Episode #246. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 8 together. John describes the final seal and the first four trumpets.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #246. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 8 together: John describes the final seal and the first four trumpets.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Megan and I lived our own personal National Geographic event! There is a trail along Highway 1 adjacent to the California coast just north of San Simeon where Elephant Seals land every year about this time. It is one of those wonderful things of God’s creation that is predictable and amazing.
We traversed this half-mile trail back and forth, spotting the mamas and the mamas-to-be; the weaners and the super-weaners. But nothing was more impressive than the bull elephant seals, vying to be dominate. At first glance, they just looked like 16 feet and 2 ½ tons of blubber, exhausted and still from their long journey.
Then…they started to wake up.
The first one just looked like he was stretching. He reared up and curled his head way back. But then it became immediately apparent from the low guttural growl that this was a throw-down. And at first, none responded. Then the challenger started ever-so-slowly to approach his chosen opponent. Still no response. And then, he got too close.
As fast as 5000 pounds can whip around – which is faster than you might think – he did and it was on. Suddenly, five tons of mad were circling each other; growling, and baring teeth. And those teeth are nothing you want to be in the way of. The then-current dominate was the first to strike a blow. Then the challenger. Then wrestling and several more simultaneous hits. It was awful. But we were mesmerized.
Only God Knows
Then the Big Daddy started to back away, making it look like he was retreating. Then we realized he was drawing the challenger into the water. This battle may have started on sand, but it would end in the water.
And then they were gone.
We continued scanning the horizon for an hour, until the cold started biting into our fingers and toes. But nothing. Only God knows where they came back up and who the victor was. But wow! What a front row seat we had. Incredible.
Have you ever read Job 12:7-10?
But ask the animals, and they will instruct you;
ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you;
let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all of these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
The life of every living thing is in his hand,
as well as the breath of all humanity.
Revelation Chapter 8
The Seventh Seal
When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. 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. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand. 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.
The Seven Trumpets
And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
The First Trumpet
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.
The Second Trumpet
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, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The Third Trumpet
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. 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.
The Fourth Trumpet
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.
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!”
This is a short but very powerful chapter. When Jesus removed the 7th seal, John tells us there was silence in Heaven for about half an hour. This is quite a dramatic pause when you consider that Heaven is a place of constant praise and worship to God. This is probably meant to underscore the somberness of what will take place when the seven angels blow their trumpets.
But first an angel with a golden censor appears and fills it with incense. Prayers and incense are often associated with one another in the Bible. After presenting the incense along with the prayers of the saints at the golden altar in front of the Throne of God, the angel fills it with fire and throws it to the earth. Thunder and lightning and earthquakes follow.
Some scholars suggest that presenting the incense along with the prayers of the saints may be responsible for hastening the Lord’s return. Also, the fire in the censor may symbolize the judgements that take place on earth because of the blowing of the 7 trumpets. The first four trumpets and the judgements that follow are discussed in this chapter.
The First Trumpet
The first trumpet blows and hail and fire, mixed with blood, are hurled to earth. And a third of the earth and the trees are burned up, along with all the grass. This could be the result of a cataclysmic meteor show, or perhaps a supernatural event, that destroys the food supply of the earth and ushers in a worldwide famine.
The Second Trumpet
The second trumpet blows and a fiery mountain is hurled into the sea, destroying a third of the sea and the creatures in it as well as a third of the ships on the sea. Most of us probably picture a giant asteroid or comet falling into the ocean. Whatever it is, much of the food supply in the ocean is destroyed as well as the earth’s shipping capacity.
The Third Trumpet
The third trumpet blows and a great star falls to the earth and a third of the rivers and springs are destroyed. Without drinking water for man and his animals, and water for the crops, there will be a catastrophic loss of life.
The Fourth Trumpet
The fourth trumpet blows and a third of the light of the sun, moon and stars is darkened. Without this sunlight, there will be dramatic changes to weather and agriculture. Energy needs would increase while solar energy is curtailed.
It seems to me that any one of these trumpet events could destroy life as we know it on earth. But according to verse 13, an eagle flies overhead and cries out, “Woe! Woe! Woe to those who live on the earth, because of the remaining trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to sound!”
I told you about the book, The Late Great Planet Earth, a few days ago. The viewpoint presented by the author is that of a Pre-Millennial, Pre-tribulation end time. In other words, Christians are raptured out before the Great Tribulation takes place and do not experience the judgements. But many Christians, including my husband, have a Pre-Millennial, Post-Tribulation view and believe that Christians will have to endure the Great Tribulation. If he is right, I shudder to imagine what it will be like to experience a time such as that. Let’s pray.
Oh, Lord, what an awful time it will be during the Great Tribulation. But we know these things must take place on earth before your return. We pray that you will give us strength and faith to endure, that minds will be opened to the Gospel during this time and Christians who remain will be ready witnesses to your saving grace. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.