in the Christian Library
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. In the previous passage John has revealed that Jesus
will ultimately triumph. He showed that Satan would never be victorious
over God. But John's brethren were still struggling with trials and persecutions
and the promise of Christ's victory "sometime" in the future did not offer
much encourage ment. In this passage God reveals that believers are being
vindicated and this serves as warning to God's enemies to repent before
it is too late!
II. We are introduced to Seven Trumpets in this section.
1. The emphasis on "trumpets" is to be understood as God'smessage
of warning (Ex 33:3). What are the announcements made here? God announces
that human evil does not go unnoticed, God has His own way and time for
dealing with it.
2. It is important to note several things connected with
these trumpets --
a. They are not final - only 1/3 suffer and this is a
warning, a call to repentance.
b. The trumpets are not to be understood in a literal
way. We must view the whole scene. Many details are given for added emphasis.
c. We should remember the first readers - they were the
objects of severe oppression. They needed to know how God was helping all
who faithfully followed Him.
3. Notice how these Trumpets announce destruction for
the ungodly, salvation for the righteous, and issue a call for repentance
I. As these 7 Trumpets are consider we observe that they
announce 5 urgent truths.
A. GOD ANNOUNCES - PRAYER IS EFFECTIVE!
1. John sees the prayers of saints presented to God and
observes the effect of these prayers on God.
2. From this paragraph the following facts about prayer
are revealed --
a. The prayers of believers are very important to God.
They are placed on a golden alter. Prayers are valuable!
b. The prayers of believers are the catalyst which sets
the judgements of God in motion (v. 5). What are the real powers behind
the works of God - John says it is the power of saint's prayers!
c. Prayer is more powerful than all the dark, mighty forces
3. Believers need to know that prayer is not a lonely
venture. It often seems like we prayer and are all alone -- no one hears
or answers. There is heavenly help -- our prayers do reach God! (Luke 18:7).
The One sitting on the Throne sees the sighs and sufferings, He hears the
requests of His children in tribulation.
B. GOD ANNOUNCES - NATURAL TRAGEDY SHOULD BRING
1. The first four Trumpets are connected with the forces
of nature. God, as Sovereign of the land, sea, fresh waters, and heavenly
bodies, uses these to punish and to call erring man to repent.
2. "One third" - commonly used to refer to a large part.
3. Because of these natural disasters (referred to even
today as "acts of God") the wicked will find sorrow and bitterness in the
4. The message to the evil men should be clear. God says,
"I can rule the natural elements to do My will, knowing this you should
follow My will!"
5. What about the believers' conditions during these calamities?
See Psalm 46:1-3 for the bold and confident trust which should be present.
6. This list of natural disasters commonly struck the
Roman Empire during John's time. Of the natural calamities used by God
to rain judgement upon His children's enemies were the following which
would be remembered by the readers of John's Revelation . . .
a. A few years before this writing (Aug 79 AD) Mt. Vesuvius
had erupted pouring a fiery flood which engulfed Herculaneum and Pompeii
and many other smaller villages with a horror long remembered. In this
calamity ashes fell upon ships far out to sea, many who eluded the lava
flow were suffocated by sulphurous fumes which reached far away. The sky
was darkened so that in the hours of brightest sun there was pitch black!
b. The island volcano Santorin had erupted giving onlookers
the suggestion of a burning mountain. Fugitives told of fiery blasts destroying
vegetation, sulphurous vapors killing fish, and water turning red like
blood. [From: Worthy is the Lamb, p. 156-157].
7. These natural disaster failed to move men to repentance,
thus three more trumpets sound.
C. GOD ANNOUNCES - WOE TO THOSE WHO REFUSE TO
1. With this trumpet we move into the spiritual realm.
Those who refuse to repent are warned that a rejection of God's will leads
to disaster. When men fail to obey God's gracious invitation they become
prey of horrifying demonic forces led by Satan.
2. An eagle (symbol for evil and disaster) announces that the 3 remaining Trumpets are far worse than any of the first four.
3. Satan opens the shaft of the abyss and fills the world
with his wicked demons, influences, and operations.
4. These forces of Satan influence and operate in the
hearts of men. They fill their victims with terror, dread, and hopelessness
5. 4 evil angels are released with the purpose of plunging
mankind into all kinds of horrors.
6. The purpose of this - repentance (9:20-21). Evil men should recognize that God is Almighty; He offers safety and security in natural disasters; He protects from the ravaging forces of Satan. Yet in spite of all of these warnings, God does not see repentance. Evil man is determined to follow his disastrous course in life.
D. GOD ANNOUNCES - CONFLICT BRINGS COMFORT TO
THE CHURCH! (10:1-11:13).
1. What happens to God's saints while sinners are being
led by Satan? In this section God tells us that they are performing duties
and suffering trials and troubles.
2. Believers had tasted the sweet gospel Word but, as
they lived in devotion to it, life became bitter (10:10). Even in the face
of bitterness, proclamation must be made (10:11).
3. This conflict, which makes the sweet gospel bitter,
will surround the church. 2 witnesses show us the progress and the opposition
of the church. Their work is begun and accomplished. When it is finished
Satan appears and seems to overcome them. But Satan's victory is brief.
4. Bitter conflict leads to the believer's ascension into heaven (11:12). The life of believers will be hard, but triumph is in sight! There is a limit on the bitterness, it has an end so Christians should not give up!
E. GOD ANNOUNCES - THE MYSTERY IS FINISHED!
1. The trumpet announces that happiness is found only
as we follow the Lamb. We will find dark days but the inevitable outcome
will be victory!
2. Encouragement is seen as the full power of God's sovereignty is displayed. God reigns forever and ever. This victory is announced in song by the heavenly throng (cf. Psalm 2:7ff; Daniel 7:14; Luke 1:33).
3. This is the Judgement Day - the faithful, who have
persevered, will receive their reward while the wicked will be destroyed
II. From these 7 trumpets we discover some vital points.
A. There is a God in heaven who cares for all who decide
to follow His will.
1. God is in control of all things. "Given" stresses that evil forces have no independent authority.
2. God has great patience which enables Him to wait for
evil men to repent. He chastens with the goal of repentance. He allows
delays in the final Judgement Day so men will repent.
3. God will provide answers to all "mysteries" now (10:7).
The perplexing trials of today will be explained by God.
B. There is a fate worse than death (9:6; Job 3:21; Jeremiah
8:3). When one decides not to obey God and yields to Satan, living life
becomes worse than death. This person will find peace no where! This is
the sad fate awaiting all who permit the powers and influences of Satan's
hellish demons to operate in their lives.
C. Sin has an awful effect upon mankind . . .
1. He refuses to repent (9:20-21).
2. He becomes short-sighted and fails to look beyond the
immediate to the future (11:9-11).
3. He becomes deluded, thinking death will excuse one
from God's judgements (11:18).
I. The thrust of this section - God's saints receive vindication
now as well as later! God sends chastisements to man on earth and these
are designed to prod men to repentance and lead them to trust in the heavenly
Father. God's aim is not to hurt but to show the tragedy of sin. How do
you react to God's chastenings?
1. Some hide their heads like ostriches. Enjoy ignorance!
2. Some curse God for misfortune.
3. Only a few repent in the face of His powers.
II. There is only one way to escape the fate of the 7
Trumpets -- Be among those who wear the seal of God and are found measured
in God's Temple. Those who are thus saved can join in the celebration of
God's grace and justice (11:18b).
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes
at no cost to others.