Lesson 23 - The Seven Last Plagues
Lesson 23 - (downloadable pdf files)
Revelation closes with the grim picture of God’s people confronted with the choice of joining in the worldwide apostasy, or facing imminent death. Chapter 14 is God’s response to this crisis and promises his wrath unmixed with mercy upon all those who side with the apostasy. It is in Chapter 16 that we have a description of what that wrath is like, as demonstrated in the seven last plagues, the most terrible scourges ever to be experienced by men.
1. What is the first plague to fall upon the earth? Revelation 16:2
2. What is the second plague to afflict men? Revelation 16:3
3. What reason is given for this change of water into blood? Revelation 16:5, 6
NOTE: In finding the people of God worthy of death (see Revelation 13:15), the wicked are just as guilty as had they completed the act they had contemplated doing. Remember the Pharoah of Egypt in Moses’ time who proclaimed to kill the firstborn of Israel, which God turned on all the firstborn of Egypt in the final plague upon Egypt, claiming the firstborn of Israel specially as his own.
4. In response to the plagues, what is the attitude of the wicked? Revelation 16:9
NOTE: In allowing matters to come to a crisis upon the earth, the true thoughts and intents of each heart are made evident. In allowing Satan to press His people almost beyond measure, God has revealed who are the true - the faithful. God has also demonstrated that there is nothing anyone can do to his faithful remnant to move them from their steadfast position of loyalty to Him. While the wicked have spurned the blessings of God in the past, and have joined in the great apostasy, God proves that even in the most severe judgments possible, they cannot be moved to repentance, but like Pharoah, are hardened in their impenitence.
5. What three powers then unite in gathering the kings of earth to the great final conflict? Revelation 16:13, 14
6. By what means do these powers seek to deceive the people into joining them in this battle?
NOTE: Those who have been led to look at miracles as a sign of God’s leading and presence, will find this as an easy deception to follow. While miracles can be the demonstration of God’s power, we have no assurance that this is always the case.
7. Where only will there be safety for the people of God? Isaiah 8:20
NOTE: In these last days miracles will be performed by evil spirits, and there will be no safety for the people of God in depending upon their senses. They will not be deceived, however, for the teachings of these false leaders will be to support the very class upon whom God’s Word has said his unmingled wrath will fall.
8. What is it in the experience of the deceived that leads them to accept this delusion? 2 Thessalonians 2:10
NOTE: Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth will be able to recognize the workings of Satan and be delivered from the deception.
9. Why did they not love the truth? 2 Thessalonians 2:12
NOTE: Paul warned Timothy that the day would come when, because of their pleasure in unrighteousness, men would no longer choose to hear the truth, but would seek after teachers who would speak to them the things that suited the tenor of their carnal natures. See 2 Timothy 4:3, 4. Between the carnal nature and God’s Law there is ever an enmity. See Romans 8:7. For this reason, commandment keeping has never been popular. To those who desire a way of forgetting God which will pass for remembering Him, a gospel of “love” that requires no obedience is readily accepted.
10. What event takes place as the seventh angel pours out the seventh and last judgment vial?
It is in the last generation to live upon the earth that God gives the full and final demonstration of the power of the gospel. God leaves nothing undone to make the demonstration complete. As with Job, the only limitation put upon Satan is that he cannot take the life of the faithful remnant. He may tempt them, he may harass and threaten them, but all his efforts end in defeat. Kept by the power of the indwelling Christ, they prevail and God places his seal upon them. The demonstration is allowed to continue until there is no more to be proved. It is then that God intervenes and delivers His waiting saints. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:8,9.