Revelation 8 … Following a welcome and informative interlude (Revelation 7), we’re going to again experience a revelation of end-time events when we’re permitted to see the wrath of God poured out on an unbelieving world. Many who read The Revelation are frightened by the picture presented and are really uncomfortable discussing the wrath (anger) of God. It just doesn’t fit their picture of a loving God. We need to keep in mind that the character of God hasn’t changed. God is love (1 John 4:8 and 4:16); He is the personification of love. But God’s nature is pure and holy and diametrically opposed to sin. Repeatedly in both the Old and New Testaments, the wrath of God against those who persist in sin has been revealed. There is a world of sin and there is a family of God. His family (the Church) has been removed from the world at this point and His wrath is now visibly coming in this end-time apocalypse (which means “unveiling”).
First we had the six of seven seals opened (Revelation 6), leaving one remaining seal. When this seal is opened (8:1), there is an expanded vision of seven angels with seven trumpets. In an atmosphere of continuing prayer (8:3-4), which probably refers to unrelenting prayer for the unsaved of the world who can still come to repentance, there are tremendous natural storms on the earth (v.5). The seventh seal has revealed seven more judgments of God that will now be sequentially revealed as each of the trumpets are sounded, with increasingly severe consequences.
With the first trumpet (v.7), one third of the earth is devastated. With the second (v.8), one third of the oceans are turned to blood with the loss of every living creature under or on the sea. With the third trumpet (v.10), one third of the drinking water sources are destroyed with some kind of poisonous bitterness (wormwood is a bitter plant). The fourth trumpet (v.12), destroys one third of the solar system as God, in His wrath and anger, altars the laws of nature. The chapter ends with an angelic fly-by proclaiming distress (woes) because of the severity of the trumpets yet to come. God’s judgment of evil is exceedingly and unimaginatively severe. Should we expect otherwise? One more thing to consider as we read: are these things real or symbolic, or, as some say, figurative? Each will have to come to his or her own conclusion. My own is that they are both. The things that have obvious meaning are probably real; those that are less obvious may be symbolic. But the one thing we can say with certainly is that God will ultimately, in the end-times, destroy the evil that is in the world. You can count on it!
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