I suppose by now you have figured out that I struggle to stay on point. I suppose that is why you love me so. I really am going to get to Revelation 16 eventually. But in the meantime, you and I are going to get a grip on the layout of the judgments being poured out on the earth.
Ah, here it comes, The Seventh Seal
Since we know that seven is indicative of completion, you might think it is all about to end. Sorry, there is more, and they seem almost as if they were a subset of the seal judgments.
Revelation 8:1-5 ESV “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (2) Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, (4) and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. (5) Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”
Under the seventh seal an angel, having filled the censer with fire from the altar that is before God, throws it upon the earth. The effects of this are experienced through: “peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” I venture a guess that most would consider these to be an effective tool, but have you ever heard some of the sounds people have recorded coming from the skies? Many have told how the sounds have gone on for days, vibrated their homes, and in some cases sounded like trains crashing. The effect may intentionally be more psychological. Do a search on the effects of lightning; you might as well have a bomb go off next to you. And, a violent earthquake can literally swallow you, among other things.
I do not see how we can separate the trumpets from the seals.
The Trumpet judgments.
Revelation 8:6-7 ESV Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. (7) The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
The first angel blew his trumpet.
“there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth.”
“a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.”
I do not need to say much, just look at the numbers. The effects of devastation are typically not selective. That means anything getting in the path of this will be destroyed.
The second angel blew his trumpet.
Revelation 8:8-9 ESV The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (9) A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
“and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea,”
“a third of the sea became blood. (9) A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”
Once again, the impact is dished out in thirds.
The third angel blew his trumpet.
Revelation 8:10-11 ESV The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell 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 became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.
“a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell 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 became wormwood, and many people died from the water”
How many of you remember the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster? Due to a tsunami caused by an undersea earthquake, the nuclear reactors exploded and went into a full meltdown, probably exceeding the Chernobyl disaster. To this day, nuclear waste water still floods into the Pacific ocean. What might the long-range effects of that be?
The fourth angel blew his trumpet.
Revelation 8:12 ESV The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
“a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.”
This is over and above the sun being darkened and the moon turning to blood, which we saw before.
We are being warned that it is about to get worse.
Revelation 8:13 ESV Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
And the fifth angel blew his trumpet.
Revelation 9:1-3 ESV And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. (2) He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. (3) Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.
To the Jew, and to us, there should be a correlation. Yes, the plagues against Egypt. We see this in Exodus 10: 4-15.
God had his own symbology going on, as he told Israel that the Midianites and the Amalekites – nations swarming upon Israel, would cover the valley floor in numbers like the sand of the sea. Numbers so large, that it borders on impossible to count. You can find this in Judges 7:12.
We can even find that God decreed a time when he would restore the years that the locusts destroyed. Joel 2:25 ESV I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.
I cannot even imagine what these locusts must look like. Are they symbolic of something else? I do not think so.
The very thing that a locust eats is vegetation, yet, look at this description.
Revelation 9:4 ESV They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
Who is the one group of people they cannot touch? Those that have been marked in their foreheads by God – the 144,000 Jewish men, who are serving as witnesses to God.
Revelation 9:5-6 ESV They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. (6) And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
These creatures are allowed to torment the earth population for five months, but not kill them. Note what the passage tells us: “their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.” Verse 6 says, “And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.” Did you ever wonder why this would be important? If God had sent his wrath to the earth with the express purpose to kill offenders, then why not just allow these locusts to polish the offenders off? I am allergic to bees, so the sting from a scorpion might just polish me off quickly. I venture a guess that most people, without medical aid, would die from a scorpion sting. And yet, death flees from these people.
Is it possible that God is trying to drive people to him? Think about this. When Israel was inundated with vipers, and began to die from the bites, what was the solution? God had Moses put a bronze serpent upon a pole. When someone got bit they could then look upon the bronze serpent and be saved. This did not prevent them from getting bit, nor did it drive the serpents from them, but it did prevent them from being killed due to the bite. Our correlation is that for us Christ became that serpent on the pole for us. Looking to him prevents our death due to the bite of this world.
Revelation 9:7-10 LITV And the likenesses of the locusts were like horses having been prepared for war; and on their heads as crowns, like gold; and their faces like the faces of men. (8) And they had hairs like the hairs of women; and their teeth were like those of lions. (9) And they had breastplates like iron breastplates; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running to war. (10) And they have tails like scorpions, and their stings were in their tails; and their authority is to harm men five months.
“like horses having been prepared for war”
“on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold”
“their faces were like human faces”
“their hair like women’s hair”
“their teeth like lions’ teeth”
“they had breastplates like breastplates of iron”
“And they have tails like scorpions, and their stings were in their tails; and their authority is to harm men five months.”
These are not your everyday locusts.
Revelation 9:11 AMP Over them as king they have the angel of the Abyss (of the bottomless pit). In Hebrew his name is Abaddon [destruction], but in Greek he is called Apollyon [destroyer].
Think this through with me for a moment. Lucifer, the angel of light, decides that he wants to be the god and mutinies. It is pointless to have a mutiny without followers, and he managed to convince a third of heavens angels to join him. The mutiny is fought off, and Lucifer and his followers are taken captive and thrown to earth. Jesus told the disciples that he beheld Satan fall to earth like lightning. That must have been fairly dramatic. But, like a cartoon character, he springs back, tormenting not only those on earth but also in heaven, where he consistently whines in God’s ear about us. We, as astute students of the bible, know that four angels are held in chains, in the Euphrates river, and here we see an angel named Abaddon, who is most likely released from this pit at the same time as these “locusts”.
The problem I used to have, and still, to some degree, haunts my understanding is: What became of Satan? One might think that a dramatic expulsion from heaven would have done him in. But, that was not the case. An old teaching focused on, “What happened from the cross to the throne” points out how Jesus descended into hell, and then snatched the keys to death, hell and the grave out of Satan’s hands, and led captivity free. That sounds like a satisfactory and permanent defeat to me. And yet the writer of Hebrews stated that Jesus ever makes intercession and mediation for us, before the Father. In the book of Job, we see Satan before God with the sons of God – the angels.
If Satan was defeated as thoroughly as we thought, then why are we still so tortured?
Why does the Dragon (Satan) have the ability to give the beast his power?
And, why does God have to eventually have to throw him into the lake of fire, where he stays permanently?
Maybe the problem lies in my assumptions, and my choice to not read and comprehend what the Word itself says about the situation. As a child, how are you to know any better? Besides, those over you are not supposed to lie to you, or, if you wish to lessen the blow, distort the reality of God. Perhaps it is not so much a lie, as they did the same thing, trusting that what they heard would be correct. Well, it wasn’t, and nothing is going to change until you look into the law of truth for yourself.
Revelation 9:12 AMP The first woe (calamity) has passed; behold, two others are yet to follow.
All we have seen is a subset of the seventh seal and yet there is more to come.
I have heard the phrase “fire insurance” used when referring to those who come to the Lord as an escape from the horrors that are coming. How much sweeter it is to come to him because of the love you have developed for him. There is the story in which the “upright religious” brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, to trap him, and for him to pronounce judgment. My first thought when reading this was, it takes two to tango, and it is usually the man who makes the first move. Scripture was very clear that they were both to receive judgment, but there was no man. I can assume then, that one of these elders was the guy.
She may have known of Jesus as everywhere he went he was healing people, teaching and drawing big crowds. If you were not interested, it was still difficult to get to the well for water. Thrown before Jesus with the idea that you are about to receive a death sentence for your actions, your thoughts are not about love, they are filled with fear. How does Jesus respond to all this? At first, he seems to ignore her, but I can just about guarantee you that he looked so deeply into her eyes that he saw her soul. He then stoops and begins writing in the dirt. We do not know what he wrote, but it got their attention. They rallied again, demanding a verdict. He may have looked at her once again. Saying yet nothing, he turns back to the dirt and writes some more. When he finally speaks, he says, those of you without sin cast the first stone. Do you get the picture here? They came with stones; stones about the size of a softball. And, someone was going to die, her, or this Jesus who claims to be the Son of God. They dropped their rocks and walked away. Jesus in turn, lifts himself up, turns to her and says, where are your accusers?
I can just about guarantee you that she fell in love with this Jesus. Was she drawn to Jesus for fire insurance? No, but the fire was already upon her. Was she drawn to Jesus because of the great works and deeds he had performed? We do not see that either. What we do see is that often, when confronted by his love, we choose to receive it because we have never experienced anything like it before.
I never wanted to scare anybody with this horrendous destruction that we see in Revelation. Having found the love he showed this woman, I turned to him. From that point on I wanted to know as much about him as I could. The Revelation is the revealing of Jesus, but it definitely shows the culmination of all things. None of which are directed at those who have given themselves to him in the relationship. You find this relationship when you finally say, I cannot do this on my own, I need you, Jesus. Come into me and have your way in me. You might as well receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, it is a gift. Besides, this is where the power lies.