Friday, June 29 2012
This chapter cuts right though the middle of the book of Revelations and poses a few significant though abstract conjunctions, personifications of symbolisms hitherto not critically analysed in past encounters, (Zechariah 4: 11-14). We are confronted with the realism and relevance of every single feature that scripture alludes to, especially if strategically positioned in their metaphysical realm. (Zechariah 3: 1-3), (Acts 10: 10-15)
The happenings within this period are still contained within the space and time of the sixth trumpet (Rev 9: 13), which perhaps shows the congruity between the last few actions of the tenth chapter and the eleventh thereby creating a veritable platform for the eleventh chapter to kick off. The command of taking the book and eating it is in perfect synch with the charge by the angel to take the reed and measure the temple, altar and the worshipers.
"And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein."
A reed in this sense will be a measuring instrument intended to give specificity and accuracy.
Why did the angel give the reed to John?
- God delights in details. Exodus: 25: 40, 1 Chronicles: 28: 11-14
- God requires us to know our true capacity and ability. 1 Cor. 8: 2-3, 4: 7
- We determine whether our glass is half empty or half full
- Allows us to evaluate ourselves to know our true spiritual temperature. Judges: 16: 17-21, 1 Corinthians: 11: 31-32
- God blesses in measure and that helps to trigger a fresh perspective on determining strategic drift or fit. Job: 8: 7.
- Measurement gives room for stock taking. Luke: 14: 28
The Temple: Ourselves: 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17, 2 Corinthians 6: 16
The Altar: Our spirituality and connectivity: Judges 6: 25: 26, it represents a place of empowerment and reliance.
Worshippers: John 4: 23, God wants to know those who worship in truth and spirit.
"But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."
The court outside the temple connotes the world where no form of refrain or restrain is exercised; the outer court is peopled by those who will not honour or reverence God and will not play by God's rules. Romans 1: 23-24, Hosea 4: 17, Psalms 28: 5. God puts timeline to all of the circumstances and situations of life Eccl: 3: 1-3. The outside court portrays the confused and decadent state of humanity and God's resolve to let him continue in his pernicious ways. 2 Thess. 2: 10-12
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, (1260), clothed in sackcloth."
These witnesses are the evidential reality of God's justification for every single decision God Has taken. Zachariah 4: 11-14. They will be the justifier of God when we stand face-to-face before Him. They prophesied dolefulness and calamitousness, sorrowfulness and lugubriousness. They wore sackcloth- a representation of degradation and wantonness; the extent of human depravity and spiritual hollowness that pervades the earth. And I will give power unto my two witnesses: God empowers us for such great assignments. Certain projects require divinely engineered empowerment if exploit and victory must be had. Luke: 10: 19, Matt: 10: 1, Acts: 10: 38, 1: 8
"These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." Man has outdone himself. God's symbols of empowerment and refreshing, grace and mercy, strength and dominion, victory and success have become the harbinger of doom and gloom. Humanity is under extreme condition of hopelessness and utter helplessness. The extent of human depravedness compels God to send His witnesses whose tasks are to give illumination and refreshing to proclaim devastation. Lamentation 1: 3-5, Psalms 78: 58-64
"And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed."
Their persistent proclamation of doom will spark uncontrolled outburst of anger which will stir murderous intent in the hearts of the hearer and in a bid to want to silence them will make attempts to hurt them. Their proclamation will hit right at the heart of the inhabitants of the earth and bruise their egotistic mien and stir their madness to orchestrate the death of these witnesses; but thankfully God guarantees death for every Pharaoh insistent on unleashing terror to God's people. 1 Peter 3: 13, Lamentation 3: 37. I believe God reassures us of His protection in this wicked world and has given us His word to liberate ourselves from the entrapment and snare of the devil. Psalm 91: 1-16, 27: 1-4. Acts 7: 54, 57, 58
"These have power to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." The enormous powers bestowed on these witnesses acts as catalyst in the accomplishing of their mandate. God specifically endured us with power in order to confound the heathen and compel conformity to the gospel. James 5: 17-18, 1 Kings 17:1. The desire and thirst for success in the kingdom and indeed in any physical or spiritual endeavour requires the entrenchment of power if any meaningful landmark is to be made in this plane. The extent of obedience you compel is directly proportional to the level of power with which you operate. Acts 19: 14-15. God has made available this power through His word. Matt 16: 18-19, 18: 18.
These witnesses had power to turn on the miraculous at will. They are the express executors of God's intention on the earth. They had power to use at their discretion. That is a great responsibility. Jesus had power to use at his discretion, but he was very careful with it. We must be careful with the blessings God permits through us and not be haughty or supercilious.
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."
Try as the devil may he has no capacity to stop him who God has empowered until his assignment is completed. These witnesses could not be touched until their tasks were done. They finished their mission before the devil came out to kill them. Satan's capacity to win any battle against any believer will be predicated upon the completion of the latter's assignment or purpose. Acts 12: 7-9; Luke 4: 28-30. Numbers 23: 23, Isaiah: 54: 17.
"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."
This scenario paints quite an interesting narrative especially by the conjunction of the death of these witnesses with the death of our Saviour. Sodom and Egypt are allegories to the height of man's fallen nature; the place of iniquity and unrighteousness. These two cities are symbolic of the depth of the fallen man. To be in Egypt or Sodom is a representation of spiritual hollowness and nothingness. These cities represents man's void of any modicum of spirituality and divinity. It is man at his lowest no matter what physical razzmatazz he tries to concoct.
Jesus Christ was crucified because of our abode in Egypt and delight with Sodom, our place of sinfulness and debauchery. Our sins sent Him to the cross. Spiritual Jerusalem represents man's righteousness and spiritual vibrancy. Gal 4: 25-26.
"And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves."
The death of the witnesses would be the relief of the workers of iniquity; to them; finally the tormentor of our soul and the harassers of our peace are no more. Now they proclaim their peace and the appeasement of their consciences by the death of these witnesses. And to show the depth of the pleasure of the death of the witnesses; they leave their bodies as spectacle for all to see. In the same way, Jesus hanging on the tree was a spectacle and a caricature for those passing by to behold with glee and contempt. The heathens' desire to leave the bodies unburied was simply because God intends to finish His work and cut it short in righteousness. The death of these witnesses was by no means the end of the story. God was going to work His awesomeness in the lifeless bodies of these martyrs.
"And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."
The demise of these witnesses spurred uncontrollable joy in the inhabitants of the earth that they began to exchange gifts. Their hatred for these witnesses suspended any iota of rationality in them. They not only rejoiced that they were dead but they actually went out of their way to give gifts to each other. This encapsulates the extent of man's dissipation and licentiousness. Early Christian history is replete with stories of witnesses being hacked to death or mauled by wild beast at the cheering and jeering of an eccentric crowd.
The story of these witnesses fits perfectly with the story of our Saviour. His death brought joy to the obsessed sectarian mob of the Pharisees. The gospel of righteousness stirs murderous anger in the camp of the enemy. Satan will do anything to stop the gospel of Jesus from being preached. John 16: 2-3, Acts 9: 1-3, 1 John 3: 1, Acts 12: 1-4
These witnesses should strike a very important cord in our spiritual and divine assignment. As we behold the exploits done by them; we must also ask ourselves if we are faithful witnesses to the command and charge of Jesus Christ that He so succinctly commanded us before his ascension into glory. No better honour can we bestow on our Saviour than to excitedly pursue His mission with vigour and conviction. Although the world may hate us like they did the witnesses to the point of celebrating their death and exchanging gifts at the most bizarre occurrence. We must never be deterred. He who endures to the end shall be saved.
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts: 1: 8
Contributor: Paul Thomas
Thursday, June 21 2012
In last week's study titled "The Sixth Trumpet and Second Woe". We looked at the result of the sounding of the sixth trumpet; the release of the four Angels and the unconventional army of horsemen and their strange horses as well as the havoc they wrecked. We also observed that even after all the plagues, the people were still unrepentant.
The preceding chapters of Revelation referred mostly to future occurrences; John hears a trumpet and he is given the opportunity to see into the future. Interestingly, right in the middle of that we encounter chapter 10 and it pulls us from the future; not even to the present but to the past! Howbeit, John's present; because this time, John was in the thick of things.
"And I saw another mighty angel come down from Heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:"
Notice here that John's vision was no longer of activities in heaven; "And I saw another mighty angel come down from Heaven". This angel is "clothed with a cloud" indicating the presence of God, see (Rev 14:14). The "rainbow" speaks of the glory of God. (Ezekiel 1:28). "His face was as it were the sun" symbolizes the authority of the angel. (Genesis 1:16). "And his feet as pillars of fire" alludes to the strength of the angel. Pillars are central and foundational to supporting a structure. (Galatians 2:9).
Verse 2 - 3:
"And he had in his hand a Little Book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the Earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, Seven Thunders uttered their voices."
The "OPENED" Little Book would indicate that John could access the information in it (Amos 3:7). The angel had dominion over the sea and Earth. (Psalm 110:1). The lion is associated with kingly, regal power. (Proverbs 19:12). The Seven Thunders uttered their voices, could be likened to be another series of Judgments like those of the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials. (Psalm 29:3-9) talks about the Voice of Jehovah. (Read)
" And when the Seven Thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the Seven Thunders uttered, and write them not."
John was instructed, like Daniel to not reveal the vision that he had been shown, probably because, like Daniel, the visions were intended for those who lived at the "time of the end" (Daniel 8:26; 12:4, 9).
"And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the Earth lifted up his hand to Heaven, and sware by Him that liveth forever and ever, who created Heaven, and the things that therein are, and the Earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:"
What did the angel mean when he said "there should be time no longer"? He concluded his oath saying (in effect, time up!) No more time for what? Obviously there was no more time for repentance? In the last study, the inhabitants of the earth still had the opportunity to repent but didn't; at this point there was no more time!
"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the Mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets."
The expression "the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound" refers specifically to the Seventh Trumpet Judgment (Rev.11:15). At the Seventh Trumpet Judgment, the "Mystery of God should be finished". But, what is the Mystery of God?
If I knew, then it wouldn't be a mystery would it?
Ephesians 5:32 talks about this mystery, so does (1Timothy 3:15), (Ephesians 6:19), and (1Corinthians 15:51-53). Sometime between the sounding of the Sixth Trumpet Judgment (Rev 9:9-21) and the Seventh Trumpet Judgment in (Rev.11:15), the Seven Thunders (10:3-4) are revealed. But God in His Sovereignty asked John not to write as well not to reveal it (he couldn't even talk about it) - he was to keep it sealed!
Verses 8 - 9:
"And the voice which I heard from Heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the Little Book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the Earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the Little Book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the Little Book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."
God instructed John to "take the Little Book which is open", signifying that the Apostle John was being given a private viewing of the Seven Thunders. John was especially set apart for the privilege of fulfilling the words of the Resurrected Saviour. (John 21:22-23).
The angel then explains what would happen to John. "Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey". This is similar to the prophet Ezekiel's experience. (Ezekiel 3:1-3, 14). When John ate the Little Book; it was as the angel said; "sweet as honey" in John's mouth, but it "was bitter" in his belly.
God's Words to us, according to (Psalm 19:9-10) is sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb
But, His Word to unwilling hearers will be bitter
"And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."
Some have said that this promise, "Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" has already been fulfilled by the spread of the New Testament Scriptures, including the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John, and the Revelation. Certainly, the promise has been fulfilled in some measure. But, the fact that the Apostle John was shown the contents of the Little Book; as well as the utterances of the seven thunders and was told not to reveal them means that he may still at some time appear in God's calendar to "prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."
Would John be among the two witnesses in the next chapter? Or will he take the stage at some other time? No one knows.
This chapter will be likened to an interlude; a "little break" away from the woes and the point in time when God shuts the door to repentance. It is also a preparation for the seventh and final trumpet and the third woe. But praise God! We'll be gone by then!
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Tuesday, June 19 2012
We have been working our way through the book of Revelation. In chapter 6, we began a study on the tribulation period. The seven-year tribulation will be the worst period of human history. It will literally be hell on earth.
Last week, when the fifth angel sounded, the "bottomless pit" was unlocked and hell came to meet earth. The angel of the bottomless pit" led locust-like demons which have power "as" scorpions to torment the people on earth without the seal of God on their foreheads. Imagine even death running away from people who wanted to die. Despite these sufferings many did not turn to the living God.
Today we shall look at the result of the sounding of the sixth trumpet.
1) The Release of the Four Angels. Vs 13-15
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
Vs. 13: at the sound of the sixth Angel, a voice came from the four horns of the golden alter which is before God. This can be in response to the prayers of the saints.
Vs. 14: speak of four angels that are bound at the Euphrates River and then released to kill one-third of mankind. The Euphrates is mentioned twice in Revelation, here and in 16:12.
The entire length is 1,780 miles, and it is by far the longest and most important river of western Asia.
It was where the Garden of Eden was located; it was where the first sin was committed; it was where the first lie was told; it was where the first murder was committed; and it was where the first grave was dug. It was in this region where God saw that the wickedness of man was great and so He sent the flood. It was where men attempted to build a tower that would reach into the heavens, so that God confounded the languages. Nimrod built the tower of Babel. It was this region where ancient Israel's most oppressive enemies came from ?the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, and the Persians.
Vs. 15: These angels were ready for a specific assignment at a specific hour in history. This specificity highlights the preciseness of God's divine plan. His purposes will be accomplished, perfectly and on schedule (Isa 46:9-11). The task of these angels was to put one-third of those who dwell on the earth to death (8:13). This figure accounts for more than the accumulated deaths of all the wars of the 20th century put together. In today's numbers, this accounts for over two billion dead. One-fourth died under the fourth seal judgment (Rev 6:7-8), and many more died as martyrs and for other reasons (Dan 12:1; Matt 24:21-22). However, it is only the earth-dwellers; those in rebellion against God, who suffer death as a result of this woe (Rev 9:20).
2) The Army of Two Hundred Million. Vs 16- 19
And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like to serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt
Vs. 16: The numbers of the army was two hundred millions (200,000,000). This immense host is a number too vast for human conception. The mind gets bewildered in the effort to comprehend such an army which for number surpasses anything ever seen on earth. The unseen chariots of God are similarly numbered (Psa. 68:17)
Verses 17-19: describe the army and its tactics or method of warfare. Quite clearly these are not ordinary horsemen or horses. It can probably be taken as symbolical of modern mechanical warfare. John has never seen tanks or armoured vehicles, so he was given a vision of horsemen, as in his day?yet the vision went beyond his day and portrayed modern warfare. The fire, smoke, and brimstone could refer to any number of devices of modern warfare. Again in verse 18 it is mentioned that one-third of mankind will be killed.
3) Rebelliously Unrepentant Men Vs 20-21
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
One would think by this time men would be crying out for mercy from God in deep repentance, especially since the world will know that these are judgments from God (6:14-17). But no, by now the rest of mankind has become confirmed in their rebellion and depraved ways through the hardening effect of continued negative volition to God.
Significantly, the things they will refuse to repent of are "the works of their own hands." This demonstrates the extreme humanistic nature of man that has always been evident, but especially in these last days. Men, as we see today, reject the works of God both in creation and in salvation. Man seeks to handle life by what he can do apart from God. But wasn't this precisely the heart and nature of Satan's temptation to Eve in Genesis 3?
Contributor: Alex Alajiki
Thursday, June 07 2012
In the last few weeks, the Holy Ghost has been unveiling to us the mystery behind the Seven Seals. We have succinctly examined the Apocalypse of the four horsemen represented as the four Seals, in terms of Conquest, War, Famine and Death. The fifth Seal reveals the cry of Martyrs - slain for the sake of the Word and the testimony they held, the sixth Seal- the cosmic disturbance.
Do you remember these words?
??As believers, we must be conscious that we are sojourners on this earth. There abound signs that Christ's return is imminent and therefore we must holds fast to the confession of our faith not allowing the passing pains and contempt of men becloud our minds in jettisoning our eternal rewards''.
In "God still has remnants" Rev 7: 1-17, we are enjoined "never to compromise our faith and holy living for anything, let us desire greatly to make the rapture".
The seventh Seal represents the seven angels with seven trumpets. Last week, we have examined four angels with the four trumpets blasts and concluded with this stricken message- "It definitely calls for us again to make sure that we make it on the first flight''. Rapture! The glorious expectation of all Saints
Today, by the grace of God we will be examining the last three Trumpets called Woes.
- The mystery of the fallen Star and the opening of the bottomless pit Verses 1-2:
We have established the fact that the Seven Seals is about God's judgment, measured in tribulation. The purpose of this tribulation is to reveal the true nature, identity and character of Satan. When the fifth Angel sounded the trumpet, John saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth. This is not a literal star, but a personality, an angelic being. He was given the key to the Abyss (Bottomless pit); he was in charge and had control over the creatures- the demons in the abyss. He is spoken of as king (vs. 11) with the Hebrew tongue Abaddon, in Greek tongue Apollyon, which means destruction. The abyss, pit of darkness is the eternal abode of fallen angels. In the Scripture angels are called Stars. (Job 38: 7, Isa 14:12, Luke 10:18). God gave Satan the power to open the abyss and release the demons on earth as instrument of God's divine wrath. "The sun and air were darkened because of the smoke of great furnace out of the pit" is a literal and spiritual darkness coming upon the earth.
- Demonic Onslaught (Verses 3-5)
· Verse 3: The creatures called locusts came out of smoke with the stinging power of scorpions are the picturesque appearance of demonic creatures of the abyss. These are demons with spiritual venom with devastating consequences. Their mission was to inflict torment on human and not vegetation.
· Verse 4: Specific instructions were given to the locusts. They were commanded not to hurt the grass. Locusts are noted to be highly destructive. It is reported that they can travel in columns 100 ft. deep and nearly 4 miles in length devouring all manners of crops. However, it should be noted that this is a judgment to them that refused to accept Christ.
· Verse 5: Specific limitation was given to these locusts by God. They were restrained as to what and who they may attack. The description of the pain they inflicted on their victims equal that of scorpions, agonizing pain but not to death for five months.
· Verse 6: Death becomes elusive; men hurt with these demonic creatures will seek death, but the Scripture says they will not die. This can only be a restraint of God who has authority over all creatures.
- Description of the locust (Verses 7 - 11)
· Verse 7: ". . . like unto horses prepared unto battle".
This is a symbolic representation of the locust (demonic creatures) in terms of their preparedness, arrayed in battle. Also "on their heads...were crowns like gold. . ." connotes dominion and rulership.
· Verses 8 -10: All these descriptions portend the ruggedness of these creatures; cruel and merciless. Torment is their sole mission. They are the worst of the demons of Satan.
- The Declaration of Two Woes (Verse 12)
The mission of the wicked creatures in verses 7-11 was referred to as the first woe. The next two woes are still to come; in other words, the worst is yet to come. The tribulation will unveil the true character of Satan and his evil and nefarious acts; also revealed is the depravity and rebellion of the human heart.
The apocalypse of the horsemen will bring fear to those that do not know God. "It is a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains" says Prophet Joel to them that have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
But there is a company of people that did not break their ranks; great and strong. These are the people that will partake in the first flight; this is our hope. So if this is our hope, we have to continue purifying ourselves, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (Read Joel 2:2 & 7; 1John 3:3 & 9).
Remain rapturable. Shalom.
Contributor: Martins Olubiyi
Sunday, June 03 2012
In last week's study, we experienced a pause in the sequence of heavenly events of John's vision. After the breaking of the 6th seal and the wrath that ensued, John saw four angels holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind should blow on the earth or sea or upon any tree and then, suddenly another angel from where to sun rose came shouting "Wait until I've sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads!" And then, every wrath was stalled and we experienced God's divine mercy, heavenly worship of God by the redeemed and the eternal precious promises for the redeemed. Today, we will press the play button; and in considering the verses of this chapter unveil this action packed thriller!
1. Considering verses 1-2
"And when he broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them."
· The seventh seal: Is the last of the seven seals that sealed the scroll no other could open save Jesus. So ever since, it was just the breaking of the seals that brought the disaster in chapter 6; considering the fifth seal, it was a request for the pouring out of the wrath of God; the sixth seal announces the imminent outbreak of the wrath of God. Now the 7th seal was broken and from the verses, the seventh and final seal depicts the actual beginning of God's wrath in the form of seven trumpet judgments.
· The second pointer to consider is the silence in heaven for about half an hour. Every other occurrence in John's vision was not timed but this was. Heaven's non-stop worship stopped! Serious matter! One commentator mentioned and I quote:
"The fact that the silence occurs in heaven is important. Since the creation of the angelic host, the adorers of heaven have continually praised and worshiped the great God of glory. That stops! There is only one event at this point in human history that could possibly render heaven silent - the wrath of God. Restrained since the Flood and promised since Adam, the eschatological wrath of God is about to finally begin. So dramatic is God's wrath that all the eternal activities of heaven "praise and worship of the Magnificent" stop!"
· The third pointer is the seven Angels (who stand before God): All angels at one time or another stand before God for instructions, but these stand continually. It is possible that they have stood in the presence of God since the beginning of creation for this one singular purpose; to announce God's vengeance on the earth and its inhabitants.
2. Considering verses 3-5
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake."
· That he might add it to the prayers of all the saints: The purpose of an incense offering was to please God in the hope that He would respond with favor regarding ones request or need. See Genesis 8:21. The adding of incense to the prayers of the saints suggests the final step in gaining God's response. Some have suggested that the prayers referred to here are only the prayers of the living believers on earth at this particular point in time. However, John says "the prayers of all the saints".
So what is this prayer? Seeing that God has been answering our prayers; we can deduce that the only prayers of all the saints unanswered that could be referred to at this point are prayers of vengeance - unanswered down through the ages, (Genesis 4:10, Psalm 79:5, Zechariah 1:12, Rev 6: 10). So now the prayers for God's ultimate judgment against those who persecute the righteous has finally come. (Romans 12:19, Deuteronomy 32:35)
· Peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake: these describe the first evidence of God's wrath about to fall on the earth.
3. Considering verse 6
"And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them."
· The seven trumpets: Amongst many purposes of the trumpet, one is to announce judgment as we see in (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:52, Matt 24:30-31).
Like the seven seals, the trumpets can be divided into two cycles. Like the first four seals, the first four trumpets are alike in nature. Similarly, the final three trumpets are alike as were the final three seals. As the final three seals dealt with the wrath of God, the final three trumpets will deal with an intensified expression of God's wrath; the three woes (as we will see in the next chapter)
4. Considering verse 7
"And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up."
· The earth referred to here is the inhabitable part of the earth's surface (land mass). A third of it, as well as the trees and grass were burnt up.
5. Considering verses 8-9
"And 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; and a third of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed."
· A third of the sea became blood: Just as the Nile became blood for Moses, one-third of salt water will turn to blood resulting in the death of a third of the creatures needing oxygen. A third of the ships were destroyed would be as a result of the great mountain burning with fire thrown into the sea.
6. Considering verses 10-11
"And 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 waters; and 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."
· A third of the rivers and on the springs of waters: A star called Wormwood polluted a third of the freshwater. Wormwood is a medicinal herb of antiquity used to dispel worms from the intestines. It is very bitter. It did not only make it bitter it must have poisoned it because many men died from the water.
7. Considering verse 12
"And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way."
· A third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten: My understanding of this is the intensity of the sun, moon and stars are reduced by a third, so there will be longer nights than days (due to the limitation of the sun) - "the day might not shine for a third of it" and the nights will experience longer periods of total darkness (due to the limitation of the moon and stars) - "and the night in the same way."
8. Considering verse 13
"And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "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!""
· "Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth: That the eagle cried "Woe" three times is symbolic (it means three different woes are on the way!) See Rev 9:12
It would be a terrible time! After all that happened from verse 7; all that was not counted as woe (doom) - almost akin to saying "you haven't seen anything yet!". In Chapter 6: 12-17, the inhabitants of the earth thought they were experiencing God's wrath; little did they know that it was only a prelude to what was to come! The earth, sky and sea that have been attacked; and although many men died as a result of the bitter water, the intended victims of the next trumpets' judgments (coming next) are the earth-dwellers. Even the sealed 144,000 had to go through the Great Tribulation!
It definitely calls for us again to make sure that we make it on the first flight. It will not be a thing of pride to say "I was there live!" even if your hobby is adventure seeking. It however, will be quite a thriller to watch (from heaven, that is) and trust me, it will be in HD 3D!
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai