Revelation 8-11 Seven Trumpets Sound

Revelation 8-11 Seven Trumpets Sound

TMS Philippians 2:3-4 Other-centeredness
Phil 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love,
if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love,
being of one accord, of one mind.

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit,
but in lowliness of mind
let each esteem others better than himself.

4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests,
but also for the interests of others.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Observations: 2:3-4 Because of what we have in union with Christ, believers have a basis for unity. That unity is developed by considering others as more important than ourselves, and destroyed by selfish ambition (wanting what we want without regard for how it affects others) and conceited behavior (literally “vain/empty glory”). The trick to considering others more important than ourselves is recognizing that when it comes to being rewarded (as Christ was in the rest of the chapter, whose mindset we are exhorted to embrace) they are. Jesus said that if we wanted to be great, we needed to be a servant of others. It was because of His service of all (Phil 2:9) that God exalted Him above all. So we don't totally neglect our needs (if we do, we will not be in any condition to serve others), but we look out for what is in their best interest, even if it means sacrificing our desires (definition of love). God will make it up to us.
Application: Loving our neighbor as ourselves means looking out for their interests and benefits to at least the degree that we do so for ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, help me develop a sensitivity to the needs of others, and recognize the importance of serving them as You have me. Amen.

Revelation 8-11 This section covers the seven trumpet judgments which comprise the seventh seal on the title deed to the earth. The judgments result in the destruction of a third of the earth and half of its population. The cumulative effect of the catastrophes should cause those experiencing the Tribulation to repent, but not many do. Two witnesses testify to the nation of Israel with fire and plagues; when their ministry is concluded, they are overcome by the Beast and killed, but God resurrects them and calls them to heaven. The seventh trumpet sounds and the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of God. John is seeing individual events, in sequence. All these events are obviously future, and are specific, not mere symbols for the general triumph of good over evil.

Revelation 8 Trumpets and Woes
8:1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 Another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 The angel took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it on the earth. There followed thunders, sounds, lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 The seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7 The first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. One third of the earth was burnt up, and one third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great burning mountain was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood, 9 and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died. One third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell on one third of the rivers, and on the springs of the waters. 11 The name of the star is called "Wormwood." One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
12 The fourth angel sounded, and one third of the sun was struck, and one third of the moon, and one third of the stars; so that one third of them would be darkened, and the day wouldn’t shine for one third of it, and the night in the same way. 13 I saw, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe! Woe! Woe for those who dwell on the earth, because of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, who are yet to sound!"

Observations: 8:1-6 When the seventh seal is opened, there is silence. It could signify a pause in the progression, or emphasize the impending doom. In the OT there was a pause between the sacrifices being offered, and the incense and prayers being offered. Seven angels with trumpets are revealed in the seventh seal. Then in a scene very similar to Ezekiel 10 (when the glory departed from the temple) an angel took coals from the altar and scatters them on the earth, followed by all kinds of disasters. It's possible that the judgments are in response to the prayers of the saints who are being persecuted during the Tribulation or who had been previously martyred (cf Rev 6:10).
8:7 The first trumpet results in a third of the earth and its vegetation being destroyed.
8:8-9 The second trumpet summons something like a burning mountain which destroys a third of the seas and ships.
8:10-11 The third trumpet causes a great star to fall, named Wormwood, which poisons a third of the rivers and streams and results in many deaths, of an unspecified number of people.
8:12-13 The fourth trumpet wipes out a third of the sun, moon, and stars. An eagle (could also be translated “vulture”) flies by with more bad news, a triple “Woe” for those who dwell on earth. Woe means bad news. There are some double woes (Exek 16:23), but this is triple woe is really bad news for the people, since they will be harmed directly.
Application: Judgment comes from the presence of God as a function of His justice. Just like He destroyed the OT temple for the Israel's rejection of Him, so too, He destroys the nations and earth for rejecting His revelation.
Prayer: God, may I live so that I experience Your blessings rather than Your cursings. Amen.

Revelation 9 Torment and Death of Sinners
9:1 The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from the sky which had fallen to the earth. The key to the pit of the abyss was given to him. 2 He opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke from a burning furnace. The sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke from the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke came forth locusts on the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those people who don’t have God’s seal on their foreheads. 5 They were given power not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a person. 6 In those days people will seek death, and will in no way find it. They will desire to die, and death will flee from them. 7 The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for war. On their heads were something like golden crowns, and their faces were like people’s faces. 8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like those of lions. 9 They had breastplates, like breastplates of iron. The sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, or of many horses rushing to war. 10 They have tails like those of scorpions, and stings. In their tails they have power to harm men for five months. 11 They have over them as king the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is "Abaddon," but in Greek, he has the name "Apollyon." 12 The first woe is past. Behold, there are still two woes coming after this.
13 The sixth angel sounded. I heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had one trumpet, "Free the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates!" 15 The four angels were freed who had been prepared for that hour and day and month and year, so that they might kill one third of mankind. 16 The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million. I heard the number of them. 17 Thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those who sat on them, having breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulphur yellow; and the heads of lions. Out of their mouths proceed fire, smoke, and sulphur. 18 By these three plagues were one third of mankind killed: by the fire, the smoke, and the sulphur, which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths, and in their tails. For their tails are like serpents, and have heads, and with them they harm.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed with these plagues, didn’t repent of the works of their hands, that they wouldn’t worship demons, and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk. 21 They didn’t repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their sexual immorality, nor of their thefts.

Observations: 9:1-12 The last three trumpets of the seventh seal are the three “Woes” the eagle announced. When the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, John saw a star which had fallen to the earth. The key to the pit of abyss was given to the “star” and he opened the pit to let loose a swarm of “locusts.” The pit is the temporary prison of demonic angels (2Pt 2:4; Jude 6) and the beast (11:7); Satan will spend a 1,000 years there (20:3) before being tossed into the lake of fire. It turns out the “locusts,“ like something out of a horror movie, have the power to sting like scorpions and torment (but not kill) those who don't have God's mark on their foreheads (7:3-8), for five months. It will be so bad, people will want to die, but death will elude them. A swarm of locust was impossible to stop or evade. The “locusts” appear like warhorses, with crowns and flowing hair; they sting humans and follow a leader, so they are not your basic garden variety locusts, but rather demonic creatures (cf Joel 2:4-6 Day of the Lord). The leader's name means “Destroyer” but is probably not Satan, who makes his grand entrance in chapter 12. The eagle (or perhaps John) makes an editorial comment: “one down, two to go.”
9:13-19 The sixth angel sounded and a voice from the horns of the altar (where a sacrifice was usually bound) instructs the four bound angels (probably not those in 7:1 due to location differences, and only fallen angels are recorded as being bound), be let loose to kill a third of the earth's population. A quarter of those living on earth after the Rapture had been killed in the fourth seal judgment (Pale Horse -6:8). The timetable of their release had been planned down to the specific hour. Neither man's sin, nor rejection of Christ was a surprise to God. We're not given any information as to when the fallen angels were bound (but it's most likely it happened when Satan rebelled), nor are we given the significance of the specific time in history. John hears that there are two hundred million horsemen, which he then sees spewing three plagues out of their mouths to kill a third of mankind. Like the locusts, these are demonic beings, under control of the four previously bound fallen angels.
9:20-21 The purpose of these judgments is to execute judgment on those who were rejecting God, but even though people were experiencing wrath, they didn't repent of their idolatry, murders, sorceries, immorality, nor thefts (sins against God and man). Some people just don't learn.
Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live."
Application: God doesn't delight in the death of sinners, but will discipline them unless they repent. Learn at the low volume, and from the mistakes of others.
Prayer: God, may I be sensitive to Your will and discipline, so I am quick to repent when erring. Amen.

Revelation 10 The Little Book of Revelation
10:1 I saw a mighty angel coming down out of the sky, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had in his hand a little open book. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land. 3 He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, "Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don’t write them." 5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky, 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay, 7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.
8 The voice which I heard from heaven, again speaking with me, said, "Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land." 9 I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. He said to me, "Take it, and eat it up. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." 10 I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 They told me, "You must prophesy again over many peoples, nations, languages, and kings."

Observations: 10:1-7 John sees a mighty angel with a glorious appearance set a foot on land and the other on the sea. In his hand is a little book/scroll, that was for the entire world to hear (land and sea). The angel cried out with a loud voice and seven thunders replied. John was forbidden to record what he heard. Apparently God is not going to reveal everything until it happens, which might have something to do with the timing of the return of Christ to earth. The angel swears by the Creator that there will no longer be a delay, but that in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, the mystery of God will be completed/brought to fulfillment, as He declared to the prophets. This is a reference to the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah, which occurs at the seventh trumpet (11:15). The mystery (Eph 1) was to sum up everything under the headship of the Messiah which at this juncture is still future.
10:8-11 John gets told to eat the book, which was sweet to his taste, like honey, but gave him a bitter stomach ache. Like Ezekiel (3:1-11) the word of God was sweet to those receptive to Him, but when they sought to share it with others, they were rejected by them. John is given the revelation (rest of the book) which tells of the triumph of Christ, but it too, until this day, is rejected by most.
Application: Our belief and witness must be based upon God's revelation, which must become part of our lives.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want Your word to be an integral part of all that I do and say. Amen.

Revelation 11 Two Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet
11:1 A reed like a rod was given to me. Someone said, "Rise, and measure God’s temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 Leave out the court which is outside of the temple, and don’t measure it, for it has been given to the nations. They will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months.
3 I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands, standing before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone desires to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. If anyone desires to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6 These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. 7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them. 8 Their dead bodies will be in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 From among the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations people will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10 Those who dwell on the earth rejoice over them, and they will be glad. They will give gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. 11 After the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet. Great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 I heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In that day there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe comes quickly. 15 The seventh angel sounded, and great voices in heaven followed, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ. He will reign forever and ever!" 16 The twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God’s throne, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: "We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was; because you have taken your great power, and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and your wrath came, as did the time for the dead to be judged, and to give your bondservants the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints, and those who fear your name, to the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth." 19 God’s temple that is in heaven was opened, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant was seen in his temple. Lightnings, sounds, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail followed.

Observations: 11:1-2 Like Ezekiel in chapter 40, John is told to measure the temple. This is not the Millennial temple which Ezekiel measured, because the outer court of this temple and the Holy City is given to the nations/Gentiles to trample for 42 months. No such fate befalls the Millennial Temple and City, since they are set up after Christ returns. According to Daniel 9:27, the Anti-Christ will make a covenant with the nation of Israel (after the Rapture, and at the beginning of the Tribulation) which will allow them to rebuild the temple. Halfway through the seven year Tribulation (42 months) the Anti-Christ will break his covenant with the nation of Israel and Gentiles will trample the courts of the temple and the Holy City (for another 42 months). The act of measuring the temple, altar, and those who worship is probably a reference to God's ownership (and thus protection) of them, since John is instructed to not measure the part that the nations will defile.
11:3-14 The temple reference leads into two Spirit empowered witnesses. The lampstands symbolized the light of witnesses to God, which was the role the nation was supposed to play. The design of lampstands was such that they were fueled by oil of the trees (symbolizing never-ending supply, and thus ever-present witness). The two witnesses of this chapter were prophesied in Zechariah 4:11-14. The oil is usually a symbol of the Holy Spirit, who empowers the witness (cf. Acts 1:8). These two witness aren't identified in the text. Elijah and Enoch are two frequently mentioned candidates since neither of them died during their time on earth. Malachi 4:5 prophesied that Elijah return before the Messiah (cf Mt 11:14). Elijah also appeared with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 17:2). The wearing of sackcloth was a mourning over loss and a prophetic call to repentance. The two witnesses would be able to call down fire to protect themselves (as did Elijah in 2Kings 1:10-14). The length of their ministry matches the length of the drought in Elijah's day, so he's the most likely to be a witness to the Jews during the second half of the Tribulation. Enoch is my choice for the second witness (since people are only suppose to die once, and Moses was already dead -Heb 9:27). Enoch had also prophesied of end time events (Jude 1:14). It really doesn't matter who they were, but what does matter is that God still calls the Jewish nation to repentance even in the midst of judgment. The other noteworthy dynamic, is that God let's His servants be overcome by evil (the Beast) when, but not until, their job is done. Then, after they are killed (and the whole town celebrates), God brings them back to life, using their death to glorify Himself. God resurrects them, and calls them up to heaven. He destroys 7000 people and a tenth of the city, and some respond with glorifying (believing in) God. This, in addition to the drought and plagues of the witnesses, constitute the second “woe.”
This is the first of many references in Revelation to the Beast prophesied by Daniel (7:21). His home was the abyss where the demons were kept and he is energized by Satan (Rev 9:1-3; 13:4). Another editorial comment indicates “two down, one to go.”
11:15 The seventh trumpet heralds the return of Christ. It is only after the ministry of the two witnesses (and all the preceded) that the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord God, and the Messiah. Not until then (as in not in our time, nor the NT time) will Christ reign. Within the seventh trumpet are seven bowl or vial judgments that will be poured out as Christ comes to earth (chapter 16). Before and after that, there are a few interludes describing the Beast, False Prophet, and Satan, as well as Armageddon, and the events that precede the establishment of Christ's rule on earth (19:6) such as the Fall of (Mystery) Babylon. Here the seventh trumpet announces the transfer of kingdoms, and that the Messiah shall reign to the Ages of the Ages.
11:16-19 The twenty-four elders worship God, who was, is, and is to come because He has taken (perfect tense) His great power and begun to reign (NIV). “Reign” is in the aorist tense, which is the unspecified tense, giving a snapshot of the action, which is usually translated in the past. However, Christ's reign isn't past and over, but as the rest of the book demonstrates, hasn't occurred yet. The aorist is often used to describe future prophetic events, since from the prophet's point of view, they have already happened. Attention to the surrounding context gives insight into how the aorist should be translated. All the actions for which the elders praise God are in the aorist tense: His wrath coming, the judging of the dead, the rewarding of the faithful, and the destruction of those who destroy the earth, yet none of those events have happened, as the future chapters will demonstrate. So here the elders are anticipating the rule of the Messiah. His judging and rewarding are major events of His coming as Isaiah 40:10 and John the Baptist foretold, Jesus predicted, and the other NT authors anticipated as a means of motivating their audiences to obey. The elders specify that the Lord's reward is for those saints who fear His name. The temple of God in heaven was opened, accompanied by elaborate effects.
Application: Fearing God (being careful to do what is right in His sight) is essential to being rewarded, regardless of what may befall us here on earth.
Prayer: God, thanks that Your future return, reign, and reward are guaranteed by Your promises and John's witness; may I be faithful to accomplish Your purposes for my time on earth. Amen.

Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God will judge without mercy those who refuse His mercy. He sends discipline in the hopes that people will repent (and some do).

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus is not yet reigning over the earth; He won't begin His Messianic rule until the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of God, at the seventh trumpet.

Us in a nutshell: Those who fear and serve God will be rewarded. Those who rebel and serve their pleasures will suffer destruction.

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