Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

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Series- Get Ready!

Scripture Focus- Revelation, Chapters 8-11

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“Revelation” means to reveal what was before hidden.The Apostle John is given a vision by God, which pulls the curtain back on future events, to reveal what will take place. Not only is Revelation a prediction about the future, it is a promise, and what still remains unfulfilled will come to pass.

Ch 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.

Ch 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the word of this prophecy, and blessed are those who keep what is written in it, because the time is near.

John sees in the right hand of God a scroll with writing on both sides, sealed with seven seals.The scroll may be symbolic of the title deed of the earth, but most certainly it represents the events to come in the judgment during the time of the Great Tribulation. The triumphant Lamb of God steps forward and takes the scroll. There are seven seals in the scroll.

Seals 1-4 cover the first half of the Tribulation

Seal 5 bridges to the second half of the Tribulation.

The first five seals- false peace, war, famine, death, and vengeance describe the preliminary judgments leading to the full outpouring of the wrath of God. As bad as these judgments are, they are not nearly as intense as the terrors of the sixth seal.

Seals 6-7 describe the intensity of the Great Tribulation. The 7th seal contains the 7 Trumpet Judgments and 7 Bowl Judgments. This is the last of the seven seals marking the prophetic judgments of God to come in the Tribulation. The seventh seal is the most important development up to this point. In the seventh seal are all of the events leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus.

William G. Scroggie-The trumpets, therefore, do not double back over all or some of the seals, but lie under the sixth seal, and proceed from it. For this reason, it is equally incorrect to speak of the Trumpets as following the seals. They do not follow, but are the seventh seal. The judgments of the bowls are poured out in quick succession.

8:1-5 There was shouting of praise, harps playing, countless numbers of angels and hosts of the redeemed. Suddenly, everything stopped as the seventh seal was opened in heaven, and there was total silence.

Habakkuk 2:20 But the Lord is in his holy temple; let the whole earth be silent in his presence.

Seven angels are given seven trumpets to sound as part of the opening of the seventh seal.Trumpets are significant instruments in the Bible. In the OT they were used to summon the congregation, to sound the alarm for war, at religious feasts, to announce news, to proclaim new kings, and in worship. They are the angels who stand before God, possibly archangels, including angels like Michael the archangel who also appears in the Book of Daniel. Each of the seven trumpets unleash a specific judgment of greater intensity.

Before they blow the trumpets, another dramatic scene is recorded. Another angel with a golden censer, comes and stood at the altar. He is given incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.

The angel takes the censer filled it with fire from the altar, and hurls it on the earth, and there is thunder, lightning and an earthquake. In the Old Testament tabernacle a heavy censer made of copper was used to carry coals from the brazen altar outside the tabernacle, to the altar of incense inside. In the temple later on, Solomon used censers made of gold. This offering in heaven corresponds to the custom of offering incense on the altar of incense. The smoke of the incense together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God. Intercessory prayers are like fragrance to God.He delights in them. The prayers of the saints have an impact on the course of history within the providential plan of God.

Now v6 As a result of God’s hearing and answering the prayers of his people, the seven angels are given the responsibility to sound their individual trumpets and they prepared themselves to do so.

The First Trumpet-v7 The first angel blows his trumpet, and hail and fire, mixed with blood, are hurled to the earth. This is judgment to come on the earth- similar to the seventh plague that fell on Egypt during Moses’ appeal to Pharaoh, when hail and lightning came on the whole land. A third of the trees and all the green grass are burned up. God shows mercy in only bringing destruction to a third.

The Second Trumpet– vv8-9 A great mountain with fire is hurled into the sea and a third of the sea becomes blood and a third of the living creatures in the sea die, and a third of the ships are destroyed.

This may be a giant volcanic eruption. Maybe John recalled Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption on August 24, AD 70. But even that event was local, this one will be on the whole surface of the earth.

The sea becomes blood red and many living creatures are destroyed. In the Egyptian plagues, the Nile, streams, canals, ponds, and reservoirs took on the color of blood. Again, God shows mercy in only bringing destruction to a third.

Jeremiah 51:25 Look I am against you, devastating mountain. This is the Lord’s declaration. You devastate the whole earth. I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you down from the cliffs, and turn you into a charred mountain.

The Third Trumpet-vv10-11 A great star, blazing like a torch, falls from heaven and falls on a third of the rivers and springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. Wormwood is a bitter desert plant Many of the people died from the waters because they had been made bitter. This could only be explained by a divinely ordained occurrence.

The Fourth Trumpet– vv12-13 A third of the sun is struck, a third of the moon, a third of the stars, a third is darkened. A third of the day is without light and the night as well. A third of the entire heavens is involved.

The ninth plague of Egypt turned it into darkness. Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky and the darkness that came on the land was so real that it could be felt covering Egypt for three days.

John sees an angel flying through the midst of heaven saying- Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!

The Fifth Trumpet Ch 9:1-12 John sees a star but the star is an intelligent being, probably representing Satan. He is given the key to the bottomless pit. The bottomless pit is the abode of Satan, some demons, and the beast. This is a preliminary prison not the final abode of the lake of fire.

John sees smoke rising from the shaft leading to an underground chamber. Then locusts emerge. The OT certainly attests the destructive power of locusts as they swarmed in limitless numbers. Yet the locusts John sees have the power to hurt people, like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. These are likely representative of demons. They cannot kill people and their impact will last only five months. People will want to die when this comes upon the earth.

The king is the leading angel of the abyss which further confirms the locust represent demons. His names of Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek both mean Destroyer.

V12 is a transitional verse and clarifies the fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpet judgments are the same events as the first, second, and third woes. The third woe then would be the seven bowl judgments.

The Sixth Trumpet Ch 9:13-19 Someone near the four horns, symbolic of power, of the golden altar in heaven, gives a command after the sixth angel blows the sixth trumpet. Then John hears something. This angel instructs the angel who had blown the sixth trumpet to release the four angels who are bound at the Euphrates River. They must be fallen angels because good angels are not bound. They had a specific assignment to put a third of those who dwell on the earth to death. Approximately half the population of the earth alive at the beginning of the Tribulation will be dead by the end of the Tribulation. The horsemen described are likely demons. They number 200 million Horses were swift instruments of war in ancient days. Fire, smoke and brimstone are once again instruments of judgment.

Vv20-21 The Survivors Respond-Even the harshness of all of this will not move the remaining unbelievers on the earth as a whole to repent. Their hearts are hardened. They will continue in their sin.

God interrupts the sequence of the seven seal judgments, with extra revelation concerning other events that will happen at about the same time. Now, he interrupts the sequence of trumpet judgments between the sixth and seventh trumpets.

The Mighty Angel and the Small Scroll Ch 10:1-11

John sees another strong angel with a radiant face reflecting the glory and majesty of God. The little scroll is different from the main scroll. There will be no more delay of the wrath of God coming. More judgment is coming. The message is sweet because it has come from God. God’s words are sweet as honey in his mouth but they may become bitter in his stomach. Maybe it also contained what takes place in the verses to follow.

The Two Witnesses Ch 11:1-6

John receives a reed like a measuring rod.The angels tells him to rise up and measure the temple of God, the altarm and those who worship there.

This is evidently the temple the Jews will build in Jerusalem either before or during the first half of the 70thweek of Daniel. When Jesus returns at the Second Coming he will build a new millennial temple (Ezekiel 40) to replace this temple. The 42 months are the last half of the Tribulation.

The believing Jews will be persecuted but God’s message will still get out.There are two witnesses who will bear testimony. They will be raised up as God’s witnesses in Jerusalem in the last days, and have a powerful ministry. They will prophesy the message of God for 1,260 days, 42 months and stand in opposition to the False Prophet.

This will be the fifth period in history where God will have empowered miracles to authenticate his servants- Moses/Joshua, Elijah/Elisha, Daniel and his friends, Jesus/apostles.

Vv7-10 The beast will kill the two witnesses and their bodies will lie in the street unburied. People from all over the world will be able to see them.

Vv11-14 God will revive them. They ascend up into heaven in a cloud.

The Seventh Trumpet Ch 11:15-19

The chapter began with the measuring of the temple. It closes with the opening of the temple. The seventh trumpet marks a significant milestone in the book of Revelation. Events are set in motion for the final events leading up to the Second Coming and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom. Both the seventh trumpet and the seven bowls finish God’s wrath, so the bowls to come are part of the seventh trumpet judgment.

These verses contain words of encouragement and hope.

God will reign over all.

V15 His reign is providential.

1 Corinthians 15:24-25 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet.

V17 His reign is powerful. The kingdom of the Lord is built upon the power of his word.

Psalm 86:8-10 Lord, there is no one like you among the gods, and there are no works like yours. All the nations you have made will come and bow down before you, Lord, and will honor your name. For you are great and perform wonders, you alone are God.

V17 His reign is perpetual. The kingdom of the Lord is eternal from eternity past to eternity future.

Psalm 86:9 All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

The Great Commission cannot fail- God will not and cannot lose.

God will receive worship.

John describes God as Almighty and eternal.

Psalm 29:1-2 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name, worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Worship is to give honor, reverence, respect, praise and glory to God.

God will reward his servants.

Our service here may go unnoticed but we will be rewarded for all we have done for the Lord.

Revelation 22:12 Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to repay each person according to his work.

Salvation is a gift, but there are rewards given for faithfulness in the Christian life.

2 Corinthians 5:9-10 Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

V19 Then the temple of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant appeared in his temple.

There is a fascinating reference here to the Ark of God. On the Ark of the Covenant was a mercy seat where sprinkled blood of a sacrificed animal as placed. The mercy seat was a foreshadowing of Jesus who shed his blood for us.

Inside the ark was a gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

The last reference to the Ark in the OT is in 2 Chronicles 35:3. What happened to if after is unknown. Maybe it perished when Nebuchadnezzar burned the temple in 586 BC, or during the Babylonian Captivity. There was no ark in the second temple. What John sees however, is not the earthly ark, it is the heavenly counterpart. God will resume dealing with Israel, and fulfill his covenant promises.

Why is prophecy in the Bible so important?

Prophecy is all through the Bible.

Prophecy keeps us focused on a kingdom agenda.

Prophecy keeps us from being deceived.

Prophecy prepares us for what is to come.

Prophecy encourages godly living.

Prophecy reminds us our God is faithful and can be trusted.

Prophecy gives us hope.