Time of Distress

The world is moving towards a time of distress. This season is a short one, because it opens the way for the emergence of the Kingdom of God. It begins with trouble and disaster spreading throughout the world and climaxes with human governments accumulating colossal powers concentrated in the hands of a few people. Whereas previous empires gained power by military and police force, the people of the world will welcome these human messiahs, because they promise to deliver them from trouble and tribulation.

The time of distress will be cut short when human governments collapse under the weight of their failed programs and broken promises. If their rise to power is grand, their collapse will be spectacular. Faith in human government and political power will be destroyed forever.

When the ultimate human government fails, people who trusted in political power will be disenchanted and disillusioned. They will be desperate for a saviour who can be trusted to keep his promises, so they will rush to faith in Jesus.

The second biggest obstacle to the kingdom of God is human political power. It comes in many forms, but it always opposes and undermines the authority of God by offering the people of the world a false hope. In our own time, political power has been given greater impetus, by the spread of democracy. Before the Holy Spirit can bring the kingdom of God to fullness, this widespread trust human political power must be swept away. The Time of Distress will be a very painful season, but Christians will rejoice in these trials, as they see the fullness of the Kingdom of God springing forth on earth.

The Collapse of Human Government

The book of Revelation tells the story of the rise and fall of the human government. It rises to enormous heights, but will eventually collapse under its own weight. When governments ignore God, things go wrong in the world. The curses and plagues described in the book of Revelation are the natural consequence of rampant state power. The democratic state will demand more and more power to deal with these problems and plagues, but they will fail too. Politicians will gain immense power, but problems will totally overwhelm them.

The situation will be so bad that politicians and bureaucrats will want to hide.

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains (Rev 6:15).

Instead of strutting on the world stage, politicians and powers will hide under the rocks and caves. As the empire of man makes a last gasp effort to survive, the governments of the world will collapse and disapear. Those who have trusted in political power will be filled with fear

Mary prophesied the collapse of human government.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble (Luke 1:51, 52).

The birth of Jesus marked the beginning of the end for human rulers. His ascension destroyed their legitimacy. The Book of Revelation explains how this becomes a reality. As empires collapse and fall, Jesus is recognised as King in all the earth.

The kingdoms of the world will disappear and be replaced by the true Kingdom.

The kingdom of the world
has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever (Rev 11:15).

Godly justice will be established by wise local judges applying God's law.

Two Witnesses

The Beast with ten heads and seven crowns represents the triumph of human political power. This American Beast imposes its power on the entire world, but will be unable to sustain it. It eventually collapses in a worldwide catastrophe. The book of Revelation tells the story in advance.

John tells the story of the Babylon the Great (the American Beast) in a funny way. The emergence of the Babylon the Great is described in Revelation 17 in the midst of a jubilant celebration its fall of the Beast (Rev 17,18). However, he tells about the destruction of the Babylon the Great in Revelation 16. He describes the destruction of Babylon the Great, before he tells of her rise to power. Christians should not be afraid of it.

John begins the story with the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11. The two witnesses the church that challenges the Beast. The Terrible Beast will persecute this church so severely, that it appears to be dead.

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them (Rev 11:7).

The people of the world will celebrate joyously, because the church that has cramped their style is gone (Rev 11:10). But just when it seems to be totally dead, God will raise it up again.

The breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them (Rev 11:11).

A radical church that has survived underground and prepared while not one has notices will burst onto the world stage. The people of the world will be totally shocked when they realise that church is not dead, but different and far more powerful. Soon after this revitalised church emerges, the American Beast will be destroyed.

At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven (Rev 11:13).

I am not sure that this is a literal earthquake. It probably refers to tumultuous events that shake the entire world. Whatever happens, the great city, later called Babylon the Great, will be destroyed. Those who survive will repent and give glory to God.

Whereas the church that appears to be dead is more alive than ever, Babylon the Great is already dead before it comes to life.

Midair Angel

The first midair angel took the gospel to every tribe and nation on earth (Rev 14:6-7). This is fulfilled by the revitalised church. The second angel flying in midair announced a terrible decree.

"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great," which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries (Rev 14:8).

The preaching and prophecy of the restored church will bring down Babylon the Great. John does not explain how, but the collapse of the American Beast is initiated by a church that was thought to be dead, but comes Back to life.

Seven Plagues

The American Beast will be destroyed by seven plagues. Whereas, the seals and the trumpets are directed into the entire earth, the seven plagues are directed towards Babylon the Great.

Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues
for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes (Rev 18:4,5).

God remembers the crimes of Babylon the Great and her sins piled to heaven. When he removes his protection, terrible disasters will strike.

Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine.
She will be consumed by fire (Rev 18:8).

The destruction of Babylon the Great will come suddenly and quickly, producing shortages of food and great sadness. Glory and luxury will disappear from America and be replaced by torment and grief (Rev 18:7).

The first three plagues describe a terrible time on earth. Human political powers make such an appalling mess on earth that the people of the earth suffer terribly. The plagues are probably not literal sores (Rev 16:1) but warn of dreadful guilt and suffering that allow politicians to gain power. The seas and rivers are not literally turned to blood (Rev 16:3-7), but are destroyed by wanton human destruction when the wisdom of God is rejected (Rev 16:6).

The fourth plague strikes the sun, which represents human political leaders (Rev 16:8). They begin to feel the heat, because they are unable to prevent the disasters, which are getting worse and worse. The fifth plague strikes the democratic beast. It has promised peace and blessings for the world, but will be overrun by tragedy and ruin.

The Kings from the East

The exposure of its broken promises will really put the heat on the American Beast. To create a distraction, it will decide on a last-ditch military solution to the problems in the Middle East. This leads to the sixth plague (Rev 16:12).

The Kings of the East (probably China) will move into the area surrounding the Euphrates River (Iraq and Syria). American opposition to Shiite influence in Iraq and Iran is already pushing them into trading with the Chinese.

The King of the North (American Beast) will attempt to push the Kings of the East out of the area, but these events are the work of the evil Spirits.

I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle (Rev 16:13-14)

Christians who wants America to invade Iraq or Iran should note this source. The impetus for invasion of the Middle East is not from God, but comes from evil spirits. War is the devil's solution.

Seventh Plague

This Middle Eastern war ends in disaster for all its participants, when God says, "It is done!" and brings human government to an end. The great earthquake is probably not literal, but represents the tremendous shaking of human government. This unprecedented shaking is not limited to the Middle East, but destroys political power throughout the earth.

The cities of the nations collapsed (Rev 16:19).

Many of the capital cities of the world will collapse.

John warns that "the mountains could not be found" (Rev 16:21). In the scriptures, mountains represent kings and political leaders. Human governments will disappear and not be found.

Huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men (Rev 16:21).

This could be a description of bombs falling on capital cities around the world. Political leaders who have trusted in military power and sheltered under nuclear umbrellas will find themselves destroyed by misdirected missiles and bombs.

Babylon the Great was not forgotten.

God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath (Rev 16:10).

The nature of this judgment is not specified, but it probably the same the other great cities. Washington could be destroyed by bombs that were targeted for its protection. However, this attack will not come from outside, but from within.

United States Disintegrate

When widespread calamity is insurmountable, the United States will fall apart.

The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire (Rev 17:16).

The ten horns are the states that gave up their sovereignty to for the United Sates. The Prostitute is the federal government with which these states prostituted themselves.

The various states will begin to hate the federal government in Washington. They will strip it naked, by refusing to pay federal taxes and leaving it powerless and embarrassed. Once stripped of power, it will be destroyed by fire, possibly by bombs falling from the sky.

For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled (Rev 17:17).

God put the idea of union in the hearts of the states to fulfil his purposes. When he gives them urge to destroy the union, they will attack it like wild dogs tearing into the carcass of a dying animal.

Ununited Quadunity

The American Empire was sustained by an unholy quadunity.

When things go wrong in the world, these forces will turn on each other and tear the union apart.

While the economic, military and political powers were able to use the media for their purposes, they encouraged its influence, but eventually the media will overstep the mark and expose their dishonesty and immorality. They will come to hate the entertainment industry.

The power of the military industrial complex in Washington will be undermined when the economic empire over extends and fails.

The military will seize control of some key industries to sustain its escapades abroad.

The politicians will be blames for everything. They will be overwhelmed by a great wave of hatred.

Large Boulder

John saw a huge boulder being thrown into the sea.

Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:

With such violence
the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
never to be found again (Rev 18:21).

The destruction of the American Empire will be like a boulder thrown in the sea. The boulder is as big a millstone, so it will sink fast. Compared to the sea, the boulder is tiny. Once it has sunk into the sea, the democratic empire will disappear forever and never be found again.

The sea represents the people of the world. The terror and fear of this tragedy will be sealed into human memories, just as the Tower of Babel is remembered everywhere. No empire since has dared to build a tower up to heaven. In the same way, the memory of this terrible collapse will be so strongly engraved on human consciousness that no human culture will ever try to build a democratic empire. The futility of making peace without God will fully exposed. A democratic empire will never be seen again, because the people of this world will never forget this event.

As faith in human government collapses, the world will be opened for the emergence of the Kingdom of God.

Daniels Vision

Daniel also described the collapse of the Beast. He saw Jesus' ascension into heaven. Jesus came into the presence of the Father and was given the authority that he had earned by this death and resurrection.

One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom (Daniel 7:13,14).

When the Son of Man entered heaven, he was enthroned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The great truth of Daniel is that all human government is evil. His entire vision is a description of the rise and fall of human political power. For all of human history, the people of the world have been controlled by various kings, emperors and sundry political power. Daniel describes a time when democratic demagogues have taken over this controlling role.

Before the Kingdom of God can come to fullness on earth, faith human political power must be destroyed forever. Daniel's vision describes how God will accomplish this goal.

End of the Terrible Beast

The Terrible Beast is the "last hurrah" for political power. It makes its own laws and persecute God's people.

He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time (Dan 7:25).

The Time, Times and Half a Time is the same as the Times of the Gentiles. This beast works throughout this season and will persecute the church, whenever it is true to Jesus. It reaches its climax in the little horn, which is the United States.

When the Time of the Gentiles is complete, God will issue a decree in heaven to end the dominion of human political powers.

But the court will sit for judgment,
and his dominion will be taken away,
annihilated and destroyed forever (Dan 7:26).

This decision in heaven will release events that will annihilate all human political power from the world forever. Enormous political power will be accumulated in order to overcome the shaking of the world, but this terrible human empire will collapse into such a mess that the people of the world will never trust human political power again.

God's judgement leads to the destruction of the Beast.

I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire (Dan 7:11).

The small horn controlling the ten-horned beast is the United States. It's tumultuous collapse will be so awful that the desire for political power will be driven from human hearts forever. This is not a temporary regret, but a permanent change in attitude.

The Kingdom Released

The climax of Daniel's vision is the greatest event the whole of human history (apart from the cross).

Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him (Dan 7:27).

All sovereignty, power and authority is handed to the saints (not to Jesus). They will not use this authority to establish a Christian empire, but to create a totally different Kingdom. The saints will carry the Holy Spirit into the world, so he can establish obedience to Jesus everywhere.

The great commission was also a commission for the Holy Spirit. When Jesus told his disciples to make disciples of all nations, he was also commissioning the Holy Spirit to establish the Kingdom of God throughout the world. Daniel's vision describes how the Holy Spirit is released to complete his commission.

Once human political power is smashed, opposition to the kingdom of God will be swept away.

His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom,
and all rulers will worship and obey him (Dan 7:27b).

God will replace human rulers with local judges applying his law within his Kingdom.

Human Political Power Destroyed

Human political power manifests in various ways, but it always lead to disaster. A great rush of hubris will inspire attempts to create the ideal human government and spread its influence throughout the world. Unfortunately, for those who trust human political power, this last grand endeavour leads to greater chaos. This turmoil leaves people totally disillusioned with what man can do and opens hearts to the kingdom of God.

The Times of Distress will be very messy for those who trust political power, but it will free up the Holy Spirit to complete his work and bring in the Kingdom of God. The collapse of the American Empire will create a great vacuum that only the government of God can fill. Human political systems will disintegrate and collapse from within. When political power is chopped up, pushed down and spread around to ordinary people who trust and obey Jesus, the Kingdom of God has come.

Massive Opportunity

The collapse of human government is a great opportunity for Christians, who are prepared for the future. The people of the world will be looking for a better form of government. They will be fed up with human efforts, so a sound alternative will be well received.

Christians must not use force to bring down human government. Fighting evil human government with better human government is dangerous, because it just produces greater human government. The greater the evil confronted, the greater the human government becomes. Evil cannot be overcome evil.

Instead of using the weapons of the world against human government, we should wait for God to undermine it. We should prepare for the future, knowing that all human government will eventually collapse under its internal weakness.

A lot of stuff will have to happen first. Christian communities will need to be restored in every location. During the season of distress, these communities will have to protect themselves from persecution and provide economic support for each other as the global economy breaks down, but that is another story.

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