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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Trumpets That Announce The Seven Plagues


< Revelation 8:1-13 >

"When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 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. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand. 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. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 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. 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. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. 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. 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. 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. 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!'"



Exegesis

Revelation 8 records the plagues that God will bring to this earth. One of the most critical questions here is whether or not the saints will be included among those who would suffer under these plagues. The Bible tells us that the saints, too, will go through the plagues of the seven trumpets. Of the seven plagues, they will go through all but the last plague. These plagues of the seven trumpets that appear in this chapter are the actual plagues that God will bring to this earth. God tells us that He will punish the world with the plagues that would begin with the angels' sounding of the seven trumpets.


Verse 1: When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

This refers to the calm just before the wrath of God is poured on the mankind. God will keep silence for a while before brining His terrifying plagues on the earth. This shows us how horrible and fierce His plagues of the seven trumpets will be. When the mankind stands before God after going through these plagues, those who are saved will receive eternal life, but those who are not will receive eternal punishment. Thus, realizing what kind of era this time is, we must be awake and do the work of the evangelists.


Verse 2: And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

God used the seven angels to do His works. But let us not forget that in today's era, God works through the righteous who believe in the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.


Verse 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.

This shows us that God, having heard of the prayers of the saints offered in the midst of their persecution and tribulations by Satan and his followers, will bring all His plagues to the earth. The "golden censer" here refers to the prayers of all the saints, meaning that as their prayers are delivered to God, all His works will be fulfilled. God works by hearing the prayers of the saints.


Verse 4: And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.

This shows just how much the Antichrist has tormented the saints on this earth. Because of the tribulations of the end times, the saints will pray to God to drive away the Antichrist, to let the tribulations pass by them soon, and to show their murders just how fierce the wrath of God is for them. The verse here shows that God will thus receive all the saints' prayers. Having received these prayers of the saints, God will begin to judge the Antichrist and his followers with the plagues of the seven trumpets and the seven bowls. God's judgment of the Antichrist and his followers is His final answer to the prayers of the saints.


Verse 5-6: 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. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

God is preparing the plagues of the seven trumpets on this earth. Therefore, this world will not escape from noises, thunderings, lightenings, and earthquakes.


Verse 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.

The first plague is the burning of a third of the earth, where one-third of the trees and all grass will be burnt down. This plague will fall on the forests of this world.

Why would God bring down this kind of plague? Because people, though they have seen the beauty of God's creation with their own eyes, did not recognize the Creator as God and worship Him, but instead "worshipped and served the creations rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:25). God therefore brings the plagues of the seven trumpets to those who do not give glory to God but instead stand against Him.


Verses 8-9: 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. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The plague of the second trumpet is of a falling star crashing down on the earth. This asteroid will fall into the sea and turn a third of the sea into blood, killing a third of the living creatures in the sea and destroying a third of the ships. Through the God-created nature, the mankind has received many blessings. But instead of thanking God for the blessings of the nature, they became arrogant and turned against God. The second plague punishes them for this sin.


Verses 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.

Why did God allow the asteroid to fall "on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water?" Because the mankind, though it lives by the Lord who is the host of life, did not worship and thank Him, but instead disdained this Lord of life.


Verse 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.

From this plague a third of the rivers and springs will turn into wormwood, and many will die from drinking their water. This is the plague of punishment for the sinners who had tormented God and the hearts of the saints. God will never fail to thus bring avenge to the sinners for all their deeds committed against the righteous. When the sinners bring suffering to the righteous, God will judge them. The third plague is yet another plague on the nature; it was brought down for the people's sin of disobedience in not believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by God. The "Wormwood" in the Bible always refers to the judgment of those who disobey and oppose God.


Verse 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.

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The fourth plague is the darkening of a third of the sun, the moon, and the stars. All this time, the mankind has been following Satan and has loved darkness. They thus disliked the light of salvation shone by the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ. As such, to teach them just how terrifying and accursed the world of darkness really is, God would bring them this plague of darkness. The plague is also to show how fierce the wrath of God is for their sin of hating Jesus Christ and loving the darkness. As a result, a third of the sun, the moon, and the stars of this world will lose their light and be darkened.


Verse 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!"

This verse tells us that there are still three more woes to come to all those who live on this earth. Therefore, all the sinners and all those who stand against God should be delivered from their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as soon as possible.

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