Monday, October 3, 2011

Hail, Fire and Blood

Revelation Chapter 8

As we talked about in the last blog, chapter seven was a blessing. This is not however the case with chapter eight. In this chapter we are told of great judgment, for we witness the opening of the seventh seal. And the seventh seal begins the sounding of the seven trumpets.

The judgment that is about to take place in this chapter is so severe that heaven becomes silent. As this judgment begins we find angels getting ready to unleash the judgment of God upon the earth. This judgment is to be so great that the twenty-four elders quit playing their harps, the angels hush their voices and the four beasts hold their praise. This silence lasts for thirty minutes. This may not seem like a long time, but when you consider that lives are on the line, and the tension is extremely high this time will seem like an eternity.

As you will soon notice, the judgment of God seems to get more severe with every minute. The seven trumpet judgments will be greater than the seven seal judgment, but will not be as severe as the seven vial judgments.

After the silence in heaven John notices seven angels of official importance, for they stand in the presence of God, and seven trumpets are given to them. In the Bible, trumpets are used to call to war, to worship and to proclaim festival.

They take the trumpets that are handed to them and take up their post ready to sound. Before however the seven angels blow their trumpets, we witness a prayer meeting take place in heaven. John sees at this time an angel with a golden censer in his hand come and stand before the golden incense altar. There is little doubt the angel in verse 3 is Jesus Christ. Christ is the one that witness to both God and man. Furthermore Christ is our great “high priest” so it would make sense that He is the one to minister at the golden altar.

This angel is seen offering the prayers of the saints along with incense. I believe the prayers being offered are the prayers of Revelation 6:10.

“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, Oh Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”   Revelation 6:10
In chapter six the saints were told to be patient, but now they are going to be avenged. The silence of verse one is brought to a stop. As the angel cast the fire from off the altar to the earth we are told that there is thunder, lightning and an earthquake.

First Trumpet: Hail, fire & blood (v. 7)

It should be no problem for us to accept this verse at face value. Many would like to spiritualize it, but that is not needed. This is the literal fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel.

“Shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, Blood, and Fire, and Pillars of Smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.”   Joel 2:30-31
This same type of judgment was mentioned in Exodus 9:22-24. At this time we will notice that God is going to repeat many of the judgments that took place in Egypt. No less than 5 of the 9 Egyptian judgments will be repeated during the tribulation period.

Second Trumpet: Sea turns to blood (v. 8-9)

This judgment no doubt is a large meteor falling to the sea. Notice the phrase “as it were a mountain”. This simply means that it was very large and as I’m sure John had never seen a meteor before this was the best way he knew how to describe it. We are always to take every word of the Bible literally unless God tells us otherwise. When God desires for us to spiritualize something, or not take it as literal He is clear to distinguish it as is done in this chapter.

As it hits the sea we are told that a third part of the sea becomes blood. The sea referred to in this verse is probably the Mediterranean Sea since most of these judgment focuses on that area. Again a similar thing happened in the book of Exodus.

Exodus 7:19-21

In the Egyptian plague Moses was able to turn all of the water of the Nile River to blood. Here only 1/3 of the sea is turned to blood.

The second trumpet judgment is so devastating that one third of the fish in the sea are killed and one third of the boats in the sea are destroyed possibly by a tidal wave.

Third Trumpet: Wormwood (v. 10-11)

This judgment is similar to the previous one. As this star falls to the earth it no doubt becomes ablaze as it passed through the earth’s gasses and vapors and burns like a torch or a lamp. We are told that one third of the worlds’ water supply becomes wormwood, or a deadly poison. This star ablaze will probably explode to affect a large area.

Wormwood is a very bitter perennial herb. Wormwood is used in the production of a highly addictive alcohol or spirit called absinthe. Absinthe is a very addictive drug and was banned in many countries for a number of years because of its dangerous nature. In fact if it is not highly diluted with water it can act as a poison.

This judgment was prophesied many years ago by the prophet Jeremiah.

“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.”   Jeremiah 9:15

This is amazing for we realize that God is so great that He knows all the stars and where they are placed. This is very literal. At this very moment there is a star in the heaven prepared for a day of judgment. This star is named wormwood and will pollute one third of the worlds’ water supply.

Fourth Trumpet: Heavens changed (v.12)

This fourth judgment affects the stars in heaven. This is interesting, for on the fourth day of creation we are told that God said the following:

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”   Genesis 1:14

At the sound of this trumpet one third of the lights in heaven are put out. The day is shortened by one third. It may be easily overlooked but imagine the suffering both mentally and physically that people will endure under the natural judgments. By the sun being shorted, and darkness taking over it will also affect the climate, the temperature. In one judgment God will remove light to lower the temperature, and then in another He will intensify the sun so that it scorches men. People will suffer depression because of the darkness and so on.

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth (v. 13)

The worst however is yet to come. For in the midst of these terrible judgments we are told that an angel flies through heaven and cries out “woe, woe, woe” for the next three judgments coming will be much worse than the first four.

As this angel cries out his “woe” we know that this correlates to Daniel 9 where we are told that the first three and one half years of judgment are no way near as severe as the last three and one half years. We even see this from the words of our Lord in Matthew 24:8 were He refers to the first three and one half years as the “beginning of sorrows”, but He refers to the last three and one half years as the “great tribulation.”

As the tribulation approaches it climax, the judgments from God become more severe and the loss of lives become greater. This can even be seen by the number of verses used to describe the judgments. The first four trumpet judgments were all described with one or two verses. The fifth trumpet judgment will occupy twelve verses and the sixth will occupy nine verses, as we will soon see.

Three woes await the people of the world:
  1. Woe because of the demon locust
  2. Woe because of the demon horsemen
  3. Woe because Satan will be cast to the earth

What a terrible time in history to live.

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