Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, September 25, 2015
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 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. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. 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. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” (Revelation 8:1–6).
God never sends judgments to humankind without first warning us, and then giving us protection if we are willing to follow all of His instructions. Noah preached 120 years before the worldwide flood, and there was an ark of safety prepared for whoever would heed the warnings. God showed His people how to apply the blood on the doorposts by faith in Egypt just before the angel of death came to destroy the firstborn of all who refused His mercy. And now we see that the seventh seal is about to be opened with many judgments following trumpet blasts of the various angels. But before that happens, those who welcome and embrace a life of submission to God will be sealed. Again I say, God never sends judgments to humankind without first warning us, and then giving us protection if we are willing to follow His instructions.
Something incredible is about to happen! The scene in John’s vision is about to take a turn. As Jesus opened the seventh and final seal, there was silence in heaven for a short time compared to all of the time prophecies that all spanned many years. He saw a group of seven angels, each poised to blow their trumpets. The sound of each trumpet blast brings foreboding judgments to the earth on a level never before seen. But it is critical to note that these judgments do not come before the inhabitants of earth have been given thousands of years to understand the character of good and evil. The judgments are not poured out before God so loved the world that He gave us His Son, so we could believe in Him and not perish, but have eternal life. The judgments do not come before God begs us to turn from our wicked ways, in His strength, and live. The judgments do not come before the Lord forever seals those who are alive during that time, with the power to remain holy forever, and protection from His wrath. Again I say, God never sends judgments to humankind without first warning us, and then giving us protection if we are willing to follow His instructions.
Further, we see an interesting scene: An angel who represents the blessing of intercession as we pray is seen as hurling the censer that held the incense, which sweetened our petitions before God, to the earth! That would be a frightening thing if God’s people were not already protected and empowered to remain holy forever (more about this when we get to Revelation 13 and 22). Immediately following this angel’s drastic move, the thunderings and commotion begins and judgments begin to fall. By this time, God’s people have already received the full benefit of Jesus’ intercession, and are being ushered through a time of terrible trouble with the power of God to shield us.
We will see in future chapters how God triumphs over evil, protects His people, and returns to restore the universe to perfect unity and peace.
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, please give us patience and discernment as we await the Second Coming. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
***Special Note: For a more traditional understanding of the Seven Trumpets, please have a look at this Ministry Magazine issue from January, 2012: https://goo.gl/xS27Wn