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Praise and Prayer
In Studying the book of Revelation, we now come to a time of silence between the seals.
I cannot tell you for certain, but this may be the longest silence ever experienced in heaven.
What is this silence?
Maybe like the calm before the storm.
Like the calm in the eye of a hurricane, the silence before it gets really bad.
The seal was opened, and John saw -
A trumpet was used in the Bible for positive events like gathering a convocation or announcing a coronation - a crowning.
But it was also used to gather troops for war - much like a siren to warn of an air raid or tornado.
The Silence: A Lesson on Prayer:
But before these trumpets are sounded, God puts a parenthesis here, and we learn a wonderful lesson on prayer:
Incense in the Bible has often been used as an illustration of what happens when we pray.
In the Old Testament the priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the altar.
The coals from this offering would then be placed in a golden censer, or container, and the smoke would rise to heaven as incense.
In much the same way, our prayers are like a sweet fragrance in the nostrils of God.
In verses 3-4, we read that the angel mingled the prayers of the saints with the incense.
In this passage the incense is the worth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are to come before God with our hearts filled with the Lord Jesus.
We are told in Ephesians 5:2
When you pray in the name of Jesus, your are mingling your prayer with the incense of Jesus’ worth, and that’s a sweet smell to the Almighty God.
A. The Altars: The Sacrifice of Christ
What do these altars represent?
The golden altar represents the fire of worship.
The altar of judgment represents the death of Jesus Christ for our sins (every Old testament altar spoke of Jesus’ death on the cross).
Why would the death of Jesus bring judgment?
If you do not repent of your sin and receive Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for your forgiveness, His sacrifice that is meant to be a blessing will become a curse.
The gospel is a double-edged sword.
It is a savor of life unto life or death unto death.
If the death of Jesus Christ does not save you, the death of Jesus Christ will condemn you.
His blood will testify either for or against you.
After the angel mingled the prayers of the saints with incense, the angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were rumblings of thunders, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
The horrors of the great tribulation are about to intensify for those who have refused Jesus Christ, and yet He died for their sins.
The Trumpets: The Announcement of Judgment
A. The First Trumpet:
The first trumpet announced the judgment on the land and the things that grow on earth.
What man-made device or natural phenomenon could cause this?
Could it be an atomic explosion?
But could there be a symbolic meaning of theses things?
I think the grass and the trees may symbolize leaders and people.
B. The Second Trumpet:
The second trumpet sends forth judgment upon the oceans and the things that live in the sea.
This could literally be an erupting volcano that sends forth fire and burning lava into the sea.
Which sea?
It could be the Mediterranean, which John knew about when he wrote the book of Revelation.
But there could be deeper, more symbolic meaning.
In the Bible a mountain speaks of kingdoms.
For example, Babylon [now the nation known as Iraq] is spoken of as a destroying mountain in Jeremiah 51:25
This sounds similar to what we find here in the book of Revelation.
This mountain is cast into the waters, which stands for a wicked and restless people.
The prophet Isaiah said, Isaiah 57:20-21
The symbolism of this second trumpet is that this wicked, violent, Babylonish kingdom of Antichrist will bring great trouble to the wicked people who are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest.
C. The Third Trumpet:
The third trumpet heralds judgment upon the rivers and the men who walk on earth.
There are two ways to interpret these verses.
First, if an asteroid hit the earth, do you think it could be seen as a burning star like a lamp?
I believe literal asteroids that may hit earth could poison the atmosphere and waters and kill many.
Second, Satan is symbolized as a fallen star - Isaiah 14:12
and the water speak of people - Revelation 17:15
A fallen star (Satan) could poison the water of life, thereby killing off human society in a devastating way.
D. The Fourth Trumpet:
The fourth trumpet sounds, and God sends judgment on the skies and the light that shines from heaven.
The drama of the end of the ages has now intensified threefold!
Notice the eagle said, Woe!
Woe! Woe!
The sun, moon, and stars are darkened.
What would cause that?
If volcanoes and atomic lasts are sending smoke and ashes into the atmosphere, the light of the sun, moon, and stars would be dimmed.
From the beginning men have hated the Light Jesus said, in John 3:20
Now these men will have their share of the darkness.
Symbolically, the sun, moon, and stars speak of ruling authority.
The pastors of the church, for example, are symbolized as starts in the early verses of Revelation.
One explanation of this passage is that when the fourth trumpet sounds, the structure of society comes apart.
The things God ordained to give guidance and light are now obliterated.
The demon of darkness (Satan) becomes the prince of this world in the form of his Antichrist, who brainwashes the multitudes.
E. The Fifth Trumpet:
The fifth trumpet sounds, and there is an invasion from the bottomless pit.
Demons will be released upon the earth from a bottomless pit.
The Greek word for bottomless pit is abussou, from which we get our English word abyss.
Who are these demons?
They will be especially vile, malicious, and powerful.
In fact, they are so diabolical that God in His mercy prepared a special pit in which to lock them away until the appointed time.
These demons are not like the demons who have roamed the earth since they fell from heaven.
They dread to go to the pit!
When Jesus cast the demons (called Legion) out of a man - Luke 8:31
This is also the place Peter referred to when he said in 2 Peter 2:4
I defined the fallen star as Satan in the last section.
Here Almighty God has given him permission to open the door to the bottomless pit to set the demons free.
The Demons: The Dominion of the Antichrist
We need to learn eleven things about the demons from the abyss:
They are degenerate spirits.
They are the vilest of the vile.
They are darkening spirits. in Revelation 9:2 we learn that a demonic darkness will come upon the earth that will choke out the light.
They are devouring spirits.
Revelation 9:3-4
In the Middle East locusts have swarmed like great clouds and blotted out the light of the sun and the moon.
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