(Today’s post by James Rooks)
Just because something is not fully understood does not mean that it isn’t real. To read Revelation 8 and simply discard the information as only symbolic in nature because of the great imagery involved is a mistake in my opinion. It often seems easier to claim that John had a divinely inspired wild dream and then used fanciful literary techniques to warn of a coming judgement. I’m pretty sure what John saw was pretty mind blowing stuff.
Take a look at a key verse in Revelation 1:19 “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.” John was given clear instruction to write specifically about 3 different time periods: Past (that you have seen), Present (things which are), and Future (things which will take place after these things).
Revelation 8 is part of John giving an account of what he was seeing. Does it sound pretty far out? You bet. Don’t let the miraculous aspect of the details described get in the way of the possibility that John is calling it just like he sees it. It is entirely possible for God to do all that is described in these Four Trumpet blasts.
So what is this all about? This isn’t about the destruction of the earth. This is about God’s judgement of the earth. See Revelation 6:9 &10 “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Revelation 8 sees God’s response to this question.
- Trumpet 1: Hail and fire fall (mixed with blood) and burned up a third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass.
- Trumpet 2: Something like a great mountain is thrown into the sea and a third of the sea became blood, a third of the fish died, and a third of the ships sank.
- Trumpet 3: A star called Wormwood fell and poisoned a third of all the fresh waters, and many men died.
- Trumpet 4: A third of the sun, moon, and stars were struck so that they would not shine for a third of their normal time during the day and night.
I’m not going to pretend to have all these details figured out. I’m just pointing out what John says that he saw. The story gets deeper as Revelation progresses, but that is the bulk of what is covered in Chapter 8.
Revelation strikes fear in some due to it’s doomsday nature. For others, Revelation creates a sense of urgency to go out and share Jesus so that loved ones would not be subjected to the coming judgment. Still others in church circles won’t study Revelation (and won’t have an informed opinion) because it’s too confusing or controversial. For me, when I read and break down Revelation 8, I’m given hope. You don’t have to hunt too long to find evil in this world. When I hear of Christians being burned and beheaded, starved and stranded, imprisoned and abandoned, I can take hope knowing that vengeance is the LORD’s. God isn’t just sitting idly by while the bad guys put His name and His people to shame. One day these trumpets will sound. There will be justice.