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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 40

Hail and Fire Mingled with Blood

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 40
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We invite you to pray with us:
Father,

We aren’t worthy to open Your inspired Word and to study it, but we know that You give us the great privilege of searching the Scriptures, in order to understand what is Your will, and what You expect from each one of us.

We humbly ask You to help us, and to guide us as we discover the messages You intended for us in the prophetic book of Revelation.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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Revelation 8:1,2 Comments
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.
As we have seen in our last lesson, a new set of seven prophecies was presented to the apostle John right after the seven seals: the seven trumpets.

The aim of the first six trumpets is to warn rebellious men, and to call them to repentance, before the seventh trumpet, which will sound the hour of their destruction.
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Revelation 1:11 Comments
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. Similar to the letters to the seven churches and the seven seals, the seven trumpets describe seven periods of history, from John’s time until the end of time.
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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Isaiah 58:1 Comments
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Let’s remember that the seven trumpets aim at denouncing the apostasy inside and outside the Church.

Now, history reports that there were some periods when apostasy and rebellion against God were almost absent...
Ezekiel 33:5
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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Revelation 6:1,2 Comments
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, «Come and see.»

And I saw, and behold a white horse.

And He that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to Him: and He went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Let’s look at an example: the Apostolic Church in the first century A.D., described in the first seal, was remarkably victorious, proclaiming the gospel throughout the nations with zeal and faithfulness.

So the first trumpet doesn’t denounce this period which was so fruitful for God’s work.
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Revelation 6:3,4 Comments
And when [the Lamb] had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, «Come and see.»

And there went out another horse that was red.

And power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword.
But, in the period of the second seal, from A.D. 100 to 313, things got more and more complicated for the fast-growing Church.

The severe persecutions it had to face slowed its evangelical progress considerably.

So, the seven trumpets begin to sound from this period onward.
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
The first angel sounded.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The first trumpet indeed confirms the content of the second seal, with a picture calling to mind war and bloodshed.
Revelation 6:4
And there went out another horse that was red.

And power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given to him a great sword.
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
The first angel sounded.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Consequently, the first trumpet also confirms the letter to the second church, Smyrna, reporting the persecutions from A.D. 100 to 313.
Revelation 2:10
Fear none of those things which you shall suffer.

Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried.
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
The first angel sounded.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth.
In our last lesson, we have seen that Jesus threw fire on the earth, an act meaning that His message, not being accepted by everybody, then became a source of conflicts, divisions, wars, and persecutions.
Luke 12:49,51
[Jesus said,] «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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Revelation 8:7 Comments
And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth. With the picture of hail mingled with fire, the first trumpet’s symbolism goes even further, calling to mind one of the ten plagues inflicted upon Egypt.
Exodus 9:23,24
And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along on the ground.

And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt.

So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail.
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
The first angel sounded.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The first trumpet and that plague on Egypt are strikingly similar.
Exodus 9:25
And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
The first angel sounded.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The plague of hail and fire on Egypt is the key to understanding the first trumpet.

But before going on, let’s look at the meaning of the other symbols found in the first trumpet.

Let’s begin with the words «the third». What does this expression mean in Bible prophecy?
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Zechariah 13:8,9 Comments
«And it shall come to pass, that in all the land,» said the Lord, «two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire.» In Bible prophecy, as we have seen in previous lessons, a fraction («the third», «the fourth», etc.) indicates that the events foretold will touch only a part of the world.
Revelation 6:8
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth.
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Usually, the trumpets affect only «a third» of the world:
«And the second angel sounded. (...) And the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.» (Revelation 8:8,9)

«And the third angel sounded. (...) And the third part of the waters became wormwood.» (Revelation 8:10,11)

«And the fourth angel sounded. And the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.» (Revelation 8:12)

«And the sixth angel sounded. (...) And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. (...) By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.» (Revelation 9:13,15,18)
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth. The Word of God sometimes uses the word «earth» to designate its inhabitants, as we can notice in the second verse, taken from the Tower of Babel story.

So «hail and fire mingled with blood cast on the earth» indicates that the first trumpet affects the people living on earth.
Genesis 11:1
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up. In the Bible, trees are another symbol used to represent people.

So the burned trees of the first trumpet symbolize people handed over to the fire of God’s punishment, «the third» indicating a partial punishment.
Ezekiel 15:6
Therefore thus said the Lord God,

«As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem.»
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In the Word of God, trees often symbolize people:
«Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly. (...) He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.» (Psalm 1:1,3)

«Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain. (...) [They are] trees whose fruit wither, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.» (Jude verses 11 and 12)

«But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. (...) For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”» (Luke 23:28,31)

«Say to the forest of the south, “Hear the word of the Lord! Thus said the Lord God; Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you, and every dry tree. (...) I will draw forth My sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked.”» (Ezekiel 20:47; 21:3)
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
The first angel sounded.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Just as the trees symbolize people, green grass, frail and short-lived, is often used to represent people, illustrating the short life of men.
1 Peter 1:24
All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.

The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away.
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The Bible uses grass to symbolize the frailty of men:
«Their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the house tops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.» (2 Kings 19:26)

«Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be you envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.» (Psalm 37:1,2)

«When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever.» (Psalm 92:7)

«As the flower of the grass [the rich man] shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.» (James 1:10,11)
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Exodus 9:17,18 Comments
As yet exalt you yourself against My people, that you will not let them go?

Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
Now, let’s come back to the plague of hail on Egypt, in order to understand the message of the first trumpet.

Seeing His people oppressed by Pharaoh, God sent this plague as a reprisal, to persuade him to free the Hebrews and let them go out of Egypt.
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The rain of hail and fire punishes those who oppress God’s people:
«The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire. Yes, He sent out His arrows, and scattered them.» (Psalm 18:13,14)

«[God] gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. He cast on them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.» (Psalm 78:48,49)

«The Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.» (Isaiah 30:30)

«I will plead against [Gog] with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain on him, and on his bands, and on the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.» (Ezekiel 38:22)
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Isaiah 28:1,2 Comments
Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!

Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.
Even more precisely, the tempest of hail indicates that those who oppress God’s people will be punished through men aroused by God Himself.
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
The first angel sounded.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Using the same description as the plague of hail and fire on Egypt, the first trumpet announces the divine punishment of those who oppress the people of God.

Now, during the period of the second seal, between A.D. 100 and 313, the oppressor of God’s people was the Roman Empire.

Now, does history confirm the message of reprisal announced by the first trumpet?
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Revelation 8:7 Comments
And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. At the end of the second century, as the persecution of the Christians was at its height, the Roman Empire, though firmly founded for more than 300 years, entered into a state of unprecedented chaos.

In less than one year (192-193), four emperors succeeded one another, being murdered one after the other. The legions were contesting the official power.

Taking advantage of this political instability, Barbarian tribes began to threaten the Roman Empire.
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Exodus 9:27,28 Comments
And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them,

«I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.

Entreat the Lord, for it is enough, that there be no more mighty thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.»
Just like Pharaoh, who was driven more by ambition than by sincere repentance, the Roman Empire then tried to draw closer to God.

In A.D 313, Emperor Constantine I decreed the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity the Empire’s official religion, and put an end to persecution.
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Exodus 9:29,30 Comments
And Moses said to [Pharaoh],

«As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands to the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that you may know how that the earth is the Lord’s.

But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the Lord God.»
Moses knew that Pharaoh hadn’t really repented, and that, once the plague of hail and fire was over, he would oppress the people of God again...
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Exodus 9:33-35 Comments
And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands to the Lord: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth.

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.
... and Moses was right.

But another plague was in store for Pharaoh, just as a second trumpet is about to sound for the Roman Empire oppressing God’s people.
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2 Chronicles 13:11,12 Comments
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.
Before moving on to our next lesson, let’s remember that the responsibility for taking seriously the warning messages of the trumpets is up to us.

May we always respond to these calls to repentance and obedience to the Word of God.
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Let’s pray together:
Lord,

Jesus Christ said, «Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell not: for it was founded on a rock.» (Matthew 7:24,25).

Please help us to be founded on the Rock, on Jesus, so that we may always remain faithful to You, and be kept from the tempest of hail and fire awaiting unrepentant men.

In the precious name of Jesus our Savior we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 40 - Test The test of Lesson 40 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: Photo in: «Master Clips 500,000» by IMSI, CD #16, JJ000242.JPG. Screen 2: «Seventh Seal: The Distribution of the Trumpets to the Seven Angels» (c.1255-60), The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. In: «Revelation - Art of the Apocalypse» (GRUBB, Nancy), Abeville Press Publishers, 1997, p.22. Screen 3: HARLAN, Russell. In: «Votre Bible et Vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.286. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 4: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM237.BMP. Screen 5: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM230.BMP. Screen 6: STEEL, John. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C.Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.175. Screen 7: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM227.BMP. Screen 8: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (November 1, 1991), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.8. Screen 9: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (November 1, 1990), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.10. Screen 10: MORRIS, Tony. In: «Guideposts #10 - Let My People Go!» (FRANK, Penny), Lion Publishing, 1986, p.17. Screen 11: In: «My Book of Bible Stories», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1978, p.33. Screen 12: «Wildfire, near Polson, Montana». In: «The Elements - Fire» (ROBBINS, Ken), New York, Henry Holt and company, 1996, n.p. Screen 13: DORÉ, Gustave. In: «La Bible de Gustave Doré», Lausanne, Edita, 1994, p.245. Screen 14: In: «Revelation Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1986, lesson #23 («Les trompettes annoncent la chute de Rome»), p.1. Screen 15: BRUEGEL, Pieter. «The Tower of Babel», Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. In: «Great Bible Stories and Master Paintings» (RACHLEFF, Owen S.), New York, Abradale Press Publishers, p.35. Screen 16: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM227.BMP. Screen 17: Cover of Compact Disk. «GLAZUNOV, Orchestral Works - Volume 10», Naxos, 1996. Screen 18: Photo in: «Master Clips 500,000» by IMSI, CD #16, TF000277.JPG. Screen 19: «Tallgrass Prairie, Red Cloud, Nebraska». In: «The Elements - Earth» (ROBBINS, Ken), New York, Henry Holt and company, 1995, n.p. Screen 20: In: «The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes» (TAYLOR, Kenneth N.), Moody Press, Chicago, 1956, p.43. Screen 21: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.130. Screen 22: In: «The Children’s Bible, volume 3», Golden Press, 1981, p.158. Screen 23: Photo Georges Goldner, Paris. Louvre Museum. In: «Histoire Mondiale des Guerres», Librairie Plon, 1965, p.180. Screen 24: In: «Histoire du Monde: Volume 6 - L’Occident au Moyen Age» (BAILEY, A. and REIT, S.), Les Éditions Maisonneuve, 1967, p.488. Screen 25: GRUGER, Frederic R. In: «Bible Readings for the Home», p.482. Used by permission. Copyright ©1980 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 26: MAIRANI, Alvaro, and Carlo TORA. In: «Great Bible Stories for Children» (EASTERLY, R. Lane), New York, Royal Publishers Inc., 1974, p.48. Screen 27: MOLAN, Chris. In: «Forever Stories, volume 3» (BYERS, Carolyn), p.7. Used by permission. Copyright ©1989 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 28: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (January 1, 1987), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.18. Screen 29: Photo in: «Master Clips 500,000» by IMSI, CD #16, SSGP5491.JPG.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 40 - Test The test of Lesson 40 is waiting for you!