Revelation 8

In Revelation 8, John tells the story of what happens “When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour”.  There are different ideas about this silence, but the silence in heaven possibly demonstrates a sober, awestruck silence at the judgments to come, now that the seals are off and the scroll can be opened.  Judgment is coming for all, and many will find their names are not listed in the Book Of Life.  God has been clear that all will stand before Him and give account for their life.  That likely happens after the seventh seal is removed.

When the seventh seal was finally removed, the end did not immediately come.  John then recounts what will happen as the seven angels with seven trumpets blow their horns.  Each is followed by destruction and actions that impact the earth.  Guzik writes ‘Since John brings a report from eternity, it is difficult to assign a chronological and sequential element to these judgments. It is most important to emphasize that they are real, even if their sequence is hard to pin down with certainty.’  We don’t know exactly how all these things work in the Revelation prophecy and story.  But we do know they will happen, as they are part of God’s Word to us which is true and will be fulfilled.

This chapter reveals what will happen with the first four trumpets as they are played by the angels holding them.  These first four trumpets reveal the severity of God’s judgment. He attacks all the ordinary means of subsistence, such as food and water; and He attacks all the ordinary means of comfort, and knowledge, such as light and the regular rhythm of days. The first four trumpets also reveal the mercy of God’s judgment; these are partial judgments striking only one-third of what they impact, and are meant to warn and lead a rebellious world to repentance before the final curtain closes. For now, God spares more than He smites.  But that will change.

So as John ends this chapter, the warning comes through the loud cry of an eagle flowing 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”!  The first four trumpets caused some significant damage and impact, but the worst is yet to come.  The angel’s woes are well founded, because one-third of the earth’s population will die with the next three trumpet blows.  Judgment comes closer and closer, and most are not prepared to stand before a holy and just God to give account for their lives!

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