Sun, Jun 04, 2000

The First Four Trumpets: Revelation 8:6-13

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.

THE FIRST FOUR TRUMPETS!

REVELATION 8:6-13

A Scottish lawyer was a wicked man. Once he hired a horse and, either through accident or ill-usage, killed the animal. Naturally the owner insisted on being paid its value, together with some compensation for the loss of its use. The man of law acknowledged his liability, and said he was perfectly willing to pay, but at the moment he was a little straightened for ready cash. Would the hirer of the animal accept a promissory note? "Certainly," he said.

Whereupon the lawyer further said that he must be allowed a long date. "You can fix your own time," said the creditor. The wicked man then drew the note, making it payable at the day of judgment. Eventually the creditor took the matter to court, and there, in defense, the lawyer asked the judge to look at the note. He did so, and then replied: "The promissory note is perfectly good sir and as this is [the] day of judgment, I declare that you pay tomorrow."

- Methodist Recorder

As we continue our study through the book of Revelation, that is what we are seeing. It is the day of judgment, the tribulation period has come, and the wrath of God is being poured out upon a Christ rejecting world. And this morning we are going to be looking at the second form of judgments, the trumpet blasts or the trumpet judgments. We have seen so far the seven seal judgments, and now we see these seven trumpet judgments. And this morning we will look at the first four of those trumpet judgments.

REVELATION 8

VERSE 6

Now some would like to use the sounding of this first trumpet to call the church home to be with the Lord. And they will use the trumpet sound in I Thessalonians 4:16-17, which says, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." Also, they will use the trumpet sound in I Corinthians 15:51-52 to illustrate their point. And Paul says in I Corinthians chapter 15,"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– in amoment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

The problem with that is the trumpet that sounds to call the church home is a joyous one. It is sounded as the Lord gathers His bride together. And I believe we can see and hear this trumpet sound in Revelation chapter 4, as the church age comes to a close, and we read beginning in verse 1, "After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne." Revelation 4:1-2.

But here in Revelation chapter 8, the sounding of this trumpet is one of judgment. It is not a happy time. It is not a festive time. Here we see the trumpet blast forth the judgment of God as His wrath is being poured out upon a Christ rejecting world.

In fact, the prophet Joel illustrates this point for us very clearly when he says "Blow thetrumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of theland tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand: A day of darkness andgloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over themountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor willthere ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations." Joel 2:1-2.

No, Revelation 8:6 is not the trumpet blast which calls the church home, as I have said. That trumpet sound is found in Revelation 4:1, where John is IMMEDIATELY taken up in the spirit before the throne of God. And John was a representation of the church, the bride of Christ, being caught up into heaven.

The blast of this trumpet here in Revelation 8:6 is to alert the people of the coming judgment. And, as we are going to see, it is a time of destruction and devastation as 1/3 of the vegetation is destroyed, 1/3 of the oceans are destroyed, 1/3 of the fresh water supply is destroyed, and 1/3 of the sun is destroyed. You might call this the judgments of the one-third’s!

Also, keep in mind that before the trumpet judgments are sounded, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses are sealed by God, protected by God through this time of judgment and they will make it through the tribulation period unharmed. It is as Revelation 7:1-4 says, "After these things Isaw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of theearth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I sawanother angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried witha loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of ourGod on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundredand forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed." Now that they are sealed, the trumpet judgments will begin to sound off!

THE FIRST TRUMPET: 1/3 OF THE VEGETATION DESTROYED

VERSE 7

As this first trumpet sounds, 1/3 of the earth’s vegetation is destroyed by this hail and fire storm that comes forth. And I think most of us are aware of the damage that hail can cause, as we have just come through a violent and damaging hail storm a few weeks ago. We can attest to the devastating effects this hail had on cars, homes, and vegetation, as everything in this storms path was hit with this hail.

You will notice that as we go through this book, I will take what God has to say very literally unless the text indicates otherwise. Thus, if 1/3 of the earths vegetation is destroyed by this judgment, we are sure to see widespread famine because of it. This famine will affect both man and beast. Also, the word used for "tree" speaks of the fruit trees. The word used for "grass" speaks of wheat, oats, rice and-so-on. And thus, you could see how this judgment could affect the food supply very easily.

As you study this judgment here in Revelation chapter 8, you will notice that it closely resembles the seventh plague that came upon Egypt in Exodus chapter 9. In Exodus 9:19 we read "Therefore send now and gather your livestock and all that you have in the field, forthe hail shall come down on every man and every animal which is found in the field and isnot brought home; and they shall die." Also in Exodus 9:25 we read "And the hail struckthroughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and thehail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field."

This hail and fire plague that fell upon Egypt parallels very closely what is taking place here in Revelation. But here we see 1/3 of all the vegetation on the earth destroyed and as devastating as this is, there is more to come. Can the blood that is spoken of in Revelation chapter 8 be the result of the hail falling upon the earth, upon the animals of the earth? I think so!

Now I am not going to try to explain how God is going to do this, all I can tell you is that in some supernatural way He will bring this to pass, and this judgment will not be explained by natural means, such as "mother nature!" In Psalm 11:6 we see God speak of a judgment like this. We read "Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup." So don’t try to explain the things of God in natural events, even though He can use them that way. I tend to lean on these being very supernatural!

THE SECOND TRUMPET: 1/3 OF THE SEAS AND THE SHIPS ARE DESTROYED

VERSES 8-9

With the sounding of the second trumpet we see a huge object hit the sea causing 1/3 of the creatures in the sea to die and 1/3 of the ships that are in the sea are destroyed. What is this object? We can only speculate. John tells us that it was "...something like a great mountainburning with fire..." So it wasn’t a mountain but it looked like one. Because of that some say it is a comet or a meteor or some kind of space debris. Others say it is a nuclear event. Whatever it is, we can see the devastation that is caused by it. And once again, I believe it is supernatural, to show people this is the hand of God and not a chance happening!

With the sea becoming blood, it is possible that the death of the sea creatures is implied here. Or it can literally mean that it turns to blood as is seen in the first plague in Egypt, where we can read of this in Exodus 7:17-21. It says "Thus says the LORD: ‘By this you shall know that I am the LORD. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river.’ Then the LORD spoke to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, "Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone."’ And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt."

Today we have over 51,000 ships in the seas which house over 1.5 million people. If 1/3 of those ships were destroyed, that would be almost 17,000 ships, (16,830). Also, about 500,000 people, would also be destroyed in this judgment.

We are going to see in Revelation 16:3, with the second bowl judgment, that things get a lot worse, and "Every living creature in the sea died." Yes, it is bad now, but it is only going to get a lot worse. It is as Hosea 4:3 says, "Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone whodwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even thefish of the sea will be taken away." Also, in Zephaniah 1:2-3 we are told, "‘I will utterlyconsume everything from the face of the land,’ says the LORD; ‘I will consume man andbeast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, and the stumbling blocksalong with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,’ says the LORD." Not a pretty picture that is being painted but it is all the result of man’s rebellion against God and his refusal to turn to Him for forgiveness.

THE THIRD TRUMPET: 1/3 OF THE FRESH WATER SUPPLY BECOMES BITTER

VERSES 10-11

Again we see another heavenly judgment as this object falls from the sky upon the fresh water supply. This star that fell from heaven is called Wormwood. Interestingly enough, in the Middle East there is a plant that is called Wormwood and it has a strong, bitter taste to it. And here we see this bitter star pollute 1/3 of the fresh water supply and it will cause many to die from drinking it. Can you imagine 1/3 of the fresh water supply being poisonous!

In the Bible, "Wormwood" stood for the bitterness of the judgment of God on those who were disobedient to Him. In Jeremiah chapter 9 we read beginning in verse 13, "And the LORD said, ‘Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,’ therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will feed them, this people, withwormwood, and give them water [bitter or poisonous water] of gall to drink." Jeremiah 9:13-15.

In contrast to this destroying or killing people, we read of an incident in the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel in Exodus chapter 15. Beginning in verse 22 we read "SoMoses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur.And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came toMarah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet..." Exodus 15:22-25.

These bitter waters were made sweet as a tree was cast into the midst of it. I am here to tell you that your bitter life which is destined for death, can only be made sweet as you place or appropriate another tree into it. That is the cross of Jesus Christ. Only He can take that which is bitter and make it better. Only He can take that which is distasteful and make it sweet, if you let Him! You don’t have to drink those bitter waters but you can drink from the living water, Jesus Christ, if you appropriate the cross of Calvary into your life! You see, if you refuse to obey the true God, the fountain of living waters, then God will cause you to drink from the polluted waters of this world, and it will kill you!

Now here in Revelation we see the fresh water supply affected. It has been reported that some 440 billion gallons of water fall from the sky in the form of rain, snow and hail in this country on a daily basis. Of that, 25% or 110 billion gallons makes its way into the lakes, rivers and reservoirs that are then used as a source of drinking water.

A study was done on 3,360 reservoirs which showed 30% or 1,008 of those reservoirs were contaminated to the point of not even meeting the minimal safety standards for drinking water. Here on Lake Michigan we have to be careful with the fish we eat due to pollution. And so, as this judgment comes, the fresh water supply, 1/3 of it, will be so badly contaminated that many will die from drinking it. And again, I don’t believe this is brought about by man, but it is a judgment of God!

Again, it is very bad, but in Revelation 16:4 we see all the fresh water supply contaminated. You see, they refused the living waters, Jesus Christ, and without Him you will always be thirsty - and they will be!

THE FOURTH TRUMPET: 1/3 REDUCTION OF DAYLIGHT

VERSE 12

Now we see the heavens affected by this judgment of God that will have a direct impact on the people of this world. If you remember in Exodus chapter 10, the events of the ninth plague, we read "Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.’ So Mosesstretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days." Exodus 10:21-22.

Here in Revelation, with the sounding of the fourth trumpet judgment, we see a 33% reduction in light. That seems to indicate that there will be around 8 hours of day and 16 hours of night. Now some may have a difficult time with this. How can this happen? Once again I don’t believe this is something we can explain with an earthly explanation for it is a judgment of God, but the Bible does speak of another supernatural event that is hard to explain during the time of Joshua.

If you remember from our study in the book of Joshua, in chapter 10, the long day of Joshua. It says beginning in verse 12, "Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day." Joshua 10:12-13.

It was during the battle against the Amorites, the battle of Beth Horon, and God caused the sun to stay out for almost 24 hours to allow Joshua and his men to finish the battle. Now God may have caused the rotation of the earth to slow down to the point where it took 48 hours to make a complete rotation instead of 24 hours, we don’t know, we only know that God did do it!

Now do we have proof of this outside the Bible? You bet! Let me say this first, if it was day time on one side of the world, that means that the other side of the world would have a long night. And history does support this.

In his book Worlds In Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky, not a believer but a scientist, said "In the Mexican annals it is stated that the world was deprived of light and the sun did not appear for a fourfold night...Sahagun, the Spanish savant [a learned man] who came to America a generation after Columbus and gathered the traditions of the Aborigines, wrote that at the time of one cosmic catastrophe the sun rose only a little way over the horizon and remained there without moving; the moon also stood still." That does correspond with the long day of Joshua, just as God has said!

God has sent changes in the heavens before and He will do it again. Luke chapter 21 tells us that during this time "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken." Luke 21:25-26.

As we saw in Exodus chapter 10, that was only localized and short lived. Here it will be worldwide and of a much longer duration. By the time we get to the fourth bowl judgment things will reverse itself, and the sun’s heat will intensify, scorching man. And then just prior to the return of Jesus, things will get dark once again, as Matthew 24:29-30 tell us, "Immediatelyafter the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give itslight; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Thenthe sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth willmourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power andgreat glory." It is out of this darkness that Jesus will return, He will pierce the darkness with His light!

As you read of these judgments you may be thinking that it can’t get any worse. I mean, things are so bad at this point, what else can happen? Folks, you haven’t seen anything yet!

VERSE 13

This messenger of God flies through the sky crying out "Woe, woe, woe." You don’t have to be a theologian to figure out that things are going to get a lot worse. Three more trumpet blasts to go, corresponding to the three woe’s the messenger of God was crying out, and as they sound forth they will bring more devastating judgments upon the earth, and upon man more than we have ever seen before!

The thing I want you to notice is that in the midst of this judgment God’s grace and mercy comes shining through, warning people of what is to come with the hope that some may repent and come to the Lord.

With the first four blasts of the trumpets we saw God’s judgment come upon the vegetation, the seas, the fresh water supply and the heavens that will have a direct affect upon the earth and its inhabitants. And yet it is nothing compared to what is coming up in the last 3 blasts of the trumpet. But even with all this, man’s heart is still hard and they still refuse to repent of their rebellion against God. They would rather die then confess their sins before God. And if you refuse to come to Him, you will see His wrath. It is as John said in Revelation 6:17, "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" You can’t stand on your own, you must stand upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. He must be Lord and Savior of your life and then your sins will be forgiven and His righteousness will be imputed into your life.

Next time we will look at Revelation chapter 9, the fifth trumpet blast and we will see what that is all about. But as I close, let me leave you with this thought from Zephaniah 2:3,

"Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seekrighteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD'Sanger." If you haven’t done that, if you haven’t given your life to Jesus, He is calling you to surrender your life to Him, and as I have said, you will be cleansed of your sins and you won’t have to go through this period of time know as the tribulation period.

If you know the Lord, I pray that this study is a wake-up call to you. I hope you realize what this world is heading for and that it would cause you to see people with the back drop of eternity in mind. That your faith is so real that you live it and people catch the fire that you have. The judgment day is fast approaching!

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