Revelation Bible Study #12 The Seventh Seal
Revelation Series #12
The 7th Seal Opens
Revelation 8 and 9
Today I do not have time to break down for you all the four views of these two chapters but I have included them in my notes that will be posted on the web so you can go there and get them
** Viewpoints posted at the botto
1. Silence - 8:1
A. When he opened the Seal … Silence ½ hour
1. God - Perhaps to give John time to catch his breath, or for Dramatic Effect to Catch our attention like a commercial that uses Silence catches your attention drawing your eyes to the television. Everyone Pays attention
2. Awe - The wonder of what has happened - the horrific expectation of what is about to happen … Calm before the Storm
3. Knowledge - will everyone in Heaven know what is coming? I think so… Why? Because John wrote it and they've already read it!!!
2. THE 7 Angels of God's Presence
They STAND before God
Angels have rank and division
Paul - describes Dominions, Principalities, and Powers
Daniel - talks of Chief Princes
Jesus - Mt 18:10 - talked of angels that "Always behold the face of God
We know of at least two possibly 3 of these 7. Gabriel in luke 1:19 says that he "stands in the Presence of God"
Michael is the Great Prince and equal to Gabriel
An Apocryphal book Toffit says that Raphael is on of the 7 Angels of God's Presence
They Stand That is the posture of a Servant … Remember the Elders are Seated, and the Martyrs and Converts are standing and serving in the temple
They are In the Presence of God - that says that they are higher than other angels
They were the highest of God's Organism that carried out his will, purposes, and plans, as we see it in Genesis 28 on Jacob's Ladder … always busy about the service of God
God instructs these and they instruct those below them to carry out God's Economy
3. Given 7 Trumpets
1. there is that word again. It is in the NIV 28 times but the Greek word "didomi" (did-o-mee) from which it is translated is found in Revelation 58 times … which means that
2. God is in Charge
3. He gives, he takes
4. He instructs and servants obey
5. he judges
6. he protects
7. he holds all power
8. he gives grace
9. he completes his purposes
B. Trumpets - trumpets had 3 main purposes for Israel
1. Calling people Together
2. Announcing War
3. Announcing Special Times
a. it moved the people
b. proclaimed feasts or festivals, atonement, offerings
c. announce royalty
d. announce the majesty of God
e. overthrow the ungodly announced - Jericho, Gideon
f. ON AND ON … and was never done lightly
Some would want to point to these trumpets and many other parts of this book as pictures of Jewish rituals … for us to use an example
But remember that ALL Jewish Rituals were copies of Heaven NOT the other way around. Careful that we do not make the copy into the original and the original into the copy
God told Moses to make things in the pattern of Heaven
Heb. 8:5 "serve in a shadow and copy of what is in Heaven"
Remember THAT and then it is easier to see this as REAL and a Literal Book
4. Another Angel … with a Censer
Censer was a device for holding
A. Another Angel … Who?
1. Many say Jesus …
2. with good reason … He IS the Angel of Jehovah … in the OT …
3. This cold be a description of Jesus Christ as our mediator and this angel does have the prayers of the saints
4. There is good reason to see this as Jesus Christ
5. BUT - the definer "Another" seems to me to NOT be distinct enough for Christ in HIS REVELATION
6. In the OT he is THE Angel of the Lord, The Commander of the Armies of God
7. in every instance when Christ is identified in Revelation it is distinct … this IS the revelation of Jesus Christ
a. ch 1 - The Son of Man with Keys of Life and Death
b. ch 5 - Lion of the Tribe of Judah; the Root of David; the Lamb that had Been Slain
c. ch 19 - The Word of God on a White Horse Powerful / Victorious / Awesome
8. ANOTHER Angel … I don't think so … is that Just ANOTHER Angel?
Remember the Temple is s copy of Heaven so if there are priests drawn by lot to offer the incense daily like Zechariah in Luke 1 then there are Angel - Priests in Heaven doing the same
B. Why NOW? Why at this Place
Given MUCH INCENSE
1. Final Judgment is coming
2. Final Judgment is the answer of the prayers of God's people from EVERY age
a. from the martyrs "how long" backward in History
b. Jesus taught us to pray "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven"
3. The TIME IS NOW
4. All those prayers are loaded into that censer with fire from the altar of Sacrifice
5. Waved before God reminding him, remembering the prayers of his people
John taught us if we know that the Father hears our prayers we know we have whatever we ask in his name … not necessarily this minute or this day but in his time this too will be answered
Should we pray?
There is an eye that never sleeps
Beneath the wing of night;
There is an ear that never shuts
When sink the beams of light.
There is an arm that never tires
When human strength gives way;
There is a love that never fails
When earthly loves decay.
That eye is fixed on seraph throngs
That arm upholds the sky;
That ear is filled with angel songs;
That love is throned on high.
But there's a power which man can wield,
When mortal aid is vain,
That eye, that ear, that love to reach,
That listening ear to gain.
That power is PRAYER, which soars on high,
Through Jesus, to the throne;
And moves the hand which moves the world,
To bring salvation down!
6. God is Remembering also that his Sacrifice and offer of Salvation has been rejected. The Prayers and the witness of the Saints have been ignored and that is the reason for the Judgment. So the FIRE that would bring Salvation from the Altar of Sacrifice is CAST upon the earth as Judgment
7. The Rock the build the House of God becomes a stumbling Block for those who reject it
8. The same censer that offered the prayers of the saints now offers Judgment
9. It is life for those who receive it and death for those who reject it
10. Christ is grace to the Repentant and Judgment to the One who Rejects his mercy
5. The Trumpets Sounded
A. They Prepared themselves to Sound
1. If we are to be a church like Heaven we can learn something here … Nothing in Heaven is done OUT of TIME, out of ORDER, or out of SELF WILL
2. Everything is done in order, in God's time, and at God's Pleasure
3. Each Trumpet will have a different effect on History and life and people so preparation must be made
4. Also, many of these things involved the actions of people
5. It reminds us that Angels, good and evil, are more active in this world than we think or are aware of
B. The Sounding of the Trumpets
Two Groupings of 4 and 3 and the latter is 2 and 1
1st 4 on the Earth
Last 3 on Man
Increase exponentially in severity
1. First Trumpet
a. hailstones of fire mixed with blood burning 1/3 of the earth, 1/3 of the trees and ALL of the green grass
b. This very easily can be literal hail stones causing fires burning 1/3 of vegetation
Dr. Criswell and others offer the possibility of symbolism with these 4 though he says that he has NO ARGUMENT with a literal translation but sees room for symbolism
c. 1/3 is destroyed NOT ALL even there showing God's mercy
d. there are many accounts of records of Snow, Rain, Hail falling that was blood red in History
e. Joel 2:30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke
But the holding back of God's had is gone now that the 144,000 are sealed
If we swim in the sea of conjecture and speculation about symbols etc. then we may wander from the meaning and intent of the prophesy. I believe that we can stand on the Rock of Literal truth using symbolic pictures for literal events NOT symbols as metaphors or allegory for some hidden spiritual truth.
Remember that this revelation is for the purpose of removing the veil and the revelation of Christ, NOT to further confuse us.
2. 2nd Trumpet 8:8,9
Now when something is NOT literal we get a clue, like the using of phrases "like" and "as"
Here is says he "saw" something that was "LIKE a mountain ablaze"
i.e. John couldn't even describe what he saw but it was huge like a mountain and on fire and afflicted the sea. The sea turned to blood and 1/3rd of the sea's inhabitants died and 1/3rd of the ships destroyed
Was this a volcano? Probably not or he would have said he saw a mountain "spewing fire" not ON fire.
One writer said that this was communism (mountain of fire) cast into the middle of people (sea) bringing the bloodshed of war --- Now this was a good writer and a good translator but it was written in the 60's in the height of the coldwar and I think is an example of the direction that symbolic interpretation can take us when it is shaped by our current circumstance. Communism has died for all practical purposes. This is a reason I believe it is best to stay close to a literal interpretation as best the symbols will allow.
Did Moses turn the Nile to Blood? So I believe that it could happen here as well.
There is question as to which sea. This passage seems to refer to a "specific" sea … if so, it would most likely refer to the Mediterranean Sea which by the way means "middle of the earth".
1/3rd of the animals/fish of the sea died … not hard to imagine if a giant meteor, or bomb, etc exploded, crashed into the sea
1/3rd of ships destroyed, or burned up … again not hard to imagine
Hosea 4 says fishes will be taken away in the end times
Zephaniah 1:3 says that birds of the air and fishes of the sea are affected
Isaiah 2:16 says judgment will come on the ships of Tarshish
3. 3rd Trumpet 8:10,11
"star burning LIKE a torch"
perhaps a missile or comet … the image to me sounds like something solid and stick like on one side and burning ball on the other … like a torch
It is given the descriptive name of "wormwood" which means bitter or poisonous
1/3rd of Freshwater (rivers and springs) are affected
Again there are instances in history where eruptions have polluted the water so I have no problem believing in a literal interpretation
Jeremiah 9:13-15 "because they have forsaken my law … not obeyed … I will feed them with wormwood and give them water of gall to drink"
4. 4th Trumpet 8:12
The Sun is struck and 1/3rd of the light from the sun, moon, and stars was darkened and 1/3rd of the light is gone both day and night
Luke 21:25 "there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars
Hmmm what could this possibly mean? Joseph Seiss says to "ask a child they will know" but we smart people have to come up with an explanation. I believe we are smart and have to make everything into something other than what it says.
It means that the light will be affected as a sign that God is judging the world.
Just like he did in Egypt he is doing now
Do you believe that the plaques of Egypt were real? Then why can't these be real as well?
Isaiah 13:9,10 ?9? See, the day of the Lord is coming
-a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-
to make the land desolate
and destroy the sinners within it.
?10? The stars of heaven and their constellations
will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
and the moon will not give its light.
Why? To Break the world's pride
Temperatures will drop as the light is decreased, gloominess will set in. Perhaps the whole world will be like Seattle (HA)
- Maybe "Starbucks" a boon in franchises and everyone will start listening to grunge music
WOE! WOE! WOE! - The eagle cries
The KJV calls it an angel … well, yes this is an agent of God, no doubt, but this is not an accurate translation to the oldest and best manuscripts which use the word ´aetos' (ah-et-os) it means eagle or eagle like bird … and can mean vulture … perhaps that is what it is here since it is a large eagle like bird circling or hovering over carrion.
Read Luke 17:34-37
When you see vultures circling what do they "cry out"? Death. Or imminent death
3 woes … why? Because 3 more trumpets are coming with more death
5. 5th Trumpet 9:1-12
I saw that a star HAD FALLEN to earth … the star had been given a key to the abyss.
The 1st 4 trumpets are physical to the earth but this one is different
Why would a star have a key? He doesn't SEE the star falling … he sees that it is fallen … a fallen star … or a fallen messenger perhaps
This IS, I believe the fallen One of intelligence because he is given an assignment and a key of authority.
Job 38:4-7 talks of the morning stars together sang with sons of God who shouted for joy … these are supernatural beings
Jude 1:6 tells us that some angels didn't keep their habitation
2Peter 2:4 says that some angels sinned
So, we are seeing here the primary Fallen ON, Satan, that ancient dragon kicked out of heaven, God's presence, again …
On the TV show "Fresh Prince of Bel-air" His friend "Jazzy Jeff" always leaves the house a certain way. HEAD FIRST … as "Uncle Phil" comes in and physically throws him out the door every time
Well that is the picture we have here. Satan gets similar treatment from God. I'd like to think that this is the way Satan leaves God's presence every time he comes to accuse the believers.
But this time he, Satan, relishes in it as God gives him authority to release the REST of his fallen angels on the earth.
That also tells me that NOT ALL of Satan's Angels are currently loose on earth. Can you imagine when they are all loosed, how horrible it will be?
Smoke and Fire …
Then a swarm LIKE locusts come out
The sun is further darkened because there are so many of them
The name is Apollyan or Abadon - meaning destroyer
These swarming ministers of Satan are almost like miniature wicked malformations of the 4 living creatures. But instead of lion, calf, man, and eagle; these are lion, man, war horse, and flying scorpions wearing crowns
They advance on earth with success and strength - crowns
They have speed - horse
They are indefensible - breastplate
Yet not without submission to God's control - 5 months, don't affect the Christians, only affect people
This will be a terrible suicidal five months, but death will not come to bring relief.
They have a "King" that is the Angel of the Abyss - Satan himself or his AntiChrist
They angel of the abyss is Apollyan, or destroyer … Remember THAT is what Satan does John 10:10 - Steal, Kill, And Destroy
But Satan is given a "leash" a restraint order and cannot attack those marked by God
Which will make it all the worse for those under attack
Don't try to make more out of this than what we are told, it is dreadful enough.
What are THESE things John sees exactly? And the indescribable visions to come? I don't know it doesn't matter, they are real, whether they are creations by God or creations of man for war, they are awful, dreadful and real
6. 6th Seal - 9:13-21
More will be discussed of this later, but let's just read it
An army of 200,000,000 strong comes from the east
Probably an army from China a country with 1.3 billion people which could easily produce an army that large.
At the exact TIME known to God alone, the angels are released and 1/3rd of the remaining world population is killed
Are these the angels from earlier that are restraining? I doubt it, they are probably evil angels for this purpose who have been held back up until now.
Remember that 1/4th were killed in the Pale Horse Seal
Now 1/3rd of the remaining are killed meaning that the worlds Tribulation population has now been cut in half.
They are killed by this huge army with fire, smoke and sulfer.
It seems from the description that these are armies, armaments, and the like, that John couldn't explain or comprehend, so he did his best.
We can imagine and speculate but it is really useless. The best thing is to be ready and to prepare others to not have to be there
In the midst of these terrible plagues of Judgment, even though it is obvious to all that God's hand is in this, Sin in increased all the more in five areas
- worshipping demons - probably the antichrist himself. This will be a religious time, just not a godly time
- murder - jealousy, hunger, fear all breed murder
- Majic Arts - always Have and always will include mind altering substances and drugs will increase in this time
- Sexual Immorality
- Robbery / Theft
YET - Those NOT killed DID NOT REPENT … v20
Psa 78:32 - … in spite of this, they kept on sinning
We get an awesome picture of the last days
These judgments are a precursor, a picture of Hell,
What do we see?
Desire to Die but inability - those who reject Christ will receive new bodies too … bodies which can withstand the judgment of hell and live in the midst of all that it brings
Luke 16 - Rich man says "I am in agony in this fire"
But does God enjoy this?
Ezekiel 33:11 I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, Oh House of Israel
This is, remember, the Revelation of Jesus Christ
What is revealed today about Jesus
Jesus HATES Sin!
Jesus LONGS for man to repent and NOT go through this tribulation
John gave this revelation so all the world would know the Son and turn to him
We should e telling, crying out, read Ezekiel 33:11 again
Do not look at Revelation and say "YES they finally go what was coming to them"
NO … Cry "NO, I must tell them, I must compel them to come to Christ"
That NONE should perish is the heart of the Father
Elliott identifies this silence with the short period during which the 144,000 were sealed in the previous chapter. It represents the brief interval between the opening of the seventh seal and the first barbarian invasion to be seen in verse 7. This interval is thought to be "the seventy years that intervened between Constantine's victory over Licinius, followed by the dissolution of the pagan heavens, a.d. 324, and Alaric's revolt and the invasion of the empire, consequent on the death of Theodosius, a.d. 395." Elliott calculates that half an hour in heaven is precisely equivalent to seventy years of Roman history.
Albert Barnes writes that the half-hour silence was for effect to mark the solemnity of the events about to be reported, i. e., those resulting from the sounding of the seven trumpets (chs. 8-11).
The brief silence in heaven contrasts sharply with the noise of praise and song that characterized the heavenly scene in chapters 4 and 5. Conspicuously missing are the "loud voices" of the martyrs inquiring how long it would be before they were avenged (6:10). Perhaps their cries have ceased because the requested vengeance upon their persecutors, the leaders of the Jews, had now commenced. For a short time, symbolically represented as half an hour, there would be no more such complaints heard in heaven. Soon, however, new persecutions of Christians by Rome would cause the righteous blood to again cry for vindication. This may be what is portrayed symbolically in the following verses, where prayers of the saints again are offered as incense to God. The "half hour" may be the period of time normally required by the priest in the temple to offer the daily incense. This "time of incense" was a time of silent prayer for the attendant worshipers (Luke 1:10, 21).
Concerning this interval of silence, Walvoord writes:
Contained in the seventh seal are all the subsequent developments leading to the second coming of Christ, including the seven trumpets and the seven bowls of the wrath of God … [this silence] may be compared with the silence before the foreman of a jury reports a verdict; for a moment there is perfect silence and everyone awaits that which will follow.
For a short time (symbolized by half an hour), heaven is in awestruck silence, anticipating the completion of God's purposes. It is the lull before the storm. Hailey points out that "[ a] half hour is ordinarily a short period of time, but it seems long when one is waiting."
Trumpets - GENERAL
· The trumpets speak of a series of invasions against the Roman Empire (Vandals, Huns, Saracens, and Turks).
· The sixth trumpet brings the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453).
· The little book represents the Bible being made available to the masses of Europe after the invention of the printing press.
· The first four trumpets correspond to disasters inflicted by the Romans on the Jews in the Jewish War (a.d. 66-70).
· The fifth trumpet probably depicts the demonic spirits rendering the besieged Jews irrational and self-destructive. The sixth trumpet refers to the Roman armies, who destroyed Jerusalem and slaughtered or deported all the Jews
· Either literally or symbolically, the trumpets represent calamities that will be endured by the unrepentant inhabitants of earth during the coming seven-year Tribulation.
· These may be supernatural judgments direct from the hand of God or merely the disastrous effects of man's improper stewardship of the earth and his abuse of technology (e.g., nuclear weapons).
· Catastrophes reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt befall sinful humanity many times in history, demonstrating God's displeasure and, like trumpet blasts, warning of worse things to come upon the unrepentant.
· Sinful humanity typically absorbs these injuries with defiance, refusing to repent.
Wednesday Night Bible study Fall 2005-Spring 2006
The following resources were used among others in preparation
Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg
W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation
Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations
MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur
Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation
The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation
Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary