Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We come in this message to 8:1-12. In this chapter we have the opening of the seventh seal (vv. 1-2), the scene in heaven after the opening of the seventh seal (vv. 3-5), and the sounding of the first four trumpets (vv. 6-12).
The seventh seal, which will begin before the great tribulation, consists of the seven trumpets, for the seven trumpets are the content of the seventh seal. If we would understand the prophecy of this book, we must realize that the secret of God’s economy is sealed with seven seals. As we have pointed out, the scroll in chapter five is the new testament enacted by Christ with His precious blood. This new testament is the scroll of God’s economy sealed with seven seals which are the contents of the scroll. We have seen that the first four seals are not consecutive but simultaneous and that the fifth and sixth seals are consecutive. The seventh seal includes everything from after the sixth seal to eternity future. Thus, the seventh seal, consisting of the seven trumpets, is all-inclusive. As we shall see, the seven bowls are a part of the seventh trumpet. The seventh seal consists of the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet consists, in part, of the seven bowls. Both the seventh seal and the seven trumpets run to eternity. The seventh trumpet will close this age and usher in the kingdom, the new heaven, and the new earth.
Some may have the concept that the seven trumpets follow the seven seals and that the seven bowls succeed the seven trumpets. This concept is natural. In understanding the Word, we should have no trust in our natural concepts. Rather, we must forsake them and come to the Lord, saying, “Lord, show us Your way.” Since 1933, I have been helped by Brother Nee’s study on the book of Revelation. Due to the natural concept which was deeply embedded in my thinking, I believed that the seven trumpets were the continuation of the seven seals and that the seven bowls followed the seven trumpets. This concept constantly troubled me. I studied and studied until one day the light came and I saw that the seventh seal contains the seven trumpets. The seven trumpets are the equivalent of the seventh seal. They actually are the seventh seal. The content of the first four seals is the four horses, the content of the fifth seal is the cry of the martyred saints, the content of the sixth seal is God’s answer to the cry of the martyred saints, and a warning to the dwellers on the earth, and the content of the seventh seal is the seven trumpets.
Like the first four seals, the first four trumpets, which are not yet the direct judgment on men, form one group. The first trumpet consists of a judgment on the earth with the trees and all the grass, as occurred in Egypt (Exo. 9:18-25); the second, a judgment on the sea with the living creatures and ships; the third, a judgment on the rivers and springs of waters, as occurred in Egypt (Exo. 7:17-21); the fourth, a judgment on the sun, the moon, and the stars, to darken them, as also occurred in Egypt (Exo. 10:21-23). By the judgments of these four trumpets, the third part of the earth, the sea, the rivers, and the hosts in the heavens are damaged, thus causing them to be no longer good for man’s living. Before the seven trumpets, there will already have been a judgment on the earth and on the hosts of the heavens at the sixth seal (6:12-14). The extent of the damage of that judgment will not be as definite as the damage of the first four trumpets. At the fifth trumpet Satan and Antichrist will collaborate to torment men; at the sixth trumpet there will be a further judgment on men as the two hundred million cavalry kill the third part of men; and at the seventh trumpet there will be many things—the eternal kingdom of Christ, the third woe comprising the seven bowls, the judgment of the dead, the giving of reward to the prophets, to the saints, and to the Godfearing people, and the destruction of the destroyers of the earth. At the seventh trumpet, there will be further judgments on the earth, the sea, the rivers, and the sun through the seven bowls (16:1-21). These will be the most severe judgments of God upon the earth and heaven.
We must forsake the concept that the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls are consecutive. No, to repeat, the seven trumpets are the content of the seventh seal, and the seven bowls are a part of the seventh trumpet. This is the key to understanding the prophecy of this book. Only God could have written the book of Revelation because only He has the wisdom to compose it in such a marvelous way. Who else has the wisdom to write a book with such signs and symbols as that of the four horses which fully cover the history of the past twenty centuries? That the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls are not consecutive reveals God’s wisdom in writing this book. If we do not have the light to see this arrangement, although we may read Revelation again and again, we shall still be confused.
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