Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Seventh Seal

 Temple Baptist Church - 12-13-2020

Revelation 8:1-5


A.  The opening of the Seventh Seal, chapter 8, begins with the word “and,” which ties it to chapter 7 and the scene around the throne in heaven.  In chapter 7, we saw the reprieve in God’s judgment; the sealing of the 144,000; and a great revival that saved an untold number of people on earth who were martyred for their faith.


B.  As God unleased the first six seals, the earth’s inhabitants experienced the horrific judgments that befell them.  God in His mercy gave a reprieve, sent 144,000 sealed Jews as witnesses on the earth, and saved “whosoever will.”  It is “whosoever will” or it is “whosoever will not!” 


1. How can this many people be saved in so short of time?  A question that needs to be answered.


2.  The people of earth gave power to Antichrist in the opening of the first seal and expected his reign to be the answer to all problems.


3.  In the opening of seals 2-4, multitudes saw the “error of their ways” as Antichrist ushered in a world system of socialism which brought great famine alone with the punishment of all who opposed it.  One fourth of the world’s population are put to death.


4.  In the opening of the seal 5, they saw the awesome power of God’s judgement that cause the unsaved to cry out to the hills and mountains to fall upon them and hide them for it.


5.  They were not privy to the opening of seal 6, as it took place in heaven, but they were privy to the sudden reprieve coupled with 144,000 of the greatest preachers who ever lived giving the gospel to the world.  Peter preached and 3,000 got saved in a short time, 5,000 more were saved under another message a few days later.


6.  These lost but disenchanted people on earth knew the power of God, the consequences of unrepentant sinfulness, and chose salvation at the cost of their lives at the hands of Antichrist’s governing.


Jude 22-23  And of some have compassion, making a difference:  (23)  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.


C.  Though there were many who entered the Tribulation Period of Jacob’s Trouble with no hope of salvation (those who had heard the gospel and rejected it prior to the Rapture of the Church), there are multitudes who could be saved living during this time.  Salvation is a personal choice and choice have consequences.


D.  The opening of the Seventh Seal is a consequence.  As the Word of God was preached, a multitude was saved and delivered through death into the presence of the Lord.


E.  In verse 1, the Lamb of God opens the judgements of the Seventh Seal.  Notice that these are judgements, not jut one judgement.  These judgements will be so great that there is silence in heaven for the space of half an hour.  The rejoicing of the martyred saints, angels, and elders is silenced!  There are no pronouncements given from the throne and no praises offered up.  Total silence.


F.  Total silence can be a terrible thing.  I often use the phrase, “The silence is deafening.”  Silence is a powerful tool.  I often use silence during preaching to drive home a point.  Constant preaching can put you to sleep but the silence will wake you up!  We often use the phrase “the lull before the storm.”


Habakkuk 2:20  But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.


Psalms 76:8-9  Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,  (9)  When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.


Zephaniah 1:7  Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.


Zechariah 2:13  Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.


G.  The people of earth will not hear or heed the Word of the Lord and continue in their rebellion.  All in heaven understand the power of an omnipotent God and fall silent in anticipation of that which is to come. 


Deuteronomy 32:1  Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.


Jeremiah 6:19  Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.


Jeremiah 22:29  O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.


H.  In verse 2, we find seven angels standing before God with seven trumpets, ready to do the bidding of God.  Trumpets were important in Israel.  They were used for assembly, to begin a journey, to sound an alarm, to call to war, for worship.  They were used in the military for many of these same purposes.  To call assembly, charge, retreat, recall, taps, etc.  On army posts, they would play reveille in the mornings and taps at night.  Wherever I was on post, I had to come to attention and salute until it was finished.


J.  The Seven Trumpets will be a series of judgements: a great earthquake along with the 3 Woes in chapter 9 and the 7 Golden Vials of God and 7 Plagues in chapter 15.


K.  Verse 3.  An angel stands at the altar, having a golden censer in his hand.  He is given much incense, a type of prayers, to be offered along with the prayers of the saints.  This altar is before the Throne of God.  Chapter 11 shows the presence of the Temple of God in heaven.  The golden censer was always located at the golden altar of incense before the veil.  It was used for the high priest to offer incense daily before God and once a year, it was carried into the holy of holies by the high priest when offering the atonement.


L.  Both the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem were patterned after the Temple in heaven.


Exodus 25:8-9  And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  (9)  According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.


M.  Before the throne tells us that these prayers are being offered withing the holy of holies in heaven before the presence of almighty God.  These are prayers that have been kept by God but not yet answered along with those prayers of the saints being offered in heaven.  God does not always answer our prayers when we pray them because his time is not our time and his ways are not our ways, but God also does not forget our prayers and will answer when the time is right.


Psalms 50:14-15  Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:  (15)  And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.


Jeremiah 33:3  Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.


N.  These prayers contained in the golden censer also belong to the martyred saints of chapter 6 when they cried out to God.


Revelation 6:10-11  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  (11)  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.


O.  Verse 4-5, these prayers now ascend before God.  The time is right, the judgements of God are at hand, the earth is now ready, and God’s will be finished.  The censer is filled with fire of the altar (the burning of the prayers is the fulfillment of their request for the judgment of God) and cast into the earth.  This was followed by voices, thunderings, lightenings, and an earthquake.


P.  There was an immediate response in both heaven and earth. 


1.  Prayers in heaven from under the altar.


Revelation 4:5  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.


Revelation 6:10  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?


2.  Past prayers on earth.


a.  For the past 2,000 years, God’s people have prayed after the pattern of the Model Prayer.


Luke 11:1-2  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.  (2)  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.


b.  For 4,000 years before Christ’s coming, God’s people have prayed for the judgment of God to fall because of sinfulness.  26x in the Poetical Books of Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, God’s people asked the question, “How long?”  How long, O Lord is about to come to pass.


Q.  These prayers for justice are about to be answered!

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