Categories
Revelation in the Old Testament (OT)

Chapter 6 – The Prophets and Revelation

God’s judgment of sin can bring down a nation or a planet.


Bark beetles spreading north with global warming killing whole forests of millions of trees–forests losing carbon sink and ready for fire. Both forests show dead trees (in forest on the right, dead trees are red) infected by beetles. Climate refugees from droughts and floods could increase to 1.4 billion by 2060. Extreme weather–as in the Ten Plagues of Moses–will be the new norm. [17]

Moses’ ten plagues of Egypt brought down a nation. Revelation’s plagues will bring down all nations. The process is the same; God does not change (Mal 3:6).

           The general process that God used in judgment to bring down one nation in the Bible will–during the days of Revelation—move across the globe to cause the collapse of civilization removing the rule of men in preparation for the rule of His Son, Jesus Christ on earth. God does not change (Mal 3:6). Humankind is forewarned. The plagues of Moses—forewarned in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 28-29, by Moses himself to both Israel and Egypt–appeared as miracles happening over a short time to one nation. The plagues of Revelation (the last book in the New Testament) are a longer, broader process happening to every nation on earth.

God is merciful giving time to repent or to prepare as we see the coming judgment.

            Nevertheless, the results will be the same; the withdrawal of life-sustaining resources placing populations in peril–Egypt then and the planet now.

            For example, consider the proliferation of insects in Egypt during the ten plagues, which attacked plants, animals, and men with disease and death, then compare this to the effects of global warming multiplying insects to similar levels. In the last two decades, the pine bark beetle has killed millions of hectares of great pine and spruce forests from Canada, Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, to Southern California because the warming climate cuts down cold-weather mortality and revs up the reproduction cycles of these insects allowing their populations to explode and to survive farther north.[1] Killing forests wipes out ecosystems leading to economic repercussions for man and causing alterations in local weather patterns favoring warming and drought. Forests that were once carbon sinks (that took carbon dioxide, CO2, out of the air), become carbon sources (pour CO2 into the atmosphere) increasing the greenhouse effect and raising global temperatures. Millions of acres of dead forests become a high-risk fire hazard: “The first sounded, and there came hail and fire . . .  and a third of the trees were burned up.”[2] 

            Another plague, clouds of high-pitched humming mosquitoes, is now flourishing in northern Alaska where the average temperature has risen 11° Fahrenheit causing much death. Steve Arthur of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game cites only one example, the steady decline of the Porcupine River caribou herd, which was 187,000 strong in 1989 but has steadily declined to 120,000, killing off 67,000 caribou–a serious concern for the survival of the native Gwitchin people. Temperatures are rising at more than twice the rate in the far north, thus lengthening the breeding season for insects. Mosquitoes can suck about a tablespoon of blood a day (about two cups of blood a month) from a deer that becomes so aggravated by bites that it is continually twitching, shaking, and moving about to avoid the pests. Whole herds have abandoned nutritious forage in valleys blanketed with mosquitoes and moved up rocky mountain slopes with poorer vegetation, but with fewer insects at the colder elevations.   

            Thus, the Porcupine River herd has been on a steady decline for several decades for a number of reasons. (1) The mosquito plague results in reducing fat that an animal can put on in summer because he eats poorer and moves more; thinner animals produce fewer calves. (2) Global warming brings more precipitation to some areas, so there is now more snow in winter in northern Alaska, so animals have to dig deeper and longer creating dozens of snow craters searching for lichens to eat which takes more time and energy. (3) There is more rain in winter, which used to be rare, but rain that turns to ice and covers the lichens in a glass barrier makes it almost impossible for the animals to break through. In late December, rain on top of snow forms a hard glass-sharp crust that the weight of the animal breaks through as he walks cutting up his feet and legs leaving a bloody trail. (4) The increased depth of snow makes it harder for the caribou to escape predators such as wolves and lions. (5) Finally, the global warming brings unseasonably violent, extreme storms such as spring blizzards that have recently occurred delaying the Porcupine herd in their 1,500-mile migration, causing young to be born and die on route, and taking thousands of adults that simply did not have the fat reserves or the strength to withstand the lengthened winter.

             The loss of these animals threatens the mainstay for the Gwitchin First Nation people who have depended on them for thousands of years. As one of the Gwitchin elders, Robert Bruce, stated, “When the caribou are gone, our culture is gone.” One of the Gwitchin park rangers in Vuntut National Park, Darius Elias, concurred, “The elders are really worried that the herds cannot adapt fast enough [to the changing climate]. Without (the caribou), we’re not going to be here. It’s that simple.”[3]

            Another invasive horde of insects has plagued people in New Orleans for decades; their houses are collapsing under their feet due to a gargantuan infestation of termites.[4]

            In 2020, East Africa was invaded by city-sized swarms of locusts of biblical proportions devastating crops and pasturelands in a number of hours before moving on. Their proliferation was exacerbated by global warming. These desert locusts thrive following periods of heavy rain bringing lush vegetation. Normally arid areas in Africa and the Middle East are too dry for insect proliferation. However, these areas experienced a prolonged bout of exceptionally wet weather over the last 18 months linked to warming in the Indian Ocean (also causing devastating bushfires in Australia). In 2018, two cyclones brought unusual rains to the Arabian Desert opening the door for massive breeding of locusts. In 2019, locusts spread out and another rare storm opened another door for more massive breeding. By 2020, the locust swarms were decimating crops across seven countries in the region. It is not over. Experts say that this is “a harbinger of things to come as rising sea surface temperatures supercharge storms and climate change tips the scales in favor of circulation patterns like the one that set the stage for this year’s trans-oceanic disasters.” “The scale of the locust outbreak, which now affects seven East African countries, is like nothing in recent memory.”[5]

            Hordes of insects showed up in three of the ten plagues of Egypt. The other seven plagues are found in one form or another in Revelation. What God did before on a small scale, He will do again on a global scale. “I, the Lord, do not change,” (Mal 3:6).

            In Revelation, when God sends out His seven angels with their seven trumpets (symbolic for great angelic commanders over magnificent angelic armies), the planet’s ecosystem is destabilized as the peoples of the earth choosing darkness lose His blessings (blessings build up) and experience His curses (curses tear down), so urging them to repent.[6] A third of the earth is burned up, a third of the trees, and all of the green grass is burned up adversely affecting the food chain that supports earth’s burgeoning human population. A third of life in the sea dies and so goes the fishing industry. A third of the terrestrial waters lead to the death of many men either through desiccation or bitter pollution.[7] Crops wither. Herds die of disease, thirst, and starvation. As people sink in famine, they migrate falling into conflict, conquests, wars, and strife with neighboring nations over life-sustaining resources. Famine and wars spawn disease compounding death. Thus, the four horsemen (conquest, war, famine, and death) are on the rampage.[8] This is a dynamic, complex system spiraling down in a vicious feedback cycle which spreads across nations, and in the end, across the globe eventually causing the collapse of all civilizations.

            Even though the trumpets, bowls, and seals describing global warming and its consequences are found in Revelation, such ecological disasters were foretold long before in the Old Testament (OT), beginning early in the Bible in Moses’ final admonitions to the people in Deuteronomy 28-29 strongly warning of severe climate and environmental changes wrought by God’s judgment, if people continued in sin. Deterioration of weather, loss of crops and herds, thirst and famine, migration, conquests, wars, disease and other plagues; the same vicious cycles we are seeing today are clearly laid out in these Mosaic verses. Such warnings and events began in the Pentateuch and continued throughout the prophets over the centuries to Israel and many nations in the Mideast and northern Africa. What happened to the nation of Israel reveals the principles for what will happen in the end surrounding the Lord’s second coming to all the nations on this planet. Israel was the microcosmic prototype. This planet will be the cosmic antitype. Egypt’s fall in the day of Moses, was one such example. God elucidated His process of judgment in Deuteronomy 28-29, which He carried out against Egypt (in the book of Exodus in the Bible) and later Israel (across the prophets in the Bible.) These Old Testament (OT) prophecies are the foundation filling in the details for the coming global judgment in Revelation. “For I, the Lord, do not change.”[9]

            Deuteronomy fills in the blanks and provides details between the lines of Revelation’s declivity of earth’s ecosystems. But so do passages in the prophets. Arguably, the most powerful comparison to the plagues of Revelation are the ten plagues of Egypt. While the plagues of Moses were presented as dramatically acute miracles from God with no indication of climate warming, the plagues of Revelation will be a longer process with warming occurring over time, with the death of the seas occurring over time . . . because in His mercy, God will give men time to repent and to get ready. Jesus warned that even believers should be ready for the judgment coming upon this earth—just as severe as the days of Noah in global judgment (Matt 24:37-44).

            The following table compares the ten plagues of Egypt with the plagues of Revelation, then with the consequences of global warming which, at this time, are still in the early stages, so a number of conditions have not yet reached full-blown proportions as those found in Exodus or Revelation, but nevertheless, are growing. Here again, the Mosaic plagues fill in the gaps elucidating Revelation’s plagues and the ramifications of global warming.

Plagues of Egypt, Revelation, and Global Warming

            The plagues of Moses foreshadow the plagues of Revelation. What God did to one country, Egypt, He will do again to one planet–ours. Other Scriptures, such as Isaiah and the Olivet Discourse, show the same pattern of God’s judgment withdrawing the ecological blessings that sustain life and bringing down a nation.

            The prophet Isaiah predicts end time events that are indicative of the nations, such as the drying up of the Nile River. This correlates with Revelation’s drying up of the Euphrates River. These are major rivers that supply water to millions of people.[10] When God touches the waters, He hurls people into horrific hardship often setting off a chain of events that lead into conflicts.

            Why has Syria been entangled in war with 4.8 million migrating to Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and Iraq; one million fleeing to Europe; and 6.6 million internally displaced within Syria?[11] Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman visited the leaders of the rebels and discovered their motivation. It started with the worst drought in modern history. Rain stopped. Rivers desiccated. Crops withered. Herds died. Commander Abu Khalil stated,

          “(We are all) failed farmers. It’s absurd. When they write the history of this revolution, how important will the drought be? . . . If God puts somebody in charge of you and they turn their back on you, you’re going to scream and say, ‘I’m hungry!’ Then if no one listens, you get upset. All of this happened to us. That’s why we started the revolution. It’s a revolution of freedom and a revolution of hungry people.'”[12]

            Susan Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, stated, “Climate change is well understood to be a major national security issue and a source of stress on a number of underlying causes of conflict: drought, floods, food shortages, water scarcity, . . . all of these drive human insecurity, increase poverty, and can contribute to conflict.”[13]

            Famines, poverty, migrations, and strife also increase the risk of diseases and plagues. Drought and war destroying land and water bring on hardship but so can earthquakes and other acts of God.

            Jesus not only forewarned of these coming events in the six seals (conquests, wars, famines, massive death), in the first four trumpets and bowls of Revelation, but in His Olivet Discourse.

            The Bible tells us what will happen. Science tells us how it will happen. All truth is God’s truth. Global warming integrated into other global systems is a complex, dynamic process. God allows humankind to see the planet deteriorating; such as the glaciers melting, the fish decreasing, the forests burning, the seas overstepping their boundaries as in Hurricane Katrina and super storm Sandy, western states scorched in unprecedented firestorms and engulfed in a megadrought, central states in droughts decimating wheat crops, and the planet consistently breaking global heat records.

            Many with scientific knowledge will see, but will trust in man and technology to save us. Many with biblical knowledge, strangely enough at this time, are more worried about the economy than the ecology, but ecology and economy are in an inseparable feedback system (destruction of land or waters decreases food, which decreases population, which decreases the economy). Despite numerous international climate conventions represented by over 95% of the countries in the world on how to reverse the global trend of warming, over-consumption, pollution etc., Revelation says that humankind will “destroy the earth.”[14] Global warming with all of its underpinnings, ramifications, and interconnections, is in the process of doing just that. It has started.

            When the ice caps are a memory, the Amazon is the new Sahara, the tundra loses permafrost, California is scorched, the Midwest is parched, Miami is another Venice, and formerly lush lands across the topics and subtropics are uninhabitable, the world will be “without excuse.”[15] All of the major prophecies that the Bible presents from beginning to end, especially in Revelation, on how God withdraws the blessings of this good earth as His judgment approaches against sinful men, coupled with what our eyes can see happening on this planet today and scientists are shouting from the rooftops, should be enough to convince every Christian that the first four trumpets of Revelation are sounding today, and they are part of God’s plan for the return of His Son.

Summary

            1. Across Scripture, God’s judgment on a people or nation often brought local deterioration of life-sustaining resources in the environment.

            2. During the end of the end time, God’s judgment removing life resources will be global.

            3. Global deterioration will destabilize the planet setting the stage for the Antichrist who will temporarily “solve the problems” earning the world’s accolades.

            4. Today, the slow, progressive deterioration of the global environment is a gift of God’s mercy giving time for believers to prepare and unbelievers to repent. His judgment has started.

            5. When Christ returns, the world will reject Him. Enraged, God will pour out the four bowls; the dreaded tipping point of global warming —“men (will be) scorched with fierce heat.”

            6. Other examples of God’s judgment on individual nations overlap and fill in the blanks of what God will do to the earth at the end time. “For I, the Lord, do not change.”[16]

            7. The general principles for God’s judgment upon a people or a nation are found in Deuteronomy 28 and 29 and portrayed in the ten plagues of Egypt.

            8. The Bible tells us what will happen. Science tells us how it will happen. All truth is God’s truth. The evidence of biblical prophecies and the science of global warming reveal God’s plan for the earth in preparation for the return of His Son. It has started.


                [1] A hectare is equal to a hundred acres.                

                [2] Rev 8:7.  Prophecies can be figurative and/or literal. The hail and fire while symbolic of the great power of the spiritual world, could also be literal indicating severe storms that ignite fires. Hail can be accompanied with lightning. The blood symbolizes much death.

                [3] “Strange Days on Planet Earth,” vol. 1, episode 2: The One Degree Factor, DVD documentary (Night, Inc., 2008) www.nationalgeographic.com.

                [4] Ibid., episode 1: Invaders.

[5]  Madeleine Stone, “A plague of locusts has descended on East Africa. Climate change may be to blame.” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/02/locust-plague-climate-science-east-africa/

                [6] Deut 28-30.

                [7] Rev 8; 16:12.

                [8] Rev 6.

                [9] Mal 3:6.

                [10] Isa 34:2, 9; 19:6-8; 11:5; Rev 16:12.

                [11] Syrianrefugees.eu. “Syrian Refugees: A Snapshot of the Crisis–In the Middle East and Europe,” July 2016.

                [12] James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Years of Living Dangerously,” Episode one, “Dry Season,” 2014. Showtime Networks Inc. This is a documentary on global warming and its effects. Thomas Friedman also wrote Hot, Flat, and Crowded, a book covering the interconnected impacts of global warming, globalization, and population growth.

                [13] Ibid.    

                [14] Rev 11:18.

                [15] Rom 1:20.

                [16] Mal 3:6.

                [17] “Bark Beetle” Forest by Ulrich Rueger from Pixabay. “Mountain Pine Beetle” on Simple English Wikimedia. These beetles, which feed on the inner bark of pine trees, decimate entire forests killing millions of trees in western Canada and the U.S. Due to global warming, they have spread north since it is no longer cold enough to kill them. Creative Commons Attribution (CCA)/Share-Alike License (GFDL). “Red” dead trees attacked by mountain pine beetle infestation in British Columbia, Canada. By B. S. Lindgren (http://web.unbc.ca/-lindgren/RESEARCH/ngraf/index.html. Creative Commons Attribution (CCA)/Share-Alike 4.0 International license. “‘Climate Refugees’ will search hard for homes.’ June 30, 2017. by Tim Radford via Wikimedia Commons: climate refugees. C.f. https://climatenewsnetwork.net/ Radford is the founding editor of Climate News Network and 32 years as the science editor for Britain’s The Guardian. “New Orleans Rescue” from sea surge. “US faces floods of climate refugees with more than 13 million citizens forced to move from coasts due to sea level rise by the end of the century.” March 23, 2016 by Tim Radford on Climate News Network via Wikimedia Commons: climate refugees. “New York Lightning Storm” by Abdul Mogett on Pixabay.

                [18] Thomas Friedman, found in Wikimedia Commons Free Images.

Categories
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.