Divine Devastation

Revelation 8 is one of my least favorite chapters in the New Testament. This chapter chronicles four of the devastating “trumpet” judgments that fall upon the earth. The devastation that is leashed upon the earth is horrific. First, the trees and vegetation are destroyed, then the seas are struck and a third of the living creatures in the sea die. Then the third trumpet sounds the devastation of one third of the world’s fresh water supply. Trumpet number four sounds devastation on the sun, moon and stars. But perhaps the worst of all is the pronouncement of the angel near the end of the chapter who announces that the remaining three trumpet blasts will signify judgments that are even worse. What do we make of all this? Some dismiss it altogether as allegory, as a way for the persecuted Christians to see that the Roman authorities will “get theirs” in the end. I understand their point but I’m not convinced…after all why would John not simply have written that. I am of the opinion that these trumpet judgments are real judgments that will strike the earth and the inhabitants of the earth. I don’t know if the literal “third” of everything is destroyed; but I think the devastation will be horrific.

The New Testament describes this kind of judgment in other places, not just Revelation. It seems that God’s wrath will be poured out on sin and sinners; and I think this devastation is intended to warn us and to drive us to Jesus. If you don’t think God is capable of this kind of divine devastation, I think you’re gravely mistaken. This chapter is one of my least favorite because judgments like this are not what I want to read. I have no desire for unrepentant sinners to “get theirs”. I hope you feel the same way and I hope you are sharing the good news of salvation in Christ.

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