The Trumpets Sound Continued
THE TRUMPETS SOUND (Cont.)
Last week in chapter 8 we read about the opening of the 7th and final seal…and out of this last seal comes 7 trumpets…and we covered the first 4 of those 7 trumpets.
- This morning we are going to cover 2 of the last three because the 7th trumpet doesn’t sound until you get over to chapter 11.
Now keep in mind that trumpets are used to sound the alarm.
- So with each trumpet you have a warning…and alarm of the impending judgment that is coming on Rome because of their ungodliness and because of their harsh treatment of God’s people. .
But God not only sounds the alarm with each of these trumpets…but He also seems to give us an indication of the means by which He will bring about this fall. (Means or methods that He still uses today…watch for them as we go through this and see if they might apply to this country.)
Now, in chapter 8 when the first trumpet sounded the land…specifically the trees, the vegetation, the crops are attacked.
- Then the second trumpet sounds and the result is an attack on the shipping…the commercial and maritime industry…as well as the food sources of the sea.
- And then the third trumpet sounds and the fresh water sources were attacked.
- And then the 4th trumpet sounds…and the Roman world is darkened…its bright future is diminished.
All of these will have a tremendous effect on the stability and welfare of the Roman Empire and will aid in its fall.
Now, with that…let’s start in chapter 8…the very last verse.
- And the reason we want to start there is because chapter 8 leads into chapter 9…for in chapter 9 we have the continuation of the sounding of the trumpets.
- So, verse 13 of chapter 8.
13 And I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
- Notice now who these three “woes” are for…”those who dwell on the earth.”
- They are not for the saints because if you look in chapter 3:10; 4:10; 13:8: 12:12; and 13:6 the saints are seen as dwelling in heaven.
- So this judgment is coming on those other than the saints.
And notice also, that there are 3 trumpets of the angels still to sound.
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.
- Now, back over in chapter 1: 20 we find a star as representing angels.
- So here in this passage we find a “star” or “angel” having “fallen to the earth”…and he is given the key to the bottomless pit…or the abyss.
- And the bottomless pit or the abyss refers to the “infernal region”…the place of the unforgiven and the wicked.
And notice what this “star” does…he opens the bottomless pit…and allows the contents to come forth.
- The “star” or “angel” doesn’t do these things by his own power.
- He was simply given the key to unleash these things.
Now, notice what comes up out of the pit and what it does. He says: …and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.
- This is a picture of evil coming forth out of the bottomless pit.
- Evil is always lurking and waiting for someone to turn it loose…and this angel does that.
- And instead of the people walking in light…they will be walking in darkness.
- Their own moral decadence… and corruption…and their own wickedness and ungodliness will aid in their fall.
Sometime read about the history of the Roman Empire and how corrupt the government was.
- Some of the Emperor’s own sons assassinated them in order to claim the throne.
- And the Roman Senators and legislators were schemers constantly looking to pad their own pockets…or to increase their power…or satisfy their own desires.
- And immoralities of the basest kind were practiced.
- Men had their wives to bear children…but they had their mistresses…or their young men for sexual gratification.
- It was an extremely corrupt and immoral society and government…and God would use these things to aid in the fall of Rome.
And you may say, “How would immorality…and corruption…and wickedness aid in the fall of a nation?”
- Well, let me ask you this…what kind of impact financially does sin and wickedness have on this country?
- How many social programs exist because of the sinful and wicked practices of people?
- Addiction clinics, battered women’s shelters, abortion clinics, AID’s treatment centers…and so on.
- And what about our judicial system.
- Court dockets are loaded because of the sinfulness of people.
- Divorce cases, abuse cases, criminal cases, custody cases, etc.
- How much does this cost this nation every year?
And think about the lawsuits…and the DWI’s.
- And how much does it cost to house those who commit crimes.
And let me ask you this…when a politician or a lawmaker is caught in some scandal…some immoral affair…does that affect the confidence that the people have in our government?
- And what kind of ripple affect does that have?
- And not only that, sometimes people get the idea that if they can do it and get away with it…I can too…and that only destroys more of the foundation of a society and a country.
And here is something else.
- When our own country was attacked by terrorists…one of the things that the government found out is that much of the financing for those terrorists came from drug money…drug money that came from people buying drugs in this country.
And you already know, some people will do anything for money…even sell out their own country.
- And God will use Rome’s own wickedness and corruption to assist in bringing about their fall.
So John says that the “sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.”
Now verse 3:
3 And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
- Vs. 4 here makes these locusts peculiar.
- These are not locusts that hurt the plants…or green things.
- They only hurt the “men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
If you look back up in chapter 8 the four trumpets there attack the earth and the environment.
- This one directly attacks men.
And notice, this affects those who “do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
- This is aimed at those who are in opposition to God.
- This is not a judgment on all men…just the unfaithful.
Vs 5: And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.
- Now, notice something here…notice that these locusts were not to “kill anyone.”
- Some premillenialists try to apply these passages to events that are taking place today…and they make these locusts out to be Apache helicopters.
- Well, that cannot be because Apache helicopters kill.
- These locusts were only permitted to torment.
- To cause uncertainty, fear, discomfort, superstition, and seared consciences.
6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them.
- Now, keep in mind this is the 5th trumpet.
- These people have already been through a lot.
- Now, they will be tormented for 5 months on end.
- No wonder they want to die.
- They will experience external troubles….and well as inner conflict…without the assurance that everything is going to be alright.
God is turning the tables here on these people.
- They have had the “heavy hand”…they have caused God’s people to suffer.
- Now, He will cause them to suffer.
And the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
- Can you imagine looking at a locust and seeing some man’s face there?
- That would be pretty scary.
- But it may be that what He is saying is…even though these are locusts who have come to torment…it is actually men themselves who do the tormenting….who are the source of the hardship.
And they had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions.
- They combine beauty and softness with teeth of lion.
- This is true of moral decadence.
- It offers much…that which seems so attractive…while at the same time it destroys.
Rev 9:9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.
- This is a picture of power…they are fully equipped to destroy their enemy.
And notice the “breast plates of iron.”
- Moral decadence and evil schemes always defend themselves.
- Think of the decadence in our society…and how it defends itself.
- Pornography: Protect freedom of speech; art.
- Homosexuality: Freedom of the individual.
- Abortion: freedom of choice.
- Liquor business: ?
- Immorality: called entertainment.
Evil wears “breast plates of iron”…and it does so to protect itself.
10 And they have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.
- How often does the Bible tell us that sin is man’s own destruction button?
- Sin hurts people…it always costs you something.
- And it is a reproach to any nation; Psm 144:15.
- The Roman Empire will fall as a result of, in part, their own sin.
They (the locusts) have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.
- Abaddon and Apollyon: means destroyer.
- These evil forces that are unleashed from the abyss…will aid in the destruction of the Roman Empire.
- Rome’s own moral decadence will attribute to its fall.
12 The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.
Now, the 6th trumpet or angel sounds:
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
- It was from across the Euphrates that the Assyrians and the Babylonians came upon the Jews. (Isaiah 8:7-8).
- The people understood that beyond the Euphrates is where the armies came from.
- And up to this time the armies have been held back.
- But no longer.
- God will use warfare…external attacks…to weaken and destroy Rome.
- Wars exhaust a nation all together…and they torment the people.
I think we have seen that in this country.
15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year,
- These armies are totally subject to God’s will.
- They move when God says move.
- They have their divine place in God’s plan and these Christians needed to know that.
And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they might kill a third of mankind.(partial judgment).
16 And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
- Why this number?
- To scare the life out of enemy.
- To assure the saints that they will carry out God’s plan.
- To make saints rejoice that God has such an army at His disposal; (Ezek. 38-39).
17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone.
- These horses are not literal.
- This is imagery that is intended to scare the dickens out of the oppressor. (Joel 2:4ff).
8 A third of mankind (not final judgment) was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm.
- God will devour the adversary.
Now, notice verse 20…this is what is really scary:
20 And the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.
- There is nothing so scary as one so soaked in sin and rebellion that he cannot repent.
- There is nothing so fearful as to see men who have been so blinded by sin that they are still seeking the door to commit iniquity as did the people of Sodom.
- 6 trumpets have sounded the warning…and still these people refuse to repent.
So, there are a lot of ways to bring a wicked nation down…and God will use them.
- But why does He take so long…why use things that take time to have their affect.
Well, once again, God doesn’t like what the wicked do…but He still loves them…and He desires that none should perish but that all would come to repentance.
- And so He slowly brings about this judgment with the hope that some will repent and be saved.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023