Posted By Nan

Revelation 8:1-13
The action that follows now runs rapidly through several chapters. I am going to keep to Chapter 8 as it forms a natural ending for discussion.
At the start of the chapter, the seventh seal is opened.
There follows 30 minutes of silence in heaven. Why? There are many views, one that it is the silence of expectation. Another that it is to allow the prayers of the saints to be heard. In the Talmud there is the description of angels who sing praises by day and are silent by night to allow the prayers of the people to be heard. I suspect the silence is one of awe and quiet to allow the prayers of the people to be gathered up. This is particularly likely given that the next thing that happens is that an angel appears with a golden censer for burning incense. The angel gathers up the prayers of the Ekklesia and incense (or if you adhere to the Greek translation the prayers of the Ekklesia are the incense). The burning of the incense may be to make the prayers acceptable to God. Or perhaps Jesus is the incense that makes our prayers acceptable to God. Whatever it means, the prayers are there and are burned on the altar before the throne and go up before God.
The angel takes the censer, fills is with fire from the altar and hurls it to the earth. Why? Perhaps these were the answer to prayers for deliverance. This passage demonstrates the importance of prayer, often a neglected aspect of Christian life. If we don’t pray there will be no incense burned on the altar. We should be a praying people.
The seven angels have been given trumpets. The trumpet blasts are broken into two groups of 4 and 3. The first 4 are found in this chapter and are said to be reminiscent of the plagues of Exodus.
The first angel sounds his trumpet. Hail and fire mixed with blood is hurled to earth and burns up a third of the trees and all the grass of the earth. This is likened to Exodus 9:24. The second trumpet causes a huge mountain like object that is fully on fire to be thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turns to blood, reminiscent of Exodus 7:20-21, and a third of all sea life and ships are destroyed. Continuing on from this, a great star falls from the sky and renders a third of the rivers and springs bitter causing many people to die. The star is named Wormwood meaning Calamity and Sorrow.
The fourth trumpet causes a third of the sun, moon and stars to be darkened and a third of the day and night are also darkened. This is a parallel to Exodus 10:21-23.
The Egyptian plagues were intended to punish Egypt for not releasing the Hebrews from slavery and also as demonstrations of God’s might. The proper response to them would have been for the Egyptians to recognise who God is and turn to him (as well as releasing the Hebrews). Perhaps this is what these events are designed to do?
At the end of the fourth trumpet call an eagle flies about the earth warning the people of the three blasts to come that will be worse than the previous four. It is quite likely this call is directed at the unrepentant who have not turned from their worship of idols and continue to sin. The end is coming and God is giving all people a chance to be saved.


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