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REVELATION - CHAPTER 8' The Seventh Seal Print E-mail

REVELATION – Chapter 8

The Seventh Seal

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

July 24, 2012, the Year of Our Lord


In Chapter six, the Lord broke open six of the seals.  The seventh seal will be opened in this chapter.


Seal #1 – White Horse – outbreak of a war of conquest

Seal #2 - Red Horse -    war

Seal #3 – Black Horse - famine

Seal #4 – Pale Horse— (Death and Hell)

Seal #5 – Martyrdom of saints

Seal #6 - A very great earthquake (seismos).


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


“This is a profound silence in heaven and earth.  It is a silence of expectation.  Great things were upon the wheel of providence, and the church of God, both in heaven and earth, stood silent to see what God was doing” (M.H.).


The Greek word here for silence is noteworthy.  It is “sege” and is only used for silence one other time in the Bible.  It was when Paul was in Jerusalem and the Asian Jews were ready to stone him.  He asked to speak.  When he was given audience, “a great silence” (sege) fell over the assembly.


 I have experienced this “awesome presence of the Lord in services where “a great silence” falls upon an assembly.  When this supernatural silence occurs, it is a signal that the Lord is getting ready to intervene in human affairs.  It is not a time to prophesy, it is a time to be silent and wait upon the Lord.


Seal #7: Silence in Heaven; Seven angels with seven trumpets; and “another angel”.


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


The slain Lamb has now opened the 7th and last seal.  John hears the silence in Heaven, and sees seven trumpet angels; and “another angel”.   The seventh seal is the big seal.  With this seal will be exposed everything God wants us to know about “the things which must be hereafter” (Rev. 1:19).


The voice of the trumpet in Revelation 1:10-11, is the voice of the Glorified Christ who spoke to John (1) write the things which you see, (2) the things which are, and (3) things which shall be hereafter.  In Rev. 8:13, these seven trumpets are also identified as voices.  The slain Lamb is the only one in heaven, in earth, or under earth who is worthy to take the sealed book of destiny, open it and look thereon.  The book was sealed with seven seals.


Trumpets have always been significant throughout the bible.  Since the day they announced God’s presence at Mount Sinai, they have symbolized His Day of Visitation and a time of His paradigm shift in the earth.


The purpose of the first four trumpets is warnings.  The last three are judgments.


Rev. 8:3-5: “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 it into the earth; and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”


This is the 8th angel released within the 7th seal.   The interval of silence which abruptly ended the buildup of praise in chapter seven is a dynamic testimony to the power of praise and prayer.  Each time I have heard this “great silence”, it either occurs after an (1) interval of glorious praise; (2) during or after the preaching of a prophetic word.   It is not by chance that this silence occurs just before the sounding of the trumpets.  Those trumpets will bring terrible calamities to earth as God’s direct response to the cries of His people.  The angel sends the prayers of the saints up to God before anything else happens.


The prayers of the saints are mingled with incense and come from beside the golden altar which is the altar at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.  The angel holding the golden censer scoops up hot coals from the altar.  He is ready to throw it down on the earth, but first he tosses handfuls of incense on the glowing coals of the altar and the sweetness of the prayers ascend up to God.


The thunderings (bronte), lightnings (astrape) and earthquake (seismos) are only used here and elsewhere to describe a supernatural theophany of a visitation,  or the second coming of the Lord.


Mt. 24:27: “For as the lightning (astrape) comes out of the east and shines even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”


Mt. 28:3: “His countenance was like lightning (astrape) and his raiment white as snow .”


Luke 17:24:  For as the lightning (astrape), that lightened out of the one part under heaven shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.”


Rev. 8:6-7:  And the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.  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 first four trumpets are blown in swift succession and each lets loose on mankind a plague paralled in the Exodus narrative of the plagues of Egypt, but more deadly in its effect.


As you would expect, the interpretations of this are as varied as the scholars.  However, In this study of the Book of Revelation, I am seeking the Lord for a "now" word of what the Spirit is doing on the earth. With this approach, I tend to respect what Finis J. Dake wrote concerning these verses: 


“As to the literalness of the events of the 7 trumpets, they are to be just as literal as the revelation gives them.  Should we make symbolic that which is plainly literal?  The plagues in Egypt were literal, so why not these? ...Could not hail, and fire mingled with blood be cast out to the earth and burn up a third of the trees and all green grass?  If this is what John saw happen, who are we to say he did not see this, or that he saw something else?  This happened in Egypt in (Ex. 9: 22-26).  Is it impossible to happen again” (End of quote)?


God’s first attacks are not directed against man, but are natural disasters.  This first trumpet destroys one-third of the vegetation.  Some will no doubt die in this plague, but the purpose behind it is to give man an unmistakable warning.  John is reporting what he sees.


8: 8-9:  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; 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.”   


Again the target is not human life.  As serious as this is, God still means for it to be a warning.  As His judgments increase in intensity, we’ll see the hardness of men’s hearts increase as well.  The fact that only one-third is destroyed indicates God is still after repentance.  These plagues are meant to warn men that God’s full wrath is yet to come. 


You can ask, "Will Christians be affected by these plagues"? 


  Yes!  Just like all of humanity is grieved and affected by the senseless mass murder in the Colorado theater.  Just like we are grieved at the mass murder of the citizens of Syria; the famines in third world countries; the starvation and abuse of children  people out of work; slowdowns in the economy; a demented dictator collecting nuclear warheads; terrorism; sexual rape of our children, etc.  We will not be immunized from the grief when these natural disasters come upon the earth.  Christians will cry out for mankind to repent and receive their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.


However, the Lord has also promised us a Glory Train; a Goshen of provision and prosperity; His Glory will cover the whole earth; divine health; miracles; and protection for the redeemed.  We will have to hear His Voice, be led by the Holy Spirit and walk in the realm of the supernatural.


8:10-11:  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; 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.”


Again I feel to lean toward the words of Fines J. Dake:  “Could not this literally happen?  Could not a great meteor fall into the sea and turn a third of it to blood, killing a third of the fish and destroying a third of the ships?  If so, why change the passage?  This happened in Egypt (Ex. 9: 14-21; Ps. 78:44; 105:29)).  Is it impossible for God to make waters bitter and sweet as He wills (Ex. 15: 23-25)?”

 Brother Dake knew nothing at the time of his writing of what we now know that a nuclear bomb could also cause this destruction.


The word, “Wormwood” is only used in the Holy Scriptures in this verse.


(Carolyn Venable reminded me  that “Chernobyl” is the Ukrainian name for Wormwood; thus the disaster at Chernobyl being another warning.  It would not be a fulfillment of this prophecy because 1/3 of the earth was not affected).


(The Lord gave me a dream on 7/238/12.  This was after I preached this message.  In the dream, I was teaching from the Book of Revelation and was using Chernoby as an example.  I understand that to mean that Chernobyl was a warning.)


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.”


This time God strikes the heavenly bodies, the light sources of the universe.  This results in an increase in the duration of darkness for those on earth, creating shorter days.  This is an obvious change in the laws of nature.  It also signals a change in God’s next dealing with people on the earth.


One of the agenda’s of the spirit of anti-christ is to “change times and laws” (Dan. 7:25).   It is God, the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth who created the laws of nature.  It is God and only God who has the power to intervene into those laws.


Jude speaks of an eternity of blackest darkness reserved for the servants of Satan.  We now have a bridge (darkness) from the warning strikes against nature, to demonic strikes against men.  The next trumpet will herald God’s strike against men, using demonic forces.


Sandra Farley pointed out to me that those who are putting their faith in solar energy will not be able to access the power of the sun once it is smitten.


We cannot and must not ask how a righteous and Holy God would strike the earth in such a way?  The reason we cannot ask this question is because the trumpets are being blown from the 7th Seal and only the slain Lamb of God could open the seals and look in the Book.  Therefore this is a realm where Satan has zero access except he is used by the Lord for the Lord’s purposes.


These four judgments remind us that the sin of man can and do adversely affect the rest of creation in a way that reacts disastrously upon his own life.  John would have agreed with all Paul says about the creation’s bondage to frustration and decay (Rom. 8:29-23), (Vs. 22:  For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now”.  John later expresses the same hope as Paul’s for the revealing of the sons of God which will liberate creation from this bondage.  Later he will be given a vision of the glorified community of God, the New Jerusalem accompanied by the appearance of a new heaven and a new earth, but first judgment must work itself out to the bitter end.


Verse 13 announces a shift in the actions of God.  At this point in the teaching, a “great silence” fell on the Bible Study.  We began to weep at the awesomeness of the Lord’s affirmation of the reading and study of his Holy Word.  Also, we were in “awe” of His Holy Presence.


Afterwards, I began to prophecy to the Sons of God to arise in the power of the risen Christ.  As creation groans and travails for the revelation of the sons of God “for the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).


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 use of the word “angel” here is a mystery.  It is not a mystery of or from God, but created by men.  Several commentaries and translations absolutely declare this to be an “eagle”. King James and Strong’s Concordance use the word “aggelos” which means angel throughout the Holy Scriptures.  New American Standard uses the word “eagle”.  F. F. Bruce writes “eagle”  is the best-attested reading.  I don’t have a source to confirm that this heavenly messenger is a celestial eagle.


(Let us all remember that Strong’s Concordance is also written by men---hopefully with the leading of the Holy Spirit, nevertheless, it is still written within the scope of the present day understanding and knowledge of men). 


Regardless this is a heavenly messenger.  The eagle/angel is flying so those below can see it and hear its loud calls. What he is announcing is the next three trumpets and because they will come against man directly, he calls them “woes”.  They are going to be awful.  This heavenly messenger is signally a change is coming.  The verse indicates a transition from physical attacks to spiritual attacks.  God’s first four plagues were directed against nature and intended as warnings.  But the next three trumpets are directed against men.  That is what makes them “woes”.


Taught by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

Scripture from K.J.V.; I entered into the labors of Matthew Henry’s Commentary; F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary by: F. F. Bruce;  C. S. Lovett’s Lights on Revelation and Finis J. Dake, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.   

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