Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Revelation 8:6-7

Click here for the Revelation 8:6-7 PODCAST6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 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. ~ Revelation 8:6-7

We return to the first of the seven trumpets that are about to be sounded. This is very similar to the seventh plague that fell on Egypt during the ten plagues that God sent upon the Egyptians. Similar to to the seventh plague when hail and lightning came upon the whole land. Here, it is mingled with blood. 

In v.7 we read, "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."

This is not a new phenomenon. Scientists have recorded other times when red rain fell from the sky. They could never explain it fully, but it actually left great puddles of water that were as red as blood. In today's text, the same type of plague will hit the earth. It will bring terrible destruction upon the sons of men. 

Notice that the plagues of the first four trumpets all fall on creation. This is, in a sense, God's judgment upon a people who have been in the process of destroying the environment. He is saying, in effect, "You want a destroyed world, then you shall have it." This is fully in line with his methods of judgment.

But the destruction is not only literal, it is also symbolic. It is teaching something invisible to the eyes of men at that time. As we have already noted, the earth is used in Scripture as a picture of Israel, the intended model nation under God. Here is depicted a judgment upon Israel, both on its leaders (the trees), and upon its people (the grass).  

Back in v.3, you will remember, the angel is standing at the altar and he is holding a golden censer which would be on some kind of a rope or a chain, and much incense is given to him that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

In the tabernacle in Exodus, there were two altars, the bronze altar, and there was the altar of incense. The bronze altar was basically the altar used to fire the coals to burn the sacrifices for sin. It was made of bronze because bronze is always analogous of judgment in the Scriptures. And the altar of incense was where the priest poured the incense and the fragrance of the incense arose and was emblematic of the prayers of God's people. 

Typically, the priest would go to the bronze altar and he would take fiery coals out of it with tongs out of it, and he would put the coals in the censer which was just a little instrument by which he could transport the coals. And, he would then take the coals to the golden altar, which was the altar of incense. And he would put those coals with incense on the altar of incense and the incense would rise. The smell of the incense would successfully rise to the nostrils of God, as it were, symbolic of the prayers of God's people.

This angel, in today's text, is functioning like an Old Testament priest. This is the heavenly counterpart to the bronze altar where the fires of sacrifice for sin burned. Twice a day the high priest would do this, once in the morning and once in the evening, at the morning sacrifice and at the evening sacrifice. 

And so this powerful angel hurls this thing out of heaven and it crashes into the earth. This censer in the angel’s hand is inextricably linked to the prayers of God's people. This means that our prayers are powerful! It is in response to the prayers of God’s people that this judgment happens. God will hear the prayers of His people and His judgment will fall upon rebellious man. How amazing that believer's prayers become this fiery comet that strikes the earth.

It is sad beyond all description that many will reject the love of God as demonstrated through His Son on the cross of Calvary. They rejected Him when He came as they reject Him now, and they’ll reject Him when God's final judgment arrives. So needless, but this is how it will all go down. It will go down like this because the world loves sin.

When the Lord Jesus returns, He will judge those who have rejected Him. But that day has not come yet. So until then, we must persevere at loving the unsaved! True Christian love doesn’t come easy. It’s a sacrifice that the world will never understand.