We are reading about the 6th trumpet and after the release of these 4 demons they kill a 1/3rd of the earth’s population revealing the mercy of God that He really does want the world to come back to Him. But they don’t. We are told that not even this destruction turns them back to God. Let’s read a couple of verses and focus on a chemical that stood out as I read it this morning. I use the British spelling!
“The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulphur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulphur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulphur that came out of their mouths.” (Revelation 9 v 17-18)
Throughout the Bible this chemical is quoted, fourteen times and it is always to do with destruction. Small amounts can be used as healing agent. Large amounts are the experience of hell. In fact, eventually we will arrive at Revelation 19 and 20 when we will read of hell’s lake of burning sulphur.
In speaking of the last days and His return Jesus indicates what the world will be like by comparing it to the time of Sodom, “But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:29; see Genesis 19)
What John sees in his vision is frightening. He sees a huge-scale demonic attack on the world with the use of chemical weapons. So what do we make of this? When will this happen? And again we resist the timeline because for one thing when you are underneath such atrocities then your great tribulation is already here and secondly not even the Revelation gives us permission to know the times and dates for Jesus’ return (Acts 1:7).
What we do know is that sulphur has been used in war throughout history. In 2009 British archaeologists discovered that in approximately 256 AD 20 Roman soldiers were killed by inhaling poisonous gas from a stove that was pumping out burning sulphur. This was in Dora-Europas in East Syria.
What we do know is that the Germans used Suphur in 1915 at the battle of Ypres and chemicals were used in the horrors of the Holocaust. The U.S, used chemicals in Vietnam; Russia in the Soviet-Afghan War; Egypt in the Yemeni Civil War; Iraq against Iran and the Iraqi Kurds; Syria in 2013; and I have left out lots of other historical atrocities where sulphur plus other destructive chemicals were used.
What we do know is that in 2022 the earth still lives under the threat of chemical, biological and nuclear warfare.
It is therefore not difficult to see that sulphur plays a part in the end-time destruction of a part of the world. We can also see it is very much connected to a lost eternity.
So here’s an application:
- We will know the earth’s time is short when not even the threat of a lost eternity has any impact on the population who refuse to repent.
- The threat of destructive weaponry all point to the final end and one day soon it will be so.
- Sulphur when used by wickedness is a frightening evil but for the followers of Jesus it is a positive sign for what is to come. As with the Sodom story when God was taking His people into a new place and as with the Revelation of chapter 20 when God declares ‘I am making everything new!’ the escalating use of sulphur and other such weaponry are pointers that though this earth will be finally destroyed God will take us all into a new heaven and new earth!