By Irvin Baxter
Apocalypticism, Doomsday Scenarios
A recent headline read, “Arizona lawmakers prepare for the apocalypse.” A state Senate panel had proposed a law to develop disaster preparedness recommendations, in the event that an electromagnetic pulse attack of “Armageddon-like proportions” were to strike Arizona or the entire United States, sending the country into the dark ages.
This proposed doomsday legislation headline illustrates the exploding awareness of apocalypticism, a major theme in entertainment, social media and popular culture, that we are about to face destruction from some terrible, awesome force, such as economic collapse, dirty bombs, global warming, civil unrest, the crisis in the Ukraine, or even zombies.
Apocalypse or Revelation
When people search the Internet for such terms as “Apocalypse,” “Revelations,” or “Book of Revelation,” they may actually have in mind a more scriptural or biblical result than that which would be found in the movies or internet chat rooms. To be more precise, the word “Apocalypse” actually means, “lifting of the veil” or “revelation.” Many use the term “Apocalypse” in the context of the end of the world. This common usage could be a result of the historical use of the title “Apocalypse of John” for the last book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation, which does indeed depict the destruction of the last human governments on earth.
Understanding the Apocalypse of John
The Book of Revelation, or The Apocalypse of John, is full of visions and symbols that seem too daunting for many to even attempt to understand. In reality, Revelation is far less figurative and far more applicable and practical to us than many believe it to be.
The Book of Revelation is divided into three parts:
1. “the things which thou hast seen” – events of chapter 1.
2. “the things which are” – the seven churches that existed at that time and to which John wrote in chapters 2 and 3.
3. “the things which shall be hereafter” – events from chapter 4 until the end of chapter 22.
The Book of Revelation is in order, but is not in chronological order:
From chapter 4 to chapter 22, the Book of Revelation loops back to a previous point in time (not all the way to the beginning nor to the beginning of the previous loop) and begins to re-tell a story with more details provided in each re-telling. The Seven Seals tell the long story (from just after Jesus’ time on earth) and ends at Armageddon. (Revelation 6) The Seven Trumpets tell the shorter story (from WWI) and end at the Battle of Armageddon. (Revelation 11) The Seven Vials tell the really short story, beginning at or just prior to the Battle of Armageddon, and ends at the conclusion of the Battle of Armageddon. (Revelation 16) If you study the Sixth Seal, the Seventh Trumpet and the Seventh Vial side-by-side, you will see that these all describe the same event, the Day of the Lord, or the Day of Christ.
The Seals, the Trumpets, the Thunders, the Vials
The Seven Seals:
The first four seals are four horses. We see the same four horses in Zechariah 6, where we are given additional information about each. We are told that these are four spirits. (Zechariah 6:5)
1. The White Horse – the spirit of Catholicism. The Pope has white robes, a white car, a white pope mobile, a white helicopter, and a white airplane.
2. The Red Horse – the spirit of communism. The recognized color of Communism is red; red Russia, red China. The rider of this horse has a great sword. Russia and China are mighty military powers.
3. The Black Horse – the spirit of capitalism. The recognized color of capitalism is black. The black horse goes into the “north country” (Zechariah 6:6). Almost all capitalist countries are in the northern hemisphere.
4. The Pale (chloros or green) Horse – the spirit of Islam. Death and Hell followed. The recognized color of Islam is green. The pale horse is given power over one-fourth of the earth. One-fourth of the world’s population is Muslim. Islam clearly promotes a culture of death.
5. The Souls Under the Altar – We believe the souls under the altar begin the Great Tribulation spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24.
6. The Day of the Lord
7. Armageddon - Concurrent with the Seventh Trumpet and Seventh Vial. Silence in Heaven.
The Seven Trumpets:
The First Trumpet – World War I
• No previous wars occurred with one million deaths.
• The first war fought with airplanes; hence hail and fire mingled with blood as bombs fell.
• The first time official “scorched earth policy” was employed – burned all green grass as armies retreated.
The Second Trumpet – World War II
• Fifty-two million deaths.
• Approximately 105,000 ships participated in WWII; approximately 36,000 of them were sunk – one-third (as prophesied).
• The first employment of a nuclear bomb would look exactly like a mountain burning with fire.
The Third Trumpet – The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster in April 1986
• The Ukrainian word Chernobyl means wormwood.
The Fourth Trumpet – Shortening of the Days
• Jesus spoke of the shortening of the days in Matthew 24:22
The Fifth Trumpet – The Gulf War
• 1991 – The First Woe.
The Sixth Trumpet – World War III
• The Second Woe.
The Seventh Trumpet – Armageddon
• The Third Woe.
• The same as Sixth Seal and Seventh Vial.
• This Seventh Trumpet is the last trump (I Corinthians 15:52) – the gathering of the saints.
The Seven Thunders
We don’t know. God told John not to write these things.
The Seven Vials
Vial 1 – A noisesome and grievous sore.
Vial 2 – The Sea becomes blood.
Vial 3 – Rivers and fountains become blood.
Vial 4 – The sun scorches men.
Vial 5 – Darkness and pain.
Vial 6 – Euphrates river dries up to make way for kings of the East to invade Israel.
Vial 7 – The Day of the Lord – Same as the Sixth Seal and Seventh Trumpet, the end of man’s government on earth and beginning of the government of Jesus on earth.
Two other significant events in Revelation are the Mark of the Beast and the rapture.