Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Silence You Can Feel

We know that when the Rapture of the church happens, there will be plenty of left over Bibles laying around. If someone were to pick up your Bible, what would they find highlighted? You might be pleasantly surprised when you open your Bible and take a look at what has been important to you over the years and when you consider the things that are highlighted with the foreknowledge that one day someone will be opening it and reading what you highlighted, what will they think?

As we open up our study today into Revelation, Chapter 8, we find silence in heaven according to the Apostle John for about a half an hour. Whatever is coming is announced by silence in the heavenly realm. Then we see God's implements and instruments being gathered for the coming judgment He is about to unleash on the world. These various angels are appointed with specific packages, certain aspects of judgment to be delivered, to planet Earth during that time. Why? Because both earth and mankind had rejected God and because of that sin, these instruments and actions are levied to a Christ rejecting world.

The seventh seal unveils the seven trumpet judgment of God. When we get to the seventh trumpet it will open the seven bowl judgments. In the Book of Revelation as we get to Chapter 8, it should not concern you if you are trusting in Jesus Christ, because we will not be here at that time. The church has been removed from the earth in the Rapture before the Tribulation period began. Some of you might be thinking, well if we aren't going to be here, why even study the Book of Revelation, because we need to know the whole Bible not just parts that pertain to us from cover to cover.

Revelation 8:1-13 ~ "When he (Jesus Christ) 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. Another angel (an 8th angel), who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the agel's hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. The second angel sounded his trumpet and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the living creatures of the sea died, and a third of all the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water - the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, 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 turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe! to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

When you hear the use of the words "Woe!" it is not about stopping a horse but a warning that is coming, Danger! Danger! Danger! or simply Damnation! Damnation! Damnation! is coming to the inhabitants of the earth! We have to remember that no matter where we look at in the Bible in the Old Testament or the New Testament that God is a God of love, mercy and forgiveness. It is hard when you read chapters like this one in the Bible, because we don't want to spend long reading about what is coming to the future of this world one day. We'd love to skip it in fact. These are not the chapters that cause prolific church growth. Believers and non-believers do not want to hear about judgment, unless we understand the Scripture and why it is given we will see answered prayer and we will see God answer prayer, and the prayer that He answers will be His vengeance upon the earth.

There is a prayer that is a holy righteous prayer and I am not saying that we should pray it, but I am saying that we often feel it. We just need to make sure that our will is yielded to the will of God. and that God is the One who exercises judgment and not us. We don't like to admit to the fact that one day God will bring judgment. We are living in an age of grace right now and we should be thankful for that. There will come a time when God consummates His grace and then the time of judgment will come. God will then answer the prayers of those who have prayed for God to avenge their blood. That is what the Bible teaches even if you disagree with that. God is a loving God, a Holy God and a Just God. It is God in His perfect love, holiness, and righteousness is the only one to exercise judgment. Did you know that? Keep that in mind.

Psalm 86:5 ~ "For you are forgiving and good, O Lord; abounding in love to all who call to you."

Jeremiah 31:3 ~ "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness."

Hebrews 7:25 ~ "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." 

Revelation 1:5 ~ "and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood," 

When we hear about God's judgment, we are tempted to see Him as an old man, with a sandwich board walking around that says, "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand." But we need to understand that God is righteous and holy in his judgment of mankind. He is doing everything he can to give us an opportunity to be saved through our faith in Jesus and not have to face the coming judgment. Sometimes we are mistaken in thinking that God is judging even right now in the age in which we are living. He is not.

John 16:33 ~ "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

But there is a time of God's judgment and wrath that is coming to this world that will be like no other time in all of history or the future! God will allow evil to have its day for a time, and then God will bring judgment. This is exactly what Jesus was warning about in Matthew 24.

Matthew 24:21-22 ~" For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

We see Jesus now as He opens the seventh seal. When the judgment of God comes there will be a pause in heaven. This section is of great preparation. What is interesting is that in the very nature of eternity there is no concept of time, but here the Bible says, there is silence for about a half an hour. How can we reconcile that where God dwells, time is eternal but John says a half an hour. Easy! John is seeing a vision. John is seeing the unveiling of things to come in heaven and in earth to come. It is announced or shown to John that there is a pause in time for about half an hour. The word in the Greek for silence is that it is a silence that can be felt. Have you ever felt a silence like that? You might be tempted to say, No. Have you ever been on a jury? When you are called back into the court after the jury has deliberated and you are seated there, and the judge turns to the jury and asks, "Have you reached a verdict?" If you have ever been there, it is an ominous moment. There is dead silence. It is a silence that can be felt. Why? Because a verdict is about to be given. The defendant stands, the judge asks the jury if they have reached their verdict and they respond that they have. There is silence until it begins so to speak, until the verdict is given. There is a silence at that moment that you can feel.

There is a time of silence before all of this judgment comes, that in that moment of silence, God does not delight in judgement. Do you know that? The Bible says that God created Hell for the devil and his angels. Not for humans. God doesn't want anyone to go there. This is an ominous moment, there is a pause, a silence. We have seen that up until this point, we have been reading that in heaven, there is great noise, great praise, great adoration going on. Now there is a great moment of silence. Why? Because God does not delight in judgment, but judgment must come. There is a pause. There is a silent pause in heaven because of what Jesus Christ is about to do. Jesus is the one who will preside over the judgment of God. It is Jesus that opens the seventh seal.

Luke 4:14-21 " Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

This was Jesus' first sermon of Isaiah 61. It has a direct connection to Revelation, chapter 8. Notice that in the scripture of Isaiah he read, he ended on a comma before he sat down. This was the prophecy of the Messiah and Jesus was announcing that He was the one the prophecy was speaking about. Why did he stop at the comma in the midst of the book of Isaiah? What comes next in Isaiah 61:2 is ":and the acceptable day of vengeance of our God," He didn't say that, the very next statement. This is significant because at the comma in Isaiah 61:2 it correlates to Revelation 8 all the way out to Revelation 19.

Jesus paused at that comma, closed the book, because for the last 2000 years it would be time to preach the gospel of grace. Do you understand that? And so the gospel has gone out into the world. There is a day of vengeance of our God that is coming. God's judgment is the day of vengeance. It will come upon a certain group of people not believers. You might think you are under God's judgment now, but trust me you have no idea what God's judgment is! He is not doing that right now. God may discipline. God may chastise. God may scold you. But the truth is that right now, God is not operating in judgment or wrath or vengeance. There is also a pause in heaven for what they are about to see.

The grammatical picture that is painted here is very awesome and quite frankly it is frightening. Heaven is in awe of what is soon about to take place on the earth. I would venture to say that it is quite difficult to impress heaven. Heaven is where angels dwell. Heaven is where the saints have gone. Heaven is an awesome, wonderful and holy place. Yet heaven is aware of a future event that just before it happens John says that there is silence for about a half an hour. Heaven is about to witness the wrath of God.

This silence underscores a sense of foreboding, fear on earth as it were if you are a Christ rejecter, you're shaking your fist at God. Remember John said there was silence in heaven, not silence on earth. Apparently it is not very quiet in heaven until this very serious silence comes. This should underscore for us the terror and horror and awfulness of what comes to a Christ-rejecting world. We are heading in that direction. We are living in a country that was founded on Judeo-Christian values if you have read the letters of our founding fathers, the Mayflower Compact, and understanding what the believers believed in before they came to America. Now to see how far our nation has fallen from God. Imagine God saying, "You know, I have had enough. You don't want Me in school. You don't want Me in court. You don't want Me in your government any longer. You don't want Me in your culture. So I'll get out." People have no idea what this world would be like if God just got out. There is coming a day when He will get out. There won't be anything left for man to experience, except the wrath of his own sin.

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