THE BOOK OF REVELATION
~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Revelation Chapter 8

 

The Seventh Seal

Verse 1:  And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

The seventh and the final seal opened up with nothing but total silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. There are many views on this seal. A common view is that the Seventh Seal comprises the Seven Trumpets. But this could not be so because each set of “seven” in the Book of Revelation is distinct from one another. Another view is that Jesus Christ is getting up from His Throne of Mercy and moving over to sit on His Throne of Judgement. In other words, the Mercy Seat is changing into the Judgement Seat.

Until God sent the 7th Church Age messenger to reveal the truth, theologians, preachers and Bible students could only guess. The obvious truth is that the 7th Seal holds the secret to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, John did not see or hear anything as there was complete silence. Obviously something great was about to take place. And there is nothing greater than the Lord Jesus Christ coming back to earth to claim His own.

Recall, over in chapter 5, that Seven Seals were placed on the rolled up scroll — “a book written within and on the backside” so that no one could read or look into it. This scroll was the “title deed” to the redemption of the earth. The Seven Seals must be broken one by one so that the scroll could be unrolled (opened up) to reveal its contents. Only the Lion of the tribe of Judah who had prevailed as the Lamb of God was able to break and loose the seals. And once the seventh and the final seal was broken and the book opened, the mysterious contents would be known. Therefore, when this 7th Seal was opened nothing was heard or seen by the Apostle John because it was the last seal on the book. The last seal showed the end of time, not that time had ended.

When the 7th Seal was broken the heaven was silent because the scroll was opened up and all heaven waited in awestruck anticipation for the Lord to claim His finished work of redemption. This was a great moment! Redemption was becoming a reality and soon time will be no more. “Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation” (Zech.2:13). And the Lord was seen coming down to earth as a Mighty Angel with the open book in His hand in Revelation chapter 10. And He shouted with a loud voice like the roaring of a lion; and when He had shouted, the Seven Thunders uttered their voices. John heard their message but was told to seal up what they had said and was forbidden to write them down. But one of these days, the Seven Thunders will appear on earth and break the silence with their message to the Bride of Christ. We will understand more of it in chapter 10.

Suffice it to say that the Seven Stars (or the Seven Church Age Messengers), the Seven Candlesticks (the Seven Church Ages), the Seven Seals and the Seven Thunders would be fully made known to the Bride of Christ during her marriage to the Lamb here on earth. All these works would be carried out by the Seven Spirits (or the Seven Angels) which stood before the throne of God (Rev.1:4) and which worked together with the Omnipotent and Omniscient Christ Jesus — the Lamb with Seven Horns and Seven Eyes (Rev.5:6). The events of the Seven Trumpets and the Seven Vials would take place only after the rapture of the Bride-Wife of Jesus Christ. They would all take place at the beginning of the time of Daniel's 70th Week and would last till the return of Jesus Christ, with His saints riding on white horses, for the Battle of Armageddon.

 

The Seven Trumpets

As the visions of the Seven Seals ended, a new series of visions appeared to John.

Verse 2:  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

The Seven Spiritual Angels were back at the throne of God. They were given Seven Trumpets to carry out new assignments for the Almighty. As each of them took turn to blow his trumpet something happened on the earth. After the trumpet blasts, they were given Seven Vials.

Verse 3:  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Verse 4:  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

As the vision continued John witnessed a Jewish temple setting. It signified that the dispensation of the New Testament Church had ended and that God was then dealing with Israel. As the judgement of the Lord God was about to come upon the earth, an angel with a golden censer was given a lot of incense to offer to God. The sweet-smelling incense was mixed with the prayers of all the past and present saints of God and offered upon the golden altar before the throne of God. This was done to appease God, so to speak, that He might remember His promises to Israel even as He began to judge her and the world. Amen. God is full of grace and mercy. His wrath will be fully poured out only at the end of Daniel's 70th Week.

Verse 5:  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.

The casting of the fiery coals into the earth speaks of the fiery judgement of the Lord coming upon the earth as He begins to deal with Israel according to His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things. The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee” (Micah 7:15-17). When the angel cast the censer upon the earth, there were great excitements and tremendous activities in Heaven – “there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake” – which signified the awesome majesty and power of God (see also Rev.11:19; 14:17-20; 16:18 and Isa.29:6). And the whole world will surely tremble and wonder at the things that will be taking place. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Lk.21:25-26). Yes, news on mass media will be a regular 'diet' of every one upon the earth as they wonder and question “what is going to happen next and what is going to happen to us?”

Verse 6:  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

Remember, before they could begin to blow their trumpets, these Seven Angels would have done their job of uttering their voices through the Seven Thunders to the Bride-Wife of Christ for her transformation and translation to meet her Lord in the air. Also, the angels blew their trumpets in Heaven and each time a trumpet was blown John saw something take place in that heavenly realm which affected the earth beneath. As the first four seals spiritually affected the Church of God, the first four trumpets physically affected the children of Israel. The blowing of these four trumpets point to the ministry of the Two Witnesses in the spirit and power of Moses and Elijah as God deals with Israel. John saw them in another series of visions later in Revelation chapter 11, verses 3 to 6 which correspond with the four trumpets: “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. These Two Prophets are God's grace and mercy to Israel to bring them back to His Word. And their ministry will produce cosmic effects upon the environment of the world.

The plagues to be released by the four trumpets will mainly affect “the third part of the earth” — the Biblical world of the Middle East with Jerusalem as the focal point. This much we need to understand. Of course, the inhabitants of the whole world will be affected in one way or another as God calls the attention of Israel to His Word. These would be in the first half (3 years) of the last one week (7 years) of Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy. God will deal with Israel because in that hour they would have entered into a covenant with the Pope – the Antichrist – of the Roman Beast (cf. Dan.9:27; Rev.13:1-3).

 

The First Trumpet

Verse 7:  The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

Hail and fire do not mix. Here they are even mingled with blood. Hail is cold ice-rain. Fire is hot burning mass. Blood is life. “Hail and fire mingled with blood” will not literally be poured upon the earth. They symbolize God's power, wisdom and mercy in judgement on those who reject His Word. It will be a warning judgement though many lives will be greatly affected. Many people will die during this period of judgement. (Read Exodus 9:22-26.) The First Trumpet will cause the beginning of cosmic changes affecting the climate of the earth. The Two Witnesses in Israel will shut up the heavens and no rain will fall in that third part of the world.

Today Israel is blessed with abundance of agricultural products as well as various kinds of animals. What will happen when the drought becomes severe? Of course, there will be extreme heat as the sky will be practically cloudless. This will cause a third part of the earth and trees, and all green grass to be burnt. This condition is foretold in Joel's prophecy: “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness” (Joel 1:15-20).

 

The Second Trumpet

Verse 8:  And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
Verse 9:  And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

The description of “a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea” does not refer to a big burning meteorite or a comet plunging into the ocean. Though there may be some phenomena in the heavens, the “great mountain burning with fire” actually symbolizes God's judgement on a great system that will soon be burnt and cast down as He deals with Israel. Israel would have signed a covenant with the “prince” of Rome, before the start of Daniel's 70th Week (Dan.9:27). God hates that Roman Beast. The Roman Church is a whore that defiled the Word of Truth and killed His saints. Yet Israel will enter into a covenant with her! But God will show His displeasure with Israel and that great whore. His Two Prophets will smite the third part of the sea and change the water into blood. The water in the Great Sea (Mediterranean Sea) and other masses of water in that region of the Middle East will become like blood. A third of all the living creatures will die and a third of all the ships will be destroyed in that third part of the sea. Whatever becomes of the water is certainly not literal blood but something that looks like blood which could kill living things and also damage the ships that sail or anchor in those waters. (This phenomenon could possibly be the widespread of 'red tides' or 'red waters' in that area.) Such destructions in the sea will hinder shipping of goods among the nations, especially in that region.

 

The Third Trumpet

Verse 10:  And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
Verse 11:  And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

“There fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp” symbolizes that the Adversary of God, Lucifer-Satan, will soon be burnt up. There will not be a literal star or comet falling into every river and fountain in that Biblical region of the world though there may be cosmic disturbances to some extent. Satan was the great star (angel) who was cast out from his high estate in the heavenly places when he sought to be like God. He was the spirit of calamity (Wormwood) to God's creation, so to speak, and one who brought bitterness to all who dwell upon the earth. Therefore, when the Two Prophets smite the fresh water in the rivers and fountains in that third part of the world and make it bitter, Israel and other nations will realize that they have forsaken their Creator and have been misled by that spirit of bitterness. Many people will die because of the bitter water.

 

The Fourth Trumpet

Verse 12:  And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

Unlike the first three trumpets, no heavenly symbol is shown when this Fourth Trumpet is blown. God works in 'three', but this is the fourth trumpet blast and the events after this blast will have a greater effect on the whole earth. Through the Two Witnesses, God will smite a third part of the heavenly lights – the sun, the moon and the stars – so a third part of the day and the night will have no light. When God does this, not only Israel and the Middle Eastern region will feel the darkness for a third part of the day and night but all the nations of the earth will also feel the same effect to a certain extent. But what effect will this darkness have upon the inhabitants of the earth? With a third part of the heavenly lights darkened, the earth will lose a proportionate degree of its warmth resulting in drastic climatic changes. The earth will be cold — yes, dark and cold for a third part of the day and night! This shows that there is nothing left but judgement, just like the days when an eerie darkness covered the land of Egypt (when Israel was held captive) for three full days. (Read Exodus 10.)

This Fourth Trumpet will be God's final warning to Israel. It will be sounded some time just before the first 3 years of Daniel's 70th Week is complete. Meanwhile God is getting Israel ready to listen to the Gospel under the ministry of the Two Witnesses with the spirit of Moses and Elijah that they may be prepared to face what is to come in the final 3 years — the time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer.30:7) when they reject the Antichrist. By then, the 144,000 Jewish servants will have received the revelation of their Messiah and be sealed with the Name of God in their foreheads (Rev.7:3). They will have learned and understood enough to be able to move with the Holy Spirit to nourish Israel, the Woman of Revelation 12, during the 3 years of Great Tribulation.

 

Woe, Woe, Woe

Verse 13:  And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

[Note: The phrase “the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound” does not mean that the trumpets have voices to utter. It simply means that when each trumpet is blown or sounded forth, a certain sound or voice follows. That is, it has a certain meaning, significance or objective. Failure to understand this will result in the misinterpretation of Revelation 10:7 as being the Seventh Trumpeting Angel rather than the Seven Church Age Messenger. All Church Age Messengers have voices. In uttering (speaking, shouting, voicing or crying) forth, they are actually sounding forth their messages in their respective ages.]

Here we have the revelation that three “woes” will come upon the inhabitants of the earth with the sounding of the Fifth Trumpet in the middle of the 70th Week of Daniel and will continue throughout the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets until the end of the final 3 years of the 70th Week of Daniel. The effect of these “woes” upon the world will be more intense with each passing day until the last trumpet is blown and the last of the Seven Vials is poured out upon the earth. But what are these “woe, woe, woe”?

The First Woe comes immediately with the blowing of the Fifth Trumpet. This is recorded in Revelation 9:1-12. The bottomless pit is opened and all demons are let loose upon the earth to torment mankind. Oh, how the living will wish that they were dead!

The Second Woe is recorded in Revelation 11:7-14. With the demons on the loose the Antichrist will not hesitate to kill the Two Prophets for prophesying against him and 'disturbing the peace' of his kingdom (the Beast system) for some 1260 days or 42 months (Rev.11:3-12; 8:6-12). With the death of the Two Prophets the Voice of God is silenced, so to speak, and Israel will then face the Man of Sin.

The Third Woe is in Revelation 12:7-17. The casting out of the great red dragon (the Devil) and all his angels speaks of the Fall of Lucifer in aeons past and of his incarnation in the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition — the Pope. The Pope will sit in the Temple of Jerusalem and will proclaim himself as God (2 Thess.2:3-4). He is Satan incarnate, and the Abomination that makes desolate the sacred sacrificial place of the temple of the Living God of Israel. The Devil will persecute the Woman Israel and kill those who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”. It will be a bloodbath.

All these “woes” will fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 9:27: “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: AND IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK HE SHALL CAUSE THE SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE, AND FOR THE OVERSPREADING OF ABOMINATIONS HE SHALL MAKE IT DESOLATE, EVEN UNTIL THE CONSUMMATION, AND THAT DETERMINED SHALL BE POURED UPON THE DESOLATE.”

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