Bible Prophecy and You: Armageddon and the Day of the Lord

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Armageddon and the Day of the Lord

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Bible Prophecy and You: Armageddon and the Day of the Lord

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This is now the 13th lesson in the “Bible Prophecy and You” series.

“Armageddon!” Many people have heard scary predictions or speculations about Armageddon, but what does it mean?

Here is a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary: “The scene of a final battle between the forces of good and evil, prophesied to occur at the end of the world.”

The dictionary also has a second definition because “Armageddon” has become a common metaphor: “A decisive or catastrophic conflict.” But what does the Bible say about it?

Most people are also confused about the meaning of “the Day of the Lord.” Will it last for one day, one year, for many years or for all eternity? When will it start? When will Christ return? And what are the prophetic seals, trumpets and plagues described in the book of Revelation?

We’ll delve into finding the answers to these and other questions.

The Bible has many prophecies of the end time. Right now, it may seem that their fulfillments are proceeding at a slow pace, but the time will come when they will be happening in rapid-fire succession!

While Jesus Christ said we should stay aware of “the signs of the times,” He made it clear that we should stay focused, like Him, to “do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34 John 4:34Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
American King James Version×
). As we await the second coming of Christ, instead of allowing ourselves to become distracted, we should serve God in such a way that Christ, when He returns, will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21 Matthew 25:21His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord.
American King James Version×
).

What Does the Bible say about the Day of the Lord?

This lesson is based on the foundations laid in the last five lessons. If anything in this lesson is unclear, it may help to review previous lessons in this “Bible Prophecy and You” series in recent issues of Beyond Today, especially lessons 8 to 12.

The book of Revelation gives great insight into how these subjects tie together and describes the sequence of end-time trends and events. For a good understanding of Revelation, we highly recommend that you read our free study guide The Book of Revelation Unveiled .

What does the Bible mean by “the day of the Lord”?

“Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, every man’s heart will melt, and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; they will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames.

“Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine.

“‘I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold … Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger’” (Isaiah 13:6-13 Isaiah 13:6-13 6 Howl you; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. 7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: 8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travails: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. 9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
American King James Version×
).

The Day of the Lord usually refers to a time when God and Christ are powerfully intervening in the world to punish evil. This is also called “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” that will come “upon all the nations” just before Christ’s second coming (Malachi 4:5 Malachi 4:5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
American King James Version×
; Obadiah 1:15 Obadiah 1:15For the day of the LORD is near on all the heathen: as you have done, it shall be done to you: your reward shall return on your own head.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout). Sometimes the term is nearly synonymous with “the time of the end,” which was explained in Lesson 1.

However, occasionally it has a dual fulfillment. Isaiah 13 begins with a warning of how God will punish Babylon, which most likely refers to its destruction in Old Testament times (Isaiah 13:1-6 Isaiah 13:1-6 1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. 2 Lift you up a banner on the high mountain, exalt the voice to them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. 3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for my anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. 4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts musters the host of the battle. 5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. 6 Howl you; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
American King James Version×
). But verses 9-13 are obviously more specifically describing the end-time “day of the Lord,” when God will cause spectacular heavenly signs and “will punish the world for its evil.”

Furthermore, starting with the beginning of Christ’s future intervention, the Day of the Lord can in one sense be considered to last forever because God through Christ will forevermore rule the world. Never again will Satan be “the ruler of this world” (see John 12:31 John 12:31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
American King James Version×
; John 14:30 John 14:30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.
American King James Version×
; John 16:11 John 16:11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
American King James Version×
).

Do synonymous phrases for Day of the Lord usually show that it will be a time of awesome and dreadful punishment?

“Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it … Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger” (Isaiah 13:9 Isaiah 13:9Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
American King James Version×
; Isaiah 13:13 Isaiah 13:13Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.
American King James Version×
).

“For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion” (Isaiah 34:8 Isaiah 34:8For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.
American King James Version×
).

“Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5 1 Corinthians 5:5To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
American King James Version×
).

Clearly the Bible uses several other expressions for the Day of the Lord, including “day of His fierce anger,” “day of the Lord’s vengeance” and “day of the Lord Jesus.”

What is the relationship between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord?

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30 Matthew 24:29-30 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
American King James Version×
).

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31 Joel 2:31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus said the terrifying heavenly signs will occur “immediately after the [great] tribulation of those days.” And through Joel, God said these heavenly signs will occur “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” So chronologically speaking, the Great Tribulation comes on the world scene before the Day of the Lord (compare Revelation 6:12-17 Revelation 6:12-17 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
American King James Version×
).

As we saw in Lesson 11, during the Great Tribulation enemy nations will punish, through war and captivity, the United States, Britain and other nations whose people are largely descendants of the ancient Israelites.

The Day of the Lord will be direct punishment from Jesus Christ on the rest of unrepentant humanity (Revelation 16:9 Revelation 16:9And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which has power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
American King James Version×
), especially the nations that are a part of the political, religious and commercial “Babylon the Great” and anyone else who opposes Christ (Revelation 17:5 Revelation 17:5And on her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 18:2 Revelation 18:2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
American King James Version×
).

When will the Day of the Lord begin?

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn …” (Isaiah 61:2 Isaiah 61:2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
American King James Version×
).

“For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come” (Isaiah 63:4 Isaiah 63:4For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
American King James Version×
).

The Bible doesn’t clearly answer when the Day of the Lord will begin. However, in Bible prophecy, the word day can sometimes represent one year (Numbers 14:34 Numbers 14:34After the number of the days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you shall know my breach of promise.
American King James Version×
; Ezekiel 4:6 Ezekiel 4:6And when you have accomplished them, lie again on your right side, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed you each day for a year.
American King James Version×
).

Furthermore, other scriptures seem to indicate that the Day of the Lord will begin one year before Christ returns. For example, we read in Isaiah 34:8 Isaiah 34:8For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.
American King James Version×
, “For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” Also, in Isaiah 61:2 Isaiah 61:2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
American King James Version×
, “the acceptable year of the Lord” seems to be equated with “the day of vengeance of our God.”

We saw in the last lesson that the Great Tribulation will begin 3½ years before Christ returns. It appears that the last year of that period will be the Day of the Lord. So it seems that the first 2½ years display Satan’s wrath, followed by a year of God’s vengeance.

We know for sure that “the servants of our God” will be protected from the “harm” that Christ will pour out on the earth during this final period (Revelation 7:3 Revelation 7:3Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
American King James Version×
; see also 3:10 and 12:14-17). Many scriptures assure us of God’s desire and power to protect His people.

What do the seven “seals” of Revelation represent?

“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1 Revelation 5:1And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
American King James Version×
).

The first rule of Bible interpretation is to let the Bible interpret itself. A comparison between the seven “seals” and the sequence of events Jesus foretold in the prophecy He gave on the Mount of Olives, His Olivet Prophecy, in Matthew 24:4-9 Matthew 24:4-9 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
American King James Version×
gives us a clear understanding. Here is a very brief summary of what the opening of the seals portray:

1st Seal (Revelation 6:1-2 Revelation 6:1-2 1 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. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:4-5 Matthew 24:4-5 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
American King James Version×
): Increasing religious deception of false Christianity.

2nd Seal (Revelation 6:3-4 Revelation 6:3-4 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 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 to him a great sword.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:6-7 Matthew 24:6-7 6 And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
American King James Version×
): Wars increasing in frequency and devastation.

3rd Seal (Revelation 6:5-6 Revelation 6:5-6 5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and see a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the middle of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see you hurt not the oil and the wine.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:7 Matthew 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
American King James Version×
): Food shortages and famines increasing.

4th Seal (Revelation 6:7-8 Revelation 6:7-8 7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 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 to 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.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:7 Matthew 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
American King James Version×
): Plagues such as disease epidemics and natural disasters increasing and becoming more deadly.

5th Seal (Revelation 6:9-11 Revelation 6:9-11 9 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: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:9 Matthew 24:9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
American King James Version×
): Increasing persecution of Christians climaxing in the Great Tribulation.

6th Seal (Revelation 6:12-16 Revelation 6:12-16 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
American King James Version×
; Matthew 24:29 Matthew 24:29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
American King James Version×
): A great earthquake and terrifying heavenly signs.

7th Seal (Revelation 6:17 Revelation 6:17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
American King James Version×
; 8:1-2, 6; Matthew 24:30 Matthew 24:30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
American King James Version×
): Day of the Lord (“the great day of His wrath”), including the seven trumpet plagues.

What are the seven trumpets of the seventh seal (the Day of the Lord)?

“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2 Revelation 8:1-2 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
American King James Version×
).

The opening of the seventh seal includes seven angels blowing their trumpets one by one. After each trumpet blast, there is a cataclysmic event. The first four are described in Revelation 8:

Destruction of vegetation (Revelation 8:7 Revelation 8:7The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
American King James Version×
).

Devastation of oceans and sea life (Revelation 8:8-9 Revelation 8:8-9 8 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; 9 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.
American King James Version×
).

Devastation of rivers and fresh water (Revelation 8:10-11 Revelation 8:10-11 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and on the fountains of waters; 11 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.
American King James Version×
).

Sun, moon and stars darkened (Revelation 8:12 Revelation 8:12And 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.
American King James Version×
).

The fifth trumpet “plague” is described in Revelation 9:1-12 Revelation 9:1-12 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 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. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts on the earth: and to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 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. 5 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 strikes a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like to horses prepared to battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 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. 10 And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11 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 has his name Apollyon. 12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
American King James Version×
. Quoting from our study guide The Book of Revelation Unveiled: “The director or ‘king’ of this wave of affliction is described as ‘the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon’ (Revelation 9:11 Revelation 9:11And 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 has his name Apollyon.
American King James Version×
, NIV). These titles, in Hebrew and Greek, mean ‘destruction’ and ‘destroyer,’ respectively. And we later see that the Satan-led ‘beast’ power emerges from this abyss or bottomless pit (Revelation 17:8 Revelation 17:8The beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
American King James Version×
), showing that the locusts here are probably the forces of this Europe-centered power bloc directed by Satan.”

The sixth trumpet “plague” is described in Revelation 9:13-21 Revelation 9:13-21 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 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. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 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. 18 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. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like to serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 20 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: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
American King James Version×
. Incredibly, it describes a 200-million-man army that will “kill a third of mankind”! Apparently the army comes from nations east of the Euphrates River. Quoting again from the chapter “The Day of the Lord Finally Arrives” from the same study guide: “This event, the second woe or sixth trumpet plague, seems to be a massive counterattack against the European-led forces of the first woe or fifth trumpet plague.”

The seventh trumpet announces “seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete” (Revelation 15:1 Revelation 15:1And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
American King James Version×
). Each angel has a bowl full of the wrath of God, and each bowl in turn is poured out on the earth. These seven last plagues are described in Revelation 15 and 16. The fifth angel pours “his bowl on the throne of the beast” (Revelation 16:10 Revelation 16:10And the fifth angel poured out his vial on the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
American King James Version×
). The sixth angel prepares the way for the climactic battle commonly referred to as “Armageddon” (16:12-16).

What does “Armageddon” mean? What does the prophecy concerning it say?

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

“‘Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.’ And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12-16 Revelation 16:12-16 12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
American King James Version×
).

Although Satan and the demons are doomed to lose any battle with Christ, they never give up trying to defeat Him. Once again, Christ will use their efforts to fulfill His purposes. The “spirits of demons” working under Satan and through the Beast and the False Prophet “go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13-14 Revelation 16:13-14 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
American King James Version×
). That is the real name of the final battle between Christ and the armies of the world.

Jesus Christ makes use of the demonic influences “to gather the nations … to pour on them My indignation, all My fierce anger” (Zephaniah 3:8 Zephaniah 3:8Therefore wait you on me, said the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
American King James Version×
). All nations, including the armies of the Beast, “will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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).

“And they [the demons] gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16 Revelation 16:16And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
American King James Version×
). Armageddon literally means “Mount Megiddo.” In fact, the Majority Text of the New Testament says simply Magedon or “Megiddo.” This is an ancient city ruin northwest of Jerusalem. To the east of it is a broad valley or plain, called Jezreel or Esdraelon, in which numerous battles have been fought in the past. One of its names is “the plain of Megiddo” (Zechariah 12:11 Zechariah 12:11In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
American King James Version×
). This will be the central gathering place, but the huge armies will evidently be spread out over a much larger area.

As Christ descends toward Jerusalem, the area around Jerusalem will become the primary area of battle. “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming … For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem … Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations … And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives … And the Lord shall be King over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:1-4 Zechariah 14:1-4 1 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the middle of you. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
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; Zechariah 14:9 Zechariah 14:9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
American King James Version×
).

The actual battle begins when the seventh angel pours out his bowl. Then there will be an earthquake more devastating than any that people have experienced before! Islands and mountains will disappear! The “cities of the nations” will fall, including the leading city the Bible refers to as “Babylon,” a reference to the final revival of Rome, as we’ve seen in other lessons. A hailstorm will rain down hailstones that will weigh perhaps 75 to 100 pounds each (Revelation 16:17-21 Revelation 16:17-21 17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell on men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
American King James Version×
). The fall of Babylon is more fully described in Revelation 18.

Christ will capture the Beast and the False Prophet—the consummate antichrists described in the last lesson—and cast them into a lake of fire and will kill all the opposing armies (Revelation 19:19-21 Revelation 19:19-21 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
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).

The prophet Zechariah records the fate of these armies that fight against Christ, apparently being hit with a blast of immense power: “And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths” (Zechariah 14:12 Zechariah 14:12And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
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).

What will be the great triumphant climax of the Day of the Lord?

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever’” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
, English Standard Version).

“And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:16-18 Revelation 11:16-18 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell on their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
American King James Version×
).

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:11-16 Revelation 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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).

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
American King James Version×
).

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Why comfort one another with these words.
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).

With the seventh trumpet comes the announcement of marvelous news for the saints and for the future of the world: Jesus Christ lays claim to His rule of the earth! The 24 elders in heaven announce that it is time to “reward Your servants the prophets and the saints”!

The great climax of the Day of the Lord will be the awe-some return of Christ, so vividly described in Revelation 19, and the raising from the dead of the saints, which is “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
American King James Version×
). Almost all of 1 Corinthians 15 discusses the resurrection. It tells us that the blowing of “the last trumpet” will signal the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Corinthians 15:52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
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). The resurrection of the saints is also described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
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and is referred to in many other scriptures.

This seventh trumpet also announces the pouring out of the seven last plagues, as we’ve seen. These plagues, which include the gathering of the Beast and False Prophet and other forces, will follow the resurrection, with Christ and the saints then coming down to the final battle.

What annual festival commanded by God pictures the Day of the Lord?

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord”’” (Leviticus 23:23-25 Leviticus 23:23-25 23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
American King James Version×
).

This passage briefly refers to the Feast of Trumpets, which foreshadows the fulfillment of the trumpets of Revelation, especially the last one marking Christ’s return and the resurrection of the saints. The Feast of Trumpets and the six other annual festivals and Holy Days commanded by God are explained in our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind . All of these occasions are joyful and deeply meaningful. Once you understand them, you will want to celebrate them!

Apply Now

After talking about the resurrection in 1 Thessalonians 4, the apostle Paul goes on to talk about “the day of the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians 5. He makes it clear that when this time finally comes, it will do so suddenly, so we should stay spiritually prepared. After that, Paul gives a wonderful list of simple instructions for true Christian living.

Take some time to read 1 Thessalonians 5 now. Enjoy and be inspired! Plus, pick two or three mandates from Paul’s list, write them down and set a goal to focus on practicing them in your daily life for the next week.