THE LULL BEFORE THE STORM
Hi precious friends,
So glad you could join us today. So explanations have to be made before we continue to the next event so that we can understand it a little better.
Know this, the tribulation is for Israel. Everything that happens from here on out is directly related to the nation of Israel. We have seen the first 6 seals opened by the Lamb. Only the 7th seal remains to be opened. However, that 7th seal contains the rest of the judgments and most of them come in rapid-fire succession.
Now we see a break in the judgments. This sets a pattern for the remainder of the book. There are several series of 7’s in which each one brings us something different. Let’s look at them for just a moment. They all cover the same time period, the tribulation period, but from a different angle.
The seals showed us the result of man’s sinful activities, brought on by man’s actions. The trumpets will show the result of the direct action of God, Himself because of Satan’s activity. The bowls show the results of direct action of God because of both man’s and Satan’s rebellion.
There is a very strong similarity between the plagues of Egypt and the trumpets judgments. We will compare them as we study, however it would be good for you to read the corresponding passages in Exodus beforehand. Both are literal, by the way.
Rev. 8:1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Before the last seal is opened, there is silence in heaven for about half an hour. Can you imagine silence in heaven? A heavenly hush? What does that say to you? Was all of heaven holding their breath? Was God thinking about what He was going to do? Or did God want to give John a chance to prepare himself for what he was about to see?
The silence makes the transition from grace to judgment. God is slow to judge, not wishing any to perish. He gives as much time as He can for man to repent of sin.
2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
John watches as 7 angels stand before God and take the 7 trumpets, preparing to blow them. In the Old Testament a trumpet announced an important event about to occur. They were also used to give a signal in times of war, as a warning. This time it is a warning. Something dreadful is about to come upon the earth. Is God about to declare a war on earth? Do you think the trumpet is heard on earth?
Trumpets have a special meaning for Israel. In Numbers, Moses was given instructions by God for making two silver trumpets. Two is the number for witness. These 2 trumpets were used on the wilderness march in two ways.
1. For calling an assembly
2. To start the procession moving on the wilderness march
After entering the land the trumpets were used for other purposes.
1. to sound an alarm
2. during a time of gladness
3. on solemn days
4. at burnt offerings and for peace offerings
So, Israel was very familiar with the trumpets.
Now, notice this, a single trumpet was significant for calling together the princes of Israel. This was the elite group of leaders. This corresponds with the last trump which will call the church to heaven at the rapture.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.
Another angel is not Christ, but just that….another angel. The golden altar is the place where prayers are offered. Christ is no longer acting as intercessor. This is just another angel, as it says. The prayers of the saints which were offered at the opening of the 5th seal in chapter 6 are now being answered because of the person and sacrifice of Christ. They have prayed for vengeance and this is what is about to happen.
4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Thunder indicates that a storm is coming. A storm of God’s judgment. Notice this: lightning follows thunder. This is a reverse of the natural order. Here’s the order of events.
There is ½ hour of silence for preparation.
Prayers have been heard
The order is given to prepare to blow the trumpets
The angels come to attention
At the blowing of the trumpets, God’s wrath is poured out on the earth. These are not symbols, there is no explanation accompanying them. THAT IS IMPORTANT! Because, these events are literal.
The first trumpet sounds,
6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
Hail and fire mixed with blood, pour out of the sky and 1/3 of the trees and 1/3 of all green grass burned. This is a direct judgment from God. Plant life was the first to be created I Genesis 1:11. And now it is the first to be destroyed. The hail here is literal just as the 7th plague of Egypt was literal. Compare with Exodus 9:18. We are told in Exodus 9:25 that “the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field”.
Notice God’s mercy here. He left 2/3, this time.
(do you realize that when it says 1/3 of grass, trees, and sea are destroyed, it means all over the entire earth. How does He do that? All at one time? Are people all over the earth seeing this at the same time or are they all gathered on one side of the earth?
I haven’t got a clue of an idea. Just thought I would throw that in to give you something else to ponder.
8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood,
9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
It says that something like a huge mountain is thrown into the sea. This means it is symbolic of something else. This thing that looks like a mountain is representing something literal and tangible. Whatever this is, it kills a third of all life in the seas and oceans. That means 1/3 of ships and those on the ships as well. Then 1/3 of the sea turns to blood. The separation of the land and the sea occurred on the same day in which plant
life was created (Genesis 1:9,10) This corresponds also with Exodus 7:17-18.
10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—
11 the name of the star is Wormwood.[a] A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
Here again, This is literal. There is no symbolism. A meteor (which is what a falling star is) contaminates 1/3 of the earth’s fresh water supply. This star or meteor has a name. “Wormwood”. Did you ever read CS Lewis’s Screwtap3 Letters? (if not, then see if your library has it. Then get it and
read it) A great allegory!! In this book, the devil was called Wormwood. This name, Wormwood was used in several ways in the Old Testament
idolatry of Israel. Deut. 29:19 Calamity and sorrow – Jeremiah 9:15;23:15 And false judgment – Amos 5:7 Once again, we see a relationship with Exodus 7:19-20
12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
It was on the 4th day that the sun moon, and stars were created. Here the light was put out over 1/3 of the earth. Look at Matthew 24:20 and Luke 21:26. Look also at Exodus 10:21-23. I believe that what we are seeing here could very well be a nuclear war. However, never discount the supernatural. God is war. However, never discount the supernatural. God is able to cause any of this without our help.
13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
In this verse, some translations have the word angel, some say eagle. Actually, the Hebrew word is nesher, meaning a ravenous bird, or a great vulture. So to say eagle would be correct. The eagle flies through the heavens crying out loudly, Woe, three times. He is warning the people to: “Watch out world for what is coming next. If you think this is bad, well, YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET”!!
The anti- Christ is sitting in his war room planning his strategy and pretty soon his troops will be reinforced by strategy and soon he will be joined by an army of demons. These woes usher in the deepest, darkness an the most painful period of the great tribulation. We are speaking now of the last 3 ½ years of the 7year period, known as the Great Tribulation. The darkest days of human history.
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NEXT WEEK, PRECIOUS ONES