The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 10 : The Revelation (Commentaries on the Revelation)

[Chapter 8-2] (Revelation 8:1-13) Are the Plagues of the Seven Trumpets Literal?

(Revelation 8:1-13)
 
In Revelation 5 appears a scroll sealed with seven seals, which Jesus took. This meant that Jesus thus was entrusted with all authority and power of God, and that He would lead the world according to God’s plan from then on. Revelation 8 opens with the passage, “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.” Jesus thus opens the seventh seal of the scroll, and shows us things to come.
Chapter 8 begins by telling us that the plagues of the seven trumpets will begin with the prayers of the saints. From verse 6 and on, the chapter then speaks of the plagues of the seven trumpets that will be brought to this world.
 

The Plague of the First Trumpet
 
The First Trumpet—Verse 7: “The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.”
The first thing that we must find out is whether or not we the saints will be in the midst of the plagues of the seven trumpets when these are bought to the earth.
Here come seven angles blowing seven trumpets. We must realize that, of these seven plagues, we will remain on this earth and go through the first six plagues. We must also realize that when the seventh trumpet sounds, we will be raptured, and that this will be followed by the plagues of the seven bowls.
Verse 7 tells us that when the first angel sounded his trumpet, hail and fire mingled with blood rained on the earth, scorching a third of the earth and a third of the trees. A third of the world and the nature, in other words, were burnt down.
Could we live on when the nature is thus burnt up in smoke? With hail and fire mixed with blood raining down on us, and the trees turned into ashes, could we really live surrounded by this kind natural environments that have been burnt to the ground? When we actually confront the stark reality of losing our homes to this rain of hail and fire mixed blood, and of the smoldering of thick forests and hills, none of us will have any desire left to live on, nor, for that matter, could we do so even if we wanted to.
Don’t forget that you and I have to go through this first plague. When it dawns on us that we are entering this enormous plague, we must also realize that the Antichrist already exists on this earth by then. Because such plagues will begin before the Antichrist fully emerges to seek his absolute domination of the world, the leaders of the world will begin to form a united front to battle the plagues, and a certain ruler will gather together seven other rulers to produce a great power.
The Antichrist will then emerge quite naturally as the absolute ruler in this process. As the Antichrist shows a great ability in managing and recovering from the destruction of the nature, many, impressed by his power, will begin to follow him, thinking of him as a divine being, and his adherents will emerge, gradually but for sure.
The Bible tells us that when the first angel sounds his trumpet, it will bring the first of the plagues of the seven trumpets that will scorch a third of the earth. Both we the saints and the people of the world will be living on this earth when this plague strikes. What, then, will happen to the world? Chaos will run rampant in the world, with ruins, corpses, and the injured lying everywhere; the atmosphere will be covered by the smoke and toxic gas produced by the lake of fire that engulfs the whole world; and the air will lack oxygen as the global desertification caused by the fire would drastically cut the planet’s capacity to regenerate oxygen. The first plague alone will reduce this world to ashes, devastating enough to take away even our desire to live.
From this plague, we must make a wise choice. Living in a normal world now, we may become fearful of the great plagues and tribulations to come. But we can be freed from this fear and be bold instead, for when a third of the nature of the world goes up in flame and people are wailing everywhere, long before this we would have already known that the plague was due all along, and that there are even more plagues to come. Because we have hope, we can be filled by it, but because we also have the flesh, we can at times be struck by fear. But because we know the future of this earth, we place our hope not on this earth, but in the Kingdom of God. With such faith, and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can be courageous and brave.
The wailing cries of the people of the world will get ever louder, and we, too, might be mourning if our own families are among those who have not received the remission of their sins. Some of our own families of the flesh, unredeemed of their sins, might even sell us out to the Antichrist for scraps of food. Others, on the other hand, might come to us to ask us how they can receive the remission of their sins. This is more than possible, for the opportunities for their redemption are still available then. The Bible tells us that when the plagues of the seven trumpets come, a third of the whole world will die. This also means that a two-third of the world will survive. When a third of the world’s population are actually burnt to death, we should realize that the time of our martyrdom and the return of the Lord is not far away. God said that He will rain down hail and fire mixed with blood from the sky.
When God brings down fire and hail on us, we will be helpless to avoid them. It will be impossible, even with scientific progress, to develop and put a defensive shield in the atmosphere that can cover the whole world from the pouring fire and hail. Even if we were to come up with such a device, it would be no match for the power of the plague coming from the Lord. We must accept into our hearts the fact that these plagues will indeed come to us in reality, and live our present lives by believing in all the Word of God’s promises with our hearts.
Recently, I heard in the news that hailstones as large as a man’s head, measuring 45 cm in diameter, fell in China. Accelerating from the fall, these ice chunks, in the size of a man’s head, fell with an amazing force, piercing through rooftops and destroying everything in their path. What will fall with the first plague is even greater in force. We must believe in our hearts that the fire that will consume a third of this earth, far more destructive than these hailstones in China, will indeed come down; we must keep this faith in our hearts; and we must act by this faith when this plague actually arrives. We must believe that this world is soon to be destroyed. And we must also be determined to face the plague with such faith, and resolve ourselves to be martyred. When the seven trumpets sound, the seven plagues will in fact be brought to this world. This is the first of these plagues.
 

The Plague of the Second Trumpet Brought by God
 
The second trumpet—Verses 8-9: “Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”
We have to pay attention to the fact that the saints will also live through this second plague.
It says here that something like a great mountain was thrown into the sea, turning a third of the sea into blood and killing a third of its living creatures. When the end times come, the order of the universe will break down, undermining the constellation of stars and causing them to collide with one another and break apart, and from this many meteors will fly toward the earth on a collision course. Some of these meteors will make through the atmosphere and fall into the sea with the full brunt of their force, turning a third of the sea into blood, killing a third of its living creatures, and destroying a third of the ships. This is the plague of the second trumpet among the seven trumpets’ plagues.
Will we then be able to eat fish from the sea, or even swim in it, when this happens? Neither would be possible any longer. When an asteroid like a great mountain falls into the sea, a third of the sea will be turned into blood, a third of its living creatures will be killed, rotting the sea will their dead carcasses, and tidal waves and earthquakes will not only destroy the ships but also kill many people.
I remember seeing a movie where an asteroid falls into the sea and causes great tidal waves that cover the earth. The movie producers, I am sure, had the vivid picture of the end times in their minds when they made this movie. That great disasters will strike the earth is the truth that even the unbelievers can easily recognize. Countless people will be killed by the plague of the falling meteors. But as only a third of the world is destroyed, you and I will continue to live on this earth until the plagues of the seven bowls are poured.
People used to believe before that the rapture would happen after the Great Tribulation is over, but with the emergence of the theory of pre-tribulation rapture, many theologians began to believe in this pre-tribulation rapture instead. Even worse, even amillennialism, which denies the Millennial Kingdom, has now made its appearance. Theologians, in their inability to tackle the whole Word of Revelation, are now only trying to run away from all its Word. Those who would have lost their hope on this earth because of the plagues to come will provide a stark contrast to the born-again saints who will endure the situation instead, having placed their hope only in the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth promised by the Lord.
We should be preparing our faith as the end times comes nearer to us, but instead of doing so, many people prefer talking about pre-tribulation rapture or amillennialism, trying to avoid facing the real faith. Because they believe that Jesus will return in clouds as they go about their daily, undisturbed lives, and because they believe that they will be directly lifted up to the Kingdom of God without going through any of the plagues, they are not preparing their faith for the Great Tribulation at all.
At first glance, those who are relaxed and not preparing for the Great Tribulation may even appear to be quite bold. The reason why the sinners who are not born again seem so bold before the Great Tribulation is because their souls, having already drunk from the false prophets’ lies, are dead, and have no spiritual desires left in them anymore. For the same reason, that is, because their souls are already dead, people do not hear and even reject the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which enables them to be born again of water and the Spirit and enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:5).
But the born-again must prepare their faith for the tribulations of the end times, no matter how comfortable their present lives may be. They must prepare for the future in advance by keeping in their minds the desire to preach the gospel to those who would be faithful to God, so that they may be able to save as many souls as possible during the time of the Tribulation.
Ignoring the imminent arrival of the Great Tribulation is incredibly foolish. Those who do so will be helpless before the plagues, akin to what had happened with the Korean War. Before the Korean War broke out, the United States had detected the massive mobilization of the North Korean army and warned South Korea of a possible sudden invasion, but the South Korean government and military completely ignored the warning, going as far as to sending troops away for vacation and letting the frontline officers enjoy their weekend on the actual day of invasion.
Because they had not prepared for war even when the intelligence on the North Korean invasion was made available to them, they were unable to repel the North’s attack and were pushed, in no time, all the way down to the last front in the southernmost corner. By the time South Korea hurriedly recalled its troops back from their vacation and tried to organize the army for war, its frontline had already been penetrated, and it had no choice but to keep retreating with massive casualties.
This is the kind of woe that will befall on us if we do not believe in the Word that God spoke to us about the end times. But if we sincerely believe in it, we can escape from such a woe. Revelation talks about a refuge in the time of the Tribulation, but it does not tell us about its exact location. Nevertheless, it tells us that the saints will be sheltered and nurtured in a refuge. This refuge refers to none other than the church. Where can one find a shelter in this world? Some people say that they can survive if they flee to Israel. But in Israel they will actually face even more severe tribulations. You should realize that since the Antichrist himself will be headquartered in Israel, the plagues will be even more intense over there.
Even though this Word of tribulations may not immediately appear as realistic right now, but you must nevertheless know it in your hearts and prepare for the future. You must believe in it with your heart, and with this faith you must preach the gospel to people as if you were already living in this time of the Great Tribulation. You must prepare people’s hearts and lead them to their shelter by preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit to them. God has kept us in His churches so that we would preach to the people of such things to come and help them prepare their faith for the end times.
This is why we are doing what we are doing—that is, preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit with our whole strength. We are preaching the Word of Revelation in this time not to boast of our own, but because it is the Word that is so necessary to today’s era, for both the believers and unbelievers alike. Only by preparing this faith from now can our hearts be unshaken when the tribulations and plagues descend on us.
God will, of course, give us His special protection, but because we are living in a horrible, hard, and difficult world, if we know what is to come in the end times and prepare our faith to overcome the tribulations, we can spread the gospel even more. Also, because we will place even greater and more confident hope in the Kingdom of God, we will never be swept away by the current of the world, or sell out our faith, but instead do even more works of faith. This is why we preach the Word of Revelation and serve the many works of faith.
 

The Plague of the Third Trumpet
 
The third trumpet—Verses 10-11: “Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.”
The saints will also live through this third plague. The plague of the second trumpet was brought on the sea, but this time the third trumpet will bring the plague on the rivers and springs. The great star falling from heaven here refers to a comet. The rivers and the springs that are hit by the comet will turn bitter, as they turn into wormwood. In the old times, people used to ground wormwood and eat its sap for medicinal purposes, which was bitter beyond any imagination. The Bible tells us that as this biter wormwood spreads throughout the water supplies of the world, many people will die from drinking it.
As a third of the world’s fresh water turns into wormwood, many people will die from it, but the Lord will protect His people throughout this plague. The most likely cause of the massive death will be some waterborne diseases, probably from some kind of biochemical changes in water triggered by the fall of the comet. People do not die, in other words, just because water turn bitter, but because of something else. We know and believe that all these things are real, and that they will infallibly come to pass in the future. 
 
 
The Plague of the Fourth Trumpet
 
The fourth trumpet—Verse 12: “Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”
Don’t forget that the saints will still be living on this earth through this fourth plague.
If a third of the day does not shine, it means that the daylight is reduced to about four hours from the average of seven to eight hours. Since the moon and the stars will also lose a third of their light, the whole world will turn dark. When it should be broad daylight, in other words, darkness will fall all of a sudden. The movie Rapture follows the theory of pre-tribulation rapture, but in it you can see the whole world turning dark in broad daylight, causing everyone to scream and panic. Think about it yourself: it’s supposed to be 11 o’clock in the morning, and yet all of a sudden the sun disappears and there is no light anymore. You, too, will be struck by fear, as if you were visited by the angel of death.
We know that we will have to live through such a disastrous time, but you should not fear. God will protect and bless us even more. By this time, your faith would have turned so strong that God will answer your prayers and work for you the moment you pray to Him. Because God promised us to always be with us until the end of the world, God will never leave us alone in the Great Tribulation of the end times. Without a trace of doubt, He will always be with us. As such, because God will thus be with us all the time, we must believe that He will protect us and allow us to survive, and we must spread this faith to others and prepare their faith as well. 
 
 
Three More Plagues to Come
 
Verse 13 says, “And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!’”
As the angel shouts woe for three more times, there will be three more plagues to follow on this earth. Of the plagues of the seven trumpets, in other words, three more plagues still remain. We should realize that by the seventh trumpet our rapture would be realized. When the plagues of the first six trumpets all end, and the seventh angel blows his trumpet, the saints will be immediately resurrected and raptured. When all the saints are lifted up and meet the Lord in the air, the plagues of the seven bowls will then be poured on this earth.
We must realize that this earth will soon enter into the beginning of the plagues of the seven trumpets and of the seven bowls, the latter of which will be poured with the seventh trumpet’s plague according to God’s will. And we must believe in them with all our hearts, and nurture our faith now so that our faith may grow strong enough to persevere through all these plagues. If people believe without any prior knowledge of the end times, they will be so shocked when the Tribulation actually comes that they may even end up apostatizing.
As such, for us to triumph in the end, our faith in these things must be accompanied by the accurate knowledge of the end times. Today, when the end is nearing us so close, we must therefore never neglect the church or fall from it too far. All our hearts must be united in the church, and, no matter what, we must all believe in the Word of God as preached to us through the church, holding each other by and living in faith.
When these plagues come, some of the unsaved from even your own family, relatives, or friends might come after you. Even in ordinary times, when asked who our relatives, brothers, and parents are, our Lord told us that only those who follow the will of the Father are our family, parents, and brothers. When the world of tribulations comes, the born-again will realize even more certainly who really are their true brothers, sisters, and family. Because we understand and help each other now with this faith, and because God has already delivered you and me alike from all these plagues, He will watch over us, protect us from the plagues, and nurture us in His church as His children. This faith must be firmly planted in us.
Those who sell us out to the Antichrist in the end times could very well turn out to be from our own family of the flesh. As such, even though they are our family and relatives, if they are not born again by the water and the Spirit, our faith must be strong enough to consider them as strangers from the very beginning. They are, in other words, capable of doing far worse things to us than even the real strangers. It does not matter that they are our own family of the flesh—if they are not saved, then we must realize that they are our enemies regardless. We must open our hearts to what we often heard from the Word of God on this issue and believe in its as the truth.
Just as God turned Sodom and Gomorra into a lake of fire by raining down on them brimstone and fire, He will also bring such a plague in the end times to the sinners. God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorra is a fact proven by archeological evidences.
In these days, many movies whose plot relies on the destruction of the mankind by the collision of the earth with asteroids have come out. Such movies have been made based on the Word of the Bible that records the plagues of the last days that will descend on this earth. The probability of meteors falling on the earth is actually quite high, making it more than likely for these plagues to materialize into reality in this world.
A good example is paleontological evidence from the fossils of dinosaurs, which shows that that the earth went through some great changes in ancient times. Extinct life forms tell us of their previous existence through their fossils. Some scientists suggest that this extinction of the ancient life forms, including dinosaurs, is explained by a catastrophic collision of the earth with an asteroid. The plagues of meteors written in Revelation 8, therefore, are more than possible to be realized in this world.
 
 
In Not Too Distant Future…
 
We must realize that such plagues will come to this earth in not too distant future. Some scientists have already tried the human cloning, which must be a most formidable challenge to God. Thus, all these plagues are ready to be brought by God in this era. The mankind must not forget God in their reliance on the power of science.
The mankind is now trying to respond to all the plagues of the world by the power of its scientific knowledge. But no scientific breakthrough can ever prevent God’s plagues, for they are far worse than any other disasters that the mankind has ever gone through before. When we look at today’s man-made scientific progress, we can see that the mankind is challenging the authority of God, wanting to become like Him. But no matter how far its scientific advancement is made, no one can stop the plagues brought by God. All these plagues have been asked by none other than the mankind itself.
The only way to escape from the plagues brought by God is to discover the truth of salvation through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and take refuge in the Lord’s arms by believing in it. Escape from these plagues by realizing and believing that the only way to avoid the terrifying judgment of God is your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
All blessings and curses are held in God’s hands. If God decides to keep this earth, then the earth will live on; if not, then it can only be destroyed. Living in such an era, if you believe and follow the Word of God more purely and fear Him even more, God will lead you to the gospel of the water and the Spirit that can shelter you from these horrendous plagues to come.
Even right now, many people throughout the world are dying and trembling in fear from the earthquakes, typhoons, and diseases. Moreover, there is no end to war everywhere, with nations standing against nations and states against states. As such, when the Antichrist emerges in the near future and resolves the urgent problems of such chaotic situation, many people will follow him. This will then be accompanied by the descending of the most fearful plagues on this earth, and, in the end, this world will be completely destroyed by these plagues brought by God.
God will create the New Heaven and Earth and give it to those who have been delivered from sin. The purpose in God’s creation of the New Heaven and Earth is to bestow it to those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Before long, God will destroy the first world and open the second world. Just as the ancient dinosaurs disappeared, so will this world of modern scientific civilization vanish, and we will bear witness with our own eyes to the new beginning of a new world brought by God.
We must then think about how we should live now. We must believe in all the plagues to come as recorded in the present passage, and live the rest of our remaining lives for the righteousness of God, preparing for the next world with faith. We must be knowledgeable of Revelation’s Word of prophecy. I say this now because when the day comes, all the knowledge that you have thus attained will prove to be hugely beneficial for your faith.
All the space objects that have the potential to collide with the earth, from the asteroids scattered between Mars and Jupiter to the countless comets with unknown cycles, are collectively called as “Near Earth Objects (NEOs).” NASA once unveiled a list identifying 893 known NEOs in the solar system alone. If any one of these NEOs were to collide with the earth, the devastation brought by this collision would be beyond any imagination. The disastrous impact would probably be greater than that of thousands of nuclear bombs combined.
Imagine what would happen to this world then. That the world’s forests, water, and ships would be destroyed is a given. All the mankind, therefore, must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and live their lives preparing for eternal life.
The Lord has told us that when the natural plagues come to this earth, a third of the sun, the moon, and the stars will lose their light. But few people know this, and even fewer believe in it. As such, only a small number of people believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and are preaching its truth.
Our minds must be awake. These plagues will indeed come. We must find out with what kind of faith and determination we should live the rest of our lives. You and I must realize that today’s era is only a step away from the Great Tribulation, and we must live our remaining lives in faith, without a trace of doubt whatsoever in our hearts.
If we do not live by believing in the Word of prophecy for this Tribulation now, our hearts will turn empty, our purposes will be lost, and we will be crippled by the worries of life. This must not happen. At the same time, far less should we live by placing our hope in this world, as if we would never leave this world behind. Many who have a modicum of scientific knowledge know very well that there is no hope for this world. God will certainly lay this world to waste.
God will make the new Kingdom of Jesus and allow the righteous to live in it. And He will allow those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit to live with Him forever.
We should cast down our own will and thoughts before God, and in humility accept and believe in His Word of prophecy. We must be preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and then meet the Lord when He comes. Let us live for this work of God. When the Lord returns to this earth, we will receive a new life, our bodies will be transformed like His, and we will live again in His new world, all as He has told us.
We do not know the exact day and time of the Lord’s return. But from looking at the signs of the world, we do know that all the plagues recorded in the Word of God are nearing very close to us. We thus believe in God who has prophesied all these things, and who has shown us the way of salvation.