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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 39

Introduction to the Seven Trumpets
 

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Let’s talk to God before beginning this new section:

Our Lord,

We heartily thank You for giving us the wonderful privilege of being able to search and understand Your prophetic Word contained in the book of Revelation.

After studying the letters to the seven churches and the seven seals, we now wish to start on the subject of the seven trumpets.

Please guide us during this lesson, so that we may understand the great message You left for us in the seven trumpets.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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Revelation 1:11

What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia; to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

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Revelation 4:1; 5:5

Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter. (...)

Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

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We have studied so far the letters to the seven churches and the seven seals, with their prophecies about the Church from the apostle John’s time up to the return of Jesus.




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Revelation 8:1,2

When [the Lamb] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

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Immediately after the seven seals, another set of seven prophecies was shown to the apostle John: the seven trumpets.

But before receiving these new visions, John witnessed a majestic scene taking place in heaven.




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Revelation 8:3-5

And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth.

And there were voices, and thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake.

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This scene introducing the seven trumpets is very rich in symbolism.




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Like the letters and the seals, this symbolism comes from the sanctuary




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Revelation 8:3

And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer.

And there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.

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So Jesus is always the main figure introducing each one of the prophetic series, in a setting which calls to mind the sanctuary, its furnishings and services.

But in this scene introducing the seven trumpets, the character who is offering incense upon the altar, making intercession before God’s throne, is an angel.

Could this angel be Jesus Christ Himself?




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Exodus 14:19

And the Angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them.

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1 Corinthians 10:4

[All our fathers] did all drink the same spiritual drink.

For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

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First, the Bible sometimes designates Jesus as «the Angel of God», as we can clearly see here, by comparing these two verses.




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Moreover, the work of intercession before the Father belongs to Jesus:

«It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.» (Romans 8:34)

«[Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.» (Hebrews 7:25)

«My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.» (1 John 2:1)

«We have such a High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.» (Hebrews 8:1,2)




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Revelation 8:3,4

And another Angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer.

And there was given to Him much incense, that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the Angel’s hand.

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So, in accordance with the symbolism of the sanctuary, Jesus performs a work of intercession for His people, just as the high priest did in the earthly sanctuary under the Old Covenant.

He adds the smoke of the incense to the prayers of the saints, in order to make them acceptable to the Father.




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The altar of incense is linked with prayer and the work of intercession:

«You shall make an altar to burn incense on: of shittim wood shall you make it. (...) And when Aaron lights the lamps at even, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.» (Exodus 30:1,8)

«The four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.» (Revelation 5:8)

«Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.» (Psalm 141:2)

«The whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.» (Luke 1:10)




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Revelation 8:5,6

And the Angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth.

And there were voices, and thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake.

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

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Besides His ministry of intercession, Jesus performs another work at the altar of incense, which is also very rich in symbolism.

By understanding the meaning of throwing fire from the altar to the earth, we will better grasp the message of the seven trumpets following this scene.




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Revelation 8:5

And the Angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth.

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Luke 12:49,51

I am come to send fire on the earth. (...)

Suppose you that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, No; but rather division.

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Jesus confirms that He is the One who throws fire on the earth, and explains what that means: His message, not being accepted by everybody, becomes a source of conflicts, divisions, wars, and persecutions.




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Ezekiel 9:9,10; 10:2

The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, «The Lord has forsaken the earth, and the Lord sees not.»

And as for Me also, My eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way on their head. (...)

Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill your hand with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.

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The command to throw fire from the altar to the earth is also given by God to punish men’s apostasy, their rejection of His call to repentance.




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The fire from the altar comes out of the temple to punish men’s apostasy:

«A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that renders recompense to His enemies! (...) For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh.» (Isaiah 66:6,15,16)

«The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire.» (Psalm 18:13)

«On the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.» (Psalm 11:6)

«Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.» (2 Samuel 22:8,9)




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Revelation 8:5

And the Angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth.

And there were voices, and thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake.

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Isaiah 29:6

You shall be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.

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In the past, God poured out the fire from the altar to bring men to repentance.

But, this time, fire causes total and final destruction.




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This parallel shows that the fire from the altar will destroy the nations




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Revelation 8:5,6

And there were voices, and thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake.

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

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Revelation 11:15,19

And the seventh angel sounded. (...)

And there were lightning, and voices, and thunder, and an earthquake, and great hail.

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The introductory scene to the seven trumpets thus indicates that each one of the trumpets will aim at calling the rebellious men to repentance, until the seventh trumpet, which will sound the hour of their final destruction.




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Ezekiel 33:2-5

When I bring the sword on a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: if when he sees the sword come on the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be on his own head.

He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be on him.

But he that takes warning shall deliver his soul.

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The sound of the trumpet aims at calling men to repentance...




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Isaiah 58:1

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

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Revelation 11:15,18

And the seventh angel sounded. (...)

«Your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should give reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.»

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... but, at the sound of the seventh trumpet, all those who ignored the sound of the first six trumpets will have to face the wrath of God.




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Numbers 10:9

If you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets.

And you shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.

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For all the believers who remained faithful to God until the end, unlike the unrepentant men, the sound of the seventh trumpet will be synonymous with good news!

Indeed it will announce their deliverance from this world soiled by sin, and the institution of a kingdom where goodness, peace and joy dwell.




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Joshua 6:1,2

Now Jericho was straightly 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 into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor.»

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The symbolism of the seven trumpets is wonderfully illustrated by the account of the capture of Jericho.

After wandering in the desert for forty years, the people of Israel were at last ready to enter Canaan, the Promised Land.

But first, they had to capture Jericho, a city fortified with a strong wall, blocking the way to the Promised Land.

Then, God showed them how to invade this great city.




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Joshua 6:3,4

You shall compass the city, all you men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shall you do six days.

And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns.

And the seventh day you shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

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God instructed His people to go all around the city of Jericho once for six days, blowing the trumpets.

The seventh day, the people had to march around the city seven times, still blowing the trumpets.




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Joshua 6:16,20

And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, «Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!» (...)

And it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

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The seventh time the trumpets sounded, the wall fell down, and Israel entered the Promised Land.

Likewise, at the sound of the seventh trumpet, this world will fall, and God’s people will enter the Kingdom of God.




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Leviticus 25:10

You shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof.

It shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family.

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The symbolism of the seven trumpets of Revelation is also illustrated accurately by the Jubilee.

In order to pay their debts, some Israelites had to give up a part of their land to their creditors. Some even had to give up themselves as slaves.

To avoid the intensification of the poverty of the destitute families from generation to generation, God instructed that every fifty years, in the year of the Jubilee, everyone should give back all land to its first owner, and free all the slaves.




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Leviticus 25:8,9

And you shall number seven sabbaths of years to you, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty and nine years.

Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

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The coming of the Jubilee was announced as follows:

- at the end of each seven-year period, the trumpet was blown;

- after 49 years, that is, at the end of seven periods of seven years, the trumpet sounded for the seventh time, marking the beginning of the fiftieth year: the Jubilee.




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Leviticus 25:10

You shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof.

It shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family.

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Galatians 4:26

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

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The seventh trumpet marked the beginning of the Jubilee, the return to one’s possessions and liberty.

Likewise, the seventh trumpet will free the faithful from evil, and give them back the Paradise that had been lost in Eden.




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Jeremiah 4:19-21

I am pained at my very heart; my heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

Destruction on destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.

How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?

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But the seventh trumpet cannot sound and proclaim deliverance right away.

Before this happens, the first six trumpets must sound, and their message must reach the rebellious men who reject God and His call to repentance.




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2 Chronicles 13:11,12

We keep the charge of the Lord our God; but you have forsaken Him.

And, behold, God Himself is with us for our captain, and His priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you.

O children of Israel, fight you not against the Lord God of your fathers; for you shall not prosper.

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Now it is up to us to pay heed to the message of the seven trumpets, calling us to repentance and obedience to the Word of God.

May the next lessons help us to do so, in order that the sound of the seventh trumpet may announce for us the coming of deliverance, and not of destruction.




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«The smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God.» (Revelation 8:4)

Heavenly Father,

Your Word says about Your people under the Old Covenant, «They chose new gods; then was war in the gates.» (Judges 5:8). The consequences of apostasy are always tragic.

But, by way of the trumpets’ messages, You desire to give a warning to the rebellious men, and call them to return to You, before it is too late.

May Your Holy Spirit guide and enlighten us, as we start to study each of the seven trumpets.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.


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