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The Book of Revelation

Chapter 8

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censor . . . Revelation 8:1-5

Rev. 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. (KJV) When Jesus (the Lamb) had broken the seventh seal, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour.

Chapter 7 was a parenthetical chapter, giving us additional information and showing us the never ending grace of God. We saw the “sealing” of the 144,000 Israelites, and we saw the great multitude, also having the seal of God upon their foreheads. This chapter returns to the opening of the remaining seal. The opening of the 7th seal introduces the seven Trumpet judgments. The Book of Revelation is a series of sevens. John gives us the first 6 of the particular ‘series’ and then gives us parenthetical material to help us better understand. He then returns to the 7th of that series. All the series (judgments) are related and tied together.

When the 7th seal is opened, the seven Trumpet Judgments are revealed. Likewise, the 7th Trumpet will open the seven Bowl Judgments in Rev.11:15 and 16:1-21. The Trumpet Judgments, like the Seal Judgments, are only a portion of God’s righteous wrath. God’s final and complete judgments are yet to come.

When the 7th seal is opened, there was profound silence in Heaven for about half an hour. Let us remember who is opening these seals. It is Jesus, the Lamb of God (Rev.5:2-13). The silence is awesome! It is a very solemn scene. This deafening silence is just a lull before the storm! Before this silence, there was the tumultuous noise of all the many heavenly angels’ praise, the elders’ songs and the living creatures’ words. Now, it all ceases! WHY the silence?? When God moves from mercy to judgment, He will not hurry things. He gives people every opportunity to repent and turn to Him through His Son. God’s judgment is strange indeed! Isaiah 28:21 For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. (KJV)

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (KJV) God does NOT want to give the verdict of “Eternity in Hell” to anyone! The silence is God’s waiting for people to change their minds about their lives. The silence marks the time period that will now change, from God’s glorious grace to God’s righteous judgment. Oh! what a horrendous time this Great Tribulation period shall be.

Rev. 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (KJV) John now sees seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets.

Trumpets have special meaning to Israel. Moses fashioned two silver trumpets that were used to sound assembly and to start the people moving from camp to camp (Num.10:2) when the nation wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Then when Israel entered the land, trumpets were used in the siege of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27), to sound an alarm when the enemy appeared (Eze.33:3), when offering sacrifices to God (Num.10:9-10), etc., etc.

These seven angels in this verse are a particular group, to do a particular job. Each angel is given a trumpet, that they each, in turn, will sound to open a particular judgment. The Trumpet Judgments are divided into two groups by John. The first four are in a group by themselves, the last 3 are called the “three woes.”

Rev. 8:3 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. (KJV) Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. Much incense was given to him to offer with the prayers of God's people, to be offered on the gold altar before the throne.

A censor filled with live coals was used in Temple worship. Incense was poured over the hot coals, which produced a sweet-smelling smoke. This smoke, as it drifted upwards, symbolized believers’ prayers ascending to God (Ex.30:7-9). No prayers, offered in the Name of our precious Saviour and Intercessor, Jesus the Christ, will ever be denied hearing and acceptance by God the Father. And we must consider, that these prayers, when accepted in Heaven, produce great changes upon Earth.

Some commentators say that the “angel” in this verse is Jesus Christ. I disagree. This angel is not one of the seven angels with the trumpets, nor is it Christ. True, our Lord Jesus did appear as the “Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament, but if this were Jesus in this verse, John would tell us as he did in Rev.5:2,13; 6:1. This is yet “another angel” of the many angels of God.

Rev. 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (KJV) The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of the saints, rose up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.

If you are a child of God (John 1:12-13; 3:3; 1 John 5:10-12), your prayers will most certainly be answered . . . because of Christ Jesus. God will hear and answer. But, remember, God answers prayers in 3 ways: 1-yes, 2-no and 3-wait a while. His answer is not always yes, or immediate.

Rev. 8:5 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. (KJV) The angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the Earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a massive earthquake.

Christian worship should be pure in its nature and origin; yet it conflicts with the passions and worldly projects of sinful people. Unbelievers on Earth, reject the work, sacrifice and death of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Any and all who do so, shall bear the penalty for their every sin (the wrath of God and Hell). . . . http://www.hisservants.org/god%27s_holy_wrath_h_s.htm . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_hell_is_real.htm

Voices may indicate that all is under the direction of Almighty God. Thunder symbolizes the approach of a coming storm. Here it is the coming judgment of God! Lightning follows thunder. We see the lightning before we hear the thunder. The two go hand in hand here to announce this horrible approaching storm of judgments. Earthquake will be the Earth’s response to the traumatic pressure upon it, which is to come. This shall be a most horrendous time!

The First Four Trumpets - Revelation 8:6-13

Rev. 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (KJV) The seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to blow their trumpets.

This is a very somber moment. The silence (Rev.8:1) is over. I am perfectly sure that God hates to give orders to the angels to sound their trumpets! The devastation will be unlike anything ever before experienced. Please keep in mind that the plagues to follow are real; they are literal, actual! God means what He says! People today are drifting further and further away from God; they do not think He will do the things in this awesome Book. If Jesus were to come today at the Rapture (1 Thes.4:13-18) to take the church home to Heaven, these people would soon find out just how sincere God really is, because they would go through this horrendous Great Tribulation. These plagues will be similar to the plagues in the Book of Exodus. . . . http://www.hisservants.org/tribulation_what_h_s.htm . . . http://www.hisservants.org/tribulation_why_h_s.htm

Rev. 8:7 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. (KJV) The first angel blew his trumpet. Hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down upon the Earth, and one-third of the earth was set on fire. One-third of the trees were burned, and all the grass was burned.

This is a direct judgment from Almighty God! When the first angel sounds his trumpet, every form of grass and trees will be affected. Consider: if 1/3 of ALL grass and trees were destroyed worldwide, what would it be like? Have you ever been in a bad HAIL storm? Or even seen the devastation of one from the inside? FIRE is a great enemy to us all. God will use fire to burn up 1/3 of ALL plant life. This is a literal plague, as was the 7th plague in Egypt (Ex.9:18-26). The plague in Egypt was 100%; this one will be 33 1/3%. Not a fourth, not a half . . . but a third of ALL plant life destroyed worldwide. Since only one-third is destroyed, there shall be more to come! God’s wrath is yet to be unleashed.

Rev. 8:8-9 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; [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. (KJV) Then the second angel blew his trumpet, and a great mountain of fire was thrown into the sea. One-third of the water in the sea became blood, and one-third of all living things in the sea died. One-third of all the ships on the sea were destroyed.

The seas occupy most of the Earth’s surface. The second angel sounded, and it was as if a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; causing a third part of the sea became as blood. I do not think this is a literal mountain, but I do think it is a literal (real) mass of some sort. Only God Himself knows what this is, but it turns 1/3 of ALL seas (oceans) into blood! In thus so doing, it kills 1/3 of all living creatures in those waters. One third of all the ships on those waters shall also be destroyed. This plague is similar to the first plague in Egypt (Ex.7:14-21).

Rev. 8:10-11 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; [11] 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. (KJV) When the third angel blew his trumpet, a great flaming star fell out of the sky, burning like a torch. It fell on the rivers and springs of water, poisoning one-third of the waters. The name of the star was Bitterness. It made one-third of the water bitter, and many people died because this.

The third angel sounds his trumpet. A great, flaming star fell from Heaven. This star has a name: “Wormwood.” Wormwood is a plant with a very bitter taste, symbolizing the bitterness of God’s judgment. Wormwood is symbolically used in the Old Testament as: (1) Idolatry of Israel (Deut.29:18). (2) Calamity and sorrow (Jer.9:15; 23:15; Lam.3:15,19). (3) False judgment (Amos 5:7). When this star fell on fresh, usable waters, one third of all those waters became extremely bitter from the poisons discharged from the star. Many people died. We must have water to live physically. We must also have Water (Christ Jesus, John 4:14) to live spiritually.

Here in Revelation, the waters were sweet, then made bitter. The Israelites had just the opposite situation. In the wilderness they had no water. At Marah they had water, but it was bitter and they could not drink it. Moses cried out to the Lord and God graciously provided for them. God directed Moses to cast a certain tree into the water (Ex.15:23-25), and when he did, immediately the water was made sweet. Some say this tree is typical of the Cross of Christ, which will sweeten the bitter waters of affliction to all the faithful, and gives them joy in their tribulation. Do not be tempted to worry, distrust and murmur. In every trial, be it large or small, we should cast our care upon the Lord, and pour out our hearts to Him. We should pray for a submissive will, a peaceful conscience and comforts of the Holy Spirit. This makes the most bitter trial tolerable, perhaps even pleasant.

Rev. 8:12 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. (KJV) The fourth angel blew his trumpet. One-third of the sun was affected, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. One-third of the day was dark and one-third of the night also.

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and darkness fell upon the great lights of the heavens; the sun, moon and stars. We depend on plant life to exist. We depend on water to exist. We depend on the sun, moon and stars to give us light. One third of all plant life and water has been affected! Now, God darkens one third of the sun, moon and stars. Jesus spoke about this. Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (KJV) Nature has been radically changed by these first four Trumpet Judgments. And we need to remember, that God has only applied partial judgment so far! There is more to come.

Where the Gospel comes to people, and it does not have the proper effects on their hearts and lives, it most certainly shall be followed by dreadful judgments. God sounds the alarm by His written Word, by pastors and teachers, by believers’ testimony, by men’s own consciences, and by the signs of the times. If people are too stiff necked to accept it, woe be unto them! It is their own fault! The burden of certain judgment lies with them. The wrath of God (because of unbelief, John 16:9), makes comforts bitter, happiness turns to sorrow, and life becomes very burdensome. God is sovereign! He can do as He wishes! He can do His good pleasure! God loves you. If you are not His child, He wants you to be! Turn to His Son this very day! Condemnation will be gone (John 3:18).

Rev. 8:13 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! (KJV) Then John looked up, and heard an angel/eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, "Woe, woe, woe to all who live in this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets."

Some versions say “angel” and some say “eagle.” The picture here is of a strong, powerful, flying creature flying over all the Earth, warning of the terrors that are yet to come. Again, we see God’s marvelous grace! Again, He sends a messenger and warns of coming judgments; the 3 “woe judgments.” Both believers and unbelievers will experience the terrors described in Rev.8:7-12. The inhabitants of the Earth are the unbelievers who shall meet spiritual harm through the next three Trumpet (woe) judgments. God has guaranteed believers protection from spiritual harm (Rev.7:2-3).

In Rev.6:10, the martyrs cry out to God, “How long . . . until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?” As we see the world getting more and more wicked by the day, we too may cry our to God “How long?” In the following chapters, judgment finally comes. We may be distressed and impatient, but God has His perfect plan and perfect timing. We must learn to trust Him, for He knows best! Judgment is coming! Be assured of that! If you are an unbeliever, thank and praise God for the time He has given you to turn from your sin, and turn to Jesus now (2 Cor.6:2). If you are a believer, use the valuable time you have left striving to help others to turn to Him. GOD IS GOOD! Do you give Him His rightful place in your heart and life?

Book of Revelation

Ch.1. . Ch.2 . . Ch.3 . . Ch.4 . . Ch.5. . Ch.6 . . Ch.7 . . Ch.8 . . Ch.9 . . Ch.10 . . Ch.11 . . Ch.12 . . Ch.13 . . Ch.14 . . Ch.15 . . Ch.16 . . Ch.`17 . . Ch.18 . . Ch.19 . . Ch.20 . . Ch.21 . . Ch.22 . . Special Comments

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