Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

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Revelation 8-9

September 19th, 2010 by Vic

“Six Trumpets Warn Unbelievers”

September 19, 2010

The Bible message today is very serious.  God is calling all men to repentance.  Through many unusual situations, God tries to reveal to mankind that the end is near.  But even after severe tribulation, most refuse to repent and believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Many people have not stopped to think that the visible world will end some day and it may be today.

The world had a beginning, it has an ending.  Just as the world began by the Word of God it will end by the Word of God.  We believe that people find meaning in life and enjoy life only when they live in harmony with God’s Word.

Revelation begins by telling us who wrote the book, what kind of book it is and why it was written.  There is a promised blessing to those who read and obey what is written.  John describes his vision of the ascended Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Chapters 2 & 3 record letters to the 7 churches.  These seven represent all churches of all time.  The words of encouragement, criticism, counsel, and warning are for us too.  In the midst of unpredictable suffering believers need to be encouraged to continue being faithful.  Unbelievers need to be warned of their sin, apathy, compromise and ease.

In chapter 4 John was invited into the throne room of God.  We sang 2 songs of praise to God with all the created beings in heaven.

In chapter 5 we sang 2 songs of praise to the Lamb and concluded with a song of praise to God and the Lamb who was worthy to reclaim the title deed to all creation with 7 seals on it.

Chapter 6 begins the opening of the seals on the title deed and the portrayal of God’s righteous judgment.  Jesus began to establish His kingdom 2,000 years ago.  He could have done it instantly.  I’m glad He waited for me.

The white washed horse conquered with a false peace that was soon shattered by the red horse that encouraged men to kill one another.  The black horse brought famine and the pale horse brought death.  As satan was collecting his dead, the 5th seal revealed that God had brought all the martyrs into his presence.  God’s children are never separated from God’s care.  They cry out for God’s righteous judgment to come.  The answer to their cry is in chapters 7-9.  The reason for their deaths would be understood.  The 6th seal brought six cosmic disturbances, which caused 6 groups of people to try to commit suicide.  Six is the number of man.  He was created on the 6th day.

Chapter 7 answers the question of the 6 groups of people in chapter 6 who asked “who can stand”.  The children of God can stand.  They receive a mark that is visible to angels.  God’s children are described 2 ways.  John heard a number 144,000 but when he turned to see this group, he saw a multitude that no one could count.  The number was a symbolic number.

The 7th seal is opened in chapter 8.  After a dramatic silence, 7 trumpets are passed out to bring a clear warning of the coming wrath of God.  The trumpet warnings are more severe than the seals, but people still refuse to repent.  As there is an escalation of praise in chapter 4-5, there is an escalation of judgment in the seals, trumpets, and bowls.

8:1  Today’s Scripture is so serious that silence comes to heaven for half and hour.  Normally there is continuous praise in heaven.  But the judgment of God is very serious.  A half-hour could simply mean a short time or a brief interruption.  Some scholars who study prophecy say a half-hour means 7 days.

When the 7th seal on the scroll in the Lamb’s hand is broken, the multitudes in heaven realized that this will be the final warning.  When they saw the coming tribulation, all were quiet.

Silence in the OT is associated with divine judgment. (Ps 31:37; 115:17; Zeph 1:7,14).  The Jews expected silence to occur at the end of history.  Silence is an indication it is time to listen.

7:9-17 may have pictured a time after the final judgment when the saints receive their reward.  Now chapter 8 is a dramatic contrast to the saints receiving a reward.  The sinner is punished.

Seven angels receive seven trumpets and at the same time another angel acts as a High Priest and makes sure the prayers of all God’s children come into the presence of God.  Angels were also God’s messengers executing the plagues of Exodus.  Some feel this other angel may be Jesus.

This is the same altar as the one in 6:9 when the saints were told to wait for the end of history.  The last great judgment has come; history has ended.  The prayers of all saints are being answered.  God’s kingdom is coming.

After offering the incense and prayers to God, the angel fills the golden censer with coals from the altar and hurls it on the earth.  Then there came thunder, rumblings, lightening, and earthquakes.  The silence is broken.

In chapters 8 and 9, 6 trumpets are sounded.  The 7th trumpet will sound in chapter 11.  Then the bowls of God’s wrath will follow.  The 6 trumpets will be God’s final warning to mankind before He finishes cleaning up the world with the bowls of wrath.

Before the 6 trumpets sound, the Christians who read this letter are assured that their prayers are answered.  God hears and cares for His own.  Every time you pray, “Thy kingdom come”, your prayer is reserved for this final moment of history when the kingdom comes in fullness.

The prayers of God’s people are very important in the plan of history.  Prayers are a part of worship in the presence of God.  The cataclysmic judgments are set in motion by the prayers of God’s people.  The same cleansing fire that carries our prayers to heaven becomes the coals of cleansing tribulation that are thrown out on the world.  When these coals hit the earth it is a scene like the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington.  When the north side of that mountain blew, the heat melted the rocks and snow, which caused steam, thunders, rumblings, mudslides, floods, lightening, earthquakes, and a rushing wind.

God warns all men before the judgment.  No man will have an excuse that he did not know or no one told him.  Trumpets have been used throughout history to introduce royalty, announce events, open special feasts, call people together, call people to war, or sound an alarm.  The trumpets in Revelation announce the final days before God’s bowls of wrath.

TRUMPET # 1  (8:7)

The angels were ready.  When God gave the signal, the first blew a trumpet.  The day of the Lord begins with a trumpet.  The trumpet makes a clear sound to warn, to waken, to announce, and to command.  Like the plagues in Egypt (Ex 9:23-26), God will warn again.  Trumpets were used at Jericho.  At Jericho, the saints waited for God to fight for them.

This first trumpet could be a call for a comet.  Maybe it is a major volcanic eruption.  Maybe it is a major oil spill.  Maybe it is acid rain or global warming.  Maybe it is the fallout from another Chernobyl.  It is probably related to our selfish exploitation of the environment.  God’s rule has always been you reap what you sow.  This first warning will seriously effect our natural environment.

TRUMPET # 2  (8:8)

The second is like a flaming mountain.  One writer calculated that a 6,000’ mountain thrown into the Mediterranean Sea would cause an 800 foot high tidal wave.  It is not hard to understand how ships were destroyed.

Another writer said that a mountain is symbolically a nation of people, a kingdom, or a political system.  This is a common OT understanding.  Here the mountain is receiving the judgment and is not the agent of judgment.

What it is does not matter.  The event will be unusual enough for Christians to see the hand of God.  But those who do not know God will explain it away as a mistake of man, a faulty valve, a computer glitch, or a one off accident.

The ships of the sea represent the best technology of that day.  This was the source and foundation of their economic system.

TRUMPET # 3  (8:10)

This trumpet could be a bomb with poison nerve gas or a nuclear accident or a meteor.  Whatever it is, it will affect fresh water, but men will still deny that God has anything to do with it.  Some will deny that God has changed the waters.  They will appear pure to the scientist.  All scientific analysis will indicate the water is pure.  Maybe the Christians will be able to drink the water and live.  But for some reason, many will drink the water and die.

The star is probably another evil kingdom or the ‘Babylon’ world system.  (Is 14:12-15)

Again the newspapers will report these events as once‑in‑a‑lifetime flukes of nature, but the saints will see the hand of God giving a clear warning that judgment is coming.

TRUMPET # 4  (8:12)

Darkness has often suggested judgment.  To be in darkness is to be without God.  This is another parallel with the Egyptian plagues.  An unusual darkness also came when Jesus was crucified.  As plagues preceded the release of the children of Israel from their Egyptian masters, so plagues will precede the Exodus of the church from this world.  The last days will bring punishment upon the wicked and hope to the children of God.

The darkness may not be literal, but is symbolic of separation from God.  Unexplainable ‘quirks’ in nature cause perplexity to the sinner but awe to the saint.

Chapter 8 ends with a brief interlude.  There is a bird of prey, an eagle or vulture, flying overhead and screeching, “Woe, woe, woe to the worldly, the inhabitants of this earth”.  Just when you thought things could not get any worse, you are warned it will.  The plagues to come are worse. The people of God will not be directly affected, but the people of this world will suffer tribulation.

There are 3 things that are certain in this chapter.  Prayer is more important in history than we may think.  Judgment is coming.  God is trying to get your attention and respect.

TRUMPET # 5  (9:1-5)

These calamities are very serious.  The demonic locusts and the demonic cavalry are hard for John to describe.  It’s like trying to describe a dream.

The opening between the demon world and this world is under God’s control.  If this is a bottomless pit, how does smoke go up?  If there is no gravity, which way is up?  There is a lot of symbolism here.

Why does Jesus give satan any power?  Jesus is on the throne.  The answer is here in Revelation.  God uses satan and his angels to punish the wicked and demonstrate His sovereignty.

I don’t know if it is significant, but when the floods came in Noah’s day, the deep was opened for 5 months allowing the judgment of God to cover the earth.  Five is a common number in the Scriptures and it may mean just a few.

Satan is now seen for what he really is.  His angels are seen for what they really are.  They are allowed to use only the unnatural and the ugly for their purposes.  Evil is seen for what it is.

Men will really be suffering, but they have no thoughts of crying for mercy or repenting.

TRUMPET # 6

Read 9:13.  When the 6th angel sounds his trumpet, nothing moves.  But a voice is heard from the altar.  The altar is the place where the prayers of God’s people are kept.  The prayers of God’s people are involved in the events of the last days.  The prayers of 6:10-11 are being answered.

9:14  These angels have been restrained.  The mention of Euphrates anticipates the battle of the sixth bowl (16:12).  The 6th trumpet and 6th bowl may be describing the same event from different points of view.

It is very important for you to repent and come to God before the trumpets begin to sound.  There is no evidence that anyone will turn to God during this part of the tribulation.

God has limited the power of evil in the world up until this hour, this exact moment.

They may have been bound since Noah’s flood or the tower of Babel.  Now they are released to destroy themselves and continue God’s urban renewal or toxic waste clean up projects.  They are helping God get rid of the slums of evil hearts.  They get an army together of 200 million on horseback.  This is another symbolic number that was heard rather than counted.  The 4 angels are in charge of these demonic horsemen.

All the inhabitants of the world will suffer.  But we are not of this world.  The phrase, “inhabitants of this world” is a common designation of people who are hostile to God.  The inhabitants of this world will not understand the children of God.  The children of God are not citizens on this world.  They will suffer and be misunderstood as Christ was.  They may be physically slain, but this cannot affect their spiritual fate.  Saints cannot be harmed by these plagues.  They are not immune to physical death but they are protected against deceit and losing their relationship with God.

There are 5 major Christian beliefs I wanted us to see today.  1) God hears and answers prayer.  2) There is a coming judgment.  3) God warns all men of judgment.  4) Satan’s power is limited.  5) Man always has free choice.

In spite of all the warnings that God sends, some people still choose to serve satan.  The God you serve determines your destiny.

Read 9:20‑21  They do not repent.  The 6th trumpet is an escalation of the 5th.  For most it led to a hardening of their heart.  God is demonstrating His sovereignty, but most refused to see.  They are blinded by their idols.

9:21  The first evil in this verse is murder

The next 3 Greek words are used in English.  φαρμάκων from which we get our word pharmacy.  My translation interprets it as sorceries.  Your translation may have witchcraft.  It can be translated medicine, drug, magic potion, charm, poison, or remedy.  It refers to people using drugs for altered states of consciousness?

Another word is πορνείας, from which we get our word pornography.  Sexual perversion, pornography, and immorality seem to be common headlines.

The last word is κλεμμάτων from which we get our word kleptomaniac.  This is a thief.  Do you hear much about embezzlement or identity theft today?

The Bible is clear that sorcery or drug abuse will be a pervasive practice, to the point of being epidemic during “the day of the Lord.”  Today it is called the Ancient Wisdom!  Sorcery has been renamed.  New Ager, Alice Bailey said that the Ancient Wisdom is at the very root of her new vital universal world religion.

Sorcery traditionally throughout the centuries has been practiced by a very small number of persons (i.e., occult or kept secret).  But today it is becoming more popular.

Jesus told us it would happen this way.  If the love of God as shown in the life of Jesus does not draw all men to repentance, then they will not believe if one is raised from the dead.  If you do not believe in Jesus from the evidence you have then the warnings of nature and the trumpets of God will not bring you to repentance.

God calls us to repent in many different ways: through joy or pain, through death or birth, through abundance or famine, through war or peace.

Read Joshua 24:14‑15;  Acts 16:29‑31

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