Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
#227. Beginning with the final seal of the Lamb’s Little Bible at Revelation 8.1 we see further contents of this apocalyptic book opened by the Lamb. The Seventh Seal introduces Seven Trumpets so that for all practical purposes the final Seal continues its revelatory work into subsequent chapters of the Apocalypse. There is a continuity without a break between the Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets.
#228. During these periods of the sequential trumpets the sealed 144,000-Saints are still on earth according to Revelation 9:4. These trumpets must parallel that moment in the Nazarene’s answer to his disciples where he describes the celestial darkness for we see this same thing in Revelation 8:12. So the events are somewhat near the end of the three and a half years of Great Oppression, but before the Rapture of the living End-time Saints. What experiences on earth are described in these apocalyptic trumpets?
#229. This is surely a part of what Revelation 6:17 had called ‘the Great Day of their wrath has come and who is able to stand?’ This momentous event is announced with Seven Trumpets. The word “trumpet” occurs 68 times in the Bible. The trumpet was a priestly instrument.442 The trumpet is often associated with preparations for battle. This word “trumpet” occurs 16 times in the Apocalypse.
|442||TRUMPET. See Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 10:2, 8, 9, 10; 29:1; Psalm 31:6; 98:1, 6; Ezekiel 7:14; Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 14:8; 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 12:19.|
#230. The wording of Revelation 8:3, 4 and its description of the prayers of the Saints must allude to the 144,000-Saints on earth who would be performing intense prayers at this time. Here in this context is an allusion to the Tabernacle of Moses and its own incense “altar” within the Most Holy. (Exodus 30:1) The “altar” occurs 8 times in the Apocalypse. (Revelation 6:9; 8:3, 5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7) It is associated with the heavenly Sanctuary or Temple.
#231. There is something important to note here. Jesus the Nazarene had foretold certain “signs” and “a sign” following the Great Oppression. Compare this: ‘And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation.’ (Matthew 24:30 NWT) ‘The stars will be falling out of heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.’ (Mark 13:25 NWT) ‘Also, there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish of nations.’ (Luke 21:25 NWT) Likely these are paraphrased from Isaiah 13:13: ‘That is why I shall cause heaven itself to become agitated.’ (NWT) Jesus does not describe these “signs” but perhaps we now have them here in the Apocalypse with its Seven Trumpets. This is what gets the earth’s attention in preparation for the Appearing of Christ.
#232. The First Trumpet is directed toward Earth, that is the dry land where vegetation grows and people dwell. (Genesis 1:10, 11) Only “a third” is affected by this trumpet occurrence. Fractions now make their appearance in the Apocalypse. “One-third” or a “third” occurs 24 times mainly here in the vision of the Trumpets. (Note other occurrences of this fraction: Revelation 12:4; Isaiah 19:24; Ezekiel 5:2; Zechariah 13:8, 9) Trees are those affected here. (Note Revelation 7:1, 2) Whereas it is one-third of the trees it is all the vegetation.
#233. It is true mankind is referred to as “grass” by Isaiah 40:6 (quoted at 1 Peter 1:14), but judging from what follows this could not mean the burning up of all mankind. There is something of a literal possibility in the damage ultimately done to the rain forests and other green things of the environment about which there is so much concern today. The Nazarene warned about mankind’s fear and expectations when he told his disciples: ‘Upon the earth anguish of nations in perplexity . . . men fainting from fear and expectation of everything coming upon the inhabited earth.’ (Luke 21:25, 26) Do we see here in this First Trumpet those initial “things coming upon the habitable earth”?
#234. The “sea” is the focus here. The word “sea” occurs about 500 times in the Bible with its first reference at Genesis 1:21, 22. “The Sea” here may not be all earth’s oceans for they are called “seas” in Genesis 1:10. As in the case of earth’s “grass” the “sea” is often associated with mankind. (Daniel 7:2, 3; Is 57:20, 21; Hebrews 1:14) However, it also is often used with specific reference to the Mediterranean at Psalm 72:8 and Daniel 11:45. In Revelation 7:1, 2 the angelic restraint was to occur until the 144,000-Saints were sealed. These sealed ones are mentioned in Revelation 9:4 in the context of harming green vegetation, therefore, the 144,000-Saints are all ‘sealed’ at this contextual moment. In Luke 21:25 the Nazarene had prophetically foretold some ‘noise and agitation of the sea’ in the context of the celestial darkness just prior to the Return of the Son of Man. It is at this moment that “generation” of the Saints alive are told, ‘But as these things start to occur rise and look upward for your deliverance is drawing close.’ (Luke 21:28)
#235. John gives his own description when he writes, ‘something like a great mountain on fire’ plunges into the “sea.” When he says “something like” it may be understood that the Apostle is using his own perspective as he views this from his imprisonment on Patmos Island in the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, this is not a “third” of all the oceans but has certain limitations to those “fish” and “boats” affected there. There are many similarities with the plagues on Egypt in Exodus chapters 10-12.
#236. John describes “a great star” whose fall affects a third of what amounts to the drinking water found in rivers and fountains. This word usually translated “star” is the Greek from which “asteroid” is derived (asteroid) so it could have a wider meaning. There has been much anxiety over this kind of possibility in the news media and the entertainment world. The Nazarene had taught his disciples, ‘and the dynamics of heaven will shaken’ (Luke 21:26), evidently drawing his words once again from Isaiah 13:13, ‘I shall shake the heavens.’ There is no way to predict what all of this will result to earth and sea. However, just from John’s personal description alone it ought to be awe-inspiring!
#237. Note that not a “third” of the men here die as a result of this poisoning of the drinking water, but “many” which may indicate fewer than one-third. The current state of drinking water on this planet is already a cause for much concern among international health and environmental organizations. Jacque Costeau of the ship Calypsos had already declared the Mediterranean Sea “dead” many years ago. But, a much bigger disaster lies ahead for such a “sea.”
#238. Exactly in harmony with the Nazarene’s own prophetic warning regarding ‘signs in sun and moon and stars (Greek, astrois; Luke 21:25) and the ‘darkening of the sun and the moon not giving its light and the stars (Greek, asteres) falling from heaven’ (Matthew 24:29), the fourth angelic trumpet announces the degree of darkening: one-third. So, it is not absolutely dark or black. The Nazarene has this immediately after the Great Oppression but before the gathering of the Chosen Ones. This helps us fit the overall contextual sequence when the 144,000-Saints have been ‘sealed’ but not yet raptured or ‘changed.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-53)
#239. Such a darkening affect of the day, as well as the night, by a third, will serve to grab all humanity’s attention if it is not already riveted by the first three angelic trumpets. Indeed, by now the Nazarene’s further words are coming true: ‘all earth’s tribes will lament in grief . . . men fainting from fear and anxiety over the things coming upon the earth.’ This is echoed in the Apocalypse: ‘. . . saying to the mountains and rocks, “Hide us from the One on the Throne and from the wrath of the Lamb because the Great Day of their wrath has come!”’ (Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:26; Revelation 6:16,17)
#240. There is a pause as it were here in Revelation 8:13 to emphasize the seriousness of the three coming trumpets as “woes.” Proving these trumpets are clearly sequential is the break here in Revelation 8:13 to mention the woeful nature of the remaining three trumpets. What could prove the sequential nature more than Revelation 9:12 and Revelation 11:14?
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
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