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Beginning of the Trumpet Judgments - 24

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2021 2:00 am

Beginning of the Trumpet Judgments - 24

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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September 20, 2021 2:00 am

Pastor Mike Karns continues his systematic exposition of the book of Revelation.

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Well, we are steadily making our way through our study of the book of the Revelation, and I thank you for your interest and your encouragement as we've sought to do this.

Tonight, let me sketch the roadmap so you know where I want to go so you might follow me. I want to begin by spending a little bit of time with some background and how God employs trumpets throughout the scriptures and what their purpose and use is. Then I want to draw three parallels for you, two from the Old Testament and one from the immediate context here in the book of the Revelation. And then we will look at the four trumpet judgments that we find in verses 7 through 12, and then we'll conclude by a threat of future judgment in verse 13. So that's where we want to go.

Background. When Israel was delivered by God from Egyptian bondage and led through their wilderness wanderings, they were ready to enter the Promised Land. And we listen to this, I won't read the entire passage, but the portion that is pertinent to our discussion tonight, this is the fall of Jericho.

Joshua 6. Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel. None went out and none came in, and the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho into your hand its king and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war, you shall go all around the city once and then you shall do it six days, and seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram's horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

It shall come to pass when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet that all the people shall shout with a great shout, then the wall of the city will fall down flat and the people shall go up every man straight before him. Trumpets. Revelation chapter 8 and verse 6 launches the third cycle of visions with the angels blowing seven trumpets.

Verse 6, so the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. Now what's unique about this is the employment of the trumpets with the priests in Joshua's time was a very local thing. It had to do with the fall of Jericho, that city, but the blowing of the trumpets here is to affect the entire world.

It's not a local event, it is a worldwide event. And it's not men, it's not priests blowing the trumpets, it is angels blowing trumpets in heaven. And because it's not men and because it's angels and because it's not on the earth but it's in heaven, we are anticipating the manifestation of significant divine intervention. This is on a much broader scope and is far more significant than what we read there in Joshua chapter 6. So the trumpet visions of Revelation chapter 8 and chapter 9, because chapter 8 only includes the first four trumpet judgments.

There are three more and they will be considered in chapter 9. They show that the world in all of its might will not successfully bar nor frustrate God's covenant people from ultimate victory. And they see God taking vengeance on his enemies and bringing to consummation the end of this world order and the ushering in of a new heaven and a new earth. Christ will strike the fortress of sin and unbelief and judgment is coming upon this world.

Jesus said that he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. So in the Bible we see trumpets are blown for a number of reasons. They were sounded to call the people of God to assemble for special events. The trumpets were blown in accordance with the observance of the feast days in Israel.

You can see that in Leviticus 23 verse 24. When Solomon was being enthroned as the king of Israel, the trumpets were sounded to gather the people for that coronation. We're told in the New Testament that the sounding of the trumpet will announce the second coming of Christ as he gathers his elect from the four corners of the earth. Matthew chapter 24 verses verse 30 and verse 31. The prophet Joel associated the blowing of trumpets with God's coming in judgment.

This is Joel chapter 2 and verse 1. Blow a trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm on my holy mountain for the day of the Lord is come. Trumpets were sounded in the Old Testament to gather the people for war. In Judges chapter 3 verse 27, Ehud in Judges 3 27 sounded the trumpet to call the men of Ephraim into battle. And most importantly, trumpets being blown in the Old Testament during holy war was a summons, a summons for God to come and make war on behalf of his people.

So the trumpet, the trumpet sounding was an announcement by Joshua there in Joshua chapter 6. None of what the people were doing. It's incredibly conspicuous.

It almost looks ludicrous. They're just marching around the city doing that in obedience to God. But what does that have to do with warfare? Well, what they were engaged in was intentional to demonstrate then that when the walls of Jericho fell and Jericho was defeated, that the only explanation wasn't people walking around the city and blowing trumpets, but it was God. The trumpet summoned God and it was clear to everyone that this is something God had done.

And such is the conspicuous nature of what we're reading here in Revelation chapter 8. You remember Gideon and his little army. What did they carry with them? Well, the Bible says they carried torches and they carried trumpets. And when they blew the trumpets, it was God who came. You remember God told him, oh, you got too many men.

Send some of them home. And here he is, this great army of the Midianites. And how many men does he have to engage in battle? Three hundred.

Three hundred. But they blew the trumpets and God came on the scene and God caused the Midianites to be confused and ultimately defeated. And it is against this broad background that Revelation chapter 8 and verse 6 tells us that there are seven angels who had the seven trumpets and they are prepared to blow them. And they are doing that in anticipation of divine intervention. God is going to come on the scene of history and he is going to thwart and conquer and defeat his enemies.

So there is a clear and obvious background here. I didn't want us just to be alarmed by, what's this with trumpets? Let me just kind of sketch what I've said before you a number of times, but not all of you have been here for the series, just so you can connect the seals, the trumpets, and the bold judgments that make up the bulk of the book of the Revelation. You remember that God Almighty in his right hand held a scroll that was a seven sealed scroll and there was nobody, John couldn't find anybody in heaven or earth that was worthy to open the scroll, but one came forth, the Lord Jesus Christ, and had authority to take from God the Father and open the scroll, loose the seals, and execute the content of God's decrees that were reflected in those seals. And in rapid succession, the first six seals are opened and we're thinking, well if these seven seals represent the entirety of human history and six seals have opened, we must be getting to the end. But we have a Bible in front of us that tells us that there's 22 chapters in the book of Revelation and that's only in chapter 5 and 6 and we're like, now wait a minute, what's going to happen here? Well, you know that the seventh seal gives way to the seven trumpet judgments and then in a similar fashion, we're going to look at the first four trumpet judgments in verses 7 through 12 of verse 8. And then the fifth judgment in chapter 9, the first part, the sixth in the latter half of chapter 9, and then that seventh trumpet judgment gives way to the seven bold judgments. So there is an intensification of judgment and the manifestation of judgment as these judgments unfold, the seals, the trumpets, and the bold judgments.

So sometimes we can kind of get lost and go, well what is all this? Seals and trumpets and bowls or vials. Well, that helps, I think, you to connect the theme and how the book is constructed. Now, let's talk about a few parallels that I see here in our consideration tonight. There is a clear and obvious parallel between the seven trumpets of Revelation chapter 8 and 9 and the seven trumpets of Joshua chapter 6 that we've already looked at.

But let me say a few more things about that. In Joshua 6, the first six trumpets were blown as a prelude to the decisive seventh day and on that seventh day, the blowing of the trumpet on that day when the victory was given. And so it is here in Revelation.

The first six trumpets are a prelude and a buildup to the seventh trumpet. And again, the seventh trumpet is made up of the seven bold judgments, which will be the last and the cataclysmic and the final judgment in human history. As God wages war against Satan and all his evil and against all those who refuse to bow the knee and repent. Let me show you a second parallel, not only the parallel of Joshua chapter 6 to the trumpet sounding in Revelation chapters 8 and 9, but the parallel between the four trumpets that are sounded here in Revelation 8, 7 through 12 and the four seals of Revelation chapter 6, 1 through 7.

And as I have my Bible open, I don't need to turn the page. One page is Revelation 6, 1 through 7, and my Bible has headings. The first seal, verses 1 and 2. The second seal, verses 3 and 4. The third seal, verses 5 and 6.

The fourth seal, verses 7 and 8. And in a similar fashion, we have the four trumpet judgments in verses 7 through 12 of chapter 8. What we have here is a parallel cycle of the same history. We're not thinking consecutively.

We're not thinking, oh, this is additional judgment. This is the same period of history seen from two different vantage points. There's things emphasized in the trumpet judgments that weren't emphasized as the seals were revealed. Remember, the four seals were the unleashing of the four horsemen of the apocalypse with their calamities upon the earth. We won't revisit that, but you remember or you can read about it there in Revelation 6, 1 through 8, and those seals, and again the four horsemen of the apocalypse. But here, there is a parallel.

And listen to the words of Derek Thomas, who writes about this parallel that I think is quite helpful. He says, quote, the seals, now that's Revelation 6, the seals view the unfolding of God's redemptive purposes from the point of view of the Lord's people, those who are sealed. And we see that the seal of Israel in chapter 7. The trumpets now view that same reality from the point of view of the unsealed, that is, those who are not the people of God. The opening of the seals bring great consolation to the people of God, but the sounding of the trumpets bring great woes upon those who are not the people of God.

So says Derek Thomas. So what are these four trumpets that we're going to look at here in a moment depict? Well, they show God's judgment on the sin of the world through the upheavals in nature, that God is using his sovereign control over nature to judge his enemies. Now, we need to be very careful that we don't look to a calamity in our day that's reported in the news and say, ah, that is the evidence of God's judgment. Well, one thing is certain, regardless of our inability to accurately connect cause and effect, we believe that God is sovereignly in control of his universe, right? And everything that happens is under his sovereign rule and control. Now, in any given time, in any given circumstance, we don't have the ability nor the wisdom, God hasn't given that to us to be able to say, ah, this happened for this reason.

This is how we explain that. So we just need to be careful. But when we're reading about it here in scripture, we are on good ground because we have an accurate ability to interpret what God is doing and connect cause and effect. So, the four trumpets, they depict God's judgment on the sin of the world through the upheavals in nature, God's using his sovereign control of nature to judge his enemies. And then there is another parallel that I must identify for you so that we're prepared to move through these four trumpets. There is a parallel between the trumpet judgments and the 10 plagues that came upon Egypt during the time of Moses. And in a moment, you're going to see how closely these trumpet judgments parallel what we read about there in the time of Pharaoh. You remember how God humiliated the gods of the Nile and broke the unbelieving heart of Pharaoh by means of these plagues. So there are very conspicuous parallels in the trumpet judgments between the first, the seventh, and the eighth plague involving hail, blood, and darkness. So you remember there were 10 plagues, but these trumpet judgments are going to parallel three of those 10, the first, the seventh, and the ninth. And what is happening here is there is a reinforcing of the assertion that the trumpets of Revelation are signifying God's holy war in history against his enemies who have oppressed his church. Now one of the main points of the plagues in Moses' day before Pharaoh was to demonstrate that the phenomena that was being manifested could only be explained as an intervention by God. You remember the magicians of Pharaoh were able to duplicate some of it, but as things went on, they were out of their league. When Pharaoh questioned them, this is what they said reluctantly as they tried to interpret their inability to duplicate the miracles and the phenomena that God was bringing about through Moses. They reluctantly said, this is the finger of God.

That's what they said. And that's what we're going to see, these phenomena that take place. There's no other way to explain them apart from this is the doing of God. We can't explain it any other way. You remember a few years ago that when there would be an earthquake or a tsunami or whatever, it wasn't uncommon to hear in the news, as it's reported, that this was an act of God.

You remember that? But how long has it been since we've heard God's name evoked in any way whatsoever? People aren't even willing to say, well, this was an act of God. Well, it is an act of God.

It's interesting that the insurance company likes to use that terminology to avoid liability. Well, you have no coverage because this was an act of God. But the trumpet judgments that we're going to look at here in a minute herald and declare these are the acts of God. God himself is acting in history to judge his enemies. One additional observation, and then we will take a few moments to look at these four trumpet judgments. And it is the restrictive nature of God's judgment in these trumpet judgments.

You say, well, what do you mean by restrictive, the restrictive nature of God's judgment? Well, I have highlighted in my Bible, in the text, that there are 12 times in chapters 8 where you find the phrase a third. And a third of the trees were burned up. A third of the seas became blood. A third of the ships were destroyed. A third of the rivers.

Not all of the rivers, not all of the grass, not all of the trees, but a third. So two thirds didn't come under God's judgment. So when I say restrict the restrictive nature of God's judgment, that even though God is expressing his judgment, is expressing his wrath in the ruin of his creation, his destruction is restricted to one third and not the whole. There is a mercy in his judgment as he restricts it in giving men time to repent.

It's a partial judgment. It is not the final and ultimate judgment that will be seen in the bold judgments in chapter 16. So they serve a purpose of warning the unrepentant, the unbelieving.

And there's an exclamation point on it in verse 13 because after the four judgments, there's a pause. And the Bible says in verse 13, I looked and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven. Now, your Bible might say an eagle flying in heaven. The word there could be translated angel, it could be translated eagle, it could be translated vulture. Somehow I like eagle flying. There's something vultures. I just don't like vultures. But when we see vultures, what does that communicating? Something's dead. This vulture is a bird of prey.

He's getting ready to descend. It speaks of death. So there's a warning that God is sounding before the final trumpet judgments.

Now, that brings us to the trumpet judgments themselves. So let's begin in a very limited amount of time. I don't know how it is for you, but when you're standing here preaching, time does not stand still. Time just, and you think, how did 25 minutes get away?

Now, maybe you're sitting there going, maybe that's the way you think. Revelation 8 verse 6, so the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 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. Again, this is similar to what we read in Exodus chapter 9 of the plague of hail and fire.

It is the seventh plague that comes upon Egypt. And you notice that it says they were thrown to the earth. When there's the action of something being thrown, there's somebody doing the throwing, right? And the question is, who is doing the action? And the obvious conclusion or answer to the question is the sovereign God of the universe is the one who is doing this. They were thrown to the earth. It's something that's coming from heaven, something that's coming from God's domain and it's coming upon the earth.

Again, it's God's intervention. A third of the trees were burned up and it says and all green grass was burned up. Folks, if all the grains on the face of the earth are burned up, you know how long we're going to live?

Not very long. Animals aren't going to live very long. We read in chapter 9 and verse 4, they were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth. Here's locusts.

You want to say, well, wait a minute here. I thought all the grass was burned up in chapter 8. But in the fifth trumpet, the locusts are commanded not to harm the grass of the earth or any green thing. One of the times I traveled to Zimbabwe, we would be traveling along the road and there'd be smoke and there were these controlled burns. And there hadn't been rain for months. I mean, no rain for three, four, five months.

So I was inquiring, I said, why are they burning? He said it's a way of rejuvenating the land. That when all the dead grass is burned in just a matter of a few weeks without any rain, fresh green grass begins to emerge. And I don't understand the physics of that, but all green grass was burned up in verse 7?

Well, in a matter of time, the earth rejuvenates itself and green grass re-emerges. Some of you probably know more about that than I do. I just observed it. So that's how we would explain what seems to be a contradiction there between chapter 9 and verse 4 and what we read there in chapter 8 and verse 7. So, it's God's judgment. You don't have to live your life very long before you come to the very distinct conclusion that there are very, very few things in life that you have control over.

Right? As Pastor Barkman mentioned and prayed in his reference to the coronavirus and the delta variant, it's a silent killer. And you can do all you know to do to protect yourself, but it's an illusion to think there are things that I can do that guarantee absolutely that I won't get the delta variant. If God wills, you won't get it. But if God wills, you will get it.

There's nothing you can do to prevent yourself from getting it. I had someone ask me after one of the services recently, is anybody going to live any longer than God has determined? Well, I said no.

The answer to that question is a simple no. We're not going to live one day longer and our life isn't going to be one day shorter. And she said, they said, sorry I gave away the gender, the person said, well, then it doesn't matter how we live. I said, oh, yes, it does matter how we live. She was wrestling with divine sovereignty and human responsibility and just in that particular arena, then that issues in so many other areas.

So as I'm trying to help this person, I said, well, I remember what they said or what was reported being said in soldiers who were engaged in combat in the Civil War. This is holding divine sovereignty and human responsibility together, finding that tension. They said, trust God, that's the divine sovereign part of it, and keep your gunpowder dry. That's the human responsibility side.

So we've got to maintain the tension between those two things in so many areas of life. The second trumpet, then the second angel sounded and something like a great mountain. Now, again, I'm back to just reorienting ourselves. John is describing visions. He's not giving commentary. He's not giving interpretation. He doesn't say, I saw something like a great mountain burning and that mountain was this or that. He's just describing something. But there's a phrase there that helps you understand that what he's making reference to is not a literal mountain. Then the second angel sounded and something like, something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea and a third of the sea became blood. What in the world could he be making reference to?

Something like a great mountain. One critical hermeneutical principle is that we must allow scripture to interpret scripture. So let me clear this up very quickly for you by turning you to Jeremiah chapter 52. Jeremiah, did I say 52?

I meant Jeremiah 51. God is making reference to the empire of Babylon. Jeremiah 51 verse 24 says, And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight, says the Lord. Behold, verse 25, I am against you, O destroying mountain. God through the prophet Jeremiah is calling Babylon a destroying mountain. Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys all the earth, says the Lord, and I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you down from the rocks and make you a burnt mountain. Turn over to verse 42. The sea has come up over Babylon.

She is covered with the multitude of its waves. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness. So back to Revelation chapter 8. What is this great mountain? Well, it's a reference to the great empires of human history who have exalted themselves and lived and boasted of their autonomy and they're going to do this and they're going to do that. And God says Babylon and Egypt and all the great powers and in John's day, the great empire of Rome, God will destroy.

That's what he's, I believe, making reference to. And 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. In reference there to blood is death. There's death.

God is going to judge his enemies, world empires. You know, I am inclined to stop here because there's not enough time to say the things that I think need to be said. So let me, that's the nice thing about expositional preaching.

You can stop and return to it next week and pick up. So let me bring this to a conclusion by bringing some summary statements here. What do we see going on? We've seen the first two trumpet judgments.

We'll see it again reinforced in the third and the fourth. What we see here in these trumpet judgments is a picture, a picture of God's judgment of sin and wickedness. And there are worse judgments coming.

There is an eagle, there is a vulture that is circling and he's doing that as warning. There's death coming. There's more judgments to follow. But in the midst of God's judgment there is a picture of mercy. As I mentioned, ten times in chapter 8 that this judgment is affecting one third of the creation order.

Some of it on the land, some of it in the sea. So there is mercy with God. God does not delight in the destruction of the wicked. So there is judgment, yes. But there's time for unbelieving people to take note and to turn and to repent and trust God.

So a picture of mercy, a picture of warning. And then we have a word, I think, for the church, for believers, for John in his day. You know, it's interesting that you read commentators and commentators say, well, when John's talking about this mountain he has in view Mount Vestuvius that erupted in Italy and destroyed Pompeii around 70 A.D. And I'm thinking, well, maybe. But I just showed you from Jeremiah that it's not Mount Vestuvius, it's the great empires of the world.

It's Babylon, it's Egypt, it's Rome and all the other nations that have risen and God has overthrown. Listen to Luke chapter 21, Luke chapter 21 verse 28. He's talking about the destruction of Jerusalem, the coming of the Son of Man. And when we get to verse 28 he says, now when these things begin to happen, when these things begin to happen, earthquakes and these manifestations in nature, when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads because church, believer, your redemption draweth nigh.

These are to encourage us and to remind us that despite the fact that there's an appearance, that things are just unraveling, that there's no rhyme nor reason, there's no purpose. There is a God in heaven who is sovereignly ruling and reigning. And we need to keep our eyes on Him and to look up because our redemption draweth nigh. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is, I don't know when it is, but I know one thing. And you can't refute what I'm about ready to say. We are one day closer to His return than we were yesterday. Am I right about that?

Yes. Our redemption draweth nigh. So believer, church, be encouraged and listen to me. This is an awful time in human history when God pours out His wrath on unbelieving people, those who refuse to repent, those who refuse to acknowledge Him. And if God in His grace has arrested us and brought us into subjection to Him and we have surrendered ourselves, there is no more wrath for us.

Why is that? Because the Lord Jesus Christ stood in our place and He bore the wrath of Almighty God so that we will never have to face it or deal with it. If that doesn't encourage your heart, if that doesn't inflame your heart for love for Jesus and God's mercy and kindness, I don't know what does. We deserve wrath. We deserve judgment. But God poured out His wrath and judgment on His Son to satisfy His justice in order to allow Him to forgive you and me and welcome us into His family. What grace, what mercy.

But there are those who have not bowed to me. There are those who are still defiant and in rebellion toward God. And we have the warning here of Scripture. What God has purposed to do, He will glorify Himself in the judgment of sinners. He will satisfy His justice in requiring payment for their sin. So let's continue to rejoice in God and His kindness and mercy to us. Shall we pray? Father, how we thank you tonight for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. How we thank you that the wrath of our God has been extinguished by the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore we can say now to Him who was able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 14:13:42 / 2023-08-20 14:26:16 / 13

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