Revelation 8:1-5 sets out two steps preliminary to the trumpet judgment. First, breaking the seventh seal in 8:1 officially declares the coming and complete wrath of the Lamb upon all opposition (8:1-9:21). Breaking the seventh seal marks a brief period of absolute silence before the trumpet judgment begins (8:1). The seventh seal, trumpet, and bowl occur parallel to each other, so each is followed by salvation for the saved and judgment upon the lost in a renewed creation. Second, the silence initiated by the seventh seal may represent silence prior to the original creation in Genesis. That silence was for eternity past; this silence denotes a very brief period before the renewed creation comes (Zephaniah 1:7).
People faithful to God need reassurance that a time of final judgment is coming upon all humankind (8:1-2). Trumpets are given to angels to announce deliverance and judgment (8:2; Matt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52). The faithful need reassurance that their prayers are heard (8:3-4; Exodus 3:7-9; Psalm 37), and that God considers their prayers in determining His actions to condemn injustice and vindicate justice for His people. The redeemed in Christ need not fear this time, but they do need to have two things in mind. First, they are protected (“sealed”) from the wrath of God, but they will have to endure tribulation from unbelievers until that day comes. Second, there is literally a world of people outside the church who stand under the judgment of God (8:5). These will suffer His wrath unless they trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, a certainty which underscores the church’s urgent task of evangelizing the lost.
As we have seen, nature plays a prominent and active role in Revelation. Verse 5 relates that natural disaster will be used as an instrument of judgment. There are four relationships broken by sin: the relationship between God and humans; a relationship between one person and another; a connection between a person and the animal world; and that between a person and the physical world. Salvation restores the first relationship and makes possible the second. Restored creation will see the lion lying down with the lamb in a world no longer threatened by natural disaster. Until all of this is finally made right, unbelievers will persecute the church, just as the Lord said they would. Consequently, the church is to persevere in faith while faithfully declaring salvation in Christ.
Dr. David Moore is a university online instructor in Bible and theology. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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