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Study of End Times - Week 19

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The Seventh Seal - The Seven Trumpets with looking at the first five.

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Praise and Prayer

In Studying the book of Revelation, we now come to a time of silence between the seals.
Revelation 8:1 CSB
1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
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 -
Revelation 8:2 CSB
2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them.
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.

I. 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:
Revelation 8:3–6 CSB
3 Another angel, with a golden incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand. 5 The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
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
Ephesians 5:2 CSB
2 and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
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.

II. 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.
Revelation 8:7 CSB
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire, mixed with blood, were hurled to the earth. So a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
What man-made device or natural phenomenon could cause this? Could it be an atomic explosion? Perhaps. But could there be a symbolic meaning of theses things? I think the grass and the trees may symbolize leaders and people.
Isaiah 40:6–7 CSB
6 A voice was saying, “Cry out!” Another said, “What should I cry out?” “All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flowers fade when the breath of the Lord blows on them; indeed, the people are grass.

B. The Second Trumpet:

The second trumpet sends forth judgment upon the oceans and the things that live in the sea.
Revelation 8:8–9 CSB
8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain ablaze with fire was hurled into the sea. So a third of the sea became blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
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
Jeremiah 51:25 CSB
25 Look, I am against you, devastating mountain. This is the Lord’s declaration. You devastate the whole earth. I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you down from the cliffs, and turn you into a charred mountain.
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
Isaiah 57:20–21 CSB
20 But the wicked are like the storm-tossed sea, for it cannot be still, and its water churns up mire and muck. 21 There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God.
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.
Revelation 8:10–11 CSB
10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from heaven. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood. So, many of the people died from the waters, because they had been made bitter.
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
Isaiah 14:12 CSB
12 Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground.
and the water speak of people - Revelation 17:15
Revelation 17:15 CSB
15 He also said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.
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.
Revelation 8:12–13 CSB
12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, 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 was without light and also a third of the night. 13 I looked and heard an eagle flying high overhead, crying out in a loud voice, “Woe! Woe! Woe to those who live on the earth, because of the remaining trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to sound!”
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
John 3:20 CSB
20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.
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.
Revelation 9:1–2 CSB
1 The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth. The key for the shaft to the abyss was given to him. 2 He opened the shaft to the abyss, and smoke came up out of the shaft like smoke from a great furnace so that the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the shaft.
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
Luke 8:31 CSB
31 And they begged him not to banish them to the abyss.
This is also the place Peter referred to when he said in 2 Peter 2:4
2 Peter 2:4 CSB
4 For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but cast them into hell and delivered them in chains of utter darkness to be kept for judgment;
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.

III. 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
Revelation 9:3–4 CSB
3 Then locusts came out of the smoke on to the earth, and power was given to them like the power that scorpions have on the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green plant, or any tree, but only those people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads.
In the Middle East locusts have swarmed like great clouds and blotted out the light of the sun and the moon. They devour every bit of plant life in their path like an army - every blade of grass, every flower in the field, every seed and stalk of grain, sometimes even stripping the bark from the trees. But these particular locusts will not feed on green things. They will feed on the hearts and souls of men. And as they do, they will inflict torment like a scorpion.
4. They are debilitating spirits. Revelation 9:5-6
Revelation 9:5–6 CSB
5 They were not permitted to kill them but were to torment them for five months; their torment is like the torment caused by a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 In those days people will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them.
A scorpion sting is like none other, it is just crazy and there are many different kinds of scorpions. But the worst I have had is this huge wasp, stung me in the arm and with in a few minutes my whole arm was swollen up, from my shoulder to my finger tips and it got to the point that I could not bend my finders and felt like my skin was going to bust open because my arm was that swollen. I ended up after refusing to for a couple hours, going to the hospital and getting a couple of shots.
But it says they will be tormented for five months, see my pain went away, it took some time after I got the shots, but it went away. Those in the tribulation will be tormented consistently with no relief, for five months, to the point that they will want to die, but will not be able too.
5. They are dauntless spirits. Revelation 9:7
Revelation 9:7 CSB
7 The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. Something like golden crowns was on their heads; their faces were like human faces;
The first part of the verse says the locust are like horses prepared for battle. Picture a team of mighty horses pawing the ground, snorting in fury, and covered with armor. Think of their ability to gallop quickly into battle. They are eagerly dauntless for their mission of doom. Now picture yourself standing in front of them and trying to stop them. No amount of money will be able to do it. The military cannot help. And even medicine will not work. They are dauntless.
6. They are domineering spirits. Next part of verse seven there says, they had something like a golden crown was on their heads. Satan has always wanted to wear a crown. Now hell has a holiday, and the world has said to Jesus Christ, We will not have You rule over us. Instead they crown Satan and his demons to rule. Demons will have dominion in the great tribulation. No human ingenuity will be able to stop them. It will be a reign of terror.
7. They are deceptive spirits. Notice the last part of verse seven: there faces were like human faces. What does that mean? Like human or men’s faces is a symbol of intelligence. The Antichrist will be crafty and subtle.
Matthew 24:24 CSB
24 For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Satan has a cunning plan. When he sends the Antichrist into this world, he will be able to make people think white is black, black is white, up is down, and down is up. This may sound hard to believe, but I think the Antichrist will be so conniving that he will make you murder your mother and think you are doing God a service.
8. They are defiling spirits.
Revelation 9:8 CSB
8 they had hair like women’s hair; their teeth were like lions’ teeth;
A woman’s hair is a symbol of seduction and defilement. God has given women their hair for their glory, and it is beautiful, but these demons will use that as a trap. In many ways these deceptive demons will seem alluring. The Bible speaks of seducing spirits.
1 Timothy 4:1 CSB
1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons,
But they will have teeth like lions. This is the picture of Satan we see in 1 Peter 5:8
1 Peter 5:8 CSB
8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.
These evil spirits will be hideously beautiful and brilliantly deceptive. Which makes me think of when Jesus warned us about the wolves in sheep's clothing in Matthew 7:15
Matthew 7:15 CSB
15 “Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves.
9. They are defiant spirits.
Revelation 9:9 CSB
9 they had chests like iron breastplates; the sound of their wings was like the sound of many chariots with horses rushing into battle;
These demons will be wearing impenetrable armor so that groans, cries, and shrieks of their victims will be meaningless to them. They will not be moved from their course of action. And wave after wave will come. You can hear the chariots rumble. They cannot be stopped. They cannot be outrun. There is not place to hide.
10. They are durable spirits.
Revelation 9:10 CSB
10 and they had tails with stingers like scorpions, so that with their tails they had the power to harm people for five months.
Five months is the normal lifespan of a locust. Five is also the number of completeness. What does this mean? Until their deed is done, they cannot be stopped. Nothing but the hand of Almighty God can stop these durable spirits. They cannot be destroyed. There is no weapon against them.
11. They are diabolical spirits.
Revelation 9:11–12 CSB
11 They had as their king the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name Apollyon. 12 The first woe has passed. There are still two more woes to come after this.
Apollyon is Satan himself.
Can you imagine what would happen if all the prison doors in America were flung open? If every rapist, murderer, pervert, arsonist, abuser, and thief were free to roam the earth, and no police force could protect us? That is the idea here. Now imagine just one more thing: What if, by some means, all of these criminals were organized under one ruler. There is a ruler - his name is Apollyon.
But the story doesn’t end there. The Bible has wonderful news! 1 Thessalonians gives us two bright notes to close out this week.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 CSB
10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Isn’t that wonderful? Here is the second great news:
1 Thessalonians 5:9–11 CSB
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.
God will not pour out His wrath upon the church. God will chastise us, but He will never pour His wrath upon His bride. What husband would pour out his wrath upon His bride just before the marriage supper? The church is the bride of Christ. One of these days another trumpet will sound, and this is the trumpet that will call us to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air.
This world is headed for hell and judgment, and if you do not intend to go there, may I suggest you avoid that path by giving your heart to Jesus Christ.
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