Summary: Revelation leaves us gasping for breath when we see God’s response to the saints prayers. When God sends even his limited judgments against his enemies... "Woe, woe, woe! is about all that can describe it.
Take the book of Revelation
and remove it from its historical foundation
and give it to scholars with a fertile imagination
and let them consider their present situation
and they will surely make a new application
or see it as a biblical alegorization.
Revelation 8-11 shows us how the saints’ prayers are heard in heaven and answered with trumpets of judgments against those who are not God’s people until finally some of them look up and give glory to God.
There are judgments of pain and death when the trumpets of God are sounded! A third of just about everything and everyone is destroyed or killed in the process of the first four trumpet sounds alone. Of the seven earthquakes in the book of Revelation, three of them are here in these chapters. Apocryphal images of prophetic judgments from all quarters of the Old Testament prophets are drawn together and reproduced right here in these chapters. The sounding of the trumpets has a long history in the scriptures. There is a significance given to them that spans the history of Israel and even the church.
When our children were little they used to make up little songs. Almost all of them were about God or the church. When Jen and Tim were about five and three years old we video taped them as they sang, “Trumpets will sound and I will be floating up with my God!” Even then they knew that heaven’s trumpets were a good sound for God’s people. On the other hand the scripture reveals that heaven’s trumpets are a terrible sound for those who do not have the seal of God on them to mark them as God’s people.
Just listen as I read this section of the trumpets in its entirety. Try to imagine with the prophet all the amazing imagery and hear the wrath of God flowing out against those who are persecuting his people and dishonoring the name of the God that created them. Hear God’s enemies celebrate when they think God’s prophets have been silenced, then see their reaction to God’s prophets at their resurrection and vindication. Notice finally, when the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ! This is a great blessing for the saints and a terrible woe against God’s enemies.
Ready? (Read 8-11)
Wow! Is all that actually in your Bible???
Instead of trying to dissect each mysterious and widely interpreted piece let us look at what is most clearly indicated by what we’ve just read and take a lesson from that.
Trumpets… this entire section is divided up by seven trumpet blasts, from seven angels directed by God’s will. But notice back at the beginning in chapter 8, what initiates these? The first six verses of chapter 8 tell us. Look at it again. This is a great lesson!
As soon as the Lamb opens the seventh seal, what happens?
Silence! There is silence in heaven for about a half an hour. What is this silence all about? Well, just look at what is happening during this silence and before the sounding of the first trumpet. See it there? What is going on? As seven angels stand with trumpets, another angel appears with something else. It is a censer. Much incense is given to him to add it to what? “The prayers of all the saints.” And verse 4 says that the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints went up before God out of the angel’s hand.
It is as if, just as soon as the Lamb opens the seventh seal, God says to everyone, “Shhhhhhhhh! Quiet!” No more calling words of worship from the living creatures, no more shouts of “Worthy” from the 24 elders, no more angelic songs of praise and adoration from the angel choir. God calls for silence as he listens to the prayers of his people. Just think of it! Heaven is quiet so that your prayers may be heard! How important are our prayers to God? Prayers precede this entire trumpet section! Prayers of the saints make all the difference in heaven’s response to earth’s situation.
Over and over God’s word tells us to pray. If Revelation 8-11 teach us anything at all, it teaches us that we need to be a praying people, and that our prayers matter to God and impacts what happens in this world.
Listen to this article from Leadership Magazine:
The Tuesday night prayer meeting at Brooklyn Tabernacle felt like skydiving into a tornado, exhausting and exhilarating all at once. I’d read about the meeting in Jim Cymbala’s book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, but nothing prepared me for the event itself: 3,500 God-hungry people storming heaven for two hours.
Afterward, my friend and I went out to dinner with the Cymbalas. In the course of the meal, Jim turned to me and said, "Mark, do you know what the number one sin of the church in America is?" I wasn’t sure, and the question was rhetorical anyhow. "It’s not the plague of internet pornography that is consuming our men. It’s not that the divorce rate in the church is roughly the same as society at large."