The First Trumpet:

Hail and Fire Mixed With Blood

Were Hurled Down Upon the Earth

8: 6-7

   DIG: What parallels or repeated patterns do you see between the opening of the seals and sounding of the trumpets? How will mankind react to this natural disaster?

   REFLECT: How does God get your attention today? Does He have to go to drastic measures to tap you on the shoulder? Or are you eagerly waiting for His direction?

    With the blowing of the first trumpet, the second major series of judgments begins. The first four seals dealt with the natural consequences of human sin; however, the first four trumpets reveal the active involvement of the Lord in bringing wrath upon a wicked world, determined in its opposition to ADONAI. As the intensity of the judgments increase, so does their refusal to repent (9:20-21, 16:9, 11 and 21). As a result, the Church, made up of both Jewish and Gentile believers (Ephesians 2:14) is not in view here for God did not appoint us to suffer wrath (First Thessalonians 5:9).

    The angels had apparently been waiting in readiness with their trumpets for about half an hour, as John watched. But suddenly there was activity. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. They were obedient and had probably waited a long time to perform their service for ADONAI (Psalm 103:19-21). When their trumpets blow it will signal a great angelic military assault upon the earth. It will be shock and awe, the greatest physical upheaval experienced by the earth since the Great Flood.

    Back down on the earth, after the half-hour of silence, the inhabitants of the earth (11:10) start to think that maybe things were returning to normal. But just as they start to crawl out of their caves and from under rocks where they foolishly tried to hide from God’s wrath during the sixth seal (6:15-17), they will be hit with the first trumpet judgment.

    The first angel sounded his shofar, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. Accompanying the pelting of hailstones will be balls of fire and drops of blood. They will be terrified. Once before in human history a similar calamity overtook Egypt during the seventh plague (see my commentary on Exodus Bq – The Seventh Plague of Hail). The difference being that the Egyptian calamity was local, but this judgment will be worldwide. It will most certainly be so unusual that mankind will be forced to recognize that it is a divine judgment. As with all the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments, since the results are literal, the judgments will be literal also.248

    Many have attempted to explain the plagues of Egypt and the judgments of the Great Tribulation as totally natural phenomena. Their intent is to eliminate ADONAI from the equation, hence the need for repentance. However, it is important to understand that the miracles God performs are both providential and creative.249 Sometimes the Lord uses things that He has already created, like blood, frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, thunder, hail, fire or rain in such a way (or combination, like a burning bush or hail mixed with blood) to make it a providential miracle (through the wisdom, care and guidance of God). In other miracles He creates something out of nothing, like matter (Genesis 1:1), wine (John 2:1-11), life (Matthew 9:18-19, 23-25; Luke 7:11-15; John 11:1-44), eyesight (Matthew 9:27-31; John 9:1-32), speech and hearing (Mark 7:31-37), or fish and bread (John 6:5-13). Those are creative miracles. But whether a providential miracle or a creative miracle, they are both miracles of ADONAI.

    Great devastation will follow in the wake of God’s wrath; a third of the earth will be burned up, making the soil in which the crops are grown unusable. The fact that two-thirds of the earth was not burned up will show that although the Lord will bring His wrath upon the earth, it was not completed and time remained for mankind to repent.

    A third of the trees will also be burned up, destroying fruit all over the earth. In addition, less carbon dioxide will be changed to oxygen and released into the air. As a result, it will become much more difficult to breath. And finally all the green grass was burned up. The fires will ignite the trees and the grass around the world, already parched from the prolonged drought, and will leave the ground scorched, with fully a third of the world’s forest will be burned to the ground. Fire, the great enemy, is the instrument God will use. The Flood was used in the first global judgment (see my commentary on Genesis Cj – The Flood), but in the end times it will be fire.250 The earth will be purified by fire. The effects of such catastrophic fires will be widespread and devastating, including the ruin of crops, death of animals on a massive scale, loss of wood for construction, and the destruction of watersheds.251

    This will be a literal judgment upon the ecosystem in the same way the seventh plague of Egypt was literal (see above). When hail came down in Egypt we are told that hail struck everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree (Exodus 9:25). ADONAI destroyed all of Egypt in the days of the exodus, but He will destroy one-third of the earth during the first trumpet judgment.

    Earth Day will be a gloomy and dismal affair that year, and Mother Nature or the Green Party won’t be any help at all. In fact, just as the Egyptians looked to their gods for relief from the ten plagues but got none, the peoples of the earth (1:7) will look to their unholy trinity of Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet for relief from their seal, trumpet and bowl judgments, but they will find none.

 

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