The Seventh Seal
A. During our study of chapter6, (during the5th seal), we caught a glimpse "of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held."
1. Clothed in white robes, they were asking the Lord how long it would be before He would avenge their blood!
2. HE told them to rest and wait a little longer for there were more to be martyred during this great tribulation.
B. Chapter8 is an answer to the prayers of these saints as well as the saints of every generation!
1. It is an answer to the prayers for the Lord to "make things right", to judge the enemies of the Lord!
2. As Dr. Henry Morris (author of THE REVELATION RECORD) puts it, "There was only one seal yet to be opened, but it would unleash more fury than all that had gone before."
a) Please keep in mind that this "seventh seal" of judgment has within it "seven trumpets" containing judgments of their own!
b) The death and destruction which is about to sent upon earth is so staggering that even the inhabitants of heaven are taken with silence, and it is there we begin our study!
A. Revelation 8:1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (NKJV)
1. Before and after this time, heaven and earth are filled with sound!
a) Just previous, we heard a great multitude shouting and praising before the throne.
b) On earth were the noises of war and shouts of fear and blasphemy.
c) But here, heaven is silent as they contemplate (and surely pray) about the coming events of this7th seal.
B. Revelation 8:2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. (NKJV)
1. Many believe that these are none other than Michael, and Gabriel, and five other "archangels" not mentioned specifically in scripture.
2. Jewish tradition, in a book called "Enoch", suggests that the names of the other five angels are, Raphael, Uriel, Sarakiel, and Raguel.
a) Whatever the other"s names, here they are before the thrown ready to carry out what the Lord has had planned since they were created on that first day.
C. Revelation 8:3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. (NKJV)
1. This angel operates in a privileged role that the other"s do not have!
a) We see Him preparing to present the intercessions of God"s people to the Lord Himself!
b) He acts as a "mediator" between men and God!
(1) Yet 1 Timothy 2:5 tell us that . . . there is one. . . .Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, (NKJV)
2. Based upon the Priestly ministry of this "Angel", it appears to be none other than the Lord Himself!!
a) Revelation 5:8 helps us to better understand what is going on here, Now when He (the Lamb of God) had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (NKJV)
(1) The "incense" He is offering is the prayers of the saints!
(a) When God"s people pray is a "sweetness" to Him because of Jesus!
(i) Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (NKJV)
(ii) Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (NKJV)
(iii) Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (NKJV)
(2) Notice also that He is offering it with the "prayers of all saints".
(a) In other words every prayer from every saint that had ever prayed for justice to prevail was about to be answered!
D. Revelation 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel"s hand. (NKJV)
1. The prayers of the saints are only acceptable because of Jesus Christ!
a) How appropriate that these prayers "ascend before God from the angel"s hand."
b) Without the cross there would be no "saints" and prayers would be futile to an angry God!
c) It is only through the cross that the cries of humanity become the sweetness of prayers.
E. Revelation 8:5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. (NKJV)
1. Notice that it is the same golden censer that carried the sweet prayers of the saints that becomes a fiery weapon of judgment for those who dwell upon the earth!
a) The same fire that purifies, also destroys!
b) It is amazing that people can hear the message of God"s love Sunday after Sunday and still reject His forgiveness.
c) Why would someone prefer to walk in the fire of sin, alienated from God, rather than be purified by the fire of His Holy Spirit?
(1) Hebrews 10:26-27 puts it this way, 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (NKJV)
(a) Let it be known that today you have "received the knowledge of the truth"!
(b) What affect will the fire have on you, destruction or purification?
2. The silence is broken!!!!!! And on earth there are cataclysmic disturbances!
a) No doubt, atmospheric physicists will be attempting to "scientifically" explain these events rather than deal with their sin!
F. Revelation 8:6-7 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7 The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (NKJV)
1. The earth dwellers had just experienced an electrical storm plus a violent earthquake, and now it is followed by a heavenly hail storm!
a) We"ve seen this once before in Exodus 9:23-24 And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt.
24So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. (NKJV)
(1) The first was local, this one will be world-wide!
(2) And different than Egypt, this one will be mixed with blood!
(3) "One third of the trees" and "all of the green grass" was burnt up!
Keep in mind this will follow a severe drought, making the fire that much easier.
G. Revelation 8:8-9 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.
9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (NKJV)
1. This "mountain" doesn"t seem to be like anything John has ever seen before! In fact he says it was, "something like a great mountain..."
a) It is very possible that this is a giant meteorite, or asteroid, or perhaps even an orbiting satellite that lands in the ocean!
b) Whatever it Isaiah, it has only one impact point but the whole world will know about it!
(1) Maybe scientists will see it coming and the world will watch the splashdown via satellite!
(2) The affect and destruction will be greater than that of an atomic bomb!
(a) 1/3of all sea life will die and the tidal wave will be so intense so as to destroy1/3of all the ship on that ocean!
(b) 1/3of that ocean will be as blood!
(c) Imagine what affect this will have on the food chain?
H. Revelation 8:10-11 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. (NKJV)
1. This great star is more "fluid" in nature and that "fluid" causes it to burn "like a lamp or torch".
2. This star even has its own name: WORMWOOD! (C.S. Lewis = SCREWTAPE LETTERS)
a) It"s only used in the New Testament here and is of uncertain origin.
b) In the Greek it is absinthos from which we get our English word absinthe.
c) Websters defines absinthe as "a green, bitter liqueur having the flavor of licorice and wormwood."
d) It is translated in the Old Testament as "hemlock"!
(1) Whatever it"s origin, it is deadly and "many men died from the water.."
I. Revelation 8:12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. (NKJV)
1. I don"t know how the scientists can justify or explain this one away!
a) This is not just haze or clouds, the text tells us that the angel "strikes" the sun, moon, and stars and dims their output by1/3!!!
b) What is even more staggering is that Revelation 16:8-9; tell us that latter, the sun"s output is actually intensified!
(1) Luke 21:25-26 " And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 "men"s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. (NKJV)
J. Revelation 8:13 And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" (NKJV)
1. I think a flying angel would be enough to cause me to repent, but it seems to have little affect upon the hardened hearts of the "earth dwellers".
a) Please notice, he is visible to those upon the earth. It is to them that he cries his message!
b) Basically the message Isaiah, "you ain"t seen noth"n yet!"
(1) Even in the midst of setting all things right the Lord is still merciful and longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (NKJV) 2 Peter 3:9
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Brown, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8". John Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany