November 6, 2019
Well-loved broadcasters David & Karen Mains launch their sixth podcast with a conversation about David’s insights into the book of Revelation particularly Chapters 8-11.
I believe the prayers of God’s people are powerful. I’ve heard too many reports from adults who testify to the prayers of godly grandparents catching up with them and bringing them to the cross. That’s because God himself hears such prayers and pays attention to them. So to truly believe in the terrible days of the seven trumpets is to start praying forward for those you love.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Our subject for today, the last book in the Bible, The Book of Revelation. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: We are back once again my friend. We being David and Karen Mains.
Karen: And we thank you for joining us. It’s good to have you on the other end of this audio experience.
David: Okay, the focus of our time together is going to be the fascinating New Testament Book of Revelation.
Karen: And you have made it fascinating in your study. After this visit, David will be halfway through that study.
David: But since we are new to podcasting, we have been taking a little time at the start of these visits to more or less introduce ourselves. Last visit here, and I told some of the books because we’re avid readers that have been meaningful to me recently. And I said this time, you get a chance to do that.
Karen: Oh, it’s nice that you’re sharing the microphone with me. Okay, I got onto a kick, which is generally what I do. And it was on the whole concept of neighboring. We’re losing this concept in our American culture. So I started with the National Best Seller, Our Towns, a 100,000 mile journey into the heart of America. And this is written by a husband and wife writing team, James and Deborah Follows.
And let me read you a little bit of the copy off the back of the book. James and Deborah Follows always have moved to where history is being made. And they have an excellent sense of where world shaping events are taking place. And what they’ve done is to look at the cities in America. In these cities, citizen participants, the ones that are sort of, these are cities that are sort of dying and diminishing. And they have made extraordinary turnarounds. And there are some commonalities in those cities that have done that.
David: Interesting. I think I’m going to end up with another book that I want to read.
Karen: So, the fellows have, he flies it a little airplane, single engine airplane. And they fly over the country and then visit some of these cities. The Followers argue that citizen participants are coping with declining industries, creating new civic cultures, assimilating waves of immigration, and collaborating across party lines to revive everything from art programs to tech seed beds.
David: I just discovered a good way to tell people what a book is about. You just read the back cover. Absolutely.
Karen: It’s a good way to write reviews on books, too.
David: So that was one. Tell me the name of it again.
Karen: It is called Our Town. It’s a beautiful piece of work. Yeah, there is a play, the old play, Our Town.
David: Yeah, that’s what I thought it would be.
Karen: Yeah, no, Our Town.
David: I have a feeling you’re going to give me another book on the same topic, because this is how you do it. You just get saturated.
Karen: I get deeper and deeper, don’t I? The Abundant Community by John McKnight and Peter Block. Now, they are experts in the topic of building communities or rebuilding communities. McKnight and Block, actually, they’re from the Chicago area. But they have focused on under-resourced communities. But their principles in building community just apply across the board. So, the title is The Abundant Community Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhood. What I like about them is they emphasize the fact that it has to be families involved with one another or households in the neighborhood. They’ve done a great job on that. But they are two of the top names.
David: Better than the other one, because I’m only going to read one of these.
Karen: Read Our Towns. It’s just a delightful, beautiful book.
Karen: Okay, then we go down to one specific community that actually has used these principles. And that community is Seattle. The city of Seattle. And everyone who’s interested in making your community work needs to look at this as a model or making your whole city work. The name of the book is Neighbor Power, Building Community, the Seattle Way. And it’s written by Jim Dyers. So, Seattle is one of the large towns, large cities that has actually pulled this across because it has a whole government and a whole association that is paid for by the taxpayers to make sure this happens in their city. It’s a really great case study.
David: How did you get started in this?
Karen: Well, I’m thinking about the neighbors across the street. We live in sort of a little isolated, surrounded area on our block where we’re surrounded by easements that are filled with trees. And so, we really have not been very good neighbors through the years. Now we’ve been involved in everything else under the sun, people, things under the sun. But I feel that those scriptures love your neighbor, which are repeated quite a few times.
Karen: And they just are.
David: How do you get into a building stronger than Jesus?
Karen: It’s something I need to take more seriously at this stage in our lives because we’re not, we used to travel every other weekend almost for a long time for me. And then I was writing books and you were broadcasting, and we were broadcasting. This is different, a different stage in our life. So, I’m wanting to concentrate on the neighborhood across the street. There are about 40 homes over there and we’re in this little pocket surrounded by trees. So, it’s kept us from having to meet our neighbors and get to know them. I used to make excuses, but I want to confess to the folk across the street that I’ve not been a very good neighbor and see what I can do about it. I’ll let people know on the podcast how that’s coming along. But that’s why I’m in this more intensive study.
David: I accept your confession in the name of the Father and the Son. They’ll hold you.
Karen: But love your neighbor, right?
David: Okay. Thank you for sharing. And that’s just one of the areas that you’re interested in. I kind of focus, I guess, in the same way. And I did for, I don’t know how long, I would say it probably was 15 years off and on…
Karen: 15 years.
David: …on the book of Revelation. And now I’m beginning to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from that difficult topic, but I think people will find it extremely helpful.
Karen: I have one thing to say, and I said this in a previous podcast, but I’m going to say it again. One of your great gifts, and I have assessed this after living with you for 58 years, is that you take on very complex issues. You have the capacity to reduce them to their essential meaning. Now, by reduction, I don’t mean you simplify them, but you synthesize them to create what is the essential meaning of this more complicated, what appears to be a more complicated issue. And you’ve done that with Revelation beautifully, just beautifully. So, I want to commend you for that and tell people that listening to you is listening to a master, okay?
David: Oh, that is so nice. Nothing more should be said. I almost want to listen to myself. There is a brief but emotional encounter between the prophet Elisha and a man named Hazael in 2 Kings chapter 8. The passage reads, Elisha stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael felt ashamed. Then the men of God began to weep. Why is my Lord weeping, ask Hazael? Because I know the harm you will do the Israelites, Elisha answered. You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground and rip open their pregnant women.
To hear an extended series on the book of Revelation, including today’s topic about the time of the trumpets, and to not be shaken emotionally, is to have sat under a preacher, or a teacher, or a scholar maybe, but not a prophet. Because anyone who is a true seer, and has even an ounce of Elisha blood, will tear up when talking about what he or she knows. Knows beyond a shadow of a doubt is a head for the world. It’s not good. It’s also an earth filled with Hazael types, evil men pretending to be caring, but under the sham and pretense they’re vile murderers at heart.
The eagle that flies in midair at the end of chapter 8 of Revelation was right when it cried out in a loud voice, Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth because of the trumpet blast about to be sounded.
To be sure, in today’s text we see blood and destruction. Well beyond anything revealed thus far. Outline wise we are still under the book’s third major topic. Chapter 1 of Revelation was a brief introduction. Chapters 2 and 3 I call 7 short sermons. Remember them?
Then I put chapters 4 to 11 under the overall title of Scroll of the Future. That scroll was first introduced in chapters 4 and 5 about heavenly worship. Revelation 6, still under Scroll of the Future, seven seals opened. There was a passage quite parallel to what Jesus had said in the Olivet Discourse, and I stress that we still didn’t know what was in the actual scroll of the future. That far in our study only the outside seals had been removed.
Last visit was about Revelation 7, Word to the Martyrs. Now with chapters 8 through 11, still under the major umbrella of Scroll of the Future, we will finally see what’s in that scroll, and we will be issued into the End Times. In fact, with the sounding of the last of the seven prophets, we are at the very end of time, as we know it, and, quote, “The kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever”. I took those words from Revelation 11:5. Following that, the 24 elders introduced back in the heavenly scenes in chapters 4 and 5, say to God, “You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead and for rewarding Your servants the prophets, and those who reverence Your name both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth”.
So again, at the end of these four chapters, we have come to the end of time as we know it. And if you weren’t aware that we were only halfway through the book, you might be fooled into thinking we had come to its conclusion. Not so.
When we finish today’s material, we will only be halfway through our 12-part series. We will also only have covered half the chapters in Revelation, namely chapters 1 through 11.
Actually, there is a noticeable break that all Bible scholars recognize between Revelation chapters 11 and 12. So our next visit, the time sequence, will have shifted as well as the topic. But again, this session, we are into the last days, or the time of the trumpets. And one more time, this is for emphasis, when we get to the sounding of trumpet 7, we will be at the end of the world as we presently know it.
There are two ways of looking at today’s assigned chapters, Revelation 8 through 11. And I want to confess that I honestly don’t know whether the seven trumpets are option A or option B. Option A is the traditional interpretation that the seven trumpets introduce God’s wrath starting to be poured out on a world that for the most part has rejected Him.
Option B, the seven trumpets announce a time of terrible destruction brought about by Satan and maybe by mankind as well. I’ll let you decide for yourself after we’ve looked at these verses. Are the trumpets option A or B? And before I forget it, your assignment for next week is to read Revelation chapters 12, 13 and 14. Revelation chapters 12, 13 and 14, again, are your reading assignment in preparation for our next visit.
Please sit up straight now and pay close attention, because the seven trumpets cover four chapters of Revelation, 8, 9, 10 and 11. That’s a lot, so we have to move along quickly.
Here’s a fast summary of chapters 8 and 9. With the blowing of trumpet one, a third of the landmass of the earth is burned up, including a third of the grass and the trees, how and by whom we’re not told. trumpet two, destruction marks a third of the sea or the earth’s salt water and its resources. trumpet three is sounded and a third of the freshwater supplies become bitter and cause death to many of the drinkers.
The blowing of trumpet four affects the moon and stars, which in turn messes up a third of the day and night times. Again, the apostle John is reporting on visions he saw. His bottom line is catastrophic changes, huge, ruinous occurrences that mark the earth and its surroundings. The text doesn’t specifically report that the Trumpet has caused these changes. Only that when each trumpet is sounded, this is what John witnessed. Also, the word pictures, John paints, are much, much more dramatic and frightening than what I’m letting on.
In his vision the sea turns to blood, a great star named wormwood blazes like a torch in the sky then it lands on the rivers and springs causing much of the freshwater to be deadly to drink and so on. Allow me to insert a quick thought before trumpet five. At this point it sounds to me like a trumpet is blown and then here’s what happens. That’s in contrast to a trumpet playing then here’s what the trumpeting angel or God does.
Catch the difference? So far, all these angels have done is to sound their horns. With trumpet five John sees another star fall from the sky to the earth. You understand that literally speaking this can’t happen. A star falling to the earth would wipe us out. But if what John’s writing about came to him in a spiritual trance or a vision, then of course it’s okay to report that vision. So this star is given a key.
Another problem if you insist on everything in Revelation being taken literally. How do you give a star a key? And then how does a star open the shaft of the abyss with that key? Smoke escapes from that red-full place like it’s coming from a giant furnace. Smoke that darkens the sky now words from the text chapter 9 verses 3 and 4. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like scorpions of the earth.
They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. I talked about this seal of God in my last lecture. Now as I finish the verses regarding trumpet 5, see if it sounds like the trumpeting angel is involved in what’s going on. It’s you my good students who did your reading assignments now, verses 7 to 10, describe the appearance of these locusts. Then verse 11 reads, “They, the locust had a king over them, the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is a Abaddon”, translated the name is Destroyer, as with a capital D like in someone’s name, and in Greek is a Apollyon. Once again that’s a given person’s name destroyer.
Now personally, I don’t think our good trumpeter angel 5 would have anything to do with this destroyer in his demonic locusts. Verse 13 “The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates’”. Just a note, if these four angels were bound, they most probably were not good angels. And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released. So, one could say this sixth trumpeter angel is involved to a slight degree. He released the four angels and apparently saw his God because it’s probably his voice giving the command to release them, release them to do what? To kill a third of mankind. Unbelievable.
In the next paragraph, the mounted assassin troops under these four angels who have just been released are on horseback. 200 million of them. And they are described, I assume these are enemy forces of some kind who are carrying out this destruction. The earlier Scorpion Locust was obviously demonic, so are these writers also?
It’s a good question, and we’re not told. I know that back in the book of Exodus, God’s death angel killed all the firstborn males in Egypt. So exactly which supernatural force is doing the destruction here? A case could be made for this being the wrath of God in operation, but more likely it’s Satanic activity. Then again, I suppose what’s being described in these visions could also be extensive military operations carried out by warring nations.
Like I said before, I honestly don’t know. I lean toward these seven trumpets not being the wrath of God or the Lamb. That divine wrath will clearly be released when later in the book of Revelation we get to the seven bowls of wrath. So my hunch is that this is not the long-held option A, that the seven trumpets introduce God’s wrath starting to be poured out on a world that for the most part has rejected him, but is it B? Maybe God’s somewhat involved? Satan most certainly is, and quite possibly even man’s war-making as well.
Listen, I also really don’t feel a need to know for certain. That’s because what I am dead sure about is that the days of the seven trumpets will be dreadful. They will be filled with pain, misery, distress, wreckage, carnage, and many, many gruesome deaths. Worse than war, which is said to be hell, the time of the trumpets will be unbelievably destructive, full of suffering and grief, and the loss of anything redeeming or beautiful. These will also be days when the demonic operate more in the open, and many who are truly loving and good and holy will be hunted down and destroyed, as was emphasized last visit regarding the martyrs. God help us. Though aged, I guess I could still be alive in these times. Maybe you also.
In chapter 10, a mighty angel introduces the seven thunders. But a voice from heaven says, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down”. I take this to mean that we don’t have to know everything that will happen. What we have already been told is more than enough.
John is then given a little scroll, much like an earlier prophet Ezekiel. He’s told to eat it, or to fully ingest its message. What that new information is about is then apparently revealed in the first part of chapter 11. Mostly it relates to Israel. Chapter 11 begins with the Gentiles trampling on the holy city for 42 months. It’s also the exact number of days, 1260, that the two powerful witnesses in verses 3-12 will prophesy.
Here are four Biblical terms that are all the same. 42 months, 1260 days, 3 and a half years, time, times, and half a time. You first need to understand, however, that a Jewish prophetic year equals 360 days, not 365 like we are used to. So, if one prophetic year equals 360 days, 3 and a half prophetic years equal 1,260 days. The phrase times, time and half a time has its origin in the Old Testament book of Daniel. On your own you can look up Daniel 7, 25 and 12, 8 and you will find it. Certain of Daniel’s 5th century BC prophecies have an initial fulfillment in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes. That’s important to know, so let me explain.
In 323 BC, Alexander the Great died at the young age of 32. One of his commanders, Seleucus, inherited a vast territory that stretched from the capital city of Antioch in Syria as far east as the near borders of India. Along with his victories, Alexander’s Greek culture, Hellenism, spread into these areas replacing the former language, religion and arts of people like the Persians. Looking for how to unify this immense and diverse kingdom, later Seleucus kings all tried to further Hellenize their people, including the Jews. This resulted in strong opposition from certain elements of the Hebrews. Matters came to a head under Antiochus Epiphanes. Syrian emissaries were sent by him to Jerusalem with orders to wipe out Judaism and to replace it with the worship of the Greek gods.
So, in the Jewish temple, a statue of Zeus was set up in the Holy of Holies. Jewish sacred scrolls were burned. Circumcision was outlawed on penalty of death. Sabbath rules were purposely violated, and pigs were sacrificed. All this was accompanied by holocaust-like mass killings, the gathering of spoils by the Syrian officials, and ultimately the setting ablaze of the city of Jerusalem. Altars were built by the doors of Jewish homes, and those who refused to offer the prescribed sacrifices were harassed or killed. It was like a taste of what the End Times will be like under a harsh and despotic ruler.
The turnaround began. When an older Jewish priest in a small-town northwest of Jerusalem decided it was time to act, he slew both the Syrian official who had come to his home to enforce matters, plus a Jew who was going to comply with the orders. Then the priest fled to the hills with his five adult sons, where they were soon joined by others, and a revolt had begun. When the aging priest died, his middle son Judas took over leadership and proved quite skilled at guerilla tactics.
He was called Maccabeus, the hammerer. Eventually Jerusalem was retaken, and the temple was purified, with the pagan elements being destroyed, and Jewish people still celebrate the events in December during Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication.
More to the point, however, this horrendous time of persecution lasted from June 168 BC to December 165 BC, or almost exactly three and a half years. And for all practical purposes that period of time has been stamped in the Jewish mind as one of terror, suffering, and martyrdom. So, when the terms 42 months, 1260 days, three and a half years, or times, times, and half a time appear, they refer to a period of intense hardship, internalization, like in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes. And I also believe there are passages where a precise three-and-a-half-year period is intended as well.
The material in chapter 11 mentions for the first time the beast, or the world power of the Antichrist figure heads. There will be much more to say about him in our next study. I believe the two witnesses here in Revelation who remind one of Moses and Elijah, who will be obvious to all when their time as the minister comes. I don’t think I need to comment on them now. The city where they will be martyred by the beast is Jerusalem, which is verse 8, where also their Lord was crucified. Now quickly I want to return to the final paragraph of Revelation chapter 9. It’s after the first six trumpets have been introduced.
God knows that it is characteristic of human beings to turn to Him when they’re in trouble, more so than when everything is going well. So, the Lord is not averse to sometimes using terrible calamity as a way of bringing about repentance. We often see Him doing this to Israel in the Old Testament, allowing pain and suffering to bring His wayward nation back to Himself.
So, in this text the first six trumpets have all been sounded, with each blast of a horn something truly dreadful has taken place. Well that is the context. Let me now read this brief concluding paragraph, Revelation 9:20,21. The rest of mankind that was not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the works of their hands. They did not stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, brown, stone, and wood, idols that cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality, or their thefts. The whole four results of repentance, well it doesn’t come about. Heartbreaking.
So very sorry Lord, it didn’t work. And what about us God? What do you expect of us if we are still alive? For any of us who are around during these dreadful times, I believe God expects us to still live in a manner consistent with what Jesus lived and taught and made possible for us through His death and resurrection. To live this way won’t always be easy, but neither will it be the first time in history when being a Christian made life more complicated and dangerous.
The truth be known, however, I’m not all that concerned about myself in these times. I’ve had decades to grow in my relationship with the Lord. What passages like this turn my heart to are the little ones in our extended family. Grandchildren, someday maybe great grandchildren, youngsters of years in children’s church programs, babies in our nurseries.
Fortunately, we have a marvelous way to protect them that the enemy can do little to stop. For example, during these advanced years of my life, I’m praying ahead for the little ones in my family. Children are not even teens yet. Some of them are babies conceived but not yet born. Every day, literally, I’m piling up prayers for them. I believe the prayers of God’s people are powerful. I’ve heard too many reports from adults who testify to the prayers of godly grandparents catching up with them and bringing them to the cross. That’s because God himself hears such prayers and pays attention to them. So to truly believe in the terrible days of the seven trumpets is to start praying forward for those you love.
That’s the thrust of my remarks in a sentence. It’s about learning to pray forward, to truly believe in the terrible days of the seven trumpets is to start praying forward for those you love. It’s seriously praying for beloved sons and daughters who will most likely survive you, who will inherit a world much more dangerous than the one in which we live most of our days, is to feel you have given these special people far more than just material benefits. You have consistently talked to God about their futures and about their need for a Christian input even when it’s not going to be easy to find. But God knows your concern and still has his remarkable ways of honoring such prayers. Do me a quick favor will you?
As I have to bring this time to a close, can you bring to mind the specific individuals you should be consistently praying ahead for? Can you picture them? Start to call them each by name in your head, get them there. And right now, just as a simple beginning, if I give you time, would you take time to silently pray for those whose faces you have just brought to mind? Say, Lord, I want to start praying regularly, praying ahead for these I love. Do it now. Please, let this sacred moment be a reminder to begin regularly. And I mean, if you can, daily, I do it twice a day. Never miss bringing these names of such loved ones before the Lord, these precious ones. And especially of those who will be the most vulnerable during the time of the seven trumpets. Believe me, it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
The End Times. I’m not sure where that phrase originated. Maybe it’s from a verse like Daniel 819. I’m going to tell you what will happen in the time of wrath because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. It’s like when people talk about the last days. Did that come from a passage like 2 Peter 3.3? You must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come. They’ll say, where is this coming from? He promised. But writes Peter, the day of the Lord will come. That’s another one, day of the Lord. One of those kinds of phrases that you see every so often. Well, that day of the Lord will come. Yes. And the seven trumpets reveal enough for us to be forewarned to some degree, even be prepared. Thank you, God. Thank you very much.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on Apple podcasts or on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2019 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Fox 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60189.
Get a copy of David Mains’ The Remarkable Revelation – Sermon Series.
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