Moving to chapter 8 we see the seventh seal, in Revelation 8:1-6, “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 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. 6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
Now the scroll is open, and this seal is a prelude to seven trumpet blasts. The opening of this last seal is so awesome that it results in complete silence in all of creation for 30 minutes. Everything stops. Even a moment of silence can seem a long time. Imagine 30 minutes. We can’t stand silence like this. In a prayer meeting if it goes for a few minutes with no one praying someone has to say something or the preacher closes it, right? In a room full of people, if no one talks, it gets uncomfortable. Imagine then the awe that results in a half hour of complete silence. But the silence is broken suddenly by a trumpet blast!
Each of the seven trumpet blasts represent and reveal more judgment, more wrath, more of the penalty for sin poured out on the earth, as Zephaniah has told us, the Lord is scraping the earth clean.
In chapter 8:7 we find the first trumpet, “7 The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.” Suddenly the Environmental Protection Agency is out of a job – a third of the vegetation and trees are burned up including all the green grass. Creation is being consumed because of the sin of mankind.
Verses 8-9 show us the second trumpet, “8 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” A volcano erupts and the devastation that results destroys a third of all sea life.
Here we are with 25% of the people of the world gone, a third of the trees, all the grass, and a third of the sea life is devastated. Imagine the smell. The smoke. The destruction. All as a result of our sin.
The third trumpet is described in verses 10-11, “10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.”
Something like a meteor falls to the earth and poisons a third of the fresh water supply.
The fourth trumpet in verses 12-13, “12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. 13 And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
A third of sunlight, moonlight, and starlight, the day is thrown into chaos. And there is an angel flying around the earth proclaiming woes, the pronouncement of a curse, saying how bad things are about to get – about to get! Each of the remaining three trumpet blasts will be progressively worse than what has come before.
Remember that all of this is God’s wrath toward sin. And what did Christ pay for us? The full penalty of the wrath of God – are we beginning to see how great and terrible that wrath is that He bore for us on the cross? When the world bears the penalty themselves this is what it will look like.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpet are described as the first, second, and third “Woe.” The first woe, in Revelation 9:1-11, we see demons released from a pit, resembling or symbolized by locusts, released to bring destruction on the earth. They torment people, like a swarm of locusts with the sting of a scorpion. Verses 13-21 give us the second woe, where an army amasses from the east, a million men marching toward Jerusalem to confront the anti-Christ. What we see from Revelation is that as they come marching in and the conflict begins, Christ descends on a white stallion with a sword coming out of His mouth! This woe is the prelude to the Battle of Armageddon – har Meggido. The final battle in the valley that has seen such destruction throughout history that the remains of battle form a mound, a hill, in the middle of the valley. This will be a battle where the blood running off the field will be like a river flowing as deep as a horses bridle.
And now there is one more trumpet, one last woe, and we read about it in chapter 11:15-19, “15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
God takes the kindgoms, the nations of the world, for Himself. He is taking what is His.