THE SEVEN TRUMPET JUDGMENTS, Revelation 8:1-5
As we get started today, let’s remember what we have seen recently. God has just handed Jesus Christ the great Book of Destiny, the book that tells about the end of the world.
NOTE: The book was so full and secretive that it was bound with seven seals. When Christ began to break the seals, the most unusual things happened. A picture, movie-like scene, began to be played out before John and the heavenly host.
NOTE: What they saw was the horror and terrible things that are to happen at the end of the world. Because of these terrible things, not only do we need to continue to prepare ourselves for life in the Age of Grace, but this applies also to those who will be living in the Tribulation Age. What we will be seeing is appropriate preparation for both the Age of Grace and also for the Tribulation Age.
WHAT THEY SAW: The first four seals (Revelation 6:1-8) showed the four horsemen of the apocalypse storming over the face of the earth. These four horsemen represented the havoc that shall be wrought upon the earth by the Antichrist.
They show the Antichrist gaining control of the world through war, famine, and economic controls. The events are characteristic of most ages, but they are to be intensified in the tribulation at the end of the world.
The fifth seal (Revelation 6:9) showed the martyrs who were slaughtered by the Antichrist while he gained control of much of the earth and its economy (Revelation 6:6).
The sixth seal showed the rumblings of God’s judgment being prepared and simply says, “the great day of His wrath is come,” the very threshold of the great tribulation.
Now we come to the seventh seal.
Before we discuss the seventh seal, remember that the seals of a scroll are not part of the scroll, they are merely ribbons or some cord or tape that is wrapped around the scroll or book to hold it together. They have to be broken to open the book.
THE POINT IS THIS: THE SEAL JUDGMENTS ARE EVENTS THAT HAPPEN BEFORE THE END TIME ITSELF TAKES PLACE. This is exactly what Christ said:
- Christ called the preliminary events “the beginning of sorrows or woes” (Matthew 24:8).
- Christ called the most terrible events of the last days, “the great tribulation” (Matthew 24:15-28).
Now, it is time for the seventh seal to be broken. When it is broken, there is seen the awesome preparation for judgment.
Picture 1: a shattering silence (Revelation 8:1).
Picture 2: the instruments of judgment (Revelation 8:2-4).
Picture 3: the signs of the coming judgment begin upon earth (Revelation 8:5).
Revelation 8:1 Seal Judgments: When the seventh seal is broken, there is the picture of a shattering silence. This was the silence of awe and of reverence before God, fearing what may be coming forth. The heavenly host had seen so much that they were stricken numb with silence. When the seventh seal is broken, nothing happens. There is stillness, complete and absolute stillness. Christ stands there in stone silence. He does not move or speak. Neither does anyone else. They dare not, for the Lord says nothing, and the seal has produced no event. The silence is one of awe and reverence before God, fearing what might be coming forth. It is a silence of suspense and trembling anticipation, expecting some terrible judgment to burst across the scene of human history.
Note that the silence lasts about one half hour.
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:10).
“Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time” (Amos 5:13).
“But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20).
“Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation” (Zechariah 2:13).
(Revelation 8:2-4) Trumpet Judgments: There is the picture of the instruments of justice and judgment.
NOTE: TWO INSTRUMENTS OF JUDGMENT
There are seven angels who suddenly lurch out from the Book of Destiny and immediately take their place before God. God hands them seven trumpets. Again, note this, the seven angels come forth when the seventh seal is broken. Picture the scene:
- Picture the heavenly host surrounding the throne of God.
- Picture all the spectacular scenes, horror, and suffering that have been witnessed.
- Picture the breaking of the seventh seal and the stone silence for thirty minutes—stone silence.
- Then bursting into view are seven mighty angels taking their place before the throne of God.
The heavenly host knows something; when God hands these mighty messengers seven trumpets, the judgment is about to take place and will be coming directly from God Himself.
NOTE: Trumpets always symbolize God’s intervention into human history. God is about to move against the godless and evil society of the earth. This is critical to note, for God does not condemn and punish His followers. The judgments of God are to fall ONLY upon the UNBELIEVERS of the world, ONLY those who have followed the Antichrist, ONLY those who have the mark of the beast.
“And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4).
“And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2).
“So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth” (Psalm 58:11).
Thought 1. George Ladd makes a statement that we must always remember about the judgment of God:
“The wrath of God is not merely judicial; it also embodies a merciful purpose. It is designed to drive men to their knees by harsh experiences while the time for decision remains, before it is too late. This is hinted at in several passages.”
After the sixth trumpet we read, “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk” (Revelation 9:20).
When men are confronted by the wrath of God in judgment, they should be humbled in repentance and turn from their wickedness to worship the God of heaven, BUT often in Revelation this does not happen.
“The same note resounds in connection with the bowls of wrath. After the fifth bowl, we read that men cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores and did not repent of their deeds” (Revelation 16:10).
NOTE: If it were possible to drive men to repentance, the plagues of the trumpets and bowls would do so.
Thought 2: William Barclay gives three purposes for the blowing of a trumpet that are noteworthy:
1) “It can sound the alarm. It can waken from sleep or warn of danger. And God is always sounding His warnings in the ears of men.
2) It Can be the fanfare which announces the arrival of royalty. It is a fitting symbol to express the invasion of time by the King of eternity.
3) It can be the summons to battle. And God is always summoning His people to take sides in the strife of truth with falsehood, and to become soldiers of the King of kings” (Revelation of John Vol. 2, pg. 52).
The second instrument of judgment is the prayers of all the saints. Note that some were in heaven and some were still on earth. All had suffered and some were still suffering the savage persecution of the Antichrist and his government.
Remember how savage the persecution of Christians will be, literally millions, numberless multitudes will be killed (Revelation 7:9-17). Believers will be crying out to God, day and night for deliverance, for justice, for vindication for the hand of such cruelty to be dealt with either by conversion or removal, and to be dealt with speedily.
The point is this: the day is coming when God is going to answer the prayers of His people. He is going to cast His judgment against the Antichrist and his government and all who have followed him. All who have opposed God are going to suffer judgment, the most horrible judgment imaginable—all who have stood against God…
- by ridiculing and mocking His people.
- by cursing and abusing His people.
- by attacking and striking His people.
- by arresting and imprisoning His people.
- by condemning and killing His people.
All who have rebelled against Jesus Christ – rejected, denied, cursed, ignored, neglected, disobeyed, and disbelieved Him — all shall be judged. The judgment of God is about to fall upon the earth. They who have been so cruel and inhumane shall now suffer the most horrible punishment imaginable. The punishment shall come from Him who is just and righteous as well as love. God is going to hear and answer the prayers of His people, His followers who suffered so much at the hands of a godless society that chose to follow the savagery of the Antichrist.
—COMFORT FROM SCRIPTURE—-
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9).
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22).
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him” (Psalm 91:15).
“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
“Call upon me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).
“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, it is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 13:9).
Revelation 8:5, Judgment: there are signs of the coming judgment beginning upon earth. Note the verse:
“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” (v. 5).
The angel takes fire from the altar and note where he puts it; he mixes it with the prayers of the suffering saints. Their prayers for vindication and justice and the fire of God’s holy wrath are mixed together. Why? To be cast upon the earth.
The day is coming when God will be ready to judge the godless society of the earth; He will be ready to avenge His name and the faith of His dear people who have been treated so savagely. The justice of God will strike out in wrath against the ungodly and evil of the earth.
NOTE THIS: the angel casts both the fire and prayers of the saints upon the earth. When he does, all the voices upon earth begin to wonder and question, for there is…
- an enormous increase of violent thunderstorms with their thunderings and lightnings.
- an enormous of increase of earthquakes.
The ungodly millions upon earth know that something is about to happen, something terrible. And it is, the judgment of God is about to fall upon the ungodly of the world. The GREAT TRIBULATION is now being launched.
“But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you” (Matthew 11:22).
“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Mark 6:11).
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 14-15).
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7).
“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).
“Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth” (Psalm 96:13).
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