After John saw the vision of the followers of Jesus, both past and future, worshipping God and lifting Jesus up as Lord his attention was once again pulled to the scroll where the seventh seal was being removed. For about an half-an-hour (7½ literal days in mortal time) there was absolute silence in the heavens as the tension built. All creation awaited to learn what was soon to come to pass as the scroll was opened.
The seven angels of God’s high council were given seven trumpets on which to sound warnings of impending judgement. And there was another angel, who had a man (censer) who was pure (golden) and stood before God. He offered the prayers of all the saints, and when he did the Old Testament Hebrews and all of their prayers went up from the angels’ hands unto God. It is only reasonable that this censer, this vessel, this man which the angel had was Jesus, the Christ of mankind.
After the offering of the prayers and the first fruits of the believers, the angel then took Jesus and “filled” him with the ministry (fire) and hurled him back onto Earth. Now this concept of Jesus being sent back to Earth so quickly and almost violently after his ascension does not at all seem to fit into the historical pattern used thus far for the understanding of The Revelation. There is no record of Jesus having physically returned to Earth even to this day. Is this evidence that this method of understanding prophecy has suddenly gone into disarray?
No. It simply means that in order to comprehend the deeper things of God one must be willing to dwell into the things of God more deeply than most are willing to do. Either because of a supposed lack of time or a disconcerted view of the religious world people pay preachers, priests, and other theologians to guide them through the scriptures and believe they should not be expected to delve into such things themselves. In fact, many believe it would be improper for them to do so. However, except people study the scriptures for themselves, there is no way they can have the absolute assurance offered by this way of life.
The fact that here The Revelation seems to indicate that Jesus was filled with the ministry and sent back to Earth is oddly reminiscent of what Jesus had told his disciples on that fateful Passover night of his last celebrated supper before his crucifixion. It was then he told his student’s that:
Where was he going? The disciples later thought he meant the grave. They kept a vigilant watch over the grave site where he was buried until, suddenly, his body disappeared. But instead he was referring to the fact that he was soon to be going to the heavens. In order to carry out his Father’s plan he would be forced to leave his beloved followers on Earth. How this must have pained him. But knowing the importance of leaving his little flock behind, he begins to give them some important instructions as to how they should conduct themselves after his departure. Speaking as a strong commanding officer who is about to send a battalion of troops whom he had just spent several years attempting to train for an important, decisive battle, he says:
Jesus’ prophecy proved true. Had Peter truly been prepared to die at Jesus side, it is possible that he would have been amongst the resurrected Old Testament Hebrews which arose with the Lord and ascended into Heaven with them. But due to the fear of death, he denied his Lord (JOH 18:15-27). Then Jesus, knowing the confusion which had encroached upon the disciples, tried to explain and comfort them by saying:
The urgency in Jesus’ speech and the importance of the contents of his message must not be overlooked. Jesus had to here instruct a group of people in a concept which is still in the latter part of the Twentieth Century. An idea difficult to relate to those who refuse to experience it for themselves. Simply put, he was saying that since the disciples saw him, they were seeing also God the Father, for they were mirror images one of the other; one being totally spiritual, while the other had taken on a physical form like man. If Jesus could not get his followers to understand this, then what he was to say next would be totally lost:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (JOH 14:12-14—NIV)
What power! What promise! To be as Jesus who could heal the sick, raise the dead, and perform all sorts of miracles? But if Jesus was going to some unknown place how contradictory it seems for him to say that he, personally , would do whatever they would pray. How could this be possible? Could it be that even as he had explained that he and his Father were mirror images one of the other, that so should be also the disciples and all believers?
Look closely at this Scripture. Here Jesus says clearly that he would ask that Jehovah, his Father, send to the believers the Spirit of Truth. Speaking in the third person, Jesus told the disciples that they already knew this spirit which the world could not know, but which had been living amongst them. In the next breath he changes to the first person saying that, “I (the Spirit of Truth) will not leave you.”
The possibilities of this knowledge becomes overwhelming for the mind and pen. John identifies God as Love in one of his epistles (1JO 4:8, 16) while here Jesus identifies himself as the Spirit of Truth. When Jesus says that he is in the Father and the Father is in him (JOH 14:11) he is the same as saying that the ability to have pure love given and received is found only in Truth; and pure Truth is found only in love.
How true this is! How many people have there been who have tried to build loving relationships with others; spouses, children, siblings, etc.; upon a foundation of lies and succeeded in having a lasting, loving relationship? In like manner, how many can honestly experience the joy of discovering Truth without first having a sincere Love for it? Without the one, it is impossible to have the other.
It was because of Jehovah’s Spirit of Love of mankind that he begat Jesus as the Spirit of Truth “that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (JOH 3:16). It was because of Love that this “image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15) put on a garment of flesh wherein “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell” (COL 1:22). And it was Love that caused “our Lord Jesus Christ… though he was rich, yet for (mankind’s) sake he became poor, so that (all) through his poverty might become rich” (2CR 8:9) through his Spirit of Truth.
Now, in Chapter Eight of The Revelation, Jesus had been escorted to Jehovah’s throne where he presented to his Father the first fruits of centuries of patient work— those who had believed in the future Messiah. But true to his word he remembered his promises to those he had left behind and while his body remained in Heaven where Jesus Christ took his proper position at the right hand of his Father (COL 3:1), his Spirit of Truth also returned to Earth to indwell the believers (ACT 2:1-12).
The effects of a storm recorded in verse five (REV 9) can be seen by the fact that Luke said a violent wind blew from heaven so strongly that it filled the house in which they sat (ACT 2:2). However, prophetically, this verse also recalls the fact that there was a massive intergalactic war in progress at this same time which was affecting the whole universe.
4.8.1. The Trumpets
Now the seven angels were ready to sound their warnings. The first of them sounded and the Spirit of Jesus, mingling into the ministers of life, was cast onto Earth. Through their ministry a full third of the people from the foundations of the faith (the Jews) were destroyed. To them, Christ had become a “rock of offense” (ROM 9:33; 1PE 2:8), a “stumbling block” (1CR 1:23), causing them to miss their hoped for Messiah.
When the second angel sounded his trumpet, there was a huge righteousness which occurred through the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost cast amongst the people. Through it a full third of Earth’s population obtained eternal life; while, at the same time, a third of the then powerful nations and economists were destroyed.
Then the third angel sounded. With the sound of it came a great church which destroyed whatever got in its way as though it had orders from God. Its name was called “Wormwood” or, that is, “Judgement”, and the ministry it gave seemed to fall upon fresh and desiring ears capturing a third of them.
Though the sounding of the first two trumpets is obviously the two opposing factions divided between those who believed in the Christhood of Jesus and those who did not; this third group will take a little more detailed explanation. Since the deciding point as to whether a person obtains eternal life is determined in his or her own acceptance or rejection of the Christ life, the fact that those who do not believe are destroyed and those who do believe obtain eternal life is only logical. It is also reasonable that if believers of the Messiah suddenly become actively alive that the then present form of government and economics could well have been in jeopardy. But did the destruction of these people and cultural forms of association come about by those who had put on the armor of Christ?
No. A third of the people seem to have turned bitter toward either of these paths of knowledge, neither rejecting nor accepting Jesus, and decided to follow yet another path. One of accepting Jesus as a great prophet and teacher but testifying that he had failed his purpose of establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth. Out of their bitterness of thinking that the Messiah would actually come forth through Esau instead of Jacob, the descendants of Esau began listening to one called Mohammed who declared himself to be a prophet and captured the imaginations of nearly a third of Earth’s population over 600 years after that first Holy Spirit Pentecost.
This was the beginnings of the division of Jerusalem into three, distinct parts which would not be completed for several centuries during the time when God’s wrath is poured out upon the Earth (REV 16-19). That is, Jerusalem would be divided amongst the ones who said Jesus was not the Christ and still looked for him in the future; those who had substituted Jesus with another personage, whether claiming to the be the Messiah or not; and those who claimed Jesus as their Messiah. Is that not how Jerusalem looks today?
Then sounded the fourth angel. Suddenly knowledge of God the Father became darkened through the doctrines of Mohammed, where they had once been lightened by Jesus. So strong was the delusion that even a third of those who had once been staunch Jews and a third of the churches in the world accepted this doctrine of bitterness and became darkened to the doctrine of Love. A third of those who had once believed in Jesus as their Messiah no longer believed, and not become darkened with this new doctrine or fell completely away to become atheists.
This sad scene was then disturbed by an eagle, which was representative of Rome since the Roman legions designated eagles as their emblem (FEW vol. 8, pg. 2929), flying through the air crying, “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (REV 8:13)
The suitability of the eagle pronouncing the “woes” or disasters which would come with the sounding of the next three trumpets should seem almost uncannily fitting to the skeptical when one considers the position the Old Roman Empire was in at the time represented by this prophecy. For all practical purposes the Roman political structure had been crushed by repeated invasions from revolting nations as the Germanic people who in 410 A.D. plundered the city of Rome. Next there was an invasion of Rome by the Vandals from Africa who crossed the Mediterranean Sea in the year 455 A.D. The Huns had also lead an invasion of Rome, and in 476 A.D. Attila the Hun made the final death blow to the western front of the Roman Empire (UTE pg. 67-69).
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