poured out upon Egypt.

In Exodus, Moses and Aaron used a staff, not bowls, and they used the staff when God turned the streams and canals, ponds and reservoirs to blood.  Blood was everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars.  The Nile turned to blood causing the fish to die, and the river to stink.  The people could not drink its water (Exodus 7:17-24).  The Egyptians, it appears, did find water to drink.  They dug along the Nile to get drinking water.  Meanwhile, Pharaoh refusing to listen to the Word of the Lord, hardened his heart, turned and went into his palace, perhaps believing he would be safe and couldn’t be touched there.  God had other plans.

Seven days had passed when God once again sent His servant Moses to Pharaoh.  The Nile that was already turned to blood and stinking, was to be overrun with frogs.  The frogs would invade the Pharaoh’s palace, even his bedroom and bed.  The frogs enjoyed a bit of luxurious living it seems.  Pharaoh wasn’t quite as keen.  The frogs had a wonderful time entering the houses of the officials – maybe reasoning if they can go into Pharaoh’s Palace, they can go anywhere!  The frogs went on all the people and officials, the kneading troughs and ovens (Exodus 8:1-4).  Something different happened this time.  Pharaoh sent for Moses saying – “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people” (v8).  After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs.  The Lord did what Moses asked.  The frogs died in the houses, courtyards, and fields, but once again there was quite a stench in the land (vv.12-15).

Next, we come to the plague of flies (we are having a taste of that here in the warm weather!).  In v.24 dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials, and throughout Egypt.  Pharaoh appeals to Moses again (v28) “Pray for me.”  Moses prayed and the Lord did what Moses asked.

The Lord went on to strike all the livestock of the Egyptians, and they died, but the livestock belonging to the Israelites were not touched.  The plagues continued as festering boils broke out on men and animals.  Then the Lord said that He would send the worst hailstorm to ever fall on Egypt (Exodus 9:19).  After the hailstorm, Pharaoh summoned Moses asking him to pray to the Lord (vv.27-28), and Moses spread out his hands towards the Lord, and the thunder and hail stopped(v33).

The plagues continue as a plague of locusts invade the land.  There was interaction between Pharaoh and Moses after Pharaoh summoned him.  “Pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me” (Ch.10).  Moses prayed to the Lord (v.18).  But a plague of darkness was to follow, and that would be followed by the plague on the firstborn (Ch.11-12).  Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron (12:31).  Eventually, when God’s people the Israelites were journeying out from Egypt, Pharaoh and his army tried to chase them down.  They were destroyed in the attempt (Exodus Ch.14).

We have not attempted to look at all the teaching and lessons to be found in these chapters of Exodus.  We are simply comparing the response to the various plagues.  In many of the plagues in Egypt, we see that there is an intercessor, and we see that Pharaoh often asks for the Lord’s intervention to end the various plagues.  He did this by asking Moses to pray to the Lord.  What strikes me as being so terrible in our Scriptures in the Book of Revelation, is that there is no intercessor; and there is no request to the Lord to end the plagues.  The condition of the people in Revelation is that they are so demonised they curse God.

We have seen how Pharaoh gathered his army and set out to destroy God’s people. The spirits of demons (Revelation 16:14-16) gather together all the kings of the whole world for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.  They gathered together in the place called Armageddon.

It is a simple message, but is perhaps significant to our understanding of how depraved the world will become before the final battle.  I very much like what it says in Revelation 15:2; “And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name.”  What did they do?  With the harps of God in their hands, they sing the song of Moses (Exodus 14:30-15:19), the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.  “All nations will come” (v.4; see also Isaiah 56:3-8; 60:3).

Egypt dehumanised the people of Israel.  Babylon dehumanised the peoples.  Whichever way you look at it, we are being conditioned to conform.  I am one of those that refused to wear a mask.  I don’t like them and I find it difficult to breath.  Now, our government, in its wisdom has said that anyone caught not wearing a mask will be fined £3,500.  Today I relented and wore a mask.  I don’t have £3,500, and I don’t want to cause that kind of financial strain for my wife.  I find it an appalling move by the government.  Our freewill is being removed, our capacity to think for ourselves is being scarred and seared.  What will I do, If I am still alive when antichrist appears and we are told to kneel and bow before his statue; and that anyone found not doing so will be beheaded on the spot?  What will you do if you are alive at that time?  Maybe I won’t wear a mask next time I go shopping.  In fact, I have been shopping twice sine then, and didn’t wear a mask.  Shopping today, I walked past a young woman wearing matching mask and dress, a sort of leopard-skin-look.  Her perfume was so strong I almost passed out, and found myself yearning for yesteryear when smelly feet and smelly bodies were commonplace.

The Covid-19 situation has revealed the godlessness of man, certainly in our nation.  There is no wisdom in the leadership.  The government flounders around like a ship without a rudder.  Without God’s intervention it is likely that the opposition will gain power at the next election.  They will appear to have direction and strong leadership; but they will travel eastward in their politics, taking the nation even further away from God than we are now.  I say that it’s time to shine because the world is getting darker.  People will not be able to see or understand where they and the world are heading, particularly if the Church is not a shining light pointing to Jesus, the Light of the world.  People don’t know what holiness is these days so, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16); and as society becomes more hostile, “Conduct yourselves with such honour among the Gentiles that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).  As we approach the end of this age, those that stand for God and His word will be surprised by those that first of all no longer stand with them, and eventually are seen to fall away from the faith altogether.  The world and the Word challenge our faith.  Jesus had been speaking: “On hearing it, many of His disciples said, “This is a difficult teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60).  Many left Jesus when they could not accept His teaching: “From that time on many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him” (John 6:66).  It happens today when you teach God’s word.  People are offended, and those that were friends become enemies; and they leave your company and fellowship.  We will either grow stronger in our faith believing God will deliver us, or we will join the world in denying Him.

The fight between darkness and light is highlighted by the Jews right to return to Israel under the hand of the God of Israel, and the Palestinian demand that the world and Israel recognize the Palestinian refugees’ ‘right of return’ to the same land.  This is the will of man opposing God’s will for His people.  Many in the Church oppose God’s will in this issue.  If they don’t know God’s heart now, how will they when persecution demands we deny all that is true?  They are already denying the truth of God’s word.  The fight for the souls of the younger generations is fierce.  There appears to be a victory in that film makers have said that they will not portray Jesus as a lesbian; but we are losing the hearts and minds of our nation’s youth.  Hollywood and the mass media are winning this battle.  The media normalize perversity and reshape society to accept evil as good, and good as evil.  Highjacked by the transgender movement, Netflix have taken a classic book series and have put their own twist on it, celebrating transgender children, homosexuality, witchcraft, and the occult.  Police are affected too.  They have come out saying that they will not employ anyone who says that men can’t become women.  The days are coming when you will be unlikely to find a Christian among our police.  If we continue in this direction for much longer, the book burning will begin, and God’s word will be the first to feel the heat.  The world will believe that it has got rid of God at last, but it is the fool that says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).

Hard times are coming as the rich class get richer, and the rest of us descend into a slave-class.  Thousands of workers are losing their jobs.  The overall affect on the economy will be catastrophic.  Those on benefits and pensions will likely be hit hard.  Christians that are used to holding their purse strings tightly will have to learn to share with poorer members of Christ’s Body.  I have been told a number of stories in the past of Christians setting up in communities where they had most things in common, and they all ended their testimony with, “but everyone kept their own money” – or words to that affect.  Christians that are noble in many aspects of their walk of faith often have a love for money.  Money will become scarce to many of us, but we will learn that God cares for us, and that God provides for us.  There is much more to say, but I must end here.  Be encouraged, Christ is coming soon.  During the interim, rejoice in the Lord always, and let you light shine! Shine! Shine!

Blessings and shalom

Malcolm [19.08.2020]