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This page is dedicated to providing assistance to both teacher and student in their study of the Lesson 11-The Seven Last Plagues and presents a unique perspective, often overlooked by the Quarterly’s preparation committee. Go to the Table of Contents (TOC) and click on the linked lesson number to land on the Lesson Number whose comments you’re interested in studying. A new Lesson commentary will be appended to the TOC each week. Below you will find the current week’s lesson as well, whereas the attached document has the entire quarter’s commentary in a booklet form.Scroll below for current week’s Lessons comments.
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Lesson 11: The Seven Last Plagues, *March 9-15
Memory Text: “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested” (Revelation 15:4, NKJV).
Revelation 15 opens with the executioners of Divine “wrath” upon the ungodly and all false worshippers, as well as a parade of all the end-time true worshippers standing on the seal of glass, singing their victory song of Moses and the Lamb. Up to this point, we have been looking at the church in conflict with the powers of evil, and how the true worshippers were unrelentingly assailed and wasted on account of their faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to all His Statutes, Judgments, and commandments.
The remainder of this book focuses primarily on the wrath of God being served upon the disobedient and lawless—the kingdom of Babylon, the Devil and His agents, such as the Beast and the False Prophet and all other sinners between. At every turn we see the deliverance of God’s tried and faithful saints in sharp contrast against His unmixed mercy upon the transgressors of His holy Law.
Below is a tabulated illustration of the seven last plagues of ancient Egypt compared with the seven last plagues in the latter days. In Egypt there were a total of ten plagues, with the seven “last” ones falling only upon Egypt—the domain of the rebels against God’s Law, whereas the first three were felt in common in Greater Egypt proper, including Goshen, the dwelling place of the Church of God. We will build on this understanding t throughout this week. The reader is also encouraged to listen to the audio file presentation of these seven last plagues.
We have been given singular assurance in God’s word that the plagues will not come near the dwelling place of the saints. “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalms 91:10. This assurance is also a guarantee that the saints will not be dwelling in Babylon’s domain at the time of the plagues, but that they shall be separate in a safe place, and together, as verily as they were in ancient Egypt. God has promised this hiding place for His Church today, it is known as the antitypical ark of safety, the city of refuge, or the pre-millennial Kingdom of glory. Jesus has promised in the Disciples Prayer, AKA “The Lord’s Prayer,” that we are to pray for this kingdom thusly, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6: 10).
In Daniel 2 we learn of this city of refuge, this kingdom of peace, this hiding place that shall not be left to any other people, but the saints of the most High YHWH: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Dan. 2: 44).
This passage gives the assurance that this “kingdom” will be established during the reign of “these kings”—the present latter-day world governments, that the God of Heaven, not a man, shall set up this kingdom that shall not be a citadel for “other people,” but only for the redeemed. May God’s grace attend unto us to become citizens for that kingdom!
The Meaning of the Seven Last Plagues
The purpose of the “seven last plagues” is to demonstrate God’s wrath in judgments upon the transgressors of His Holy Torah (law), setting them in sharp contrast to the willing and obedient—those keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus,” (Rev. 14: 12),—the saints. Said the prophet, “I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” Rev15:1.
Lesson 11-The Seven Last PlaguesThe seven last plagues are instruments of judgments directed against Babylon—the Beast, His Image, and them that dwell upon the earth who live in open rebellion and defiance to the eternally Holy Law of God. “1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.” (Rev. 17: 1). Not only will “the great whore”—apostate Christianity be judged, but so too will her members, her patrons, those who ravish themselves with the intoxicating “wine” of her fornication, and for this reason God has to call his people “out” of her physical domain, for the plagues will fall there!
Like ancient Sodom, in preparation for the great burnout with God’s wrath against their licentiousness, when He had to call all the righteous to flee from that doomed city—no turning back, in similarly, God will send the antitypical Abrahams of our day—the children of “faith” in Messiah, to call antitypical the Lots and their households to flee Babylon of today—no turning back, in order to escape his destructive judgments upon her. Hence the announcement:
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18: 4.
The coming out from Babylon is not merely a spiritual denunciation and departure with the separation from her false teachings, but it demands a physical removal from her domain, as it will become vulnerable to the effects of the seven last plagues, to a place where “none of the effects of the plagues will be realized, the antitypical ark for today, the premillennial kingdom of glory.
Quarterly’s Note: “The seven last plagues are referred to as the “last” plagues because they come at the very end of earth’s history. In contrast, the plagues of the seven trumpets cover the time period that includes the entire Christian age and are restricted in their scope.”
It is a mistake to see the Trumpets as plagues, for the Bible flatly makes the following claim, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Rev. 10: 7). The Trumpets, you see, opened with the proclamation of “the mystery of god” and closes with the “finishing of them,” hence the Trumpets are not plagues, but messages of salvation—the mystery of God unto salvation—the everlasting gospel. Certainly, the trumpets also show the result of rejecting so great a salvation, but the burden of the trumpets is to show the Love of God, in giving His Son for our salvation and eternal redemption from sin.
These “last plagues” are timed for the general close of human probation, and will be poured out at a time when the eternal destiny of all humans has been decided, for weal or for woe. At their commencement, no one can be saved, and no one can be lost. Said the angel, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Rev. 22:11.
The work of the investigative judgment is thus finished, and the cases of all has been decided. First, the saints will see the reward of God’s displeasure upon the violators of His Law, and then shall the promise be fulfilled, “Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” Ps. 91: 8.
As the Sanctuary is the location where sins are quarantined and adjudicated, only when the decision of the Judge has been reached can the executioners of His will—the angels—take up their duty of destroying the rebels. Prior to this time, at the opening of the judgment, we are told that “a door was opened in heaven,” (Rev. 4:1), and there were “lightnings and thunderings and voices,) (Rev. 4: 5), in heaven that “rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev. 4: 8). But now, with the pouring out of the plagues, the temple has been shuttered, its judicial activates ceased, and the decisions of the great judge must be executed upon the rejecters of His grace: “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” (Rev. 15: 8).
In reverse synchronous order, we find the declaration in heaven announcing that, “there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake.” (Rev. 16: 18), showing that this is the judgment upon the living. We call special attention to Rev. 16: 18 in comparison to Rev. 4: 5 that the reader may realize that the activities of the Judgment for the Dead are in complete reverse order to the activities during the Judgment for the Living.
Never again will the Sanctuary be opened until the “wrath of God” has been accomplished. During the millennium the saints will be given the privilege of reviewing the judicial records of those books, shoes sacred pages retain the justice, mercy, love, and compassion of YHWH. The angels, upon seeing the decision of the judgment were able to declare the Justice of YHWH, and when all saints shall have seen the evidence of his justice, we too will exclaim “just and true are thy ways thou King of saints.”
The Outpouring of the Last Plagues
As in ancient Egypt, the pouring out of God’s wrath in the seven plagues are the concluding statements of his entreaties to save lost sinners. Heaven’s repeated appeals have been rejected, hearts are eternally hardened against YHWH, and the sure wages of sin will be the result. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (Rev. 19: 15).
Quite often YHWH is criticized for “hardening” Pharaoh’s heart, but a careful read of the Bible shows differently: “Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?” 1 Sam. 6: 6.
While the Bible does state that “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt,” (Ex. 7: 3), the sense of the passage conveys the idea that God’s revelations of truth were the vehicles that hardened Pharaoh, rather than God’s taking control of his thoughts and emotions and forces him to do that which he would not ordinarily have done! In nature, we set butter and clay in the heat of sun, but the same sun that hardens the clay simultaneously melts the butter! Such is the case of all whose hearts are “softened” or “hardned.”
The 1St Plague—Sores and diseases upon men: “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. Rev. 16: 2. Strange diseases will affect the human race, those who are not covered under the blood of the Lamb, but “worshipped” in conformance with the mark of the beast system. In the 6th Plague of Egypt, there were Boils on Man and Beast, (Ex. 9: 8-12).
2nd Plague—Salt Water Sources turned into Blood: “3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” (Rev. 16: 3). In prophecy, during probationary time, Blood is a symbol of life, but after its close, blood becomes a symbol of death. This 2nd plague comes with a die-off of marine life forms, from the blood-forming vial cast from the angel’s hand. In Egypt’s 1st plague, the Fresh (potable or drinkable) waters were turned into blood, and water creatures died, there was also a great stink. (Ex. 7: 17-21).
3rd Plague—Fresh Water Sources turned into Blood: 4 “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.” [See verse 3, blood = death]… 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy,” (Rev. 16: 4-6). This plague testifies that we reap what we sow, and the harvesting is many times more abundant than the sowing! It is incumbent upon all of us to sow unto holiness that we may reap life everlasting.
In the Second and Third of these seven last plagues, heaven is impacting not only the fresh water sources, but the salt waters’ as well, and all the aquatic life forms in those environments (ecosystems) will also suffer from the impacts of these plagues. This will also impact humans in terms of starvation and diseases, as many people depend on the rivers, lakes, and sea for their food sources!
The rivers and water sources turning into blood is an expansion of the 1st plague in Egypt, indicating that humans will suffer from the lack of drinkable water, and will instead be left with blood to quench their thirst! Both man and beast will die off form this plague.
Verse 6 indicates that both “saints” and “prophets” will die, during the mark of the Beast’s persecution, indicating that some from among of the Latter Rain saints (not from the 144,000), who are “prophets,” will die, as reflected in the death of the “two prophets” or “the two witnesses” in Rev. 11: 3, 7, 10.
4th Plague—Scorched Earth Syndrome: “8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” (Rev. 16: 8-9).
The phrase “they repented not” means they “hardened their hearts” against the most High, like Pharaoh did in ancient Egypt. Babylon is the modern-day Egypt, and will suffer a similar fate. The plagues therefore falls on those “who repented not.” Read Rev. 9: 17-21, as it discussed the first three plagues totaling ten plagues in the last days, with only “seven last” vials to be poured out only upon the ungodly.
“8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.” (Isa. 49: 8-10).
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt 5:6). And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (Joh 6:35)
“16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. 7: 16, 17).
“And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” (Isa 4:6).
While the wicked are perishing under the effects of the plagues, the righteous are being fed at the hand of the Lamb in the restored premillennial kingdom of peace! The great news, too, is that none of the effects of the plagues will impact the righteous! (Ps. 91: 10). Only with our eyes shall we see the reward of evil upon the heads of the rebellious.
5th –Plague—Darkness Upon the Seat of the Beast: “10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, [grit their teeth in fear and great distress]. 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. Rev. 16: 10-11.
The word “sores,” from Strong’s Concordance is the Greek word “hel’kos,” which means: 1) a wound, esp. a wound producing a discharge pus; 2) a sore, an ulcer. The plague of darkness is also a plague of “sores” and lesions in humans. The pain comes not only from the sores, but from the frost of cold experienced from the smiting of the sun and the power grid—the source of heat and electricity for our planet.
The plague of darkness is not merely the absence of light, but one which causes ulcerated boils (sores) to form on the human body. They will form at such a time as renders modern medicine incapable, as the entire power grid is blacked out, and no one can see through the density of the consuming darkness. Proportionate to the heat of the sun under the fourth plague, will be the effects of the intense darkness and coldness with the smiting of this heat and light source to earth. Space without the sun, is very cold. The sores are similar to those of Lazarus’ in the parable:
“20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.” (Luke 16: 20-21).
“And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” Re 16:11.
Darkness: “The ninth plague of darkness in Egypt Ex 10:21 is described as darkness “which may be felt.” It covered “all the land of Egypt,” so that “they saw not one another.” It did not extend to the land of Goshen, however, Ex 10:23. When Jesus hung upon the cross (Mt 27:45; Lu 23:44), from the “sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.” That was not a solar eclipse, but a divine darkness that was created, as on the first three days of creation, before the creation of the heavenly luminaries.
This darkness, in the plagues, is one which affects both the solar system, as well as the power generation systems of Babylon, it is “darkness which may be felt.” With the absence of the sun and artificial power, there will be super human coldness, such as has not been experienced by humans, since the world began.
In the wilderness YHWH was a pillar of fire by night, and a pillar of cloud by day, to his travelling church. The fire was not only meant to provide them light but also warmth from the frosty cold of the desert nights! Our God will do this again: “5 And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. 6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” (Isa. 4: 5, 6).
“1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. 2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isa. 32: 1, 2).
This “man” who will be our hiding place is none other than Jesus Christ (Y’shuah) our Saviour! We shout take note that these prophecies are written in the future tense, and that they have never been fulfilled, and will and must be accomplished before the Second Coming of Jesus in power and great glory! This why the truth of the kingdom is so central to our latter-day understandings.
The seat of the beast is presented in this prophecy is not Vatican City, but the United States, the power that is to give life to the healed beast, and speak as the Dragon! (Rev. 13: 11, 12).
Drying Up the Euphrates River
Read Revelation 16:12 along with Revelation 17:1 and 15. What does the symbol of the Euphrates stand for? What is the significance of the drying up of the Euphrates in the context of the seven last plagues?
6th Plague—Armageddon: “12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. [Armageddon] 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked (without the robe of Christ’s righteousness), and they see his shame. (Compare Matt. 22: 11-12) 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (Rev. 16: 12-16).
One of the most misunderstood terms in the Bible by both Christians and worldlings is “Armageddon.” Many see it is World War III, while others see it as the proverbial “end” of the world, which is a conflict between the warring nations of earth in a sort of nuclear holocaust, and more recently, with the advent of Climate Change and championed by Pope Francis, now the nations are speaking with one voice of a Climate Change Armageddon, which can only be averted by the Green New Deal! Yet, as scary as those ideas seem, they are not what the Bible calls the Battle of Armageddon.
In short, the battle of Armageddon is both a physical and spiritual conflict fought between the Armies of Earth against the Armies of Heaven! Sinful man will direct their weapons of warfare against the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. First this battle will be started in the Middle East, in the physical environment of the Holy Land, in an effort to overthrow the pre-millennial Kingdom of peace, wherein resides all the saved of earth. This is Satan’s last ditch effort to destroy the church of Christ, prior to the Second Coming, and they will fail.
From Strong’s Concordance we read, “Armageddon of Hebrew origin… = “the hill or city of Megiddo.” 1) In #Re 16:16 the scene of a the struggle of good and evil is suggested by that battle plain of Esdraelon, which was famous for two great victories, of Barak over the Canaanites, and of Gideon over the Midianites; and for two great disasters, the deaths of Saul and Josiah. Hence in Revelation a place of great slaughter, the scene of a terrible retribution upon the wicked. The RSV translates the name as Har-Magedon, i.e. the hill (as Ar is the city) of Megiddo”—Strong’s/ Armageddon.
For decades the Seventh-day Adventist Church held that this battle was to be fought in the Middle East, but more recent scholarship seek to distance themselves from the physical geography of the Holy Land in preference for a purely “spiritual” conflict in the consummation of the ages. This is an inaccurate position, and does not conform with the teachings of the Bible. The same view holds that the “kings of the east” are Christ and the angels who will be appearing from the East at His Second Coming!
This Armageddon will serve as a type of the battle to be fought after the millennium, when the wicked will be resurrected, and with Satan as their leader, marshal their forces to conquer the Holy City, at which point fire from heaven will be poured out upon them, and destroy the entire wicked world, both root and branch.
The River Euphrates: As we’ve studied under the Trumpets, this river is a symbol of Babylon
Satan’s Last Great Deception
Gathering for the Battle of Armageddon
Read Revelation 16:16. How successful will Satan’s end-time deception be in gathering the people of the world to the battle of Armageddon?
Further Thought: “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand
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