After the vision in chapter 7 of the 144,000 of the tribes of Israel (church militant) and the great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language praising and worshipping Jesus and God (church triumphant) in heaven, there was a half hour silence.
Hour represents climatic events and half hour indicates a delay or interruption towards that event. Silence in the Old Testament is associated with divine judgements. In that time the prayers of all God’s people went up before God. God heard and he acted with the angel hurling fire from the altar onto the earth with peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. God hears our prayers!
The sounding of the first four trumpets resulted in cataclysmic (earth shattering) judgements of hail and fire hurled down upon the earth (8:7), like high mountain ablaze thrown into the sea (8:8-9), great blazing star falling from the sky (8:10-11), and cosmic heaven struck with one third of sun, moon and stars turned dark (8:12).The first century Christians of John’s time would understand this due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 97 that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Judgement of God is real!
The sounding of the fifth trumpet released demonic locusts from the Abyss (place of the dead and where evil spirits are confined) who were allowed to torment but not kill people (9:1-11).
The sixth trumpet released a 200 million strong demonic cavalry who was given power to kill a third of mankind (9:13-19). The power of the demonic cavalry was in the horses’ “mouths” which can be interpreted to include destruction via false speech, propaganda and misinformation. There is evil in the world!
The tragic thing is that mankind still did not repent when the judgements were over (9:20) just like Pharaoh who hardened his heart when there was relief from the plagues (Exodus 8:15). As we reflect on Revelation chapters 8 and 9, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions.
First, how is our individual, family and church prayer life? Second, how should we live when the end of the age and judgements of God are certainties? Last, who will protect us from evil? Revelation 9:4 tells us that the demonic locusts are only allowed to harm those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 1 John 3:8 reminds us that the “reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Hallelujah and God bless!
Pastor Boo Teong