As you know, we gather together to worship the Lord and fellowship and do all the things that we always do, but sooner or later we focus on the Scripture so that God can speak to us. This book authored by God Himself needs to be understood. The Old Testament says every word of God is pure. The New Testament says every word is profitable. And we want to look at every word. And so we go through the books of the Scripture and study them carefully.
Tonight we're in the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation and chapter 8...chapter 8. This is a very poignant and a very powerful, in some ways a very shocking, foreboding series and at the same time a very joyous and hopeful one because it portrays for us in very clear terms the future, the future of God's own children, the redeemed and that's the joyful part. And the future of those who reject Christ, the judgment of God and that's the tragedy.
As we come to chapter 8, if I were to title verses 6 through 12 I would title them "Divine destruction of earth's ecology...Divine destruction of earth's ecology." Follow as I begin to read in verse 6.
"And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. And the second angel sounded and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the creatures; which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way."
As we approach the events just described, all of heaven is absolutely silent. Verse 1 says there was silence in heaven for about a space of half an hour. What induced that silence was the breaking of the seventh seal. What is in the seventh seal is here described by the trumpet judgments. So as all of the hosts of heaven gathered around the throne of God see what is written on the scroll that is unrolled, they are stunned into silence. And after a brief period of silence, then the action begins.
What is described in that final seventh seal encompasses seven trumpet judgments and seven bowl judgments. The final deadly vengeance of God that is poured out on the earth in the last time period before the reign of Jesus Christ is established is described there. These are frightening, terrifying, foreboding judgments. It's little wonder that heaven itself is stunned into stillness.
As the judgments then begin to unfold, they unfold with first the trumpets and later as we will see, the bowl judgments. All of them together make up the unavoidable, inevitable, terrifying wrath of God during a period of time which the Bible calls the day of the Lord. There is a sense in which this is man's day. And man can sort of do what he will within some limitations, he's in charge. There is also a sense in which this is Satan's day, the usurper is given certain liberty within the parameters of God's sovereign tolerance and between Satan and man, they orchestrate the world and its cosmos, or its system. But the day of the Lord is coming when the Lord takes over and establishes the Kingdom of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But before the establishing of that Kingdom is the destruction of the domain of Satan and men.
Now the words which we just read take place during a time the Bible calls the Tribulation...a seven-year period after the Rapture of the church. The church is caught up into heaven and then God lets loose wrath all over the world. That wrath culminates in the final holocaust of judgment, known as the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is the final component of God's wrath, not all there is to it. We believe that, as we've noted, at the end of chapter 6 the day of the Lord begins in the sixth seal, but there are five other seals of judgment that come before it.
Go back to chapter 6 verse 12 and remind yourself of the character of the sixth seal, which, by the way, has already taken place by the time we get into chapter 8...or at least begun to take place. We don't know how long it's duration is, it may well overlap the seventh seal as well, and have some continuing impact. But the sixth seal is broken, there's a great earthquake, the sun becomes black as sackcloth made of hair, the moon becomes like blood, the stars of the sky fall to the earth. The sky, verse 14, is split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island are moved out of their places. And then, of course, the response, the kings of the earth, the great men, the commanders, the rich, the strong and then every common slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They said to the mountains and to the rocks..."Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" This is the day of the Lord. It is a fearsome event described there at the end of chapter 6.
But it does have some...some containment. While I said the elements of it may continue, the impact of it may be residual because those kinds of holocausts are bound to have some longer term effect. It comes and it hits and then it is followed by the seventh seal. And I believe that probably what you have described in the seventh seal, described particularly as the blowing of these trumpets, might just begin as these people are crawling out from under the rocks. They have just suffered the horrors of the sixth seal. And we don't know if there's a time gap or if there is, how long that time gap might be, but just when they maybe have settled back into some kind of acceptance of the way things are, as I said, crawled out from their hiding places, they are hit with the terrifying and rapid-fire, machine gun trumpets and bowl judgments that wrap up the final day of the Lord.
Now all of this happens, as I said, at the end of a period called the Tribulation which lasts seven years. We're now well into that period and down to the final months of that period as these events take place. And what is depicted then in chapter 8 under the trumpet judgments, and as I noted later in the chapters to come with the bowl judgments, what is depicted is great detail about the judgments described...great detail. And we're looking at that detail.
You say, "Well I wish there was more detail." We could wish that but this is enough to excite the heart...one, to embrace the Lord so that you escape this; two, to witness for those of us who are Christians to witness to the unbelievers so that they might know what is to come and be able to turn to Christ in time.
So as we come to chapter 8 and verse 6, the world has already suffered through years of trouble. The church has been taken out. Satan has been running loose. False peace, war, famine, pestilences, plagues, earthquakes, death has reigned over the earth. Deadly destruction from God has occurred. Already by the time you come to the trumpet judgments, Antichrist has risen, his reign of terror has begun. He has massacred both Jews and Christians. He is terrorizing those who affirm their faith in Christ and he is dominating the world. He by this time has successfully deceived the world into following him, and so is fully in charge.
There is more to be said about his career, by the way, in the chapters to come. And we'll look at them very carefully. But the world has been going through the worst imaginable time in human history and they haven't seen anything yet.
Finally the seventh trumpet will be blown. A seventh angel will blow the seventh trumpet and it will all be over. But before that final blowing of that final trumpet, all these trumpet judgments must also come to pass.
And, you see, all the hosts of heaven can see that on the scroll, and that is why they are stunned into silence. And then, remember, in the midst of their silence an angel moves and takes a golden censer and after going through some priestly functions, he takes it in verse 5 and throws it to the earth, and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. This is the seventh seal, at least its opening as a devastating earthquake hits the earth.
That then becomes the signal for the angels to blow the trumpets. Verse 6, "And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them." Now they're going to sound in sequence, again we don't know how long a time period this is, we do know that one of the trumpets alone will last for five months, according to chapter 9 verse 10, so there are some months involved in this. We don't know what the sequence of time is, that is to say how long is one and how long before two blows, and how long is two, and how long is three...the only one given a time reference there is the fifth angel. And we don't really know what overlap there might be between the judgments. We only know what the Scripture tells us.
But the angels have been waiting. And I don't want you to think for a moment they've only been waiting for thirty minutes, they haven't, even though heaven has been silent for about half an hour, they've been waiting for a long time. You say, "How long have they been waiting?" Well, I think they've been waiting since the Fall. Maybe they didn't know that they would be doing this, but they're has been anticipation in heaven that God would take back His world from the usurper and fallen man. These angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. Remember now, they're described back in verse 2 as the angels who stand before God, called the presence angels. Very elevated angels who love and worship God and Christ with all their holy being, who long for vindication and in some unique way stand before the very presence of God.
Gabriel is identified as such a presence angel, one who stands before the Lord. And they know that when they are given the word to blow their trumpets, they will initiate the most stupendous and devastating convulsions the earth has felt since the Flood. A good comparison might be a comparison between Joshua and Israel at Jericho. In the Old Testament, Jericho was about to be visited with judgment and destruction. Here the whole earth is about to be visited with judgment and destruction. At Jericho, seven blasts on seven trumpets by seven priests after a seven-fold march on the seventh day, signalled judgment. Here seven blasts on seven trumpets by seven angels during the seven-year Tribulation signals judgment.
Now what I read you in the seven verses that I read, are the first four trumpets. And they're fairly brief and straight forward. The first four takes seven verses...listen to this, the last three take fifty verses. The first four are all related. They are unique and yet related. They are intense but not as intense as the last three. And God has chosen us to give...chosen, rather, to give us much more detail on them.
Now these four trumpet judgments that I read to you have to do with the earth. They are not to be taken symbolically, they are to be taken literally. There's no reason to make symbols out of them. Some people say this is all symbolic of political judgment, or social judgment, or commercial judgment, or economic upheaval. All of that kind of thing is going to be described later in the book of Revelation. What you have here are literal, physical judgments on the earth.
Now let's look at the first trumpet, verse 7, "And the first sounded and there came hail and fire mixed with blood and they were thrown down to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up and a third of the trees were burned up and all the green grass was burned up."
The first angel sounded. The horn of wrath is blown, angel number one blows. The other six are waiting their turn. And the judgment triggered is quite interesting. There came hail and fire. There are a couple of passages in the Old Testament where you see hail associated with divine judgment. Isaiah 28:2, Job 38 verses 22 and 23 where God sends hail as a form of judgment. And we shall see it again later on in the book of Revelation. And, of course, fire we know of, we all remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain back in Genesis 19 and verse 24 describes the destruction there as God sent fire out of the sky to destroy them. Here as this angel blows, here we are toward the end of the time of the Tribulation, and out of the sky comes hail and fire.
We don't know anymore than the fact that it comes. We don't know necessarily what it is or why it comes or from where it comes, but we shouldn't be too surprised because you will remember that in verse 5 it says that this angel threw a censer to the earth and as it came flying through space before it hits the earth, peals of thunders and sounds and flashes of lightning, and that would all speak about hail, and then as well the flashes of lightning could certainly ignite, then it ends with an earthquake. The earth has already been experiencing unbearable things, I already read to you chapter 6, the collapse of the sky, the devastating trembling and shaking of the earth. And just as they're recovering from that, the earth starts to shake again. And I'm quite confident this shaking would be the severest shaking yet. Just when things have gone back to some kind of calm, the world begins to rattle and shake again.
From a scientific standpoint, an earthquake of this magnitude could easily trigger volcanic eruptions. Volcanic eruptions could occur all over the globe, sending lava raining all over, perhaps reflecting the imagery of the angel. Remember, what the angel threw was a censer filled with what? Fire, fiery coals. Henry Morris, the scientist writes, "It is possible that worldwide volcanic explosions would be a normal consequence of a worldwide violent earthquake. The masses of water vapor blown skyward might well condense in the intense updraft as hailstones and showers of burning lava might well be cast upon the earth. The blood of entrapped men and animals might be mingled with them, or possibly showers of liquid water drops might be so contaminated with dust and gases as to appear blood red." And so verse 7 says, "Hail and fire mixed with blood, and they were all thrown to the earth."
This physical holocaust isn't too far afield from what scientists fear. You remember a few weeks ago when we were studying the sixth seal I pointed out how scientists fear the collapsing universe, raining meteorites and asteroids. It may well be that that is what is being described here. We don't know. It could be the volcanic eruptions, it could be the raining asteroids coming out of the sky and the tearing up of the sky, the rending of the sky, of course, changing the weather patterns, bringing a complex of rain and hail, flaming fragments of a shattered comet, asteroid or meteor coming blood red with smoke through the sky, crashing to earth.
Whatever the particular scientific explanation, it's clear what Scripture says. Look at the result. A third of the earth was burned up. The result is going to be a blazing fire that's going to burn one third of the world. Then a third of the trees were burned up. The earth's forests are going to be devastated. And then all the green grass was burned up. No shrubs, no grass, no vegetation, no crops. The devastation will result in the loss of wood for construction, the loss of watershed for protection, the massive death of animals, crops totally devastated, which provide food for animals which people eat as well, food directly used by us. The earth becomes devastated and the globe is scorched. This is a suitable judgment on man because you will remember in Romans chapter 1 it says in verse 18, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness...listen to this...because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them, for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been seen." Man should have been able to look at his world and the immense creation and have concluded that there is a God and that God is powerful. They should have seen God in the creation.
But they did not. Even though they knew God, they didn't honor Him as God or give thanks. They became futile in their speculation. Their foolish heart was darkened, they professed to be wise but became fools. And here's the issue...They exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and birds and four-footed animals, and crawling creatures. And then verse 25, "They worshiped the creature rather than...what?...the creator."
Man worships Mother Nature, the earth. Man has failed to honor God, failed to recognize God, gives God no thanks, gives God no place, rejects His manifest glory in the creation and worships the creature and the creation, rather than the Creator. That preoccupation with Mother Nature, that environmental atheism, that evolutionist that says God is in everything and everything is God, that kind of atheism that says man is no more valuable than a frog, or a rat or a rock. Three quarters of a million people were in the last New York Central Park Earth Day worshiping the earth, the creation instead of the Creator. And so God will destroy their false god. Men have made a god out of the earth and animals and even themselves. And God will devastate the earth and its animal population as well as its human population. People worry about the ozone, God's going to destroy the ozone layer. All that stuff flying out of the sky is going to do a number on the ozone layer for certain.
God will take over and God will get involved in global warming. God will turn up the heat. God will destroy the rain forests. God will slaughter the plants and the animals. And as I've been saying to you all along, if you think we're messing up this world, wait till you see what He does to it. And not only will their source of life be taken, but their god will be destroyed for their god is the creation.
Look at the second trumpet. In verse 8, "The second angel sounded and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea and a third of the sea became blood and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life; died. And a third of the ships were destroyed."
The first trumpet dealt with the land, the second trumpet deals with the sea. Here God judges at another point of His provision for man, the sea. And again man has not accepted the fact that God created the sea to be a blessing to man. God has refused to acknowledge...man has refused to acknowledge God, refused to thank Him, man has become a worshiper of that part of the creation as well. And so the Lord is going to destroy that idol, even His own creation so devastated by sin.
So the second angel sounds and calls forth cataclysm number two. And it says "something like a great mountain," not a great mountain but something like a great mountain, burning with fire was thrown into the sea. Now you don't have to be Phi Beta Kappa to figure out what that might be.
Some meteorite, some asteroid, some thing, some piece of a star or a sun will come out of the sky. Only it's going to be the size of a continent. It's going to be something like a massive mountain, crashing into the ocean. Just what scientists now fear, a massive rock continent surrounded by combustible gases which ignite as they enter the atmosphere and make it a flaming ball. And it's going to be steered right at the earth by the force of God's power.
I believe everybody is going to see it on TV. It's going to take a while to get here. And all kinds of predictions are going to be made about where it's going to hit and if it's going to miss. It's going to hit. Some people won't have to watch it on television, they'll just see it. Everybody will see it as the earth moves around at some point. And when it hits, it's going to hit the sea and immediately a third of the sea became blood. Now there's no way to know what this is, whether it's actual blood that comes from the devastation of the animals in the sea, or whether it's the same kind of blood color that you remember from Joel chapter 2 and from the day of the Lord passages which tells us that the moon becomes dark and the sun is made like blood. The fiery explosions that are going on, the gases around it are going to set off a smoke which blankets the sun and the moon with a reddish color that makes everything look like blood.
Again, Dr. Henry Morris writes, "The ability to turn water into blood either by filling it with the actual blood of dead animals, or more likely by transforming it chemically or biochemically into blood-red water, poisoned by multitudes of dead micro organisms as in the well known red tides which occur frequently...infrequently in modern oceans, made such an impression on ancient Israel that it was recounted in their songs, such as Psalm 78, Psalm 105. The impression...he writes...made on the world's inhabitants in this great future day when suddenly fully a third of the world's oceans become as blood can well be imagined."
You have then a very simple statement that the waters of the sea become blood. What that means, I don't know. Whether it's the reflection of the gassiest red in the sky, or whether it's the chemical changes that occur when this continent hits the sea, whatever. Whether it's the death of micro organisms isn't important, it's the point in verse 9 that is important...a third of the creatures in the sea that had life, die. And a third of the ships were destroyed. The ships go because it's going to create a Sunami(?), or a tidal wave like the world has never seen. And a third of the creatures were in the sea are going to die. This is going to freak out the "save the whale" folks. This is going to be hard for the people who voted to make dolphins equal citizens of Malibu with people. It will make them very distressed.
Poisoning a third of the sea is going to kill a third of its population from minute organisms to the large whales, fish. The food chain will be terribly disrupted. Whatever the poisonous effect might be, equally as dramatic is going to be this tidal wave that is going to destroy a third of the ships in the world. The mad disruption of commerce that that will cause, no fishing, no ships, no transport.
There are some visions that God gave to some of the Old Testament prophets in which they saw this as they looked into the future. They saw, for example, Hosea chapter 4 verse 3, a time when the land mourns and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, and also...he writes...the fish of the sea will disappear.
In Zephaniah chapter 1 and verse 3, "I will remove man and beast, I will remove the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea." And you have a very similar word of prophecy in the very early part of Isaiah's prophecy, where he sees the same kind of thing happening as God comes in judgment, he talks about the mountains and the hills and all of those things being devastated as well as the sea, not just the land. God is coming in devastation against the sea and the land.
Then we come to the third trumpet with the whole heaven collapsing in on people, earthquakes, fire, devastation in the sea, the third angel sounds, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch. Here comes something else out of the sky. It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.
This takes a different approach. At first the hail and fire, of course, comes everywhere all over the land. Second, this one great continent comes roaring out of the sky and plunges into the sea. But this great star burns like a torch, and apparently as it comes through the atmosphere it disintegrates and spreads all over the globe and falls on the rivers and the springs of waters everywhere.
At this point I just need to remind you that all of this is happening because men have rejected the gospel being preached. It's being preached during this time as it is today, and they're rejecting. Oh some are believing, some are coming to Christ, many, an innumerable number from all the nations of the world, and some of them are being killed. Some of them are going to survive and go on into the kingdom, but the rest of the world is rejecting and rejecting and rejecting, and the longer they wait, the harder their hearts will get, so that as you get down into chapter 9 verse 21 it says, "They did not repent, they did not repent." And that's under the sixth trumpet. They longer they fight it and the longer they resist, the harder their hearts become so that at the end they will not repent. They can survive all of this and not turn to God. Their hearts are indeed hard.
So angel number three adds to the celestial fanfare and a great asteros, star, asteros, it simply means some kind of a celestial body, the word from which we get the word asteroid. Falling out of heaven burning like a torch...could be a comet, a torch has a ball of fire, and then a flame going up like that, it could be something like a comet, we really don't know. But it's certainly what Jesus called in Luke 21:11, "Fearful sights and great signs from heaven." This celestial body disintegrates as it nears the earth, scatters over the globe. Its flaming gassiest fire touches springs and rivers. This is really devastating, this is really devastating.
Why? You can live for a while without all of the crops because there are certain things stockpiled and certain things canned and certain things preserved. You can live for a while without the ocean, without sea water. But you can't live without fresh water. And again a third of the world is judged, a third of the rivers, a third of the springs, and verse 11 says many people are going to die.
Verse 9 talked about sea animals dying and ships being destroyed. Verse 7 talks about trees and grass. Now we're getting to the people. You can live without the sea water and you can live for a while without the crops, but you can't live without the water.
Now the name of the star is called Wormwood. It's an apt name. The wormwood is literally in the Greek, the word apsinthos, it is the deadly liquor substance called absinth. The word is used in the New Testament only in this one verse, so it's kind of hard to trace back its precise meaning. But the term "wormwood" is also used several times in the Old Testament to translate the Hebrew la-anah(?), it's translated, by the way, once in the King James as Hemlock. It's a poison. There it is suggested that it's a poison derived from some kind of root. You find it mentioned in Deuteronomy 29:18. Proverbs 5:4 notes that it is very bitter. It produces drunkenness, according to Lamentations 3:15 and eventually death. It is associated with another poison that is called gall mentioned in Deuteronomy 29:18 and Lamentations 3:19.
All of this just to point out that wormwood refers to something bitter, some poison that is actually deadly. Whatever this poison is, it is lethal. A third of the waters become wormwood, it says in verse 11. And as a result, many men died from the waters because they were made poisonous. The rivers still run but they run with deadly poison. The wells are full but they're full of death. The lakes are rippling with lethal quenches.
This, too, I believe, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was allowed to see as God gave him a vision of future judgment. Jeremiah chapter 9, "The Lord said, `Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them and not obeyed My voice or walked according to it, but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals as their father taught them, therefore thus says the Lord of host, the God of Israel, Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink." And here he's talking about judgment on Israel but it's a preview of what's going to happen in the end.
If I were John about this point, John the Apostle, who's seeing all of this in his vision, I think my mind would flash back to John chapter 4 and I think I would want to remember these words, Jesus said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you give me a drink, you would have asked and He would have given you...what?...living water." Better to drink the living water than the lethal water, right? And there will be for those of us who know Christ some different water in the future. There will be what Revelation 21:6 calls the spring of the water of life. It's ours forever.
Then the fourth trumpet, verse 12. "The fourth angel sounded," as if all the rest wasn't bad enough, "and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten. So the third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it and the night in the same way."
Now the attention moves away from the earth. We've dealt with land, salt water, fresh water, and now we look up. And there's a partial eclipse that strikes the sun, strikes the moon and strikes the stars. You can only imagine the panic on earth as people are in ecological seminars all over the globe trying to figure out how to react, trying to figure out how to deal with the devastation, the fires the crop problems, the problems in the sea. You can only imagine what huge conclaves will be held, what massive discussions to try to solve the problems and in the process before they can even approach a problem, another one hits. They're desperately trying to save their earth-god. They're desperately trying to preserve what is their only hope, conferences, meetings, papers, discussions among scientists, capitalists, politicians and the common people. Everybody is really into save the earth. And before they can come up with any solution, the fourth trumpet blows and before they can save the earth, the sky starts to go. The sun and the moon and the stars are reduced by a third. This, by the way, is temporary, we know that because over in chapter 16 when the bowl judgments fall, verses 8 and 9, this is fascinating, the sun is given power to burn men with fire and to burn them with fierce heat.
What happens is for this time the sun is blocked a third, and that cools down the earth. And a little while later God just reverses that. This is an incredible thing. It's just hard to imagine. Somehow the Lord is just going to block out one third of the sun, one third of the moon, one third of the stars.
Again, Henry Morris writes interestingly, "A naturalistic scientist might object that such a thing is impossible. This, however, would be to say more than he knows. The nature of both the internal reactions in the sun and the external reactions on the sun's surface are still unknown. Solar physicists until recently were confident that the sun's output of radiant energy resulted mainly from thermonuclear fusion processes in the sun's interior. Now, however, the absence of the flux of solar neutrinos from the sun which should be generated by such reactions is causing a complete rethinking of the whole problem. Recent evidence that the sun is measurable shrinking in size apparently meant that much of the sun's energy output results from gravitational collapse. Presumably this would be true of other stars as well. Thus if the gravitational shrinking of the sun could be slowed down for a time, possibly its light output would also be slowed down."
Then he asks, "Can angels somehow reduce the gravitational forces in the sun's mass? Since no one knows exactly what gravity is anyhow, who's to say they can't? Since solar physicists even yet do not really comprehend either the full nature of gravitational processes or of solar radiation processes, and since it is at least plausible that God's mighty angels do understand such things, we're safe in assuming God's hosts are quite capable of accomplishing this tremendous hiatus in the normal operation of all the heavenly bodies," end quote.
Of course, all he is doing is using scientific terminology to say God can do whatever He wants. He cranked it up, He can crank it down. The loss of solar heat will cause radical drops in temperature over the earth. What that means is severe changes in meteorology. What that means is violent storms, weather changes that are absolutely unpredictable and unknown to man. There will be a total interruption of the botanical and biological cycles. As that begins to change, everything in the world starts to go mad.
In Luke 21 verse 25, Jesus said, "At this time there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves and men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." He summed it all up. And then added, "Then you'll see the Son of Man coming in the cloud with power and great glory." All of this is leading up to that. Whatever would have been left on earth to grow won't be able to grow now. Food becomes unavailable. All those things that Isaiah said about the terror of that day, all that Jeremiah and Ezekiel said, all that Joel and Amos said, all that Zephaniah said, all that Jesus said will come to pass.
And you ask, "Could anything be worse than this?" Look at verse 13, "And I looked and I heard an angel flying in mid heaven saying with a loud voice, `Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound." Worse is yet ahead. And again I say, all of this because men reject God and Christ.
The first four trumpets, unimaginable. But nothing like the three yet to come. The old commentator Seiss(?) wrote a good paragraph, "Though sentenced against an evil work be not executed speedily, it will be executed at last. Jezebel may flourish in her iniquities for many years, but finally the horses trample her body in the streets and the dogs gnaw and crunch her royal bones. Long was the old world left to drive its crimes, jeer at Noah, fling defiance in the face of God, but soon the earth breaks down beneath their feet and their lifeless bodies are dashed upon each other amid the waves of a world ocean. The trampled law of God will assert its rightful honor and Christ will not endure the smittings, taunts and wrongs of Pilate's Hall forever. And when these trumpets once give their blast, the vibration will run through the universe and everything created for human blessedness shall turn into a source of disaster to them who know not God and obey not the gospel of Christ," end quote.
And I say to you what I must say. Now is the hour of salvation. Today...today...today. The disciples said, "When is this going to come to pass?" And Jesus said, "Nobody knows, so you be ready at any time." And the way to be ready is to place your faith in Jesus Christ whom the Bible says delivers us from the wrath to come.
Father, we are awed by all of this and yet we feel we have only scratched the surface. The scene is so grand, so foreboding, so frightening. And yet it fittingly belongs to those who refuse You, who despise You, who reject Christ, who trample His blood under their feet, who want no part of salvation, who insist on worshiping the creature and the creation, not the creator. O Father, it's our prayer tonight that no one...no one here this night would say I reject Christ, I will not worship God, I defy Him, I choose judgment. Father, we pray that Your Spirit would break down the resistance and that every sinner would know that this is the just recompense for sin, but that sin can be covered by the blood of Christ. And for the one who places faith in Him, there is complete and eternal forgiveness and therefore there is no judgment for those who are in Christ. We thank You for that great confidence. And we ask that You would make that real to every heart that we may flee to Christ to embrace the salvation that He freely offers us and we thank You for such a gift in Your Son's name. Amen.
You know, if we had had time tonight, we don't, one of the exciting things about Bible study is taking these various things and tracing them back through the words of the prophets of the Old Testament to show how they parallel. And we have done that in the past and so I didn't belabor that tonight. We did it in some earlier messages in Revelation on the day of the Lord and also in our study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and I would refer you to that if you want some more help in that area. These are not things, and I say all that to say this, these are not things that God has intended to surprise people with. After all, there it is, right? Over and over and over the warning is there. It came from the prophets of the Old Testament, it came from the lips of Jesus, came from the pen of the Apostles, came in the revelation, here it is. And the choice is yours to accept the salvation and deliverance of Christ or to face the judgment. And even should you die and be buried before this happens, that which awaits in hell is infinitely worse, for this is temporal, that is the eternal judgment.
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