Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Revelation - Chapter 8

A Study of the Book of Revelation
Chapter 08

The book of Revelation is a sermon preached on a Sunday in A.D. 96 on the Isle of Patmos to one man, John.  It is not a short sermon.  It takes a while to read and it probably took a while for Christ to deliver it.

Revelation Ch 1 – Introduction
Revelation Ch 2 & 3 – The history of the church age
Revelation Ch 4 & 5 – The church in Heaven
Revelation Ch 6 – 19 – The story of the Tribulation
Revelation Ch 20 – The Millennium
Revelation Ch 20 – 22 – The eternal kingdom

This is not an obscure book.  It is a part of the Bible and God means for us to understand it.  Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ.

Chapter 6 gave us a summary of the Tribulation and Chapter 7 gave us the story of evangelism in the Tribulation.  

Now chapter 8 begins the story of the three judgments.  

There are three series of judgments in chapters 6 through 19.

The seven seals, a summary of the Tribulation.  Next, comes the seven trumpets, and this is the Tribulation judgments from the standpoint of the Gentiles.

Next, we move to the seven vials and this is the Tribulation judgments from the standpoint of the Jews.

While the church is in Heaven, just following the rapture as the church is being prepared as the bride of Christ, we have the most terrible period in world history.  Following this seven year period of horror and slaughter, will come the second advent of Christ and His thousand year reign.

1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

Revelation 8 brings us to another crisis event. 

Here He opens the seventh seal.
Six seals have been opened previously and judgment has poured forth.  Now the last of the seals is opened and is followed by an amazing response.

There is immediately an ominous hush throughout heaven.

Silence in heaven – means these judgments are so terrible they will make people hold their breath.

Heaven was shocked, but remember they do not occur until the people have the opportunity to be saved. (Silence is reverence for God’s plan)

Read Zechariah 2:13 “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”

Moments before the whole company of angels, living creatures and elders was engaged in tumultuous praise of the one sitting on the throne and of the Lamb of God.

Now, suddenly, there is silence so intense you can feel it.

The angels were speechless for 30 minutes.  They could not talk.

They may have been silenced to hear the prayers of saints in verse 4.

The final seal has been torn away from the title deed to the universe and the calamities about to be witnessed are so awful that the company of heaven is speechless.

This is the calm before the storm and lasts a full thirty minutes.

If the coming judgment is so intense that the angels silently gasp in horror, how much more should me be alarmed at this terrible judgment and rush to be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

And I saw – This is John looking

As the vision continues, John is shown seven angels who stand before God and receive seven trumpets.  These are special angels, for they are called the seven angels, a distinct group for a distinct purpose.

Seven angels – perfect number and perfect judgments of God – means seven select angels that are going to blow the trumpets

God uses angels sometimes to bring about His judgments

God used angels at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

They are marked by special power, dignity, and service (Heb. 1:7, 14).

“Stood” – is in the perfect tense and means they have been standing there for a long time.  It means they have been instructed about the judgments and they stand ready to serve.

The trumpets are instruments of proclamation.  The sounding of the trumpet is always followed by an outstanding announcement or event (Ex. 19:16; 20:18; Jer 4:5; 1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Thess 4:16)

Seven Points Regarding the Seven Trumpets
1.      A trumpet is a judgment which takes place in the Tribulation to judge the Gentiles
2.      These judgments are directed toward unbelieving Gentiles.
3.      In this chapter (8), only four trumpets are given. The remaining three are given in chapter 10.
4.      These four trumpets are directed against nature, while in chapter 10, the last three trumpet judgments are directed against mankind.
5.      In the first four trumpets, we have seven verses to describe them.  In the last three, we have 50 verses to describe them.  The last three are the most important.
6.      The trumpet judgments are held up until the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are sealed.  There are only six seals in Revelation 6.  There are seven in all, but only six in chapter 6.  The seventh seal is the beginning of the seven trumpets.  This is the principle of grace before judgment.  All have opportunity to be saved.  Now in chapter 8, we move into the seventh seal and this seventh seal contains the seven judgments.  This is judgment against the Gentiles.
7.      The seventh trumpet is the second advent of the Jesus Christ.  So the trumpets take us all the way down to the second advent of Christ.  Actually, you have a three reel film here:
a.      Chapter 6. A general summary of the Tribulation.
b.      Chapter 8. Here we begin the judgment of the Gentiles.
c.       Last, we move to the vials and this is the history judgment for the Jews.

In verses 3-6, we have an answer to the prayers of the believers who are martyred during the Tribulation.

In Matthew 24, Jesus warned the Jews to run to the mountains of Edom, Moab and Ammon and stay there.

That was during the first half of the Tribulation.

Now during the last half of the Tribulation, they are warned to stand their ground and fight.

Zechariah 14 describes this.  If they follow instructions, then everything will turn out right.  

 The Gentiles resist and many are tortured and killed.

When religion takes over, then the most terrible things you can imagine take place.

Jesus condemned religion as the worst enemy man has to face.  Religion is going to take over in the Tribulation and persecute these Gentiles, and while they are dying they are going to do something.

Under terrible persecution, they are going to put the whole thing in the Lord’s hands.  The principle is this, put it all in the Lord’s hands for He says “Vengeance is mine, I will repay sayeth the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

They are going to pray and leave vengeance in the hands of God.  No one can harm a believer without getting discipline from God.  

Judging others is a sin and it leads to sin.  Instead of your judgment falling on them, it turns back and falls on you.  And this leads to self-induced misery.

The Christian way of life is designed for a relaxed, happy life.  So live your life as unto the Lord and let other people do the same.

There is always some spiritual bully around who has failed miserably and he will try to live your life for you.  Break away from this kind of person just as fast as you can.

Live by doctrine and let each person live his own life.  In our story here, these believers are relaxed and they turn everything over to the Lord.  These believers are not afraid and those who die glorify God in their death.

3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Before the trumpets can be sounded, another angel appears, standing before the altar with a gold censer and much incense.  

This angel with the golden shovel in his hand represents answered prayer.

Another – refers to the fact that he is the same kind of angel as we saw in the seven trumpets.
The eighth angel pops up and he has a golden shovel in his hand.  He stands in front of an exact replica of the temple.

This reproduction is in Heaven.  We see the golden altar of incense and the censer with burning coals.

This golden altar is the message center of prayer.  So everything in both the tabernacle and the temple was to teach the Jews about Christ.

The brazen altar spoke of the cross and here the sacrifices were offered.

On the golden altar, they placed incense and this was a picture of their prayers that rose up to the throne of God.

This is outlined in Exodus 30:1-10 and Exodus 37:25-28.

The altar was made of Acacia wood, which stood for the humanity of Christ, and it was overlaid with gold, which represented the deity of Christ.

It is impossible for deity and eternal life to die.  It was impossible for Jesus to die in His deity, and this is why it was necessary for Him to become a human being.

The sins of the world were poured out on Christ on the cross and He died spiritually and then He died physically.

So Jesus is different from all others.  He is unique.

This sweet-smelling incense rising up to God is a picture of the prayers of these dying Gentiles in the Tribulation.

These are tribulation saints, believers who were martyred in the Tribulation, and we will meet them again in Revelation 13 and 17.

Some of the prayers they offered were anticipated prophetically in Psalm 13.  Here are some of the actual prayers of believers in the Tribulation dealing with this situation.

Psalm 44:22                Psalm 54:5                  Psalm 79:5                  Psalm 143:12

This verse refers to the prayers of dying Gentile believers in the Tribulation.  Their prayers are answered with the judgments of these seven trumpets.

These trumpet messages are beamed against those responsible for these tribulational martyrs. 
Instead of trying to take vengeance, they left vengeance in the hands of the Lord.

Another angel – this is not Christ, Christ is in Heaven opening the seals, so this is a special angel.

Golden censer – is a shovel.

Given unto him much incense – represents many prayers.

Prayers of all saints – This is not prayers of church, but prayers of tribulation saints.

4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

The incense, symbolic of the finished work of Christ, causes smoke to rise to the throne of God along with the prayers of the saints.

The reason our prayers have any effectiveness at all is because of the sweet savor of Christ’s finished work at Calvary and His present intercessory work on our behalf.

Smoke of the incense – This is a picture of the prayers of the tribulation saints.

This may be the reason for the 30 minutes of silence in Heaven back in verse 1.  God may have been listening to the prayers.

These are Gentile saints.

Prayer is the great grace weapon in the hands of believers, God always hears.

5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Once prayer ascends, judgment descends. 

The fire represents judgment as do the thunder, lightning, and earthquake.

The seven angels are now ready to sound the seven trumpets proclaiming God’s judgment.

6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

Seven angels – means seven leading angels or high officials.

Seven speaks of perfection.

Seven trumpets – speak of complete judgment.

Trumpets were used to signal the battle cry.

These seven angels were ready.

The first four trumpets are natural disasters and take up seven verses.

The second three trumpets are judgment from God and take up 50 verses.

The first four trumpet judgments fall in three categories:
a.      Agricultural – grass and trees.
b.      Aquatic – salt water and fresh water.
c.       Astronomic – sun, moon, and stars.

7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

As the first trumpet is blown, John sees hail and fire mixed with blood fiercely falling to the earth.

First angel – first of the seven leading angels.

Sounded – This is the first trumpet judgment.

This judgment of God is through the destruction of agriculture.

One third of plants and trees that produce food will be destroyed.

So great is the devastation that 1/3 of the earth’s trees and green grass is completely burned up.

The dictator of the revived Roman Empire will begin to employ methods of refusal to sell food to believers.

Only those who have the mark of the beast on their person will be able to get food.

This judgment was an attack on vegetation.
This is a literal burning up of 1/3 of the earth’s vegetation.

There is no reason to assume this to be figurative, since we take the plagues of Egypt to be literal (Ex. 9:23-24).

8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;

The second angel sounds a trumpet and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea.

It is not necessary that we identify this instrument of judgment with anything in our present realm of experience.

It may be a meteoric mass blazing from the sky and falling headlong into the sea.  It may be some atomic reaction.  Whatever it is, the destruction caused is unbelievable.

Second angel – one of the leading angels

Sounded – this second trumpet judgement

As it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea.  This is a mass of chemicals going into the sea.

This judgment is against water (salt water).

1/3 of the sea became blood.  

9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

1/3 of fish life died.  The world depends on sea for food.

1/3 of ships were destroyed.  The world depends on the sea and ships for transportation of food.

This judgment along with a 1/3 of agriculture destroyed begins to lead to world wide hunger and the mark of the beast.

Imagine – 1/3 of all sea life dying.

This will not be any time to be on a pleasure cruise.

10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;

As the trumpet of the third angel sounds, there falls a great star from heaven.

Third angel – one of the seven leading angels.

Sounded – This is the third trumpet judgment.

This is also a judgment on water (fresh water).

Great star falling burning like a lamp.  This is also some type of mass chemicals falling on the fresh water streams of the earth.
Perhaps a meteor, a great glowing body will fall to earth and destroy another 1/3 of the world’s water supply, including underground sources of water.

This attack is on fresh water, lakes and rivers.  All life in them will die, completely destroyed.

Turning sweet water bitter, this judgment will mean that now 2/3 of the world’s water will be deadly poison.

11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

Name of the star is Wormwood, which means a liquid poison.

A species of plant related to our sagebrush, wormwood is always used as a symbol of bitterness.  

It makes a liquor which leads to mental deterioration and death.  From drinking the waters poisoned by the star Wormwood, men will go out of their minds and die in judgment.

12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

Fourth angel – one of the seven leading angels.

Sounded – This is the fourth trumpet judgment.

This is celestial activity.

The sun, moon and stars are greatly affected.
The judgment of the fourth trumpet causes 1/3 of the sun to be blackened, 1/3 of the moon, and 1/3 of all the stars.

There will be a great decrease in the amount of light and in the time that reduced light is visible, for the hours of light during the day will be reduced by 1/3.

These are natural disasters.

This is bad, but the worst is yet to come.

Notice the progression of the judgments stemming from the trumpets.

Small amount of food available, transportation and food distribution hampered, water is limited, light for food production and harvesting is curtailed.

These will be dark days indeed, in more than one sense of the word.

13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

If you think this is a bleak picture, you haven’t seen anything yet.

And I beheld – John looked suddenly

John saw an announcing angel.

Saying with a loud voice – clear and unmistakable voice.

The “woe, woe, woe” is announcing the next three judgments.

The first woe is trumpet #5 and is described in Rev. 9:1-12

The second woe is trumpet #6 and is described in Rev. 9:13 – 11:14

The third woe is trumpet #7 and is described in Rev. 11:15 – 12:17.

The announcing angel is warning that the worst is yet to come.

Clark, Neal. Survey of the Book of Revelation. Pensacola, Florida: Thee WFBI Press, 1999. Print.
Falwell, Jerry. Liberty Commentary on the New Testament. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty Press, 1978. Print.

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