Focal Passage: Revelation 9:1-12
From August to October we are typically on high alert for hurricanes – especially those who live closest to the coast. We track storms, and when a warning is issued that one may make landfall people respond. Grocery stores run out of batteries, bread, milk and water. Generators become difficult to find. Gas stations fill with cars. No one wants to be surprised and unprepared.
This passage is a warning about something coming that is much more terrifying than a hurricane. If you are not prepared for the coming judgment of God, there will be no escape.
Revelation 6-9 is about the opening of the seven seals of the scroll that Jesus received from His Father in chapter 5. Each one describes a particular expression of judgment during the end times. The seventh seal is described in chapters 8-9. It contains seven trumpets blown by angels to announce specific judgment. These terrors mirror several of the plagues in Egypt during the Exodus, except they are global in scope.
All the expressions of God’s judgment are powerful and terrible. For instance these locusts after the fifth trumpet with helmets and breastplates, faces like humans, teeth like lions and stingers like scorpions will inflict pain so bad that people would wish they could just die.
However, there are two things worth noting.
First, those who are sealed by the Holy Spirit will not suffer this brutal punishment. Jesus paid our penalty and preserves us from the wrath of God. Second, God demonstrates his love by issuing the warning. The trumpet is not the first warning. Revelation (and many other prophecies in scripture) is intended to warn all people of the coming judgment.
Many scholars have helped us see that seals have been broken and, though we cannot know exact dates, the time is near. Let’s be prepared for our redemption and sound the trumpet through our witness that the judgment we deserve is coming, but “Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:10). Be prepared, not by running to the stores, but by trusting in the Savior.