The third and last woe is here.
International terrorism is not a new thing. It has happened before more than once, when hordes of head-chopping religious zealots swept out of the Middle East and went crashing against Europe.
Several centuries ago, in the country of Arabia, a new religion was begun that would severely impact the New Testament Church of Jesus Christ for centuries to come. According to some of the old Bible expositors such as the 18th century Baptist, Dr. John Gill, this new religion was a product of the spiritual underworld. Their holy book, The Koran, clearly stated that the followers of Islam were to take their message of forced submission to the whole world and that every person who did not submit should be killed.
Unlike the message of Christianity, their holy book clearly stated that their goal was to conquer the world through fear, military force and utter submission. This new religion quickly began to spread, and its followers began to conquer large areas of the earth in the name of their new god they called "Allah." And that is still their goal as their forces fight under the modern name of “ISIS”.
The Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible shows us in prophetic imagery the panorama of coming events of this whole church age (AD) through which we have been passing. And it also portrays the exploits of this unholy religion of Islam. (The word "Islam" means submission.)
The 5th Trumpet is the 1st Woe
The Bible's prophecy about Islam begins in chapter 5 of Revelation where there is described the opening of an abyss, or "bottomless pit," out of which a huge swarm of locusts comes. Dr. Gill, who obviously knew something about world history, saw a striking likeness between the loosing of these "locusts" and the spreading of the violent Islamic religion over North Africa and Spain in the 7th and 8th centuries. These "Saracens," as they were then called, swept across North Africa, then through Spain and into France, chopping heads as they went - wherever their victims would not become confessed Muslims as their holy book commanded. And the Islamic religion became firmly entrenched wherever they rode.
The Three Woes
This era of tragic history was introduced by a prophetic scripture, in Revelation 8:13: "And I beheld and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhibitors of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound!"
This prophetic declaration describes three "woes" that seem to represent the three great thrusts that the Islamic world would be making against the Christian West. The Arab invasions in the 8th century would be the first woe, when they captured the whole of Northern Africa and then Spain - all former Christian lands - for the Muslim religion.
The 2nd Woe
The second woe came in the 17th century after the Turks had caught the fire of Islam, and the armies of their Ottoman Empire charged against "Christian" Europe from the southeast, that time going all the way into Austria before they were finally stopped at the gates of Vienna.
The 3rd Woe
So those were the first two of the Revelation "woes." The third woe does not appear until chapter 11 of Revelation, verses 14-15, and there it is found in conjunction with the coming of Jesus Christ and the end of our age: "The second woe is past, and behold the third woe comes quickly. And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever."
The Purpose of the Woes
Between the episodes of these invasions against the Christians of Europe - the Arab invasion, the Turkish invasion and now the huge rise of Islamic guerrilla terrorism in our present time, there have been lulls in the spread of Islam and times of relative peace. But twice before and now three times we have seen the spirits of Satan and his demons stirring up the servants of Allah and this mighty religion of Islam again going on the warpath. Sometimes we hear people say that the tragedy of 9-11 was a wake-up call, and it certainly was. This stirring of Islamic fervor is now all around us, and our political leaders are having a hard time to explain it all. One thing is apparent to students of history (who are sadly few in number these days) - and that is that these Islamic holy wars have happened twice before and now one is happening again. After all, there are three woes in the Book of Revelation, not just two.
The Bible is plain that God himself causes wars and ends wars – all for his purposes. The first woe in Christian times was sent against the decadent Roman Catholic church system in the seventh and eighth centuries - that was increasing fast and desperately needed purging from its goal to control all the civilized world. The second woe under the Turkish conquests was sent against the Catholic forces in the south of Europe in the sixteenth century when the Counter Reformation was in progress. The Roman Catholics were attempting to crush the Protestant defenders in the north. This thrust by the Muslims relieved the Protestant regions in Northern Europe and helped save the Protestant Reformation – even though that was certainly not the intention of the Muslims. God works in mysterious ways.
Now, a look at today’s history in the making. In today’s world God’s purpose in sending Islamic terror and destruction again could well be to restore the theology of the early church and the Great Awakening – and scourge churches in the Western World from unbelieving liberalism and Arminianism that is injuring the churches’ witness in these end times – therefore making us more ready to meet our Lord who is soon to come. How this will be done is yet to be seen.
But there is a significant difference between the two former conflicts and our present one. In the former times the military power of Christian North and Muslim South were close to being equal, and they twice ended in standoffs. But that is not the case today. The "Christian" nations of our present world far outstrip the Islamic countries in every practical advantage, and primarily in industrial and military power. Sooner or later the last war of Revelation 19 will come, and God’s forces will win the final conflict. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” Revelation 22:20.
- Loren Wilson (This article may be copied freely.)
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