Global Warming or Global Warning?
Revelation Chapter Eight
Also I set watchmen over you, saying, “Hearken to the sound of the trumpet.” But they said, “We will not hearken.” – Jeremiah 6:1
At the conclusion of Chapter Seven, which is the last of The Introductory Chapters, we await with the Apostle John in anticipation as Jesus opens the seventh and final seal of prophetic revelation that is chronicled for us in Chapter Eight.
And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour (verse 1).
Before the secrets of the seventh seal can be revealed, there is a profound period of silence that lasts for half an hour. This silence tells us that there is going to be a change. The previous chapters, one through seven, are The Introductory Chapters. They serve as the foundation upon which all the remaining visions emerge. These first seven chapters are primarily concerned with the church and her preparation. The period of silence is transitioning us to focus upon that which is to transpire upon the entire world.
And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets (verse 2).
In the Scriptures trumpets are used to announce religious events and are also used as symbols of warning, especially before an impending war. The context of the Scriptures in which these trumpets are sounded, informs us that these trumpets in verse two are being used to warn.
God has assembled His orchestra of seven angelic musicians; now we watch as they are given the motivation that will release their sound upon the earth. -
And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne (verse 3).
This angel is given incense with the prayers of all saints; that is every prayer from every believer through all the ages has been collected and preserved to be offered up before God as a memorial to them and their petitions for God’s will to be done on earth.
And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand (verse 4).
As the sweet perfume of the prayers of the saints fills the throne room, the angel is directed to make this offering before God. God receives the prayers of His people, which to Him are a sweet fragrance of His Son in them (II Corinthians 2:15). In response to those prayers, the angel takes a censer and fills it with fire from the altar. –
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire from the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, (civil unrest) and thunderings, and lightenings, (disturbances in weather) and an earthquake (verse 5).
There will be and is an increase in earthquakes, as Jesus prophesied. –
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:7,8).
Jesus foretold this time of warning.
The prayers of the saints ascend and judgment is cast down to the earth in response to those prayers. Were God’s people praying for revenge? We look back at Chapter Six where we were shown a picture of the slain martyrs of the Lord crying out to be avenged. –
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on earth?’ (Rev. 6:10).
It seems that we are being shown God beginning to act on the behalf of His persecuted servants; those faithful messengers who were sent by Him to bring the Gospel message to the world and were rejected. The rejection of God’s people and His Gospel precipitates what is to come.
The fragrant prayers of God’s servants have ascended, and have been read in the light of their faithfulness to God. Now it is time for the concert to begin. –
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound (verse 6).
In order to understand the progression of the plagues or judgments that are about to transpire upon the earth, I want you to picture all seven angels lined up in a row. They will be operating like an orchestra; the first angel receives his command from the Divine Conductor and plays his part. As the sound from his trumpet progresses and continues to develop with its corresponding movement that is unfolding upon the earth, the second angel receives his cue from the Conductor and starts playing his note. While the effects of his and the first angel’s trumpets are playing, the third angel sounds his part, the fourth his, until all the angels have released their notes and all are sounding simultaneously like an orchestra.
I believe we all have the tendency to think that when the first angel sounds and instigates what is to transpire upon the earth that we must wait until his judgments have been completed before the second angel sounds and so forth. We generally don’t see them as operating simultaneously, but as we shall see, the judgments that are released through these seven angels are progressive.
In Chapter Eight, these judgments affect one third of the planet, eventually progressing to affect one hundred percent in Chapter Sixteen. Let’s compare these verses from Chapter Eight with their counterparts in Chapter Sixteen. –
Chapter Eight – And the second angel sounded…and the third part of the sea became blood (verse 8). - …and the third part of the creatures which were in the seas and had life died (verse 9).
Chapter Sixteen - …and the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea… and every (100%) living soul died in the sea (verse 3).
Chapter Eight – And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven…and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters (verse 10).
Chapter Sixteen - …And the third angel poured his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they (implying 100%) became blood (verse 4).
So we can see from these verses that there is a definite progression from one third to one hundred percent from Chapter Eight to Chapter Sixteen. Chapter Sixteen occurs after the warning period of the trumpets, when the angels have replaced their trumpets with the bowls, and is a detail of events that are happening during the great tribulation which begins in Chapter Fourteen.
We return to the narrative and we watch as the first angel receives his cue from the Divine Conductor. –
The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up (verse 7).
The symbolism of the hail, fire and blood is reminiscent of the plagues that inundated Pharaoh’s kingdom in Exodus 9:23, 24, and were designed to destroy their crops. Likewise these plagues today serve the same purpose. We were shown in Revelation 1:20, that many objects represent other things. In this case the hail of course is a byproduct of violent storms and a symbol of judgment. The fire represents great heat resulting in death (the blood). The blood is also symbolic of man’s pollutions. So what we are seeing here is weather related, resulting in drought, shown to us by the burning of the trees and all the grass in the areas affected by these devastating droughts.
Drought has always been used as a warning to God’s people when they transgressed in the Old Testament. The prophet Joel describes a great drought that affected his people as a result of their disobedience to God (Joel 1:10-20). He witnessed massive fires that resulted from the lack of rain. These fires devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame has burned all the trees of the field (Joel 1:10).
This same drought is also a foreshadow of the time that directly precedes the “Day of the Lord.” – Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come (verse 15).
Today we are seeing a dramatic increase of drought worldwide. In a study released by the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), a NASA organization, rainfall data was analyzed across the globe and it was concluded that the earth is drying, especially in the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean.
Another study done in 2005 by NCAR, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the United States, reported that major drought has doubled from the 1970’s to 2000.
Although some studies show that there has been an increase in rainfall in some areas (storms with corresponding hail), land moisture is still definitely decreasing because of increased heat which leads to more drought and drought related fires.
The World Water Council has reported that up to 45% of deaths from natural disasters from 1992 to 2001 were the product of famines and droughts.
As the sound of the first angel’s trumpet warning progresses, the second angel blows his trumpet. –
And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; (verse 8).
The first angel’s trumpet released a judgment upon the land that would affect farming and crop production. The second angel’s trumpet affects food production from the sea. The burning mountain imagery is also related to God’s judgments upon Babylon (Jeremiah 51:25). Babylon is symbolic of a pagan world that can be “religious” but rejects the One True God of Israel and His Messiah Jesus.
We continue reading about the effects of this second warning. –
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 (verse 9).
What we are being shown here are the effects of man’s pollutions and the result of an increase of violent ocean storms.
The United Nations has reported that thirty percent of the world’s fish stocks have been depleted and the trend is seen as increasing; this is due mostly to man’s overfishing.
There is also an increase in “dead zones” in the ocean. These are areas where the oxygen content in the water has been depleted resulting in areas that are totally devoid of life. These dead zones can be caused by man’s pollutions and also changes in water temperature.
Fishing boats are destroyed in violent storms and according to the United States National Weather Service, there has been an increase of hurricanes and their intensity since 1995.10 There has also been an increase in cyclone “energy, numbers and wind speeds” in some areas according to other scientific studies as reported by the Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory. These increases are attributed to warmer sea surface temperatures.
It is normal for storms to operate in cycles. There are times when we see more activity than others as weather history attests. Apparently the prophecies in Revelation are showing us that the pattern that began in 1995 may not follow previous models of storm activity as we progress into these latter days, and violent storms will continue to increase.
The burning mountain that is seen crashing into the sea in verse eight could be a prophetic picture of a major disruption in the ocean, possibly by an asteroid or an undersea volcano, that could cause a major tsunami. A large undersea volcano is currently being monitored off the coast of Africa. There is a theory that if it erupts and causes the land mass to fall into the ocean, it could result in a tsunami that has the potential to wipe out the entire east coast of the United States.
While the droughts, and storms continue, the third angel sounds. –
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters (verse 10).
Our food supplies are dwindling and now we are beginning to get thirsty. The warning from the third angel has sounded and this judgment affects sources of drinking water, which is the result again of man’s pollutions as exemplified in the following verse. –
And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (verse 11).
I think it is interesting to note that the word for “Wormwood” in Russian is Chernobyl and was the name of the nuclear power plant there that malfunctioned in 1986.
I was visiting some friends who lived by a nuclear power plant. They told me that they had been informed that the plant had leached radioactive waste (wormwood) into the public water supply.
The proliferation of man-made power and ineffective waste disposal continues to pose an increasing threat to multitudes –“and many men died of the waters.”
The pollution of fresh drinking water due to other sources of contamination, is increasing all over the world and is attributed to 14,000 deaths per day.
As our food and clean drinking water sources are diminishing, the fourth angel is given permission to sound. –
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 (verse 12).
The fourth angel has sounded and now it’s getting harder to breathe. This fourth judgment affects air quality. Symbolically man’s pollutions smog the light provided from heaven (sun, moon, stars) both spiritually and physically. The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States reported that in 2013 ninety-four million tons of pollution were released into the atmosphere in that country alone.
According to a report done in 2014 by the World Health Organization, air pollution caused the deaths of seven million people world-wide in 2012.
We have seen that man’s pollutions have affected the environment, but it is not the entire cause of what some refer to as “global warming.” According to NASA, the sun is getting warmer on its own, most likely by Divine decree. The prophet Isaiah tells us that before the Lord returns the sun will be seven times brighter (Isaiah 30:26). This is and will continue to be the main cause of “global warming.” According to an article published in September 2012 by National Geographic Magazine, the average surface temperature has risen worldwide almost one degree Fahrenheit in the past forty years. There will be absolutely nothing man can do to prevent this, - except repent and submit to God’s authority.
The first four angels have sounded their warnings upon the environment and now there is a break in the narrative signifying that anther change is about to occur. –
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound” (verse 13).
Contrary to what many might assume, the phrase “woe, woe, woe” is not the first three words of a rock and roll song. We are being told that what is to come is far worse than any environmental concerns. Verse thirteen of Chapter Eight is the introduction to what is about to be revealed to us in Chapter Nine; but before we continue on our journey into that chapter, let’s take a look at what the simple word “woe” reveals in the Scriptures.
The word is repeated six times in Chapter Five of Isaiah’s prophecies, and eight times in Jesus’ admonishment to the Pharisees in Matthew Chapter Twenty-three.
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the prophet has been commissioned by the Lord to bring a word of warning to God’s people and their leadership. Dire judgments will be coming upon them because of their continuous refusal to walk according to the word and will of God. Through Isaiah’s warnings, God is giving them the opportunity to repent, change their ways, and come back to Him. Likewise, in Jesus’ admonishments to the Pharisees, the word “woe” is also attached to a description of the pitiful spiritual condition of people who profess a knowledge of God, but are not functioning according to His will. The summery of it all is found in verse twenty-four of Isaiah’s prophecy. -
…they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
God’s people and her leaders who have neglected God’s word and also have indulged in the ways of the pagan, will share in God’s judgments, along with those who dwell on the earth. – The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant (the everlasting Gospel/atonement of Jesus Christ, Rev. 14:6). Therefore has the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left (Isaiah 24:5, 6).
The curse which is the result of mankind’s disobedience to God, will someday be broken as promised after Jesus returns and time reaches its conclusion (Rev. 22:3).
As we look ahead to the challenging terrain that remains before us in Revelation’s pages, a landscape which has been sculpted by the sins of Israel, an apostate church and the world, we really can imagine those first three words of the angel’s warning becoming a song. We begin to discern the sound of it prevailing through the howling storm winds to come. The tempo is slow and we realize we are hearing the first three words of a dirge - “Woe, woe, woe.”
Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. – Isaiah 3:11
Revelation Chapter Nine
copyright 2013 by H.D. Shively
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