Revelation 8 and 9

n Revelation chapter 8 Jesus opens the last seal provoking one half hour of silence in Heaven.  This is a dramatic pause that heightens the anticipation for what is to come, God’s judgment on the earth.  Revelation chapters 8 & 9 draw heavily on the story of the Exodus.  In both cases God pours out judgments (plagues) on the earth.  In both cases the objects of the judgment only harden their hearts.  And in both cases the people of God are in the midst of the plagues but protected from them by God.   The first four plagues involve God sending destruction upon the environment.  The fifth and sixth are two successive waves of demonic assault.  It’s like God is giving the people what they have really been asking for, freedom from Him.  They didn’t bargain on that including direct demonic attack.  The images John uses at this point are based on what would give a first century Roman nightmares and not on 21st century weaponry.  I argued earlier that the so-called “seal judgments” are ongoing difficulties.  John ties them to Jesus breaking of the seals on the scroll to communicate that God is ultimately in control.  Also, these are problems that characterize every era as Jesus advances His kingdom and moves toward the Second Coming.  I think it also makes sense that the judgments in Revelation 8 & 9 have a certain timeless quality about them.  In other words, John is not describing 6 specific and separate events here.  Rather he is describing the ongoing judgment of God which He uses through the eras to offer repentance to people.  The worst is yet to come!  Regardless a first century reader would see the Roman Empire as the object of the judgment in these chapters and would read (or listen to) them in anticipation that God would soon act.

 

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