Revealing Revelation – The Second Trumpet

14Feb11

We now turn our attention to the second of the famous Trumpet Judgments of Revelation. Where the first struck the vegetation of the land and was literally fulfilled through the actions of the Roman Army during the siege of Jerusalem that lasted some three years, this second trumpet impact the sea.

There are several important things to note about this trumpet judgment before dealing headlong with the possible physical interpretation of the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem.

The first, and possibly most intriguing issue, is the matter of this burning mountain that is thrown into the sea. What should we make of this unique image?

It is important to note that Biblically speaking are often represented as mountains, most notable Babylon and Israel. the fact these two are reference in the Scriptures as mountains is also intriguing as the city names are used interchangeably in the book of Revelation. Take note of the description below of ancient Babylon. Take special care to notice the emphasized description.

Jer 51:25 “I am against you, O destroying mountain,
you who destroy the whole earth,”
declares the LORD.
“I will stretch out my hand against you,
roll you off the cliffs,
and make you a burned-out mountain.

And in Israel’s case…

Ex 15:17 You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your inheritance
the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling,
the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands establis
hed.

Even the casual reader of the Old Testament would be hard pressed to miss to multi0le times Israel is related to both Mt. Zion and Mt. Sinai. Then taking what we know about the relation of the mountain and Israel and consider the often perplexing words of Jesus in Matthew 21.

Matt 21:18 Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

21Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

This passage is often used as an illustration for our lack of genuine faith and if we only had enough faith then we could actually see a mountain removed from it’s sitting place and tossed into the sea. But what is most often missed here is the Covenantal relationship between Jesus and the Jews and His soon to come new Bride, the Church.

the context here is that Jesus has just arrived in Jerusalem, turned over the money changers and is about the begin several exchanges with the Jewish religious leaders that will lead to their eventual cursing in Matthew 23.  There will also be several parables relating how the Kingdom was to be taken from the Jews and given to a different people who will accomplish His works (Two Dons, Tenants, Feast).

It is with this context in mind that Jesus does not simply state that one could pray for any mountain to be cast into the sea, but designates a mountain as “this” mountain and have it cast into “the” sea. There is specificity in His words. This coupled with the action that causes the mountain of revelation 8:8 to be cast into the sea is the prayers of the saints that the angel placed in the “fire” of the altar in heaven. This cast down mountain is accompanied by that fire!

The action created by those prayers is that the sea would become like blood. This, of course reminds the reader of the one of the plagues that impacted Egypt. Remember that the Lord promised in the seven fold judgment for covenantal unfaithfulness that He would send upon the unfaithful plagues like they experienced in Egypt.

So, we have the spiritual judgment of the loss of the kingdom as their representative mountain is thrown into the sea as a result of the prayers of the saints. This action would bring upon the house of Israel the spiritual results of being the victim of the plagues associated with the condemnation of Israel. Since a mountain was seen to represent the nation, it’s being thrown into the sea would demonstrate it’s coming destruction.

One other interesting note about the spiritual impact and the symbolism involved with the mountain being thrown into the sea. Since the sea is often a Biblical symbol for the Gentile nations, this is a powerful picture of the Israelite’s being overwhelmed, consumed and surrounded on all sides by the gentiles. This graphic picture mirrors the actual events of the fall of Jerusalem.

Now, as to the physical and literal fulfillment possibilities, let us consider the words of Jospehus as he described and sad and gory event in the Jewish War. The back story involves a time when many Jews attempted to escape by way of the sea using fishing and sailing boats as well as even futile attempts to swim.

The Roman army travelled out into the sea and every time a poor soul lifted his head up for a breath would be run through by sword. Other were killed when their boats were forced into the jagged rocks along the shore. Others that made it back to shore were cut down by Roman spears and swords. This was a slaughter like none other. The impact was vast and lasting. Jospehus recalled the devastation by stating, “one might then see the lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies, for not one of them escaped.”

The end result was also recorded by Josephus:

“And a terrible stink, and a very sad sight there was on the following over the country; for a for the shores, they were full of shipwrecks, and of dead bodies all swelled; and as the dead bodies were inflamed by the sun, and putrefied, they corrupted the air, insomuch that the misery was not only the object of commiseration to the Jews, but to those that hated them, and had been the authors of that misery.

“This putrid result damaged the sea for a great time and even the Roman’s were impacted by the mass death and the blood that destroyed the water, the sea life and the commerce normally associated with that waterway/

Again, we find both a spiritual and symbolic fulfillment of the judgment in question as well as a literal, physical fulfillment.

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