The Trumpet Judgments
Part 2 in Judgments series
part 1 | part 3
Most of Soul Harvest deals with the devastation following the great earthquake (Seal Judgment 6). Toward the end of the book we find Mac and Rayford emerging from a dive in the Tigris River, where their search of the wrecked 747 crushed all hopes Rayford held that Amanda might have survived the crash. "Rayford had lost the will to live" (p. 403). He had been through so much already. In addition to the pain of heart and soul, he bore a gash on his scalp.
Without warning, Rayford's punctured scalp felt as though it were being pelted by rocks. He covered his head and bent at the waist but now felt the same sharp stings on his arms, his neck, his back. Had he pushed too far? Had he been foolish to continue a dive with an open wound? He peeked as Mac lurched toward the chopper.
"Get in, Ray! It's hailing." (p. 406)
Thus begins the rapid succession of the first three Trumpet Judgments.
1. Hail, fire, and blood. (Revelation 8:17)
In this opening salvo, ice and fire rain from the sky, burning up
a third of all the earth's trees and all of its grass. This is an
ecological disaster without parallel to this point in the history
of mankind; its results are incalculable. To make matters even
worse, John also adds that "blood" arrives with the hail and
fire, as the prophet Joel had predicted: "And I will show wonders
in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of
smoke" (Joel 2:30). And this is but the first trumpet! (Are We
Living in the End Times? p. 187)
It was a hailstorm like none any of them had ever seen.
… as they watched, the sky lit up. But it wasn't lighting. The hailstones, at least half of them, were in flames!
… Flaming darts sizzled and hissed as they hit the water. … Mac suddenly unclipped his belt and leaned forward. "What is that, Ray? It's raining, but it's red! Look at that! All over the snow!"
"It's blood," Rayford said, a peace flooding his soul. It did not assuage his grief or take away his dread over the truth about Amanda. But this show, this shower of fire and ice and blood, reminded him yet again that God is faithful. He keeps his promises. …
As the clouds faded and the sun returned, the results of the light show became obvious. The bark on the trees had been blackened, the foliage all burned off. As the hail melted and blood seeped into the ground, the charred grass showed through.
"The Scriptures told us that one third of the trees and all of the green grass in the world would be burned," Tsion said. … (Soul Harvest, pp. 408-12)
2. A mountain of fire (Revelation 8:8-9)
When the second trumpet is blown, John sees "something like a great mountain burning with fire"—likely an enormous meteorite crashing through the atmosphere—"thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood." As a result, a third of everything living in the sea dies, and a third of the ships on the sea are destroyed. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 187)
We know meteorites constantly hit the earth, some producing harrowing tales of a hot rock the size of a grapefruit crashing through the roof and into someone's house. And we hear reports of asteroids in orbits that could bring them close enough to hit Earth—but usually thousands of years from now, or in "close calls" that put them tens of thousands of miles away. Soul Harvest describes how the second Trumpet could happen.
Newscasters told the story of what astronomers had discovered just two hours before—a brand new comet on a collision course with Earth. …
… As you can see from these pictures, it is immense. But until you realize its size, you cannot fathom the potential destruction on the way. …
The Tribulation Force went to their computers to spread the word that this was the second Trumpet Judgment foretold in Revelation 8:8-9. "Will we look like expert prognosticators when the results are in?" Tsion wrote. "Will it shock the powers that be to discover that, just as the Bible says, one-third of the fish will die and one-third of the ships at sea will sink, and tidal waves will wreak havoc on the entire world?" …(Soul Harvest, pp. 417-18)
3. Star called Wormwood (Revelation 8:10-11)
When the third angel blows his trumpet, another meteorite crashes to earth, "burning like a torch." It does not fall on the sea but on a third of the earth's rivers and springs, turning them "bitter" and poisonous. As a result of this plague, "many men" die. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 188)
Through this whole time, Tsion continues to plan a conference in Israel. The Trib Force needs to gather and plan to meet in Israel.
Just days before the rescheduled departure of the Tribulation Force for Israel, the CGASA again detected a threat in the heavens. This object was similar in size to the previous burning mountain but had the consistency of rotting wood. Carpathia, eager to turn the attention from Christ and Tsion Ben-Judah to himself again, pledged to blast it from the skies.
With great fanfare, the press showed the launch of a colossal ground-to-air nuclear missile designed to vaporize the new threat. As the whole world watched, the flaming meteor the Bible called Wormwood split itself into billions of pieces before the missile arrived. The residue wafted down for hours and landed in one-third of the fountains, springs, and rivers of the earth, turning the water a bitter poison. Thousands would die drinking it. (Soul Harvest, p. 421)
In Apollyon we find Tsion reflecting on the ten judgments that have already happened and looking to the ones yet to come.
"We know the sequence of these events, but we don't know God's timing. He could pile many of these judgments into one day. All I can say with certainty is what comes next. As you see, these get progressively worse. The fourth Trumpet Judgment will affect the look of the skies and the temperature of the entire globe."
… "Prophecy indicates that more scorching and parching of the earth comes later, so it's likely the darkening and resultant cooling is temporary." … (Apollyon, p 161)
4. Darkness descends (Revelation 8:12)
All life on this earth depends on the sun: If it were to explode, the earth would incinerate; if it were to go cold, the earth would freeze solid. Neither of those extremes is in view with the fourth trumpet judgment, but in some way God does reduce by a third the amount of radiant energy reaching earth from the sun and all other celestial bodies. John writes, "A third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened; a third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night."
This naturally reminds us of the plague sent on Pharaoh as described in Exodus 10:21: "Darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt." And it gives detail to our Lord's prediction, "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21:25-26, KJV). (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 188-89)
It starts like one of those days we've all experienced.
Rayford awakened early and looked at this watch. It was quarter to seven and still dark. He lay staring at the ceiling, wondering if they were in for some bad weather or just a cloudy day. (Apollyon, p. 263)
In the pages that follow, we see the Tribulation Force (and the rest of the world) struggle with loss of solar power and increasing cold. Chaim Rosenzweig is called upon to endorse the Global Community explanation that the darkening was caused by the explosion of a supernova. "We expect the situation to normalize before the end of next week." At a Global Community press conference, Rosenzweig says he cannot explain what has happened, the startles everyone by acknowledging Dr. Ben-Judah and the validity of his previous predictions.
5. The first "woe"—Locusts of Apollyon (Revelation 9:1-11)
The fifth trumpet judgment is also the first of three "woes" pronounced by the angel of Revelation 8:13—a frightening sign of the ferocity of the coming judgments. When this trumpet is sounded, an angel unlocks the "bottomless pit," and out of the pit belches smoke and "locusts" with the scorpion-like power to sting and torment unbelievers for five months. Their sting is never fatal—in fact, John says, "In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them"—but the pain they cause will be unbearable. Victims of scorpion bites say the animal's venom seems to set one's veins and nervous system on fire, but the pain is gone after a few days; not so with these locusts. They are given power to torment "those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" for five long months. Yet unlike normal locusts, these beasts attack only unregenerate human beings, never foliage. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 189-90)
The opening of the pit is described as another object falling from the sky.
… This thing that fell to earth, whatever it was, had somehow triggered volcanolike activity deep beneath the earth's surface. (Apollyon, p. 292)
On ominous pillar of smoke begins to rise from the chasm and continues until the whole earth is shrouded in cloud and once again plunged into darkness.
Later, we find Buck at Chaim's house.
"Doctor," he said, "how can you see and know and experience all we have endured—all of us, even you—these last few years and yet still resist the call of God on your life? … You told an international audience on TV that Ben-Judah was proven correct in his interpretations of what is to come. Forgive me for being so forward, but the time is growing short." (Apollyon, p. 303)
Rosenzweig admits "not even I can deny [God] is at work today." But, he "seems mean-spirited" and his ways do not seem the way to bring someone to faith. As their conversation about faith continues, we see the beginning of the next judgment.
The rumble had become higher pitched and had developed a metallic sound. "It's like chains clanging together," Buck said.
… Buck stared out the window, and his heart thundered against his ribs. From out of the smoke came flying creatures—hideous, ugly brown and black and yellow flying monsters. Swarming like locusts, they looked like miniature horses five or six inches long with tails like those of scorpions. Most horrifying, the creatures were attacking, trying to get in. And they looked past Buck as if Chaim was their target."
The old man stood in the middle of the room. "Cameron, they are after me!" he screamed. "Tell me I'm dreaming! Tell me it's only a nightmare!"
… "I'm sorry, Doctor," Buck said. … "This is real. It's the first of the three woes the angels warned about."
… "Tsion teaches that they will not harm any foliage like locusts usually do, but only those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads." Chaim paled … (Apollyon, p. 305)
The following chapters describe the terror unleashed by these horrifying creatures along with deeper explanations of their demonic origins as their sounds become audible speech.
Rosenzweig shook as if the temperature had dropped below freezing. "Hebrew," he said. "It's calling out for Abaddon."
"Of course!" Buck said. "Tsion told us about that! The king over these creatures is the chief demon of the bottomless pit, ruler over the fallen hordes of the abyss. In the Greek he has the name Apollyon." (Apollyon, p. 318)
Once again, Tsion is used to set the stage for the next judgment.
"Well, Cameron, as we come to the end of the suffering caused by the locusts, it's time to look ahead to at least the next two 'woes.'"
"So Trumpet Judgment six is next. What do you expect there?"
Tsion sighed. "The bottom line, Cameron, is an army of two hundred million horsemen who will slay a third of the world's population."
Buck was speechless. He had read the prophecy, but had never boiled it down to its essence. … (Apollyon, p. 375)
6. The second "woe"—Four angels released (Revelation 9:13-19)
At the blowing of the sixth trumpet, the second "woe" is unleashed: the release of "the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates" (verse 14). These angels apparently lead an army of 200 million "horsemen" who kill a third of mankind through the plagues of fire and smoke and brimstone. When you combine this third with the quarter of humanity killed in the seal judgments, by this point in the Tribulation half of the world's population (after the Rapture) already has been destroyed (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 190—see the longer description of this judgment in the book or the Left Behind edition of iLumina for additional comments on the nature and source of the 200-million horsemen)
We first encounter the horsemen when Rayford and Leah go the garage where Leah's safe was hidden. They remove the cash, but are approached by GC guards. They attempt to flee.
Rayford looked back. The guards were gone. He looked the other way, where Leah's eyes were transfixed. And there were the horses, not ten feet from him—huge, monstrous, muscular things twice the size of any he had ever seen. Leah was right, their feet were not on the ground, yet they shifted and stepped back and forth, turning, turning.
Flames came from their nostrils and mouths, and thick yellow smoke billowed. The fire illuminated their majestic wide heads, the heads of lions with enormous canines and flowing manes. …
… The first flank of steeds was backed by hundreds, skittish and moving in place as if eager to charge and run. The riders were proportioned every bit as large as the animals. They appeared human but each had to be ten feet tall and weigh five hundred pounds.
… Rayford neither heard nor smelled the horses or the fire and smoke. … And yet the lion/horses and their riders were more vivid than anything he had ever seen before. (Assassins, p. 127-28)
Two GC guards approach and we get a glimpse of the power of these horsemen, who are visible only to believers.
The guard burst into flames, his screaming, spinning body lighting the area like day. A horse moved past Rayford and silently spun, its tail striking the other guard on the forehead. He flew like a rag doll, his head crushed, into a tree ten feet away. (Assassins, p. 129)
Rayford assured Leah the horsemen would not harm them.
Rayford pointed half a mile to the west where another cavalry of fiery horses and riders mustered. Leah pointed the other way, where there were yet more. Behind them hundreds they had just come through seemed to move toward Leah's town house. They got into the car and Rayford drove straight down her street, something he had not dared earlier. The horses breathed great clouds of black and yellow smoke that chased GC forces out of the neighborhood, many falling and seemingly dying on the spot. As the smoke billowed through the area, people burst from their homes, gagging, coughing, falling. Here and there the horses snorted enough fire to incinerate homes. (Assassins, p. 130)
Later, Tsion offers his insight.
"That this current plague was wrought by the releasing of four angels bound in the Eurphrates River should be instructive. We know that these are fallen angels, because nowhere in Scripture do we ever see good angels bound. These have apparently been bound because they were eager to wreak havoc upon the earth. Now, released, they are free to do so. In fact, the Bible tells us they were prepared for a specific hour, day, month, and year." (Assassins, p. 173)
At the end of Assassins, the curtain is closing on the first half of the tribulation. Carpathia has come to Jerusalem, the heart of resistance to his world-wide dominion, for a Gala celebration. He confronts the two witnesses, Eli and Moishe, and kills both of them with his own Saber handgun. (Assassins, p. 389). The bodies are left in the open for all to see. But after three days of mockery and celebration over their deaths, they come back to life, their bodies fully restored.
Eli and Moishe looked on the crowd with what Buck read as regret and longing, then turned their faces heavenward. They looked so expectant that Buck notices many in the crowd looking skyward too.
Snow-white clouds rolled in deep blue and purple skies. The sun was hidden, then reappeared in a beautiful sky of moving colors and pure white vapors.
A voice from above, so loud people covered their ears and ducked from it, said, "COME UP HERE!"
Faces still upturned, Eli and Moishe rose. A collective gasp echoed through the Temple Mount as people fell to their knees, some onto their faces, weeping, crying out, praying, groaning. The witnesses disappeared into a cloud that rose so quickly it soon became a speck before it too vanished.
… Buck began to rise, but before his legs were straight the ground snapped beneath him like a towel. He flew back into a tree, scraping his neck and back as he tumbled. He leapt to his feet to see hundreds of people landing after being thrown even higher.
The sky turned black, and cold rain pelted the area. From blocks away came the ominous crash of buildings, the crack and boom of falling trees, the smash of metal and glass as vehicles were tossed about.
"Earthquake!" people shouted, running. … (Assassins, p. 400)
Just as Jesus' disciples were accused of stealing his body from the tomb, Nicolae denied the resurrection of the witnesses by blaming believers for some sort of collusion. He goes ahead with his celebration, despite the devastation and attention needed everywhere because of the earthquake. He is assassinated. In the next two books, The Indwelling and The Mark, we see Nicolae himself rise from the dead during his own funeral in New Babylon. As Scripture predicts, he is indwelt by Satan himself. The ominous move of requiring a loyalty mark in order to sell or buy anything sets the stage for the second half of the tribulation—and the final set of judgments.
7. The third "woe"—Loud voices in heaven (Revelation 11:15-19)
The third "woe," the blowing of the seventh trumpet, is like the breaking of the seventh seal in that it introduces the next series of divine judgments. The seventh trumpet is not in itself a judgment but rather shows all heaven rejoicing at the soon-to-be consummated victory of Christ over the Antichrist. John records that "loud voices" in heaven shouted, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (verse 15). Great rejoicing and loud worship fill heaven, and on earth many lightnings, noises, thunderings, hail, and an earthquake announce the approaching end.
But first, the Great Tribulation. (Are We Living in the End Times? p. 192)
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