About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 8 and 9
now come to the opening of the seventh seal.
This seal leads into the first of the seven trumpets.
The seventh trumpet then leads into the first of the seven bowls. As
I've said earlier, some prophecy teachers believe the seven seals take place as
the same time as the seven trumpet and bowls.
Others believe the seals come first, then the trumpets, and then the
bowls. A few believe, as I'm tending
to believe at the moment, that the first six seals is an overview of the
tribulation. The seven trumpets and
bowls are then in chronological order.
Whatever the case, what God tells angels to do in heaven they do on
earth to carry out His acts of judgment.
verse 1 we note that when Jesus opens the last seal there is silence in Heaven
for one half hour. Is this a literal
half hour or a symbolic half hour? I
tend to believe that numbers in the book of Revelation and other prophetic
passages should be taken literally and this is no exception.
Total silence by everyone in Heaven for a half hour is a major event.
Just think, if five hundred people in a Sunday morning meeting of the
saints were silent for one half hour, to us, that might be significant.
In this case we have thousands upon thousands of angels and the redeemed
silent. I think this silence has to
do with the awesome moment that is taking place.
We're getting into the heavier and horrible aspects of the last seven
years of this age and even those in heaven can do nothing but be silent.
Words cannot express what this silence means, especially in light of the
fact that all we've seen so far in heaven are loud noises and songs of praise.
Heaven, at least so far, has been very vocal, and now it's silent.
of the above being said, there is no time frame in heaven.
verse 2 we see the introduction of “the seven angels who stand before the
throne”. We now have this group
added to those we’ve seen already before the throne.
We’ve seen the four living creatures, twenty four elders, the seven spirits of God, and a sea of people, among others. We
don't really know if these angels are different types of angels than the others
or not. One thing we should know
though is that there are probably more types of angels than what we are aware
of. We may be very surprised when we
get to heaven and see all the different types of angelic beings.
Hebrews 1:14 tells us that God makes His angels
spirits. Another way of viewing
these seven angels is that they are seven spirits, and, more specifically, the
seven spirits of God we've seen in chapter 1.
verse 3 we see another angel involved in the judgments. We’ve seen many angels
to date involved in the events that are taking place on earth.
This angel has a golden censer, or in modern terms, an incense burner,
full of incense. He burned this incense on the altar that was before the throne.
Once again, we see this incense in association with the prayers of the
saints. Could these prayers be the
prayers that were offered by the martyrs in the fifth seal?
Maybe, but we’re not sure. The
prayers could be the prayers of all saints of all times that have been offered
to Jesus concerning His judging of the earth. Whatever
the case, these prayers are an offering to the Lord.
know that there is a spiritual battle that has been raging since the fall of
man. Our prayers are part of this
battle. We also have to admit that
not all of our prayers are answered for various reasons.
I wonder if these prayers aren’t the unanswered prayers due to the
spiritual battle that was fought throughout the age.
Many Prophetic Futurists do believe these are unanswered prayers.
At this time they’ve reached the throne and now will be answered. This
is just a thought, not necessarily the truth of the matter.
angel took this censer and filled it with fire and threw it to the earth
resulting in a great thunder storm and an earthquake.
I remind you that angels are doing the will of Jesus here.
Angels act on behalf of God. I
also believe that angels are involved in the affairs of men and the affairs of
angels more than we can ever know. The
so-called climate change that is taking place on earth today is probably more
angel prompted than a product of man.
does the throwing of this censer mean?
If we think that the prayers offered through this censer were the prayers
of the martyrs of the fifth seal, or even if they are prayers of all saints of
all time asking when judgment would come, to me, this is the answer to those
prayers. Christians throughout the
ages have prayed for justice to be done on earth.
Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Thy will be done on
earth as it is in Heaven”. The
hurling of this censer to earth thus represents the answer to these prayers, or
so many Prophetic Futurists believe.
verse 7 we see thunder and an earthquake. Because
earthquake is singular we should understand that this is just one earthquake.
I don't believe this is the same earthquake which is described in the six
seal in Revelation 6:14. The sixth
seal earthquake comes with other disasters as the sun turning black, the moon
turning to blood, and the stars falling from the sky.
The Revelation 6:14 must be understood as the very last major earthquake
of this age because of its association with these other disasters.
Where this chapter 8:7 earthquake takes place we just don't know.
It would not surprise me if it was in the
now come to the seven angels who hold the seven trumpets.
The seventh seal is actually an introduction to these seven trumpeters
and the judgments that follow the sound of these trumpets.
As I've said before, I believe the six seals are and overview of the
tribulation period. It is clear that
the seventh seal opens the door to the seven trumpets that opens the door to the
seven bowls. Therefore, at this
moment in time, I believe the seven trumpet judgments and the seven bowl
judgments should be viewed as being in chronological order.
When the angel blows his trumpet, this is basically to announce the coming of a judgment. You might compare it to gun fire at the beginning of a race. Throughout the Old Testament trumpets are sounded to prepare the army for war.
At this pint I should remind you that John is still
in heaven. He sees the angel blow the trumpets but he is also able to see
the results of these trumpet sound on the earth.
verse 7 we see the first angel blowing his trumpet resulting in hail and fire
mixed with blood being thrown to the earth causing one third of the earth,
trees, and grass, to be burned up. Some
of those who hold to the Historic view see this event as the advance of the
barbarian nations to overthrow
storm of hail and fire would easily be mixed with the blood of those it falls
won't go into any details concerning how people view these trumpet and bowl
judgments symbolically or allegorically because there are so many differing
views when thinking in these terms. It's
basically a free for all. If you
don't take these things literally, then it is up to anyone's fancy to say what
note the term "a third part" in the first two judgments.
Some would say this is symbolic because of the mere mention of a third
part so many times. I don't see that
this has to be taken symbolically. God
can be exact if He wants. If He
wants one third of the sea to turn to blood He can do that.
We shouldn't be surprised. As
I've said earlier, I believe numbers should be taken literally when it comes to
When it comes to these judgments, those who want to
interpret them symbolically to mean something else seem to forget the judgments
God placed on
verses 8 the second angel blows his trumpet.
John says that something like a mountain hits the earth.
John did not seem to exactly know what this was.
Maybe it was a comet or asteroid. Many
people believe it is just that. Whatever
the case, one third of the sea turned to blood.
Also one third of the sea’s living creatures die, along with one third
of the ocean ships being destroyed.
symbolize this mountain to be nations of the world because mountains are
sometimes, maybe even often, seen as nations in the Old Testament, yet if you
symbolize this mountain; you must be consistent and symbolize the sea, fish, and
ships, which would be hard to do in my thinking.
third trumpet sounds in verses 10 and 11. Some
kind of great star falls from the sky called Wormwood.
Common to the
verse 12 we see the fourth trumpet sound. One
third of the sun, moon, and stars, turn dark. This causes one third of the night
and day to be dark as well. In
Matthew 24 Jesus says that the sun and moon would turn into darkness.
The prophet Joel predicts the same. We
can’t say for sure if the actual sun, moon, and stars, turns dark in
themselves or they appear dark due to some catastrophe on earth.
They might well just appear to be dark.
Volcanic ash for example can cloud the skies, making the sun darker and
the moon look red in colour.
first four trumpets have now been sounded and some pretty terrible judgments
from God have resulted from them, yet before the next trumpet sounds, an eagle
flies across the sky and warns those on earth of the next judgments.
The next three trumpets seem to be worse than the first four.
note a similarity between the trumpets and the seals at this point.
The first four of each are similar to each other, while there seems to be
a change in the last three. The first four seals differ from the last three
seals in that the first four had horses and riders and the last three didn’t.
The first four trumpets are now distinguished from the last three with an
interruption by this eagle that announces the three woes, which in fact are
versions of verse 13 use the word eagle, and some use the word angel.
The Greek word translated as eagle and the Greek word translated as angel
are very similar, which has brought some confusion into the translation.
that there are three wows shouted out by the eagle.
There are three wows because the next three trumpet sounds are called
suggest that this can't be an eagle shouting these wows.
They say eagles don't talk, and that is correct, at least in this era of
time. That being said, if this is an
eagle and not an angel, I suggest that God can make an eagle talk, just as He
made Balaam's donkey talk. We must
understand that the tribulation period is actually a different age, just as the
pre-fall days of Genesis 3 was a different age.
The Genesis account speaks of satan speaking through the mouth of a
snake. Many allegorize the snake
talking away, but why? The pre-fall
age is so different that our present age that we have no clue to what it was
like. Maybe some animals had some
kind of ability to communicate with humans.
That would not surprise me. When
God told Adam that he would die if he disobeyed, I see this death as the death
of all things. The molecular
structure of all things was changed in one moment of a time so drastically that
nothing was at it once was. Don't
discount the notion that an eagle can talk during the tribulation.
All of the above being said, what John is seeing here is in heaven, not on earth. Eagles may not talk on earth but we don't know if they talk in heaven. Remember, John is in heaven. What he sees is in heaven, but, what he sees in heaven have corresponding effects on earth.
chapter 9 verse 1 we see the sound of the fifth trumpet. A star falls from
Heaven. In many places throughout the Old Testament stars are actually
angels. So, there's no real need to overly symbolize this star. The
star is a personality because of the use of the pronoun “he”. Some
suggest that because this sentence is in the past tense the event here has
already happened, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. The
star is an angel because he has the key to the Abyss. Some suggest this
angel is satan but I don't see satan having any such key.
Abyss is a place where demons have been locked up.
Many, as was the case in Greek mythology, believe the Abyss is the most
lower part of Hades, where the present wicked dead now live.
In verse 3 we see that locust came out of the smoke
from the Abyss. Many have speculated
concerning these locusts. They are
further described in verse 7 and following.
I believe they are locusts because that is what the text state they are,
but, since they come out of the Abyss, they must be special locusts that are
inhabited by demons from that part of the Abyss.
Demons can live in animals, at least for a period of time.
Jesus cast demons into pigs.
these demons from the Abyss, if
you read the book of Jude you'll see that there is a segment of demons who have
been locked up by God for a long time. Peter,
in 2 Peter 2:4 and following speak of these same demons.
Many Bible teachers believe these demons to be the angels that cohabited
with human women in Genesis 6 producing giant offspring.
Those who believe this believe God sent the flood to the earth because of
this very sin. Here in Revelation,
we see demons released from the Abyss. They
might well be the fallen angels of Genesis 6.
to be clear, I don't believe the Abyss is Hades where the present wicked and
unbelieving dead live. However,
it might be the basement of Hades as was thought to be the case by many ancient
religions. It's clearly a place of
fire because of the reference to smoke.
4 states that these demon possessed locusts are let lose to torment those who did not have the
seal of God. It is interesting to me
that God would use demons as a means to torment the wicked, those who might well
be possessed with demons themselves. This
surely tells us that God is in charge of all things, all people, and all angels,
including demons. It also tells us
that God uses satan and demons to accomplish His will.
It is interesting to note that these locusts could
only torment those who had the mark of the beast for five months, which, is the
normal life span of a locust. This
would further suggest to me that these locusts are really some type of real and
say that this event is actually satan’s fall from Heaven before the creation
of the world but I don't think so.
verses 3 through 11 we learn all about these demon possessed locusts that come from the Abyss.
As I said before, I believe these locusts are real locusts, not purely demons
or some kind of man made thing like airplanes.
The book of Joel prophesies of such locusts as well.
God is using these locusts in the process of His judgment.
The torment of this demonic attack is so bad that in verse 6 we see that
those inflicted by these demons want to die but can't.
That must be some very horrible way to feel.
demon possessed locusts had another demon over them called Apollyon. We
thus note that this is yet another verse that tells us that fallen angels or
demons are under a chain of authority. The
name "Apollyon" means the destroyer, and might well be in reference to
satan, especially since Jesus said that satan comes to destroy in John 10:10.
we go to verse 13 we must note what the eagle said at the end of chapter 8.
He said, “woe, woe woe…” He
said the word “woe” three times, and now we see that this word means
something. We note in verse 12 that
the trumpet that has just sounded represents the first “woe”, and now there
are two more “woes” to come. Each of the last three trumpet sounds is a woe.
To me this suggests a bit of a shift
in God's judgments. These woes are
more severe than the previous trumpets.
verses 13 and following we see the sixth trumpet sound, or the second woe.
The sounding of this trumpet releases four angels that were bound in the
says that these angels had been locked up for this very hour, day, and month.
This certainly shows us the idea that God has a timetable, and it’s
right down to the very hour. I
certainly don't think we should symbolize or allegorize these moments of time.
is quite possible that these angels influence evil men on earth.
The description that John tells us concerning this two hundred million
strong army for some looks very much like modern weapons and machines of war.
Some Bible teachers have suggested that this army is a Chinese army since
they have the population to support such a huge army.
They suggest that this is an army of men and not demons because of the
wording of the text. For example, it
speaks of "mounted troops".
that being said, I'm not convinced that this army is an army of men and
airplanes. It could well be an army
of demons, and at the moment, I lean towards that.
That does not mean these demons don't use men in the process as they
terrorize the world, because they might
All that being said, I'm not convinced that this army is an army of men and airplanes. It could well be an army of demons, and at the moment, I lean towards that. That does not mean these demons don't use men in the process as they terrorize the world, because they might
verses 20 and 21 we note that the rest of mankind still did not repent of all
the sins they constantly commit, including worshipping demons.
Whether humans at this point realize they are really worshipping demons
or not is uncertain. However, satan
worship is on the rise and I believe there will be those who worship demons and
know they are worshipping demons.
my understanding of the book of Revelation, by the time this part of the
tribulation comes on earth the majority of mankind will realize there is a God
and that they are in fact fighting against him, but as verses 20 and 21 state,
man will still not repent. This is
very hard to understand, but we know that man's heart is more wicked than we can
the seven seals, there is an interruption between trumpet number six and trumpet
number seven as we will see in the next chapter.
We won’t hear the seventh trumpet sound until we come to Revelation 15.