This brings us to the mark of the beast. You have possibly heard of it and heard people speculate that it will be tattoos of bar codes on people’s arms, or a special ID card or implant under the skin, or any other type of visible identification. However, for every true and good thing from God, Satan has a counterfeit: God has a church, Satan has a church; God has a Sabbath, Satan has a Sabbath; God marks his believers, Satan marks his believers. We will discuss this more in the next chapter.
At this time probation is still open and anyone who wants to can join God’s true followers and receive his seal.
Seventh Seal: Judgment
“When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer… Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” Rev. 8:1-5
When the other six seals were opened, there was always a commotion in the form of voices or natural phenomena. (see Rev. 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9-10, 12) So why is there silence in heaven when the seventh seal is introduced? Well, when are you moved to be utterly silent? When something momentous or fascinating is happening or about to happen and you do not want to miss one second of it. All of heaven has been involved in what has been going on down here on earth ever since Satan and sin entered the picture, and now it is all about to climax and to come to an end. No one in heaven wants to miss a second of the drama about to unfold.
The angel with the censer throws it to the earth, signaling the commencement of the seven trumpet judgments.
Trumpets have been used for thousands of years to announce one thing or another. They were used to announce a warning that an enemy was coming, or they relayed battlefield orders in the midst of a fight, and even today the military uses them to announce the beginning and end of the day. So the seven angels and their seven trumpets are announcing the beginning of God’s judgments and the beginning of the end of this conflict between good and evil on this earth.
First Trumpet: 1/3 of Earth Burned
“The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” Rev. 8:6, 7
Second Trumpet: 1/3 of Sea Becomes Blood
“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 creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.” Rev. 8:8, 9
Third Trumpet: 1/3 of Fresh Water Made Bitter
“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 waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.” Rev. 8:10, 11
Fourth Trumpet: 1/3 of Sky Darkened
“The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.” Rev. 8:12
The first thing we must ask ourselves is if these trumpet judgments are literally going to happen or if they are figurative and stand for something else. If we look closely at each trumpet we see that the descriptions are too specific to be figurative language. Trees, grass, creatures in the sea, men, sun, moon and stars are all literal things affected by what is to come. But the reference to Wormwood is figurative, right? Yes and no. Webster’s New World College Dictionary (4th ed.) defines wormwood as a plant that yields bitter oil, but it also defines wormwood as, “…a bitter, unpleasant, or mortifying experience.” Living during a time when a third of the earth is burned, a third of the ocean dies, a third of our fresh water is ruined, and a third of the sky goes dark is going to be a horribly bitter, unpleasant and mortifying experience.
If we look at the world today, we can see that the first three trumpet judgments seem to be slowly coming true even now. We are polluting our oceans and our drinking water, and the earth is suffering from global warming, but it will not culminate into a third of each until we are in the Laodicea Church era. We can speculate that the great mountain of fire under the second trumpet is a volcano or some other natural phenomena that will hasten the ruination of the oceans; killing a third of the creatures in the oceans and causing tsunamis or other devastating after effects that will smash ships.
Photo: EPA Yellowstone Park Fire
Photo by: NASA
Late on April 22, 2015, Calbuco volcano in southern Chile awoke from four decades of slumber with an explosive eruption. Ash and pumice particles were lofted high into the atmosphere, and the debris has been darkening skies and burying parts of Chile, Argentina, and South America for nearly a week. Along with 210 million cubic meters of ash and rock, the volcano has been spewing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and other gases.