The World Tomorrow

Prophecy - Revelation 3

by Herbert W Armstrong


Ladies and gentlemen, greetings. A staggering, worldwide calamity is due to strike this earth very, very soon.

Now there’s an eye-opening book being published explaining the details, warning the people about it. It’s not only one of the ten best-sellers, it is number one; it is the best seller right now – and that book is the Holy Bible. About one-third of the Bible is devoted to prophecy telling what is going to happen. And about ninety percent of all of the prophecies are devoted to the times in which we live, and the time just ahead of us now: just a little while ahead of us, warning us of things that are going to happen.

Now the Bible is the book that nobody knows. It’s a book that very few people believe, even if they know about it. Everybody has it, it seems; you find it in every hotel. People sometimes read it, but they don’t really understand it. And do they believe what it says; do they believe it is the word of God? Well, I’m afraid not too many.

Nevertheless, of all of the books in the Bible, the last book is the most baffling, the most mysterious. And it is a book of prophecy. And it is devoted to things just ahead of us now – that have not yet happened, but are due – and due to strike in your time and mine very soon in this generation.

I’ve been discussing this book of Revelation the last few programs. Now I’d like to get back and just give you the briefest summary of the ground that I’ve already covered. Notice in chapter one and verse one that it is "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave [unto] him." (Revelation 1:1)

Now revelation means, 'revealing,' not 'concealing'. And yet it seems it’s been concealed; it seems that nobody understands it. And yet it says that Jesus Christ is the Revealer.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave to him to show us things that are going to come to pass." (Revelation 1:1 paraphrased)

Now the theme of the book – let me just give you that – it’s in verse ten in the first chapter where John says "I was in the Spirit [on] the Lord’s day." (Revelation 1:10)

This book is written largely in symbol and people can’t understand it. As a matter of fact, you will find that in chapter five it says that no man can understand it; no man can open the seals to our understanding (Revelation 5:3). And it was a sealed book. It was not a book like our books today – with many, many pages, not a book like the Bible – not a book like one that I have here with different pages. But it was one long scroll rolled up and it was sealed so you couldn’t unroll it – you couldn’t open it up – just like a Bible would have a seal and you can’t open the covers and you can’t see what’s inside. It was sealed until now, but it is the revelation of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is the One, it says, the only One that was found worthy to open the book so we could understand it (Revelation 5:5). God’s time has come. Jesus Christ has now opened that book. And I’m opening it before you for you to understand.

Now in the past few programs I have covered the first six chapters of that book. And the first six chapters: first we found there are the four horsemen. And that is a term that has baffled a lot of people. You see, they’re called, 'the four horsemen of the apocalypse' in some cases. And I showed you that there were the four horses: the white horse, the red horse, the black horse, and the pale horse. And people don’t understand what they mean. Jesus is the One who reveals it. And I’ve shown you that they represented: first, false Christs – false apostles preaching a false Christ – coming in the name of Christ, saying that Jesus is the Christ, but deceiving the world.

A World Deceived (Play from 4:24)

Your Bible says that there is a Satan the devil and that Satan has deceived all nations; he has deceived this whole world (Revelation 12:9). You say, “Well, Satan couldn’t deceive me.” Listen, he has deceived every human being who ever lived, except Jesus Christ – every human being who ever lived – Oh yes, you have been deceived! I have been deceived and I am very thankful that God has opened my mind to understand it and to see that I was deceived. And a lot of people don’t open their minds. They still are going to go on being deceived because they want to cling to the ideas that were stuffed into their minds. Very few inquire, in retrospect, how they came to believe what they believe. But we believe what we’ve been taught; we believe what we’ve heard people say; we believe what we read in print. And we come to believe the things that people around us believe and that they teach. And we want to go along with the crowd. So we believe like everybody else.

Well now, those first six seals are opened in one chapter, the sixth chapter, of the book of Revelation. I’ve covered all of that so far. And Jesus reveals it in plain language in Matthew 24. And then another writer, Mark, gives the same explanation in the thirteenth chapter of Mark. And Luke, another writer, gives the same thing in the Bible in Luke chapter 21. But I’ve used Matthew’s account in this case.

Now in the tenth verse, John, in spirit - in vision - sees the day of the Lord. It doesn’t mean he was on a Lord’s Day because the Bible says that Jesus Christ was Lord of the Sabbath. So if He is the Lord, that would be His day, wouldn’t it? Well not very many quite understand that. But regardless of that, it is speaking about the day of the Lord. That is a time in prophecy that is referred to in thirty or more prophecies in the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is referred to in Isaiah a few times; it’s referred to in Ezekiel; it’s referred to in Joel; it’s referred to in Matthew; it’s referred to in the book of Revelation. It is a prophecy of something – the day of the Lord that is yet to come – it’s just ahead of us now!

Now the disciples of Jesus were asking Him because He’s the One who opens it to our understanding. And the only place where you find Jesus Christ, in His own words, explaining those six seals - that are explained in the sixth chapter of the book of Revelation - is in Matthew 24.

Now one of the things that is NOT in the sixth chapter of Revelation, that Jesus does explain, is that after these four horsemen typically had happened – and everything in God’s plan, it seems at least nearly everything, very many things, are of dual enactment in actual history: there is a first and a last. There was the first Adam, who was the first man created; but Jesus Christ is called, 'the second Adam'. There was the Old Covenant made with Israel in the Old Testament; but there is the New Covenant that Christ is making and going to make with His Church in the New Testament. That is a spiritual covenant. The old one was a national and materialistic type of a covenant. And very few people understand those two covenants.

Wars and Rumors of Wars (Play from 7:55)

Nevertheless, in type, there were the false preachers. I’ve gone all through that. Then the wars – and we’ve had wars and wars and wars up till now. But the BIGGEST war is yet to come – it’ll finally to climax in world war! And we’re in a recess right now. Now mark you what I said. I said we’re in a RECESS between WW II and WW III. And WW III is just around the corner. And let me tell you that the weapons now exist for the first time in history when man can destroy mankind, when ALL HUMAN LIFE can be erased from this planet, when we can be BLASTED out of existence! And the greatest problem in the world today, our number one problem, is that of human survival. And we like to get our minds off of it. But let me tell you, one hydrogen bomb is about more than a thousand times destructive as an atom bomb! A hydrogen bomb, well it’s just set off by an atom bomb. And we don’t say much about it. They don’t try to arouse the public about it because they think it’ll be too frightening. They think the public would be so frightened and they don’t want them to get so frightened. But it is there.

Now in Matthew 24, typically, Jesus explains all those four horsemen. There was the wars, then there had been famines, and then there had been pestilences, or disease epidemics. But they were all a type of the final climax of world war which is just around the corner right now and the final great famine that is going to take the lives of at least a third or more of all of the people on the earth – and combined with the pestilence that will result, of disease epidemics that will result – from that famine.

Now Jesus’ disciples had asked Him, also, what would be the sign of His coming and the end of THIS world? That didn’t mean the end of the earth, just the end of this world and the ushering in of the world tomorrow when Christ is going to come, when God is going to intervene – that is the day of the Lord. We’ve been for six thousand years in the day of man – or, more properly, the day of Satan the devil, because man has been influenced. And ALL people, as I said before, have been deceived by Satan the devil. You have been deceived; I have been deceived. God has opened my eyes and I’ve been willing to admit it. And I’ve been willing to come and BELIEVE WHAT HE SAYS and become undeceived. But not very many will believe what God says – Adam and Eve didn’t. The majority of many, many, many thousands who listened to Jesus Christ in person didn’t believe what He said. Only 120 out of thousands upon thousands who heard Him believed what He said. So that is the great question.

But His disciples had asked Him a sign about His second coming. Now the day of the Lord is going to happen JUST BEFORE His coming. And that is when God will intervene in the affairs in this world and that will climax in the coming of Christ. And that is the day when God intervenes, when God takes over.

Now of course that’ll continue on for a thousand years after Christ comes – when He’s going to rule this earth and rule over all nations on the earth. But there will be a preliminary intervention of God in world affairs before the second coming of Christ. And that is the part that is referred to in so many cases in the Bible: 'The Day of the Lord.' It’s called the day of the Lord when HE begins to take over and take charge in world affairs.

Now in verse fourteen of Matthew twenty-four Jesus answered a question – this is not referred to in Revelation 6 – that they asked for a sign before His coming – the end of THIS world and the beginning of the world tomorrow. And Jesus said:

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; then shall the end [the end of this world] come."(Matthew 24:14)

Nineteen Year Time Cycle (Play from 12:18)

Let me tell you, a time cycle is nineteen years. Once every nineteen years the earth, the moon, and the sun come into conjunction. Now God set the sun and the earth – the earth turning on its axis – the moon and the sun in relation to the earth – to mark off spaces of time. One revolution of the earth is a day; one revolution of the moon around the earth is a lunar month – not the way we count months today, but a lunar month; one revolution of the earth around the sun is a year. But also, when all three come into conjunction – almost exact conjunction, once in nineteen years – that is a time cycle: a nineteen-year time cycle.

Let me tell you: one century of time cycles the true gospel of Jesus Christ was suppressed! And I can tell you Jesus Christ has raised me up to give you that gospel. And I began proclaiming it over ALL Europe on the most powerful radio station in the world! Television hadn’t come into public viewing as yet at that time: 1953. This gospel of the kingdom began going to all Europe and it had gone to all of the United States before that.

Now then, we’re in the time that is very short. Let me tell you Satan the devil knows that his time is short. He knows that that sign has happened. That’s why he’s trying to strike at me; that’s why he’s tried to strike at the 'Worldwide Church of God' – God’s Church. That’s why he’s trying to strike at these things. There is an invisible Satan, believe me.

Now then, after this we finally come to what was the fifth seal in the sixth chapter of the book of Revelation. And that is described in verses twenty-one and twenty-two in Jesus’ own words, verses twenty-one and twenty-two of Matthew twenty-four:

"And then [that’s right after this gospel is proclaimed which you’re hearing in your ears this very minute] then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved [alive]!" (Matthew 24:21-22)

Now the King James translation doesn’t have the word 'alive' but it’s a translation out of the Greek. And the Greek word means physical saving, not spiritual saving so it means, 'saved alive', where, for the first time in all history, we’re at the time when it is possible for man to completely destroy mankind. And our number one problem now is the problem of human survival. Let me tell you, your life and mine is very seriously threatened. Someone just pushes the wrong button of nuclear war and there wouldn’t be a person left on earth!

Now it says here that "...there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)

So you’re betting your life on the fact that the Bible says that those days are going to be cut short and they’ll be cut short by God. And God is going to cut them short by intervening! And He’s going to intervene in the time that is called, 'The Day of the Lord' - and that is what the book of Revelation is all about; that is the theme of the book of Revelation: 'The Day of the Lord.' That is mentioned in chapter one, the very first chapter of the book of Revelation and in verse ten.

Now we come down to this great tribulation. That is the next thing to happen right now. That’s going to be a time of terrible trouble all over this world. It isn’t going to be caused by God. It’s going to be caused by Satan the devil. But God is the One who is going to stop it and save us out of it.

Heavenly Signs (Play from 16:15)

Now you read of it here in Matthew 24 and turning over to verse 29:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days [that’s after God intervenes at the start of the day of the Lord] shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Matthew 24:29)

Terrible signs that are going to frighten the people of the earth are going to be seen in the sky. God is supernatural; God is almighty! God is going to cause things that are going to make people realize there is a God! God has been hiding Himself for six thousand years. Some of these times I’ll preach a sermon on that and explain to you precisely why. But He has been doing it.

Now back to the book of Revelation. And I believe it was in the last program on this subject that I covered this beginning with verse twelve in the sixth chapter. The apostle John is recording what he saw in this vision, in vision looking into the beginning of the Day of the Lord.

[Now he says,] "I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as a sackcloth of hair, the moon became as blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth [there’s the same signs in heaven that I read you that Jesus said in Matthew 24]. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. Every mountain and every island removed out of their places. The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man [even slaves and those that are free and the great people, the middle class, all classes of people] and they hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne!" (Revelation 6:12-16)

They are going to realize that God is real and that God does exist! They’re going to begin to realize that. We’d better take this seriously, my friends, because you’re living in the most serious times of all history and these things are going to come. We’ve been deceived for six thousand years. Now God is going to come and free us from that. But people are going to have to be awakened out of their stupor and out of their deception. They’re going to have to realize it. And God is going to show those great signs and people are going to be frightened. That is the beginning of the Day of the Lord; that is just the very beginning!

Now then the rest of it are plagues that God is going to send to people to punish them. Remember this: God’s punishment is corrective, not revenge. God never punishes to get revenge on people. He doesn’t want to hurt people; He doesn’t want to see people suffer. God is love. But God does punish every son He loves. God says that if you are without punishment from God you are a bastard; you’re not one of His sons (Hebrews 12:6-8).

Well, of course, most people are really not His begotten sons, anyway. But God punishes for correction, and in love, and to help us, and for our good.

Sealing of the 144,000 (Play from 19:32)

Now we come to the seventh chapter of the book of Revelation. And now we come to the beginning of the seventh seal. Remember there were seven seals on the book. The sixth chapter opened the first six of the seals, but not the seventh. ALL the rest of the book of Revelation is devoted to that one seventh seal. So now notice:

"After these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of the earth [now he’s talking about wind that blows] that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree [now I want you to notice that it is not blowing to harm or to affect people, but to affect the sea, the trees, and the earth. In other words, the physical things of the earth: the sea and the trees, but not men, not people]. And I saw another angel from the east having the seal of the living God, and he came with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea. [and so on. They are called the first four trumpets; there are seven trumpets]." (Revelation 7:1-2)

Now then we come to this; "Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, TILL [now God’s going to hold things up a little while] until [something happens] until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads [the servants of God are the people that are His Church, the people that have received His Holy Spirit, or the people that He is calling to BE so converted and receive His Spirit and be sealed in their foreheads. And what is sealed in the foreheads, really, is the name of God. They become His children; He is their Father. They become the begotten children of God through Christ]. And I heard the number of them that were sealed. And there were sealed 144,000 of all of the tribes of the children of Israel [now people think that the Jews are all of Israel. The Jews are from only three of the tribes. There are a lot more Israelites that people don’t know anything about]. And I heard the number of those that were sealed and there was a 144,000 thousand." (Revelation 7:3-4)

And then of each of the tribes there was, of the tribe of Judah, were sealed 12,000. And of each tribe was 12,000 until there were a 144,000

Innumerable Multitude (Play from 22:11)

And now continuing on to verse 9:

"After this I beheld and, lo, a GREAT MULTITUDE which no man could number of ALL nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb [which is Christ – the Christ who is coming at His second coming to rule the whole world] clothed with white robes which designates the righteousness of saints, and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9-10)

You see in this scene – this vision of John that he is recording in the whole book of Revelation – he sees the throne of God in heaven. That’s just in vision. He himself was on the Isle of Patmos here on the earth. But in the vision, like a dream, or a very intense dream, he could see God the Father and Christ taking this book and opening the seals.

And all the angels stood around and they asked him if he knew who this other innumerable multitude from all nations were. And he just simply didn’t know.

"I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These [this great, innumerable multitude] these are they which came out of The Great Tribulation. (Revelation 7:14)

In other words through this great tribulation that is coming, many are going to turn to God and to Jesus Christ who never have. And it’s going to be a tremendous number of people. They are going to form the last remnant Church of God. And it’s called, in the third chapter of the book of Revelation - the Laodicean church. That Laodicean church, in case any of you might know something about the various churches of the seven churches, it has not appeared yet. The Philadelphia church is speaking to you just now.

"[Now] And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said, They have come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” [That is after the great tribulation] (Revelation 7:14)

Now after, immediately after the great tribulation – I didn’t read this to you back in Matthew 24, but immediately after the tribulation – the sun will be dark, and the moon, and all these events that will shock men so terribly, in the skies, after the great tribulation. That was the sixth seal of the sixth chapter of Revelation.

Over in Joel the second chapter and in verse thirty-one it says:

"And the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come." (Joel 2:31)

That hasn’t happened yet. That’s going to happen at the very end of the great tribulation and it’s going to stop that great tribulation and all the fighting.

Still Many More Sealed (Play from 25:06)

But now notice; here are many more sealed. "And they stand before the throne of God and serve Him day and night." (Revelation 7:15)

There will be many more that will turn to God just before the second coming of Christ – many people that are just secular and not thinking about God; God isn’t in their lives at all. They’re going to turn to Him then, believe me!

Now in chapter eight; "And when He had opened the seventh seal, [that is not opened till we come to chapter eight] there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets." (Revelation 8:1-2)

Now the seven trumpets are the seventh seal. The seventh seal comes in seven parts – each one is a trumpet plague. A trumpet is a sound of alarm or war. You blow on a trumpet. These winds blow. And the first four will blow on the earth, the sea, and the trees. But the last three are going to blow on people.

Now my friends I’m going to have to break off there. But I want to tell you, here is the book that has been the enigma of all the ages – the book, that is, for the last nineteen hundred years – the book of Revelation. No one has understood it. I want to offer you – gratis, no charge, no follow-up, no asking for money – a book that explains it, that opens it to your understanding. It’s called, 'The Book of Revelation Unveiled At Last!' In the center there is a chart that explains the book of Revelation in chart form. Now the first six seals are opened in chapter six. And then come the others beginning with chapter seven as I have said. And they’re not opened until we come to chapter eight. I’ll have to cover other parts of it in future programs. But I would like to have you have this book. Now remember, we’re not out to get; we’re out to give. God’s way is loving your neighbor AS yourself. Well, we love ourselves; everybody does. You should – enough to take care of yourself. God has given you responsibility over your own self. But I would like to have you have this. There’s going to be no request for money.

Just ask for the booklet on the book of 'Revelation'. And we’d like to send it to you. And it’ll open it to you. No one has understood it; it’s the mystery of the ages. It’s going to cost you nothing. I’d like to send it to you. Write in for this book of 'Revelation'. It is explained and made plain at last!