Note: As mentioned in earlier Chapters some teachers are of the opinion that the following refers to Israel only, and that "Earth" refers to the land of Israel only. At the present time we do not hold that view, as there are two major happenings in Revelation, the wrath of God on the Nations, and "Jacob's Trouble" on Israel.
Remembering that we are reading the events of God's dealings with Israel's enemies, the predictions of such are: Mic. 7:15-16, Isa. 11:15-16, Jer. 23:3-8, Ex. 34:10, Deut. 28:10 & Hos. 1:11.
V.1 And when He opened the (a)7th seal, there came to be (b)silence in the Heaven about half an hour.
(a) The first 6 seals were opened in quick succession with brief descriptions. The descriptions fit what our Lord said to His disciples in Matt. 24, and parallel passages. In V.8 of Matt. 24 the Lord shows that the various calamities must happen as a prelude, and in V.9 that world-wide Jewry would be persecuted. This of course has happened many times, but never so badly as the Second World War of 1939-1945, which was an accelerating impetus (together with the First World War); towards the "Final Solution", as proposed by Hitler to exterminate all Jews, which had he won would have been a world-wide effort. As it is, he killed more than 6 million in Europe. There is however worse to come. In Chp. 6:4, "the peace is taken from the Earth", which in the case of Israel had been established by agreement with the State of Israel and the Antichrist previously, (Dan. 9:27); but in the case of other Nations, will also probably be with the help of Antichrist. Many of the world's Christendom leaders have been, and are, teaching that it is the Christian's duty to work for peace in the world so that the world will be a fitting place for Christ’s return, (this is known as the Ecumenical Movement). See: The Ecumenical Movement and the Bible: This of course ignores what Scripture says will be the case, but this teaching will make Antichrist totally acceptable to the gullible, as he agrees with, endorses, and enables such teaching.
Since the mid. A.D. 1800s knowledge has accelerated, technology increased, with the consequent huge expansion of war, travel, communication etc., (Dan. 12:4). This expansion coincided with an event in 1858 of the publication of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species", which led to conflict between Theologians and Scientists, called "The Great Debate". In the event the Scientists won that debate, and the power (albeit corrupted) of the Church declined. Although there have been attempts to renew Bible teaching through various groupings, the influences of alternative activities and interests holds sway in the present day, and what Bible teaching there is, is corrupted in the main. The exhortations of the Apostle Paul "to know and work at Scripture", (paraphrased), in the present time is not accepted. Rather, the case is that of 2Tim. 3:1-9, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come". These verses from 1 to 9 certainly describe very accurately the present day developing conditions on Earth; where Biblical standards are eroding at a very alarming rate!
The foregoing is laid out in support of the timing possibility of a special event which must yet take place. Since the Lord's death on the Calvary cross, and at the moment in time that He gave up voluntarily His spirit of life to the Father (Matt. 27:50) and the Veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom, a special condition has prevailed on Earth. The ripping of the Veil; which barred the way into the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple, signified that access to the presence of Jehovah was no longer barred, and that Christ's death as The substitute sacrifice was acceptable to the Father for men and women of right heart (good will).
This means (and the condition is still in place 2018) that as the Apostle Paul and others describe, "faith (trust) in Christ's sacrifice and in Him only is all that is required for Salvation (Acts 4:12) (to be made whole before God)", paraphrased.
As well as this gift of Salvation, this grouping of people (Christians true = Christ – Ones) have a special destination and purpose, which will start with a special event, called the "Translation" or "Rapture", (1Cor. 15:51). This taking away from Earth has to take place prior to the "Wrath of God on Earth, in our view, and may well be simultaneous with the saving from destruction of the remnant of Israel". (See Chapter 3:11(b) (1 Thess. 1:10) & (1 Thess. 5:9).
(This Tribulation of God on rebellious mankind, is probably partly simultaneous with the wrath which will be the worst tribulation visited on the Jews by the "Prince of this world", that has yet ever taken place, (Matt. 24:21-22).
The Body of the Lord was forming prior to and post Acts 28:28, but those before Acts 28:28 are destined for an inheritance relative to Abraham, as that was active up to Acts 28:28. Those post Acts 28:28 have an inheritance in Heaven, and are probably in special service to God/Christ in Millennial; and His Body “will live with Him”; (1Thess. 5:10). Acts 28:28, is not properly understood in the world, because of the erroneous teaching in the majority of cases world-wide, (see: Administration / Dispensations & The Changing Mission of Paul because of Acts 28 ).
There is the possibility that the Rapture of all Christians is at the same time, even though the Cor. and Thess. references are directed at the pre. Acts 28:28 Body. This possibility would seem to apply, if Christians are alive when the false Messiah is active in Israel, and assuming that the above references apply to both.
Charles Welch is of the opinion that the above references apply to raptured “Overcomers”, and if that is the case the following may apply, taken from revelationsmessage Chp. 12:3b Rev Chapter 12, and also see 'Note', below.
(b) The "silence"; in Heaven, augers a prelude, an anticipation, prior to special and/ or main events. The fact that half an hour is mentioned must have a meaning. The Interlinear no.2256 confirms the text. Part of the root 2255 gives the idea of "partition", with the possible idea of a time space before the next and culminating events of the Wrath of Jehovah God, on the Gentile Nations!
Dr. Bullinger in his book 'Revelation', comments: that "what follows in the 7th Seal opening, is the answer to the prayers of the 'slain' of Rev. 6:9-11". The 'silence in Heaven about half an hour', he related to many instances in Scripture, where a silence takes place after a prayer, prior to an answer; and the prayer turning to praise.
The descriptions of what are released in the following verses and Chapters are indeed terrible. The release of the 7th seal is also the last one for the Lamb of God (the only "Worthy One"). The Lamb is also Christ Jesus, and when He has released the 7th seal, He is free to continue the plan of Jehovah God. It is determined in the plan of God that Christ will descend from the right hand of the Father, "when His enemies are made His footstool", (paraphrased), (Matt. 22:44), (Mk. 12:36), (Lk. 20:43), (Acts 2:35), (Heb. 1:13), (Heb. 10:13) & (Psm. 110:1).
The timing of the Rapture of Christians (1Cor. 15:51), (Christ's Body not the Bride) has been and is the subject of much debate and speculation. Some say prior to the "70th week" of Daniel's prophecy, others at the same time as the saving of the "remnant", of Jews, and many other ideas abound. However, one overriding comment repeatedly seems to give the main clue, (Rom. 5:9) which speaks of exclusion from "wrath", in fact wrath is reserved for those that "hold down", or suppress the Truth (Rom. 1:18). The most convincing and probably conclusive is 1Thess. 1:10 and 5:9, which shows not only exclusion from wrath, but also uses the word "rescued" from the wrath to come.
As Christ/ The Lamb in verse one has just completed His seal releasing duties, and as the 7th seal (the last) is also the one that releases the wrath of God on rebellious humans, the "silence", or pause is opportune for Him to collect His Body, and or the "Overcomers". (1Thess. 4:13-17) and (1Cor. 15:51 & 52), which is one of the main views.
Note; 2012, 2014, 2017 & 2018
The most reasonable view, in context, is that there is more than one "Rapture" (or taking away). Revelation is clearly a continuation of the Old Testament, Gospels and Acts; with Acts 28:28 as the change point of "Administration", (i.e. Dispensation or Age, from the Age of the 'Jews', to that of the Gentiles').
The time from Acts 28:28 to Revelation's start is clearly as Paul states, "the Mystery Church", or Body of Christ. It therefore follows that when its time is ended and its "number is made up (Rom. 11:25)"; it will be removed from the Earth in what is called the "Rapture", or Translation.
The fact that Paul described this event in detail in 1Thess. 4:13-17, and 1Cor. 15:20-23, and that these writings are prior to Acts 28:28 does not detract from the facts of both events; i.e. pre-Acts 28:28 Jews and Gentiles, and post Acts 28:28 Gentiles and Jews in the pre-Revelation event.
The grouping described in Rev. 7 are clearly extracted from the "Great Tribulation", and are primarily Jews with Gentiles also, who have "washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb", V14, “during the Great Tribulation; Rev. 7:14. Their kinship and experience is similar to the Acts period Jews and Gentile Christians, and the verses of Scripture pertaining to them are: Matt. 24:40-41 & Luke 17:34-36.
To summarise; the writers tentatively take the view that there are at least 2, possibly 3 "Translations".
1) Post Acts 28:28 to approx. the beginning of Revelation "The Mystery Body of Christ". This removal is linked to the removal from Earth of "the Restrainer" of 2Thess. 2:7-9; who as the Holy Spirit, also indwells all true Christ - ones (Christ Jesus' Body); and therefore when He leaves the Earth, His Body leaves also!
As this event is prior to the revealing of Satan's envoy (2Thess. 2:8-9), then it follows that all of Christ Jesus' Body are not present on Earth, simultaneous with "the man of sin"!
2) Pre. Acts 28:28 "Body of Christ", which may or may not be simultaneous with 1), but may well be simultaneous with 3).
3) Overcomers described in Rev. 7, extracted from "the Great Tribulation", as described above; Scripture refs: Rev. 18:4.
Not to be forgotten is the remarkable and miraculous raising and ascending of the special witnesses of God/Christ; Rev. 11:12.
After that/those wondrous events, whatever their timing, there is time alone for the Body (True Church) with the Lord, which is a refining and reward time for individual Christians, who are now in a different body or state (2Cor. 5:10 & Phil. 3:21), but we are then with the Lord for ever (ALWAYS) (1Thess. 4:17). The "ALWAYS", here in the Greek, has the flavour of not just time but also at His side, (or in His presence).
The Lord must then arrive on Earth the second time (called the 2nd Advent), to rescue the remnant Isa. 11:16, of His people Israel, (in their flesh), (see above note), to subdue and defeat by force the Nations ranged against them (Psm. 2), to Judge the Nations, and to set up and preside in the Millennial Reign. As we are told by Paul that we (true Christ-ones) are "ever", with the Lord, it is the opinion of some teachers that we arrive on Earth with Christ (1Thess. 3:13) & (Jude 14); at His second Advent!
V.2 And I saw the (a)seven angels which stand before God; and to them were given seven (b)trumpets.
(a) Seven denotes spiritual perfection in Scripture, (App. 10).
(b) "Trumpets"; Used in Israel for assembly, and war, to be remembered before God to be saved from their enemies (Num. 10:9 and Zeph. 1:16) and to eventually at the "last trumpet", auger the Rapture of "Overcomers" at least (see above Note). As this reference is 1Cor. 15:52, and is pre. Acts. 28:28, the comments in the above "Note", and (3), probably apply!
V.3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden (a)censer; and there was given to him much incense, in order that he should offer it with the (b)prayers of all the (c)saints upon the (d)golden alter which was before the throne.
(a) Incense burner.
(b) "Prayers"; this is a vast subject, but put simply it is the sincere internal expression to Jehovah/Christ/God, from the individual for purpose, as Scripture puts it (Jn. 4:23-24) "in spirit and in truth". Our Lord showed that "vain repetition" (Matt. 6:7) is of no consequence to God. Instead, He showed the format to His disciples. He also showed that private, heart felt, individual prayer to be of great value to Jehovah Father (Matt. 6:6), and that it has a correct order of priority, (Matt. 6:9-13). The sincere Christian knows the importance of Christ's return, and the need for the present order to be overturned, and "the Kingdom of God", on Earth to come, and that should be central in their hearts, minds and prayer. The Greek word used in this verse is "Proseuche", which has the meaning of "personal devotion", offered to the "all powerful and loving God", (App. 134 II 2, Companion Bible).
(c) "Saints"; the meaning here is not as dictated by the Roman Church, but that person who has been made "clean", "innocent", "perfect", "pure", (Str. 53). Also, (Hagios Str. 40), "sacred", "pure", "blameless", "consecrated", "most holy", "saint". Of course all the above are achieved only through Christ, and the only two groups which have that status are Christ-ones (Christians) His Body; and the Overcomers of Revelation, (Rev. 6:9-11 & Luke 18:7).
The fact their prayers and ours have such importance and are so valued by the Father is because Christ alone achieved the victory over sin, in which fact we trust. Without the saving Grace of God in Christ, there can be no Christ-mindedness, (Rom. 8:26-29), "For whom He foreknew, He foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son, the firstborn among many brethren", also (2 Cor. 2:15). "For we are to God a sweet savour of Christ".
Part of the fruit therefore of the Christian is the Christ given ability to pray for the things of the Father, one of which is the yet to be "Kingdom of God on Earth". As we are "conformed", to the image of Christ, (albeit yet in the flesh but “Sealed in Heaven” 2Cor. 1:22, Eph. 1:3 & 4:30), we and our prayers (when correct), are a "sweet savour", to God the Father, and also a witness to all Heavenly Creation. This "sweet savour", is a form of incense, because its origin is pure (Christ), and its purpose is pure, (the Kingdom of God on Earth). To pray takes effort, and the prince of this world and his agents always resist such effort. The will of the Christian is therefore involved, which is his/her sacrifice of praise, (Heb. 13:15).
(d) This is the Heavenly original, of the pattern given to Moses, for the Tabernacle, and Temple, (re- comments V.5).
V.4 And the (a)smoke of the incense, which came with the (b)prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
V.5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with (c)fire of the (d)alter, and cast it into the Earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an (e)earthquake.
(a) “Smoke of the incense"; this is more profound than a quick reading suggests, as will be attempted to be shown and seen from the following. The incense is classed as "Most Holy", (Lev. 2:1-3), as opposed to "Holy". It was introduced in Exodus 30:34-38, and described by Jehovah in verse 36 as "Most Holy". It was offered after Atonement in the ceremonies of Tabernacle and Temple. The smoke (cloud) of which “may cover the Mercy Seat", (Lev. 16:13). After which the Priest took the blood of the sin sacrifice, and with a finger sprinkled it on the "Mercy Seat eastwards"; and before the Mercy Seat seven times.
It is notable that the “wise men", who brought gifts to Christ's nativity, "gold, frankincense and myrrh", the latter two are ingredients of incense, and Priestly oil and ointment; which indicate His eventual “High Priest” function; “in the order of Melchisedec”; (Psm. 110:4; Heb. 7:17 & 5:6); when He rules the World from Jerusalem.
(b) "Prayers of the saints"; (see notes V.3) the clear Biblical definition of these people as given in verse 3 comments, shows that their prayer for justice and vengeance (Rev. Chp. 6:10) which is undoubtedly the prayer of all "saints", (or should be), is added to the incense. This (incense of prayer), can only come (in truth) from those whom Christ has redeemed "and the prayer is therefore by the "spirit of Christ", frankincense and myrrh.
(c) The "Fire"; which was added to the incense from the Alter, never came from any other source, as this was "Holy Fire". Jehovah sent this fire (Lev. 9:24) down to the Tabernacle that He had instructed Moses to build, and it was never allowed to extinguish until Nebuchadnezzar raided the Temple. The later Temple after the Babylonian exile did not have "Divine Fire", or the "presence of Jehovah". This "Fire of the Alter", is the same fire that Jehovah sent to the Tabernacle, (Lev. 9:24) is the same fire that consumed all the Old Testament sin offerings, which killed the sons of Aaron, (Lev. 10:2), and which Elijah called down to combat the Priests of Baal, (1 Kings 18:38), and in many other instances. It is probable that this same Holy Fire is that of the "Lake of Fire", in Rev. 20:10.
(d) "Alter"; this Alter in Heaven, is the only one which can be used to understand the eternal meaning. Any Earthly system can only be of the Enemy. The Hebrew word is "Misbeah" (Str. 4196), which means "place of sacrifice". In this case the Holy Fire which has been taken from it and added to the prayer/incense, is cast onto the Earth, and is clearly the beginning of Jehovah's "vengeance", on the peoples of the Earth, for their rejection of His Son (Messiah Christ), and the persecution of His people Israel!
There is another "Alter", (Ex. 30:1-10) & (Ex. 40:5), "most holy to Jehovah", Ex. 30:10, which is called the "Incense Alter", made of wood covered in gold, which is that symbolised by the gift of the "wise men". This stood in the Tabernacle, and Temple of Solomon in the "Holy Place", which was divided off from the "Most Holy Place", or "Holy of Holies", by a curtain. This is the curtain that was rent from the top to bottom in the Jew's Temple at the moment that Christ gave up the Spirit on The Cross.
The Priest once a year made Atonement by sin offering on its horns, (Ex. 30:10). Incense was offered morning and night (Ex. 30:7-8) with strict formula incense (Ex. 30:9) which included frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh were also used for the anointing oils for the Priest, before he met with Jehovah (Ex. 30:23-38). It is profoundly notable that in the Temple of the Millennial (Ezk. 40 +), that there will not be an Alter of incense! The reason is clearly that the gold, (the TRUE GOLD; Rev. Chp. 3:18), frankincense and myrrh of Christ have served their purpose, in the death, and resurrection of Christ, and fruition in the Body; and the Overcomers.
Christ and His people will no longer be a future prospect, but will be together in Jerusalem, at the appointed time.
(e) See 6:12, 11:13, 11:19 & 16:18, these are common during this period, and commented on by Jesus in Matt. 24 etc.
V.6 (a)And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
V.7 (a)The first sounded, and there came to be (b)hail and fire mingled with (c)blood, and they were cast upon the Earth: and the (b)third part of the Earth was burnt up, and the (b)third part of trees was burnt up and (b)all green grass was burnt up.
(a) The "silence"; and or pause described earlier is over and as each angel sounds the trumpet, new devastation is released on the Earth by the Almighty.
(b) The "hail and fire with blood"; (Ezk. 39:6, 38:22, Hos. 8:14, Amos 1:4,7,10,12, 2:5, Deut. 32:22 & Joel 2:30-32), cast on the Earth burns one third of all the Earth. This is hard to imagine, it is not just a whole city, or even a whole Country but one third of the globes surface in aggregate. The writers are of the opinion that as the whole Earth's peoples (except those noted earlier) are the subject of this and the following devastations, that a third of each Country will be burned. This decrease of a third of trees, and all green grass, will produce famine yet unknown on Earth, as most meat production relies on grass. The third reduction of trees will reduce the oxygen content of the atmosphere.
(c) The describing of "blood" in V.7 can only mean just that, "blood", and certainly human, as animals are not the subject of God's wrath. As in this verse it does not say that men are killed as in other verses, the meaning should be taken as literal, in that blood, fire and hail, will rain down on Earth. There is certainly literal meaning in that men's minds will be focused on the blood, the burning, and the loss of trees and grass. The inclusion of blood and its meaning, the Gentile Nations will not be able to escape. The original Greek word (Str. 129) leaves no room for discussion as to euphemism, the meaning is literal, it is "blood. God's statement that "the life is in the blood", (Lev. 17:11), "and that it is the blood that makes Atonement for the soul" (i.e. the living person); will focus mankind's mind on all the uses of the word in Jehovah's Word, including that of "retribution", (Lev. 20:9), which in this case refers to the cursing of father and mother by the child; how much greater the retribution for the cursing of God the Father and Messiah as is shown in Revelation 16. It is also significant that when Jehovah via. Moses contested with Pharaoh for His "first born son", (Ex. 4:22), He (God) eventually turned the River and all water source into blood (Ex. 7:17-21), which excluded from the Egyptians, drinking water and food, and created great pollution. It was not however until the sacrificial lamb's blood, that Isreal was saved from the Egyptions (Exodud 12)!
There is a similarity taking place in these and future verses, but on a much greater scale. The Lamb of God who has just released the 7th seal (V.1), eventually rescuing the remnant of Israel, from the deadly embrace, and persecution of Satan, in the form of Anti-Christ!
V.8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became (a)blood;
V.9 And the third part of the (b)creatures which were in the sea, which had life, died; and the third part of the (c)ships were destroyed.
(a) See note on blood V.7.
(b) "Creatures"; some people will believe that this is a judgement on sea animals, this almost certainly is not the case. The object is the same for Almighty God, it is to make mankind see Him and turn to Him. The death of a third of all sea life is to reduce food for mankind, and the reduction of viable sea by a third into blood, reduced the seas replenishment ability on all Earth's ecology systems, and weather patterns.
(c) "Ships destroyed"; a third of all sea transportation for all commerce and war are eliminated, throwing into chaos man's international trade, and military alliances. The resulting pandemonium will be insoluble.
V.10 And the 3rd angel sounded, and there fell a great star from Heaven, burning as it were a (a)lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the(b)fountains of the waters;
V.11 And the name of the star is called (c)Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and (d)many people died of the waters, because they were made bitter (poisonous).
(a) The fact that this star shines as a lamp, will not allow any inhabitants of Earth to ignore it. Its arrival will inspire fear, as the world's population is by then conditioned to expect calamity.
(b) "The fountains of the waters"; some would suggest that this means at the point of consumption but it is more likely to mean at the source of the waters.
(c) "Wormwood"; is a plant, growing in desolate areas of the world, it is both bitter to taste, and deleterious to health (poisonous). "Figuratively it suggests calamity (Lam. 3:15).
(d) "Many people died"; interestingly, here a definite number of people is not given. The number is clearly very great and it is probable that at least a third of the population will die of this event. In V.8 of Chapter 6, and using the same loose hypothesis here, of the approx. 11,750,000,000 people remaining, this third reduction will leave approx. 7,900,000,000. This would mean that on this idea nearly ½ the world's population has been killed since the start of the Seal releases.
V.12 And the 4th angel sounded, and the (a)third part of the Sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; that the (a)third part of them was darkened, and the (a)third part of the day would not appear, and the night likewise.
V.13 And I beheld, and heard, one (b)angel messenger flying in mid Heaven, saying with a great voice, (c)"Woe, woe, woe, to those dwelling on the Earth, because of the 3 angels about to trumpet".
(a) The third reduction of these main skyward bodies will profoundly affect mankind, coming as they do on the heels of the previous devastations. Mankind is conditioned to observe skyward changes, with many predictions in history.
(b) The angels cry, (Str. 32 = angel messenger).
(c) "Woe, woe, woe, to mankind"; can do nothing other than fill the population with greater foreboding and fear, and for those that have heard or read, the Lord Himself predicted the skyward events, (Matt. 24:29), (Mk. 13:24) & (Luke 21:25). Also (Isa. 5:30), (Jer.4:28), (Ezk. 32:7:8), (Joel 2:10, 30 & 31), (Joel 3:15), (Amos 5:20), (Amos 8:9) & (Zeph. 1:14:16).
The special emphasis here cannot be overstated. The darkening to attract the attention, and the special announcement of the 3 woes, to focus the minds and hearts of mankind on what Jehovah Zebaoth is about to release on the Earth.
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