(Read Part 30)
Thunder, lightning, torrential rain storms, hail, an eerie darkening of the sky and other cosmic disturbances cause many to experience great fear and angst. The Apostle John, in Revelation 8:1-6, presents the opening scene as the Lord Jesus Christ opens the seventh seal. The setting begins with complete silence, and crescendos into a major cosmic display of God’s power. We will examine the four final preparations John reveals in the opening of the seventh seal—which contains the catastrophic seven trumpet judgments.
The Preparatory Silence
Jesus Christ opens the seventh seal and a deafening silence occurs “in heaven for about half an hour” (Rev. 8:1).
Charles C. Ryrie states this is a silence of expectancy that “precedes the onslaught of judgments, specifically the seven trumpet judgments.” John does not discuss a literal judgment associated with the seventh seal. Instead, the opening of the seventh seal reveals a completely new set of judgments—the trumpets. Conceptually, the three major sets of seven judgments recorded in Revelation each come out of the previous set of judgments. The final seal judgment contains the seven trumpet judgments (Rev. 8:2, 6), and the seventh trumpet judgment contains the seven bowl or vial judgments (Rev. 11:15; 15:7).
The Presentation of Seven Trumpets
John’s prophecy reveals the observation of seven angels standing before God Himself. Each of the angels receives a trumpet (Rev. 8:2). Each of the seven trumpets contains a catastrophic future judgment that God will orchestrate on the Earth. The angels prepare to sound each of the trumpets, one at a time, until all of the associated judgments are executed (Rev. 8:6).
The Priestly Presentation
The Apostle John describes another angel that performs what could be described as a priestly function before the actual sounding of the seven trumpet judgments (Rev. 8:3-4). The angel has a golden censer filled with incense, intermingled with the prayers of the saints. The priestly angel approaches the golden altar before the throne of God, and offers the incense and prayers to God. John does not reveal the identity of the saints. However the saints, in all likelihood, will be those who suffer during the horrific tribulation period, and potentially all of the historical saints.
The Preparatory Cosmic Disturbances
John vividly describes the final event before the sounding of the first trumpet:
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. (Rev. 8:5)
The deafening silence now bursts into a major cosmic display of God’s power. The chosen angel of God throws the golden censer to the earth, resulting in literal thunder, lightning and an earthquake. David Levy rightly states that the display is “symbolic of His authority, power, and approval of the imminent judgment about to be poured out on the earth.” This exact same description is used to show God’s magnificence in three prophetic passages (Rev. 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
The Apostle John will now reveal the earth-altering judgments contained in the seven trumpet judgments. We will examine the catastrophic results in the upcoming blogs.
Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.
(Read Part 32)
Dr. Richard Schmidt is a church ministries representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry and the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.