Revelation chapter 8
Rev 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
I can only guess at the reason for this period of silence. Perhaps all those present know the severity and the seriousness of the judgment to come. This was it. This was the end to all those that oppressed God's people. To those that rejected their only way of salvation, they were about to lose their souls for eternity. Once death came to them, their souls could never be saved. The soul does not die. It exists some place for eternity. If the soul does not find Jesus Christ and the sins are not covered by the blood He shed, there is no salvation. No ritual, ceremony, good deed or money cannot save that soul. Only repentance and believing in Jesus Christ can save the soul.
To reject this is to reject the way, the truth and the life. To choose to keep our sins instead of turning away from sin and turning to Christ is to choose everlasting separation from God. Hell is a place for departed spirits which refuse the way of salvation. It is not that God wants anyone to go there but God made the way of escape and so many prefer to keep their sins that separate them from God rather than take God's way out. Faith in Jesus and accepting Him as Lord opens the door to God's spirit entering into our very soul, cleansing us from the sin that is destroying us and giving us access to eternal life. We never lose our ability to choose but we have the Holy Spirit with us to help us make the right choice.Perhaps this period of silence shows us how reluctant God is to send judgment. He would much rather save than destroy. His severe judgment comes as a last resort. Sin has to be destroyed in order to abolish death, sorrow and suffering. If we don't allow Christ to cleanse us from sin, we will keep that sin and be lost for eternity. Jesus is the only way out of this mess we find ourselves in.
The reason we do not see all Christians living in victory over sin is because some of us hold back and keep just a little that we do not want to give up. Like the parable of the seed falling on different types of ground, some of us do not allow the Lord to take over completely. We still want to hold onto some part of this world. Troubles that come, may help us see that we need to be loose from the world and steadfast in Christ. The letter to the church of Ephesians reminds us that we need to stay in our first love for Jesus and not move away. That perfect love is the answer to walking in the joy of the Lord even if things are going wrong. The martyrs we see in chapter 6 and 7 are people who never left that first love. They loved Jesus so much that they loved not their own lives.
Rev 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
Rev 8:3 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.
We see here how important the prayers of believers are to God. These are prayers of all people both great and small that love the Lord and love His word. These are not saints which are canonized to be saints but are all believers whom God has saved. All of us can be a saint if we repent of sin and come to Christ to be cleansed of sin. Here is another hint that the rapture may occur before the tribulation. The work of salvation is complete when the prayers are offered here.
We can learn from the tabernacle in the wilderness. In the tabernacle in the wilderness dwelt the presence of God. In order to get to that presence one had to get to the mercy seat. Most were unholy and unclean and could not go into that holy presence. They had to have a high priest to go in on their behalf. If one tried to climb in some other way except Godís way, he would be killed because the place was filled with the presence of God and sin could not enter in. This typifies the only one way to be saved and that is through Jesus Christ.
They had to bring a spotless lamb and that lamb had to be slain. Fire from heaven had to consume the offering. Inside that tabernacle in the holy of holies, it was so righteous and holy no one with sin could possibly go in there. Someone had to go before them. Jesus had to do this for us. He is our high priest. Just like the lamb had to be without spot or blemish, the lamb of God that takes away sin would be without sin Himself. He would be sacrificed and His blood would be shed. When one repents of sin and believes in this lamb of God, then and only then can they be saved.
We are not born again until we are cleansed from sin. This is all done by faith but faith is active. It is not passive. We believe to the point of repenting or turning from sin and allowing the spirit of God to cleanse us from sin. The brazen altar is where the sins were taken care of. By the time one gets to the golden altar that is where our service is offered up. We see the prayers of the saints being offered up upon the golden altar. All their works, their faithfulness, their service is offered up here proving that they are with the Lord.
Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
Rev 8:5 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.
This is how powerful the prayers of those that believe in Jesus Christ is. It caused the wrath of God to be poured out upon those that were killing and persecuting God's people. This again reminds us that it is better to be among the ones that are persecuted than to be among those that do the persecuting. If we find ourselves hating someone for their religious beliefs, we need to check our spirit and make sure we are right with God. Most religions that kill think they do God a service.
Some even use the Old Testament law to carry out their judgments not realizing that that law was given to Israel, not the church. The church was never given permission to run the government and establish any law patterned after the Old Testament. The church was given the commandment to preach the gospel and that is it. We are not to establish governments and try to set up the kingdom of Christ ahead of His literal coming. We make a big mess when any attempt is made to mix church and state.
When Jesus returns, He will set up a perfect government and then only can church and state be mixed. If we think the Lord delays His coming and we think that we were mistaken and He is not literally coming to set up His kingdom and that we are to do it for Him, we are in big trouble because the first thing we will do is oppress those that disagree with us and quit preaching the real gospel substituting our own social gospel that will not save any soul. The use of force cannot save.
Religions, Christian or non-Christian that use forced conversions are not getting real converts to Jesus Christ. How can a life be changed if Jesus does not change that life? He alone does the conversion. He makes a sinner into a saint. We have no power to change one person. We must be born again by the spirit of God. Our salvation is something only God can do and it is by our choice whether to receive this or reject it. It can never be forced on anyone.
Here we see that God's judgment is about to be poured out upon those that killed His prophets, teachers and preachers who tried to tell people how to be saved and be spared this judgment. Here is the answer to the prayers of the tribulation saints who cried out for relief. Imagine for one moment seeing a person crying out for their listeners to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, repent and believe in Jesus, save yourselves from what is coming. Then those that hear start to beat up and kill the one trying to warn them of the judgment to come. Surely that stirs up the wrath of God.
When we warn today against the sin in this nation. We warn against sexual immorality, killing innocent unborn babies, and what do we get in return? We are accused of being hate mongers and bigots. We cry out repent, you must be born again to enter into the kingdom of God but it falls on deaf ears. Jesus paid a big price to save us and give us eternal life, if we reject this and choose to keep our sins, we will face this day of judgment.
Rev 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
Rev 8:7 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.
The judgment falling on only a third part seems to indicate that the other part still has a chance to repent. That of course is only my speculation. This may mean that the tribulation is not really worldwide and is limited to the area around Israel and the Middle East. That theory could be totally wrong though so it is just a thought provoking statement and not to be taken as fact.
This plague is similar to the seventh plague in Egypt and is literal like the plagues in Egypt were. The only difference is that addition of blood was not in the Exodus plague. We see here also that only vegetation is affected but in the Exodus plague both man and beast were affected. We can read of this in Ex 9: 22-26.
Rev 8:8 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;
We might be seeing a nuclear holocaust. At any rate, men are not causing this but God is sending this. God could remove His hand of protection and just allow men to eventually destroy themselves with nuclear weapons but He doesn't do that. Men would allow no repentance and would wipe out all without mercy. God seems to be sending limited judgment so that men have every chance to repent. If they do not repent, He is completely justified in pouring out His wrath.
All the people on the earth have to do is repent and believe in Jesus, calling on His name and they would be saved. We shall see in chapters to come that men's hearts are so hardened that they see all this and still do not repent.
I use to wonder at this. Why would men love their sin so much that even in the face of eternal judgment, they would refuse to repent. it was beyond my understanding. Yet when I read the vicious attacks the liberal news media makes on anyone who stands for holy living and purity, I see that the time is already here that people will refuse to believe no matter how many tragic things happen.
This mountain of fire falls into the sea, probably the Mediterranean Sea which is the closest to the events in Revelation. Business near the sea will be affected. This is similar to the first Egyptian plague where water became blood. It was literal then and can be literal again.
Rev 8:9 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.
Rev 8:10 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;
This could be, (my speculation), a large meteorite that poisons the water.
Rev 8:11 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.
Wormwood is a very bitter herb. It made the water undrinkable.
Rev 8:12 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.
Rev 8:13 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!
The fourth trumpet affects the sun, moon and stars. This events are similar to those in the sixth seal and some believe it is the same event. However, I see all these events happening in succession and to try to go back and put them under the seals can get confusing. The sun is darkened again in the next trumpet judgment so I believe it happens more than once in succession.
Notice the first four trumpet judgments affect vegetation, seas, rivers and planets and the last three affect the moral creation. If that isn't bad enough, more woes are yet to come.
The three woes are:
1. The plague of demon locusts out of the abyss
2. The plague of demon horsemen out of the abyss
3. The casting out of Satan to the earth
The remaining people still alive can repent. God could get His people out and just destroy all the rest but He doesn't do it that way. We see that He holds back and does all in part to give all mankind a chance to find salvation. Sin cannot enter heaven. If God allowed us to just go to Heaven at our natural death still in our sins; sorrow, evil and misery would continue for eternity. Heaven is a place where all is holy and pure. Sin has no place there. There is no death, sorrow, sickness or suffering of any kind. All is perfect love and purity. In order for the fallen man (woman) to enter into eternal life with God, the sin has to be cleansed and removed. This is why Jesus came and died in our place for our sins when He had no sin Himself. He did not deserve to be punished for sin so He took our punishment. Just by believing this and forsaking our sins (repenting), we can be cleansed from sin and made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ.
1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
We do not have to live in sin. We can be free. Jesus Christ makes us free. He gives the Holy Spirit to all who ask Him. We can be new creatures in Christ Jesus. No one has to be lost and without God.
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