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Sunday, November 24, 2019

The TTUF STUDY on The REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST – Chapter EIGHT



~ by James Fire


Introduction: Scripture everywhere demonstrates the goodness and severity of the LORD (ROM 11:22). Because GOD is both holy and love, dual aspects of His nature (in perfect balance, not contrary but complimentary to each other), He expresses His goodness towards all, supremely in the Person of Christ and His atonement for our sins in order to procure our salvation. For those who reject Christ’s atonement in salvation, He will express His severity in judgment as the Judge of the whole Earth. Christ, Who bore the undiluted and full wrath of GOD for the collective sins of the entire human race will render wrath on all who turn from the Cross and refuse Him as LORD.

There are none, absolutely none of the entirety of mankind that need ever face GOD in this fierce and terrible judgment of GOD, for salvation has been provided for them to escape such, via the scapegoat Who is the LORD Jesus Christ.

However, there are those who adamantly, resolutely and even arrogantly reject Jesus Christ, the LAMB of GOD Who bore our sins. They refuse the truth of GOD’s Word: that we are born sinners, in need of salvation, without which we will be forever condemned to an eternity of hell. They insist on their own self-worth and innate goodness in face of the facts (none of them can live up to the Ten Commandments in thought, word and deed without flaw, in absolute perfection in every moment of life). 

Because they reject the Gospel, by default, they will face judgment, which we all would have had to face if not for the sacrifice of our LORD Jesus Christ and our faith in Him. This judgment as we have seen in our study ever since John was transported (translated or ‘raptured’) into heaven, has begun and rendered to “the earth-dwellers” – the Christ-rejectors. 

We have witnessed the opening of the seven seals, and here in Chapter 8, we see the opening of the last of these seals and contained within this seventh seal are seven trumpets. These are shofars (ram’s horns) that Israel used (among some other things) in summoning troops for warfare (a bit more on this later). In the sounding of these trumpets, GOD is declaring war upon the Earth-dwellers who openly defy Him by worshiping the Beast (REV 13:4).

We will see that in the sounding of the last of these seven trumpets there are contained the seven bowls. Essentially then, the seven seals run the entire length of this seven-year period known colloquially as the time of Tribulation; the latter half being the Great Tribulation (REV 2:22; 7:14). This is the time of Jacob’s Trouble (JER 30:7), the 70th week of Daniel (DAN 9:27).

In each series of sevens, the intensity of judgment is escalating, very much like a woman’s labor pangs (JER 30:6; JOHN 16:20-22; 1 THESS 5:3), or “the beginning of sorrows” as mentioned in MATTHEW 24:8.

REVELATION 8:1
1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

This is the proverbial calm before the storm, a silence of deafening and dreadful proportions – thirty minutes of anxious waiting for that awesome and terrible unleashing of further judgment at the pronouncement of the Holy GOD. This is the seventh seal, and we know that seven represents completion, fulfillment, perfection. Once completed, the judgment of GOD represented in this seventh seal (and the seven trumpets contained in it, and the seven bowls contained within the seventh trumpet) will be complete. The wrath of GOD which will culminate in this judgment upon the Earth with the return of the LORD Jesus Christ Who will wreak the governments and esteem of man’s rule and displace those who have rejected His Gospel:
2 THESSALONIANS 1:7-97 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
The thought that overwhelms me is the fact that once this is all over with, the judgment of GOD upon individual souls will have yet to occur! What we are seeing transpiring in our text is GOD’s wrath and judgment upon “the earth-dwellers” – wholesale judgment upon all humanity in a collective sense.

There is yet the Great White Throne Judgment which shall weigh the individual lives of every soul outside of the grace of GOD via Christ’s vicarious offering of atonement for salvation!

REVELATION 20:11-15
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

We have no idea of the depths of severity of GOD’s wrath against judgment, because we have no idea of the depths of the pure holiness of GOD’s nature. 

From Banner of Truth, we have a sermon preached by Professors Renwick, Collins and Finleyson (for the full article, follow the preceding link); here is a quote:
"God’s holiness is the foundation of ours. It is a thought familiar to the Bible that God is the foundation of His people’s spiritual life. Throughout Scripture, men of God speak of God in His being and character as the foundation of their life, the Rock on which the righteous life is built. In a real sense holiness is the foundation of God’s life and character. It is that which gives cohesion and unity to His character. For that reason we think of holiness, not so much as an attribute of God, like wisdom or mercy, but as the sum of all His attributes, the outshining of all that God is. It is that light that emanates from the character of God, which makes the angels shade their faces crying: 'Holy, Holy, Holy.'
"Everything in God’s character shares equally in this quality, and so we speak of His holy love, holy grace, holy compassion, holy justice. This holiness of God is, therefore, the foundation of all moral values. It alone gives stability and meaning to moral standards; it puts right and wrong on eternal foundations; what is right in God’s sight today will be right for ever; what is wrong today will be wrong for ever
."
For more on this, see the following article FROM the MIND of FIRE:
HOLY LIFE or Hypocritical Legalism?


Those who are condemned at the end of time will become intimately aware of every drop of this wrath; the very wrath that the LORD Jesus Christ drank from the cup that the Father gave Him (MATT 26:39,42). 

IF ONLY the sinful lost could understand how Christ avails for them to escape this terrible judgment simply by receiving the Gospel by faith – let us remain diligent in our intercessory prayers on their behalf, that their blind eyes would be open, their hearts softened, their will swayed by the grace and love of GOD!

REVELATION 8:2
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.  

These trumpets number seven, which in biblical terms is the number of completion or perfection and at the conclusion of the seventh trumpet (that includes within its scope the seven bowls) the perfect and complete judgment of GOD on the earth-dwellers will be completed.

The Greek word for trumpet is salpigks: "properly, a war-trumpet" that boldly announces God's victory (the vanquishing of His enemies).

In the Old Testament, trumpets were used to called God's people to war, and to announce victory wrought by Him. That is, a military clarion that proclaimed the Lord inspired and empowered the victory on behalf of His people. 

["The trumpet was the signal employed to call the hosts of Israel to march as to war and is common in prophetic imagery (Isaiah 27:13). Cf. The seventh angel (Rev 11:15)"
Trumpets in the Old Testament summoned God's saints for His righteous wars (Num 10:9; Jer 4:19; Joel 2:1). See also Lev 23:24,25; Num 10:2-10; Psalm 81:3.]

REVELATION 8:3-4
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. 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.

Remembering that the visions that the LORD gave Moses on the design and construction of the tabernacle was fashioned after the original which is in heaven (in essence, what Moses built was a replica of the one in heaven); see EXOD 25:9; HEB 8:2,5; 9:11-12, 23-28. For a detailed treatment of the tabernacle and its implements as types of New Testament revelation, see this in-depth article, The Heavenly Tabernacle: The Dwelling Place of the Triune God by Sam Shamoun. 

This angel approaches the altar of incense, the place where the Old Testament priests would minister prayers to the LORD on behalf of the people, with GOD-ordained incense, created according to His specifications

Note that the censer this angel bears has “much incense” which is representative of the prayers of “all saints” – which I believe means ALL saints, that is the prayer for justice against all those who persecuted them, because as we look at the next verse we see where this angel deposits both the incense as well as fire (representative of judgment and purification): “cast it into the Earth”. What happens afterwards is the presentation of these seven trumpets that will render GOD’s Holy Judgment upon them (cf: MATT 23:34-36) and upon the nation of Israel to purify them of their rebellion against YHWH.

REVELATION 8:5-6
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. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

There are five earthquakes recorded in the book of Revelation; the first we see in REVELATION 6:12 when the Sixth Seal is opened. The next earthquake we see here in our current chapter. In REVELATION 11 we see two earthquakes occur in vs. 13 and vs. 19 and finally the fifth earthquake happens in REVELATION 16:18, but this is the biggest earthquake to ever happen in all history; it states that the cities of the nations fell, such was the expanse of this calamity! 

Many suspect that this is in preparation of the coming Millennium as the old system is demolished and the new is coming, under the rule of the Messiah. Thunderings and lightnings we have seen before, representing the power and judgment of the LORD. There is mention of “voices” as well, and whether or not these are voices that are audible to the people of Earth or only in heaven is not certain; we do know that there are “seven voices” in REVELATION 10 and these were intelligible voices that John could understand, for he was about to record their words, but was prohibited by the LORD from doing so.
Note also that the censer was filled with fire taken from – where? From the altar that is before the LORD. Where have we seen this alter before? Remember ISAIAH 6?
ISAIAH 6:5-85 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
We know that Scripture teaches that our GOD is a consuming fire (DEUT 4:24; 9:3; HEB 12:29; and His presence is often manifested by fire, from the writing of the Law with the finger of GOD (EXOD 31:18) to Tabernacle in the wilderness (EXOD 40:38), to the cloven tongues of fire upon the disciples of Christ at Pentecost (ACTS 2:3)), and the consuming fire that is GOD will have one of two effects upon humanity: For the rebellious and unruly this fire will bring judgment and destroy them because of unrepentant sin (REV 20:9); for the saints of GOD who freely yield to the holy will of GOD, this fire will destroy the sin that plagues us, purifying for Himself a holy people (like Isaiah here) that honors the LORD and are blessed by such work in their hearts and lives!
TITUS 2:14-1514 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
For such people who are dwelling on the Earth at this time, this fire is bringing judgment and destruction; all of which transpires simply because they refuse to repent!
In any event, after these things we witness these seven angels that are prepared to sound, but don’t sound until the LORD grants them permission. Consider that judgment falls in GOD’s absolutely perfect timing – it is never late, nor early; and yet in His longsuffering, He delays judgment until the last possible moment, when His obligation to His Holy Justice can’t permit any further delay. 

Think about what the LORD told Abraham, about how his descendants would become slaves (to Egypt) for 400 years, and afterwards the LORD would deliver them and bring them back to Canaan land (“for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet fullGEN 15:16) when He would then command His army to wipe out every man, woman and child of that race as judgment upon them because they refused to repent of their iniquity – but the LORD waited for four centuries before judgment came! THAT is longsuffering! Don’t let anyone tell you that GOD is a GOD of quick vengeance and wrath! See PSALM 86:15; 119:64; 145:8; ISAIAH 40:2; 55:7.

REVELATION 8:7
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.

This is a plague of judgment we’ve read about in EXODUS, one of the ten plagues of Egypt (EXOD 9:23-24), however note the difference between these events: in EXODUS we see fire mingled with hail, but in REVELATION the hail and fire are mingled with blood. 

The world is becoming more bloodthirsty (or perhaps more accurately, the satanic realm that governs this world: what with the incessant slaughter of innocents) and so GOD will give them more of what they desire but will become a judgment upon them. This is somewhat similar to the children of Israel who murmured and complained about the manna that they had to eat 24/7 and cried out for some meat, and so GOD in exasperation of these unthankful people gave them what they asked for, until they were glutted with it all (NUM 11:31-34). One must wonder, where will all of this blood come from? GOD knows. . . 

REVELATION 8:8-9
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; 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.

There are those that want to allegorize everything in the book of REVELATION and other prophetic revelations throughout Scripture – and so, when they see “great mountain” they say, this represents a kingdom judged; and the fact that it’s cast into the sea, means that this kingdom becomes a curse and a plague to the nations (for the sea is often typified as “the nations” (ISAIAH 17:12). Am I suggesting that there is no allegorical significance to such passages as these? Not necessarily, but I also believe that “if the plain sense, makes sense, look for no other sense” – a hermeneutic proverb that has served the church well for these last two thousand years.

There could be a deeper meaning to this vision of “a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea” and if so, no doubt that generation that lives through this time as spoken of in the book of REVELATION will be granted deeper understanding, for “knowledge shall increase” (DAN 12:4), but I am content to believe that a literal ‘mountain’ of sorts will be cast into the sea. Is this a result of the great earthquake that happened just previously? 

Or could this be a meteor cast out of heaven? The fact that it’s on fire would seem to suggest this. NASA and other astronomic observatories have long detected huge space bodies, that if they were ever to strike the Earth would have catastrophic effects.

A third of all life in the sea perishes as a result of this great, fiery mountain, and a third of all sea-faring vessels. Thirty-three percent – compare this with the soon-to-come plague that has even greater destructive power.

This is how GOD conducts Himself – if a lower level of judgment has the desired effect and brings people to repentance, then He will go no higher; but if that fails, He will raise the bar of judgment, and if that likewise fails, He will go higher still in the level of judgment rendered upon rebellious humanity. He doesn’t wreak ultimate judgment all at once, or at least not without a substantial grace period in which He patiently waits for the people to repent (such as the Amorites that GOD waited for 400 years before rendering justice due (GEN 15:16); or with Sodom and Gomora (GEN 13:13; 19:1-25)).

REVELATION 8:10-11
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; 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.

Here we see something similar to the previous plague of the great mountain, only this one is a “great star from heaven… burning as a lamp” – again, some suggest that this ‘star’ is really a fallen angel because angels are often referred to as stars (JOB 38:7) and “the host of heaven” (1 KINGS 22:19) is used interchangeably for angels or the stars seen in the night sky. And again, I won’t refute the possibility of such a meaning, but there is no reason to assume that this must be a fallen angel as it seems this is an inanimate object with no volition or action that suggests personage.

This might just be a comet because its name is ‘Wormwood’ which means “bitter” which itself in a biblical sense can mean poisonous; and since comets are composed greatly of ice, and containing such chemical compounds that are noxious (methane, carbon monoxide, ammonia), this could be quite possible. In any event, the results here are as definitive as those caused by the former plague: a third of the rivers and fountains of waters are poisoned and “man” died because of this. Notice that the ratio of destruction is identical: a thirty-three percent destruction rate.

REVELATION 8:12
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.

This plague has effect on the sun in darkening it by a third, and of course because the moon doesn’t generate any light of its own, but merely reflects the light of the sun, it too is diminished by a third. But not only are these affected but all the stars in the heavens as well. Is this then something atmospheric and not astronomic? Remember the plague of Egypt once again where there was utter darkness that was actually tangible (EXOD 10:21)? 

We see here the incremental judgment of GOD – He doesn’t afflict the people with absolute darkness as He did with Egypt; not here at any rate: here He dims the light by that same ratio as we’ve seen up until now: thirty-three percent.

Because the Earth dwellers refuse to repent, GOD will afflict them with a higher intensity of judgment with total, absolute darkness (REV 16:10).
GOD declares that because men loved darkness, they hated the Light (JOHN 3:20); in judgment then, the LORD says, “Since you love darkness so much, fine – you’ll have it!” And so, shall it be!

Let us be thankful that we are no longer children of darkness, but of the Light of the LORD!
1 THESSALONIANS 5:4-94 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Have a look at this article for more about the LIGHT of the LORD!
HOW DARKNESS FLEES FROM The LIGHT of GOD!  

REVELATION 8:13
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!.

There are yet “three more woes” that are yet to strike upon “the inhabiters of the Earth” – three more trumpet blasts from the lips of holy angels, who are the heralds of the Holy One and contained within the last trumpet are the seven vials (or “bowls”) of judgment. Remember that all seven trumpets were likewise contained within the seventh seal broken on the scroll that was in the right Hand of the One Who sat on the throne, which scroll was worthily taken by the LAMB of GOD.

So we are in essence, still within the seventh seal, whereupon these judgments when fulfilled in all that’s contained in this seventh seal shall be completed, then the wrath of GOD will be spent upon this Rebel Planet and the old order under anti-Christ and the false prophet will be judged upon the arrival of the Messiah-King of Israel, Who will then establish His visible kingdom in this world, with His world capital being Jerusalem! A glorious time indeed that we saints long for with prayerful patience, waiting for His coming and keeping our garments clean as a bride awaiting her groom!

REVELATION 19:7-9 
7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

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