Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Revelation 8-9 – Seventh Seal Broken Brings Judgments to Earth and Unrepentant Mankind

Revelation 8 – 1st – 4th Trumpets
We have seen the breaking of six seals now we are going to see the seventh broken which is focusing on the wrath of God.

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for half an hour.   Why silence?  The wrath of God is beginning and is so dramatic that all worshipping and praising of God stopped.  This silence is in anticipation of the most terrible judgments to ever come upon the earth.  God’s great wrath is coming!  (Rev. 8:1)

John saw 7 angels standing ready to serve God.  7 trumpets were given to them.  These trumpets would bring God’s 7 horrific judgments to the earth.  Another angel stood at the altar and had incense, which held the vengeful prayers of the saints in chapter 6 when they ask God how long would it be before He sent His judgments.  The sweet smell of the incense and prayers went up to God.  Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire and threw it to earth causing thunder, lightning, and an earthquake.  As the prayers go up to God, a fierce storm comes down in response.  This showed that God was angry for the evil deeds of the people.  They would not obey and now He will send judgment on them. (Rev. 8:2-6)

These angels are special angels who have been trained to do a job for God.  As you study your Bible and spend time with God, you are being trained to do a job.  You are being trained to help others - to tell them about Jesus.  You are His witnesses.  The way you live and handle trials will influence others.  They will see you and want what you have.  Always remember there is someone watching what you do and how you react to situations.

Who do you need to tell about Jesus?
Will you pray for them?

Trumpets are used many times in the Bible:
Joel 2:1 – warned that the Day of the Lord is coming.
Exodus 19:14-18 – called the community together to meet God.
Numbers 10:2 – called the community to break up camp.
Joshua 6:2-5 – a signal when God brought judgment on Jericho.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 – will call all believers from the grave.

Now it’s time for the trumpets to sound.  (Rev. 8:7-12)
1st trumpet:
The first angel sounded his trumpet and there was hail and fire mixed with blood which was thrown down to earth.  One third of the earth was burned up.  One third of the trees and all the grass were burned up.  This will be worldwide destruction!  How terrible this will be!
2nd trumpet:
The second angel sounded his trumpet.  John saw something like a great mountain burning with fire and thrown into the sea.  One third of the sea became blood.  One third of everything living in the sea was burned up even one third of the ships were destroyed.  God can use and natural phenomena to judge the world.  It could be an asteroid, tsunamis, earthquakes, or whatever He wants.  But remember He will do it as He says.
3rd trumpet: 
The third angel sounded his trumpet and one third of the waters on earth became bitter because a great star fell to earth.  The star’s name was Wormwood, which means bitter or poison.  Many people died who drank this poison water. 
4th trumpet: 
The fourth angel sounded his trumpet and something struck the sun, moon, and stars.  One third of them became dark and didn’t shine for one third of the day and night.

Each time a trumpet sounds, God waits and provides time for anyone willing to repent.  He could send His judgments all at once, but He doesn’t.  He wants sinners to come to Him as ask for forgiveness.

Then John saw an eagle flying and saying, “Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth, because the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the 4 angels who are about to sound!”Rev. 8:13.  Woe means a sign of warnings and troubles.  These first 4 trumpets will be terrible, but the last 3 will be even worse.  They will affect only part of the earth, but the last 3 will affect all people on the earth. 

Revelation 9 – 5th & 6th Trumpets and First Woe

5th trumpet:
The fifth angel sounded his trumpet and a star fell to the earth.  The key to the bottomless pit was given to him.   What is the bottomless pit?  I had a wonderful knowledgeable Bible teacher a few years ago who explained it like this:
There is a place called “Tartarus”, where there are fallen angels (Jude 6).  There is Hades where people’s spirits descend to at death.  Before the resurrection of Jesus, Hades was divided into a place of torment and fire and a place of comfort called “Paradise” or “Abraham’s Bosom”.  Paradise is now empty, because they are all now in heaven.  The Abyss is a bottomless pit leading to Hades.  It is a place of confinement of supernatural beings until the Day of Judgment.  Earth is safe as long as the pit is locked. (Rev. 20:1)  Then on the Day of Judgment, those in Tartarus, Hades, Satan and his followers, and all unbelievers will be thrown in the “Lake of Fire”. (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:14-15).  Maybe the diagram below will help.

The angel opened the bottomless pit and smoke went up like a great furnace and the sun and air were darkened by the smoke.  Out of the smoke came locust and power was given to them.  They were told they shouldn’t hurt the grass or anything green, but only the men who don’t have the seal of God on their foreheads.  These are not normal locusts, since locusts normally like vegetation.  These were demonic locusts – thousands upon thousands of them.  They weren’t permitted to kill anyone, but were to torment for 5 months.  They would sting like scorpions, which is the most intensely painful sting you can receive.  How terrifying! 

The only people protected from the locusts were the ones with the seal of God, like the 144,000 in chapter 7 and anyone who was saved during this tribulation.  God protects is for those who belong to Him.  The pain will be so terrible that people will want to die, but will not be able. (Rev. 9:1-11)  Why did they not wish they were sealed?  Their heart must be so hard and they so stubborn that they would rather die.

God warns repeatedly in Scripture that there will be judgment of those who ignore Him and His Word.  God does, however, provide rescue to those who believe and trust in Him.

The first Woe is past with 2 more to come. (Rev. 9:12)

6th trumpet:
The 6th angel sounded his trumpet and to release the 4 angels who were bound at the river Euphrates.  They were kept ready for the very hour, day, month and year.  These angels were not good angels, but bad.  There was an army of 200 million with fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur breastplates.   One third of mankind was killed by 3 plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.  Power came from their mouths and tails.  Their tails were like snakes to inflict injury.

The rest of mankind weren’t killed by these plagues, but they still did not repent.  They kept worshiping idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood.  They didn’t repent of their murders, magic, sexual immorality or thefts.  What was wrong with these people?  Why did they not repent after seeing all these horrible judgments?  Sin blinds people.  They see only what they want to see.  They probably tried to reason why all these things were happening.  Maybe they tried to explain them away, maybe blaming it on global warming.  Who knows?  Their hearts were hardened and sin had blinded them.

What sin is blinding you?
Of what sin do you need to repent?

With all these judgments of plagues and death, still people did not repent.  It’s exactly like that today.  People are still worshipping idols like their jobs, homes, family, TV, self desires, sexually immorality, money, etc.  They turn away from God and do not believe His Word or His promises.  If you are not a believer, wake up!  The time is near.  When God’s judgments come, it will be too late.  Christians need to be intentional in witnessing and praying for the lost.  I am sure you don’t want anyone to go through such horrible times that are to come.

Principle:  God will judge the earth and the unrepentant.

How are you prepared for God’s coming judgments?
What idol will you abandon for God?

Wow!  What a terrifying time this will be.  All the more we need to be witnesses for Jesus so others will not have to experience these judgments.  Next week we will study Revelation 10 and 11.  Hope to see you here next week.

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