CHAPTER EIGHT

REVELATION CHAPTER EIGHT

 

CHAPTER EIGHT PREFACE

 

We must not forget that the "seventh seal" includes all that happens during the sounding of the "Trumpets," and the pouring out of the "Vials," and so extends down to the ushering in of the Millennium. To illustrate, a rocket fired into the air may burst into "seven stars," and one of these stars into "seven other stars," and one of the second group of stars into a third group of "seven stars." So the "Seventh" Seal includes the "Seven Trumpets," and the "Seventh'' Trumpet includes the "Seven Vials."

 

So hang on now, as we are now about to start back in the Tribulation again, this time events are described in Revelation 8,9,10, and 11 under the figure of "trumpets."

 

Revelation 8: 1 - And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

 

There has been no satisfactory interpretation written on this verse because there has not been found yet any other verse in the Bible to go with it. Some people believe that the seventh seal is opened at the end of the Tribulation, and that the "silence in heaven" is because the conquering hosts are on their way back down to earth, with Christ at their head (Revelation 19:11-15). But this is pretty loose interpretation. There is no way to locate whether this seal is at the beginning or at the end of the Tribulation. But it is certain that we have come clear through an account of the Tribulation in Revelation 6 and 7. So, wherever the seventh seal opens, it starts the whole thing over again, as far as the narrative is concerned.

 

"The "silence" that followed the breaking of the "Seventh Seal" was preparatory to what was to follow during the sounding of the "Trumpets," and the pouring out of the "Vials." This "silence" was something remarkable. The Four and Twenty Elders ceased their harp-playing; the angels hushed their voices, and the Cherubim and Seraphim and all the host of Heaven were silent, and so great was the silence that all Heaven was awed by it; and to add to the noticeableness of it, John added that it lasted for "half an hour. "Now a "half an hour" is not long when engaged in some pleasant employment, but it causes a nerve breaking tension when we do not know what is going to happen, and when a life is at stake a minute, or even a few seconds, seem to be hours. The suspense of the half-hour of SILENCE in Heaven was intense. But why that half-hour of silence? What did it portend? It was the period of silent preparation for the awful judgments that were to burst forth in the earth under the "Trumpets" and "Vials."

 

Some "wags" suggest that this verse proves that there are no women in heaven because no woman can be silent for a half-hour!

 

Revelation 8:2-5 - And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

 

 

Following the SILENCE in Heaven John saw "SEVEN ANGELS" of official importance, for they stand in the presence of God, to whom "SEVEN TRUMPETS" were given. Trumpets are used to call to war, to worship, for the convocation of the people, to proclaim Festivals, as the Year of Jubilee, the Feast of Tabernacles, and for Judgments. See Exodus 19:16. Amos 3:6. Joshua 6:13-16. Zephaniah 1:14-16.

 

These "Seven Angels" prepared themselves to sound. That is, they took the Trumpets that were handed them and took up their positions where they could in turn sound their Trumpets. But before the Trumpets were sounded John saw another angel with a "golden censer" in his hand come and stand before the "Golden Incense Altar." The name of this "Angel Priest" is not given, and it is useless to speculate as to who he was. Some claim it was Christ, because He is our "Great High Priest," but that is immaterial. We are told that he was given much incense, and that he offered with it the prayers of the "ALL SAINTS." These Saints were the Saints of the Tribulation period, and their prayers were for deliverance from their enemies. This will account for the remarkable act of the "Angel Priest" of filling the Censer with fire from off the altar, and casting it on to the earth. The effect of which was seen in the voices and thunderings, which broke the silence of heaven, and the lightnings and earthquake on the earth. As the same four things happen when the "Seventh Trumpet" sounds (Revelation 11:19), and the "Seventh Vial" is poured out, it is clear that the "Seventh Seal," the "Seventh Trumpet," and the "Seventh Vial," all end alike, and synchronize as to their ending, that is, all end at the same time, the "end of the Week. "The Judgments that follow on the Earth as the Trumpets sound, and the Vials are poured out, are the answers to the prayers of the Saints for vengeance on their enemies.

 

Now this verse clearly points out that there is a temple in heaven. Connecting back with Revelation 7:17, we find the throne mentioned, and also the temple, in Revelation 7:15. Now in Revelation 8:3 we find an altar before the throne which was not mentioned by John before. This indicates that in heaven there is a tabernacle, or temple, built after the pattern of that which was showed to Moses on the mount. (This is why God told him to build it just like the pattern [Hebrews 8:5].) This heavenly temple is mentioned again in Revelation 11:19, and it is evidently in heaven until eternity begins; but when eternity begins and the New Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven (a city 1200 miles square), this city no longer has any temple in it.

 

Revelation 21:22, "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. "

 

This golden altar is an altar of incense, it is different from the brazen altar. It is that altar "which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold" (Hebrews 9:4). The "prayers" are offered with the "golden censer. The other altar referred to is the one found in the Old Testament, standing outside the tabernacle, and overlaid with brass. (A brazen altar is for sacrifice, and a golden altar is for the offering up of incense.) The altar for burnt offering, outside the tabernacle, is covered with brass (Exodus 38:1-7). The altar of incense, inside the tabernacle, is covered with gold (Exodus 37:25-28).

 

"And another angel came and stood at the altar (the golden altar of incense), having a golden censer (what the incense is offered in), which was before the throne. ("The throne" has here taken the place of the "Ark of the Covenant," in the Holy of Holies found in the earthly tabernacle.)

 

The "fire" of the altar can be the fire from the golden altar, or from the brazen altar outside. It is fire taken out of one of these altars, and put into the censer to make the incense burn.

 

In this passage, we have, in type, the prayers of saints coming up before God, as incense (Psalms 141:2, Luke 1:10). These prayers come up as a "memorial before God" (Acts 10:2-4), and the indication is that the prayers return to earth with a vengeance, as though they were answered. There is not much doubt about whose prayers they are. In Revelation 6:9,10 were the "souls" of those who were martyred for their testimony (and sacrificed to the Devil on the earth during the Tribulation), praying for vengeance. This vengeance comes in Revelation 8:5.

 

Revelation 8:6-7 - And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

 

There is no need to spiritualize this. It means just what it says. These things have happened before why not again? It is the fulfillment of Joel 2:30-31, where the Lord says that in the "latter days" He will--"Shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the lord come." The DAY when He shall come to take vengeance on his enemies. The Lord is going to repeat the "Plagues of Egypt." They were literal, why not the "Trumpet" and "Vial" Judgments? The literalness of these Judgments give us the "key" to the literalness of the Book of Revelation. No less than 5 of the 9 Plagues of Egypt are to be repeated during the Tribulation Period. This Plague is the same as the "seventh Egyptian plague." "And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be HAIL in all the Land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the Land of Egypt. "And Moses stretched forth his "rod" toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the Land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the Land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail smote throughout all the Land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail." Exodus 9:22-26. The difference between this Egyptian Plague, and the Plague of the First Trumpet, is, that the situation will be reversed. Then the "Children of Israel" escaped, now they will suffer. The Judgments of Egypt were directed against Pharaoh, the Judgments of the Tribulation Period will be directed against Israel.

 

The Egyptian "Plague of Hail" was clearly a great "electrical storm" that did not touch the Land of Goshen where the Children of Israel dwelt. The fire that "ran along the ground" was like lightning. The difference between the Egyptian Plague and the one John describes is, that in Egypt man and beast suffered with the vegetation, while only the trees and the green grass will suffer when the First Trumpet sounds, and the hail and fire will be mingled with blood. In Egypt the "Hail" smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree, but under the First Trumpet only one-third of the trees and grass will be burnt up.

 

Notice that in the first plague that falls, plants shrivel, perish, and disintegrate. Not too many years ago if a man were to preach this kind of thing, the people would laugh and make fun of him. But with atomic and nuclear fission now operative, it could happen very easily. As someone has so aptly said, "A hundred years ago the preachers were saying that the world was coming to an end and the scientists were laughing at them. Now the scientists say that the world is coming to an end and the preachers are laughing at them."

 

It is a strange situation when preachers don't know as much truth about the future now as scientists know. That's the situation we are in. The foolish "ministers" are still preaching "the Ecumenical Council," "the United Nations," and "bringing in the Kingdom," by Post-Millennial means, where everybody gets slowly better, and better, and better. Yet, the scientific facts are that man now has something on his hands so small that he can't see it, and yet he is about to blow himself to "kingdom come" with it.

 

Revelation 8:8-9 - And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

 

 

As this "mountain" is to fall on the sea, and the Judgments poured forth by the "Trumpets" and "Vials" are to fall mainly on that part of the world bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, it is highly probable that the "sea" here mentioned is the Mediterranean Sea. The sea is not identified here although "the sea" usually refers to the Mediterranean, where you find it in the passages. ("The sea" is not a multitude of people, as it is spiritualized to be. This is a perversion of interpretation that has been lifted from Revelation 17:15, where the waters are said to be "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. But, the waters are not the sea. The difference between correct Bible interpretation and scholastic tradition lies simply in believing what you read, where you read it, as you read it, as God said it. If He said "the sea," it certainly is not "waters." "The sea" is "the sea," and "waters" are "waters.") Where "sea" is referred to in the Bible, it is always something like the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean, or the Sea of Galilee, unless it is a reference to the "great deeps. " This "sea" (Revelation 8:8) is mentioned again in Revelation 13:1, when the Antichrist shows up from the "sea," and this time it is plainly the Mediterranean; so it probably is here, although we cannot locate it for certain.

 

Notice that John does not say that it was a "Mountain" that he saw cast into the sea, but that it appeared like a mountain, not a burning volcano, but an immense meteoric mass ablaze with fire. That was as near as John could describe it. Again, the literal fulfillment is easy, in view of nuclear fission and atomic power.

 

The effect of this "burning mass" on the sea, into which it fell, was to turn a third part of the sea into blood. If any are disposed to doubt the possibility of such a thing let them turn to the "First Egyptian Plague." Exodus 19-21, and read the account of the turning of the waters of the River Nile into blood. "And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river: and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt."

 

The only difference between the "First Egyptian Plague," and the effect on the Sea by the falling of a "burning mass" into it at the sounding of the Second Trumpet, will be, that only 1/3 of the sea shall become blood, that where the " burning mass " strikes. Also only 1/3 of the living creatures in the sea shall die. One-third also of the ships shall be destroyed, Possibly by a tidal wave, or the " burning mass" may fall on a fleet of naval vessels, like the storm that destroyed the Spanish Armada in 1588.

 

The third part of the creatures die and the ships are destroyed, as they were at the Bikini Atoll. Ever since August 9, 1945, 11.02 AM, scenes of Nagasaki, Japan should make the description of these events easier to believe.

 

Revelation 8:10-11 - And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

 

The reference is directly to Jeremiah 9:15, and indirectly to Jeremiah 51:25. The waters become bitter, and people die from drinking them; that is, they become poison. The "overcomers" in this period have the apostolic promise of Mark 16:17,18; hence, drinking of this water does not hurt them. These apostolic signs and wonders (which occur in the early part of the Book of Acts), will reappear as God deals with Israel in the Tribulation. (This truth is something that the "Holiness" and "Campbellites" can never get, since they, as Catholics, are Post-Millennial and A-Millennial. They can never see that the signs, wonders, and miracles of healing are given to Israel, and that they are never in effect unless God is dealing with Israel. Hence, in the Book of Acts, these signs and wonders disappear with the Acts of the Apostles and do not reoccur until after the Rapture of the church.)

 

Nearly every heresy is a Tribulation truth. Every false teaching today, about "healing," "the baptism of the Holy Ghost," "speaking in tongues," and "baptismal regeneration'' is a Tribulation truth which has been misapplied by people who reject the word of God as it says it, where it says it, in the plain English, as we find it.

 

Most heresies are Tribulation truth- even the Seventh Day Adventist doctrines; for in the Tribulation, the people will observe the seventh day (Matthew 24:20), the temple worship (Matthew 24:15), sacrifice at the temple, and they will be baptised in "the name of Jesus for the remission of sins" in order to receive the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost will be "poured out on all flesh in those days" (Acts 2:17,18, Joel 2). Hence, every "tongue speaker," Momon, Holiness, Seventh Day Adventist, "healer," Jehovah Witness, and Campbellite on the face of the earth today is taking the truth, and perverting it to teach a lie, because he does not believe in the literal, physical visible Second Coming of Jesus Christ to reign over a literal, physical, visible kingdom on this earth for a literal physical, visible one thousand years. This is the root of the trouble.

 

The saints in the Tribulation have protection from the waters that become "wormwood," but the rest of the people die.

 

Revelation 8:12 - And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

 

What happens under the sounding of this "Trumpet" is so similar to what happened under the "Sixth Seal" that it is not necessary to further dwell on it here. These are some of the "Signs" spoken of by Christ, in Luke's Gospel, that shall precede His Second Coming. There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity." Luke 21:25-28.

 

Revelation 8:13 - And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

 

Old time country preacher Sam Jones says, "When God says 'WOE,' you'd better stop!"

 

These events cannot located exactly. It may be that the seven trumpets, which are blown, do not begin to sound until the middle of the Tribulation. The vengeance which the saints are praying for begins at this point - in the middle of the Tribulation or just after the middle. They are told "that they should rest yet for a little season," which would imply that these trumpets would not be poured out until after the middle of the Tribulation.

 

Notice in Revelation 8:12 how the heavenly phenomena would seem to match the heavenly phenomena which takes place in Revelation 6:12, and this takes place at the end of the Tribulation.

 

Not one can profess to be infallible or near infallible in knowing where all these verses apply. The people who are afraid of the Book of Revelation, not only do not understand it, they don't believe what it says. A Christian believes what it says, and understands most of it because it is clear, but the exact laying of every event into the months and years in which they occur is a little complicated. It may remain vague until the Tribulation takes place.

 

In the Book of Daniel - this ties in with the Book of Revelation - Daniel was told to wait and not "unseal" some things until the "time of the end."

 

Four angels have sounded, and three angels have yet to sound.

 

 

 

 

STUDY QUESTIONS

 

  1. When you are home alone do you like silence, or do you prefer to have some noise going on? Why?
  2.  

  3. How does the sudden prolonged silence in the midst of the crazy scenes described in Chapters 6 and 7 accentuate what is about to happen in Chapter 8? Why do you think this device of "silence" is used here?
  4.  

  5. Notice the progression of events! Why are these like this?

  • Silence.
  • Standing Angels are given trumpets.
  • Another angel who has a golden censer was given much incense to offer.
  • The incense going up before the Throne of God.
  • The hurling of the golden censer from heaven to earth.

 

  1. Why do you think angels are used for the purposes described in Chapter 8? If not angels to do these tasks, then who?
  2.  

  3. Does this imagery seem to be far removed and "unbelievable to you? Why?
  4.  

  5. If Nagasaki, Japan is an example of what man can do to man, what do you imagine God's judgements will look like?
  6.  

  7. What is the worst storm or "natural" disaster you have ever experienced? Share the event with your home group. What were your feelings as you went through this event? Were you afraid or did you feel that God was in control?
  8.  

  9. What parallels or repeated patterns do you see between the opening of the seals and the sounding of the trumpets that suggest that these are two sides of the same coin?
  10.  

  11. Do these seals and trumpets refer to datable, sequential events or to aspects of the world's condition, which may be true at any point in history? What are your reasons for your choice?
  12.  

  13. How do feel when you read Revelation 8:13? Safe? Fearful? Sad? Regretful? What?
  14.  

  15. Do you think that these events are possible by man made devices or do you think that God shall provide the plagues as He did in Egypt? Why do you believe that?

 

 

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GROUP PRAYER

 

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