The Three Woes
The book of Revelation is by far a very intriguing book of the bible. This book is loaded with imagery and can sometimes be complex to understand. Hopefully we can bring some clarity and show you something deeper in the Word.
Did you know the three woes found in the Book of Revelation are similar to a marker, a break down of how events will occur in the end times?
* First Woe *
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. Revelation 9:2 KJV
The first woe we find in chapter 9. There was darkness upon the land. Satan releases the dark angels and they rise up from out of the pit of hell. They are given permission to torment the men and women who do not belong to the Lord Jesus. This torment occurs for five months and it is for anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit. If you read a previous post you will see the similarities of the plagues found in the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation. These dark angels are the locusts described in John’s vision.
One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. Revelation 9:12 KJV
The scriptures from 9:2-11 show us detailed description of what Satan’s angels look like and marks the beginning of the woes.
* Second Woe *
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:13 KJV
The second woe occurs in chapter 11 as soon as the two witnesses finish their testimony. This is after forty-two months (3.5 years). An earthquake occurs and destroys a tenth of the city of Jerusalem. Right after the two witnesses are resurrected and taken up to heaven the seventh trumpet sounds. This is when the dead in Christ rise up and the ones who are alive, their bodies are transformed into incorruptible and rise up to meet the Lord in heaven. They will reunite with him on a sea of glass mingled with fire in heaven.
The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. Revelation 11:14 KJV
The two witnesses are the last ones to minister the gospel to the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem. The time for the Lord’s return is now at hand. Take note once a resurrection occurs there is always judgment that follows. What you see occurring in the last woe is judgment for a specific people.
* Third Woe *
And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. Revelation 11:19 KJV
The third woe also occurs in chapter 11. Heaven opens up and there was another earthquake and hail fell like large, heavy rocks. Anyone who received the mark of the antichrist will be receiving the wrath of the Lord Jesus. This is where the army of the Lord descend with their captain and capture Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet and throw them into the Lake of Fire. This last woe, as I mentioned earlier, is judgment. This will fall on the men and women who took the mark of the beast. Everyone who belongs to the Lord has been raptured (or taken up to heaven). The seventh trumpet will have sounded at the end of the second woe.
Let me show you how these three woes also coincide with what the three angels proclaim in chapter 14.
* First Angel *
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Revelation 14:6 KJV
In this scripture we read an angel flew in the middle of heaven and he spoke to every nation, and people and those who speak other languages.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Revelation 14:7 KJV
With a loud voice he said, fear God and give him glory. These are things we should be doing towards God. The angel goes on to tell us the hour of judgment has come. Worship God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea and the fountains of water. This is a simultaneous event with the first woe. This shows us what is happening in heaven and the first woe shows us what is happening on earth.
* Second Angel *
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Revelation 14:8 KJV
The second angel is flying and he declares something else. He says Babylon is fallen. Babylon in the Old Testament was a powerful city but they were not followers of the one and only true God. They were considered to be a godless city. In this particular scripture the angel is saying this godless city has influenced other cities and they will experience the wine of the wrath of her fornication. The reference is a spiritual reference and it is referring to Jerusalem. There can be another city that applies to the destruction but the final one is Jerusalem.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Revelation 11:8 KJV
The Lord Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem and this scripture shows us this is where the two witnesses, known as Elijah and Moses, witnessed to inhabitants of the city. You have to remember they did this for 3.5 years. It’s the last resort to save people before Jesus returns. What other powerful way can impact the Jews to accept Jesus as their savior than seeing the prophets of the Old Testament.
Several of the words used in this scripture (v14:8) are symbolic. When a person drinks wine they do not normally guzzle the whole drink down at one time. They usually sip it. This is painting a picture for us regarding the way people will experience the wrath of the Lord. The last portion that says “fornication” is a spiritual reference. Someone who is not faithful towards God, in his eyes, is considered to be sharing intimacy with another. God is a jealous God and he wants your undivided attention. The church is considered the bride of Christ. If they are bowing to other gods or worshiping other things they are being unfaithful to him. Spiritual unfaithfulness can be as simple as putting your children before God.
For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Exodus 34:14 KJV
* Third Angel *
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: Revelation 14:9-10 KJV
The third and last angel in this chapter announces if ANY man received the mark of the beast (a system of doing things) or participated in any other worship or sign that belongs to him (the Antichrist) will also receive the wrath of God. He will be tormented with fire in the presence of the angels and the Lord Jesus. I placed parentheses right after the word beast to make emphasis that the beast represents and belongs to a system. We have discovered that the beast has his own type of government. He has set up a way of doing things. This beast is under the leadership of the antichrist. He has been given his power through the devil. The beast was also described in the book of Daniel as a kingdom.
Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. Daniel 7:23 KJV
The beast in this scripture is symbolic for a kingdom. A kingdom has a system or way of running things. A kingdom also has someone in charge of it all. This dark kingdom is under the reign of Satan. He has put the “antichrist” in charge. Since these are scriptures regarding end times, the people who belong to this system or way of doing things will receive the wrath of Jesus. The Lord has a cup he drinks from and symbolically this image is showing us the cup he is pouring is indignation. These people who received the “mark” will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and the Lord Jesus.
We hope these brief lesson has been an eye opener to the spiritual meanings of the woes and their confirming scriptures from other chapters. Stay tuned for more insights.