Revelations: Chapter 8
Verse 1: "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."
We have studied the seals in Revelation being opened by Christ revealing the Spirit of the Lord in many facets. Let's re-read Isaiah 11: 1-5:
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and
faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
Reiterating what we studied earlier; Isaiah is talking about Jesus as the rod, and mankind is the branch. It is the Christ in us that is opening the seal of our true identity, and the Spirit of the Lord in us is being revealed. These seven seals in Revelation are not literal, but symbolic of the number for rest or completeness in God.
The one who opened the seventh seal is the Christ or the Lamb of God slain in Chapter 4. Notice the verse says "had opened." This is more than the man Jesus who walked on the earth over two thousand years ago. This is the Christ that was formed before the foundations of the world; before Genesis one. When Jesus died on the cross his body died with him. The corporate Christ is Jesus (the head) AND the body (all mankind). It is the corporate Christ who "had opened" the seventh seal.
The word "hour" is used by John in his other books to reference a time in the life of Jesus that a miracle or the revelation of His identity had taken place. The half hour is symbolic of the time when our true identity as part of the corporate body of Christ is revealed. Jesus has fulfilled all that the "head of Christ" needed to do.
During the time of Jesus, the folding of a napkin spoke a hidden meaning that the people would have understood. It was symbolic that a person had been in this place; completed the meal or task; and would not be returning again. A Jewish woman would be shamed if her guest folded their dinner napkin after a meal. Jesus left a message for the disciples with a folded face cloth that was separate from the linens that his body was wrapped in. There is another part of Christ that must come into fullness. It is the body. "The napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself" (John 20:7). The Passover meal is finished and there is nothing more that Jesus needs to do. It is time for the body to come into the manifestation of the finished work of Christ.
Verse 2: "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets."
The number seven used twice in this verse is not literal. It means perfection, complete, finished in God. There are more than seven angels or messengers before God. These are the mature in Christ. The trumpets symbolize the word of God coming out from the messengers. Throughout Scripture, when Jesus would use the word "behold," it was as a trumpet sounding with a declaration from God. The same message Jesus gave is being spoken, but coming through different vessels. Each vessel is declaring the word of God the way God has given it to them; but it is the same message and it brings unity and oneness to the body of Christ. The message is: "CHRIST IN YOU; THE HOPE OF GLORY" (Col. 1:27).
Verse 3: "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."
This other angel is Jesus. The "golden censer" is Christians. The "incense" represents prayers of an anointed nature that have a perfumed fragrance. Not all prayers that are spoken to God are anointed. In order for them to be lifted up to God they must have an aroma that is pleasing to Him. Jesus was the mediator between God and man. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). Hebrews 12: 24 tells us the same thing, "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant."
The altar of Incense was located before the Holy of Holies in the middle court or Holy Place. There were seven pieces of furniture required to be part of the temple of God. These pieces of furniture were arranged throughout the three courts in the shape of a cross. This altar would have been located in the center of the cross representing where the heart of Jesus would have been while he hung on the cross.
The "golden altar" and "throne" are symbolic of God and the Ark of the Covenant, or mercy seat of God. When we
pray, our prayers go through our mediator, Jesus Christ, who transforms them to be presented in accordance to the will of God. Many of our prayers are unacceptable because they are self-centered. We can know they are "ego" oriented if they focus on looking for God to do something. God is not going to redo what He has already completed. Prayers that are acceptable to God are the prayers of faith which save (James 5:15). "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availed much" (James 5:16). The Holy Spirit intercedes with our prayers transforming them into His image and likeness. When we don't know how to pray, "The Spirit makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. And he (Jesus) that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27). All three of the Godhead are working together to bring forth the predestined purpose and will of God. We are not to bring vain oblations, sacrifices or prayer requests to God (Isaiah 1:13). Since God's will have already been completed, it is up to us to appropriate
His will which is already in us to come forth.
Verse 4: "And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
The "smoke of the incense" is our prayers that we pray to God. Even though our prayers may not line-up with the right words, or may be self-centered, Jesus Christ is our intercessor. His ministry, represented by the hand, was responsible for searching our hearts for what we are really requesting from God through prayer. David says it in Psalm 141: 1-3, "Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Let my prayer by set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips." As His body, Christ in us connects with the mind of Jesus Christ, sending forth the prayers of a righteous man that will avail much.
Verse 5: "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thundering, and lightning, and an earthquake."
Jesus Christ took the mature in Christ and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The "earth" represents our flesh; fire represents the Holy Spirit; and the altar is the place of God. The "voices" are the mature in Christ; "thundering" is the word of God being spoken; "lightning" is God Himself speaking; an "earthquake" is the shaking of the mind. This is a picture of when the Christ in each of us is awakened to the mind of Christ for the corporate body. We will go through a shaking of our natural understanding that we will not comprehend; yet, it will speak so loud in our spirit that nothing else will be able to interrupt what God is saying.
This awakening began on the day of Pentecost found in Acts Chapter Two. The people were of one mind, and in one place, when suddenly a rushing mighty wind came from heaven and filled the house where everyone was at rest. They all spoke with another language that the Holy Spirit gave them. Even though they did not understand themselves, it was God speaking through them. Jesus said in Luke 12: 49, "I am come to send fire on the earth." In Mark 9: 49-50 we read, "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltiness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another."
Verse 6: "And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound."
The key words in this verse are "prepared themselves." To be a vessel that God can speak through we must have an intimate relationship of love with God knowing Him as Father and Daddy. We can not do the Father's business if we rely on others to tell us about God and we don't know Him personally.
Think about a relationship between a husband and wife. If their relationship is focused on physical intimacy alone, and not on developing together as one mind; after awhile, the physical side of their relationship will diminish also. The same thing happens in a relationship between parents and their children. If a person believes that being a good parent only revolves putting a roof over their children's head, food on the table, buying stylish clothes, and getting them to school; there will be a major awakening when the parents try to communicate with their children and they don't understand their thoughts and emotions. Somewhere in the life of the children there wasn't time given to get to know them as a unique individuals whom God created to bring unity and love into their home.
This is what many people miss out on in their relationship with God. They don't know Him as Father. Many who do consider God as Father still se Him as an adopted Father instead of their true Father. They do not consider themselves in the same class possessing His DNA (Luke 3:38). Religion wants us to believe that there is something we have to do, like say a "sinner's pray," in order to become children of God. Yet, Scripture reveals to us that we are already His children. In the Father's eyes, our identity as children was never removed; however, it was veiled from our understanding affecting our soul and physical life. What Jesus reconciled to us that Adam lost was the ability to have an intimate "Daddy and child" relationship. Our understanding of His love for us never ended and never will drawing us to an eternal perfect relationship that causes us to become mature as Jesus demonstrated as the Firstfruit of many.
Verse 7: "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."
The angel in this verse and the ones to follow is symbolic of the completion of the work of Jesus Christ at Calvary: Jesus is the head of Christ, and we are the body. The finished work must first be sounded by the Christ in us individually and then corporately. Remember an earthquake just occurred in verse 6 which is the shaking of all natural understanding in our lives. Following the shaking is "hail" which is frozen water. Hail reveals those partial truths or lies that we have wrongly attributed to God. Hail symbolizes the absoluteness of God's word. When we first get a revelation from God that truly shakes our natural understanding it is a "hard word" like a rod of iron. It is unchanging and uncompromising. John gave us the picture of the word being like hail coming down from the sky and beating us as it falls.
With hail we have "fire." Fire is symbolized as cleansing and purifying. We also have "blood." Blood symbolizes LIFE. The life of the flesh is in the blood. When our flesh has been shaken, beaten, and then purified, the only life that remains is Christ found through the blood of Jesus. His identity is our identity.
Jesus Christ started the transformation process of revealing our true identity in Him. The angels, or messengers, who are the mature in Christ, are responsible to continue the transformation as vessels of His body until the fullness of the corporate body of Christ is revealed.
These messengers, or people, are preparing themselves with the word of God, or trumpet sound. The earth represents a double-minded or carnal Christian, and the sea represents a spirit-filled Christian that is full of an earthly mind. They are being tossed around trying to cast out evil everywhere they go looking for the devil that they perceive is out to get everyone. As the mature in Christ are preparing themselves in the Lord the earthly, self-man will be removed. The only one left in us is the life of Christ.
So we have hail, fire, and blood cast upon the earth which is mankind, and one-third of the trees and grass were burnt up. This is symbolic of humanity and our natural thinking. It is not about people themselves, but about the way they are thinking which is opposed to the ways of God. God is not out to destroy us, but is correcting the way we use our hearts and minds towards one another. The one-third represents the outer court of the temple of God. Remember, there is an outer court which is symbolic of Passover, a middle court referring to Pentecost, and an inner court symbolic of Tabernacles. When we get to chapter 11 of Revelation, John is told to measure the temple of God. However, he is not supposed to measure the outer court. This is where the sacrifice of the Lamb took place for all mankind. Since Jesus died once for all we are not to judge anyone or else that same judgment will be used against us (Matthew 7:1-2). After all, we are all one in Him.
Verse 8: "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;"
Mountains refer to a place of comprehension which is higher than our natural understanding. Fire represents God for He is a consuming fire. These messengers are speaking the word of God from the inner court with the power of His authority. Their words are being directed to the middle court or those that refer to themselves as being spirit-filled believers. Some of the most dangerous people are spirit-filled or Pentecostal. They get a little revelation and mix it with humanity; then go around preaching a judgmental message which gives places to devils and demons. When the word of truth comes to these people their humanity, or natural way of understanding, will be removed. Again, the life of Christ will remain.
Verse 9: "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."
The word "creatures" is creation. Remember sea is not a literal large body of water, but symbolic of believers that know the word of God, yet have mixed it with their natural understanding. The creation that was formed with their imagination must go. God will not share His life with anyone or any other creation. The word "life" is "psuche" referring to our soul life, not spirit. We must die to ourselves so that the life that we now live is by the faith of the Son of God (Gal. 2:20).
We are the side of Christ or His other self. The woman was taken from the side of Adam. It was the side of Jesus that the Roman soldier speared and blood and water came out. Scripture tells us to let the mind of Christ that was in Jesus also be our mind (Phil. 2:5). The mind that Jesus had was "Christ" meaning God, and "Jesus" meaning man. Jesus Christ was God-Man. This is the same mind that we are commanded to have "if we be Christ's" (Gal. 3:29).
The word "ships" is symbolic of the different systems of humanity. Each of us is a vessel of the Lord's body carrying the Word of God. When we try to do something for the Lord that is not His desire for us, our ship will get torpedoed. Many times we build large ships giving those names of denominations or doctrines, yet they are not of God. Just like the Tower of Babel, God will come down and make His presence known allowing us to refocus on Him who is really in control. Remember in Genesis 11, where God changed the communication to cause confusion and disrupt their unity in self focus? He didn't have to literally kill the people. Power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). In God's timing for each of us, we will all bow to the name of Jesus whether we are in heaven, in the earth, or under the earth; and we will all confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).
The humanitarian part of us that we have had in the outer court, or Passover, must be destroyed. Any part of "self" that we may try to bring into the middle court, or Pentecost, will also be destroyed.
Verse 10: "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 water;"
The great star from heaven is Christ. Jesus was the Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16). The word "fell" is symbolic of His crucifixion which took place for us. We contain the rivers and fountains of waters. "The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook" (Proverbs 18:4). "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).
The mind of Christ fell upon the earth (people) and the words they spoke were purified by God. The "Lamp" is symbolic of Light. "God is Light, and in Him is no darkness" (1 John 1: 5). Fire is a purifier. God is a consuming Fire (Hebrews 12:29), and it is "He that goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire He shall destroy them, and He shall bring them down before thy face:" (Deut. 9:3). We can not purify ourselves. God will come upon the mind and heart of man and the Spirit of Christ in man will witness to the presence of God bringing transformation in each of us.
Verse 11: "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."
This verse is full of symbolism. We have the great Star signifying Jesus Christ now called Wormwood. In the Hebrew the word wormwood is "la anah" meaning "a root that is cursed or poisonous." In the Greek it is the word "absinthes" meaning "uncertain derivation, bitterness, and calamity." When Jesus hung on the cross, David described His anguish in Psalm 22:6 as, "I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people."
Trees are symbolic of mankind. Jesus became as "wormwood," the root of sin, crucified and destroyed for all mankind. The curse or bitterness of mankind was the law. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse (wormwood) for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree (cross)" (Galatians 3:13).
The third part of the waters represents the part of our thinking which is still in the outer court or Passover realm. This is the part in each of us where we still have bitterness, anger, irritation, and indignation instead of the springs of life flowing out of our belly. Remember, there is life and death in our words. Our words really can hurt others causing a bitterness that only the love of God can forgive and heal.
Verse 12: "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."
The number four is a universal number. This is a message for all mankind. The message is going to the realm of our understanding that is surrounded by sacrifice (our outer court of the temple of God.) The reference to the sun, moon, and stars takes us to Genesis 37 where Joseph has a dream. His father, Jacob, interprets the dream as the sun being himself (Jacob), the moon being his wife (Joseph's mother), and the stars his brothers that will bow down to Joseph. Joseph is a type of Jesus. "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:10-11).
Darkness is not necessarily bad, but a manifestation of ignorance in understanding God. In Genesis 1:2-4, "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." God didn't destroy darkness, but moved upon it to reveal the light, or god identity, that was already there. A third part of the temple of God will be in darkness or understanding of Christ. This is just a temporary moment of God's timing, but eventually all will come into the presence and understanding of the love of God. Remember what we read in the paragraph above; every knee shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Love prompts us to make that confession, not condemnation. Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." We love Him because He first loved us!
Verse 13: "And I beheld and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!"
The word "beheld" is the word "saw," and the word "midst" is referring to within each of us. Heaven is not off in the sky somewhere, but within us. We are the heaven that God dwells in, where this spirit/messenger is flying in the midst of. The Holy Spirit within us is saying, "Woe, woe, woe" which literally means; pain, grief, and suffering "to the inhabiters of the earth." Those that inhabit the earth realm are comfortable in the first two courts: Passover or outer court people are like dust; and the Pentecost or middle court people are like sand. Those who exist in these realms have a covenant relationship with God, but are limited to what the earth offers in their understanding. Dust and sand are serpent's food.
Outer court (Passover realm) characteristics that produce "woe" include the belief that we are saved by grace, yet still sinners by nature; and the notion that we should primarily be concerned about our own salvation. Middle court (Pentecost realm) characteristics that produce "woe" believe that we have it all being spirit-filled; believing we must cast out devils whenever something goes wrong; and believing there is an eternal hell for non-believers.
Isaiah tells us in 55: 8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." This is a place within us that we can choose to rest. Paul says in Ephesians 1: 3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ"…Eph 2: 5-6, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
Many people are satisfied with just being saved. This mindset is connected to the outer court or Passover realm in the temple of God. Others are content to be connected with the middle court or Pentecost realm by being or being Spirit-Filled; even though there is more than Pentecost. There is an inner court of the temple of God known as Tabernacle. Even those that have entered this realm have not received the fullness available because this realm is filled with eternity. The supply of God's availability never stops and is located within each of us.
The remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels yet to sound are the eternal word of God. Those in Tabernacle don't experience the "woes." It is for those that are content to remain in the dust and the sand instead of coming into the heavens where we are to be seated in Christ. The carnal mind can not ascend into the heavens for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). "Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:11). "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21).
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose UNDER the heaven"… Verse 11: "he hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also he hath set the world (eternity) in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."… Verse 15: "That which hath been is NOW; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past."
When we have come into Tabernacle or the presence of God we will hear the messengers cry out "Holy, holy, holy, is
the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isaiah 6:3). When Isaiah heard this he said in verse 5, "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Isaiah tried to take himself, a natural man, into the Holy of Holies. What happened next in verses 6-8: "Then flew one of the seraphims (messengers that come suddenly and boldly like a snake striking a person) unto me, having a live coal (the consuming fire of God) in his hand (5-fold ministry) which he had taken with the tongs (finger of God) from off the altar (this is the altar of incense before the Holy of Holies filled with the praises of God and forgiveness towards all mankind). And he laid it upon my mouth (life and death are in the power of the tongue) and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me (I can do the business of the Father like Jesus did because I now see myself as a son of God).
So what was the business that God had Isaiah do? Verse 9-10: "And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat (filled with unconditional love of God), and make their ears heavy (so they only hear the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God without any condition with it), and shut their eyes (so they see no evil); lest they see with their eyes (God's eyes), and hear with their ears (God's ears), and understand with their heart (His heart) and convert (their true identity created in His image), AND BE HEALED."
Each time Jesus revealed heaven to people he took them aside, away from the crowd. Afterwards he would tell them not to tell anyone. This is different than what we see taking place in our "mega" churches. Heaven (Holy of Holies or Tabernacle realm) has no place for emotionalism or self identity. It is only God and His image or identity that can be in this place.
Jesus said in Luke 10: 21-24, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
To grow in Christ, we must be willing to let go of our natural understanding. Those of the world will go through Passover in God's timing. Those hanging around Passover and sin sacrifices must let go and move into Pentecost when the Holy Spirit stirs within them. Then in His timing again, those in Pentecost or "spirit-filled" understanding will move beyond the veil into the Holy of Holies or Tabernacle. Moving into Tabernacle is a one on one experience with God. It is just you and Him at the Alter of Incense, and then just HIM. You don't exist in Tabernacles. Paul explains this in 1Timothy 1:5, "Now the end of the commandment is charity (unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness that only God can give) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned (the finished work of Jesus Christ).
God finished Revelation before Genesis. Jesus was the Lamb slain BEFORE the foundation of the world. We are His body, and the manifestation of His LIFE is being revealed in us.