Interpreting Revelation

Chapter 4 – Rules for Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature

A literal hermeneutic unlocks biblical mysteries.

Apocalyptic literature is catastrophic in nature associated with the end times; the end of the world as we know it. Is it fiction or fact? To uncover the truth, application of the biblical laws of truth and their ramifying sublaws for the specific discipline under investigation is obligatory. In the discipline of theology, those sublaws are summarized in the literal historical hermeneutic (rules for accurate interpretation). Even in apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation, the literal hermeneutic takes every word literally in context unless it would be absurd, break a law or sublaw of truth, or is already defined in the Bible.

Apocalyptic literature is arguably the most difficult literature in Scripture to interpret, especially discerning between literal and symbolic meanings for a word. God knew this and gave the apostle John a crash course in Apocalyptic Interpretation 101. In Revelation, Jesus was holding “stars” in His hands. What are they? real stars (concluding He controls the universe); round brilliant, fiery objects (concluding He can throw missiles); or bright lights (concluding He illuminates the world)? The true interpretation is not based on our own experiences. God tells us what the stars are: “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.”[1] Angels have human form.[2] His lesson is this: the symbol (star) does not indicate the shape, size, color, or physical appearance of the literal object it represents (an angel). The Bible will tell us the meaning. Jesus is the Lamb, but He does not have four legs. The Jews knew this because they were saturated with the Bible’s Old Testament (OT) language wherein stars represented angels.[3] Either the immediate context, or a word study from other biblical writers (other “eye-witnesses” such as prophets who heard God’s words directly) reveals the meaning.

            When we follow God’s laws of truth and the sublaws that emanate from them (the rules of hermeneutics), the result is the literal historical hermeneutic. Interpreting Revelation is easy with the literal hermeneutic. The literal hermeneutic takes every word literally in context unless it would be absurd, break a law or sublaw of truth, or is already defined in the Bible.

A Literal Hermeneutic

            There are four simple rules (based on the biblical laws of truth and sublaws; the basic rules of hermeneutics) for interpreting apocalyptic literature such as Revelation.[4] Their foundation is a literal hermeneutic.

            1. Every word or passage that can be taken literally will be taken literally.

                        For example, every fact provided in Scripture indicates that the seven churches of Revelation were seven historical churches during the first century. The first of the seven churches was Ephesus. John was writing to the Ephesians in Revelation. Ephesians is the first church in Revelation. Paul wrote to them in the book of Ephesians. Therefore, the seven churches are literal churches during the first century. Another interpretation holds that each church is an allegorical time period. This view requires multitudinous assumptions with numerous contradictions of certain facts given in all relevant passages. It cannot be true. Therefore, take everything literally, unless a literal interpretation would be absurd, contradicts Scripture, or breaks sound hermeneutical rules.

            2. When a literal interpretation would be absurd, the passage is metaphorical.

                        A literal interpretation is used for Revelation. “Literal” means that the passage is interpreted according to sound laws and rules for hermeneutics: literal objects are interpreted literally, absurd objects are metaphorical. (i.e. Jesus is the lamb. Since He does not have four legs; “lamb” is metaphorical.) “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings,” (Psa 17:8). It would be absurd to think that God has wings and is a bird. Therefore, “the shadow of Your wings” is metaphorical and (in the context) represents the loving protection of God.

            At the beginning of Revelation, God Himself gives instructions for interpreting apocalyptic literal: “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”[5] Just as Jesus does not physically look like a lamb, so the true objects (angels and churches) do not look anything like their metaphorical representations (stars and lampstands). Metaphors provide deeper understanding on a level different from of the symbolic objects: “Lamb” represents the character and mission of Jesus, not His appearance.

            3. Any interpretation of apocalyptic literature that breaks the laws of truth or basic rules of hermeneutics is unreliable.

            4. “Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” is important for an accurate interpretation (Matt 4:4).

            5. Occam’s Razor says that the maximum of facts with the minimum of assumptions gives the highest probability of accuracy.

            When an interpretation is based on ignoring facts given by Scripture, contradicting words in Scripture, twisting, redefining, adding excessive assumptions, creating meanings foreign to the Bible, subtracting words . . . , it has a high probability of error. Occam’s Razor maximizes facts and minimizes assumptions. Thus, the simplest interpretation (based on facts) has a higher probability of accuracy than complex interpretations (incorporating complex assumptions).

The 144,000 in Revelation

            For example, in Dr. Oral Collins’ book, The Final Prophecy of Jesus: An Introduction, Analysis, and Commentary on the Book of Revelation, he considers Revelation to be “drama”; primarily symbolic in style.[6] He rejects the literal, face-value reading of many verses. Therefore, many words are fluff (inconsequential to interpretation) used only for dramatic effect. One topic in Revelation that should be simple to interpret to the point of boring (but please stay with me) is who are the 144,000? (If we cannot rightly interpret this simple idea, we will be lost in the complex symbolisms of Revelation.[7])

            There are only two passages in the Bible on the 144,000 (Rev 7:4-8 and 14:1-5) providing a total of 70 facts on the subject. Collins accepts 17 of these facts (25%) and the rest he contradicts, ignores, or twists as fluff (75%). His conclusion was that the 144,000 will be all Christians (men, women, and children) across all nations from all times. He believes this was the church’s traditional interpretation. Sounds good, but contradicting 75% of the biblical facts on a biblical topic is not good: first, because it leads to error and second, because it teaches poor thinking. Those 70 facts fall into over 10 categories. Here is a chart that clarifies the literal words of Scripture compared to Collins’ new view of those words based on a vast complexity of underlying assumptions he uses to reject literal meanings:

          Scripture says:                           Collins says:

            Collins used “a drama method” cherry picking his facts then remolding them to fit his predetermined conclusion. The conclusion was a creation from imagination backed by ecclesiastic authority figures and complex, convoluted, conflicting reasoning to justify a meaning that no average Christian would ever see in this passage by him- or herself. His conclusion is not in the two passages on the subject or anywhere else in Scripture on the 144,000. There is no scriptural support. You have to be taught it from an authority figure, believe that authority, reject numerous facts given on the topic in the Bible, then superimpose his reasoning on top of the simple words of the Bible, in order to choose his conclusion.

            (Wait until you find yourself doing this with a beloved, popular, powerful, prestigious church leader(s), and then one day you read a Bible passage for the umpteenth time and suddenly–for the first time–it dawns on you that Jesus’ words contradict the words of this greatly admired authority figure. I went years believing three (just 3!) words commonly taught (on another secondary issue), believed, and followed from the greatest to the least in church, until one day I read Jesus’ simple words as they were written; words which clearly and directly contradicted those three words of human authorities that could not be found anywhere in Scripture. It took me about a year—a year!—of reading over and over and over the words of Jesus to try to twist, ignore, supplant, redefine, avalanche the literal words in the Bible with the complex church-created doctrines so that I could keep peace . . . until in time, I started reading the three words of Jesus in context, according to sound hermeneutical rules in an in depth topical study across Scripture, . . . and finally I gave in: Jesus was right. People who contradicted Jesus were wrong. “Buy truth, do not sell it,” (Proverbs 23:23) Boy, was I going to pay a high price for that truth! It took me a year to change, so I understood when no one else wanted to change; the wrong interpretation was a lot happier and the right interpretation was a lot more painful. But those three words, when we get them wrong are dangerous, deceptive, and deadly; eventually, many people (deceived in pseudo-happiness) will suffer and die needlessly when they get these three words wrong. Any time we contradict Jesus, we weaken in soul and flounder in harm’s way. Today, I look back in amazement–why did the church and I make it so complicated? If I had just believed Jesus’ literal, explicit, clear words from a face-value reading from the beginning–like a child–it would have been a simple stroll in the light.)

            The “puzzle method” for interpreting Scripture carefully pulls out each fact then like pieces to a puzzle fits each and every one into the big picture–the final interpretation. You don’t create the final interpretation, you discover it. When we do this with the 70 facts given to us by Scripture, the 144,000 are exactly who Scripture says they are: 144,000 Jewish Christian men (Christians because they follow Jesus wherever He goes and have been purchased by His blood, Rev 14:4) who return from heaven with Jesus to rule with Him on Mount Zion. Out of the facts emanates the conclusion: They are His central government for global rule with headquarters in Jerusalem. The rest of the believers from every nation coming from heaven and raptured from earth will spread out across the earth as His eventual network government (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 2:26; 20:6). That is the simple, logical, and reasonable interpretation following sound hermeneutics using ALL 70 facts with integrity (no contradictions, leaving words out, changing meanings, etc.) given in Scripture on the topic leading logically to the resulting conclusion.

Drying the Euphrates River and Armageddon

            Let’s take one more example; again, nothing too emotional. Consider one verse in Revelation: “the drying up of the Euphrates River to prepare the way for the kings of the east” (Rev 16:12) for “Har-Magedon” (aka Armageddon, Rev 16:16). Collins says that this river does not refer to a river, nor to the drying up of water, but is a “symbol for the country associated with that river.” So he links the river to “the ‘drying up’ of the Turkish Empire” by 1917 or 1918.[9] A thin thread of conjecture connects the Bible to this historical event without any contextual evidence. Again, the simple, face-value reading of the Bible is rejected for an exotic interpretation that only brilliant men can come up with. The reformers’ doctrine of perspicuity (clarity) is lost. No Christian reading this for her- or himself could ever come up with this interpretation on their own.

            On Har-Magedon (Armageddon), the literal, grammatical-historical hermeneutic incorporates the facts as presented in the Bible. So the Euphrates River is the Euphrates River (Rev 16:12). God says He dries it up to allow great armies from the east to invade Jerusalem against Jesus Christ initiating the war of Har-Magedon (Rev 16:16). This is in context. The Euphrates and Har-Magedon are only four verses apart in the same passage.

            Since the Bible says that the river will dry up, then the literal waters desiccate. Science (the study of God’s creation) can reveal if the biblical prophecy is beginning to occur. Sure enough, today the Euphrates is in the process of drying up for a number of geo-political–as well as meteorological–reasons causing much stress between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq all of whom need the water.[10]  (We will go into more details on the Euphrates River in Chapter 11–Terrestrial Waters in Revelation and Science.)

           All truth is God’s truth. Commence with the Bible (God’s word), and if the topic literally speaks–in context–about the land, the sea, the waters, or the sky–anything on this planet–then take a look at science (God’s creation) to investigate the possibility of supporting evidence to determine if that prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled today. It is.

            Revelation is not that hard to interpret when “the magic, mysticism, and drama” from imagination is taken out, and the simple reading by the average Christian using a literal hermeneutic is left in. Jesus said that these truths “have been hidden . . . from the wise and intelligent and have been revealed to infants,” (Luke 10:21). Everything that can be taken literally is taken literally. Anything that would be absurd, contradict Scripture, or break other hermeneutical rules (if taken literally) is symbolic/metaphorical/figurative. Even children can get this.

                [1] Rev 1:20.

                [2] Ezek 1:5; 10:20.

                [3] Isa 14:13

                [4] Ezek 1; 10; 37:1-14; Jdgs 9.

                [5] Rev 1:20.

                [6] Oral Collins, The Final Prophecy of Jesus: An Introduction, Analysis, and Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007) 17.  

                [7] Luke 16:10.

                [8] Collins, 160.  Rev 7:9, 14, “A great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes.” Collins states, “The setting of the vision here is ‘Mount Zion,’ the earthly Jerusalem” (329). Given the small size of the city of Jerusalem, placing countless multi-millions in this setting is absurd. The 144,000 in Jerusalem is reasonable. The 144,000 do not stay in Jerusalem for just an hour, they are permanently assigned to close proximity to the Lord Jesus (Rev 14:4); since He will rule the world from Jerusalem; they will rule under Him in Jerusalem.

                [9] Ibid., 376.

                [10] The intervention of God including miracles can either be instantaneous (turning water into wine) or progressive (the three-year drought during the days of Elijah). Progressive miracles are God’s mercy giving time for believers to prepare and unbelievers to repent. 

                [11] “The Four Apocalyptic Horses” by Jeronym Pelikovsky on “Desolate Road” by Matt Heinrichs on “End of the World Soldier” by Comfreak on “City Explosion Building on Lake” Icheinfach on; Apocalypse. (C.f. Rafido Digital Art ( February 15, 2012. Image “Child’s Hand Pointing to Words in the Bible as She or He Reads” by ambermb from Pixabay. (Pixabay: Bible study, Bible, hand, child, open Bible)

Earth's System Dynamics

Chapter 7 – The Complex Global System of Revelation

God’s judgment affects global lands, oceans, terrestrial waters, and skies

Global collapse of civilization surrounds the Second Coming of Jesus. [7]

Revelation is a complex system, not linear events, portraying global collapse and world war surrounding the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Revelation is a complex system, not a simple, linear sequence of events. As an analogy, World War II was a complex system composed of protagonists (Eisenhower as overall commander of the Alliance) and antagonists (Hitler and the Axis), each with multiple armies across many nations across time. In books, an author may analyze the war from the perspective of key players, countries, continents, or oceans. In that system, everything affected everything in the struggle for world domination (democracy versus totalitarianism).

            In the same way, Revelation is a complex system composed of Christ (over angels and believers) and Satan (over demons and unbelievers, including the beast), each with multiple armies across all nations in massive interaction as they each struggle to rule the world (good versus evil). Revelation presents this war from numerous perspectives.

            One simple proof that Revelation is a system is that the second coming of Jesus is directly or indirectly included in every major part of the book. For example, His one-and-only second advent occurs in the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls, which by the way, are the primary locations of global warming events and their ramifications. Global warming surrounds the second coming.

            The bird’s-eye view of the seals, trumpets, and bowls displays the fact that the Lord Jesus alone is worthy to open the seals meaning that He alone is qualified before God to rule heaven and earth. The seals determine the rise and fall of nations during end-time events before, during, and after the Lord’s second coming.[1] Within the domain of the seals–under their umbrella–are the trumpets that gradually interact with and escalate to a tipping point–the bowls.[2] And yet, the fourth bowl (fierce heat) has already begun, will slowly escalate, spread, then fall of the cliff  (cross a critical threshold) igniting roaring destruction.

            Earth’s lands, oceans, waters, and skies along with population growth and limited resources, are in  a complex web of interaction existing in fluid states of constructive integration or destructive disintegration. This is a dynamic physical system. This physical world is controlled by the spiritual world.

            The Lord Jesus on heaven’s throne opens the seventh seal giving rise to the seven trumpets. Seven angels blow the seven trumpets.[3] Christ on heaven’s throne has authority and power over everything in the seals as well as over the seven angels with trumpets who are great commanders of massive angelic armies with specific missions.[4] Events portrayed in the trumpets gradually progress, amplify, and cross a critical threshold into nonlinear events; “The seven bowls” is another code name for seven more high ranking angelic commanders and their armies executing missions of global catastrophic proportions including “fierce heat.

            While the seals, trumpets, and bowls are the key passages on global disintegration, they function within the larger structure of the entire book of Revelation, which is simplified in the following chart presenting a literary structure found in seven sets of seven: 7 blessings; 7 churches; 7 seals; 7 angels with trumpets; 7 angels with bowls; 7 angels and the Son of Man; 7 angels of thunder.

            The most obvious key to unraveling this complex system is to note where and how many times the one-and-only second coming of Jesus is either explicitly or implicitly located. Scripture only records one second coming of Jesus to earth–not two comings, not two parts to a coming, not an invisible and visible coming, not a secret and a spectacular coming (sets of twos describing two comings are not found in the Bible). Jesus says that “after the tribulation” when He appears in the clouds, all the tribes of the earth will see Him, and then He will bring all the Christians from heaven (who previously died on earth) and gather all the Christians from earth (aka the rapture). (Combine Mark 13:27-29 with Matthew 24:29-31 for all these facts on His return explicitly and clearly stated by the Lord Himself; He is the ultimate expert on His second coming.[5]) The fact that this spectacular, one-time advent shows up in set after set reveals that these sets are not always sequential but often consecutive, overlapping, interacting, cycling, or revealing different facets of the same event, operation, or time. Thus, Revelation is systemic.

            In the Interrelation Chart of Revelation below, the second coming of Jesus is noted in bold print (2nd Coming of Jesus) approximately where it occurs in the timing in each set. Since Jesus stated that He would return “after the tribulation,” then His coming is placed accordingly. Har-Magedon (Armageddon) is marked in italics (Har-Magedon) with a symbol under it representing the war (the icon looks like a little explosion). Asterisks (*) indicate that one event is mentioned in two or more places, such as the fall of mountains shows up in the sixth seal and in the seventh bowl. Numerous arrows point out interrelationships of facts given for events across the sets. The circle of arrows indicates a complex feedback cycle of intensifying situations. 

            The first four trumpets, the first four bowls, and the first four seals in the chart below are interactive, create a vicious cycle, and worsen over time until a critical threshold (tipping point, hockey stick) drops them over a cliff of runaway global warming and adverse conditions for all life that no one can stop leading to the collapse of civilization in the sixth seal, the seventh trumpet, and the seventh bowl.[6]

Interrelation Chart of Revelation:

Seven Sets of Seven

            The purpose of the Interrelation Chart of Revelation is to point out that Revelation is a complex, dynamic system. The trumpets, seals, and bowls are massive angelic military operations in coordination with the saints under the Commander and Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ, in this great endeavor to retake planet earth from the global tyrant–the beast–who has murdered millions. (It must be noted that while God uses forces of good to accomplish His purposes, He can also allow Satan, his demonic hoards, and unregenerate mortals to play their part in the destruction of the world. He turns us over to our evil desires–a terrifying act in righteous judgment.) Each set of sevens looks at this overall system from a different angle.

            There is a general chronology of events within this system. A simplified timeline according to relevant verses throughout Scripture is given below:

The Chronology in Revelation

                [1] Seals are in Rev 5; 6; 8:1-6.

                [2] Rev 8:1-2, The Lamb broke the seventh seal . . . the seven angels . . . were given (seven trumpets).”

                [3] Trumpets – Rev 8; 9; 11:15-19.

                [4] Since Christ is over the first four seals (the four horsemen that are under the command of the four living creatures), then the horseman on the white horse cannot be Christ Himself as some believe.

                [5] Mark 13:24-27, “After that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.” Matt 24:29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, and He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

                [6] Rev 6:12-17; 11:15-19; 16:17-21.

                [7] “Jesus Christ Revelation” by pixundfertig on Pixabay. “Armageddon Disaster” by Pete Linforth on Pixabay. Pixabay: apocalypse.

Bible and Science Merge

Chapter 14 – Global Collapse of Civilization and the Second Coming

Destruction of Land, Seas, Waters, and Skies

The Bible says that the earth is going to get very hot (Revelation 16:9). [4]

Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927), a Swedish scientist who received the Nobel prize for chemistry (1903), was the first to use principles of physical chemistry to determine the extent to which atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) was responsible for earth’s increasing surface temperature; as CO2 levels rose so would earth’s temperature. [9]
Every day since 1958, geochemist Charles David Keeling took daily measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from Mount Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Over the years, the slope of the graph was a steady upward proof that CO2 was increasing globally year by year and finally passed 400 ppm in 2013. Today (2020), it has reached 417 ppm. Before the industrial revolution started (1750s), CO2 was below 280 ppm. [10] Sawtooth line: High points were winter data when the northern hemisphere’s forests lost their leaves emitting CO2 (carbon source), while the bottom points were summer data when leaves of forests were a carbon sink. Given the current trajectory, the latest scientific studies (July 2020) have declared an almost certain probability that atmospheric CO2 will double (from 280 to 560 ppm) within 50 years catapulting global warming over the tipping point leading into a new state of the planet more hostile to life.

            The 2nd Coming of Jesus will be surrounded by extreme events and global collapse on the horizon today caused by humankind. See charts and graphs.

Summary graphs and charts

The complex cycling of interacting global systems on a collision course with the collapse of civilization is best understood in graphs and charts. They are a quick summary of what scientists discover in nature and children read in the Bible. The earth is on fire. The oceans are dying. The waters are dirty. The skies are warming. The Bible and science say this is happening; it will get worse; it will devastate the planet.

            First, as thousands of scientists around the world track global warming, it is clear that all of the geophysical and ecological disasters are not only tied together but are either already starting or are a real possibility within this century and could ignite catastrophic situations for every nation on earth. Revelation says they will.

            To get a grip on the Himalayan mountain of incoming scientific data, a number of reputable researchers and organizations have tried to assimilate, organize, and communicate scientific findings in a simplified way for the general public.[1] Among them, National Geographic created the documentary DVD Six Degrees. Mark Lynas wrote Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. He researched the scientific data showing what the earth will look like as the global temperature rises one degree at a time up to six degrees. At five to six degrees warming–as James Hansen, the former director at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who testified before Congress warning that global warming was in full swing, concluded,  the collapse of all civilizations on earth would ensue if the excessive use of earth’s resources, especially fossil fuels, did not stop. Revelation says that they will not.[2]

Be sure to read “Mark Lynas’s book ‘Six Degrees’: [5] “Six Degrees is . . . a massive synthesis of a very large selection of scientific research papers . . . (and) how global warming would affect humans and their world, if allowed to proceed.” February 29, 2020

Summary of Charts and Graphs

            The first chart is What Happens as Global Warming Goes Up One Degree at a Time to Six Degrees.

            The second chart, Revelation’s Prophecies & Scientists’ Predictions for Global Warming, will compare Revelation’s prophecies and the data collected by scientists around the world providing predictions for climate change, global warming, and destruction of life-sustaining resources. The majority of qualified, credible scientists warn that–with “business as usual”–the current trajectory will end in global catastrophe and the collapse of civilization. This agrees with Jesus’ words in Revelation (“the cities of the nations fell,” “the kings . . . hid in caves,” . . . Rev 16:15, 19; Isa 24).

            The third, a graph entitled Comparison of Revelation, Global Resources, and World Population will compare (1) Revelation’s trumpets, bowls, and seals in regard to the decline of land, seas, waters, and skies; (2) global resources; and (3) world population (which is estimated to rise to between 10 and 20 billion by 2100).

            This graph, which is a combination of both biblical and scientific data, projects the state of the planet into the near future. It is fairly intuitive. The land, oceans, and waters (involved in a complex system including earth’s skies with rains or droughts) are being torn down and becoming aversive to life. Eventually, food and water (life-sustaining resources) will hit a critical crossroads* with earth’s population, which is on a steady rise heading for 12 to 20 billion people by 2100. At this critical threshold, life-sustaining resources will be insufficient to support a rising population. The world crosses a tipping point and shifts into a new state; the worst case scenario of climate change ramifications and Revelation’s nightmare of God’s judgment (Rev 14:7). Jesus metaphorically described this time as terrifying events in the sun, moon, and stars–and born again Christians will be there (Matt 24:29-31 and Mark 13:24-27).

            Simply put, if earth’s lands and waters cannot produce enough life-sustaining resources for the global rise in population, then massive death will ensue during a global collapse. Revelation’s four horsemen will ride hard (Rev 6:1-8). Size of population is in direct proportion to food supply. That is a basic biological principle for any species, especially one numbering 7 billion, still growing, and wastefully devouring the planet. The Bible says humankind is destroying the earth (Rev 11:18). Land, oceans, waters, and skies are becoming aversive to life (more fires, less fish, more pollution, higher greenhouse gases, etc.). Science observes that humankind is on the path of environmental destruction, racing toward a sixth extinction, on a collision course with global catastrophe.

The Antichrist and Armageddon

            When the stress is high enough and nations are broken enough, they will unite under one man to solve the problems. In darkest deception, the world will embrace him hoping for a return to the days of peace and prosperity. Instead, they will discover to late, that to accomplish his goals, he is “the man of lawlessness . . . the son of destruction.” (2 Thess 2:3). When Christ returns with all His glorious angels and resurrected saints, the world will reject Him. The son of destruction with the support of the seven strongest nations on earth and the ten most powerful magnates (and their international corporations) will drive the peoples into World War III; aka Har-Magedon (Armageddon). This is the war between the Antichrist and Jesus Christ to determine who will rule the world. God will step in with His bowls of wrath and then both Revelation’s and Isaiah’s words will be fulfilled: “Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants,” (Isa 24).

Global Warming Leading to Global Disintegration

            The following charts take us into that period of global devastation. Both the Bible and science say this is our current trajectory.

            The collapse of global civilization involves a complex system of global warming (maybe up to 6 degrees at which large parts of the earth are uninhabitable due to high heat and mass extinction of animals and plants occurs); of global destruction of land, oceans, waters, and aversive alteration of the atmosphere; and of loss of life-sustaining resources that could lead to Anthropocene mass extinction. Revelation does not indicate human extinction, however, “man will be scarcer than pure gold,” (Isa 13:12). This complex system of global disintegration is captured in three charts.

What Happens as Global Warming Goes Up One Degree at a Time to Six Degrees[3]

               The general chart is information taken from Mark Lynas’ book Six Degrees. Words in italics come from a wide variety of top scientific sources with multiple sources on each topic.

1˚ increase in global temperature

  • Sand dunes spread across Nebraska as a new mega-drought spreads across the Great Plains. (Scientists have said that the mega-drought has already started in the Southwest.)
  • Kilimanjaro loses the last of its glacier. (85% disappeared between 1912 and 2011. The rest will be gone by 2040.)
  • Tropical coral reefs are bleaching and dying due to hotter oceans. (50% died off in the last 30 years. Up to 90% will be gone by 2050. 25% or all marine creatures depend on reefs for propagation and survival.)

2˚ increase in global temperature

  • 2°C increase could occur as early as 2030 according to the Met Office (U.K.’s national meteorological service).
  • Whole marine food chain is endangered as oceans warm and gradually acidify from extra atmospheric CO2. By 2048, most marine species of fish will be on a path to extinction. Most bleached coral reefs will die for good. The Arctic will be ice free in the summers. Sea level rise could hit a foot and present coastal cities with increased flood risks like Superstorm Sandy.
  • Many summers produce heat waves as hot as the extreme summer in 2003 when 70,000 died from the heat in Europe. England’s Guardian Newspaper wrote the 2003 heatwave devastated crops of wheat and other grains across Europe. Russia’s wheat crop fell by 75%. As of 2020, Northern China is already experiencing severe water shortages. Droughts in California, Peru, and India will follow. With rising heat, rice and wheat crops will suffer substantial losses.
  • Greenland’s ice sheet is doomed to melt causing the seas to rise. When the sheet is gone, it will raise the sea level by 23 feet. The current melt rate was not expected until 2070. Melting at increasing rates, Greenland has lost 286 gigatons of ice per year.

Greenland coastal island losing glaciers. [6]

3˚ increase in global temperature

  • 3°C increase could occur by 2050.
  • “Instead of absorbing CO2, vegetation and soils start releasing it in massive quantities, as soil bacteria work faster to break down organic matter in a hotter environment, and plant growth goes into reverse.” [7]
  • Open ocean appears at the North Pole as the whole Arctic Sea ice cap disappears completely. The seas continue to rise flooding coastal cities around the world. 95% of old Arctic ice is gone. Between 1979 and 2019, the Arctic has lost for good ice the size of Alaska. The Arctic will be ice free from 2 to 4 months a year between 2040 and 2060.
  • Category 6 hurricanes strike tropical coastlines around the world (extremes of weather). Category 5 (measured by 157 mph or higher) is the highest we have. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled during the last 35 years. More and more hurricanes are spreading to strange places they have never been before, like cyclone Kenneth in northern Mozambique.
  • Most of the Amazon rainforest dries up and burns down replaced by desert and savannah. 20% of the Amazon rainforest is gone today (2020). 20,000 sq. mi. a year are vanishing. At 25%, the Amazon will begin the transition from forest into savannah. Other major forests undergoing heatwaves will suffer as well.

The megafires of 2014 in Canada’s Northwest Territories blazed an area the size of Maryland (7 million acres) releasing half as much carbon back into the atmosphere as all the plants and trees that Canada typically absorbs in one year. Credit: NASA/Peter Griffith [8]

  • Proliferation of diseases and epidemics will infect large populations. Climate change will increase the spread of vector-borne diseases.
  • With famine spreading across the subtropics, hundreds of millions of people will die or move. Masses moving to other populated areas will mean conflict, disintegration of cultures, loss of land, and social collapse as climate nomads search continually for survival.

4˚ increase in global temperature

  • IPCC said a 4˚C increase could occur by 2060.
  • Arctic permafrost crosses tipping point releasing huge quantities of the powerful greenhouse gas methane (CH4), which is 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2), causing runaway global warming. There is about 1,400 gigatons (billion tons) of carbon (especially methane) locked in the permafrost. (850 gigatons of carbon is in earth’s atmosphere.) According to the Yale School of Environment, 40% of permafrost will be gone by 2100 (i.e. about 40% of methane will be released from ice into the atmosphere).
  • Arctic permafrost melts releasing millions of tons of CH4.
  • West Antarctic ice sheet in danger of collapse . . . flooding coastal cities with sea level rise. At the end of June 2020, scientists declared that Antarctica was warming 3xs faster than the rest of the world. When it melts totally, the seas will rise by 190 feet. As early as 2050, with only a 2 to 7 foot rise, cities under water will include NYC, San Diego, Shanghai, Bangkok, London, and more.
  • New deserts spread in southern Europe as the last snow and ice vanishes from the Alps. Up to 90% of the Alps’, the Himalayan, and the Andes’ glaciers will be gone by 2100.
  • If China’s growth rates continue linearly, then by 2030 the Chinese will consume 30% more oil than the world currently produces and eat 2/3 of current global production. There are limits to growth and production that will bring about Revelation’s prophecies of massive death (Rev 6:8).

5˚ increase in global temperature

  • At the current rate of increase of global warming, a 5°C increase could happen before 2100. (This is probably the highest temperature a remnant of humanity can sustain.)
  • Lynas refers to the five degree world as “largely unrecognizable.”
  • Land areas are hotter than ocean areas. Land may be 10°C by that time. Northern Russia and Canada will become prime real estate.
  • Temperatures in the Arctic Ocean rise as warm as the Mediterranean and all mountain glaciers disappear. Severe water stress occurs for at least a third of the inhabited planet.
  • Rising ocean temperatures make the Arctic suitable for alligators. Such warm temperatures also cause ocean anoxia; cutting off oxygen to deep waters will cause mass extinction of sea creatures at those levels.
  • Hundreds of millions of climate refugees are still on the march searching for food and water. Food production will greatly decline in hot areas. In many hot areas, survival without cooling shelter will only be possible for a few hours.
  • Searing heat waves make subtropical regions uninhabitable and all rainforests die.

6˚ increase in global temperature

  • At the current rate, a 6°C rise in temperature is possible by 2100 or in the earth next century. Personally, from scientific studies, it would look like extinction of the human race–which is not in any passage in the Bible.
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide would be above 1,000 ppm.
  • Huge uninhabitable areas span the entire global surface.
  • Intense global storm activity.
  • All life in the oceans dies.
  • Human civilization collapses due to the pressures of conflict and diminishing resources.
  • Mass extinction of many plants and animals plus much loss of human life ensues.

            Lynas provides a powerful summary in “Six Degrees” (p. 279) of the major facts: One Degree between .1° to 1.0° C with 350 ppm of CO2. (We have 417 ppm’s by 2020. The temperature is catching up.) Two Degrees between 1.1° to 2.0° C with 400 ppm. ( Global heat is catching up.) Three Degrees between 2.1° to 3.° C by 2030 at 450 ppm. Four Degrees between 3.1° to 4.0° C by 2050 at 550 ppm. (Methane feedback is in full swing.) Five Degrees between 4.1° to 5.0° C at 650 ppm. Six Degrees between 5.1° to 5.8° C at 800 ppm.

            Most scientists agree–as summarize by Lynas–that above 2°C, a chain reaction of interactive feedbacks could be set off. At 2°C the Amazon is mostly gone adding another 250 ppm of CO2 into the atmosphere and an additional 1.5°C of warming. That would push the world to 4° C, which would release all CH4 from melted permafrost, adding another degree that cascades into 6°C. So if we hit much more than 2°C, the chances of avoiding runaway global warming decrease considerably.

Revelation’s Prophecies & Scientists’ Predictions for Global Warming

Revelation in the Bible Says :

HOT: The sun became so hot that it scorched men with fierce heat (Rev 16:9)

BURN: A third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the grass was burned up (Rev 8:7)

OCEANS: A third of ocean life dies then 100% of all life in the seas dies (Rev 8:8-9; 16:3).

WATERS: A third of the terrestrial waters become like wormwood (a bitter taste) causing many to die. The Euphrates River dries up. (Rev 8:10-11; 16:4-5, 12-16)

SKIES: The sun, moon, and stars are darkened (Rev 8:12). [This can be either literal or figurative representing great catastrophes. I believe it is both.]

FAMINES: Great famines take untold millions (Rev 6:6,8; Deut 28:23-24, 48, 62).

WARS: Wars spread causing great loss of life (Rev 6:4,8; Deut 28:25-26, 33, 49-52).

EXTREMES: One-hundred-pound hailstones signify extreme weather conditions; masses die (Rev 16:21; Deut 28:24, 59).

PLAGUES: Disease, pestilence, malignant sores will scourge large populations causing great suffering and/or death (Rev 6:8; 16:2; Deut 28:22, 27, 35, 59-61).

FALL OF CIVILIZATION: The fall of all governments and collapse of all civilizations takes place. “The cities of the nations fell.” God will “destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 6:15-17; 16:19; 11:18; Deut 28:16, 20, 63-66).

Scientists Across the Nations Say :

HOT: The earth becomes so hot that huge areas across the globe become uninhabitable

BURN: The Amazon rainforests and all other forests in the tropical zones dry and burn leaving deserts. Central US becomes desert.

OCEANS: As the oceans heat up and acidify, pollution and overfishing decimate, animal and plant life decreases until it is completely dead. AMOC will slow or stop. There are already 500 dead zones.

WATERS: All glaciers (which supply large rivers) disappear. Large deserts appear when streams and rivers dry up. Increased CO2 and SO2 from melting subarctic tundra and dying oceans leak into the atmosphere acidifying oceans, rivers, and lakes. (Acid has a bitter taste!) CH4 escapes from melting permafrost.

SKIES: As tropical and temperate forests dry massive fires take millions of acres. The Amazon will eventually burn to the ground as will many other forests. Wars will add to the destruction. Fires blacken the sky. Extreme weather and pollution also darken skies.

FAMINES: With the droughts, loss of crops and herds, famines spread across the globe.

WARS: Nations war over dwindling resources, especially food and water.

EXTREMES: Extreme weather will be a regular occurrence around the globe causing great loss of life.

PLAGUES: Proliferation of diseases, epidemics, and pandemics will take millions of lives.

FALL OF CIVILIZATION: Migrations of masses, nations at war, disruption of governments, disintegration of civilization, famines, plagues, water stress across the planet leads to “Anthropocene Mass Extinction”: Man destroys the earth.

            Comparison of Revelation, Global Resources, and World Population

Top Line: Destruction of Land, Sea, Water, Sky

Middle Line: Global Resources (food & water)

Bottom Line: World Population

Top Line: Destruction of Land, Sea, Water, Sky The 4 trumpets (angelic armies and humankind) are tearing down the land, oceans, terrestrial waters, and atmosphere today.  The upswing for a short period is the work of the beast/Antichrist who unites the nations, radically decreases  the  population by billions through the great tribulation, improves the land, and shares food and water. The world is astounded, until God pours out the bowls of wrath on the lands, oceans, waters, and atmosphere. 

Middle Line: Global Resources (food & water) Earth’s food and water support the masses due to technology. However, when population crosses over life resources at the star (*), that is the critical threshold where population needs surpasses the food and water supplies. Both population and life resources painfully decline (after reserves are gone) destabilizing governments and throwing the world into crisis. The Antichrist returns and executes millions; thus improving the quantity of life and resources available for those left. This is the second hill on the graph. When God pours out the bowls, everything goes down. 

Bottom Line: World Population The world population peeks between 10 to 12 billion (optimistically), then declines due to degradation of land, oceans, waters, and atmosphere controlling the production of food and water. The second big drop off the cliff is the great tribulation. When it ends, the population levels off. Jesus returns “after that tribulation,” (Mark 13:24-27; Matt 24:29-31). The world is enraged, and God pours out the bowls–including His response to Har-Magedon–the third great drop off plummeting the population till man is scarcer that Solomon’s gold. Civilization collapses. Jesus rises as the King of kings. He and the resurrected from all the ages ruling over mortals will return the earth to Eden.     

                [1] James Hansen, Storms of My Grandchildren; The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity (New York: Bloomsbury, 2009). Bill McKibben, Eaarth; Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011). Thomas L. Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008). Friedman was a Pulitzer prize winner. Mark Lynas, Six Degrees; Our Future on a Hotter Planet (Washington D.C.: National Geographic arranged by Harper Collins, 2008). Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth; The Crisis of Global Warming (New York, NY: Viking, 2006). David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (New York, NY: Duggan Books, 2019).

                [2] Ibid.

                [3] The DVD was created by National Geographic based on the book written by Mark Lynas, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, Published by National Geographic Society, by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. © 2008 Mark Lynas. The above summary (excluding words in italics) is given at the end of the DVD entitled “Six Degrees” with a few details added from the book.

                [4] “Child Reading Bible” Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

                [5] Mark Lynas, Wikimedia Commons: Mark Lynas. If you click his photo it will take you to “Mark Lynas’s ‘Sic Degrees'” A Summary Review” found at on February 29, 2020.

                [6] “Greenland coastal island” losing glacier. Image courtesy Turello and Wikimedia Commons. Also found in article on Mark Lynas and “Six Degrees” [5].

               [7] Carbon feedback cycles. Cox et al. (2000) published a scientific study entitled “Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model.” The unstable 3 degree C world would reach the “tipping point” pushing the world into 4 degrees C. This was primarily because much of the Amazon rain forest would collapse and die back under heat and dry conditions.

               [8] “Northwest Territory Fires of 2014” by NASA/ Peter Griffith. C.f.’s-future. Google NASA free images fires.

               [9] Photo of Svante Arrhenius, the Swedish scientist that discovered global warming from increasing  CO2 concentrations. Found on in the Public Domain.  

               [10] Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Image of  “Charles David Keeling and his namesake Keeling Curve.”