Week 6, Monday: Fire on the earth
John’s vision continues to describe events in the courts of heaven. We’ve just finished another cycle of the unfolding of God’s will on earth, the third facet of the gem which is Revelation. As the seven churches (first facet) struggle to “overcome” with Him Who rides among them (third facet), worship continues in heaven (second facet, but throughout all the facets), and the Word of God unfolds on earth and in heaven according to what was written on the scroll in the hand of God (third facet). Now the seventh and final seal of the scroll is open, and a lengthy silence settles over the unseen realm as we consider the fourth facet of Christ’s engagement ring to His Bride. We get the sense that something significant is about to begin. And so it is.
Read Revelation 8
Meditate on Revelation 8.1-13
1. We note that this section, this next (fourth) facet, only continues the unfolding of what is written on the scroll which the Lamb is opening in heaven. To this point the worship in heaven has been loud, large, and increasing. Now, suddenly, everything comes to a stop in silence (8.1). Why? What purpose does this silence accomplish? Should our worship on earth be anything like this worship in heaven?
2. The angels muster to begin the work of this next facet (vv. 2, 3). Whatever they are about to do will have ramifications on earth. How should this instruct us in thinking about the work of angels? If we take up this work in our own “overcoming”, should we expect them to help us?
3. The work of the angel with the censer recalls Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 6.1-13. In many ways, Isaiah’s vision is being extended and enhanced in Revelation 8-11, with more details in what follows through the remainder of this cycle. The saints on earth are praying (vv. 3, 4) and their prayers are being adorned with incense as they come up to the Lord (cf. Rev. 5.8). Based on what happens next, what do the saints appear to have been praying? Does this give any new meaning to “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”? Explain. The coals which redeemed Isaiah now wreak havoc on the earth. How can that be?
4. Now the seven angels prepare to blow their trumpets. Again, this is part of the continuing unfolding of what is written on the scroll. In verses 7-13 wrath from heaven falls upon the natural cosmos. Is this God’s will? Why is this happening? What is the cause of it? Meditate on Genesis 3.17-19. 4.16-24, 6.1-7, Psalm 14.1-3, Romans 3.9-18, and Romans 8.18-22 for your answer. Look also at Isaiah 6.11-13. In the midst of all this judgment, what promise does the Lord hold out to Isaiah?
5. A great “star” falls from heaven (Rev. 8.10, 11), and it is the cause of widespread corruption. We’ll see this same event in chapter 12, although presented through a different image. We have to remember we’re dealing with images, meant to stimulate our imaginations and stir the affections of our hearts. Keep in mind, while all this is happening, the Rider on the white horse is continuing to go forward, conquering and to conquer, and the faithful on earth are “overcoming” with Him, even as many are being gathered into heaven and clothed in white. The light of all three previous facets is refracting into this facet as well. In what ways does the situation on earth, as depicted in this chapter, represent a glorious opportunity for those who “overcome”?
Paul explains that the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men (Rom. 1.18-32). In Revelation 8 the sin which infects all men clearly also wreaks havoc on the creation. Is there a connection? What does this suggest about your sin and the creation?
The Glory of God
We recall that angels are “messengers” sent from God. Given this, what must we conclude concerning at least part of God’s “message” to the world? Taking together Paul’s narrative and John’s vision, how might you explain this aspect of God’s sovereignty to an unbelieving friend?
Glory to Glory
Can you see any ways that the judgment of God is “being poured out” within or near your Personal Mission Field? What should be your response, as one who is called to “overcome”?
Our memory verses for this week are Revelation 10.10, 11. Write these verses on an index card, using your preferred translation of the Bible. Carry this with you throughout the week, and spend some time each day working to memorize this passage. How should you expect to see these verses begin to work out in your everyday life?
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases…
You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD.
Psalm 115.1-3, 11
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.