Thursday, August 27, 2009

Revelation 8:1-6

Chapter 8

Now that the group has been sealed to survive, and the martyred tribulation saints have arrived in heaven, the last seal can be opened. The reason for that is that the tribulation has now been cut short. That part of the 70th week is now over. Christ said in Matthew that the tribulation has to be cut short or nobody would be saved. What cuts it short is the fact that when the sixth seal signs begin, mankind will be under so much terror that the last thing they will be worrying about is rounding up any stray Christians or anti New World Order people that have escaped the round-up. They will be concentrating on their own survival, as they believe the end of the world is coming. They are basically right. All of this is leading up to the end of the world as they know it. Most of the population of the planet will be dead by the time eveything that is yet to occur has happened. What is about to immediately occur are the final conditions of the terms of the mortgage. Satan's attempt to destroy the planet and everyone on it. He has always known that he has lost, but that does not stop him from trying to win. He knows the end is near and the only thing left for him to do now is try to completely destroy the planet so that God's promises cannot come true. It would mean his victory, so he makes the attempt. God uses Satan's plans and anger to punish the world, just as He used Satan's attempt to destroy Christ to redeem mankind. This is not God's wrath that is about to occur. That comes later after antichrist's reign has come to an end. God's punishment is swift and final. These attacks are long and torturous, as that is the way Satan works.

The sixth seal constituted the initial major signs of the coming of the Day of the Lord. The signs of the Day of the Lord, however, constitute more than what was in the sixth seal. The Day of the Lord signs, if remembered in their totality, will be seen to also encompass the first six trumpet judgments in the seventh seal. They relate back to many things in the book of Joel. In a way, this is the beginning of the Day of the Lord, as once the last seal is opened Christ regains ownership of the earth and His reign begins in a conditional way. He does not have complete reign yet, as Satan and antichrist get to reign for the complete last half of the 70th week. That cannot be cut short. The conditions of the seal have to play out as part of the agreement before Christ can reign supreme. Therefore this technically is still not God’s wrath, as these events are Satan’s last attempt to deceive and destroy the people and the planet. This seventh seal contains seven trumpet judgments. The first six belong to Satan (that seems to be his and man's number), and the last trumpet, the seventh, belongs to God. Seven is God's number, which is why it has been so prevalent in this book. The last trumpet contains seven bowl or vial judgments, and we will see that they are poured out on the earth very quickly. God is swift in his judgment unlike Satan, who likes to take his time torturing people. We will see that the seventh trumpet (not the seventh seal) is the last trump and is God’s wrath, poured out to destroy those who have taken the mark, after he has taken out the last of his people in the rapture (which you will remember happens at the last trump).

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

“But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:20 “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.” Zephaniah 1:7 What is about to occur is the last hurrah for Satan. Everyone in heaven is grieved at seeing this attempt to destroy God's creation. Those few Christians who have made it through the tribulation and will still be alive until the rapture, and those of the nation of Israel that will go into the millennium, plus those of all the nations in the earth who have not taken the mark of the beast will have to endure and hopefully survive (although some will not) that which lies ahead, and it is horrific beyond comprehension I am sure that even God is loathe to have to do this, as He still has people down there. He has to take a moment respite before giving the command. This is grievous for those in heaven to see, and God stops the proceedings for a moment of silence, just as we often do when something terrible has happened and we want to remember and pray for those to whom it has happened. Whether half an hour in heaven is the same as here is difficult to say. Suffice it to say it probably feels like an eternity up there.

Verse 2-6 “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 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. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”

There are seven angels holding seven trumpets. As each angel sounds their trumpet, a new devastation will occur. These are known as the trumpet judgments, although they are not God’s judgments. That is simply a term that scholars have coined to describe them. Another angel comes forward with a censer filled with incense. In the temple God insisted upon there being an altar for the burning of incense. It was in front of the veil that separated the ark and mercy seat from the rest of the holy place. Aaron (who was the high priest) was instructed to burn incense on it every morning when he took care of refilling and trimming the lamps and every evening when he lit the lamps. This was to be perpetual throughout all the generations. There was also a warning that they should not offer strange incense (God gave instructions as to what this incense was to have as ingredients), burnt offerings, meat offerings, or drink offerings on this particular altar. It was specifically for incense. And once a year on Yom Kippur, Aaron was to put the blood of the sin offering on the horns of the altar, Ex. 30:1-10. Incense seems to be a very important component of worship to God. He likes to smell the sweet savor of sacrifice. Not only did God give a recipe for this incense, Ex. 30:34, but He warned that this recipe was not to be duplicated for personal perfume. It was for God alone and anyone found making it for his own purpose was to be put to death, Ex. 30:37-38.

The incense is offered up on the altar with the prayers of the saints. This altar is before the throne of God, which is the same place it occupied in the temple, before the ark and mercy seat. The saints are still offering up prayers, which further indicates that there are still saints on earth praying, albeit few of them. Once the prayers and incense are offered on the altar, and the smoke ascends before God who smells the sweet aroma and remembers the prayers of his people, the angel takes the now empty censer and fills it with fire from the altar and casts it down to the earth. The result of this is that on earth there is more phenomena of thundering, lightnings, and earthquakes. This is a continuation of the devastation that will be occurring from the sixth seal. The voices that are heard on earth, along with the thunder, lightning, and earthquakes, are possibly the screams of terror of the people to whom the events are occurring as well as the prays of those who are looking to God for protection. Now the seventh seal is going to start, commencing with the first trumpet.

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