Revelation 8-11
(Seven Trumpets)
December 27th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

- Revelation 1:1-2 (NRSV)

Summary of Chapters

In chapters 1-7 we had read about the beginning of John's experience in which he was brought to heaven by the Holy Spirit. While there, John watched Jesus receive a scroll with seven seals. In the previous chapters we read about the outcome of the opening of the first six seals.

Today's set of chapters begins with the opening of the seventh seal on the mysterious scroll, which is followed by a vision of a series of disastrous events that will take place on earth. Seven angels were given seven trumpets. As each one blew its trumpet a new disaster unfolded. The latter part of chapter 8 describes the events that transpire after the blowing of the first four trumpets: Hail and fire that burned up a third of the earth, a mountain became on fire and went into the sea, a star fell from the sky, and a third of the sun, earth, and moon went dark.

The ninth chapter describes the blowing of the fifth and sixth trumpets. John saw a star fall from the sky after the blowing of the fifth trumpet. The star held a key to the Abyss, which when opened released smoke, and out of the smoke came an army of extraordinary locusts. The sixth trumpet released four angels from the Euphrates and an army of 200 million mounted troops who destroyed a third of the earth with plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The unbelievers that were not destroyed were undeterred in their pursuit of sinful activities.

In chapter 10, John describes the vision of another angel – one that straddles land and sea and began to shout. John was instructed not to write down what the angel said, but the angel gave him a tiny scroll and told him to eat it. It tasted like honey, according to John.

    So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’ ” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

    - Revelation 10:9-11 (NIV)

In chapter 11, John is told to measure the temple and then two witnesses are described. These witnesses, who are presumed to be Moses and Elijah will testify at length, battle the evil forces, die, and be reborn. Finally, the seventh trumpet is blown, which results in loud voices and praise from the angels and elders in heaven. Then, the Ark of the Covenant from the first tabernacle is revealed.

Reflection and Application

What was John’s reaction during all of these events? He must have been in awe. Perhaps he said something to himself like “Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow!”

What are we to make of it? One lyric that comes to my mind is the opening of Stephen Still’s “For What It’s Worth”: “Something is happenin’ here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.” A full understanding of the meaning of the book of Revelation will require more than the week that we have devoted to it. However, let’s see what we interpret from this group of chapters.

The Psalmists and others often lamented about the delay in God’s judgments, and we may have also expressed similar concerns. John tells us in Revelation that the judgment will take place - at a time appointed by the LORD. Note that each of the disasters has certain boundaries or limitations, thus emphasizing that God is in control – just like God was in control of the suffering inflicted on Job by the devil. God created the world and he can destroy it at the pace that he sees fit.

The locust plague had been described in Joel 2:1-10 as a build up to the day of the LORD. The locusts were known for their ability to destroy and had been used as a metaphor to describe the advance of an efficient army. The locusts in Revelation may have been demons sent to drive a wedge between God and his people. Despite all of these disasters, John explained that there some people who still don’t turn to God.

John reveals all of these visions, as instructed, but is also told to withhold some of the information for reasons known only to God. Just like Ezekiel, he is told to eat a scroll. The words become sour in his stomach because it is a difficult message. We can relate to John as we struggle to comprehend the message in these chapters.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What insect is your least favorite?
    2. Why would some people still not repent after all of these events?
    3. Why would God reveal so many details, yet withhold others?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you have a plan sealed up in your scroll. Help us to trust and know that you win in the end and that we are winners if we believe in you - regardless of how the world judges us.

    Prayer Concern
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    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Revelation 12-14 (Celestial Battles)

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