Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Before the Seventh Trumpet

"Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above His head; His face was like the sun, and His legs were like fiery pillars" (Revelation 10:1).

Just before the seventh seal, we saw a vision of God’s sealing His saints and bringing the martyrs to heaven. Then we saw the prayers of the saints calling down the trumpets, which were revealed when the seventh seal was broken. The same pattern is followed here. Just before the seventh trumpet, we are shown in Revelation 10–11 a vision of the faithful saints proclaiming the Word of Jesus, their martyrdom, and their ascension into heaven, where their prayers bring on the seventh trumpet and the seven chalices of judgment.

First we see a mighty angel descend from heaven with a message for John. This angel is described as Christ was in Revelation 1, and most take it to be Christ Himself, the Angel of the Lord. He gives John a scroll to eat, which seems to contain the message of the Gospel, which is that God’s mystery has been fully revealed in Christ and that all men, including Gentiles, are called into the kingdom (Revelation 10:6–11).

Then John is told to measure the temple of God, which means he puts a boundary around God’s saints, sealing them (Revelation 11:1–2). The “two witnesses” then appear, who are like two olive trees and two lampstands. They prophesy in the power of Moses and Elijah and proclaim to men the contents of John’s little book (Revelation 11:3–6). In Revelation 1–3, the lampstands are the churches, and so we probably should see the two lampstands as representing the witness of the churches. Picking up imagery from Zechariah 4, there are two lampstands pictured here. Zechariah’s vision shows oil flowing from the Spirit through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to anoint the king and priest of his day. Here the vision means that the church is Spirit-empowered to be a “testimony of two witnesses.”

The witnesses are martyred and the wicked rejoice. The city where Christ was crucified (evil Jerusalem) rejoices, becoming a spiritual Sodom and Egypt. Then the witnesses arise and ascend to heaven, bringing terror upon the wicked, because the wicked realize that the saints will take their case before the throne, and the throne will listen. Sure enough, a great earthquake devastates the city immediately, and the seventh trumpet is sounded.

The city of man is counterfeit Jerusalem. This indicates where the greatest enemies of the faithful witnesses are found. Satan attacked in the garden, and the Epistles continually warn that the greatest enemies are in the church. From this we see the importance of proclaiming the truth and of spiritual warfare, even within the visible church.