Revelation Chapters 8 to 11, "The Trumpet of The Lord" (the 2nd Short History of the World)
- Perhaps the most mysterious book of the entire Bible, yet for a purpose, ch.1 v1 "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place."
- in the "Real Revelation Code" I gave an outline of the book, as a map for later covering its territory. In brief:-
- The Guide, chapter 1
- Tough Love Letters, chapters 2 & 3
- The Control Room of the Universe, chapters 4 & 5
- A Short History of the World, 0 B.C. to the End, chapters 6 to 20
- A Garden, chapters 21 & 22
- Last Words
- Chapters 8 to 11 are part of the "Short History of the World". This whole section is like a series of murals, of pictures (symbols) with common themes yet overlapping and sliding one into the other. We need to look for the themes, and not press the symbols too far.
- We've just had the Federal Election, but this short history reminds us that there is a just One who rules, invisibly now, but the day is coming when He will appear to rule openly.
- Chapter 6 started with the Lamb (Jesus, God the Saviour) opening the 1st seal on the book of destiny, and ends with the 6th seal and the end of the world at Jesus' 2nd coming.
- Chapter 7 is an interlude that answers the question "Who can stand?", and shows how wide and great is God's free GRACE to all nations.
- Chapters 8 to 11 shows us a 2nd mural, based around the 7 Trumpets, and beginning again with the Jesus the Lamb of God, and ending with Him revealed as the King of Kings, overturning all man's proud efforts.
The 7th Seal
- 8:1 When the Lamb opens it, there is almost an anti-climax. Silence!
- of awe at the greatness of God
- in expectation of the final healing of all Creation
- 8:2 7 angels are given 7 trumpets, but before they blow them...
- 8:3 another angel comes with a censer of burning coals and offers lots of incense "with the prayers of the saints" before God.
- "saints" are ordinary living believers in Jesus their Saviour and Lord, not dead super-heroes.
- what is the incense that lifts our prayers to God? Romans 8:26 & 34 show us the Holy Spirit of God and the Son of God both pleading on our behalf, and making even our sighs and groans rise to God's throne.
- 8:4 note that prayers for God's glory and help must lead also to God's justice being revealed at last in judgment on all wickedness; fire, thunder, lightning and earthquake are emblems of this.
The First 4 Trumpets - 8:5 to 8:12
- hail, fire and blood, burning up 1/3 of all vegetation.
- sea turns to blood and 1/3 of all sea creatures and ships are destroyed.
- 1/3 of the fresh water becomes bitter and many die.
- 1/3 of all light is struck, and darkness spreads.
- "1/3" means "a lot, but not all" - the end is still to come. It was only a 1/4 with the seals; from bad to worse!
Bird of Prey Announces the last 3 Trumpets, 8:13
- 3 "Woe"s - worse is to come!
The 5th & 6th Trumpets, Chapter 9
- Locusts - hordes of them, but not like any real ones. From the bottomless pit, and their leader is Apollyon, "The Destroyer". (c.w. Joel 2 & 3)
- Satan is the great destroyer, the angel who fell from heaven, and his demonic hordes torment, for a time, the people of the earth.
- See he torments those who serve him; he is forbidden to hurt those who trust in Jesus, v4.
- War - 200 million mounted troops! Emblem of overwhelming armed might (c.w. Zechariah 4)
- 1/3 of of people killed by them.
- by fire and smoke and sulphur - echoes of Isaiah 30:33 (judgement on Assyria) and 34:9 (on Edom).
- See what a striking similarity there is with the 10 plagues on Egypt through Moses. Hail, water turned to blood, locusts, darkness, death.
- See what a striking similarity there is with the judgments of the 6 Seals in chapter 6.
- See that mercy is still on offer, but men refuse to repent and accept it, 9:20,21. Despite all the woe and suffering, they prefer demons to God, and press on in hateful murder, sorcery (magic and all the occult practices), sexual depravity and greedy theft.
What of the 7th Trumpet?
- like the 7th seal, it is separated from the rest by an interlude (chapter 10 and most of 11). There's a pattern here, but don't expect it to last. Shifting images, shifting patterns, but constant themes of truth, are what we should expect in this book.
A Mighty Angel and a Little Scroll - Chapter 10, and Interlude
- cloud-wrapped, rainbow above, face shining like the sun, legs like fiery bronze, holding a scroll, a lion's roar and a voice of thunders.
- Who is this? - when compared to Ezekiel's vision of the Lord in Ezekiel 1-3, with John's vision of Jesus in Rev. 1, Daniel's in his chapters 7, 8 and 10, and with our Lord's transfiguration in Matthew 17, I think it is plain that this is either the Lord Jesus Himself, or is an emblem of Him (in this book of symbols, it is much the same).
- Note: the word "Angel" means just "Messenger".
- Jesus, the promised Messiah, is called the "Messenger of the Covenant" in Malachi 3:1
- God often appears as an angel in the Old Testament, to Abraham, to Joshua (5:13-15, "on holy ground") and to Samson's parents "We shall surely die, for we have seen God" Judges 13:21,22.
- He lifts His hand to heaven and swears an oath by "Him who lives for ever and ever" for he can swear by none greater than Himself. His oath? That the 7th trumpet blast will bring in the fulfillment of everything - there will be no more delay (unlike in ch 6:11).
- He gives the scroll to John and commands him to eat it. It is sweet as honey in his mouth, but bitter in his stomach.
- What is this?
- a little scroll, ignored or mocked by many
- sweet to those that taste it
- to be preached in all the world (v11)
- yet bitter in part.
- It is the Gospel of Jesus
- despised by many
- bringing great sweetness and joy to those that embrace it
- yet bringing bitterness in part
- sorrow of those who must preach judgment
- suffering (in this life, not in the next) for many who believe it
- naturally fits in with chapter 11
The Two Witnesses - Chapter 11:1-14
- they have a fixed time to work and witness (there will be an end)
- called the 2 olive trees & 2 lampstands. These come from Zechariah chapter 4.
- God's Word and His Holy Spirit, Zechariah. 4:6
- anointed ones who serve the Lord of all the earth 4:14. There in Zechariah they are prince and priest.
- Note: fire, drought and rivers turned to blood; so did God's mighty prophets of old - Elisha, Elijah and Moses.
- Here they are emblems of the church of Jesus throughout the ages.
- though opposed, hated and persecuted to death, they gain the greater victory - "Come up here!" (to heaven).
- they have time enough to do their work of preaching Christ, but no more. The end is coming!
Finally, the 7th Trumpet - Chapter 11:15-19
- This is THE END. We had the end in Chapter 6 too. See how the same truths get repeated in different images. We make a great mistake if we try to make Revelation a continuous straight-line history.
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." v15
- There is worship in heaven, because the promised end has come, and the judgment of the dead, and the blessing of those who trusted in Jesus.
- Glory to the Lamb of God
- Joy to His people
- Judgment on the wicked
- God's Temple in heaven is opened, and the Ark of the Covenant is seen (that which no Jew was to look on but the High Priest once a year).
- God has never and will never forget His promises of good to all who cast themselves on Him through Jesus the Lamb.
- Nor will He forget His promises to those who persist in rebellion and misery and wickedness. For them there is only judgment (lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquake, hail).
- See Jesus first, centre and last in this history
- So it is in all the historical "murals" yet to come
- Which side will you be on when the end comes? When Jesus returns as King and Judge? The day of mercy is still with us.
- Don't delay to accept His nail-pierced outstretched hands,
- Do despair of your own strength and supposed goodness,
- Do turn from pride and every other sin
- Don't wait until it's too late!
Click here for the next Revelation article Revelation Chapter 12 - "The Woman, the Dragon and the Man-Child"
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Last updated: 17 Aug 2021
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