What is the Third Woe?

 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:14-15)

There are, of course lots of disasters that will come upon the Earth during the tribulation period. The three worst ones are called the three “woes.” These are the three last trumpets of the seven trumpet judgments (Revelation 8:16).  The first “woe” is the plague of the demonic locusts that will swarm over the Earth (Revelation 9:1-12). These locusts will sting unbelievers and cause them so much pain that they will wish to commit suicide, but they will not be able to. The second “woe” the army of 200 million horsemen that will destroy a third of the world’s population (9:13-21).

This brings us to the third “woe.” What this exactly entails is a little bit more confusing. The passage does not single out any specific judgment as being the third “woe.” Instead, the seventh trumpet begins with the kingdom of Jesus being proclaimed. This, of course, is a good thing, so why is this referred to as a “woe?”

I believe the answer can be found in the fact that the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom will be a complete disaster for anyone who does not love God (and this includes most people on Earth). In order for Christ to rule with truth and justice it will be necessary for Him to punish unrepentant sinners. This will begin with the battle of Armeggedon (see Revelation 19:18) and will conclude with all unbelievers being cast into the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 21:8). This is indeed the third “woe,” the great disaster that lasts forever.

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