Revealing Revelation – Introducing the Trumpets


Before jumping into a discussion of the seven trumpet judgments it would do the student some good to picture just what is happening in heaven as the trumpets are being introduced. This important action is quite often overlooked, buit gives a great clue as to what the following proceeding are describing.

Rev 8:2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

As we have discussed here several times in previous posts the mentioning of thunder, rumblings, lightning, earthquakes, etc symbolize the judgment of the Lord. But as we will see throughout our discussion of the trumpet and bowl judgments there are both spiritual (symbolic) as well as literal (physical/historical) fulfillment of these events. The Lord often appeared in the Old testament judgement passages as coming with thunder, lightning and the shaking of heaven and earth. Here is no different. the judgment promised is coming.

This also ironically recalls the ratification of the old covenant in the Old Testament on Mt. Sinai.

Ex 19:16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.

This picture here signifies the firm ratification of the New Covenant as well the proof of the vanishing Old Covenant (Hebrews). The dissolution of the old Covenant is describedsing u the original ratification descriptions of thunder, lightning, etc.

The primary point, though, of this post is to dwell on the previous verse and the vision of the angel taking the censer that held the prayers of the saints and filling it with fire from the altar and throwing down on the earth (land). This event is not a new picture and, once again, having some knowledge of the Old Testament will come in handy.

The fire from the altar is a very important image. the fire from the altar was to be an eternal flame that started with a miraculous deliverance of fire from heaven at the time that the Tabernacle and the temple were finished and ready for use. This happens at the dedication of the Tabernacle (Lev 9) and the Temple (2 Chron 7).

This “heavenly” fire was to be kept burning at all times and was also used to set or start other “holy fires.”

Lev 16:12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13 and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die.

Num 16:46cAnd Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the LORD; the plague has begun.” 47So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people.

If that is not interesting enough, let’s consider the use of the fire from altar when God judged a city or nation in history. This is where the similarity to what we are studying in Revelation 8 should start to make sense. Remember the angel has taken fire from the eternally burning altar before the lord and throws it down to the land (Israel).

Deut:1316 You shall gather all its spoil into the midst of its open square and burn the city and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again.

This instruction was given to Moses by God as instruction as to what to do with pagan and evil cities that they would encounter in Canaan. It must be noted that only Holy fire would be acceptable in use for a burnt offering unto the Lord. No allowance for strange fire would be accepted. The Israelites would gather the spoils from the city, and to ensure that they would not be enticed by the allure of the evil cities riches were instructed to burn the spoils as though a burnt offering to the Lord. The Israelites did just this.

This action was limited to the most horrific and godless cities that ye Israelites would encounter. It was reserved for cities that would be “banned” by God for their idolatry. These cities were to be so destroyed that they were not rise again. That is why everyone was to be slaughtered and the spoils burned completely.

So, here we have a picture of the judgment against apostate Israel. God will deliver a judgment that will start with the fire from the altar of God being thrown down to the land. This awesome picture symbolizes the complete and utter destruction set against the city and it’s people. The city had become so despised in the eyes of the Lord that only the complete “banning” of the city would adequately suffice.

The city is later compared to the other cities in history that God had set His judgment against by calling it by the names of Babylon, Egypt and Sodom. The mentioning of Sodom is most appropriate considering the current study of fire judgment.

But even Jesus speaks to this coming fire judgment against Israel in Luke 12.

Luke 12:49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

Jesus here most likely refers to Israel as He uses, like Revelation, the term “land” as the subject of His wrath. This should be noted in light of the context of Luke 12 in which His wrath is set against the apostate religious leaders and is filled with warning against not being ready for the coming judgment.

That coming judgment is revealed in the following blasts from seven trumpets! So, it is with this understanding that the wrath of God is set against apostate Israel and is ultimately symbolized by the wrath’s initiating being brought about by Holy Fire from the altar of the Lord in Heaven.


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