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Revelation 16: When it becomes hotter on Earth than ever before

Getty Images/sarote pruksachat
Getty Images/sarote pruksachat

It’s certainly been hot lately — so hot even air conditioners are feeling intimidated.

According to data provided by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, July 3rd of this year marked the highest world temperature on record. The world’s average temperature runs between 53.6 degrees and just under 62.6 degrees, but this year it’s been as high as 62.96 degrees. That may seem relatively insignificant, but scientists say it isn’t a trivial matter. The earth seems to be heating up.

Speaking of record-breaking heat, in 2020, Death Valley, California registered what is believed to be the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth. The temperature reading of 130 degrees is supposedly the highest officially recorded in the world since 1931.

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The only measurements that surpass it are a highly controversial reading from Death Valley in 1913 of 134.1-degrees and a 131-degree reading from Kebili, Tunisia in 1931, which is regarded as Africa’s hottest temperature. However, even the Tunisian record is questioned for its credibility, according to experts.

Most scientists say the increase in temperature is because of human-caused climate change. The blistering heat allegedly coming from the use of fossil fuels, which release large amounts of greenhouse gases, is said to trap heat in the atmosphere and cause major energy blackouts, wildfires, and extreme weather conditions.

Moreover, a team of experts at NASA found a huge sunspot that is expected to grow and likely to move so it faces directly at Earth. It has the potential to unleash powerful solar flare events and coronal mass ejections. These types of eruptions on the sun’s surface can potentially affect satellite navigation, negatively impact the nation’s power grid, and harm daily life.

Although I have an open mind, I’m not convinced the cause of rising temperatures is due to climate change. Without delving much into the subject, there seems to be insufficient data to make this conclusion. It could be that the current warming trends are consistent with historic climate cycles. There is really no way to know for certain. Climate models used to project future changes are too uncertain and lack accuracy due to limited measurements and observations. What is most disturbing about the assertions of climate change is the proposed policies for addressing it would seriously harm economies, impact employment, and lead to the inefficient allocation of resources that could mostly hurt the poor.

There is one theory, however, that seems more plausible. One that involves solar activity and cosmic rays. According to this theory, scientists say that variations in solar activity, more specifically, changes in the sun’s output of energy and its magnetic field, can influence the Earth’s climate by indirectly affecting cloud formation. The hypothesis suggests that when solar activity is high, the sun’s magnetic field deflects some of the cosmic rays (high-energy particles from space) that continuously bombard the Earth. With fewer cosmic rays reaching Earth’s atmosphere, the theory proposes there is a decrease in the formation of low-altitude clouds, which result in less sunlight being reflected back into space. Thus, causing a warming effect on the planet. Conversely, when solar activity is low, more cosmic rays reach the Earth, enhancing cloud formation and leading to a cooling effect.

I’m not saying solar activity is the cause of current warming trends. I am saying it seems more likely than climate change. Climate change lays the blame wholly at the feet of humanity, which seems somewhat hubris and an exaggerated view of mankind’s power to destroy a world that belongs to God.

But it does seem rather indisputable that temperatures are rising — rising higher than we’ve had on record. As Randy Cerveny, an Arizona State University professor, who is with the World’s Meteorological Organization told The Associated Press, temperatures are “creeping up on [the 134-degree record] year after year. That is something that cannot be denied. These extremes tell us a lot about what will happen in the future.”

Is it possible the future Cerveny and other scientists predict is connected in some way with Revelation chapter 16 verses 8 and 9? This is what the Bible says:

“Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire. Everyone was burned by this blast of heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory.”

Revelation chapter 16 lists seven plagues that will come upon the Earth because humanity rejects God’s grace in Christ. This period represents the end of the end time.

1. Harmful and painful sores come upon those who bear the Mark of the Beast and worship its image (Revelation 16:2).
2. The sea becomes like the blood of a corpse (Revelation 16:3).
3. The rivers and springs become like blood (Revelation 16:4-7).
4. The heat of the sun greatly intensifies so that people are scorched (Revelation 16:8-9).
5. The kingdom of the Beast is plunged into darkness (Revelation 16:10-11).
6. The Euphrates river dries, making way for the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16)
7. An earthquake occurs that is off the Richter scale (Revelation 16:17-21).

One may remember previously that at the sound of the Fourth Trumpet, a third part of the sun, the moon, and the stars were darkened. In those verses, only light was mentioned. Nothing was said about the heat. So, this text is not a recurrence of the Fourth Trumpet. In this text, the angel responsible for the sun pours out his bowl on that great star and intensifies its heat to such a degree that it scorches people.

The fourth bowl judgment in Revelation 16 is the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy, which reads:

“The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says, ‘The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed — roots, branches, and all. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies” (Malachai 4:1-2).

The late Dr. Henry Morris, one of the founders of the Creation Research Society, and author of The Revelation Record, said concerning this text:

“Though the sun is not part of the earth, it serves the earth. It was created specifically to ‘give light upon earth’ and to ‘be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years’ (Genesis 1:14, 15). The sun has indeed been a good servant to man, and all of Earth’s physical and biological processes derive their energy ultimately from the sun. ‘His [out radiations] are from the end of the Heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof’ (Psalm 19:6).

“But the sun, like the Lord Jesus Christ, whom it symbolizes as ‘the light of the world’ (John 8:12) can be an enemy as well as a servant. It can both quicken and slay with its enormous power. And now is the time for judgment, when those plants without root or fruit will be revealed for what they are: ‘And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away’ (Matthew 13:6).

“There was an angel of the winds, an angel of the waters, and now an angel of the sun. To this angel, God has entrusted the great energy conversion processes of the solar engine. Whatever the ultimate fuel is, this angel understands the components of the process and how to accelerate or decelerate it, thus warming or cooling the earth.”

“When he pours out the contents of his great bowl on the sun, it will heat up to great intensity and the solar radiation will pour forth in great waves of scorching heat on the earth.”

No horror movie has ever been able to picture something so dreadful as what is described in this chapter. Amidst a desolate landscape, ravaged by torment and despair, people will be writhing in pain, their bodies afflicted with ulcerated and festering sores. The sea, once abounding with life, will lie motionless, resembling a vast abyss of crimson. Vital water sources will have turned foul and appear as blood. Thirst will be an unquenchable malady, driving people to desperately search, perhaps even war with one another, for just a small amount of clean water to slake their parched throats. Following quickly on the heels of these woes will come the blazing, blistering, and burning heat. Day by day, the sun will grow more intense and merciless. Once fertile lands will become barren, the crops completely withered. People will shield themselves as much as possible from the searing inferno by trying to stay indoors.

What is so sad is they won’t even know three more plagues wait ominously on the horizon.

One would think the world’s inhabitants might repent after such horrendous suffering — they would humble themselves under the mighty power of their rightful Sovereign. Most people know of someone who was converted to Christ because their troubles revealed their constant need of the Creator’s benevolent mercies, which they took for granted.

There is a story about a little boy who made a splendid toy ship. Filled with enthusiasm, he set off one day to sail his creation on the shimmering waters. But much to his dismay, the boat drifted away from him, making it impossible to retrieve. Desperately wanting his boat back, he sought the help of an older boy, hoping he might rescue it for him.

The older lad, without uttering a word, gathered some stones and appeared to throw them at the younger boy’s beautiful toy ship. Confusion and anger filled the little fellow’s heart as he believed the older boy was being cruel, tormenting, and irritating him. He didn’t know that each stone was cast intentionally. Each stone had a benevolent purpose and was part of the older boy’s plan. With each stone thrown, the troubled waters created ripples and waves and gradually pushed the boat closer to shore.

Astonishment and delight flooded the youngster’s spirit as he realized the older youth’s actions weren’t meant to mock or hurt him, but to lend him the assistance he needed. Eventually, the boat reached a point where the boy could effortlessly reach out and reclaim his precious treasure.

As the first two lines of that iconic children’s table blessing says, “God is great. God is good.”  Indeed, he is. He deserves our love, trust, and obedience. However, many people fail to recognize God as a part of the equation. Therefore, God benevolently, with purpose and a plan, sends troubles to get their attention. As one adage says, “Sometimes God has to knock you flat on your back to get you to look up.” Sometimes God has to trouble the waters of life to get us safely to shore.

This is how it often happens. When sin is in our lives and we have suffered a great loss, God is often graciously pushing us toward himself. There is a tremendous spiritual opportunity in the pain — an opportunity for a blessed course correction in life. The wise capitalize on these moments and turn away from their sins and find deliverance and a profoundly joyous personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Still, others become angry with God, double down on their sin, blaspheme and curse his name, and don’t repent of their evil deeds.

In the book of Exodus, the Bible says that when God afflicted Egypt with plagues so Pharoah would free the oppressed and enslaved Hebrews, initially Pharoah hardened his own heart against God (Exodus 8:32). In other words, the potentate consciously decided to resist God’s will. Pharoah’s stubbornness and self-will led him to reject the signs and wonders God was showing him. These measures should have been enough to turn Pharoah around, but he still wouldn’t free the Hebrews.

As the plagues continued, the Scriptures say something noteworthy started to happen, God hardened Pharoah’s heart (Exodus 9:12; 14:8). This means that God, knowing Pharoah’s prideful inclination to contest, allowed his heart to become increasingly hardened. By doing so, God not only demonstrated his power over Egypt, but also fulfilled his purpose of displaying his glory and ultimately delivering his people.

In the future, this same scenario happens when the world’s masses defy God’s will and pledge their allegiance to the Antichrist. Their hearts become irrevocably hardened and destined to feel the torrid heat of God’s wrath.

One may question what happens to the people who become believers in Jesus during the Tribulation period — those who survive martyrdom and remain on the earth when the heat is on, so to speak. It seems only logical they would be affected, too. Evidently not. They will be protected from these plagues just as the Hebrews were when they were dwelling in Egypt and God sent plagues there to deliver them. (Exodus 8:22, 9:6, 9:26, 10:23, 11:7).

It seems that there are movements at work today, not only on Earth but also in the heavens, possibly the sun, being prepared for the events prophesied in the sacred pages of Revelation.

With each passing day, it becomes clearer that the return of Christ is near. The most important question everyone must answer is a very personal one: Are you prepared for Christ’s appearance? Are you sure that you’re ready?

Romans 10:9 assures us, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This Scripture emphasizes the importance of not only acknowledging Jesus as Lord verbally but also believing in his resurrection deep within one’s heart. It highlights that salvation comes through genuine faith in Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of humanity and, more importantly, as your own personal Savior from sin.

Rev. Mark H. Creech is Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. He was a pastor for twenty years before taking this position, having served five different Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina and one Independent Baptist in upstate New York.

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