Brit Hadashah Reflections 28
Hebraic understanding Hebrews and Revelation
Revelation 8 : 1 - 13
This is a part of Scripture which is avoided by many people because of its seeming complexity. It is the only book in our Bible attributed to Yeshua Ha’mashiach Himself. Written by the Apostle John late in his life during a visionary encounter with the Holy Spirit of God. At times John is prompted, even directed, by the Lord to write what he is witnessing. One can only guess at the amazing spectacle of being so directed. What he describes is sometimes very difficult to imagine. There are quite unusual events and situations, such as have never before been encountered by mankind, to be considered, evaluated, and reckoned with. But it all comes with a promise!
“When He opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” That, to me, is an amazing observation. Bear in mind that the whole scene in heaven up till this moment was of loud praise and worship. Everyone there was intent on offering their verbal tributes to Him who sat on the throne and to the Lamb. Then silence. And for half an hour. Wow!! That is a long time to maintain silence with such a large gathering. But, as we will see, this is the calm before the storm! It is as though, as that seventh seal was opened, everyone knew what was about to take place, and held their breath waiting for the action to commence.
There were seven angels standing before the throne, each was given a trumpet. A golden altar stood in front of the throne, and another angel, who had a golden censer, was given much incense which, together with the prayers of the saints, he offered on that altar as a sacrifice to God. The smoke of the incense ascended before God. Then the angel took fire from the altar, put it into the censer and he threw it to the earth. Then the noise and the action commenced. Loud thunder, lightning, and an earthquake. The angels with the trumpets raised them to their lips.
There is a brief description of the chaos on earth at the breaking of the sixth seal. Men hiding themselves as best they could from the carnage taking place around them. But as the angels, in turn, begin to sound their trumpets, those trumpet sounds herald new horrific waves of destruction. It is not difficult to see why some people find this passage of Scripture so confronting, even to the point of denial. The events described are beyond our imagination, and with the possible exception of the “Sodom and Gomorrah” incident in Lot’s day, there has never been anything like it. That was localised. This is on a global scale. It is terrifying. But God in His infinite love, mercy and grace, is providing this warning. It will happen. Be prepared. These events are still future to us.
When the first trumpet sounded, there was great hail and fire mingled with blood. One third of the trees were burned up and all the grass caught fire and was consumed by it. (In recent years, in Israel, the terror group Hamas has sent hundreds of incendiary kites into Southern Israel, consuming thousands of acres of fertile crop land. It is most destructive. The event described here is on a global scale) At the very least, we can imagine that can’t we?
At the sound of the second trumpet “something like a great mountain burning” (we could equate it to a VERY large blazing meteorite) plunged from space into the sea “and a third of it turned into blood” (that is a LOT of sea). One third of all sea creatures killed. A third of all ships at sea lost (that would amount to about 18,000 ships today, and some millions of shipping containers cast into the sea!!)
The third trumpet brought catastrophe to rivers and streams. Fresh water contamination on a huge scale. The word “Wormwood” is used to describe this invasion from space. It is a word associated with ‘bitterness’. This phenomenon will be responsible for the death of many who drink this contaminated water.
There is so much of God’s bountiful provision on this earth which is taken for granted, almost as of a ‘right’ by all of us living on this planet. The events which John is witnessing in this visionary visit into the heavenlies should be enough to jog all mankind out of complacency. Instead, even within our ‘churches’ there are many who teach that these declarations of the coming “day of the Lord” are fanciful and fictitious. But, my friends, just as the Lord is fulfilling prophecies before our eyes in regard to Israel today, so in these events, He has a purpose. The purposes of God are to show mankind that “I AM THE LORD” (to quote His own words). In that day, there will be no more doubting.
The fourth trumpet will bring devastating consequences. One third of the sun, moon and stars darkened. The whole of this earth is sustained by the energy emitted by the sun. The resultant devastation is truly hard to quantify. And if that weren’t enough to cause men to cry out for mercy and relief, John was then shown another angel flying around heaven shouting with a loud voice. “Woe, woe, woe o the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels which are about to sound.” Can things get any worse? Well they can, and they will. It is no wonder that people WANT to believe that these things won’t happen. But these are the words of the living God. They are a warning. There is still time to get right with God. That is the blessing offered to those who read and take careful note of the words of this prophecy.