Advent Day 8

Read:  Revelation 8

The book starts getting a little more complicated here.  But don’t panic. Remember your cues.  

  1.  Don’t feel like you have to have every little detail figured out.  Get a broad, general impression of what you are being shown a picture of.  
  2. Keep an eye out for patterns and for repetitions.

Chapter 8 commences with the opening of the 7th seal—the one on the scroll that discloses how all of human history unfolds.  Nothing new seems to come of the opening of the 7th seal other than the launching of a whole new set of visions—that of the 7 trumpets.  

This is how the book progresses.  You work your way through a series.  You get to the end.  Then you go back and start over.  

See—the book of Revelation doesn’t show you anything all that unusual.  It just shows you what you are already familiar with from your daily life; and describes it in fantastic images.

 Life repeats itself in a series of patterns.  One week follows another.  The seasons of the year recycle over and over again.  It’s nearing Christmas once again.  The whole year will be repeated again.  You think that you are reaching some sort of consummation, and then…you go back.  And with the accumulation of year after year the anticipation keeps building.  You wonder when you will break free from this cycle.

Here is where you are really challenged to hang in there; when life is just the same thing over and over again.  And here, as you read Revelation, you have to hang in there while similar scenes keep recurring.  Hang in there with me.  Getting to the end of the book will make it worthwhile.  

Hang in there in life.  This is the real theme and message of the book of Revelation.  Hang in there.  Endure.  And now…here are all of the reasons why you should endure.

When the 7th seal is opened there is an interlude.  30 minutes of silence.  Nothing happens.    Then, after 30 minutes of silence, the prayers of all of the saints are packed into a golden censer that looks like a hand-grenade and it gets chucked at the earth…an air to surface missile.  

Then the first trumpet is blown.  We didn’t even get to see how the prayer-bomb worked out or what it accomplished.  

Trumpets are instruments used in war.  They’re used to alert the troops of impending conflict.  

With the trumpet blast there ensues a series of semi-disasters afflicting the world.  They’re not full-blown disasters.  The key phrase in this section is ‘a third’.  A third of this or that are destroyed.  One third is a good percentage (a third of Western Europe was said to have been destroyed by the black plague of the 14th century…making covid look kind of like a joke).  A third is a substantial percentage.  But it’s not quite a majority.  It’s a lot.  It’s a good dent in the whole.  But a loss of a third is not quite enough to incite full-scale panic and riots.  The  mathematical percentage of a third represents the idea, I believe, that there is significant reason to be upset and disturbed, but somehow it isn’t quite far enough over the top to completely grab people’s attention.  People are not quite yet ready to make a change.  

So…maybe it’s a good thing when the eagle announces, “More trouble is on the way.”  

Good.  Maybe that will get people’s attention.