Chapters 8 and 9 contain a lot of verses that have caused a lot of controversies and the reason is that they describe events that are happening on the earth, the scene that it portrays is not the sanctuary in heaven or a battle in the spiritual realm between angels and Satan.
The things that happened on earth should be explained literally, but there are certain difficulties in a literal interpretation because the vision that John saw pertains to things that take place 2000 years later. He had never experienced life during the end times, and he does not have the right words to use to explain what he is looking at, he used ancient language to describe scenes of modern times. People in modern times will find John’s descriptions puzzling, they will have different interpretations, and there will definitely be a lot of discrepancies .
Sounding the trumpet means making a proclamation to the people or gathering the masses. There are 7 angels sounding the trumpets, and there are 7 trumpets. The first four trumpet sounds belong to one group; the fifth and the sixth trumpet sound belong to another group and the seventh trumpet sound is rather a long one.
The first through the fourth trumpet sound have very short and simple descriptions, after the fourth trumpet sound an eagle is mentioned calling out in a loud voice three woes bring down disasters. The description of the fifth and the sixth trumpet sounds are longer and very detailed . By looking at it we can notice that it changed to a completely different topic.
We will first take a look at the first four trumpet sounds, they describe the weapons of wars in the last days; those weapons are very lethal. During the times of John, 2,000 years ago, these kinds of lethal weapons did not exist, therefore he did not have the exact terminology to describe them, needless to say, he could not give a clear description of what he saw.
WARS WITH MISSILES
7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
Hail, not balls of ice, it had fire, fire mixed with blood. It burned up the trees and the green grass. The wars in ancient times used knives and swords, lance and spears, bow and arrows, but now that we have gunpowder, there are guns, cannons and bombs; these explosive weapons are much more powerful. During World War I, people used guns, cannons and bombs.
WARS WITH ATOMIC BOMBS
8 第二位天使吹號，就有彷彿火燒著的大山扔在海中，海的叁分之一變成血，9 海中的活物死了叁分之一，船隻也壞了叁分之一。
8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
這炸彈更厲害了，像大山一樣，是非常強力的。也不是真的一座大山，乃是彷彿( 好像) 大山。這兩章｢彷彿｣或｢好像｣用的次數，比全新約其他地方用這字總和更多，可見約翰有相當的難度描寫這情況，他也不夠詞用，因為從未見過這情形，這裡描寫的是更大的殺傷力武器，進入了重型炸彈、氫彈與原子彈的時代。像燒著火的大山之威力。
These bombs are more powerful, like a huge mountain, very massive. It is not really a huge mountain, but something like a huge mountain. The words “something like” or “similar to” are used here more than in other parts of the New Testament which shows that John is having a lot of difficulty describing the circumstances, he also does not have enough words to describe what he sees, because he has never seen those situations. The weapons of war described herein are much more powerful, they have entered the era of heavy duty artillery, hydrogen and atomic bombs; resembling the force of a huge mountain, all ablaze.
WARS WITH CHEMICAL WEAPONS
10 第叁位天使吹號，就有燒著的大星，好像火把從天上落下來，落在江河的叁分之一，和眾水的泉源上。11 這星名叫茵蔯，眾水的叁分之一變為茵蔯，因水變苦，就死了許多人。
10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
In the later period of the twentieth century many countries have developed chemical and biological weapons. The United States already used chemical weapons during the Vietnam War. There are more than seventy kinds of chemical weapons. They are lightweight, portable and very lethal but they also bring a lot of aftereffects. Usually, chemical weapons are carried through bombs, like releasing fireworks. Therefore, when it says “a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky”, it is describing a bomb launching a chemical weapon, but John does not know what a chemical weapon is, so he calls it “wormwood”.
WARS IN SPACE
12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
During the end times, the weapons of war will enter the space age, not only will nuclear weapons be used but also long-range missiles, smart missiles that can chase the target. Missiles carrying nuclear warhead will be charged up to the sky while the enemy will use an anti-missile system to intercept the weapon and this will cause explosions in midair, the skies will turn dark, and sunlight will not shine through the darkness. The development of all these kinds of weapons by many countries are going in this direction, therefore Space Age wars are at hand.
我們現在回來再解釋某一些詞。其實第七章十四萬四千人要先印上印記時，也吩咐天使先不要傷害地、海、樹，都有特別的含意。｢地｣，是宗教界的基地；｢海｣，是政治界的基地；｢樹｣，是生產或經濟界的基地。讀12 、13 章就會看見，地出來的獸，海出來的獸，是指邪惡的宗教領袖、政治領袖出現。
We will now explain the meaning of some words. Actually, the event of the 144,000, who were sealed in Chapter 7, and the angel giving the command not to harm the land or the sea or the trees until a seal was put on the foreheads of the servants of God; all these words have an implied meaning. “The land” relates to the religious sector; “the sea” relates to the political sector; “the trees” relate to the manufacturing or economic sector. When we read Chapters 12 and 13 we see the beast that comes out from the land, the beast that comes out from the sea, points to an evil religious leader and the rise of a political leader.
“The land and the trees”: The first trumpet only harmed the land and the trees, which means that great harm was done to the religious and economic sectors. The First World War initiated in Europe and it was related to the areas of religion, nationalism and economy.
“The sea”: The second trumpet. The Second World War harmed the sea, because it was a war for political power and personal interests. We see that what the Japanese were fighting for was political power and land; they invaded other countries in order to expand their own regime.
“Rivers and springs of water”: The third trumpet. Wars with chemical weapons, it harmed the rivers and springs of water, which are resources, nature and the environment was harmed. The result of these kinds of wars was making poisonous the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.
“The sky”: The fourth trumpet. Space power struggles harmed mainly the sky. Indicates that people’s spirits are harmed, there is psychological trauma, under the shadow of these kinds of wars, everyone feels that there is no future, no hope, life feels gloomy. Depression sets in for a prolonged period of time.
These are mainly the things that will trigger wars among all human beings. Besides the aspects of religion and spiritual matters; the matters on the land and in the sky are relatively elusive.
China was established under the ideas of atheism and materialism and neglected the importance of these two aspects. Therefore, their people were taught to leave their spiritual ideals and depend only on money and the economy. To stand out among one’s peers, they focused on gaining wealth, pursuing fame, status and knowledge; actually, they did not even have to fight; in the aspect of spiritual life they had already lost. They thought religion was not important and that they could destroy it; the result was religious turmoil. The Buddhists and Muslims in China only brought harm. The troubles in Tibet, Xinjiang and even Falun Gong are all religious problems. All these kinds of religious uproars will never come to a peaceful ending.
The phrase “a third” needs further explanation. In these two chapters the phrases “a third died”, “a third was struck” appear several times. Due to the fact that all of them are “a third”, we can conclude that it is not a real number but a symbolic number. From ancient times until now, whenever things are divided into thirds, it means shift rotations. One day has 24 hours, divided into 3 shifts, 8 hours per shift. Guarding Jesus’ tomb were 3 shifts of Roman soldiers, a total of 24 soldiers, 8 soldiers each shift, each shift guarded the tomb for 8 hours. Therefore, when Jesus resurrected from the dead, 8 soldiers were guarding the tomb and they were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men. At that time, all the guards were scared to death, but actually only a third of the guards saw the event.
The meaning of “a third” is that there was total destruction at a certain time and in a certain place. The complete destruction was only locally. At a certain time, in a certain place, all the waters were polluted. Like the nuclear contamination after the tsunami in Japan, this is considered “a third” because the disaster did not happen in any other place, just locally.
A third of the living creatures in the sea died, a third of the ships were destroyed. Verse 7 says “all the green grass was burned up”; the phrase “a third” was omitted.
The weapons of war during the last days will be extremely devastating. A single explosion will undoubtedly kill everyone present. Therefore “a third” refers to everyone or everything in a local area.
13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
“As I watched” means it is another vision. Eagles are the fastest flying birds and also an omen of a coming disaster. Here it is a vision where the eagle speaks and calls out in a loud voice announcing the terrifying disasters about to come, because these great disasters will not only affect the land, the sea, the water sources or the sky but many people will die. These great disasters will affect the human race.
Three “woes” means it will definitely happen. When the angels praised God saying three times: “Holy, Holy, Holy,” it was a definite attitude. Jewish people nowadays still use repetitive words to reinforce an idea.
When God speaks to people He usually doesn’t just say it once, very often we see that He speaks three times. Someone asked, how can we know for certain that God is calling us to be a preacher? I say, wait a while . If God is really calling you, He will definitely not just call you just once. When God called Samuel, He did it three times; when He called Peter to preach to the gentiles, God showed him the same vision three times because that decision was very hard to make. The Jewish people did not associate with gentiles, therefore God spoke to Peter three times so that he would definitely know for sure that it was the will of God.
After Dr. John Sung finished his Ph.D. in Chemistry, he went on to study theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. One day when he was out on the streets, he saw a little child writing the word “rest” on the ground, he saw the same thing happen three times, he then thought that maybe God wanted him to rest. That day, after he returned to the seminary he was taken into a mental hospital against his will and was confined for a few months . The school saw that he was overly enthusiastic and assumed that he was mentally disturbed. His friends did not know of his whereabouts and so he had no one to rescue him from the mental institution. God told him beforehand three times that he should rest. When God moves people to do something, He will not just let him or her know one time. God does not want us to be confused; He wants us to know clearly what He wants us to do.
The prophecies in the Bible are often spoken more than once by means of many preachers so we are certain of God’s intentions. Actually all prophecies come from God.
2 Peter 1:21 says: For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
In addition, there are some prophecies that are not recorded in the Bible, like the Book of Enoch from ancient times. Enoch walked faithfully with God for 300 years; then he was no more, because God took him away. His book was not recorded in the Bible but the Book of Jude quotes words from Enoch’s book.
另外比較有名的是16 世紀法國的猶太人Nostradamus 寫了很多預言詩，其中還有911 事件的預言，並且說這事件之後，就開始第叁次世界大戰。我們不見有世界大戰，但全世界很多國家都有戰爭。
Another famous person who wrote many prophetic poems during the 16th century was a French Jewish man called Nostradamus. The events on 911 were one of his prophecies; he also prophesied that after these events, World War III would begin. So far we have not seen World War III but many countries around the world are at war.
另一位12 世紀的英國主教Malachi Morgan 。1139 年他在火車上見異象，寫下一些預言在他拉丁文聖經中。他預言自己死期與地點，並列出從那時起到世界末日所有教皇名字或簡單描寫，非常準確。
There was another English Bishop from the 12th century called Malachi Morgan. He saw visions while traveling on a train in the year 1139. He wrote some of his visions on his Latin Bible. He prophesied about the date and the place of his own death. He also wrote down the names and a simple description of all the popes that would reign from that time until the end of the world. His writings were very accurate.
倒數最後第四位教宗約翰保羅第一，是1978 年選出來的，他只在位33 天，在月缺的時候上任，也在月缺、月蝕之時過世。稱為｢月之缺｣。有人說他是被謀殺死的，因為他一上任，想大力整頓天主教，潔淨教會醜聞。結果死了，沒有驗屍報告，草草火葬。
The fourth to the last pope, John Paul I, was elected in 1978, he only reigned for 33 days, and he took office when the moon appeared exactly half full. He died the following month, soon after an eclipse of the moon. He was called “Of the half moon”. Some say that he was murdered because after he took office, he strongly wanted to reorganize the Catholic Church and get rid of its shameful actions. As a result, he died and was hastily cremated without performing a proper autopsy on his body.
The next pope, John Paul II was elected the same year; the prophecy said he was “The labour of the sun”, his whole life resembled the sun, he traveled around the world many times, and he was the most popular pope of modern times. He did not care much about internal affairs but traveled a lot, canonizing saints.
根據Malachi Morgan 的預言，約翰保羅第二之後，只有兩任教宗就到末日。繼任的本督十六，稱為｢橄欖的榮耀｣，或｢橄欖山的榮耀｣，指耶穌在馬太廿四章橄欖山上講論末世事件時，提到信徒被提，那是榮耀的被提。當他退任或離世之時就是信徒被提、七年大災難開始之時。
According to Malachi Morgan’s prophecies, after John Paul II, there will only be two more popes and then the end of the world will come. John Paul II’s successor, Benedict XVI, is called “Glory of the olive” or “Glory of the Mt . of Olives”, pointing to Matthew chapter 24 where Jesus speaks about the events of the end of the world on Mt. of Olives, mentioning the rapture of the believers, that will be a glorious rapture. When he retires or dies, that will be the time when the rapture will take place and the time when the seven years of great tribulation will begin.
The description of the last pope is rather detailed; even a name is given to him. His name of Peter the Roman, he is the pope who will reign during the great tribulation; it also says that in the end, the Vatican will be destroyed .
Therefore, the Catholic Church refuses to accept this prophecy, because, in their theology, all baptized believers will for sure be raptured and will not have to go through the great tribulation, let alone the pope himself. Furthermore, they will never accept the fact that the Vatican being destroyed.
Actually, not all people who are called Christians will be raptured. If that was the case, the Bible would not need to remind everyone to be alert and watchful. Only those who have the life of the Lord and the Holy Spirit in them will be raptured. There are many so-called believers in the Catholic Church, in Christian Churches and in Jewish Temples who do not have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and in their lives. Their belief is only intellectual; those are the people who have not been alert.