Episode 72: End Times Judgments, Part 2- Trumpets 1-4

Peace to Live By Episode 72: End Times Judgments, Part 2- Trumpets 1-4 - Daniel Litton
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       Continuing this week in our study of end times judgments, we are going to dive into the seven Trumpet Judgments. Of course, last week we started this discussion by looking at the seven Seal Judgments, which the Lord Jesus Christ, as a Lamb slain, presented to us by breaking, one by one, the Seals off of the scroll that was found in Heaven. The Apostle John has recorded for us these key events, these important things that are going to happen in the future when God’s wrath is displayed on the earth against all mankind at that time. Right now, we are in the Church Age, a period where the grace of God makes itself manifest through the sharing of the Gospel, where people receive the truth, accept reality, and come into right relationship with him. And they seek to live out their lives through God’s grace, through living by the Spirit of God. In the future, however, this grace period is going to come to an end and God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth for a period totaling seven years. God promised he would make his enemy’s, Christ’s enemies, a footstool for his feet, and he will accomplish this promise.

       In understanding God’s wrath, though, I think it is good for us to have a grasp on God’s character (as best we can) as relates to these judgments. In other words, why is God doing what he is doing at the end times? Is it that God just can’t take it anymore, and has decided to react against sin and all the people in the world who are living in sin? In answering these questions, I think it is good for us to remember what the Apostle John has told us elsewhere in the Bible, and that is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, ESV). In gaining proficiency in God’s judgment, his wrath, and his care, his love, let us consider a passage of Scripture from Ezekiel 33, which God has spoken to his chosen people, Israel. It states: “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (v. 11, ESV). You see, God doesn’t want anyone to be judged for sin. However, if people will not turn from the wrongs they’ve done, he has no choice but to judge them in his righteousness and holiness. If he didn’t, he would not be a holy, right, and true God.

       So, turn in your Bibles, or tap in your Bible apps, to Revelation 8. Today, we are going to be spending our time here in Revelation 8. This is where we see the first four Trumpet Judgments. The fifth and sixth are in Revelation 9, with the seventh occurring in the last part of Revelation 11. Indeed, we have a lot to cover here, and I want us to go through the first four Trumpet Judgments today and consider these things, as God has written them in his Word and it is good for us to have a comprehension of them. Next time, we will consider Trumpet Judgments five through seven. Now, we are not going to read though the whole text here first, as that would take too long for the time we have together today. But, we will go through the Scripture section by section to consider these things.

       First, let us read Revelation 8:1-5, which states: “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.”

       As we can recall from last week, the Lord Jesus Christ is the central person here in these end times judgments. He was the one who was found worthy in Heaven to open the seven seals, as we saw in Revelation 6. Recall, no one was found worthy in Heaven to open the seals but him. And we noted that many theologians believe the scroll to represent the title deed to the earth, though, the text does not come out and say that directly. Accepting that as the case, it shows Christ’s ownership and rulership over the Creation; over Heaven, over the Universe, over the earth, and even over Hell. And, here in this passage, we see the slain Lamb opening the seventh seal.

       When Christ opens the seventh seal, notice that John tells us there was silence in Heaven for about half and hour. As I was thinking about this, again, what came to my mind was the fact of what Jesus has already told us in Matthew 24. Remember? We read it last week. He said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (v. 21, ESV). That’s a gigantic statement. And the realization of this may be what is causing the silence in Heaven for the half hour. Think of it. Never on the earth has there been such judgment and chaos from God. And never in the future, after this moment in time, will there be such colossal things to happen. That, likely, is what is causing the silence in Heaven to occur. That realization to the heavenly hosts and to the saints of God, is startling and definitely something to pause for.

       The Apostle John then describes to us that there are ‘the’ seven angels which stand before God and each were given their trumpets. Interestingly enough, one of these angels here may in fact be the famous one named Gabriel. We know him from the Christmas story. He told John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, the following in Luke 1: “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God (Luke 1:10, ESV). We also saw him in the Book of Daniel. Nevertheless, then we see the angel there who offers the incense and prayers of the saints to God. Now, if we go back to Hebrews 8, we may be able to see a clue into this setting. If you go and read verses 3 through 5, you will find the writer of Hebrews is in the middle of a discussion about Jesus, the Heavenly high priest. We know that under the Jewish system, which was practiced primarily in the Old Testament, they have a high priest who offers the sacrifices for the people’s sins, etc. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the things used by the earthly high priests are copies and shadows of the things used in Heaven. Well, we are getting a glimpse here into the real, Heavenly things in the scene with the angel.

       So, what are the prayers rising before God? The text has likely already told us that. If we go back to Revelation 6:9 and 10, we read: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (ESV). We see then that the brothers and sisters in Christ who have already been martyred want their justice from God. And this makes sense, for the people who have killed them are still alive on the earth, unless they have been killed by one of the Seal Judgments. Regardless, this provides further reason for God’s wrath to be poured out on the earth. God had promised them in Revelation 6:11 that he would accomplish this for them.

       Nonetheless, we read that, “Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.” Notice that the prayers of God were linked to that censer. When the censer is thrown to the earth, that is a direct indication of God’s impending judgment from the prayers of the saints. These prayers, while they obviously include vengeance, also would include that God’s kingdom would come, and that his will would be done, on the earth, as it already is in Heaven. An overall drive exists to make the earth come into parallel with Heaven. God’s people want God’s will to be accomplished. They want sin to be dealt with, along with Satan and his demons. The Jewish people want their promised kingdom. We see God’s majesty in the peals of thunder, rumblings, and flashes of lightning. This shows God’s awesomeness. And again, another earthquake occurs, as the last one had come to us from the sixth Seal Judgment.

       Let’s go ahead and jump into the Trumpet Judgments. We read: “Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.” (Revelation 8:6, 7, ESV)

       When the first of the seven angels sounds his trumpet, first, what is going to be seen on earth is hail and fire, mixed with blood. Now, these events could be in relation to what just happened in verse 5, with the earthquake that occurred on the earth. Let’s say if the earthquake was big enough, one that was catastrophic in proportions, it could be that the volcanos of the earth have been awakened to such a point that they are causing large amounts of fire to fly into the atmosphere, the sky, of the earth. That could also cause the sky to look blood red. And, we know on the earth there are multiple supervolcanos, as scientists have discovered in recent times. One of these supervolcanos in under Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, for instance. The national park sits on top, or is, a supervolcano. If these supervolcanos were to erupt, the devastation would be catastrophic. I saw a documentary on TV once where I believe they said the Yellowstone supervolcano would destroy one-third of the United States if it erupted. Pretty savage.

       So, with all the volcanic activity that could upon the earth, this could beget a hostile weather climate. That could produce storms causing hail. But, again, this is just a theory. It may simply be that hail and fire, mixed with blood, supernaturally fall to the earth from Heaven. Whatever happens in saying all of this, a third of the entire earth gets burned up. This includes, John tells us, a third of the trees of the earth, and all the green grass on the earth. Note, this may be a sectioned off third of the earth, or, this may be a third of the earth spread out around different parts of the world, varying continents. Regardless, a lot of people, those who are alive when this happens, are going to be affected, and not to mention the animal life. So much for our caring for the environment. God is going to destroy it as we see it today.

       Now, the second trumpet: “The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” (Revelation 8:8, 9, ESV)

       We have all seen movies where giant comets, meteors, or astroids hit the earth, or are heading toward the earth, like ‘Deep Impact’ and ‘Armageddon.’ Nonetheless, in real life something like a meteor or astroid actually is going to hit the earth. Obviously, there have been meteors or asteroids that have hit the earth in the past. It’s been some 10 years ago now, but I recall going to a meteorite site out in Arizona, east of Flagstaff, where there was a large impact on the earth. It was an awesome site. If you drive off the freeway there a ways, off Interstate 40, you can drive up to the crater, walk right up to it, and look down into it. It is a massive sight to see. My understanding was, if I recall correctly, was that the original impact of the meteor, when it hit the earth, had the explosive power of many atomic bombs, In fact, the collision was so explosive that it vaporized the meteor on impact. Scientists may think this to be a cool find in Arizona, but they haven’t seen nothing yet.

       This mountain, talked about here in Revelation, will hit the sea. The impact is going to be so devastating that it kills one third of the sea life in the whole entire world. Pretty astonishing. Therefore, great whales, dolphins, sharks, smaller fish, whatever you consider within the oceans, a third of those animals are going to perish. And not only that, but also a third of the ships in the world are destroyed, whether they be military ships, or cruise liners, or even smaller, privately owned ships. Thus, militaries, those in the affected area, will incur loss. People wanting to vacation will be disrupted. Normal fishing and other water activities will be affected. All this being the case, this judgment causes tremendous damage to the oceans of the earth.

       The third Trumpet Judgment: “The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.” (Revelation 8:10, 11, ESV)

       In this judgment, it could be that a meteor or comet hits the earth’s atmosphere, and as it tries to enter the earth, it is broken apart so that the debris falls on a third of the rivers and fresh waters of the earth. Now, this is obviously supernaturally directed by God. He has the debris fall where he wants it to—to accomplish his judgment. Anyway, if people thought that the terror in one third the sea was bad enough, now one third of the land waters of the earth have been disrupted, the rivers and fresh waters. This will undoubtedly affect tree and plant life, animals, travel, and the ability to drink the water. What many people have taken for granted will no longer be readily available. Drinking water will be hard to come by in certain places.

       We know that wormwood is a woody shrub that people use to make liquor out of, particularly strong or bitter liquor. Thus, the affected waters will become bitter as a result of this judgment, and people will even die when they try to drink it. It could be that people are forced to take a risk at drinking it in certain areas of the world as this is the only water that is available to them. Therefore, it ends up killing many people.

       The Fourth Trumpet Judgment: “The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.” (Revelation 8:12, ESV)

       In this judgment, God moves from the earth to outer-space, or at least, it would appear so. In some supernatural way perhaps, God strikes a third of the sun, so that it is only at two-thirds power. This will surely be disastrous. The earth trying to survive with only two-thirds of the sun available to it definitely is a serious problem, and especially for the inhabitants of the earth. Temperatures will surely fluctuate, and likely would plunge to all-time lows. Think of Mars; it’s farther distance from the sun gives it those sub-zero temperatures, right? And we know on the earth that when the temperatures are affected, atmospheric conditions are changed. Now, affecting a third of the sun obviously affects a third of the moon. That will disrupt the tidal waves of the earth, and may even influence some people’s mental states like a full moon already does. God also supernaturally impacts a third of the stars so that a third of them do not shine. This will certainly make the night sky darker. Remember, God has this power, for the Apostle Paul has told us, referring to Christ, “he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17, ESV).

       The next verse states: “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”” (Revelation 8:13, ESV)

       After these judgments are accomplished, John tells us that he sees an eagle flying directly overhead. This could be a number of different types of eagles, though most of us will bring to mind a Bald Eagle. The eagle, then, flies over the earth, whether of regular size or supernatural size we don’t know, but his voice can be heard by all. He tells the inhabitants of the earth, those who are still alive after all of these plagues, that there is greater destruction to come. The eagle has the ability to speak here, as animals, we know, in their naturalistic and pure form, before the fall, may have all been able to speak. The eagle says the warning “Woe” three times which shows the frightening warning of what is to come, and the fact that three more Trumpet Judgments are to come. The use of three “woes” denotes that fact that people of the earth are in for some serious trouble. It is a startling statement, especially considering all that has happened thus far.

       Now, as I stated at the beginning of this message, we will stop here at the end of the fourth Trumpet Judgment, and we will pick up at the fifth Trumpet next week.

       In closing today, there are some of you out there who have been thinking about the things I’ve been discussing—about these first four Trumpet Judgments. This may be the first time you’ve heard about all this, or perhaps you know it well. One thing you know for sure is that you are not walking in right relationship with God. You know you have sins in your life, and that you are living in a way that is displeasing to God. And perhaps you believe that God really will do what He says He will do in the future, but you know, deep down, if you don’t make a change, that you’re going to be in trouble. Well, if you have been listening to me today, it’s not too late. God wants everyone to come to know Him through faith in Jesus Christ. He wants everyone to saved, and have eternal life, true life, fulfilling life, with him throughout all eternity. John 3:16 so beautifully states, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (ESV).

       So, if you have decided in your mind that you want to change directions in life, and if a relationship with the eternal God is something you desire to have for a change, then your at the right place today. God not only guarantees a personal relationship with Him through faith in Jesus, but He also freely gives His eternal life to whoever will believe. That means you can escape any of God’s wrath to come. Indeed, the day is coming when God will do the things I’ve been talking about, and reveal His wrath, his anger, against all people who do not believe in Him and who do not obey His truth. The world belongs to Him, and he has the right to do that. The Apostle Paul notes in Galatians 6, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (6:7-8, ESV). God wants anyone and everyone to come to know Him; however, He does not force anyone to do so.

       If you want to come into personal relationship with God, and change directions in your life, then I want you to follow my lead in praying this simple prayer. God will save you and transform your life so that you are like Jesus, if you will let Him. Just follow my lead in this prayer:

God, I have come today to believe that you are the true God. I know you are in the right, and I am in the wrong. I have been living in sin in my life. I have not doing the things you have wanted me to do, but I have been doing the things without regard to what you say. Today, I accept your free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus came to the earth and died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. I accept his work on the cross as payment for my sins. I believe he rose from the dead after his death, and that today He dwells with you in Heaven. I believe that you, God, truly are Ruler of everyone and everything. I surrender my pursuit in living life without your input. Please change me, and make me like Jesus. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton