Knowing the Time
Message by: Leroy Surface

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  Romans 13:11

Time is a limited commodity.  It has both a beginning and an end.  Time began with the transgression of Adam and the entrance of sin.  With the entrance of sin came corruption and decay.  Everything began to age.  The scriptures say that even the heavens and the earth will “wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up” (Hebrews 1:10-12).  Time will end with the destruction of the original creation.  The Apostle John said, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…and He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:1, 5).  Everything temporal will come to its end, and only that which is eternal will remain. 

Time is a “count down.”  In man’s reckoning of time, he starts with “0” and counts up, not knowing the things to come.  God “declares the end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:10), and appoints the time for all things.  I can remember when America was sending the “Apollo” missions to the moon.  The countdown to “liftoff” could last for several days, with many items to check off in sequence during the countdown.  There were times that the countdown would be stopped while certain problems were solved, but when the count came down to zero the rockets engines would ignite with a deafening roar, and the mighty space ship would lift off on its journey to the moon.  In God’s countdown of time to the zero hour, He has given us many “checkpoints” along the way.  These are events that He has told us will happen before the end, and it is by the fulfillment of these prophecies that we can know the time we are living in. 

There is no way of knowing the age of the “heavens and the earth,” or, what we call the “universe.”  Time, however, has been counted for just a little over six thousand years, beginning with the entrance of sin into the world.  With the entrance of sin, Adam and Eve began to age.  Their days were numbered and the countdown began.  The first promise given to fallen man was that of a “seed” (Genesis 3:15), that would “bruise the head” of the serpent.  That “seed” is Jesus Christ.  It was through His death and resurrection that this promise was fulfilled. 

Almost thirty five hundred years after the transgression, the angel Gabriel appeared to the prophet Daniel concerning the “promised seed,” or, “The Messiah.”  Gabriel told Daniel that “seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, etc” (Daniel 9:24)…  According to the ancient Hebrew measure of time, a week could be either seven days or seven years.  Each seventh year was a “sabbatical,” in which the entire land of Israel was to “rest” from its labors.  This prophecy, then, spoke of a four hundred ninety year period, during which the Messiah would appear at the end of sixty-nine weeks, or, four hundred, eighty-three years.  Three and a half years later, in the middle of the seventieth week of prophecy, He would be “…cut off, but not for Himself…”  Gabriel gave a sign by which Daniel would know exactly when the prophetic “countdown” to Messiah would begin.  “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” (Daniel 9:25).  Artaxerxes, king of Persia, gave this “commandment” in the year 457 BC, and the countdown began.  Exactly four hundred and eighty three years later Jesus Christ was baptized and entered into His three and a half year ministry.  He was crucified at the exact time the prophecy said Messiah would be “cut off, but not for Himself” (Daniel 9:26-27).  The “head of the serpent” was bruised, and for all that believe the truth of the gospel, the transgression was finished, sin was ended, and reconciliation with God was made.

All of Israel was expecting the Messiah when Jesus made His appearance.  Their “expectancy” was based upon that which was written by the prophet Daniel.  They knew the season of His birth, and “wise men” came from the East to worship “he that is born King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1-2).  The chief priests and scribes of Israel even knew “where” He would be born (Matthew 2:4-6).  They knew, according to the prophecy, the very year the Messiah would be made know in ministry, hence their questioning of John the Baptist, if he were “The Christ” (John 1:19-34).  There was an air of expectancy in the land that year.  The scripture said, “And there went out unto Him (John the Baptist) all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5).  Multitudes came, many believing that John was the Messiah.  John preached the baptism of repentance to them, and told them of another who would come after him: He would “baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”  Jesus came to John’s baptism and it was there He was first made manifest to Israel that He is the Messiah, the Son of God.

Equal Time

If, in the “Seventy Weeks Prophecy,” God gave Israel a way to know the exact year of the appearing of their Messiah (and He did), He also uses the same prophecy to confirm June 1967 as the beginning of the last generation.  God is a just God.  He patiently dealt with Israel for almost two thousand years, even through their times of backsliding.  God said it this way in Isaiah 65:1-2, “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.  I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.”  In this text, Isaiah prophetically speaks of both Jew and Gentile.  God said He would say “Behold me” to a nation not called by His name.  That “nation” is the Gentile.  He said “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people…”  This was the Jew.  When God ceased His dealing with Israel because of the hardness of their hearts, He reached out to the Gentile nations and multitudes of the people received Him.  The number of years that God dealt with the “Hebrew” (Jew) from the circumcision of Abraham to the fulfillment of the seventy weeks prophecy are exactly the same as the number of years from that fulfillment until June 1967, when the “times of the Gentile” fulfilled, according to the words of Jesus in Luke 21:24.  Follow carefully what I say.

The first words of “The Seventy Weeks” prophecy in Daniel 9:24 say, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city…”  The end of the seventieth week was exactly three and a half years after Calvary, and marked the prophetic end of God’s dealing with the natural Jew and nation of Israel, and the beginning of the Gentile age.  From that point forward 1933 years brings us to June 1967, which marked the end of the Gentile age according to the words of Jesus in Luke 21:24.  Going back 1933 years from the end of the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy would bring us to the exact time that Abraham believed God and was circumcised as a token of the covenant between Him and God.  Within a year Isaac, the child of promise, was born.  It is no coincidence that God gave “equal time” to both Jew and Gentile, ending when Jerusalem went back to Jewish control.  The end of the “Six Day War” of June 1967 started the “countdown” of the last generation on earth before the return of Jesus Christ. 

Last Generation Signs

Great “expectancy” fills the earth once more, but few there are who know what to expect.  Fear of the things that are coming on the earth fills the land.  For those who understand, these things are but “checkpoints” in the “countdown” to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.  Jesus Christ gave many signs of His return, which would come to pass in this, the last generation before His return.  Who has not heard of His predictions of “wars and rumours of wars,” that “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,” or the “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places?”  “All these,” Jesus said, “are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8).” 

Jesus was telling His disciples about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, which was fulfilled in the year seventy AD.  “And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).”  This single verse spans a period of 1897 years from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD until June 1967, when Jerusalem returned once again to Jewish control.  In Luke 21:32, Jesus said, “this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”  The generation He spoke of began in June 1967, and is over thirty-five years old as of this writing.  We are the generation that will see the second coming of Jesus to earth.  We are even now in the final stages of the countdown.

Jesus spoke of the generation that began in June 1967, giving us signs by which we would know that we are the generation of His coming.  He begins in Luke 21:25:

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars…”  Just two years after the birth of this generation, July 21, 1969, America put a man on the moon.  This is the generation of space exploration.  We have sent landing vehicles to Mars; we have briefly examined Venus and Saturn, and sent unmanned missions beyond our solar system into outer space.  We have a manned space station with three men presently living in it for months at a time.  We have the “Hubbel” telescope in orbit that scientists claim can see almost to the beginning of the universe (???).  God spoke through the prophet Joel, saying, “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come (Joel 2:30-31).”  What could better describe the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan as hundreds of thousands of people died in a moment of time through the “atomic bomb?”  Entire blocks of buildings with their inhabitants were instantly “vaporized” with the rest of the city on fire, burning with fervent heat.  “Pillars of smoke” (Peter accurately called them “vapours” of smoke in Acts 2:19) rose up many miles into the atmosphere, having the appearance of mushroom clouds.  While it is true that these things happened twenty-two years before the June 1967 war, Joel said they would come to pass “…before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” 

Even as I write this message, the airways are filled with the news of our latest space disaster, because I write these words on the day we lost the “Columbia” space shuttle, along with the seven men and women on board.  Our entire nation mourns this loss of life, and I also weep for Israel’s loss of her first astronaut.  Who will ever forget the sight as the shuttle exploded and disintegrated, scattering debris across much of Texas and Louisiana?  A “debris cloud” lingered in the upper atmosphere that was a thousand miles long and twenty miles wide.  What a horrible reminder this is that we are in the last generation before the return of our Lord Jesus.

“…and upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity…”  Much of this generation can be described with these words.  The first years of this generation began with what we called the “cold war,” even as we lost the lives of fifty four thousand of our boys in Viet Nam.  When the “iron curtain” began to fall in the late eighties, it seemed for a time that we were entering a period of “peace” on earth.  Then came the turn of the century and the new millennial which some thought would bring a “thousand years” of peace.  Instead, we have been thrown into a time more dangerous than anytime since World War II, and “potentially” more so than anytime in History.  We will speak more of this later in this message.

“…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.  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”  We could speak many things about these verses, but it is sufficient to say that this generation will end with the return of Jesus Christ with “power and great glory.”  

The Final Countdown

I recently received a newsletter from a man of God.  In it he said, “I never thought that we would be here in 2003.”  He had truly believed with all his heart that Jesus would have come before now.  He went on to say that we are still here and, in his belief, the greatest hour of the true church has come; the time to reach the nations of earth.  I totally agree.  There are millions of Christians worldwide who did not expect to be here in the year 2003, but we are still here.  Some though, are saying with the servant in Matthew 24:45-51, “My Lord delayeth His coming.”  I will tell you with certainty, He has not.  In fact the scriptures tell us He will actually “shorten the days (Matthew 24:22).”  Our God knows the very day and hour that Jesus will return and he has given us to know both the “generation” and the “season.”  We have been in the generation for thirty-five years and we have now entered into the season. 

In the book of Revelation there are seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials filled with the wrath of God.  In these, as well as in all of the Revelation, there is much symbolism, insomuch that for anyone to think he has a clear understanding of the whole, he would be very foolish.  I present, however, that the seven seals are those that “sealed” the book so that no one could open it (Revelation5:1).  Only the “Lamb that was slain” was found worthy to open the seals, and thus open the book.  The book must be the one God told the prophet Daniel to “shut up” and “seal the book, even to the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4).  The “revelation” was in the book.  This is the reason John “wept much” (Revelation 5:4), because he could not read the book or even look on it.  The “Lamb” in the “midst of the throne” took the book and opened the seals.  These were opened that same day while John was in the Spirit on the Isle of Patmos.  The seals must be opened before John could see what was in the book.  The things John saw with the opening of each seal were like a “cast of characters,” and a “setting the stage,” of things to come.

The Seven Seals on the Book

For years I have refused to speak of the things I see in the “Revelation.”  I know that traditional thought has captured the minds and thinking of untold millions of Christians.  “Endtime prophecy,” I said, “is not an essential to our salvation, so I will no longer speak about it.”  I often commented that the “adversary” could easier bring “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:1-4) and “another salvation” than a man of God could bring “another eschatology” (endtime doctrine) to the church. 

Things have changed.  In fact, millions in this generation have received “another Jesus” and “another salvation,” but they cling to the same eschatology that has been given us by tradition.  For that reason, I can no longer remain silent.  I must, as the Apostles Peter and John said, “speak the things I have seen and heard.” 

The First Four Seals

The first fours seals contain what is commonly called “The four horsemen of the Apocalypse.”  With the opening of each of these seals John saw a different horse and rider, each of the horses being a different color.  The question concerning these seals is this, “Who are these horsemen, and what do they represent?”  The traditional thought on the first horseman has one of two answers:  #1.  The rider on the white horse is “The Anti-Christ; ” and, #2.  The rider on the white horse is “Christ.”  Obviously, both of these cannot be right.  The argument that this first horseman is Christ is because Jesus Christ is shown in Revelation 19:11-21 as a rider on a white horse.  There he is called “Faithful and True,” whose name is called “The Word of God,” and “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.”  The opposing argument, that the first horseman is “The Anti-Christ” is due to the fact that “anti-Christ” is a deceiver and pretender; a “look-alike.”.  There is, however, a third possibility which would require that both these suppositions are wrong.  In this case the seven seals are not opened in our future, but literally were opened by the “Lamb” while the Apostle John was “in the Spirit” on the Isle of Patmos.  Remember, the seals must be broken off before John can see what is in the book.  The things John saw in the opening of the seals are not necessarily in the future, even to John.  The things “which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1) are sealed inside the book.  Now, let me briefly go through the seals one by one.

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.  And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.  Revelation 6:1-2

The rider on the white horse is Adam before the transgression.  He has a bow, but no arrows, which is a symbol of covenant, or promise.  As the rider has a “crown,” Adam was “crowned with glory and honour” (Hebrews 2:6-8).  The rider goes forth “conquering, and to conquer,” and to Adam is given “dominion” to “subdue the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.  And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.  Revelation 6:3-4

The rider on the red horse is given power “to take peace from the earth.”  This is the key to understanding these first four seals.  For any future person or event to “take peace from the earth” would presuppose that there truly is “peace on earth.”  We certainly know there is no peace without the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ.  Only the child of God has peace.  It reigns in our hearts, but there is no peace on earth and there will be none until there is a “new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:13).  There is no event or personality in the history of the world that can possibly satisfy the requirements to be this second horseman other than one.  The rider on the red horse must be the entrance of “SIN” through the transgression of Adam.  “…that they should kill one another…”  Adam’s firstborn son was a murderer who killed his own brother.  Who can deny that it is “SIN” that took peace from the earth?

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.  Revelation 6:5-6

The rider on the black horse has a pair of balances in his hand.  With the entrance of sin began the “systems of the world.”  Because of sin, man must now earn his bread with the “sweat of his face” (Genesis 3:17-19).  Bartering, trade, economic systems; all these arose of necessity out of the entrance of sin and the curse that was on the ground because of Adams sin.  Some have believed this rider to be “famine.”  This also came into the world with the entrance of “SIN.”  The third horseman is the “systems,” or, the “rudiments” of the world.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.  And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.  Revelation 6:7-8   

The fourth horseman rides on a pale horse.  We are clearly told the riders name: it is “Death.”  Now consider the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam, first horseman) sin (second horseman) entered into the world, and death (fourth horseman) by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”  Hell “followed” with death, and they kill with the sword, with hunger, with death, and with the beasts of the field.  Four ways of death are given; violence, starvation, natural death, and torn by beasts.  So it has been since the entrance of sin.

The Last Three Seals

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.  Revelation 6:9-11

Four seals are now off of the book.  Those four dealt with the fall of man and the foundation of this “present evil world,” as the Apostle calls it (Galatians 1:4).  The fifth seal is not in John’s future, but in his “present.”  John had long outlived all the other apostles, each of whom had died a martyr’s death.  Almost thirty years had passed since the destruction of Jerusalem, and John was well above ninety years of age when he received the “Revelation.”  He had lived through the persecution by the Jews as well as the great persecution by Nero.  Tens of thousands, perhaps, by some estimations, even millions of Christians had been slaughtered in the persecutions.  John saw those souls, many of whom he personally knew and loved, under the altar of God crying, “How long, O Lord…”  They were given white robes and told to rest for a season, until those who were yet to be killed for the cause of the gospel would join them.  Their number has increased by the millions throughout the centuries, and is multiplying even today.  Today, in 2003, there are yet many martyrs to be slain before the vengeance of God is loosed in all its fury against the enemies of Christ and His church.  The time, however, is near.  The great and terrible day of the Lord will come. 

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

This seal needs little commentary.  The sixth seal is off the book.  In this seal John sees cataclysmic events that will come just prior to the total wrath of God being poured out on the ungodly.  This is John’s first glimpse of future things.  He sees a small portion of the coming wrath of God at the end of the age.  All the events in the seventh chapter are included in the things John saw as the sixth seal was opened, but remember, the book is not yet open. 

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.  Revelation 8:1-2

When the seventh seal was broken off the book, the book was open at last.  John was the only man chosen to see inside this “book of revelation” since it had been sealed by the prophet Daniel at the command of God (Daniel 12:4).  John said “…there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.”  This time of “silence in heaven” happened that day while John was on the Island of Patmos and “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day (Revelation 1:9-10).  The vision paused, and John neither saw nor heard anything for “about the space of half an hour.”  When the vision continued, John began to see, just as the Lord had promised, “things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1).  He saw the seven angels, to whom were given “seven trumpets.”  The vision has now moved almost nineteen hundred years into the future, to the last generation before the return of Jesus to earth.  The sounding of the trumpets begins a countdown to the return of Jesus Christ.  The “seven vials of wrath” are not poured out until after Jesus returns.

The seven trumpets are divided into two categories.  The first four are symbolic of natural events to come in the last generation.  The last three trumpets are said to be “three great woes” to the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 8:13, the last and greatest of the “woes” being the return of Jesus to execute judgment on the ungodly.  All three of these are both symbolic and spiritual in nature.  All the trumpets are sounded as warnings of the great wrath of God that is yet to come after the return of Jesus to earth. 

The first four trumpets I will deal with briefly.  They have been sounding for most of this generation if a person has ears to “hear” them.  Their “symbolism” is speaking of the great environmental issues of this generation. 

The First Trumpet

The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.  Revelation 8:7

The sounding of the first trumpet is known by the “burning” of a third part of the trees and the green grass.  We became aware of this in the late sixties, but the warning began to be sounded in the mid eighties.  In symbolism this trumpet is speaking of “acid rain” that began to fall on the earth for the first time ever in this generation.  Canada, our northern states, and northern Europe were especially affected, but we saw the effects of it even in the forests of Texas in the mid eighties.  There were places in Europe and Russia that the crops were destroyed by this “phenomena.”  In the late sixties I knew a tent evangelist that had placed his tent in a northern industrial city, and when the rain fell on his tent it actually ate holes in the canvas.  Through environmental policies we have greatly reduced this problem, but the warning has been given of a greater judgment to come, the “pouring out” of the vials that are filled with the wrath of God.  When the first “vial” is poured out, it brings “noisome and grievous sores” on those who worship the beast.

The Second Trumpet

And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.  Revelation 8:8-9

The sounding of the second trumpet affects the “third part” of the seas, insomuch that a “third part” of the creatures living in the seas die.  It is as a “great mountain, burning with fire” is cast into the sea.  Whether there may be a further fulfillment of this “great mountain” remains to be seen, but this trumpet warning has sounded.  For many years the oceans, lakes and seas of the earth were considered to be gigantic “garbage disposals.”  Refineries and industrial plants dumped their waste into the streams and rivers, which in turn emptied into the lakes and oceans.  The great whales and the dolphins began to die off until there became an organized effort to save them.  It was only twenty years ago that this pollution problem became so bad that one of America’s “Great Lakes” became so polluted that fish could no longer survive in it.  Numerous rivers were destroyed in like manner.  When I was a child in the fifties, we sometimes went swimming in “Clear Creek” which was near my childhood home.  I was shocked in the late seventies when I revisited “Clear Creek” to see signs along the banks saying “Warning! Do not touch the water!”  The waters had become so polluted they were unsafe to even touch.  Several of the communist nations routinely dumped their nuclear waste in their lakes and seas until all life was destroyed in them and the entire areas were contaminated.  Who can remember the “red tides” of the eighties, when large parts of the oceans turned red like blood?  This “phenomena” is often created in polluted waters by the vast multiplication of microscopic organisms that thrive in pollution.  They multiply to the extent that they consume all the oxygen in the waters, and every fish and living creature in those waters die.  I recall when the “red tide” came to the Gulf of Mexico in the late eighties.  Every day untold millions of dead fish washed up on the beaches of the gulf.  On Galveston Island the great bulldozers and motor graders were scraping them into windrows to be loaded onto huge dump trucks and carried away.  The cleanup continued for weeks, and the stench of rotting fish was unbearable.  This trumpet warning sounded in the eighties.  It warns of worse things to come and relates to the second vial of wrath, in which every living creature in the sea will die (Revelation 16:3.

The Third Trumpet

And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.  Revelation 8:10-11

With the sounding of the third trumpet, the third part of the rivers and the fountains of waters are affected in the same manner as the seas in the second trumpet.  This speaks of the pollution of the drinking waters.  In this generation, for the first time in history, many of America’s and the world’s wells of water became unsafe to drink of.  Many municipalities must use excessive chlorine in their water systems to overcome the pollution that is in their water.

In 1986 there were two signs given which confirm that this trumpet was sounding.  A great “star” did fall from “heaven” that year, but it fell into the ocean.  I speak of a great American tragedy, the loss of our space shuttle “Challenger.”  The entire world saw this “star” fall from the heavens by live television news.  The name of the “star” in the prophecy is “Wormwood,” meaning “bitterness.”  Wormwood is an extremely bitter herb that was boiled in water to make a medicinal tonic.  What a bitter tonic we drank of the day “Challenger” fell out of the heavens. 

The other sign was a great Russian tragedy.  Can you remember the “Chernobyl” nuclear meltdown in the Ukraine?  The definition of the word “Chernobyl” in the Ukrainian language is “Wormwood,” the same as the name of the “star” that falls on the fountain of waters in the prophecy.  A nuclear meltdown is in effect the same as the burning of a “star,” but this one is burning far beneath the surface of the earth.  The land and waters were destroyed for many miles surrounding Chernobyl.  Though limited to a certain region, it gained worldwide attention, and was a “sign” that the third angel was sounding.  The “Discover Channel” made a one-hour special on the Chernobyl meltdown.  They were the first that I heard make the connection between “Chernobyl” (meaning “wormwood” in the Ukrainian language) and the “star” named “wormwood” in Revelation 8:10-11.  They introduced men of science who showed the similarity between a nuclear meltdown and a burning star.  They told what the Chernobyl incident would do to the soil and waters throughout the region.  To those that could hear, the trumpet was sounding clearly. 

These two “signs” which were given in 1986 touched the “pride” of the two great super powers that existed at that time.  This third trumpet is a warning of the wrath to come when the third vial of wrath is also poured out on the rivers and fountains of waters (Revelation 16:4-7).

The Fourth Trumpet

And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.  Revelation 8:12

The fourth trumpet affects the third part of the Sun, the moon, and the stars, insomuch that a third part of them are darkened.  When I was a small child I lived in the country about fifteen miles south of Houston Texas.  We had no television, and only a battery radio.  One of our favorite pastimes at night was to lie out on the grass and look at the stars.  Sometimes an older cousin or family member would tell us stories to help pass the time.  In that time the sky was so filled with stars that it was impossible to extend your finger to a place toward the sky and not cover up several stars.  Through the midst of the sky was a band called the “Milky Way.”  It was made up of billions of stars so far away that their light blended together and had the appearance of florescent paint brushed across the sky.   The stars were so bright at night that even in the dark of the moon you could see to walk around by the light of them.  The beauty of the night skies was something I will never forget.  In 1982 I was in Israel with my wife.  It was there that I was reading the scriptures about these first four trumpets.  I pondered, what could these things be that would darken the sun, moon and the stars?  Everything I read seemed vaguely familiar, as though I had seen them, but I could not put it together.  Suddenly I heard this question in my heart, “When was the last time you saw the Milky Way?”  I was startled.  I had forgotten about the Milky Way.  I immediately realized that the stars were already darkened, far more than a third part of them.  I later asked my children, most of whom were born in the sixties, if they remembered the “Milky Way?”  Foolish question!  To them it was a candy bar.  They had never seen the real thing in their lifetime.  In my adult life I have rarely seen it, once deep in the mountains of Mexico, another time in far west Texas.  To most people under thirty-five years of age the Milky Way is something they may have studied in science at school, but they have never seen.  It’s still there, but it is covered by “atmospheric pollution.” 

Many “scholars” will think this interpretation of the first four trumpets is too simplistic.  We have been taught that these trumpets will not sound until after the “rapture of the church,” so this teaching cannot be correct.  Please don’t be so hasty to cast this away.  Who knows for sure but that this writer may be right, and the “charts” we have studied for a lifetime may be wrong?  Far too much weighs in the balance for us to take these things lightly, as we continue the “countdown” to the second coming of Jesus Christ.  This fourth trumpet is a warning of wrath to come, when the fourth vial is poured out upon the sun and gives it “power to scorch men with fire (Revelation 16:8).

The Three Great Woes

And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!  Revelation 8:13

It is the belief of this writer that the first four trumpets began to sound early in this generation, and that the warnings of these things were fully given during the eighties.  In fact, these same four environmental issues were the major news stories in the American press for several years.  While the first four trumpets were the natural results of man’s abuse of the planet we live on, the last three trumpets are very “spiritual” in nature, and are, in fact, the beginning of the judgments of God on the ungodly.  They are said by the angel of God to be “woes” to the inhabitants of earth.  The first two of these “woes” brings a day of trouble unlike any the world has every seen, and the third “woe,” the last and greatest of the three, is the return of Jesus Christ Himself to this earth to bring judgment and wrath upon the ungodly and unbelieving world.

The Fifth Trumpet

For several years in the mid eighties I had proclaimed the warning of the first four trumpets by every means at my disposal, by revivals, radio ministry, and our “The Watchman” publication of that time.  Near the end of 1987, I received a vision from the Lord.  In the vision I, along with others, was working in a harvest field.  Through the morning hours I began to notice an occasional giant grasshopper.  As the morning passed I began to see more of them, several in a group.  In the early afternoon, the owner of the field came out and gathered the workers together.  He said, “Men, we have just one day to harvest this field, for when darkness falls, great swarms of locust are coming, and there will be nothing left.”  When I came out of the vision, my heart was stirred with such an urgency to “get the harvest in.”  Prophetically, I thought I knew what the locusts would be.  I also knew that a “day” in prophecy can be 24 hours, a year, a thousand years, or and undetermined length of time.  I knew the “day to get the harvest in” was not 24 hours, and certainly not “a thousand years,” so I thought it must be just one year.  I wrote an article for “The Watchman” entitled “Woe, Woe, Woe, to the Inhabitants of the Earth.”  The eighties had been so filled with prophetic fulfillment that I truly believed that within one year I would “hear” the sound of the fifth trumpet and see the “swarming of the locusts.”  With that vision, however, it seemed that prophetic activity on that particular front came to a complete stop.  During the nineties it seemed that our nation took control of the environmental issues, the fish returned to the great lakes, the whales and dolphins made a comeback, and it seemed that “peace” and “prosperity” were reaching to the ends of the earth.  Yet, the power of the vision I had seen was such that whenever any would ask me where we were prophetically, I would tell them we were “between the fourth and fifth trumpets of Revelation.”  I know they could not possibly relate to what I was saying, but I fully believed that the next big fulfillment of prophecy would be the fifth trumpet, and the swarming of the “locusts.”

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.  Revelation 9:1-11

September 11, 2001 (9-11) was a wakeup call.  It was the blast of a trumpet in the ears of a sleeping church and nation.  There is another “9-11” trumpet that is sounding loud and clear, and those who have awakened from sleep can hear it right now.  The “9-11” I am speaking of is Revelation chapter “9” and the first “11” verses.  The fall of the twin towers on “9-11” was a sign and a symbol of the prophetic “9-11.”  The Twin Towers fell down into a “pit,” though not the “bottomless pit.”  The smoke that arose out of the “pit” was unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime, and it was witnessed by the entire world even as it happened.  What we saw on “9-11” was a visual image of what had already taken place in the spiritual.  The locust had been swarming long before “9-11.” 

John said he saw a “star fall from heaven unto the earth.”  This may well be a second sign of the fifth trumpet; given to us that we might know for certain the time of the trumpet.  Is it possible that we saw that “star” fall from heaven on February 1, 2003 with the loss of the space shuttle Columbia? 

The “locusts” in the seventh trumpet are undeniably a symbol of Islam.  The ancient Muslim warriors accepted that symbol with pride: they would “…come as the locusts;” they would “…shoot their arrows as a swarm of locusts.”  For further insight into this matter, I will defer to “Barnes’ Notes” on Revelation 9:11, PP11:

All that is necessary to say further on this point is, that on the supposition that it was the design of the Spirit of inspiration in the passage before us to refer to the followers of Muhammed, the image of the locusts was that which would be naturally selected. There was no other one so appropriate and so striking; no one that would so naturally designate the country of Arabia. As some confirmation of this, or as showing how natural the symbol would be, a remark may be introduced from Mr. Forster. In his Mohammedanism Unveiled, vol. i. p. 217, he says, "In the Bedoween romance of Antar, the locust is introduced as the national emblem of the Ishmaelites. And it is a remarkable coincidence that Muslim tradition speaks of locusts having dropped into the hands of Muhammed, bearing on their wings this inscription-- `We are the army of the Great God. '" These circumstances will show the propriety of the symbol on the supposition that it refers to Arabia and the Saracens (Muslims).

(from Barnes' Notes)

Joel 2:1-11 is a description of a great swarm of locust, devouring the vegetation of the land.  “…the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them” (Joel 2:3).  “…the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness” (Joel 2:6).  Certain famine faced the people, starvation and death, because of the locusts.  Joel 2:11 says, “And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”  God used the locusts in His judgment of Egypt (Exodus 10:13-19).  They were brought into the land at the command of God.  After they had accomplished God’s purpose, they were cast into the Red Sea and destroyed by God.  The locusts are never God’s people, but they are always God’s army.  God sent them to punish Israel for their sins in the Old Testament.  In II Chronicles 7:13-14, God says, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 

The locusts that come out of the “pit” in Revelation 9:1-3 are not the natural insects that devour green plant life; they are “spiritual” locusts.  They are possessed with the spirit of Apollyon, the destroyer.  They are by nature, terrorists.  At this point I must say that not all Muslims are terrorists, and there are some who call themselves “Christians” who are terrorists.  Violence and terror certainly did not have its beginning on “9-11.”  In fact, if it were not for “violence” and America’s other sins, it is doubtful that 9-11 would have taken place.  The reason?  Locusts, whether natural or spiritual, are the army of God’s judgment against the backsliding of nations.  Note this, the locust are “commanded” that they should not hurt the grass any green tree; but “only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”  This fifth trumpet is a judgment of God.  It is not against the righteous person, but against the sins and abominations of the nations and the people.  This is not to say that no righteous person will be harmed.  Surely, there must have been righteous people that died in “9-11,” but it is not the righteous people who are the target of the judgment; it is the ungodly.  In the fifth trumpet, they are not commanded to kill the ungodly, but to “torment” them.  The nations have been turned over to “the tormenters” (Matthew 18:34-35).  It is a warning of worse things to come if there is not repentance and turning back to God and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Why the Locust are Here

If the locusts are the army of God’s judgment, why did they come to America?  The answer is in Revelation 9:20-21.  “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”  Here is a list of five sins given as the reason for the judgment of God on the nations.  The first of these is…

1.  Idolatry:  America has become one of the most idolatrous nations on earth.  Most nations, even “heathen” nations have their national gods, and usually a small portion of that nation will be Christian.  America has, in this generation, rejected Jesus Christ.  By our court rulings and legislation, America has said “God, take your Son, your commandments and your Bible, and get out of our land.”  At the same time we as a nation have welcomed with open arms every god that can be imagined.  America has every god, while rejecting the living and true God and His Son Jesus.  The locusts are God’s judgment against idolatry.

2.  Murder:  America has become a very violent nation.  For several years we have become stricter on offenders, and the murder rate in America has fallen.  Yet, as horrible as it seems, millions of murders are committed yearly, and there are no arrests; not even an investigation.  In fact, over forty million American citizens have been murdered in this generation, and not a single villain has been arrested or prosecuted.  Of course, I am speaking of Abortion, the American holocaust.  The blood of our unborn has reached up to Heaven.  God almighty has heard “The Silent Scream” of our future generation that will not be.  The locusts are God’s judgment against our murders.

3.  Sorceries:  The Greek word translated “sorceries” is “Pharmakeus,” which means “druggist” or “poisoner.”  This generation of America has been “poisoned” by the drug culture.  Since the sixties we have lost two generations to drugs.  In many areas it has become difficult to find a young man that can hold a job and support a wife and family, or even has any incentive to do so.  Their thinking has been destroyed, and it takes a miracle from God to correct it.  Most thefts and violent crimes in America are drug related.  By far the most fatal car accidents are alcohol related, and there is no difference between the two.  Yet, the movement in America seems to be toward legalization and not repentance.  The locusts are God’s judgment against our drug culture.

4.  Fornication:  The Greek word is “Porneia,” meaning “harlotry, including adultery and incest.”  A further study of “harlotry” reveals a now obsolete word, “buffoonery,” which speaks of entertaining with filthy body and hand gestures, and another old word, “ribaldry,” which is the use of filthy and offensive language.  These two definitions would gather in 99% of Hollywood’s productions, as well as virtually all comedians, pop music, and dancing in America today.  More clearly, the word from the Greek speaks of all sexual sins; homosexual, lesbian, pornography, prostitution, adultery, incest, masturbation, pedophilia, and every other like thing.  These things have destroyed America; she has lost her moral compass.  Millions of our children do not even know, nor would they believe, the abominations they commit continually in the name of “fun.”  “If it feels good, do it” was the cry of the seventies.  It brought herpes, aids, genital warts, and many other “sin” diseases upon the people, but they did not turn.  Now, America’s sins have brought the locusts.  The locusts are God’s judgment against sexual sins.

5.  Thefts:  Theft, because of alcohol and drugs, is the chief reason our prisons overflow.  Yet, as it was with murder, the vast majority of the offenders have never been prosecuted.  The “moneychangers” in the house of God, merchandising the people; the “plaintiff lawyer,” filing frivolous suits, and sometimes being awarded literally billions of dollars, the “politicians” who award government contracts with their hands under the table; the “casinos” who routinely rob their willing patrons; there is seemingly nothing in our nation that someone hasn’t corrupted for what the Bible calls “filthy lucre.”  Jesus called them a “den of thieves.”  The locusts are God’s judgment on our thefts.

What is the Answer?

There must be repentance in America.  When the locusts devoured the land in Joel’s day, he called the people to repentance.  “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil (Joel 2:12-13).”

In II Chronicles 7:14, God said, “If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray…”  Peter said that judgment begins at the house of God.  If this is the case, repentance must also begin at the house of God.  Don’t wait for the abortionist to pray, or the legal thieves.  There is a revival and a “turning to the Lord” in America’s prisons.  These men and women were arrested and apprehended by man’s law, and they are turning to God in droves.  Yet, the man on the street continues to thumb his nose at the law of God, but he will now be apprehended.  There is no hiding place for the wicked when the judgment of God comes.  Repent!  Turn from every wicked way!  Turn to God through Jesus Christ His Son.  If there is not “repentance” and “turning” in America very soon, things will get much worse.

The Sixth Trumpet

Two years ago, just as President Bush became our new president, the Lord spoke to my heart that we had three and a half years to affect America for Jesus Christ.  If America were not turned, the things that would come would be too horrible to even speak of.  A little less than eight months later “9-11” came.  As horrible as 9-11 was, it could not be the things the Lord spoke to me of.  According to the word of the Lord to me, we still have a year and a half to affect America for Jesus.  The horrible thing to come if America is not turned, will be the sounding of the sixth trumpet.  I believe we have even now had a foretaste of what that would be like.  Let me explain.  The locusts in the fifth trumpet were commanded, not to kill, but to hurt and to torment “only those who have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”  Let me repeat this, the righteous man or woman in Christ has nothing to fear in any of the judgments of God.  The point I make is this, in the fifth trumpet the locusts are commanded not to kill, but to terrorize people.  It is obvious that they have killed three thousand in America already, and they continue to kill in Israel.  It is not only that they kill; it is the method of killing that is of prophetic significance.  Notice the phrase in Joel 2:8, speaking of the locusts, “…and when they shall fall on the sword, they shall not be wounded.”  To “fall on the sword” has for thousands of years been a slang term for “suicide.” The “suicide bomber” phenomenon is another proof that radical Islam is the locust.  The Hebrew word translated “wounded” actually means “to stop,” thus, “when they fall on the sword, they shall not be stopped.

The suicide bomber is nowhere found in the sounding of the fifth trumpet, but he is in the sixth.  Here is the text:

And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.  And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.  And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.  And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.  By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.  For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.  Revelation 9:13-19

There are four angels “bound in the great river Euphrates,” that are soon to be released.  Over the years I have heard various different ideas concerning who these angels are, but I will offer that they are representatives of the spirit of ancient Babylon.  There must be some significance in the fact that we are even now preparing to go to war in Iraq.  Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq is situated between the Euphrates and the Tigress rivers, approximately twenty-five or thirty miles from the site of the ancient city of Babylon.  The angels that are now bound in the Euphrates are prepared, according to the prophecy, for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for the purpose of slaying the third part of men.  I am not sure if this slaughter will be regional or world wide, but we must consider the threat of Saddam Hussein recently, to “release thousands of suicide bombers” in the nations of the world.  The number of the “horsemen” in this great army of prophecy is two hundred million.  Over the years most have speculated that this might be China, because of the vast numbers, however, I do not see this as a uniformed army.  In the conflict prophesied in these verses, every man woman and child is numbered.  Have we ever seen such a day as this, when mothers will bind pipe bombs around the bodies of their young sons and daughters and send them out to commit suicide in a public place, hoping to kill either Jews or Americans?  How can this be?  Yet, the suicide bomber is perfectly described in the sounding of the sixth trumpet.  “And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone.”  In the fifth trumpet, they had breastplates of iron, but now, in the sixth, it is “fire and brimstone.”  What could better describe a suicide bomber?  We’ve seen their pictures, with what appears to be pipe bombs strapped side by side around their chest and torso in the same manner that the warrior of old time strapped his breastplate on.  The bomber triggers his bomb at the proper moment to kill a maximum number of innocent bystanders by the means of their own suicide.  These things are impossible to imagine, but they were foreseen by the Apostle John about nineteen hundred years ago.  Imagine millions of men, women, and children, possessed and prepared for this time by the spirit of Apollyon the destroyer, going into all the nations of the world for this sole purpose.  They may not even know themselves that it will be so, but this is what awaits the western world, and especially America if there is no repentance.

Hope For America

There is hope for America, but there are two things we must do.  We have been faithful to do the first until now, and I believe President Bush will continue to do so.  We must stand united with Israel in her time of trouble.  There is coming a three and a half year period of great trouble to Israel during which it is said “all” nations will come against Jerusalem.  Zechariah says the city will fall and half of it will go into captivity.  Before the end, it will appear there is no way of escape for Israel or the Jew.  America must not be with those nations against Israel.  Every nation that comes against Israel will be destroyed.  To abandon Israel may, to some, seem to be the answer for peace with Islam and to keep the suicide bombers from our shore, but such a course would bring us under the ultimate wrath of God when He comes to fight for Israel.  At any cost, we must stand with Israel.

The second thing we must do as a nation is to turn back to the God of our Father’s, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The prophet Joel shows us the way, and gives us the promise of God if we do these things.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:  Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.  Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?  Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.  Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.  Joel 2:15-20

 Again, it begins with the church.  We must seek God in repentance for our nation.  We must be bold to speak to our nation in the name of Jesus our Lord.  I personally stand with our president as he guides this nation through this crucial hour.  I do believe we will be quickly victorious if we go into Iraq, and it may seem to stem the tide for a season, I do not know.  This I do know, if America is not turned back to Jesus, the suicide bombers will soon be in the streets of America, and no military might will be able to stop them.  “When they fall on the sword, they shall not be stopped.”  We must come to God with fasting and solemn assembly.  We must gather the people to pray.  Most of all, the ministers themselves must “weep between the porch and the altar.”  Let them depart from their own ways, and seek the face of the Lord.  Let them weep for the people and the nation.  The revival that saves America from the wrath of God will be birthed in the altar of God.  Joel promises us, if we do these things, that God will “pity His people;” He will “answer His people;” He will lift the “reproach” from His people; and, He will “remove far off from you the northern (locust) army…and his stink shall come up…”  If the people repent and turn to the Lord with all their hearts, God Himself will destroy the locusts.