8. (a) What effect does the blowing of the seventh trumpet have on the nations? (b) Against whom have the nations expressed their wrath?
8 On the other hand, the blowing of the seventh trumpet brings no joy to the nations. The time has come for them to experience Jehovah’s wrath. As John relates: “But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give their reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) From 1914 onward the nations of the world have fiercely expressed their wrath against one another, against God’s Kingdom, and especially against Jehovah’s two witnesses.—Revelation 11:3.
9. How have the nations been ruining the earth, and what has God determined to do about it?
9 Throughout history the nations have been ruining the earth by their incessant warfare and bad management. Since 1914, however, this ruination has escalated to an alarming degree. Greed and corruption have resulted in expanding deserts and tremendous loss of productive land. Acid rain and radioactive clouds have damaged large areas. Food sources have been polluted. The air we breathe and the water we drink are contaminated. Industrial wastes threaten life on land and in the sea. At one time, the superpowers threatened complete ruination by way of nuclear annihilation of all humankind. Happily, Jehovah will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth”; he will execute judgment on those proud, godless humans who are responsible for earth’s sorry state. (Deuteronomy 32:5, 6; Psalm 14:1-3) Therefore, Jehovah arranges for the third woe, to bring these wrongdoers to account.—Revelation 11:14.
Woe to the Ruinous Ones!
10. (a) What is the third woe? (b) In what way does the third woe bring more than torment?
10 Here, then, is the third woe. It comes quickly! It is Jehovah’s means of bringing ruination to those who desecrate his “footstool,” this lovely earth on which we live. (Isaiah 66:1) It is set in motion by the Messianic Kingdom—the sacred secret of God. God’s enemies, and Christendom’s leaders in particular, have been tormented by the first two woes—resulting principally from the locust plague and the armies of cavalry; but the third woe, which Jehovah’s Kingdom itself administers, brings more than torment. (Revelation 9:3-19) It provides the death stroke in ousting a ruinous human society and its rulers. This will come as the climax of Jehovah’s judging at Armageddon. It is just as Daniel prophesied: “And in the days of those kings [rulers who are ruining the earth] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” Like an imposing mountain, God’s Kingdom will rule over an earth made glorious, vindicating Jehovah’s sovereignty and bringing eternal joy to mankind.—Daniel 2:35, 44; Isaiah 11:9; 60:13.
11. (a) What ongoing series of happy events does the prophecy describe? (b) What undeserved kindness is realized, how, and by whom?
11 The third woe is accompanied by an ongoing series of happy events that will proceed progressively through the Lord’s day. It is the time ‘for the dead to be judged, and for God to give their reward to his slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing his name.’ That means a resurrection from the dead! For the anointed holy ones who had already fallen asleep in death, this takes place early in the Lord’s day. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) In due course the remaining holy ones join these by an instantaneous resurrection. Others too are to be rewarded, including God’s slaves the prophets of ancient times and all others of mankind who come to fear Jehovah’s name, whether they are of the great crowd who survive the great tribulation or of “the dead, the great and the small,” who are raised to life during Christ’s Millennial Reign. Since God’s Messianic King has the keys of death and of Hades, his Kingdom rule opens the way for him to dispense everlasting life to all who reach out for that precious provision. (Revelation 1:18; 7:9, 14; 20:12, 13; Romans 6:22; John 5:28, 29) Whether it is immortal life in the heavens or eternal life on earth, this gift of life is an undeserved kindness from Jehovah, for which each recipient may be forever thankful!—Hebrews 2:9.
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Ruining the Earth
“Every three seconds a portion of original rainforest the size of a football field disappears. . . . The loss of primary forest is destroying thousands of plant and animal species.”—Illustrated Atlas of the World (Rand McNally).
“In two centuries of settlement, [the Great Lakes] have also become the world’s biggest sewer.”—The Globe and Mail (Canada).
In April 1986 an explosion and fire at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, U.S.S.R., “was the most significant nuclear event . . . since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” emitting “as much long-term radiation into the world’s air, topsoil and water as all the nuclear tests and bombs ever exploded.”—JAMA; The New York Times.
In Minamata, Japan, a chemical plant discharged methylmercury into the bay. Eating fish and shellfish contaminated with the discharge caused Minamata disease (MD) a “chronic neurological disease. . . . To date , 2578 people throughout Japan have officially been verified to have MD.”—International Journal of Epidemiology.
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The weighty pronouncements at Revelation 11:15-19 are a prelude to the visions that follow. Revelation chapter 12 is a flashback that amplifies in detail the grand announcements at Revelation 11:15, 17. Chapter 13 gives background to 11:18, as it describes the origin and development of Satan’s political organization that has brought ruination to the earth. Chapters 14 and 15 detail further Kingdom judgments tied in with the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the third woe.