Background To The Wrath Of God.
Revelation chapter 6 marks the starting point of the 70th seven of Daniel which corresponds with the signing of the seven-year peace treaty between the many from within Israel and the Man of sin(Dan.9:27). This treaty is dubbed the covenant with Death or agreement with Hell by the prophet Isaiah(Is.28:15). Precisely at the midpoint of the 70th seven, Satan, the great red Dragon is cast down to Earth from his abode in the dark void and starry heavens unto the Earth. He is filled with wrath because he knowest that he has but a short time(Rev.12:7-12). He possesses the sea-beast, gives him his power, seat and great authority(Rev.13:2). The Beast-antiChrist relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem(Dan.11:45), erects a statue of himself in the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, and demands worship of all mortals(Matt.24:15; Rev.13:15,16). This is the abomination that maketh desolate spoken of by Daniel the prophet. It marks the starting point of the great tribulation. This is the wrath of Satan directed against the Jews and Christians and any other persons who reject the mark and worship of the Dragon-Beast. At the breaking of the sixth seal, there are earthly and cosmic disturbances which interrupts the great tribulation. The great tribulation is cut short, because if not, no person who rejects the mark and worship of the Dragon-Beast would be alive; for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened(Matt.24:22). With the breaking of the sixth seal God Almighty announces to the living wicked earth-dwellers He is about to pour out His wrath on the adorers and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast. At this point all the inhabitants of the Earth shall know that the God of Israel is the one and only true God, and that every other god is false. That He is real: that He made us not we ourselves(Ps.100:3). That evolution is a scientific farce. Then they will hide themselves in the rocks and mountains, calling on the rocks and mountains to fall upon them and to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come and who shall be able to stand( Rev.6:15-17). They will begin to wail and weep(Matt.24:30). But before the wrath of God is poured out on the living wicked dwellers and adorers and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast, God Almighty raptures the elect of God and seals the 144,000 who fled into protective custody in red rose city of Petra and the Judean wilderness when the abomination of desolation was instituted at the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem(Matt. 24:16) as we have seen in Chapter 7. The wrath of God or the wrath of the Lamb begins with the breaking of the seventh seal in Chapter 8. The seventh seal is the only thing that hides the content of the Scroll. The content of the scroll is the eschatological wrath of God. So far there is chronological order in the narrative of the book of Revelation.
The Breaking Of The Seventh Seal (1,2).
AND when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
The situation on the Earth at this time is dire. The sixth seal has darkened the heavens and frozen the Earth. The appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens has dispelled the darkness and defrost the Earth. The elect are raptured and the 144,000 sealed. The wrath of God is about to begin. The Day of the Lord or the Day of His Wrath is a day of darkness and gloominess(Zeph 1:15). There is no light in it(Amos 5:18-20).
When He broke the seventh seal there was silence in heaven. The breaking of the seventh seal calls for solemnity in heaven because it marks the starting point of the wrath of God. God’s longsuffering(Greek~macrotumia~largeness of heart) has run its course. There would be no more delays, no more postponements, no more tarrying for the wicked to repent. Hence the silence in heaven for half an hour. Every angelic activities stopped. Here John the revelator was relating to the incident in human terms. In heaven, there is no time. The reference to time here is anthropomorphic. In verse 2, seven angels were standing before God. We are not told the names and ranks and regalia of these seven angels. Thy must be of high rank to stand before God the Father, although every angel at one time or the other stands before God. To stand before God means to stand in His presence, to minister to Him, to answer to God. These seem to have a continual ministry in the presence of the Father. They were given seven trumpets. The wrath of God consists of two series of plagues. Each of these two series, consists of seven plagues. The first series of seven plagues are the seven trumpets. The second series of seven plagues are the seven bowls. Each of these plagues is administered by an angel. The seventh seal itself has no judgement of its own but opens into the seven trumpets. So also the seventh trumpet has no judgement of its own but opens into the seven bowls.
The Incense Of Prayers(3-4).
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
And another angel came and stood at the altar. This is the angel of the altar. He had a golden censer. There was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar which was before the Throne. This is the same altar we identified as the altar under which the fifth seal martyrs were kept, awaiting the completion of the number of saints to be killed. It is the golden altar of incense which is in the sanctuary or the Holy place. It is from this altar, they cried out to God for vengeance(Rev.6:9-11). This angel probably ministered to the fifth seal martyrs while awaiting vengeance. These souls have now been raptured. They have received their eternal immortal resurrection bodies with other saints at the Rapture(Rev.7:9-17). They are no longer under the altar. They have no more cares, no more worries. Though they are no more calling to God for vengeance. He remembers He has promised to answer. He is the faithful God. He is just and righteous. The prayers of the saints, most especially those of the fifth seal martyrs ascended as aromas to heaven and were stored away. The prayers of these precious souls are now mingled with incense and offered to God at the throne room of the temple in heaven as odours of sweet aromas, sweet smelling savours, sacrifices acceptable, well pleading to God(Phil.4:18). This is appropriate because God is about to answer their prayers. Our righteous prayers are stored away in heaven as aromatic bars in valises, and are offered to God in time of remembrance. When they are mingled with incense and offered to God, He perceives the sweet aromas and answers our prayers. Therefore we should persevere in our prayers though it takes long for Him to answer.
Prelude To The Seven Trumpets(5 & 6).
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
In verse 4, the smoke of the incense together with the prayers of the saints ascended before God out of the hand of the angel of the golden altar. What a wonderful and glorious scene in heaven, God Almighty perceiving the aromas of the prayers of His martyred saints as He prepares to punish the living wicked earth-dwellers and adorers and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast. And the angel of the golden altar of incense took the censer, and filled with fire from the altar, and cast it into the Earth: and there were voices, thundering, lightnings and an earthquake. We have seen that thundering and lightnings emanate from heaven when God Almighty is praised and worshipped in loud voices of men and of angels. The effect on Earth is tremendous. There was a horrible earthquake. It is time for God to pour out His wrath upon the Earth. Therefore the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared themselves to blow the trumpets.
The First Trumpet: One-Third Of Green Vegetations Burnt(7).
The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The first angel sounded, there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the Earth. Hail and fire? yeah! But blood? Where did that come from? Is it the blood of the Lamb or the martyred saints? We are not told. The effect was very damaging and devastating on green vegetation. The third part of the trees were burnt up, and every green grass was burnt up. This would lead to the death of animals that are supported by green vegetation. There would be worsening of erosion, deforestation and desertification. Lifestock farmers would be severely affected. This would worsen the famine already caused by the first four seals. Those who do not have the mark of the beast are in hiding. Their food supply must come from whatever they stowed away previously. For the beast-marked adorers and worshippers who depend on daily supplies, starvation would set in. Vegetation provide protection for human and animal life. The loss of vegetation would lead to epidemics of communicable and parasitic diseases. Man exhales carbon and takes in oxygen. The oxygen generated by plants through the process of photosynthesis is given out. With the green vegetation almost gone, the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere will be drastically reduced. The combustion of green vegetation will result in higher percentage of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. This will lead to increase in respiratory diseases. There will be increase in Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Many of these patients will die from pulmonary and cardiac failures. At this time, there will be no functional hospital, no organized medical care what so ever. The Earth will be in a state of utter chaotic confusion.
The Second Trumpet: Pollution Of One-Third Of The Salt Water Sources(8 & 9).
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
The second trumpet resulted in great mountain burning with fire being cast into the sea. Because of the use of the definite article the, it would mean all seas were affected. It affected a third part of all the seas. A third part of the seas became blood. The third part of the seas would become toxic, killing all forms of life in the seas. The viscosity of blood would not permit sea-going vessels. This would mean the loss of a third of all vessels in the salt water sources, the seas and the oceans with both the crews and the passengers. A huge portion of the world food supply come from the seas and oceans. A third of this supply would be lost. There would be shortages of seafoods.
The Third Trumpet: Wormwood And The Pollution Of One-Third Of The Fresh Water Sources(10,11).
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
When the third angel blew his trumpet, a great star fell from the heavens. Could this be really a star? The sun is one of the smallest stars. It is 93 million miles away from the Earth. If it would get closer, our planet would melt away. If it would get farther we would be frozen to death. John was using the vocabulary of his day and age to communicate biblical truth. It is most probably a meteorite or part of a disintegrated supernova. It was burning like a lamp. It fell upon the third part of the rivers and upon the fountains of waters. The plague targeted a third part of the fresh water sources: rivers, fountains and fresh water lakes. This star or meteorite or whatever it might be has a name. The name is wormwood. Wormwood is an ancient antihelmintic. It is very bitter. It is not known to be toxic except in cases of over dosage. It’s bitterness helps to expel worms from the intestines. However this wormwood Would lead to the pollution of a third of the fresh water sources. The waters themselves became wormwood as a result of the pollution. The water from these sources would become very bitter. And many men died from the waters because they were made bitter. This star called Wormwood will make these bodies water undrinkable. The bitterness here is indicative of its toxicity. This star falling into the fresh water sources would kill all forms of life in these waters both plant and animals due to the toxic nature of this wormwood. The waters would be polluted from decaying organic mater and become very toxic. Besides, vessels, crew and passengers and cargoes in the affected fresh water sources would be lost. Any chemical, biological or nuclear material amongst the cargoes would lead to severe pollution of the fresh water sources. Perhaps this is what is meant by John the revalator, in a layman’s language, by the waters were made bitter.
The Fourth Trumpet: One-Third Of The Sun, Moon, And Stars Darkened(12).
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
The fourth trumpet resulted in the darkening of a third part of the sun, moon and stars. It is difficult to understand what kind of changes that would go on the starry heavens that would produce this kind of effect in the sun, moon and stars. It would probably last for a day, about 24 hours or thereabouts; for the day will not not shine for a third part of it and the night likewise. We are not told the effect on the planet Earth and its dwellers. It would be very severe.
The Angelic Announcement(13).
And I beheld and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, to the inhabited of the earth by reason of the other voice of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
The revelator heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with the loud voice, woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the Earth by reason of the trumpets of the three angels who are yet to blow their trumpets. Some translations read an eagle flying in mid heaven. This would make case for the identity of the angle as one of the four beasts or living creatures with the face of an eagle. We are not told who this horizontal moving angel is, nor his station nor regalia. He is probably a high ranking angel to be committed with such responsibility. The revalator did not say that he saw this angel. It is possible to hear a voice and not see the speaker. In this context, it is most probable that he saw the angel; for he was in the spirit, and nothing was obstructing his view. The angel makes it clear that the living wicked earth-dwellers, the adorers of the Dragon-Beast are the intended victims of the trumpet judgments. They are consistently portrayed in the scroll of Revelation as the enemies of God and the object of His wrath. The last three trumpet judgements are going to be more severe. Therefore they are called the three woes or culminate in the three woes. Their severity is clearly emphasized.