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The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer (v. 1-5)
The lamb broke the 7th seal and there was silence in heaven for a half hour.
Seems like this half hour of silence has some significance, but I can only guess at what it is...so I will. Maybe it is that everyone stops everything to watch to see what will happen, like a moment where everyone is fixated on a single thing and the room is silent, except this is such a huge event that moment drags out...for a half hour. Another guess, it is like a moment of silence when someone dies, except it is the whole world, so it stretches out way longer than normal.
I did pretty good on this one, Guzik seems to agree with my guesses. (And again, I'll use him as a source for the Christian commentary today unless otherwise stated)
Then seven angels are given trumpets, and another angel is given a censer. They burn a bunch of incense on a golden altar in front of the throne, and put fire in the censer and throw it down at the earth. It causes thunder, lightning and earthquakes.
The Seven Trumpets (v. 6-13)
The first angel blows his trumpet, hail and fire were mixed with blood and thrown upon the earth. A third of the earth and a third of the trees were burned up. All grass was burned up.
The second angel blows his trumpet and something like a great mountain on fire fell into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the sea creatures died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
I find the phrase "something like a great mountain" very interesting. It would seem to indicate that John is describing something that he can best identify as a mountain, but he knows is not actually a mountain. It seems to me to indicate to me that he is trying to be as accurate as possible, so if you ever want to argue that when he says X it was really Y, you have to be arguing that he was wrong, and thought it was really X. For example, when he says that a star fell from the sky, you can safely argue that he thought it was a star but it was really an asteroid. When he says he saw a creature with six wings, I would argue he's telling us what he thinks he saw.
The third angel blows his trumpet and a great star (named wormwood) fell from heaven blazing like a torch. It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. A third of the water became wormwood and people died from the water because it was bitter.
Isn't wormwood what absinthe is made of? That stuff makes you hallucinate. Maybe that explains this whole thing.
The fourth angel blows his trumpet and a third of the sun, moon, and stars were struck so that a third of their light would be darkened. So a third of the day and a third of the night would be kept from shining.
How the hell do you darken a third of the sun?
Then John looked overhead and saw an eagle crying woe to people on the earth.
Wait, so eagles can talk? Also, they can fly above heaven?
What did we learn today?
I usually use this space to isolate verses which I will put in the overview, but today I pretty much just want to reference the entire reading. God is a violent monster. He's raining destruction down on people on such a massive scale it is hard to imagine. How anyone can call him a loving God is beyond me. I suppose if people can spin noah's flood to be a good thing they will be able to do the same here, but I just don't see it.