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REVELATION - THE END OF THE AGE OF MAN
(A Synopsis of the Revelation of Jesus Christ)

CHAPTER EIGHT

The Sixth Revelation of Jesus ChristOur High Priest
The 7th Seal is Opened
The 7 Trumpet Judgments
The First 4 Trumpets Sound



Revelation 8:1-6

(1)  When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.  (2)  And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. (3)  Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  (4)  And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.  (5)  Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.

(6)  So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
(NKJV)

This is the opening of the 7th and last Seal, containing the 7 Trumpets.

Seven angels who stand before God who were given the 7 trumpets
Seven “Angels of the Presence” have a well-documented history in Jewish literature, possibly commencing with Isaiah 63:9, which mentions “an angel of his [God's] presence,”

Isaiah 63:9-10
In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.    (NKJV)

(compare Lk 1:19, “I am Gavri’el,” the angel answered him, “and I stand in the presence of God.”), and Ezekiel 9:2, which speaks of “six men...with slaughter weapons, and one man among them clothed in linen with a writer's ink well at his side,” to whom God speaks.
In the Apocrypha, Rafa’el identifies himself as “one of the seven holy angels” (Tobit 12:15). 1 Enoch 20 gives the names and functions of seven “holy angels who watch”: Uri’el, Rafa’el, Ragu’el, Mikha’el, Saraka’el, Gavri’el and Remi’el. The first four are called “ministering angels” (“mal’akhey-hasharet”) in the Talmud, the siddur, and the kabbalah; compare the fact that in vv. 7-12 four angels are singled out to announce the four “non-woe” shofar [trumpet] judgments.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern.)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ as our High Priest:

There is here a strong allusion to different parts of the temple worship.
This was a preparation peculiar to the Day of Atonement.
On the Day of Atonement the high priest took the fire from the great altar in a golden censer
The high priest took incense from one of the priests, who brought it to him
He then went with it to the golden altar of incense
While he offered the incense the people prayed without in silence

John saw another angel. This Angel

1. Had a golden censer
2. Stood at the altar in heaven
3. Was given much incense
4. Offered the incense upon the golden altar which was before the throne
a. The prayers of all the saints were offered with the incense
b. The smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints ascended before God
5. Took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar
6. Threw the fire in the censer to the earth

Jesus our High Priest
1. This angel has a censer of gold, an implement belonging to the Holy of Holies, and is used only by the high priest; who would seem to indicate our great high priest that has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.
2. This angel casts fire into the earth; and Jesus says of Himself:

Luke 12:49-52
"I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!...Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division."

3. This is in some sense realized in the course of the history and doings of the Church; but we know that it is to be much more literally and terribly fulfilled in the Day of Judgment; and here would seem to be its exact accomplishment.
4. This angel offers the prayers of all the saints, and renders them savory before God. Such an office is nowhere in the Scripture assigned to angels proper, but is everywhere assigned to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Trumpet Judgments

Here we see the fulfillment of Zechariah 1:7-16

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited. On the day of the Lord's sacrifice I will punish the princes and the king's sons and all those clad in foreign clothes. On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.

On that day, declares the Lord, a cry will go up from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills. Wail, you who live in the market district; all your merchants will be wiped out, all who trade with silver will be ruined. At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, 'The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad. Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. They will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine.

The great day of the Lord is near — near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers. (NIV)


The opening of the seventh seal, and the blowing of the first six trumpets, brought about three dramatic results:
Preparation (Revelation 8:1-6)
1. This preparation involves two factors:
Silence (Revelation 8:1)
Supplication (Revelation 8:2-6)
2. This silence for thirty minutes could be because:
a. The scroll had now been opened completely and so all could see the plan of God unfolding.
b. Or — perhaps the heavenly hosts were simply awestruck at what they saw.
(See Zechariah 2:13[Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!];
Habakkuk 2:20 [But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.]).
c. Or — perhaps it shadows the silence of the people when the High Priest went in to offer incense.
Supplication (Revelation 8:3-6)
1. The ‘prayers of the saints’, (Revelation 8:4) are not the prayers of a special group of people in heaven who have arrived at ‘sainthood’
2. To begin with, all God’s children are saints — set apart for God — through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1; 9:1, 12; 13:13).
3. And there is no definite teaching in the Scriptures that people in heaven pray for believers on earth, or that we can direct out prayers to God through them.
4. We pray to the Father through the Son, for He alone is worthy.
5. In Ezekiel 10:2 we see the effect of coals from the altar cast to the earth, which symbolized God’s judgment; and the effects described in Revelation 8:5 substantiate this view.
6. A storm is about to begin! (See Revelation 4:5; 11:19; 16:18).
7. Like it or not, the prayers of God’s people are involved in the judgments that He sends.
Desolation (Revelation 8:7-13)
1. The first four trumpet judgments are “natural” in that they affect the land, the saltwater, the fresh water, and the heavenly bodies.
2. The fifth and sixth trumpet judgments involve the release of demonic forces that first torment, and then kill.
3. The seventh and last of the trumpet judgments (Revelation 11) creates a crises among all the nations of the world.

Revelation 8:7

(7)  The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
(NKJV)


The First Trumpet — DESOLATION ON THE EARTH  (Revelation 8:7)
1. Hail and Fire mingled with Blood was thrown to the earth
2. One third of the trees were burned up
3. All of the green grass was burned up

Hail and fire mingled with blood reminds us of the seventh plague that God sent against Egypt (Exodus 9:18-26).

Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to rain down, such as has not been in Egypt since its founding until now ... and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground ... So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail ... And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.

The Prophet Joel also promised “blood and fire” in the last days (Joel 2:30)

And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke

Since this is a supernatural judgment, it is not necessary to try to explain how hail, fire, and blood become mingled.

Revelation 8:8-9

(8)  Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.  (9)  And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
(NKJV)


The Second Trumpet — DESOLATION IN THE SEAS  (Revelation 8:8, 9)

1. Something like a huge mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea.
2. One third of the sea turned into blood
3. One third of the living creatures in the sea died
4. One third of the ships were destroyed

Turning water into blood reminds us of the first Egyptian plague (Exodus 7:19-21).

The Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt — over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs' — and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars."  Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.


Note that John did not say that an actual burning mountain was cast out of heaven, but that the fiery object was like a great mountain.

This will be an ecological and an economic disaster of unprecedented proportions. The oceans occupy three fourths of the earth’s surface. As of January 1, 1981 there were 24, 867 ocean-going merchant ships registered what would that be today in 2011?

Revelation 8:10-11

(10)  Then 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 water.  (11)  The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.
(NKJV)


The Third Trumpet — DESOLATION IN THE FRESHWATER AREAS  (Revelation 8:10, 11)

1. A great star, burning like a torch, fell from the sky on —
One third of the rivers
One third of the springs of water
2. The star's name was Wormwood (apsinthos — a particularly bitter herb with medicinal value)
One third of the waters became wormwood (bitter)
Many men died from the water
God’s wrath next reaches inland and touches the rivers and fountains of waters (wells and sources of the rivers), making the fresh water taste bitter, like wormwood.
The National Geographic Society lists about 100 principal rivers in the world, ranging in length from the Amazon (4,000 miles long) to the Rio de la Plata (150 miles long).
The United States Geological Survey reports thirty large rivers in the United States, beginning with the mighty Mississippi (3, 710 miles long).
One third of these rivers, and their sources, will become so bitterly polluted that drinking their water produces death.

Revelation 8:12-13

(12)  Then the fourth angel sounded: 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 were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.

(13)  And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"
(NKJV)


The Fourth Trumpet — DESOLATION IN THE HEAVENS  (Revelation 8:12)
1. One third of the sun turned dark One third of the Day was dark - without any light
2. One third of the moon turned dark One third of the Night was dark - without any light
3. One third of the stars turned dark
The judgments from the first three trumpets affected only third part of the land and waters, but this fourth judgment affects the entire world.
Why? Because it gets to the very source of the earth’s life and energy, the sun.
With one third less sunlight on the earth, there will be one third less energy available to support life systems of man and nature.
This judgment parallels the ninth plague in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23), which last three days.

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt." So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days.

‘The Day of the Lord is darkness and not light’ (Amos 5:18).
Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! ... It will be darkness, and not light.
Think of the vast changes in temperatures that will occur and how these will affect human health and food growth.
It is possible that this particular judgment is only temporary, for the fourth vial judgment will reverse it, and the sun’s power will be intensified (Revelation 16:8-9).

Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.

Then, at the close of the tribulation, the sun and moon will be darkened again to announce the Savior’s return (Matthew 24:29-30; see also Mark 13:24-27 & Luke 21:25-28).
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
It is foretold in Joel 2:1-2

Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! For the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.

Darkness, indeed! Not only will nature suffer loss, but also human nature will take advantage of the long darkness and no doubt indulge in crime and wickedness (Revelation 9:20, 21)
And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Three Woes yet to come
‘And I beheld, and heard an eagle, having a tail red as it were blood, flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, by reason of the other sounds of the trumpets of the three angels, which are yet to sound!’  (Revelation 8:13 Peshitta Text)
 
1st Woe (9:1-12) The 5th Trumpet sounds The Army from Hell
2nd Woe (9:13-11:14) The 6th Trumpet sounds Angels released to kill one third of mankind & earthquake in Jerusalem
3rd Woe (11:15-19) The 7th Trumpet sounds The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

The three “woes” in Revelation 8:13 refer to the judgments yet to come when the remaining three angels blow their trumpets.
It is as though the messenger cried, ‘If you think this has been terrible, just wait! The worst is yet to come!’

These will be followed by the bowl (vial) judgments, culminating in the destruction of Babylon and the return of Jesus Christ back to earth. Note that:

From the seals to the trumpets to the bowls, the judgments increase in their intensity.
The trumpet and the bowl judgments touch on the same areas, as the following summary will illustrate.
# The Trumpets The Judgment The Vials (Bowls)
1st 8:11-7 The Earth 16:1-2
2nd 8:8-9 The Sea 16:3
3rd 8:10-11 The Rivers 16:4-7
4th 8:12-13 The Heavens 16:8-9
5th 9:1-2 Mankind's Torment 16:10-11
6th 9:13-21 An Army 16:12-16
7th 11:15-19 Angry Nations 16:17-21

The trumpet judgments also parallel the plagues that God sent on the land of Egypt. And why not? After all, the whole world will be saying, as did Pharaoh, ‘Who is the Lord that we should serve Him?’

All of this was foretold in Joel 2:1-11

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand — a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste — nothing escapes them. They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks. They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows.

Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?     (NIV)





 

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