The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Ps. 24:1 NIV)
Jesus opens the seventh seal. Ominous silence fills heaven. Seals reveal mysteries and this may be the greatest mystery. Seven angels stand with seven trumpets. An angel adds incense to believers’ prayers in a golden censer, a beautiful container which spreads the heavy smell of the incense throughout the space. Earlier, we saw these precious prayers collected. Now, the angel dumps the prayer-filled fire on earth.
Four trumpets signal destruction of a third of all vegetation, sea life, fresh water life and the atmosphere. The fifth and sixth trumpets warn that at the end demonic forces are briefly freed from the abyss. They are aptly symbolized by bizarre locusts and horses. These are not modern war machines (Locusts are dangerous enough—when a swarm of locusts 100 feet deep and four miles long sweeps though Africa, not a bit of green is left!). A third of all people will die (9:15)! This destruction is great, but only partial. However, shockingly, survivors do not repent. People are “the destroyers of the earth” (11:18). God allows the whole earth to suffer the consequences of our sin.
This is, again, a terrifying image of judgement and loss. So, in this moment, turn with me to Psalm 24. This earth is the Lord’s. God made this world, and he loves it, and all who live in it. You can trust in his love and care, even as you anticipate hard times. —Ruth Siemens
As you pray, confess your fears and pray for wisdom and trust for the future.