Unveiling the Symbolism in Revelation

Chapter 8

By Ernie and Mary Kroeger

Chapter 8 is the beginning of the third part of this vision. Since this is a coded message, we have to break the code to understand it.

"When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." (v.1) We know that this does not refer to eternity or timelessness, because this is still happening in the realm of time: 30 minutes. In these visions, fractions represent a short period of time.

Paul tells us that we are seated with Christ "in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:6) This is where we are when God reigns in us. Now a hush comes over us! In God's presence the flesh is silent, for it has no place there. It is finished; it does not rail against the Spirit, for the flesh has been overcome! We are still, "and know that He is God!" We know that all His dealings with us are true and righteous, and His ways are far beyond our comprehension. The opening of this seal is to cause His children to experience Christ's perfect redemption.

In this silence we stand in awe at the greatness of our Lord. We worship God, and feel an inner excitement and anticipation of God's next move. In this complete peacefulness, we await God's next revelation.

"And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them." (v.2) As this vision continues, the seventh seal is broken, and each of the seven angels receives a trumpet - seven angels, seven trumpets. By now we know that seven is a spiritual number. It's the number of perfection.

To understand what the trumpets symbolize, we turn to the Old Testament. There we find the key that unlocks the trumpets for us. In the previous chapters we have already mentioned that the trumpet sounded at the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. (Ex. 19:16) It called all Israel to hear what God was saying. God's words to us are always important, for they are absolutes. His words are truth, and if we do not heed them, we will remain in the lies and deception of the carnal mind.

In Numbers 10:1-10 God instructed Moses about the use of trumpets. They were to be used for summoning the congregation, for sounding an alarm, for going to war, and for their appointed feasts to worship God! The reason: "that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies...and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the LORD your God." (vv.9b,10b) Similarly in Numbers 29:1, at the feast of the new year they were to blow the trumpets. They were called to repentance and worship by the sounding of trumpets.

In Joshua 6 the children of Israel were commanded to blow the trumpets before their invasion of the city of Jericho. God's miraculous deliverance of the Israelites out of the hand of Pharaoh proclaimed the message of God's power and strength to all the nations. Jericho had been confronted by this message these many years, and they had consistently rejected it. When the trumpets blew, it was a warning to all the inhabitants of Jericho that judgment was about to fall on them. Again the trumpets were associated with the importance of God's words! They are truth, and if we do not heed them, they will judge us.

In 1 Kings 1:34 the trumpet sounded when Solomon was crowned king! Only a few people could witness the actual coronation. To let everyone know that a king had been crowned, the trumpet was blown, and he was proclaimed king! Even though the people couldn't see the coronation, the sound of the trumpet informed them that the king had been crowned.

All these elements are present in the blowing of the trumpets. It is the proclamation of God's word to us! The completeness of the Holy Spirit comes to us in seven manifestations. Here the completeness of His message comes to us in the sounding of the seven trumpets. They do not trumpet an end-time message; they trumpet a life-changing message! God blows His trumpets throughout all time. He announces that the King has been crowned. This has happened in the invisible realm, and is now being revealed by the sounding of the trumpets! God calls everyone to repent of his wrong thinking. "Stop in your tracks - the Lamb has been crowned King! Repent of your disobedience, obey Him and come and worship Him!"

Hearing the word of God always produces a change in us! We cannot hear His word and remain in our old thinking. If we remain in our traditional thinking, we are not hearing His word. People do wrong things because their ideas are wrong. Once they change their way of thinking, their lives will change. Many Christians are faithful church-going people, yet they never change because they are not hearing any words from Christ! They may modify their behavior in the presence of other Christians, but return to their old behavior when they are off duty. They only receive the message of the Bible in condemnation. They do not receive life because they refuse to come to Christ. God's message to us is to come out of our carnal thinking, for that thinking is death. Internal change comes as we live out of the mind of Christ!

Humanity's rejection of the Lamb of God does not change God's plans. God sees the raging of the nations against Him, and laughs at the idea that man thinks he has power over Him! (Ps. 2) God has placed His Son on the throne, and it is in the best interest of every nation to come and submit to Him. Every area of rebellion within us has to come into submission to our King! In v.12 of this Psalm where it says, "Do homage to the Son," it literally says, "Kiss the Son". We are advised to make our peace with the Son - worship Him, acknowledge Him and agree with Him! It is to our advantage to repent of our rebellion and to come and worship the King!

"Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand." (vv.3-4) A censer is a container for holding incense. This messenger was holding a golden censer or a divine censer, and much incense was given to him. The incense was given for the purpose of being offered to God.

Everything God gives us is ours only in stewardship, and has to be offered back to God if He so directs. For example, Abraham was given the promise of a son. After Abraham had waited twenty-five years for the fulfillment of that promise, Isaac was born! What rejoicing took place! Then a day came when God asked Abraham to offer Isaac back to God. His only son, his promised son was to die! Abraham's obedience had God's promise as its foundation, and he believed that God would resurrect Isaac in order to keep His promise. In a similar way God may ask us to give the ministry He has given us, back to Him. We have to let it die. As we do that, it may look as though it is the end of our ministry. Even as Abraham believed God to raise Isaac from the dead, so we have to know that God is able to raise up the ministry He has given us to His greater glory.

The picture of the golden altar and the incense is taken from the service of the priests in the tabernacle of Moses. The golden altar, on which incense was burned, stood in front of the ark with the mercy seat and the cherubim, but it was separated from the ark by a veil. God dwelt in the midst of the Israelites in the holy of holies; this is where the ark and the mercy seat and the cherubim were, and they represented the throne of God. At the golden altar the priests would offer up prayers for the people. The burning of incense on the altar symbolized that these prayers were pleasing to God - they came with a sweet smell to His nostrils. God is pleased with intercessory prayer!

Here the prayers of all the saints (the royal priesthood) are on the altar. Just as Jesus intercedes for others, so we intercede for others. For those who are facing temptation, we pray that their faith will not fail; for those who hurt us, we pray, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do"; for the sick, we pray for healing; for the ignorant and deceived, we pray that they might receive truth; for the spiritually blind, we pray that their eyes may be opened; for those who are dead in their trespasses and sins, we pray that they may receive life, and for the saints we pray that they may mature and come into the fullness of the knowledge of His love! These prayers are pleasing to the Father! The rising smoke of the burning incense indicated that the prayers were going to the Father.

The incense came out of the angel's hand. Hands are busy doing things, so they represent or symbolize our ministry. A true ministry has its source in God - and our prayer ministry also has to have its source in God. Anything that does not have its source in God has its source in self. Many of our prayers begin with pleas for the preservation of self, because usually our first response to a given situation comes out of the carnal mind. It often takes time until we come into rest, and see that God's will for us is the best will!

Living in the heavenly realm means living under the direction of the mind of Christ! The new creation man is not the old Adam man. The new creation man is completely new and has the mind of Christ! To help us understand this better, let's look at the life of a caterpillar. Before the caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly, it has the mind of a caterpillar. It never entertains the possibility of flying; it is completely earthbound. After it is transformed into a butterfly, it has a new mind. It can now fly and live and move in a higher realm. Similarly, we receive a new mind when we are born again, and we can live and move in the heavenly realm. Our old mind kept us earthbound. The earthly realm is made of dust, and the serpent feeds on dust and infiltrates that mind with lies and deception. The mind of Christ is higher; it is pure and undefiled! The serpent is earthbound, and therefore cannot infiltrate that mind.

"Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake." (v.5)

Fire for every sacrifice had to come from the bronze altar. When the tabernacle was completed, and offerings were presented to the Lord, "fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar." (Lev. 9:24) This fire had been kindled in heaven; thus it was a divine fire. This fire was to be kept burning continually. "Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out." (Lev. 6:13)

The origin of this fire on the altar had nothing to do with man; it was completely from God. Fire that was started by man was called strange fire. If anyone offered with man-made fire, he was punished. Fire speaks of purification, and man is unable to purify himself. We cannot initiate our salvation; it is completely from God. There can be no mixture; self-effort cannot meet God's standard of purification. So we need to be refined or purified of all self-effort. What a hard lesson for us to learn! Man cannot save himself, neither can he purify himself.

This heavenly messenger takes the censer together with the prayers and incense, ignites the incense from the fire on the altar, and throws it to the earth. This results in peals of thunder, flashes of lightning and an earthquake! The prayers of saints are not in vain; they bring results!

Let's look at these results. Thunder and lightning are associated with the voice of God speaking to people. God's words to us always bring a challenge to change. Incorporated in change is repentance. We cannot change unless we repent of what we previously did. This change is to be embraced, for it is always for our good. However, humanity does not want to admit that it needs to change. It wants to be in charge; it loves its traditions and soulish pleasures! So God's words produce an earthquake in those who are living in their carnal thinking! For remember, the burning incense was thrown to the earth!

Have you ever had an upheaval in your thinking? We've had lots of them! It wasn't easy at the time, but how we thank God for them now! Our earth (carnal thinking) has to be shaken so we realize that it is not a safe place to rest. We need to live out of Christ's mind! To do that we have to ascend out of our old mind. This is our ascension into Christ!

"And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them." (v.6) What type of preparation would be needed to sound the trumpets? These angels are messengers who speak the life-giving word of God. They are God's people - a people who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, and in obedience proclaim what was given them. We know that there are consequences to each sound of the trumpet. Are we ready to accept the message, and change?

Moses needed many years of preparation before God called him to blow the trumpet in Egypt. His first attempt, through self-effort, was a dismal failure! What an earthquake with its many aftershocks that produced in him! God does not wave a magic wand over us before He sends us out to blow the trumpet. He takes us into His school and prepares us. Moses learned that God was able to do exactly what He purposed to do! He learned to follow directions - one step at a time!

Our training in obedience takes time. When God places a word within us, it remains in our spirit. The desire Moses had to liberate the Israelites came from God. It was there when he killed the Egyptian, but he had not yet learned to wait for God's direction and timing. There was so much to learn! It took another 40 years for this brilliant young man to be prepared to do the work that had been in his heart from early childhood! By the time God called him to blow the trumpet he was so disillusioned with self that he wanted someone else to do the work. But God had that work reserved for him! Moses learned to listen to God and to obey Him implicitly! We too have to become so disillusioned with self and self-effort, that we rely on God completely!

"And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees was burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up." (v.7)

This sounds pretty ominous, doesn't it? Here we see destruction. Let's look at this message and see what needs to be destroyed.

Hail comes as the result of the sounding of the first trumpet. Hail is frozen water, and water symbolizes a life-giving word. So hail represents a hard, life-giving word. Have you ever received a hard word that brought life-changing results because you suddenly saw that you couldn't follow a certain line of thinking any longer? Hail is not selective in what it falls on. It hits whatever is in its path.

This hard word comes in fire - the fire of the Holy Spirit. It is mixed with blood, and blood symbolizes the soul. These words are aimed at those soulish desires that look and feel good. The world says that if it looks good and feels good, do it, so it is very difficult for us to believe that something that looks good is not good. Carnal desires only feel good for the moment - then they leave us with an inner void. All desires that do not have their source in God have to be removed. Only the desires that come from the Father are acceptable! It's our natural thinking of spiritual realities that needs to be destroyed. The earth, the food that the serpent feeds on, represents our natural thinking. God's goal is to do away with that thinking, for it is always against the Spirit.

This hail does not destroy everything. Only a third of the earth, trees and grass was burned up. God does many things in threes. Light comes to us via the sun, moon and stars; the tabernacle had three parts, and there were three major feasts the Israelites were to celebrate. The three encompassed the whole.

"And a third of the trees was burnt up." The tree of the knowledge of good and evil tells us that trees typify the many philosophies of men. We know that this tree was rooted in disobedience, therefore any philosophy from this tree is deceptive; it is rooted in a lie. Wrong philosophies need to be burned up because they do not bring us life. The carnal mind says, "Choose the good from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and you'll make it into heaven. You can make yourself acceptable before God by choosing the good." God does not agree with that theory. He says it's a matter of life and death - not a matter of good and evil.. Good and evil are from the same forbidden tree of knowledge, so both are rooted in disobedience; both are in the death realm! To receive life we have to eat of the tree of life! There is no life in any other tree!

"And all the green grass was burnt up." Grass is equated with temporal things. Isaiah said, "All flesh is grass...surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." (Is. 40:6-8) Peter quoted from Isaiah when he said, "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever." (1 Pe. 1:24-25) All faith in temporal things has to be eradicated! All fleshly thinking has to be eliminated! We can rejoice that God is in the process of eliminating it in us!

"And 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 creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed." (vv.8-9) Here is an amazing thing! A burning mountain is cast into the sea! Instead of the sea quenching the fire, a third of the sea turns to blood. This unnatural phenomenon underlines the fact that this has to be seen symbolically.

Where do we find the key? Let's turn to Jeremiah 51:25-26. There it says, "`Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys the whole earth,' declares the LORD, `and I will stretch out My hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and I will make you a burnt out mountain. They will not take from you even a stone for a corner nor a stone for foundations, but you will be desolate forever,' declares the LORD."

That mountain is Babylon - the religious thinking of the carnal mind. It is not surprising that religious thinking is symbolized by a mountain, because it is so difficult to eradicate. In Mark 11:23 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him." Jesus was speaking of the religious thinking of the natural mind.

Religious thinking is an integral part of our natural thinking. It is a part of the world system, and consists of "All that is of the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life." These things do not come from the Father. To get rid of it requires a faith that leaves no room for doubt. This faith is not a faith in faith, but a faith that is based on the very essence of God and His power to accomplish His will! He tells us that those who are born of the Spirit are a new creation. God has promised that we will be conformed into Christ's image. Functioning in the mind of Christ destroys the power the carnal mind has wielded over us.

"And a third of the sea became blood." The sea symbolizes humanity. The troubled sea symbolizes lost humanity, and the sea of glass symbolizes a new transparent humanity that is at peace with God. When God's people cast off all carnal thinking, it will affect the rest of humanity! "So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him." (Mal. 3:18) Unless Christians cast off their carnal thinking, there is no obvious difference between them and the world. When Christians live out of the mind of Christ it changes their attitude and their behavior. This infuriates some people and astonishes others!

All of us have to put off our old thinking and be "renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created Him." (Col. 3:10). After we become Christians, our old thinking remains alongside our new thinking. The mind still needs to be renewed or transformed to receive Christ's thinking. We're all familiar with the old saying, "He's out of the army, but the army isn't out of him." We're not of this world, but not all of the worldly thinking is out of us.

"And a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died." The Greek word PSUCHE that is used here, should read soul (not life). The blood represents the soul, for the soul is in the blood; life is in the Spirit. Lev. 17:11 says that life is in the blood, but the correct translation reads, "the soul is in the blood". Our soulish thinking has to die. This fire does away with a third of our old thinking - the thinking that has its roots in the systems of this world. Life is in the Spirit, and Jesus Christ is that life-giving Spirit. In order to come into life we have to come out of our carnal thinking, and receive Christ's mind and His thinking. We still need more processing, but don't worry, more angels and woes are coming.

"And a third of the ships were destroyed." Ships are used in the world system of commerce, so they symbolize the things that are of great importance to us because they bring us wealth, honor and prestige. A third part of them is demolished. When God begins to speak into our life, our interest in material advantages is taken away, and new interests take their place. We no longer enjoy the things we used to enjoy!

"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 waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter." (v.10-11) Notice that the star does not fall on all the rivers - only on one-third.

Stars bring light in the darkness of the night. We know that Jesus Christ is the Morning Star. He brings light and understanding into the darkness of our soul. But the star mentioned here is Wormwood, and it means bitter. Jeremiah said that the false prophets would be fed wormwood and made to drink poisonous water because they taught peace and prosperity when God called for repentance. Their teachings were false.

The star, called Wormwood, fell on the rivers and springs. Wormwood represents the philosophies that are formed in the carnal mind. These philosophies are poisonous, for they do not bring life. Ideas from the pit infiltrate all the philosophy that comes from the minds of men. These ideas may be clothed with beautiful words that appeal to man's vanity and independence, but they are still poisonous. Beautiful descriptive words cannot neutralize or counteract the poison. Just look at the magazines and novels displayed in bookstores and grocery stores, at the advertisements of movies, the lyrics of songs, etc., and you see that the waters that feed the souls of men consist of wormwood. They are bitter and deadly poisonous.

The water Christ gives us is not poisonous; it is living water! To the Samaritan woman Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." (Jn. 4:14) Obviously He was talking about something that she understood. Water quenches our thirst. We need to drink where our spirit is satisfied. The water Christ gives us is life-giving, and it symbolizes truth; poisonous water brings death, and it symbolizes the philosophies of men. Only truth can show us the error of our thinking!

Christ's coming to earth was a bitter experience for Him because He had to leave the glory that He had with His Father, and experience rejection, loneliness and a cruel death on the cross. The bitter herbs that accompanied the Passover meal symbolized this. He came to bring us grace and truth! Truth reveals the wormwood that is always inherent in the philosophies of men. Truth is light, and it exposes the false.

When people recognize the truth and then reject it, they plunge into greater darkness. World systems don't collapse by accident. All the filthy, putrid streams that flow into the minds of men do not come by accident - they come by rejecting truth. Those who reject truth are rejecting God. So God allows them to have what they crave, and their waters are made putrid and poisonous.

This is the worst judgment that can come to anyone, but it does not mean that God is casting them off forever. He wants them to see that their cravings do not bring peace and satisfaction. Once they recognize their need, they will be willing to come to the knowledge of the truth!

This star "was burning as a torch". The light of a torch is very limited, so we know that the scope of this fire was limited. When God sends a fire, His purpose is to purify, yet here it brings bitterness. Therefore we see that bitterness is the processing that leads to purification. It is because God wants people to realize that drinking from the philosophies of men can never bring life. God wants people to wake up to their true need so they can be cleansed from their wrong thinking.

The fire of God always purifies. The mind of Christ purifies us and does away with the lies that bring us into depression and death. It does away with the lie that God is out to punish us, and that His judgments are there to give vent to His great wrath, etc. How can God burn the greater percentage of all people for all eternity, yet be the Savior of the whole world? All of God's judgments are redemptive! It makes a big difference whether we receive His word in life or in condemnation! God wants everyone to accept His great salvation! The fire of God purifies our thinking so it comes into life, and becomes a spring of living water. It also purifies our ministry so it becomes a river without any wormwood in it.

We need to differentiate between bitterness that is poisonous, and bitterness that describes a difficult experience. The acceptance of truth can be a bitter experience for us. When truth is presented to us, our initial reaction may be one of anger. When we were first shown from the scriptures that Christ's obedience is greater than Adam's disobedience, we were filled with anger. We wanted to hold onto our old thinking and traditions. But the Holy Spirit kept on leading us into truth! The joy and freedom the acceptance of truth brings, is worth more than all the rejection and persecution we receive from people when we depart from our traditions. When we proclaim truth, we too will be rejected even as Christ was.

"The fourth angel sounded, and a third part of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way." (v.12)

If we go back to Joseph's dream in Genesis 37, we notice that the sun, moon and stars bowed down to him. Jacob immediately interpreted this correctly by saying, "Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?" In Joseph's dream they symbolized the entire family  the progenitors of Israel. The sun, moon and stars comprise the complete unit of natural light.

Light symbolizes understanding. Natural light comes from the sun, moon and stars. So here the natural understanding is darkened - not all of it, just one third. Darkness produces confusion - men can no longer see where they are going. This confusion comes from God. He wants people to realize the situation they are in. From our perspective, we wonder why people don't stop and realize the foolishness of their thinking. We wonder at the senseless philosophies that pour out of the mouths of leaders and of the educated. "Professing to be wise, they became fools." (Rom. 1:22) We all need the light of Jesus Christ to enlighten us! Without His light, our natural understanding is darkened.

Notice that each sound of the trumpet was directed at something that supports life. Man's life-support has to be taken away so that he sees his need of God. The plagues that came upon Egypt were directed at their life-support system. They depended on the Nile River, and God took their source of life, and turned it into death. That was the first plague that God sent them. Life had been smitten with God's plagues. God smote the dust of the earth - the very earth on which they walked. He also called forth the locusts, and they ate up all that was green, and the Egyptians were left destitute. God was meeting them exactly where they had their sustenance of life.

"Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven" (actually, in the midst of heaven), "saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" (v.13)

John saw and heard an eagle flying in the midst of heaven. Where is heaven? Is it a place "somewhere beyond the blue"? Since God dwells in heaven and He dwells in us, heaven must be within us. Heaven is the place where God rules, and He rules us from within! This eagle is not a big bird calling out to us. We must remember Christ is pictured as the eagle in the Gospel of John. So this is the voice of the Spirit calling out woes to those who dwell on the earth  to those who dwell in the natural mind.

Three is the number of divine fullness, and to say something three times is to give it the greatest possible emphasis. Here woe is emphasized. Webster defines woe as, "great sorrow, grief and trouble." These woes are directed at those who live according to their natural thinking. They are the ones who dwell on the earth, i.e., in their carnal mind. The carnal mind is infected by the serpent's mind. In fact, when Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, he received the mind that is against the Spirit. Our dwelling place is a place of permanency. The woes are not directed at those who slip back into wrong thinking occasionally, but at those who dwell there.

We need to ascend out of that mind! This is only possible if we receive the mind of Christ! Christ had a mind that was rooted in faith! He looked beyond the visible realm and saw the invisible realm, and believed the invisible to be the reality! This is faith! We too need to see the Father who dwells in the invisible realm, and recognize that He alone has power and authority! He has given Christ a name that is above every other name! When we live out of the mind of Christ, we are living above the woes. The woes are directed toward those who are feeding on their own philosophies.

People can become Christians, yet remain in their natural concepts of spiritual realities. God is calling us out of that realm. The fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets are woes that facilitate this process by helping us to recognize our need.

Those who are seated with Christ in heavenly places are living above the thinking of the carnal earthy mind. They have come out of their carnality - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. They are living out of the mind of Christ - they are overcomers! It is wonderful to know that the fiery darts of the enemy cannot penetrate the mind of Christ, for it only receives truth!

The carnal mind cannot understand God's dealings with us! It always interprets every setback and difficulty as coming from Satan. It cannot perceive God's sovereignty, and that all trials and temptations are controlled by our heavenly Father. He has promised that no matter how great the temptation is, it will never supercede His faithfulness and grace! "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13)

Just as Christ's sufferings had purpose, so our sufferings have purpose! Our Father has purposed that we will be conformed to Christ's image! This is the highest objective possible! Let's keep this in mind as we look at the remaining trumpet messages, and remember that God does not destroy anything that is worth keeping!

God's judgments against Egypt were to bring the Egyptians out of their idolatry. With each judgment He was showing them that He was greater than their gods. Each judgment was a trumpet of mercy - it was a call to repentance. But very few received the message, so they did not turn to serve the living God! Even the Israelites forgot so quickly, and murmured against God in the desert whenever they were deprived of their sustenance and suffered hunger, thirst, etc. We need so many reminders and experiences to rid us of our carnal thinking!

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