Posted by: watchmancurtis | September 28, 2010

Revelation Study 14

Time has a sneaky way of slipping by.  I have had every intention of continuing our study in Revelation, but have just been in an extremely busy season.  It’s been good busy, but still busy.  Today I wanted to pick up our study in Revelation chapter 8.  We have just seen what I believe is a clear picture of the rapture in chapter 7 and we ended on such a great note with believers before the throne of God promised to be taken care of forevermore.  Chapter 8, however, takes on a different tone.  We will quickly see that while it is hugs and hallelujahs in heaven, those left upon the earth must deal with the wrath of God. 

Verses 1-2:  Here we have the seventh seal being broken.  The mood shifts immediately because now we have complete silence in heaven for about half an hour.  I believe this silence is the heaviness and seriousness of what is about to come.  It is the calm before the storm if you will.  There are many chapters in the Bible which describe the wrath of God and none of them are pleasant to read.  God is a God of love, but he is also a God of justice.   He has been patient with His wrath according to 2 Peter 3:7-9 which says, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  While His patience has put off the wrath and judgment of men, it will come at some point.  It is here in chapter 8 that we see it begin as seven angels who stand before God are given seven trumpets which will declare the judgment of God upon the earth.  It is possible that Gabriel is one of these angels because we are told in Luke 1:19 that he stands in the presence of God. 

Verses 3-5:  Here we have an interesting scene of an angel before an altar.  He adds incense to the altar to add to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne.  I’m guessing many of us do not see our prayers in this way.  I think it is a beautiful picture of our prayers being lifted up before the Lord like incense.  They are a beautiful aroma to the Lord.  2 Corinthians 2:15 says, “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God…”  After this picture we have the angel take the censor, fill it with the fire of the altar and throw it to the earth.  The peals of thunder, sounds, flashes of lightning and earthquake represent the presence of God as we have seen throughout the book of Revelation.

Verse 6:  The seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets.

Verses 7-12:  The first trumpet sounds and hail and fire, mixed with blood were thrown to the earth, and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  One thing I should note here is that the seven trumpets come out of the seven seals.  They are not transpiring at the same time.  It is when the seventh seal is opened that the trumpets are given.  When we arrive at the bowl judgments, we will see many similiarities, but on a grander scale as amazing as that is.  This first trumpet judgment reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah where we are told in Genesis 19:24 “The Lord rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah- from the Lord out of the heavens.”  Both judgments are due to the rebellion and sin of the people.  Both groups of people were given chances to turn away from their ways and yet refused.

The second trumpet sounds and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.  This sounds like a meteor, but it cannot be proven that is what it is.

The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of the waters.  The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.  Again, we have something that sounds exactly like a meteor or asteroid falling to the ground with different results.  This one makes the waters bitter.  Water generally represents the Holy Spirit and we can make a parallel with what is happening here.  I think appropriately we see that because of the rebellion of these people, they have rejected Holy Spirit and  are left with water that is bittered and poisoned. 

The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.  The ungodly who are left to endure the wrath of God have refused the true light of Jesus.  He tells us in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Now we see this judgment begin to take the literal light away even as they have refused the light the God offers through Christ.

These judgments are horrific and huge in scale and yet are not even the worst of what is to come.  I know that many people do not want to think of a God who would cause this kind of devastation and death, but His character demands justice and holiness.  Just as Christ was slain before the foundation of the world, the wrath of God has been on hold from the moment Adam and Eve brought sin into the world.  We must remember that His love and patience is what has kept it on hold.  He gives so many chances.  Those who are left for the wrath are there only because they heard the truth and spit on it.  We will see later on that even in the midst of their dire situation that they will still refuse to turn away from their wickedness.

Verse 13: We see an eagle flying in midheaven saying, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”   Basically we are told here that the worst is yet to come. 

This chapter is a heavy chapter.  It is easy to see why there is silence in heaven before the trumpets are sounded.  Instead of focusing on the heaviness and darkness of this chapter though, I would like for us to use this as a time for thankfulness and self-examination.  Let us be thankful for a merciful and patient God who loves us and offers us forgiveness.  Let us be thankful that we are not appointed to wrath according to 1 Thessalonians 5:9.  God did not create hell for man.  He created hell for Satan and his demons.  He sent Jesus for us.  It is His will that we should all put our faith and trust in Christ and thus be saved from the coming wrath.  But before we leave, let’s take an inward look at ourselves.  As a believer in Christ I will not have to face the wrath of God, thankfully.  I do, however, want to make sure that my heart is set on things above.  Let us make sure that we are living for the Lord.  Let us be quick to repent when we make a mistake.  Let us love the truth and pursue it with all we have.  Finally, let us do all that we can to save the lost from the wrath that is coming for those who do not accept Jesus and the forgiveness that He offers.  Be blessed!

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