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 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.
4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood,
9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky 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 turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, 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 turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
Have you tried to explain something to someone that they did not understand? You go over it time and again, trying to explain differently each time. Example, try to explain Biblical truth to people who have never heard of them, like regeneration, born again. Remember what happened to Jesus and Nicodemus. He didn’t understand and how many times did Jesus go over and over again. Even we have trouble with that explanation.
And so it is with God, who has a message for this world, the message of grace, the central theme of the Bible and the book of Revelation. He repeats over and over and over again his warnings.
Chapter 8 begins with another series of warnings, trying to explain to God’s people and the world what will happen. The picture we get is one of horror and awesome judgement, but not one to fear, for we are in the hands of God. There is something added to the picture, and that is that we have a great part in bringing this into being.
So far, we have seen 6 of the seals on the scroll opened, we have seen the people of God well cared for and have again see the worship of all creation thundering in the heavens. Now we are ready for the opening of the seventh seal.
After all that has gone on, we would expect a severe judgement, maybe even judgement day, but there is a surprise, and we have been surprised before. We are expecting something to happen and nothing does, literally nothing, the seventh seal is opened and — and — there is silence.
The choirs are silenced, all the praise that has thundered is silenced, no peals of thunder from the throne, nothing. The silence is the silence of anticipation, around the throne, the angels, the elders, the four living creatures, wait to see what is going to happen. Will there be judgement, will the great day come, what will be the verdict?
The prayers of the saints rise up, very important to note. When the people of God pray, all heaven is silent, all heaven waits to hear what we have to say.
WHY, because our prayers have a great role to play in the work of God, in the judgement of God. God waits to hear our prayers, he is moved to action by our prayers.
This is an astounding vision, that the Lamb, that God in silence waits for us to speak. The prayers of God’s people have a pleasing fragrance to God, for the object of these prayer is the Kingdom of God, we pray Your Kingdom come, our desire to have the Kingdom of God on earth, to have the forces of evil wiped out.
The amazing thing is that our prayers are answered. Heaven is all ears waiting for you to pray. We are doing more than just fulfilling some desire or to get things off our chest, to have someone to confess to, we are moving God to action. We are not insignificant, although in the eyes of the power brokers of this world we seem small, hardly worth thinking about. In the eyes of God, we are important, all gives way to silence so our voice may be heard.
The master powers behind the world, satan, demons, evil, the forces of nature, are insignificant, meaningless, for your prayers move God into action, your prayers are the master power, our prayers are powerful. And we can be assured our prayers are answered for the censer that takes the prayers to heaven is the same censer that brings judgement to the earth. The seven trumpets and seven bowls portray what is contained in that judgement.
When do the trumpets come, is this giving us a history of events? As we see the book of God’s plan finally opened, do we now get a timetable of events, or are the trumpets just a further development of God’s great judgement.
What we have here is God telling us again what will happen in the age of the Kingdom, this age, our day. John is not interested in giving us a time table and neither is God, both are interested in revealing God’s vision, God’s plan, what God is doing, Back of it all is the call to repentance.
Here in the terrible warnings, in the awesome judgements, comes the call, if you do not repent, see how bad it will be. Here we have a picture of God’s people praying, and God answering, and that is not just a one time event, it is continual and so also is the continual warning of God’s judgement.
For all that we see happening, is nothing compared to that last day, when the wrath of the Lamb will be seen. The 7 trumpets sound not judgement, but warning.
Trumpet one: ⅓of the vegetation of earth is destroyed. Notice, it is just ⅓ of the vegetation, not all, it is not a final judgement.
Trumpet two: a burning mass falls into the sea. Here is an awesome picture of God’s judgement on the sea, ⅓ of the sea creatures die, shipping is disrupted, ocean turns into blood.
Trumpet three: here is a reference to a couple of passages in scripture: Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15. Those who do evil will drink bitter water. The land water is effected, even what we think of as safe is effected by God’s judgmental warning.
Trumpet four: The lights that light the day and night are effected. What we think of as eternal is swept from the sky or darkened.
The forces of nature have fallen under the judgement as a warning to man, be warned unless the judgement of the last 3 trumpets fall on you. And the eagle cries, Woe, Woe, Woe! preparing us for the last 3 trumpets, worse than the first four.
In each of these trumpet warnings, nature is touched and destroyed, what does all of this mean? No part of creation is beyond God’s power. The Psalmist speaks of this when he says — Where can I go to hide from God? The judgements are not total. It is only ⅓ of creation. These judgements are sometimes brought about by man himself.
Trumpet 3: Speaks of drinking bitter water. Pollution of water sources is common. How many people have died from drinking contaminated water?
Trumpet 1: The burning of vegetation. Think of great forest fires started by a match.
Trumpet 2: A burning mass falls into the sea. One of the greatest problems we face is something called acid rain. We are told it effects the oceans and the fish.
Trumpet 4: The sun loses ⅓ of its power. You only have to visit Los Angeles to know how true that is.
I am not saying that these events are themselves the trumpets, but they are a part of the warning, how they come to us in our age
The reason for the trumpets is to warn, for this is still the age of grace, God is still calling people to come. We pray for the Kingdom of God to come, God calls for his Kingdom people to come, the Lamb makes it possible for all sorts of people to come.
Do you want to be safe from the judgement then come, the trumpets are for the world, the seal of the Lamb saves from judgement. The trumpets are designed to drive man to his knees before the Lamb, before it is too late. Do you see how bad this is, it is even worse if you do not repent. For the wrath of the Lamb is unbelievable, come now says God, before it is too late. (See Matthew 3:10)
As a child of God, you are a friend of God, just as Abraham was. Remember how he argued with God. (See Genesis 18:16-33) Like with Abraham, God will not act without hearing what we have to say. Your prayers are powerful, they effect the whole universe, they move God to action.
Does that frighten you, or does that fill you with awe? For myself, it fills me with awe, to know that God, listens to me speak before he acts, that he answers so awe-fully. That the Kingdom that I pray for is here and coming, hat God thinks so much of me that He silences all of heaven to listen to me
Here is a picture of God’s love to us, that He stoops to listen and that love of God is to and for all His people, those whom he has called and is calling. It is awesome, for he moves heaven and earth to wake people to His call. He is willing to let ⅓ of creation be destroyed so that 1 person will hear His call. He wants and yearns for His people so desperately that nothing will stop him from claiming him, even to bringing such severe judgements, even to sending Jesus to die.
How else can we respond to so great a love, but with praise and service. In praise, for in these judgements, you are kept safely. In service, to tell the good news, that safety is available in Jesus Christ.