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Sunday, June 03 2012
 

Introduction:

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

Conclusion

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

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 12:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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