Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Revelations 8:1-5 Seventh Seal of Divine Wrath

KEY TEXT: Revelation 8:1-5 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. 

KEY THOT: At the sixth seal, the Lord Jesus has returned in heavenly glory: "When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood... Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" The seventh seal is the description of the wrath of the Lamb poured onto the earth at Christ's coming.

The seventh seal itself consists of seven trumpets. The seven trumpets are like God's zooming in on the terrible events contained in the seventh seal. It tells of the seven major events following Christ's return, culminating in the seventh and "last trumpet" as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.  "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." So, between Christ's appearance at the sixth seal and the last trumpet of the seventh seal will see the outpouring God's wrath upon the inhabitants of the earth as described by the seven trumpets.

But before the seven trumpets are sounded  by the seven angels, the passage describes  another angel with a censer of incense. The incense is the "prayers of all the saints on the golden censer before the throne" (Rev. 8:3). After the incense is offered before God, the angel "took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake." The outpouring of God's wrath is a consequence of the countless prayers of martyred saints to God to execute vengeance for those who died for their faith: "They cried out with a loud voice, 'O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'" (Revelation 6:10)

The sounding of the seven trumpets of God's wrath follows from the prayers of God's martyred saints. All wrongs will be righted at Christ's coming. The question before us is: "Will the Church still be around when the divine wrath is poured out?" But as Paul has defined the moment of our "rapture" as occurring at the "last trumpet", it seems like the Church will still be around to witness the display of divine wrath. But like Israel in Goshen when God judged Egypt with the Ten Plagues, the Church will be shielded from this display of God's wrath. Psalm 91 will then be the Church's favourite psalm as she goes through the terrible days of the wrath of the Lamb: "A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked" (Psalm 91:7-8).

But in order that we may be dwelling on the side of divine refuge rather than divine retribution, we will need to take heed Psalms 91:14-16, "Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."

May we continue to hold fast to the Lord in love in the coming days of trial and tribulation so we may experience his deliverance and protection. Let's call upon Him in prayer now to deliver us from trouble and to rescue us and honour us with His long life and salvation.

Abba-Father, may our hearts and minds be set upon You, to honour Your name and to seek Your agenda for our nation. May we experience Your continuing protection and deliverance in times of troubles. For Jesus' sake, amen.

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