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Summary: The book of Revelation is an apocalypse, not an almanac. It's not so much a book of predictions, but a book of proclamations.

The Last Word – Revelation 8

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September 27, 2020

The book of Revelation is an apocalypse, not an almanac. It’s not so much a book of predictions, but a book of proclamations!

Not everything in Revelation is intended to be explained and understood. Much of Revelation is meant to awaken us to wonder.

Revelation 8:1-5 NIV

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

These Christians had no right to vote, no weapons to defend themselves, yet they did not panic and run. Why? They knew how to pray!

Why 30 minutes of silence?

The world is a mob where everyone is talking and very few are listening. God not only speaks to us, but he listens to us.

The distinctive feature of Christian prayer is the certainty of being heard.

v.4-5 - The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

The prayers which had ascended into heaven returned to the earth with great force! Heaven launches a prayer bomb!

God always hears the cries of his people, especially those who are persecuted.

So many times, we find ourselves weak and weary, with no words to pray. Even then, the Spirit is present, helping us pray.

Romans 8:26-27 NIV

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

This is the moment in Revelation that we see the seriousness of our collective sins.

Revelation 8:7-9 NIV

The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The world needs major surgery and serious pruning which can only happen when entire systems are uprooted and replanted.

Romans 6:22-23 NIV

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sin brings death but God gives us eternal life.

The Gospel is only good news if we see ourselves as sinners needing grace.

I’ve sinned.

I can’t save myself.

I need grace.

I need forgiveness.

I need Jesus.

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