We continue our last emailing and pick up our study with the “Seventh Seal.”
We now witness the opening of the seventh seal. This seal includes the seven trumpet judgments. They are so terrifying that, as they are opened, all the heavenly host becomes silent.
Verse 1: And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Bob Ripley, in his “Believe It or Not” newspaper column, stated: “This verse proves there will be no women in heaven.” Ha! Seriously, what causes this breathtaking silence among angels and men? Answer - the contemplation of the forthcoming trumpet blasts.
Verse 2: And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
These trumpet judgments were prophesied by Enoch as recorded in the Book of Jude, verses 14 and 15, and were anticipated by the psalmist as well. That’s why Psalm 96:13 states: He cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. Paul also confirmed these judgments in Acts 17:31, mentioning a time when the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18). Before the first trumpet sends forth its blast in verse 7, however, we witness an unusual prayer meeting in the next three verses.
Verse 3: And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
This angel is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ himself, because He ministers both to God and man (see 1 Timothy 2:5). The Saviour also appeared as the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament in many instances: He wrestled with Jacob, walked among Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and made numerous other Old Testament visits to His people. This Mediator between God and men ever liveth to make intercession (Hebrews 7:25) and now stands at the altar adding incense (efficacy) to the prayers being offered by the saints of God on earth. They are imprecatory prayers for judgment, as in Revelation 6:10. They cry, How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? At this point their prayers have reached the throne of God!
Verse 4: And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
Now prayers are answered, and judgment is prepared.
Verse 5: And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
What a contrast from the solemn silence of verse 1. Now every noise imaginable is heard as judgment is prepared.
Verse 6: And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
At this moment the heavenly military says, “Ready! Aim! Fire!” This is it!
Verse 7: The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
We have no difficulty understanding this verse literally. The same kind of judgment occurred in Exodus 9:22,23: And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt ... And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. It happened then; now it happens again!
Verse 8: And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
This judgment is undoubtedly a giant meteor falling into the sea. Notice the phrase, as it were a mountain. This, again, is a symbolic description. Always take every word of the Bible literally unless God tells you to take it figuratively. This passage is an example of the latter. Something gigantic, as or like a mountain, is cast into the sea and causes a third part of the sea to become blood. A similar occurrence was experienced in Mose's day: And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that [were] in the river died (Exodus 7:19-21).
Verse 9: And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
God’s second trumpet blast is so horrendous that one-third of the creatures in the sea die and a third part of the ships are destroyed. God only knows what horrendous plagues will result when nuclear war under, upon, and above the oceans takes place.
Verse 10-11: And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
Strange that Chernobyl in the Ukraine Bible means “Wormwood.” This judgment also occurred in Moses’ day: Behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood (Exodus 7:17). Now the phenomenon is repeated. A star, or meteor, soaring through space, speeds toward earth. When it strikes, one-third of our planet’s water supply becomes a deadly poison. Rivers, springs, and wells are affected. Something similar happened in decades past. A volcanic explosion in the Aleutian Islands on March 21, 1823, caused the waters in that area to become bitter and unfit for human consumption. This could easily happen again.
God created every star, knows their locations, and has named them. Job 9:9 states: [He] maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south. He also knows where the star, Wormwood, meaning “bitterness,” is located, because Jeremiah 9:15 reports, 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). It will happen!
Verse 12-13: And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
This fourth judgment has to do with earth’s luminaries - the sun, moon, and stars. We note with interest that, on the fourth day of creation, God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven (Genesis 1:14). Now, at the blast of the fourth trumpet, one-third of the light produced by these bodies is extinguished. This, too, happened in Moses’ day: And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days (Exodus 10:21-23). It happened once; it will happen again!
The worst, however, is yet to come. An angel flying
through the midst of heaven cries, Woe, woe, woe! This correlates
chapter 9, where the Seventieth Week (discussed in Revelation,
chapter 6) is described. The first three and one-half years
of the Tribulation are not nearly as severe as the final three and one-half
years. In Matthew
24:8, our Lord described the first half of this time period as
the beginning of sorrows. However, He referred to the final
three and one-half years as the great tribulation (Matthew
24:21). As the Tribulation hour approaches its climax, the
judgments become more severe and the loss of life greater. This is
especially noticed as one observes that two verses cover the scope of each
of the first four trumpets. However, trumpet five requires twelve
verses and trumpet six necessitates nine verses.