Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: There’s a saying that we should have an “attitude of gratitude”. We all know that even in the worst of times we have at least some little thing to be grateful for, but our nature is to focus on the things that are wrong. I am telling you that when we choo

You’ll notice there’s no outline in your bulletin or on powerpoint today because I want you to be completely focussed on experiencing our passage today. This is meant to be an experiential passage of Scripture, and I want you to be able to really put yourself in the story today. So let’s just get started in:

Chapter 8

Verse 1. This must be important for it to have been mentioned here. This must be a momentous event, because so far all we have read about is this constant worship going on. What are they doing during this half hour of silence? The scroll has now been fully opened with the seventh seal and heaven is simply awestruck and this is the calm before the storm.

This reminds me of a verse from Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 20, some of you may even remember singing it. “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him”. This doesn’t mean be quiet in church, it means the Lord is about to judge, every body shut up, because you have nothing to say. We were silent for communion today because I wanted us to really take in the momentousness of what Christ did for us.

Think about that, what that must have been like. The amazing sense of solemn anticipation, sadness and joy because God was about to get the ball rolling in terms of bringing about the end of everything that is evil. The silent prayer that must have been going on for those who were going to experience what was about to come.

Some say the trumpet judgments that are now coming are the first half of the tribulation and the bowl judgments that come later is the second half. I disagree, I believe the opening of the seventh seal here is the beginning of the second half or the Great Tribulation because clearly the intensity of the judgments are increased at this point.

Verses 2-5. This is a scene very similar to what we saw in chapter 5 where the Lamb took the scroll and the 4 living creatures and elders fell before the throne holding harps and bowls of incense. Here are the seven angels now given trumpets. Trumpets are very significant to the Jewish culture at this time, and they always signalled the beginning of a major event.

Then another angel comes and stands at the altar offering up the prayers of the saints. The saints are all believers and the nature of these prayers is clearly to bring in the kingdom of God on earth. I don’t believe this angel is Jesus because in the previous verses He is called the Lamb. In verse 5 this mighty angel then takes this censer and throws the fire down onto the earth. The saints have prayed that the final judgment would come and Jesus the Lamb begins it here with the opening of the 7th seal.

Verses 6-7. Remember when the angels were told not to harm the earth or sea or any tree while the 144000 were sealed? Now with the first trumpet, hail and fire mixed with blood are thrown to the earth and a third of the earth and trees were burnt up and all the grass on earth. Think for minute, what would the implication of this destruction be? Most of the food for animals and humans would be destroyed.

The first four trumpets all target the natural earth affecting food and water supplies. This will cause the people on the earth to experience extreme hunger and thirst. Now why would a merciful God put people through such torture, why not just kill them so they don’t suffer?

He is still giving them a chance to hunger and thirst for Him while they are alive. And it seems that as soon as a person turns to Christ during this tribulation they will be either martyred or raptured very quickly, ending their suffering.

This is very similar to what God did to Pharoah in Egypt, he kept increasing the judgments for the purpose of getting him to believe in the true God. Are the fire and hail and blood symbolic? I doubt it, the blood just symbolizes death and there’s no reason to believe that God could not display such a supernatural event.

Look at Exodus 9:18-26 the seventh plague. God’s people were protected.

Verses 8-9. This burning mountain could easily be a giant meteorite or something similar, and with all the creatures that die, a third of the sea could easily turn red with blood. Similarly the massive tsunami that this would cause could easily destroy a third of the ships in the ocean.

Again Exodus chapter 7 the first plague. Read 7:17-21. None of this stuff is new, God has used these methods since the beginning.

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