Evil and the Last Days
God has given us an overview in the Bible of a terrible time of trouble that is coming. He warns that in the last days of this age the earth will be filled with evil. As an example, consider the following verses:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unruly, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good…But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:1 & 13).
From the Bible we learn that many nations will be ruled by ruthless men in the last days. God identifies these national leaders as “kings.” He describes these kings as evil, ungodly, and demon inspired. These kings, or rulers, will bring great destruction to the people of earth. The focus of this newsletter will be “the kings from the East.” I will, at another time, discuss the other kings who are destined to rise to power in the last days.
The Beginning of a New Era
Throughout history the most powerful nations were those located west of the Euphrates River. The eastern border of the Roman Empire, for example, was the Euphrates River. Historically, the Euphrates was the dividing line between east and west. Because the great powers were all in the West, western leaders were not often troubled by events occurring in the East. However, the slumbering nations of the East began to stir and awaken in the early part of the twentieth century. During this century the West received a “wake-up” call from the East and realized it would no longer be business as usual. Things had begun to change.
The “wake-up” call for America and the West was the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on December 7, 1941. The Japanese invaders arrived at Pearl Harbor in a total of 353 aircraft, including torpedo bombers, dive bombers, level bombers, and fighter planes. In addition, the Japanese came at the United States with four cruisers, 35 submarines, two battleships, and 11 destroyers. A total of 2,403 Americans were killed and 19 of our navy ships, including eight of our battleships, were destroyed or damaged during that infamous attack. Suddenly, the West realized that a new evil and dangerous power had emerged. Unlike any other time before, the threat was not from a western nation. It was coming from the East. A new era had begun.
North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons
Fast forward to the present, and it is a well-known fact that North Korea now has nuclear weapons. The evil dictator of that rogue nation has threatened to use these weapons against America. He hates America and wants to bring much pain, suffering, and devastation to our homeland and has the power to do so at his fingertips. This North Korean leader has evil in his heart and seems driven, possessed even, to harm America and her allies.
Wouldn’t it be terrible if this evil man was able to join with other dictators from the East who have similar goals? It truly would be a horrible nightmare for America and the rest of the world. Is it possible? Yes, it is a strong possibility. God informs us in the Bible that in the last days a coalition of nations from the East will bring great destruction upon the earth. He does not provide the names of the nations or the names of the leaders involved. He simply refers to them as “the kings from the East.”
The Rapture is Coming Soon
An awful time of trouble called the “Tribulation” is coming to this earth. Jesus said it will be the worst time in all of history (Matthew 24:21,22). Before this time of trouble begins, however, the Lord will appear in the sky above us and call to Heaven all those who have accepted Him as their Savior from sin. This event is called the “Rapture.” Concerning this supernatural event, the unsaved who are living on earth at the time will not see or hear anything. All they will know is the Christians have disappeared!
Friend, if Jesus comes while you are still living, and, if you have accepted Him as your Savior, you will be one of the millions of people who will rise to meet Him in the air. I hope you have accepted Christ, but if you have not, I pray you will. The apostle Paul described this incredible coming event:
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 (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).
The Revelation Texts Concerning the Kings From the East
There are references in the Old Testament (Daniel 11:44, Isaiah 59:18-20) concerning this end -time coalition from the East, but they are quite vague and not easily understood. It is not until one studies the Revelation texts dealing with the kings of the East that the Old Testament passages can be comprehended. These Revelation texts are quite clear and specific. I suggest you study the Revelation texts first, and then you will better understand the Daniel and Isaiah texts. Scripture is always the best interpretation of Scripture.
“I Don’t Understand the Book of Revelation. No one can.”
Many people mistakenly think the book of Revelation cannot be understood, but that is a lie from Satan. Why would God give us this book if we could not understand it? Friend, God wants you to understand the prophecies that are in this book. God has always warned His people about major judgments and has always encouraged His people with His wonderful promises. Revelation contains both warnings and blessings.
Out of a desire to help people understand Revelation, I wrote a book about it. I entitled my book The End of Human History because God tells us in Revelation how human history will end. I am blessed that God has used this book for His glory as it has helped people to understand coming future events. When you know God’s plan for the future, you can walk with Him in confidence day by day.
The Lord gave John some incredible visions of “things to come.” Before the visions began, the Lord instructed John to write in a book the things he would see in the visions and then share them with seven churches (Revelation 1:11). John, who lived over 1,900 years ago, saw many futuristic things in those visions that he did not understand, but described them as best he could.
As we focus on the ninth chapter of Revelation, an awful time of trouble is well underway. The theological name for this coming time of trouble, as mentioned previously, is the “Tribulation.” It will last for seven years. In this chapter, John shares with us some shocking things that he both saw and heard in a vision. One of the things John described was a powerful army from the East that will invade the land of Israel to participate in the most devastating war of all time: Armageddon.
The Command: “Release the Four Angels…”
John testified that he heard a heavenly voice giving a command to one of God’s angels:
Then the sixth angel sounded: and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great River Euphrates’” (Revelation 9:13, 14).
The four angels referenced in this passage are associated with the famous Euphrates River. John would see the Euphrates again in his vision, and we will, too. The four angels mentioned in this passage are currently bound. These are not good angels; good angels are never bound. These are powerful angels who rebelled against God and followed Satan. For the sake of humanity God has them bound in chains (Jude 6). During the early part of the Tribulation, people will have an opportunity to accept Christ as Savior, and many will. The rest of the peoples of the earth will commit the worst sin of all: they will reject Christ and embrace the Antichrist. Then the command will be given: “…release the four angels….”
What These Wicked Angels Will Do
Christ came to this earth to offer to mankind eternal life, love, joy, and peace. Satan and his followers come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). When the wicked angels mentioned in Revelation 9:14 are released, one-third of the earth’s population will die shortly thereafter. Their blood will be on the hands of these wicked angels.
So, the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them (Revelation 9:15, 16).
Where is This Army from and Where is it Headed?
There has never been an army like this one. This army will consist of two hundred million soldiers, all armed and ready for war! We know from Scripture that this army will be a coalition of soldiers from nations in the Far East. This army will be involved in the final war, Armageddon. The nation of Israel will be this army’s destination. The great Euphrates River will dry up so that the army will be able to cross over the riverbed on the way to Israel.
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 (Revelation 16: 12).
We are not told which nations will comprise this great army. We read only that these nations will be “kings from the east.” It seems likely, however, that China will be the lead nation of this coalition. “China has developed strategic nuclear forces made up of land-based missiles, submarine-launched missiles and bombs. Within this triad, China has also developed weapons of different ranges, capabilities, and survivability” (The Long Shadow: Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia, 2008, p. 169, https://nuspress.nus.edu.sg).
The Strange “Horses” in John’s Vision
Unable to clearly explain the military vehicles and the missiles (no doubt nuclear) used by these soldiers in his vision, John called them “horses.” John’s explanation of what he saw is as follows:
“…and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and brimstone. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm” (Revelation 9:17-19).
The Colors of the Soldiers’ Breastplates
In John’s vision these end-time soldiers were wearing breastplates that were “fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow…” (Revelation 9:17). I researched the official flag colors for some of the eastern nations and discovered that the colors of China’s flag are red and yellow. North Korea’s flag is red and blue. Japan’s flag is red and white. The flag of the Philippians is red and yellow.
When Jesus comes to protect Israel and set up His earthly kingdom, this powerful army from the East will be defeated in or around Israel, along with the other armies gathered there. You can read all about it in the book of Revelation. Why not pick up your Bible and read the book of Revelation this week?