Morning Bible Study
Christmas Service schedule. Talk about New Year’s Eve
and Morning Schedule
John found himself caught up into heaven where he found himself before the
throne of God.
He saw Jesus
take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals. As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little
further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the
Tribulation begins to unfold.
The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving
world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.
We have seen Jesus break six of the seven seals, and then a few things
happened between the sixth and seventh seals.
We saw the
special group of 144,000 Jewish Evangelists receive their calling and
protection during the time of the Tribulation.
Then we saw
the huge number of people who had come to faith in Christ, but had died
martyr’s deaths during the Tribulation.
8:1-6 The Preparation
:1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about
half an hour.
:1 seventh seal
Jesus finally opens the seventh seal.
There are going to be three groups of sevens which make up the Tribulation.
There are seven
trumpets, and later we’ll see seven bowls.
Though some think the seven seals are identical to the seven trumpets and
bowls, and others see seals, trumpets, and bowls happening one after the other,
I think it’s best to see the seventh seal as containing the seven trumpets, and
the seventh trumpet containing the seven bowls.
It’s kind of like
the Russian Matryoshka dolls.
There’s a big hollow wooden doll that opens up. Inside is another doll, and inside that doll
is another, and another, and another.
The idea here is that when you get to the seventh seal, it doesn’t just
lead to the first trumpet, it contains all the trumpets. When you get to
the seventh trumpet, it includes all the bowls. In this view, the
seven-sealed scroll contains all the events of the Tribulation.
– sige – from sizo (to hiss, or hush) silence.
What’s this “silence” for?
might speak of awe and respect
before the Lord at what is about to happen:
(Zep 1:7 NKJV) Be silent
in the presence of the Lord God;
For the day of the Lord is
at hand, For the Lord has
prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests.
Difficult things are about to come. Silence would be appropriate.
Or, perhaps it was something like …
Pastor Dave Charlton tells us, “After a worship service at
First Baptist Church in Newcastle, Kentucky, a mother with a fidgety seven-year-old boy told
me how she finally got her son to sit still and be quiet. About halfway through
the sermon, she leaned over and whispered, ‘If you don’t be quiet, Pastor Charlton is going
to lose his place and will have to start his sermon all over again!’ It
:2 And I saw
the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
:2 the seven angels
There are some ancient traditions that
there were seven archangels.
In Enoch 20:1-7 (an ancient book, but
not one in the Bible) the names
of seven archangels are given (Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel,
Sounds a little too much like Teenage Mutant Ninja
Perhaps these are just the seven angels whose job it is to blow these
– salpigx – a trumpet
The word used here could describe either metal trumpets or the kind made from a
Trumpets are used in the Bible in various ways.
Sometime people get the trumpets confused because they think that all
trumpets are the same.
Trumpets in the
Bible were used for several reasons:
They were used
in worship, to praise the Lord (Num.
They were used
to gather the people together to recruit an army (Num. 10:3; Judg. 6:34)
They were used to
direct the army by telling the troops when to advance and when to retreat (Num. 10:5; Judg.7:18; 2Sam.2:28)
They were used
to warn of an impending attack (Num.
practice was to build towers through the land and put men in the towers to
watch for enemy armies. They blew
trumpets to warn the people of an impending attack (Eze. 33).
The Israelite army was to even warn an enemy city that they were going to
attack by blowing trumpets.
(Nu 10:9 NKJV) “When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses
you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be
remembered before the Lord your
God, and you will be saved from your enemies.
I kind of think this is what’s going on in
Revelation. God is giving the signal to the world that
He is attacking.
Consider yourself warned
God’s way of doing things is to warn people ahead of time.
NKJV) Surely the
Lord God does nothing, Unless He
reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
You now have heard the prophets, and you have been warned.
We might think that certain things caught us by surprise, but I find that
this is rarely the case.
Every person here today ought to take Amos’ warning seriously:
(Am 4:12 NKJV) …Prepare to meet your God…
Are you ready? Have
you put your life into Jesus’ hands?
:2 seven trumpets
The next set of judgments will come with the blowing of seven trumpets.
There are some parallels between the book of Revelation and the book of
plan for taking the city of Jericho
They were to march around the city for seven days.
There were seven priests (instead of angels) with seven trumpets of
(Jos 6:4a NKJV) And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before
Every day as they marched around the
city, they blew the trumpets.
people were to be silent:
(Jos 6:10 NKJV) Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout
or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth,
until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.”
There was a type of
“silence” before the battle.
the seventh day, they were to march
around seven times (seven within seven, like seven trumpets within the seventh
Only after the last
time, did the people break their silence and shout, and the walls came down.
:3 Then another
angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much
incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon
the golden altar which was before the throne.
– libanotos (from Hebrew levonah, “frankincense”) – the gum exuding
from a frankincense tree; a censer
A censer is a vessel
used to burn incense. Yet the Greek word
for censer comes from the incense itself, which was usually a made with “frankincense”
Frankincense is made from tapping the resin from a frankincense or boswellia tree. These trees are found in desert places like
Yemen. The trees don’t start producing
resin until they are 8-10 years old. The resin hardens, then
is ground into powder and used to make perfumes or incense. Frankincense has been a rare and traded commodity
on the Arabian Peninsula for 5,000 years.
This was one of
the gifts what the wise men gave to the baby Jesus:
NKJV) …And when
they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
– thumiama – an aromatic substance
It’s interesting to see the parallel between the Greek and English words
One of the Greek words
for “anger” is thumos, it is the idea
of passion, anger, or “heat” (burning). This is the root for
“incense”, something that is burning.
One of our English
words for being angry is “incensed”
Be careful of
thinking that your “anger” is anything like incense. The Bible tells us about the nature of our
anger (Gr: orge, a lesser anger than thumos)
1:19–20 NKJV) —19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow
to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath
of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Your “anger” doesn’t smell good to God at all.
Perhaps the only thing God wants you to be “burning” with is prayer, to be
passionate in prayer.
want you “incensed”, He wants your “incense”.
Incense is symbolic of prayer. The
smoke rises up, our prayers rise before God.
There was actually a special formula for the making of the Old Testament
30:34–35 NKJV) —34 And the Lord said to
Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure
frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of
each. 35 You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the
perfumer, salted, pure, and holy.
When you put the right ingredients together in the right way, the incense
smelled wonderful. (I’ve got some frankincense from Israel here…)
God chose “incense” to represent prayer, not old cheese or burnt toast.
When we pray well, prayer smells sweet, not stinky.
When we pray poorly, our prayers are a little stinky.
(Pr 28:9 NKJV) One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is
A person who isn’t walking with God has “stinky” prayers.
When our prayers have the “right” ingredients, it is a wonderful thing that
comes before God.
What’s the right “formula” for prayer?
I think that’s partly what Jesus was teaching us when His disciples asked
Him how to pray. Let’s read it together
6:9–13 NKJV) —9 Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom
come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day
our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our
debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For
Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
These aren’t words to memorize, but a pattern to follow.
The most important thing is to have the “right heart”.
:3 upon the golden
We’ve seen over
and over again how the Tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness was a
model of heaven.
God was using Moses to teach the Israelites what heaven was like and how He,
God, was to be approached.
had a little golden altar that stood just outside the veil in front of the Ark
of the Covenant, and so does heaven.
The Jewish priests were to burn incense twice a day, every day on the
golden altar. (Ex. 30:7-9)
What are these prayers that are being offered in heaven at this time?
I wonder if it isn’t that part of the prayer that Jesus taught us:
kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
From all the saints throughout all the ages. We have been praying for God’s kingdom to
come. We have been praying for God’s
will to be done on earth just like it is being done in heaven.
Has that prayer been answered yet? Not yet. But one day it will be.
:4 And the smoke
of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the
:4 ascended before
God loves your prayers
It was not just
the prayers of the “best” saints, but the prayers of “all” the saints.
He loves our prayers.
Some of us feel like we’re just beginners when it comes to praying, but I
have to tell you, God doesn’t mind hearing from “beginners”.
Now I imagine
that there are some who might look at this video and be angry that this child wasn’t
taught to sing properly. They might be
upset that she confused the other kids singing.
But I have to tell you – this little girl isn’t singing loudly because she
wants the attention – she’s too young for that.
She’s just doing her best.
And for most of you parents, you thought it was pretty cute.
God feels the same way about our prayers, even when we’re just “beginners”.
The Psalmist wrote,
116:1–2 NKJV) —1 I love the Lord,
because He has heard My voice and my supplications. 2 Because He
has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I
God invites us,
(Je 33:3 NKJV) ‘Call to
Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do
:5 Then the
angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it
to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an
:5 fire from the
The angel takes a live coal from the
altar of incense, and puts it in his censer, then casts it to the earth.
Ezekiel wrote during the time of
judgment on the nation of Judah and he had a vision about the destruction of
the city of Jerusalem because of their wicked ways.
NKJV) Then He
spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, “Go in among the wheels, under
the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and
scatter them over the city.”
The coals brought the judgment by the Babylonians.
Then one of the
seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken
with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my
mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your
iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
:6 So the seven
angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
They’re getting ready to blow their trumpets. This passage is about preparation.
It’s not always possible to take time to do this in every situation, but this
passage has an interesting pattern being set in heaven before doing something
Too often we
like to fill our little worlds with as much noise as possible.
There will be plenty
of noise when these trumpets start sounding.
But before these trumpets sound, there is silence.
I wonder if we wouldn’t sometimes hear God a little more clearly if we
learned to build a little silence into our lives.
At a critical time in his life, Elijah was running scared, afraid that he was going to die for
doing what God had said. He ran, and
ran, and ran until he came to a cave on Mount Sinai.
(1 Ki 19:11–12 NKJV) —11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand
on the mountain before the Lord.”
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong
wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an
earthquake, but the Lord was
not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but
the Lord was not in the
fire; and after the fire a still
It was then that God began to speak, not with the wind,
earthquake, or fire, but when things got quiet.
Quiet is ok. Quiet is good.
Are you getting ready for something big?
Preparation requires prayer.
Were you watching TV on March 21, 2003 and saw this?
“Shock and Awe” clip.
We learned a new
term, “Shock and Awe” as the U.S. Military sent in stealth bombers and cruise
missiles ahead of the troops to prepare for the battle.
That’s what prayer does.
It sends in spiritual cruise missiles before you ever get there.
(Jas 5:16 NKJV) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one
another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous
man avails much.