Revelation 6 depicts a surreal scene of the whole world crying out in fear of "God and Jesus"—before God's wrath or even the Great Tribulation. Incredible, right? Why would atheists believe in God before Jesus returns? For years I doubted that obvious meaning—until now, thanks to a new insight into the full situation leading up to that scene. Once you see this, too, you will understand the great anger and regret that the entire world will feel after they know beyond any doubt God himself just ended our civilization along with most lives. Will you be among the bitter new "converts" who hate God or among the few who survive with their faith intact? Read on to gain awareness of the devastating blow coming and how to prepare for it.
Will God Prove He Exists?
If you are a Christian and have ever tried to get someone "saved," you know what an uphill battle it is at this time when so many do not even believe God exists, let alone accept that he sent Jesus to save anyone. For most, it makes no sense that God exists and allows the current state of affairs to go on. Lacking faith, they need to "see it before they believe it." They require hard evidence, not apologetics or arguments for God. Revelation tells us that they will have exactly that when they see God himself on his throne at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-12).
However, is there an earlier point in time when God's existence will also be undeniable to all? When will our current reality finally change? The answer in Revelation is: sooner than most (including I) thought, as we'll see below.
Before I get to Revelation's answer, let me share what Christians who I asked about this topic said. I asked on Facebook and, as is often the case, was surprised at what some shared. Here's a sample of the typical and interesting responses.
Q: "When will the whole world first accept God exists?"
- “The Rapture”
- “The Second Coming/Sign of the Son of Man”
- “The Two Witnesses/Elijah appears”
- “The Great White Throne Judgment”
- “Preaching of the Gospel worldwide (Mt 24:14)”
- “Three days of darkness” (Oops, that's Catholic prophecy).
- “Many will always find a reason to avoid belief. They didn’t believe Him when He showed up in the flesh.” / “It will never happen. Only after almost everyone is already dead.”
- “There's evidence now and they don't believe” (Obviously a misunderstanding of evidence)
- “Eternity...and even then...” (OK, an atheist friend wrote that response)
None of these are the answer from Revelation below, however, they are interesting to read. I was surprised how several Christians doubted that God's existence would ever be proven to everyone's satisfaction. Perhaps they were confusing my concept of "belief" with "willing obedience?" While it's true that some few will never see God as good or submit to him, nevertheless when Jesus descends from heaven with thousands of his glorified saints to defeat the Antichrist and his armies, all doubt will end. (That's the answer I thought nearly every Christian would give.)
Revelation's Surprising Passage On When People First Believe
Yet we won't even have to wait until then (the Millennium) for real evidence of God to enter the world. When will it be, then?
If you're a regular reader, you may not be surprised to see me now return, once again, to the subject of Wormwood from Revelation 6-8. That's the catastrophic event coming globally around nine months before the Great Tribulation and four years before the rapture, wrath of God and return of Christ.
I want to share a new insight regarding what Revelation reports people will say when Wormwood first appears in the sky, a passage that strains credulity:
Revelation 6:15-17 — 15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they [everyone!?] said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?"
In the past I've quoted this passage only to focus on how obviously unprepared everyone (every strata of society) is that they must seek cover in caves at high elevation (due to the expected tsunamis). Clearly Wormwood comes as a huge surprise, which is strange given its significance size. (That's another mystery that thankfully was solved last year and ties directly into the next mystery I want to focus on this time.)
My Old Explanation: "No Atheists in Foxholes"
What's the problem? The reference to "God and Jesus" ("One seated on the throne...and the Lamb" coming from Rev 4:2 and 5:6, respectively) has bothered me for years. I could not comprehend why everyone, most of whom today do not believe in the God of the Bible, would universally place the blame for Wormwood on God....and Jesus. (The Jesus part was a clue that I missed and fits with my new explanation.)
Previously, the best explanation I had and which appears in Know the Future (up to the 8th edition) was that their proclamation is the result of some natural deduction like we have seen play out in many disaster movies. Non-Christian characters will often have lines like “it's judgment day!” during a disaster scenario, like in Terminator or “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (when judgment is not from God, but from runaway, secular AI).
Just as non-Christians celebrate Christmas, they also reference Biblical concepts from the same cultural basis, especially in deadly situations. Or just as even secular insurance policies exclude events under the clause “or act of God” but really don't profess a belief in God.
In the same way, I thought humanity in this passage did not really know God existed and know he sent Wormwood, but were assuming and saying this because they feared they were about to die. In other words, I could only interpret this scene as an example of the maxim, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” People called to God by default, not out of any real, sincere conviction of God's existence, right?
Why Everyone Will Believe in God
I can understand this passage differently now by having finally tied in background information to this scene available from other recent insights. The key insight was the one received last year (2018). It resolved the burning question I had for years of how could an inbound dwarf planet due in 2026 still not be seen when any astronomer could tell you an object of that size (no mere dark, stealthy asteroid) would be visible for at least ten years ahead of time?
The new insight I shared in the article on “Why NASA does not see Wormwood” suggests that Wormwood is not in our dimension, yet. Simply put, Wormwood gets created just in time so it can sneak up on earth. This may sound like a cop out, but, as the article explains, it fits according to the precedent of Revelation 7. There God has an angel take fire from the altar in Heaven (spiritual plane) and throw it down to earth (!) resulting in physical disturbances here (Rev 8:5). From one dimension to another, as it were, defying understanding. But there it is in the midst of the three chapters on Wormwood's effects (Revelation 6, 7 and 8).
This scene explains how Wormwood is not visible yet and also informs us that when it does arrive, it will come seemingly out of nowhere. This detail significantly changes the scene above when humanity is panicking to find protection in caves on mountains. Not only are they threatened by a dangerously close planet, as is obvious from immediate context, but it's a planet that just appeared without any warning or natural detection ahead of time!—unlike we always have with comets and any significantly-sized near earth object.
This sudden appearance out of nowhere of course defies all reason and normal expectation. It's not natural; it's supernatural. It's literally a miracle; one for the whole world to witness and experience. This is one important reason why any rational person, previously atheist or not, would reasonably conclude Wormwood is the handiwork of God, implying that God must exist after all.
"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus
Jesus predicted that he will tell many sincere believers to basically "get lost" instead of welcoming them into the Kingdom. So...who are they and what did they miss or do wrong? In this study, get those answers and the one requirement for salvation Jesus taught (that Christianity misses) so that you can make sure you don't hear these dreaded words yourself!
Atheists characteristically claim no proof of God exists. When a new planet suddenly appears in the sky close to earth and immediately causes an earthquake, they will have proof. No one will suggest it's just a "hologram" or "shared delusion" when the gravity of Wormwood quakes the earth and then Wormwood blocks the sun in a perfect solar eclipse without the moon. (Since Wormwood comes on Pentecost, a holiday that always transpired in between a new and full moon, it must be Wormwood that causes the total solar eclipse, not the moon which can only cause one at the new moon.)
Reason #2 That Atheism Ends
The sudden appearance is a key tie-in to help us explain what humanity says about God in Revelation 6:16. But, wait, there's more!
As I have also already shared, God, in his mercy, does not send destruction without notice. He reveals it to his prophets who warn the people (Amos 3:7). Elijah is the promised end time prophet for the job of spreading a message of warning people to repent including the "wisdom" on how to repent (Mal 4:5-6=Luke 1:17) worldwide for two years (Jer 51:46) before the end comes (Mt 24:14). His warning to repent must include that Wormwood is coming. Do you see where I'm headed with this?
Putting this scenario all together:
- Elijah appears and warns the world that Wormwood is coming to bring the end of civilization. He says they need to repent and go to God's camp in Judea to be preserved. This goes on for two years during which time only a few people heed his warning and escape to Judea (I estimate < 1/10,000).
- The world as a whole rejects this message, saying Elijah's warning is unscientific, unscriptural and even that he is the heretical leader of a cult.
- After two years, a dwarf planet suddenly appears out of nowhere just like Elijah said. This causes simultaneous lunar and solar eclipses, a great, global earthquake, and for meteors, meteorites and asteroids to fall upon the earth causing global fires and great destruction.
With this two-year background in mind, let's look again at the passage in question about the day Wormwood hits:
Revelation 6:15-17 — 15 Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.16 And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?"
Humanity's proclamation is not coming from just an assumption that a global calamity must be God's doing (like I used to believe). It's coming from a reasonable conclusion based on two important lead-ups to Wormwood's ongoing destruction of civilization.
- The sudden materialization of an entire planet near that was not there, or anywhere, before.
- The recorded fact that a prophet of "God" warned for two years that Yehovah God was going to do exactly that. (By the way, since a modern, post-NT prophet will have full revelation, he will know that Jesus is the Lamb of God and will include that in his message. This explains why humanity would mention both God and the Lamb as being behind the divine "wrath" they believe. They heard about both from Elijah!)
Given this lead up to the Wormwood cataclysm, even the most hardcore atheist will be unable say any longer that there is no proof God exists or deny God does exist. With that, atheism will truly be dead. Evidence of God will start in the sky, then hit and litter the earth in the form of the debris of Wormwood. If you doubted what you saw in the sky, the aftermath on the earth that remains will remind you daily of the depressing, new reality.
“God exists... He brought down our civilization.”
Atheists and Christians (remember, most of whom will doubt Elijah) along with everyone else, will be confused and have a hard time coping with the new reality. The majority will plead for their lives like Revelation quotes. Some will go down defiant, “Alright God, you showed you exist but now I have even more evidence that you suck. So go ahead and make me a 'sticky stain' just like I always knew I would be if I was wrong about you...” (Inspired by what an actual atheist posted on my Facebook wall.)
Don't Gloat About the Atheists—You May Be Joining Them, Unless...
So there you have it. Soon, through Wormwood, God will prove to all the doubters that he exists. Yet it's not going to be the glorious day that Christians may have imagined for such an historic milestone. I'm sure some Christians have fantasized about the day that atheists who mock God and Christians would finally get their "comeuppance." Rather than anything gratifying like that, it's going to be the darkest day imaginable because of the harsh way God chooses to reveal that he's there. (One thing about God, he clearly does not seem to care about maintaining a positive public image. He's patient and taking the long term approach, knowing in the end everyone will understand that all this was necessary to instruct humanity, who he loves, as Hebrews 12:6 reminds us.)
You may be thinking now, "Sure, it's tough for the atheists, but I believe in God and seek him so I'm not going to be left behind holding the bag if Elijah really does show up and warn everyone like Tim says." Or you may already agree with me on my interpretation of Wormwood in the Bible and fully intend to be prepared to escape it.
If so, that's great; you're ahead of most. But the question then is, what are you doing now to make sure you're not standing with the atheists, later? If your honest answer is between "not much" and "nothing," then I think the challenge of Wormwood is not real or clear enough for you yet. This is dangerous because ultimately taking advantage of God's escape will require God's help. In my article on the ten obstacles to escaping, the last one and the greatest determiner in the end I suggested is whether you have God in your corner or not. That's because it will take more faith and strength from God to escape than most of us have right now.
Why? Katrina made a great observation on this while we were part of a church Bible study group on Zoom that I was teaching about the end times. Sensing some apathy to my teaching, she asked, “Do you get it that when the time comes to flee to safety before Wormwood appears, you will not want to go?” I felt it was perfectly put. The cumulative effect of all the negativity surrounding the escape plan from naysayers will sour almost everyone to the idea. Like I've said before, it will be similar to someone inviting you on a budget tour of North Korea. Where is the attraction in seeing a poor, communist nation oppressed by a dictator and under international sanctions? I mean, who could turn down the chance to go somewhere that you could be accused of being a spy for taking a wrong picture and posting it on the limited and censored Internet there?
When the time comes to go to Israel it will be much worse than that and you would not want to be caught dead there. You'll need God's guidance to see the "sense" in going. It's as if someone were to warn you to buy flood insurance for your house that is built on a hill, far from a body of water. It makes no sense to sacrifice money for something that's “not going to happen.” You would only do so if somehow God were to guide your decision to....a week before a geyser bursts under your home’s foundation and floods your house! Unlikely as that sounds is how the need to run to safety ahead of Wormwood will sound.
If you don't go, you can already begin to imagine how you'll feel when darkness suddenly comes over the earth from an unscheduled eclipse and moments later the ground begins to shake violently like you've never experienced before. People will start screaming and running out of the buildings only to look up in the sky and see an immense dark mass blocking the sun as millions of fragments of it begin to break off and begin a fiery descend to ground level where you are...
“Oh no, it's really happening! Why didn't I leave when I had the chance? I'm so stupid! Why don't I ever listen! Oh, God forgive me, please have mercy. Please help me! Jesus, save me...”
When Wormwood Becomes Real To You
Maybe you can understand now why I decided to bring this new insight about atheism's end to you, as unpleasant as it is. I didn't just want to explain a difficult prophetic verse. I wanted to make Wormwood's coming as real as possible for the benefit of those who hope to escape. I think it should affect us emotionally to learn that we will lose most everyone we know, our civilization and our way of life along with it on the long-hoped-for “day that atheists finally believe.” If you are not affected by this emotionally, then my writing obviously has not been effective enough yet to paint a picture that grabs and moves you.
For example, I remember when Wormwood became real for me. Early on in my research of Revelation and related topics like "pole shifts," I had a moment. We were living in a rickety apartment, tin roof and all as is typical of Costa Rica. It was just entering the season there in the tropics when the winds pick up for a few weeks, quite harshly at times. I was lying in my bed after reading on the coming strong, destructive winds of Wormwood in Revelation 7 that the angels hold back until the 144,000 are sealed. Suddenly I became aware of how strong the winds were outside, making the roof rattle and vibrate violently. It was dark and easy to imagine the type of blasting that Revelation 7 says Wormwood would cause. It became reality and I was afraid. But I know that does not even compare to the fear I'll have on that day, despite being in God's protection. It's going to be terrifying regardless, just like being on a roller coaster where you know your cart is safely attached to the rails, but the assault on your senses still prompts a fear response.
That said, the ones who "get it" like I do often have to take a break from my material and come back later reporting they had their “buttons pushed” hard by it. That's what several readers have shared. I think that's natural and healthy. What I'm talking about is akin to the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach you might have at being told any of the following:
- “You've lost your job...”
- “You're going to prison...”
- “You have incurable cancer...”
- “I want a divorce...”
Of course, the loss of civilization and those you love is far worse than any of these, but these at least are common and relatable “catastrophes” that could help you gauge your feelings on what I'm sharing on Wormwood. If you think of your worst scenario in normal life that you would dread and compare that to how you feel about the Wormwood scenario, then I would make sure to see that it's not because it does not seem real to you yet.
If you admit "I got nothing" here, then perhaps it's worth praying about specifically that God make this real if you do not already prepare regularly in your thoughts for that day.
"Why Bother?" Escape = "Winning the Lottery?"
OK, so I've shown in a new way how dreadful Wormwood is. Then I reminded you again how hard it will be to see any sense in going to where Elijah says to go. Why leave your nice home for an object that everything and everyone says is nonexistent and impossible?
Sorry for all the gloom, but as I said it's for the very good purpose of bringing you some needed urgency about an event several years in the future! For some of you this may be too much to hear and bear without losing hope, like those readers I mentioned above who had to take a break from my site.
If you're still with me after making Wormwood real for you, let's talk about and try to fix that despair you may be feeling. Despair about your personal chances can be for a number of reasons, as the future is objectively hard and discouraging for anyone to anticipate. However, one of the more common reasons I've seen for hopelessness is from a lack of self-belief, self-confidence, self-love. If you don't think much of yourself already and you want to do something few can do, then it is hard to imagine yourself being part of that elite group, right?
One long-time reader of mine said to me that escaping in the end seems as hopeless as winning the lottery. The odds are so small for both. You have to love other people for God and it's hard and "you might not do it good enough." My response was, yes, the odds are small but unlike the lottery that you cannot control beyond buying more tickets, escaping in the end is matter of free will choice. You decide whether you "win" or not. To stack your odds, you need to keep asking for help to escape every day. By analogy, consider every day of prayer for strength to be another lottery ticket to increase your odds of success. Another problem with the lottery analogy is that to win the lottery you are completely on your own. But in the end time escape, you can have God's help if you seek him diligently. With God it's possible; on your own, you're probably right about it being hopeless.
Jesus said something along these lines when his disciples responded with "why bother?" to his comment that it's near impossible for a rich man to be saved:
Matthew 19:24-26 (HCSB) — 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a [rope] to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” [Why bother!?] 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The rich don't need God so they usually don't seek him, making the odds for salvation low for them. Likewise odds are low in the end times because very "few" (Lk 13:23) know God and believe him enough to do what it says (Lk 8:21). When Elijah comes with God's word about the need to move to an undesirable place to escape a planet that will come out of nowhere, few will believe the Word enough to do it.
But if you believe it now, it can turn out differently. Get more lottery tickets by praying for the strength to escape daily. I do it myself, just in case I'm missing something in all my spiritual and mental preparations. Why not pray for help making Wormwood real if it's not real for you yet? Pray that you have God's help in that day. And if it's how you honestly feel, then it's good to admit to God how you are pretty sure based on your track record that to do a hard thing like this coming escape is above you and you will fail without him. That's the right idea, actually. In our weakness his strength is made manifest (2Co 12:9). If you get to that point and keep praying that until you make it to Judea, I do not see how "you" can fail because God will be with you and he never fails.
For more direction on how to prepare for what's coming daily, continue on to my end time escape preparation checklist article.
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Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter above.