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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Before the trumpets sound (Rev. 8:1-5)

John tells us that the seventh seal was a period of silence in heaven. In one sense, the silence paves the way for the next set of seven things, which is a set of seven trumpets. So it could be a way of saying that we should reflect on what John has been shown in the previous six seals, solemn as they are, and prepare ourselves for what else John has to say. 

The outworking of the seventh seal is connected to seven angels who blow their trumpets. When we look ahead to see what the trumpets signify we can see that they duplicate to some extent what happened when the seven seals were opened. The regular position of these angels of being before the throne of God indicates the importance of their activity when they blow their trumpets.

Before they do so, another angel appears and his role is to offer much incense with the prayers of believers, and the combination of the incense and the prayers ascended to God on his throne. It looks as if this angel is described as engaging in a form of priestly activity in the presence of God. While one cannot be certain, given the style of literature, it looks as if this angel is Jesus, because who else has sufficient incense to accompany the prayers of his people and to make their imperfect prayers acceptable with God?

Then this angel takes his censor of incense, set in aflame with fire from the altar and threw the it to the earth, where it produced various severe storms and natural effects. The connection of those phenomena with the prayers of believers seems obvious. Somehow, the activities of the angel, who may be the Saviour, are linked to answered prayer. So we need to bear that connection in mind when we consider the contents of the seven trumpets.

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