Revelation 8:1-6 – Part 1

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Rev 8:1  And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Rev 8:2  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4  And the smoke of the incense, [ which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
Rev 8:5  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast [ it] into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
Rev 8:6  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

Introduction

If we condense these first six verses into only the first and sixth verses it becomes clear that the seventh seal upon this revelation of Jesus Christ, is the seven trumpets. Every seal we have seen the Lamb open up to us has served to keep the message of this book very well hidden from a world interested only in clairvoyance and in knowing what lies ahead in the physical future for this world. No one wants to hear how any of this is to be “read, heard and kept” personally at this very moment (Rev 1:3). This seventh seal is the seventh seal because it completes the sealing of this book away from the eyes of all who have no interest in “reading, hearing and keeping the things written therein…” No one who comes to this prophecy hoping to become some kind of a clairvoyant, or someone who passes these days for a prophet, believes that “the time is at hand… to keep the sayings of the prophecy…” of this seventh seal, which is these seven trumpet judgments.
Let’s read the first and sixth verses only.

Rev 8:1  And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Rev 8:6  And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

Now if we are given to apply verse three of chapter one, then we should be able to understand that whatever is the reality behind the symbols of this chapter, we will know that this is not for some future generation, but “every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” in this seventh seal and these seven trumpets are words we are to personally “read, hear and keep because the time is at hand” to do so.

Rev 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Nevertheless we must ask and answer the question:

How many of these seven trumpets are we to keep?

I tell the story of a beloved brother who became so frustrated with me when I posed that question to him, that he literally screamed at me, “Only the ones the Bible says we are to keep!” But that is not what the Bible says. The only Biblical answer we have to that question is this: “Keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand.” Then we also have this somber warning right at the end of this prophecy, concerning how many of these seven trumpets we are to keep:

Rev 22:18  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20  He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Here again, as is always the case whether in Mat 24, Rev 1, or Rev 22, or any of the epistles written by any of the apostles or any of the New Testament writers, the emphasis is always on the fact that “I come quickly… this generation will not pass till all these things be fulfilled… the Lord is at hand… and the time is at hand.” But the subject is always the same. The subject is “the things written therein,” the good and the bad, are to be kept. As despised as they are, all these words are part of the sum of God’s Word on this subject of how many of the words that proceed out of the mouth of God are for each of us personally:

Ecc 9:2  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

We dare not add to nor take away from our part in “the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”

Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth [ all] the sayings of [ all] the prophecy of this book.

If there was any hint that parts of this prophecy were not to be kept by the reader, then the somber warning of verses 18-20 of chapter 22 would have no place in this book. But verses 18-20 of chapter 22 are instead in complete accord with Rev 1:3 and Rev 22:7, and we dare not add to nr take away from there, All who read and understand the things written therein will “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” and this seventh seal with all seven of its trumpets, are to be lived out in our lives.

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

It is Christ who tells us to “keep the things written therein”, so let’s take these words verse by verse and see what we are to “read, heard, do and keep.”

What is the spiritual significance of half an hour of silence in heaven?

Rev 8:1  And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

The Greek word for ‘silence’ is ‘sige’, and it appears only one other time in the New Testament. But that one other time gives us the sense of this statement that is made at the beginning of the sounding of the seven trumpets, which are the opening of the seventh seal.

Act 21:40  And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,

This is the account of the apprehension of the apostle Paul at the hands of the same Jews who had killed our Lord just a few years earlier. Now Paul finds himself in the shoes of our Lord and in the shoes of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, of whose unlawful death ‘Saul of Tarsus’ had been the overseer.

Act 7:58  And cast him [ Stephen] out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

‘Saul’ of course is the one whose name is later changed to Paul, and who is now about to give his own witness for Christ, just as Stephen had done when Paul was Saul and had conducted Stephen’s stoning. So Paul knows what is about to happen, and now as he stands to give his own testimony, he waits until everyone is completely still. Until everyone is completely attentive, until “there was made a great silence”, and then Paul who used to be a Christ- hating Saul, begins telling those Jews in Jerusalem all that God had put him through that has brought him to this day where he is being tried to see if he is as faithful a messenger, as faithful a witness, and “an angel” of God as was Stephen, whose life Saul was so instrumental in taking.

Act 6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him [ Stephen], saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

The “silence in heaven for the space of half an hour” symbolizes the time we are given to get our undivided attention, just before it is witnessed to us the gravity of what it is that lies ahead of us if we are given the grace to be called and chosen and to remain faithful to the words of our Lord to the very end of these seven trumpet judgments, which include the seven last plagues of the seventh trump. Saul of Tarsus had three days of total blindness in which to be “silent in heaven” and prepare to receive the words of Ananias, which were given to prepare Paul, as he later came to be called, for the trumpets that yet lay before him.

Act 9:15  But the Lord said unto him [ Ananias], Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Act 9:16  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

These are words for us just as much as they are for Paul.

Here is what Paul tells the Jews who had found him in the temple and had stirred up the people to go about to kill him just as they had killed Stephen a few years earlier.

Act 22:1  Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
Act 22:2  (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
Act 22:3  I am verily a man [ which am] a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
Act 22:4  And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
Act 22:5  As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
Act 22:6  And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
Act 22:9  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
Act 22:10  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
Act 22:11  And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
Act 22:12  And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
Act 22:13  Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
Act 22:14  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
Act 22:15  For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
Act 22:16  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Act 22:17  And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
Act 22:18  And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
Act 22:19  And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 22:20  And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
Act 22:21  And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Act 22:22  And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.

Paul had said nothing about these Jews that he himself had not already lived and that he himself had not already done and had kept. He had persecuted the church, and in so doing had persecuted Jesus Himself. ” I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.” God’s elect do not seek to escape God’s judgments but rather to rejoice in them.

Psa 107:25  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
Psa 107:26  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
Psa 107:27  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.
Psa 107:28  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
Psa 107:29  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Psa 107:30  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Psa 107:31  Oh that men would praise the LORD [ for] his goodness, and [ for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

But they understood him to be condemning them for their actions, when the simple truth is that it was their own words, and it is our own words and deeds that condemn us.

Job 9:20  If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
Isa 59:12  For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
Tit 3:11  Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Now Paul and all who are given the grace to be faithful to the end find themselves right back in the position of facing the seven trumpet judgments, which are an important part of “all things which are appointed for us to do”, which are the testimony of all who remain faithful to the end. All of God’s true witnesses will find themselves to be spiritually dead in the streets of spiritual “Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children.”

Act 21:31  And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.

Rev 11:8  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Isa 1:1  The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Who are “Judah and Jerusalem” in a spiritual sense?

Isa 1:3  The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
Isa 1:4  Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

Who are these seven angels who sound these seven trumpets?

Isa 1:10  Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

As the Lord used Isaiah to warn His people what lay ahead in Isaiah’s day, and as he had used Stephen to witness for him when the New Testament church was first formed,  now it is Paul’s turn to be the messenger, witness and an angel of the gospel of our Lord “in the streets of that great city wherein our Lord was crucified.” That is how God spreads His message to us all. We have all heard the word of our Lord via one of His “angels”, the complete compliment of whom are said to be “seven angels before the throne of God.”

Rev 8:2  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

Christ uses us as His father used Him. Christ was His Father’s ultimate messenger or angel. Yes, I am aware of Heb 1.

Heb 1:5  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

And the answer to that question is, it was the angel of the Lord which brought Israel up out of Egypt to whom the Father said ‘Thou are my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Here is the scripture:

Exo 3:1  Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [ even] to Horeb.
Exo 3:2  And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [ was] not consumed.
Exo 3:3  And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
Exo 3:4  And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [ am] I.
Exo 3:5  And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [ is] holy ground.
Exo 3:6  Moreover he said, I [ am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
Exo 3:7  And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which [ are] in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

We know this is Christ because Christ tells us that no one had ever seen the form of the Father, nor had anyone ever heard his voice.

Joh 5:37  And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

Yahweh, the Hebrew for “the LORD” in all caps in the KJV, was Christ simply because many Old Testament men and women “heard His voice and saw His shape.”
So Christ is the ultimate archangel, and the angel of the LORD who brought Israel up out of Egypt. We in turn are Christ’s angels who are sent to the seven churches, whom we have shown to be the whole church. Here are Christ’s own words on this subject:

Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

These seven angels we are told blow the trumpets and also pour out the vials of God’s wrath.

Rev 15:1  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

These are the same seven angels to whom this whole prophecy is addressed:

Rev 1:10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Rev 1:11  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

We are first told that this whole prophecy is addressed “to the seven churches. To this it is added that it is all addressed to the seven angels of the seven churches.

Rev 1:19  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
Rev 1:20  The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Christ, we are told, is seated with His Father in the heavens. Being with Christ and “in his right hand” and seated with Him in the heavens, we too, are these seven angels who are sent by Christ to the seven churches. As such we are “before the throne of God in heaven.”

Rev 8:2  And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

Are any of these “seven angels” different from those messengers sent to the seven churches, with this revelation of Jesus Christ to be “read, heard and kept” (Rev 1:3)? Who are these seven angels, and what are these angels? Here is what they are:

Rev 21:17  And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

These particular angels of these seven churches are men, and these men are angels. Who are these angels? We need not speculate. The scriptures are clear for those who are given eyes that see and ears that hear. Here are who the scriptures reveal these angels to be. They themselves tell us plainly who they are, but we have to pay close attention to who the Lord uses to tell us the things which are in this prophecy. It is all right here before our eyes if we have eyes that see and ears that hear.
So let’s take note of who it is that reveals to us the judgment of the great harlot of Rev 17 and 18. Here is what we are told.

Rev 17:1  And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

Through whom do the scriptures tell us God will always work to show us what He is doing?

Amo 3:7  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

God reveals his secret to His servants the prophets. Who are the prophets? Here is what the scriptures teach:

1Co 14:3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Think of a prophet in any other way and you will miss the message of what the word of God and the word of the true prophets of God are all about. God’s prophets and God’s prophecies are all for the purpose of edification, exhortation and comfort from men of God to others who are God’s people. In other words, a prophet is someone who exhorts you to “keep the things that are written therein… and live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
Now with this in mind let go to chapter nineteen, the first chapter after the revelation of the judgment of the great harlot by “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials”, and we will learn who are these seven angels we see throughout this “book of the revelation of Jesus Christ”. Here is who that angel tells us he is:

Rev 19:10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

If we are fellow servants and brothers in Christ, and if we have the spirit of prophecy and a desire to share the testimony of Jesus Christ, then these seven angels are you and me! Can we be sure that such a fantastic thing is the case? Yes, we can because this same message is repeated in chapter 22, right at the end of this prophecy.

Rev 22:8  And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Rev 22:9  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

This angel is “those who keep the sayings of this book.” And one of those sayings is that we will all make the mistake of tending to give too much credit to the messenger and not enough credit to the message which says “See that you do it not… worship God.” Here instead, is what you and I are to be doing.

Rev 22:10  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
Rev 22:11  He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

We have no commission to make anyone read, hear or keep the things written in this prophecy, but we are to have “the testimony of Jesus Christ which is the spirit of prophecy”, and we are to be ready to give an answer to anyone who the Lord places before us. We are to be His witnesses of these things:

Mat 7:6  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Isa 44:8  Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, [ there is] no God; I know not [ any].
Luk 24:44  And he said unto them, T hese are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [ in] the prophets, and [ in] the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Luk 24:46  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luk 24:47  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48  And ye are witnesses of these things.

The way we are to witness of these things is to “keep the things which are written therein… the sayings of this prophecy, because as He is so are we in this world.”
Next week, Lord willing we will discuss the spiritual significance of the golden censor, the golden altar, the fire taken of the altar and being cast into the earth.

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