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Back To The Future – Sermon #21


Revelation 8:1-13


Intro: We continuing to watch as the events of the Book of the Revelation unfold. We have already witnessed the end of the church age, which will culminate in the Rapture of the church, Rev. 4:1. We have watched as Heaven worships God and the Lamb for Who They are, what They have done and for what They will do, Rev. 4-5. We have seen the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus, take the seven-sealed scroll from the hand of His Father and, we have watched as He began the process of breaking the seven seals, Rev. 6. As He did, the earth was engulfed in horror after another as the judgments of God began to fall on sinful men. We also studied the events of Rev. 7, where 144,000 Jewish evangelists are saved, sealed and sent out to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to all the nations of the world, Rev. 7:1-8. As they preached a vast multitude was saved out of great tribulation and washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb. This redeemed multitude is pictured, healthy and whole, in Heaven in the presence of the Lamb and of the Father, Rev. 7:9-17.

      That brings us to our text for this study. Here, in verse 1, the seventh seal is broken by the Lord Jesus. When He breaks this seal, seven trumpet judgments are unleashed upon the earth. If you think things have been horrible thus far, you are right, but the worst is yet to come.

      Today, we are going to watch as the first four of the trumpet judgments are sounded against the earth. We are going to see things go from bad to worse for those who will be living on the earth during the Great Tribulation. Allow me to share with you the observations offered in this passage as I preach on the subject When Heaven Falls Silent.


  I.  v. 1            THERE IS SILENCE IN HEAVEN

A. John describes a scene that must be a first in Heaven. Absolute silence reigns there for one-half an hour. Chapters four, five and seven all describe Heaven as a place of worship, praise, joy and song. Heaven is described as a place alive with noise. It is pictured as a place that literally throbs with the excitement of its inhabitants. Yet, we are told there is silence in that land of praise for half and hour. The beast and elders are silent. The angels and the redeemed multitudes have neither shouts of praise nor songs of joy to offer up. There are no divine pronouncements from the throne. Heaven sits in total silence.

B.  Silence is a powerful thing. You can be about asleep in a service, but just let the preacher fall silent and you will snap to attention. The silence at the beginning of a wedding lets you know the time has come.

            Silence can also be nerve shattering! Have you ever been listening to the radio and suddenly there is silence? You immediately wonder what has happened at the station, don’t you? Imagine you have asked your girlfriend to marry you and she just sits in silence for thirty minutes. Imagine you have been accused of a crime and the jury has come back with your verdict. You are standing before the judge waiting for him to read it to you, and for thirty minutes he just sits there in silence.

C.  What we are seeing in this verse is the lull before the storm. The judgment of God is about to fall on the earth and Heaven has thirty minutes of silence before the judgments commence. Habakkuk 2:20 says, “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Earth will not hear the Lord’s voice, nor will they acknowledge Him at all. They rush on in their sins, living their vain lives, all the while ignoring the God of Heaven. The inhabitants of Heaven, on the other hand, understand what God is about to do and they fall silent in awe at His presence and His power.

            Here on earth, we often see people call for a moment of silence in the aftermath of tragic events. We saw that kind of thing after 9/11. We do it after the event because we have no way of knowing when tragedy will strike. Heaven, on the other hand, calls for a moment of silence before the event. Heaven knows tragedy is about to stroke and Heaven falls silent in the face of impending judgment.


  I.  There Is Silence In Heaven



A.  v. 2   Involved Preparations – Seven angels are pictured, standing before God, ready to do His bidding. By the way, these angels present a good lesson for us. We should also stand ready to do our Lord’s bidding. In a day when people are concerned about education, wealth, health and a host of other things they think they need to serve God; the greatest ability is still availability. The Lord is looking for people with a heart like that which Isaiah possessed. He is looking for people who will say, “Here am I” when He asks “Whom shall we send?” (Ill. Isa. 6:1-8.

            These seven angels are given seven trumpets. These seven trumpets are going to be used to send judgments upon the earth. Trumpets, as you know, figured heavily in the lives of the ancient Jews. Numbers 10:1-12 tells us that two silver trumpets were to be used to notify the people of Israel that certain events were about to occur. A certain blast was used to assemble all the people; another was used to assemble just the heads of the tribes. A certain sound was used to tell the people when it was time to break camp and march; another alerted them when there was a war. There was a certain sound that was to be made for each event. That is why Paul said, “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8)  So, trumpets were very important to the people of Israel.

            God’s people are listening for trumpets, 1 Thes. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-52. Trumpets are a big part of our future too.

            Think with me for a minute about an event that occurred in the history of ancient Israel involving the use of trumpets. You will find the text in Joshua 6:1-21. The Israelites marched around Jericho once each day for six days and then seven times on the seventh day. As they marched, they sounded their trumpets. Well, you know what happened! On the seventh day, after the seventh lap, they blew their trumpets and they shouted and the walls of Jericho fell down flat.

            There is coming a day during the Tribulation when Heaven will sound its trumpets against a rebellious earth, and the walls of rebellion that have been erected against holy God by sinful man will fall before His unstoppable wrath. These trumpets are war trumpets and they are used to sound the attack. When God attacks the earth in His wrath, no one will be able to repel His advance.

B.  v. 3-4  Involved Prayers – Another angel takes a censer filled with incense. He takes the incense and offers it along with the prayers of the saints on the altar before God. The smoke of the incense and the prayers of the saints ascend together into the very presence of God.

      These are mysterious verses, but they do have a couple of lessons to teach us today.

1.  The prayers of the saints are kept by God – As our prayers leave our hearts and lips to ascend to the throne of grace, they are not just sent out into the ether to disappear forever. These verses show us that God holds onto our prayers and keeps them in His presence. You see, some prayers cannot be answered when we pray them; the time is not right! In His time, however, they will be answered, as we see in these verses.

2.  The prayers of the saints are answered by God – I am convinced that we are seeing the prayers of the saints under the altar, Rev. 6:9-11, answered in these verses. I am also convinced that the prayers of God’s people down through the ages are being answered as well. For two-thousand years, God’s people have prayed, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Those prayers are about to be answered. For thousands of years the people of God have asked Him to demonstrate His power; avenge His name; and get glory over sin and sinners. Those prayers are about to be answered. They have been kept and they are mingled with the fire of the finished work of Christ from the altar. They ascend up before God and they will be answered!

3.  The prayers of the saints have power with God – Here are prayers that have been heard, preserved and answered in God’s time. I have problems in the area of prayer! I have been saved for years, but I still feel as incompetent in my prayer life as I did when I first began to pray. There are no Ph. D’s in prayer. There are no experts in prayer. We may struggle in the arena of prayer, but if we are saved, we have power with God in prayer.

      Eph. 5:2 says that Christ’s finished redemptive work is a “sweet-smelling savour” in the nostrils of God. When we pray in Jesus’ name, our prayers mingle with His finished work and rise up before God as a sweet-smelling offering. It is an offering that He accepts and blesses for His glory! Our prayers ascend up to God on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and God hears us when we pray!

      There is power in the prayers of he saints of God! Think about it, we have an Advocate in Heaven, 1 John 2:1. An Advocate is a lawyer. We have one pleading our cause in Heaven. But wait, we have an Advocate in our hearts, John14:6 uses the word “Comforter” to refer to the Holy Ghost. It is the same word translated “Advocate” in 1 John 2:1. We have one member of the Godhead pleading our cause in Heaven. We have one member of the Godhead pleading God’s cause in our hearts. That is why you and I have power in our prayers!

      Our praying may seem weak and ineffective at times, but by the time our prayers arrive in glory, they are not in the same form as they were when they left our feeble lips. The Spirit of God takes them and offers them up to the Lord Jesus, Who takes them and offers them up to God. When He hears our prayers, they are a powerful force that He uses for His glory!

      The most powerful people in this world are not the political movers and shakers. The most powerful people are not the kings, queens, dictators, presidents and generals. The most powerful people are not the celebrities and the wealthy. The most powerful people in this world are widows, women, men, children, the poverty stricken and others who believe in the God of Heaven and call out to Him be faith. So, pray Christian pray! As you do, your prayers are mingled with the finished work of Jesus and you have power with God! There is more power in your prayers than you could have ever imagined!

C.  v. 5  Involved Premonitions – The angel takes the censer and fills it with fire from the altar and he cats this into the earth. When he does, there are sounds from the earth. These sounds are the premonitions of the upheavals that are coming upon he earth.

      Did you notice that the same fire that causes the incense and prayers to rise up also causes the judgments to come down? As Dr. Jerry Vines says, “Judgment is merely the opposite side of rejected love.” Men have rejected God’s love, His grace, the gift of His Darling Son, and there is nothing left for them but the undiluted wrath and judgment of an offended God. That is what we are about to see as these trumpets are sounded and judgment falls upon the earth.


  I.  There Is Silence In Heaven

 II.  There Is A Service At The Altar



(Ill. Verse 6 tells us that the angels take their places and prepare to sound their trumpets. As they do, we are about to see one horror after another visited upon the earth and her inhabitants.)

A.  v. 7  The Trumpet Of Devastation – The first trumpet brings hail and fire mingled with blood. This may be a description of hail falling from the skies, mingling with lava from volcanic eruptions. The blood might be that of men and animals killed in the cataclysm, or it could refer to contaminated water droplets that have the appearance of blood.  Whatever the nature of this judgment, this storm of wrath falls upon the earth and burns up one-third of all the trees on the earth, along with all the grass.

      As a result of this judgment, oxygen levels plummet and the quality of breathable air suffers greatly. (Ill. America has already denuded our country to the point that we only produce some 60% of the oxygen we consume.)

      The word “trees” speaks of “fruit trees”. Wheat, which is used to produce bread, is a type of grass. Grass is used to graze livestock. So this judgment will have a tremendous impact worldwide food supplies. Here we have a time of great geological, ecological and economic disaster.

B.  v. 8-9  The Trumpet Of Destruction – When the second trumpet sounds a fiery mountain is seen falling into the sea. One-third of the sea is contaminated; one-third of the all marine life dies and one-third of all human ships are destroyed.

      This could be a description of a meteor falling out of space and hitting the oceans. If that were to happen, it could easily destroy one-third of all life in the sea. This would contaminate the oceans with the dead, rotting bodies of marine life. It would also trigger massive tidal waves that would sink great numbers of ships. Their rusting hulks will choke shipping lanes and hinder the movements of men and materials.

      Mankind is very dependent upon the resources he retrieves from the sea. When the oceans are taken away as a source of life and livelihood, man will suffer from hunger and economic disaster.


(Note: Verses 7 and 8 both mention blood. Blood will fall from the skies and the seas will be turned to blood. I think God is sending man a clear message. Man has rejected the blood of Jesus as the sole means of salvation. God places the blood before their eyes as a constant reminder that nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away to stains of sin!)


C.  v. 10-11  The Trumpet Of Death – Another object falls from Heaven. It is probably a comet, since it is described as having a tail. It falls upon the fountains of fresh waters and causes them to become poisoned. The word “wormwood” translates the Greek word “apsinthos”. It means “bitterness”. It refers to a plant whose leaves are used to manufacture a certain drink called “absinthe”. This alcoholic beverage is so toxic that it is banned in many countries. One-third of the sweet, fresh waters of the earth are poisoned and many die from drinking these tainted waters.

D.  v. 12  The Trumpet Of Darkness – When the fourth trumpet sounds, God turns down the power of the sun, moon and stars. Their power is reduced by one-third. They are dimmed and when they do shine they are not as bright, nor do they shine as long as they used to.

      This could be the result of all the ash and debris from the earlier judgments, or this could be the supernatural hand of God. However, the results are the same, the earth is plunged into darkness as the sun, moon and stars refuse to give their light. This will affect growing seasons, weather patterns, plant life, temperatures on the earth, and mankind’s physical and emotional health. This trumpet will take a great toll on humanity.


(Note: Since the beginning of time, man has taken God for granted. Man has ignored Him, blasphemed Him and lived as though He did not exist. Man has also taken God’s creation for granted. There have always been plenty of trees and green grass. There has always been plenty of oxygen to breath. The sea has always been there and it has always yielded its bounty to man as he has traveled and fished its waters. There has always been plenty of fresh water to drink. Just go to the faucet or the water fountain and turn it on. The sun, moon and stars have always been in their places and they have always given their light.      During the tribulation God will take away what man has always taken for granted. Man will be judged for his refusal to bow before God and to acknowledge His Lordship.


E.  v. 13  The Testimony Of Doom – This chapter closes with an angel flying through Heaven pronouncing further woes upon the earth. Things are bad, but not as bad as they will become. The worst part of the Tribulation still lies ahead!

      If you have never been saved, this would be a good time to do something about that. If you have been saved, this would be a good time to rejoice that you will miss these events.


Conc: We look at these things as ask, “How could this ever happen?” It will happen, just as God says it will. There are a couple of verses I want to share as I close this message today.

      The first is Ezekiel 38:22-23, “And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.   Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” God will prove His glory in the day of His judgment. He will do the things we have read in these verses to show man jut Who God is.

      Another passage is Matthew 24:29, where Jesus says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” He is describing the very events that we have read about today.

      Notice that last phrase: “and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”. The word “powers” comes from the word “dunamis”, which gives us the word “dynamite”. It means “inherit, explosive power.” The word “heaven” come from the word “uranos”, which gives us the word “uranium”. And the word “shaken” means “to be set off balance”. Now, without trying to change what the Scripture says, but looking at it this way, it reads: “And the powers of uranium shall be set off balance.”

      When God created the universe; He build within the tiniest part of this universe, the atom, the very power to destroy this universe. When man learned to “split the atom” he unleashed the most powerful and destructive force in existence. Mankind possesses the power to literally destroy the world. Could it be that God will use a nuclear explosion to accomplish some of these things? I do not know, but I do know that He has built the potential into every atom in this universe. Everything around you, from the air you breathe, to the pews upon which you sit, can become an instrument of destruction.

      There is more that could be said, but the bottom line is this: Judgment is coming upon this earth and upon all those who refuse the accept Jesus as their Savior. The best thing you can do today is be saved by His grace and ready to meet Him when He comes so you can avoid the tragedies that are coming. Are you saved?

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