The judgment is almost upon us. Today we are going to look at the atmospheric changes during this time of God’s judgment. First I must answer an unstated question that might be implied from the closeness of this judgment. If one finds himself in the apocalypse what must he do to be saved? In every age that God has dealt with mankind the answer to that question remains remarkably consistent.
The answer is in one short word: trust. Abraham believed God and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who would come to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. So all of Hebrews is written as a hall of faith for those of us today who would believe. Enoch, before Jewish law, before Moses, before Christ, had to believe God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Noah, similarly before the revelation to the Jewish people, and way before His revelation to Christians, was saved by his faith. Read and study Hebrews 11, the Great Hall of Faith to see how to be accepted of God.
But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become the sons of God. What does it mean to receive Christ, except that you must trust God’s message of salvation in Christ. We see things that Noah and Enoch sorely searched for, and had to trust in what was yet unseen, in order that they might be saved. Similarly you are called to trust God, even if you find yourself in the most fearsome trials of the earth, the apocalypse.
Having said that, let us move on to higher things. (pun intended) What sort of things will be the signs in heavens in those days, whenever they may come? Know first that these terrible signs are passing, and “are to be put into effect when the times have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” (NIV, Eph. 2:9 & 10) In other words, these terrible times have limits, and will pass to make way for the rule of Christ.
The very end of the apocalypse is marked by, Zephaniah tells us, “On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime—a day known to the Lord. When evening comes, there will be light. (Zeph. 14:6) In other words, signs in the heavens finish the apocalypse with a sign unlike any other the world has ever known. Evidently God himself provides light for the earth as a sign of approval of his son.
Old Testament passages tell us that the apocalypse will be “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness” (Zephaniah 1:15), but it is really only in the Revelation that atmospheric changes of the apocalypse are spelled out. We are told again that the sun turns black, the moon turns red, and stars fall from the sky to the earth. Evidently what John saw was meteors or asteroids falling to the earth, streaking like stars across the sky. So horrendous is the damage from the celestial objects that it levels mountains and destroys islands. (Revelation 6)
Revelation 8 tells us of the first four angels who have trumpets. There are seven in all, but the first four are what concern us today, as they are the angels who announce the devastation from atmospheric changes. The first angel who sounds his trumpet is announcing hail and fire mixed with blood being hurled down upon the earth. So awful is this fire that it burns up a third of the earth. The second angel announces that “something like a huge mountain” (NIV) is cast upon the earth, killing a third of the creatures in the oceans, and destroying a third of the ships of mankind. The third angel announces a “great star, blazing like a torch” falling to the earth. This star, so huge that it is even named (Wormwood) will turn many waters bitter, and many people will die from the resulting poison. The fourth angel announces that the air itself becomes dark, even to the point of diminishing the light of the sun and the stars. In fact, it becomes so dark that a third of the day is darkness as well as a third of the night.
Here I am guessing a bit at what has happened, but it seems to me that with all things striking the earth a terrible (perhaps poisonous) cloud of dust is raised over the earth. It seems to fill the atmosphere and so seemingly darkens the sun and the stars. Remember the verse above from Zephaniah? Prophets across the ages of Biblical times seem to see the terrible cloud of darkness over the earth. It will be an unparalleled time of disaster upon this earth.
Know this: the judgments of God are not only righteous, but also they are measured—there is an end to them at which time the mercies of God will be extended to all the earth. At that time, the Bible tells us, there will be no need to teach anyone to know the Lord, for they will all know the Lord from the least to greatest. A long time of peace and prosperity will ensue upon the earth under the reign of Christ himself.