Revival starts with me – The last word on prayer

Revival starts with me – The last word on prayer

The last word on Prayer

Revelation 8 and 9

Revival starts with us

With Peter Veysie

George Methodist Church

8am and 10am

Key verse Revelation 8:3 -4

Sunday 26th May 2019

 

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s prayer in parliament.

 

Introduction

 

I am sure that all of us have a prayer life but it might be the one thing that you really struggle with.

It’s always difficult to tell whether your prayers have really made a difference but we know that the testimonies that we hear or have given come out of prayers that have been answered. It would be a wonderful morning to be able to sit here and share prayers and share about those that have been answered. Maybe in your small groups this week you can share some testimonies.

 

  1. Silence in heaven for half an hour and then the trumpets blow Rev 8:1

 

When the seventh seal is opened there is half an hour of silence!!!!

Just to remind you of the last six – white (deception), red (War), black (famine and economic challenges) and pale horses (sickness and death), martyrs, natural disasters and then worship of 144000 (representing the Jews) and many from every tribe tongue and nations (the gentiles). I don’t know about you, but for me a time of silence can be quite difficult and challenging, but we need to realise that in this vision there is clearly something powerful about to happen.

7 angels and 7 trumpets are blown and they who are listening, in the seven churches, are taken right to the place that they recognise and know:

Jericho- trumpets were used for calling the people of Israel together in Numbers 10:1-2, calling the people to war in Numbers 10:9 on the days of the feast and the days of joy in Numbers 10:10 in remembrance of God’s power and presence. The day of Atonement Lev 25:8 – 9. The year of jubilee Luke 4:18 -19 and Isaiah 61: 1-10 (this one is on my heart for this year 2019). In the New Testament the second coming of Christ! 1Thess 4:16 and Isaiah 27:13.

 

  1. The power of prayers offered.

 

The picture in Rev 8:3 is that the prayers of the Saints are mixed with a lot of incense and combined with the fire of God’s Spirit from the altar and they were hurled down onto the earth.

This is a powerful picture of the power of prayer. God works with us and so it is vital that we understand the importance of our prayers. Paul got this in Romans 8:26 and 27 where it says: In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Eugene Peterson says “Prayer reenters history with incalculable effects. Our earth is shaken daily by it.” Your prayers make a difference and don’t ever underestimate the power of God through them. We attend to the very business of God when we pray.

 

  1. The trumpets

 

Seven trumpets are now referred to and as much as the trumpets of old, ushered in God’s power and goodness, we now see these trumpets declaring the wrath of God on the earth and those who have not turned their hearts away from evil. Please note that the Lord deals with these things and does not call us to violent war or uprising.

Many of these pictures given to John to see and write down were connected to the plagues that they had experienced in Egypt and speak out against the powers of this world. God does not run a blind eye on evil but rather holds us accountable for the things that are wrong. We serve a loving God but also a God who does not entertain evil and deals with it quite severely. We need to know that we always have the power to turn things around through both our prayers and our actions.

 

Galatians 6:9, NIV: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

 

The first four trumpets.

 

  1. (Rev 8:7) The first trumpet brings a plague on vegetation.

 

The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

  1. Hail and fire followed, mingled with blood: Blood may indicate the color or the result of the phenomenon described here. We don’t know if the hail and fire was red in color or if it brought forth red blood, but one way or another this should be understood straightforwardly, without escaping into a creative symbolism.
  2. “Many eminent men suppose that the irruption of the barbarous nations of the Roman empire is here intended. It is easy to find coincidences when fancy runs riot.” (Clarke)
  3. “The truth is, if earth, trees, and grass do not mean earth, trees, and grass, no man can tell what they mean. Letting go the literal signification of the record, we launch out upon an endless sea of sheer conjecture.” (Seiss) We need to be very aware of the threat on our natural vegetation right now and as much as we are surrounded by beauty and greenery in George, many parts of the world do not look like this.
  4. A third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up: Because of this hail and fire, trees and grass are destroyed – one-third of the vegetation of the planet is burned up during the great tribulation.

 

  1. (Rev 8:8-9) The second trumpet brings a plague on the sea.

 

Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

  1. Something like a great mountain: John carefully said that this is not an actual mountain (note the use of like), but it was a blazing mass as large as a mountain.
  2. A third of the sea became blood: This disaster is a cataclysm, perhaps a meteor that crashes into the sea and results in great oceanic upheaval with residual pollution. Researchers today say that this sort of phenomenon has happened before in the history of the earth, sometimes resulting in great ecological upheaval and disaster. Here, the result is that a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The blood may be either the cause or the effect of the widespread death in the oceans of the world.
  3. The sea may be a specific reference to the Mediterranean and not a reference to all oceans. In the world of the Apostle John, the Mediterranean Sea was the sea and they really had little knowledge of other oceans.
  4. Like a great mountain: It is common to take this great mountain as a symbol for a nation that will be judged. It is true that mountains are sometimes used as figures of governments or nations (Jeremiah 51:25, 51:27, 51:30). But in this context, the symbol doesn’t make sense. What does it mean that the great mountain is burning with fire? What does it mean that it was thrown into the sea? What does the sea symbolize? Who are the living creatures in the sea? What are the ships on the sea? What is their destruction a symbol of? All these questions make us say that the best solution is to see this as some literal mass of land with probably something like a meteor or asteroid falling into the sea and bringing ecological disaster.

 

We need to be aware that our oceans are under threat right now and that we are the custodians of the earth and all that is in it. Global warming is causing the oceans to rise by 98cm in the next ten years!!! Plastic is a huge issue in our seas and pollution continues to cause destruction to the reefs in the oceans around the world. Overfishing and also cities that allow raw sewerage straight into the sea!!!

 

 

  1. (Rev 8:10-11) The third trumpet brings a plague on fresh waters.

 

Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.

A great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch: We may easily associate this with a comet or meteor crashing into the earth and bringing ecological disaster. But God may have something else in mind. The name of the star is Wormwood: Wormwood is a very bitter substance, and proverbial for bitterness and sadness.

A third of the rivers… a third of the waters: The proportion of ecological disaster stays the same. In each one of the trumpets, a third of an ecological system is destroyed in judgment. We know how precious our water systems are and we also know that almost 40% of the earth’s population (two billion – 2000000000000) do not have access to fresh water daily.

 

  1. (Rev 8:7) The first trumpet brings a plague on vegetation.

 

  1. (Rev 8:8-9) The second trumpet brings a plague on the sea.

 

  1. (Rev 8:10-11) The third trumpet brings a plague on fresh waters.

 

  1. (Rev 8:12-13) The fourth trumpet brings a plague on the heavens, and darkness on the earth.

 

Observations on the first four trumpets.

We can so easily tune out our brains to the things we do not want to hear and as we hear the things going on, on our earth right now lets us fervently pray and become active in doing things to turn it around – 1 million creatures on the extinction list, a 98 cm rise in the ocean over the next 10 years, rivers made foul, injustices still being practised etc…

 

We have come to see these aspects of the created order as impersonal, perpetual forces. During the great tribulation, God proclaims His Lordship through their agonizing disruption.

 

We know the great humility that comes upon men and woman in the middle of something like an earthquake, because they know that “nature” is not as reliable as they had thought. With these four trumpets, that effect will be multiplied greatly.

 

The first four trumpets also reveal the mercy of God as these are partial judgments striking only one-third, and are meant to warn and lead a rebellious world to repentance before the final curtain.

 

An eagle then cries out in the vision of John and calls the earth 8:13 Woe woe woe to the inhabitants of the earth because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels.

 

 

The last three trumpets I will briefly deal with next week as we ran out of time this last Sunday.

 

The fifth trumpet: an army of destruction – Locusts in line with the book of Joel.

 

(Rev 9:13) A voice from the altar.

Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

  1. I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar: In the tabernacle and temple of Israel, the golden altar was the altar of incense, which was a representation of the prayers of God’s people.
  2. The four horns of the golden altar: These stood at each corner of the altar. Atoning blood was applied to the horns. From these horns, John heard a voice. In this, John recalled a repeated theme: the prayers of God’s people play a large role in the end-times drama.
  3. (Rev 9:14-15) The angels and their mission.

Saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.

  1. Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates: These four angels have no necessary connection with the four angels of Revelation 7:1. They may be the same four angels or they may not be. Whoever they are, they are prepared for the hour and day and month and year of the unleashing of this judgment. They were released to kill a third of humankind: The demonic locusts described earlier in the chapter were restricted to tormenting mankind. But these four angels have the authority to kill on a massive scale.

The great river Euphrates: These angels were connected with the Euphrates River because the Euphrates was a landmark of ancient Babylon. It was the frontier of Israel’s land as fully promised by God (Genesis 15:17-21). It was also the boundary of the old Roman Empire, which will be revived under the Antichrist.

The Euphrates is also associated with the first sin (Genesis 2:10-14), the first murder (Genesis 4:16), the first organized revolt against God (Genesis 11:1-9), the first war confederation (Genesis 14:1), and the first dictatorship (Genesis 10:8-10).

  1. (Rev 9:16-19) Description of the army led by these angels.

Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed; by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. The number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million: Is this number literal or symbolic? “It is possible that the number is not to be taken literally, but simply suggests an army that is impossible to count and is greater than anything mankind has ever seen.” (Hocking) (Rev 9:20-21) The response of humankind.

But the rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

It is amazing to see how quickly things return to what is thought to be normal after some calamity such as an earthquake. We are quick to forget God’s lessons, even the lessons that come in judgment.

 

Conclusion

 

A praying church is all that the Lord requires. We will see many things happening in our world which the Lord warns us about with a loud blast of seven trumpets. Let’s begin to understand the power of our prayers to be poured out onto the earth. Let us be the custodians of good and not evil and find ourselves in spaces that when we see these things happening, we will all the more fervently follow Jesus.

The church that Jesus prayed for – Michael Cassidy

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