Hail, Fire, & Blood - Burnt Up Grass & Trees
With the broader picture understood, our study must narrow. This brings us to the sounding of the 1st trumpet, which is directly after the casting of hot coals (Rev. 8:2-6), and the question is, yet again: how shall we interpret the “hail and fire mingled with blood” that was “cast upon the earth” so that “the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Rev. 8:7)? First, let’s consider the entities that are destroyed: trees & grass. Second, let’s consider the entities that are destroying: hail, fire, & blood.
Seeing that the strictly spiritual use of the prophetic term, “green thing” (pertaining to grass, trees, and the like in Rev. 9:4), was already used to exclude the righteous from suffering under the celestial operation at hand in the 5th and 6th trumpets, how shall we ascertain who or what is burning up when the 1st trumpet prophecy speaks of “trees” and “all green grass” (Rev. 8:7)? Let the divine tutorial of a pastime Tribulation give the answer, my reader. For, just as the terms “green tree” and “dry tree”, in Ezekiel 20:47, do not contradict the use of the terms “green tree” and “dry tree” in Ezekiel 17:24 and other like passages (Ezek. 19:10-14, 31:4-10, 15-18); even so, the use of the term “green thing” in reference to trees and grass, in Revelation 9:4, does not contradict the use of the terms “green grass” and “trees” in Revelation 8:7. The old time Prophets analogously employed the livelihood, health, and stature of trees to represent the carnal prosperity of differing kingdoms on earth (Ezek. 17:24, 19:10-14, 31:4-10, 15-18, Zech. 11:1, Isa. 10:16-19). This is a categorically different employment of terms from that which was strictly spiritual in Ezek. 20:47 & Rev. 9:4. As a poignant example of this, consider the following verses side by side being written in full:
“And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.” – Ezek. 17:24
“And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.” – Ezek. 20:47
Evidently, we need to be prepared for categorically different definitions of the same analogous terms. Right? Even so, harmoniously, we observe Revelation 8:7 in comparison to Revelation 9:4 just like we observe Ezekiel 17:24 in comparison to Ezekiel 20:47. When God said that “all the trees of the field shall know…”, in Ezekiel 17:24, he meant that all the kingdoms of the earth or surrounding area shall know. When God said that He would bring down the high tree and exalt the low tree in Ezekiel 17:24, or, in other words (speaking in terms of Ezek. 20:47 & Rev. 9:4), when God said that He would dry up the green tree and make green and flourishing the dry tree, we can be sure that the LORD wasn’t affirming that He would make wicked the righteous (make dry the green) and make righteous the wicked (make green the dry). Contextually, the meaning is obvious: Ezekiel 17:24, 19:10-14, 31:4-10, 15-18 speak in reference to the carnal prosperity of kingdoms on the earth, whether they be wicked or righteous (completely irrelevant to their spiritual status). I propose, therefore, that this is the intent, purpose, and usage of the analogy presented in Revelation 8:7.
“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” – Rev. 8:7
God is minded to prophesy to entire kingdoms whose collective enormity stands as mere trees of a Garden (“the Garden of God” – Ezek. 31:8) – to one tree the Gardener speaks prosperity and to the other tree burning. Every kingdom of the earth is subject to the hands of the Gardener! On this wise, God said to Egypt, “I will set fire in Egypt” (Ezek. 30:16), and to Pathros, Zoan, and No, “I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No” (Ezek. 30:14). This can tell us something of what it would mean for “the third part of trees” to be “burnt up” in Revelation 8:7, no doubt, but what about the hail? What about the mingled blood? These three fell from heaven to earth together: hail, fire, & blood. Graciously, the divine tutorial of old is much more exact in its terms to the perfection of harmony. Unto the antichrist kingdom, Magog, it was written:
“And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” – Ezek. 38:22
Here we see it – the perfection of harmony! It is well-nigh the exact same rendering of prophetic analogies, right? Hail and fire are raining down as God pleads against the kingdom with blood. Here we observe the act, “I will plead against him…with blood” (Ezek. 38:22), but there are manifold acts that can be termed as divine pleading with blood: God can “send…blood into her streets” (Ezek. 28:23), as the LORD did to Zidon; God can “water with…blood” the “Land”, “Mountains”, and “Rivers”, even until the Rivers are full of blood (Ezek. 32:6), as the LORD did to Pharoah’s Egypt; God can “prepare [Lands and peoples] unto blood” insomuch that, God said, “blood shall pursue thee” (Ezek. 35:6), as the LORD did unto Mount Seir; God can “pour out [His] fury upon [Lands] in blood, to cut off from it man and beast” (Ezek. 14:19), as the LORD hypothetically spoke of the Land of Judah; and God can and will melt Mountains and soak Lands with blood until the dust thereof is “made fat with fatness” (Isa. 34:1-8), as the LORD said He will do unto antichrist armies at the 2nd Advent of Christ. Also, in concert with this (speaking analogously), God can furiously and angrily bring forth “an overflowing shower” with “great hailstones” to the rending, breaking, and consummation of City walls and defensive structures (Ezek. 13:11-14), as the LORD spoke that He would do to Jerusalem. Keep in mind that all of this is metaphorical and analogous (in greater and lesser degrees), except that which will befall the Land of Magog and the antichrist armies of the latter days (Ezek. 38:22, Isa. 34:1-8). However, we cannot exclude any double-sensed or triple-sensed fulfillments of regional judgments (upon Edom, for example) that are largely metaphorical, historically speaking, and more so literal during the 2nd Advent War of Christ to wit the terms, after all, were finally meant to climax in a non-metaphorical and non-analogous manner.
“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is the LORD of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” – Isa. 6:3
As the ages rolled onward and the historical fulfillments were executed (and meanwhile the 2nd Advent War remained largely unknown until the apostle John clarified things in the Book of Revelation), the Lord made a name for Himself: the LORD of Hosts. My reader, for good reason the tribulation prophets addressed God by the name, the LORD of Hosts, rather than other titles that were due representations of His glory in the earth. This is because, during the Tribulation Periods, God was exercising control over heathen armies to bring punishment upon His people, the Jews. In this very specific way the God of Israel was and is, the Lord of Armies! In other words, all armies of all peoples serve God’s purposes for God’s glory, however much God pleases! Of course, this is clearly demonstrated in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel and in other cyclical tribulations thereafter. In fact, the Lord of Hosts is used 80 times in Jeremiah and 50 times in Zechariah!
In speaking of the original, single-sensed, metaphorically enriched, historical fulfillments of the aforementioned prophecies to national territories during the 1st Tribulation Period, the interpretations are consistent one with another. When God sent blood to Zidon it meant widespread death and bloody streets (as a result of men bleeding out in the streets), which is a natural consequence of war and the associated pestilences therewith (Ezek. 28:23). When God watered the Land, Rivers, and Mountains of Egypt with blood it meant the same thing but only this time the actual army the LORD would use to do this was named several times: the Babylonian Army (Ezek. 32:6, 11, 29:20, 30:24). No doubt the same thing is to be reckoned when blood pursued Mount Seir (Ezek. 14:19); for, it was written, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man” (Gen. 9:6). Simply put, my reader, be sure of this: you don’t want blood crying out for your death (Gen. 4:10-11)! The God of Israel is the ultimate Avenger of blood worldwide and, apparently, He uses individual men and national armies as He pleases to exact the undone causes of justice for bloodshed and the like (Deut. 19:6, 12, Josh. 20:3, 5, 9). Surely, this is why God spoke of the Babylonian Army, saying, “they wrought for Me” (Ezek. 29:20). Furthermore, this is why God described His influence over Babylon’s natural exploits of war in the most intimate and supernatural terms (Ezek. 30:23, 32:10-11), and should we be surprised that God speaks of the final antichrist kingdom in the same majestic way (Ezek. 38:16-17)? Behold the Majesty of the LORD in the first and last Tribulation, my reader! It was written,
“And I will strengthen the arms of the King of Babylon, and put My sword in his hand: but I will break Pharaoh's arms, and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly wounded man.” – Ezek. 30:24
“Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall. For thus saith the Lord GOD; The sword of the King of Babylon shall come upon thee.” – Ezek. 32:10-11
“And thou shalt come up against My people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the Land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against My Land, that the heathen may know Me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?” – Ezek. 38:16-17
Considering this, that the hail, fire, and blood of pastime prophecies have analogously illustrated what God supernaturally accomplished through the natural consequences of war (wars that the LORD majestically initiated, controlled, oversaw, and won), the metaphorical interpretation of Revelation 8:7 takes prominence. Nevertheless, we must remember that there is at least one time in Biblical History and one time in Biblical Futurity wherein God did and will literally rain down hail mingled with fire to the shedding of much blood. The event of Biblical Futurity is, of course, the 2nd Advent War of Christ; and until Babylon arises to worldwide domination this event is afar off. In the event of Biblical History, this was to the slaughtering of every man, animal, and plant that was without shelter in the Land of Egypt (Ex. 9:18-26). It was written, “He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their Land. He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts” (Ps. 105:32-33). At the nativity of Israelite salvation and through the commandment of such plagues (Ps. 148:8), literally speaking, the God of Israel was glorified before the people. To commemorate the unprecedented working of divine glory being demonstrated in Israel’s liberation from Egypt, God inspired the Song of Moses (Ex. 15:1-21). To commemorate the unprecedented working of divine glory being demonstrated in Israel’s liberation from Mystery Babylon of the future, God inspired the Song of the Lamb (Rev. 15:3). However, between these two points of Biblical History and Biblical Futurity the prophetic word-usage of the same terms are used to metaphorically illustrate what God does supernaturally through the natural consequences of war. Therefore, between these two points of History and Futurity the prophets beheld parallel manifestations of God’s glory in heavenly visions that pertained to their real-time deliverances throughout Biblical Church History. As an example of this, consider the following vision in context:
“At the brightness that was before Him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire. The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hail stones and coals of fire” - Ps. 18:12-13
My reader, does this sound familiar? David saw this glorious and terrific revelation of GOD ALMIGHTY hastening to his deliverance amidst the deadly onslaught of King Saul and others who sought his murder. In agreement with the ancient display of God’s glory in the Land of Egypt and foretelling the future employment of these powers of Lordship in metaphorical capacities, David literally beheld and descriptively adored the God of Israel in the very same terms! Strikingly, the God of Israel who broke the arms of Egypt is hastening to deliver David from King Saul and backslidden Israel! Albeit, such terms did not manifest literally in the working of divine glory. Notably, this will not happen again until the 2nd Advent War and for good reason. Until then, and for ages, God wrought miraculous deliverances for His people to see and understand the Doctrine of the Majesty of the Lord in how He supernaturally controls the natural and so makes for Himself a name: the Lord of Hosts!
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of Hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.” – Psalm 84:11-12
God means to teach His people to trust in Him! In doing so, “They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the Majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea” (Isa. 24:14-16), even while in the fires of tribulation and in the throes of impossible circumstances! Recollecting and inspiring this trust, John the Revelator spoke at length concerning the heavenly scene he saw of the Majesty of the LORD, describing “voices”, “thunderings”, “lightnings”, “an earthquake”, and such like things (Rev. 8:5, 16:18)! The dignity of the One enthroned is deadly to man! God’s purity is unparalleled and His power is unmatched – He is dangerously unapproachable with a brightness unimaginable (1 Tim. 6:15-16)! To display the otherworldly exactitude of His powers in government for the administering of Tribulatory Judgments, His ministers are astoundingly excellent and divinely uniform in fiery brilliance (Heb. 1:7)! HOLY ANGELS. Yes, my reader, we must learn the superiority of God’s Majesty over all earthly majesties! We must learn the superiority of God’s Armies of Holy Angels in how they preside over earthly armies!
“Behold, the Nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the Isles as a very little thing.” – Isa. 40:15
Hence, it would be impossible to rouse Heaven’s population into enthusiasm at the announcement of an earthly event of any kind. The most sophisticated and uniformed march of the most populous and powerful people on earth, is bland and uneventful. Every earthly sight is incomparable to the the Heavenly Scene! Were the people of earth to display the amassed enormity of their nation’s armed forces in the most patriotic and exuberant parade humanly possible, it would be disturbingly dismal. Were the whole demonstration so choreographically synchronized, musically symphonized, and epically historic insomuch that it amounts to a painstakingly perfect human effort, it would be an underwhelming sight to behold compared to the Heavenly Scene! I say again, Heaven’s population would show no emotion or enthusiasm at the ungraceful experience of earth’s pomp and pride. When Angel Armies line up in attention at the audible command of God, and meanwhile, the trumpet-bearing angels are standing by in readiness to sound, all eyes are fixed and ears attentive to the trumpet blast to come and the climax to follow! Even so, let us take heed to our Guide (Ps. 119:105) and thereby discover the glories of the prophetic, metaphorical, and literal, and therein rightly interpret the natural.
“Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou” - Job 35:5
Prophets look unto the heavens and behold the happenings of earth, can you believe it? Upon looking up – and seeing the Heavenly Vision of God’s Majesty – they comprehend the status and future of the kingdoms and peoples of the earth, both great and small. The vantage point of their perspective is high above the celestial principalities (fallen angels) who rule over the lost inhabitants of the world (Eph. 6:12, Dan. 10:13, 20). Hereby we learn that one must look vertical to comprehend the horizontal. Even so, what did the Tribulation Prophets see? They beheld the gaze of an angry God beholding the Trees of the Garden, one by one!
Tribulation Period #1
Beginning with the Tribulation Prophets of the Babylonian Captivity: The Prophet Jeremiah saw the divine fury by which God will judge all the Kingdoms of the world (Jer. 25:8-38, 27:4-11)! Notwithstanding, specifically speaking, Jeremiah saw the impending judgments of God that divine vengeance decreed upon Egypt (Jer. 46:2-28), the Philistines (Jer. 47:1-7), Moab (Jer. 48:1-47), the Ammonites (Jer. 49:1-6), Edom (Jer. 49:7-22), Damascus (Jer. 49:23-27), Kedar & the Kingdoms of Hazor (Jer. 49:28-33), Elam (Jer. 49:34-39), Babylon & the Chaldeans (Jer. 50:1-51:64). The Prophet Ezekiel saw the impending judgments of God that divine vengeance decreed upon the Ammonites (Ezek. 25:1-7), the Philistines (Ezek. 25:15-17), Moab & Seir (Ezek. 25:8-11), Edom (Ezek. 25:12-14), Tyre (Ezek. 26:1-28:19), Zidon (Ezek. 28:20-24), Egypt (Ezek. 29:1-32:32), Mount Seir (Ezek. 35:1-15), and Magog (Ezek. 38:1-39:29).
Speaking of the earlier Prophets, like the Prophet Isaiah (who was a transitional Prophet that looked into the happenings of the Assyrian Captivity as it related to Israel and Judah, and the rest of the world), he saw the punishments of divine fury that were soon-to-be released upon the inhabitants of the entire world (Isa. 26:20-21, 34:1-17, 49:22-26)! Notwithstanding, specifically speaking, he saw the impending judgments of God that divine vengeance decreed upon Babylon (Isa. 13:1-22, 14:18-27, 47:1-15), Palestina (Isa. 14:28-32), Moab (Isa. 15:1-16:14), Damascus (Isa. 17:1-14), the Land beyond Ethiopia (Isa. 18:1-7), Egypt (Isa. 19:1-25), the Egyptians and the Ethiopians (Isa. 20:1-6), Tyre (Isa. 23:1-18), and various prophecies concerning Elam, Media, Babylon, Dumah, Seir, Arabia, Dedanim, Tema, and Kedar (Isa. 21:1-17). As for Amos, a Tribulation Prophet of the Assyrian Captivity, he prophesied of the divine punishments in relationship to Damascus, Ben-hadad, Syria, Gaza, Edom, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, the Philistines, Tyrus, Teman, Bozrah, Rabbah, Moab, and Kerioth (Amos 1:3-2:3).
You see, my reader, God’s Garden is the World and the Trees are the kingdoms of the World! This fact is strikingly evident in the aforementioned prophecies; if you humbly read them in full I am sure you will be convinced. With overwhelming detail, God pointed the finger at these mighty nations, the Gentiles! Ah, and how small they are made to appear from the vantage point of El Shaddai!? Moreover, my reader, consider the loud argument that prophetic analogies put forth:
“Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness? Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. The cedars in the Garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.” – Ezek. 31:2-9
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD.” – Ezek. 31:15-18
Herein, God’s gaze upon the nations is analogously illustrated in acceptable terms. This being the case, and with all the aforementioned evidence in due consideration, the analogous woes that will transpire at the blowing of the 7 Trumpets of the Book of Revelation must be interpreted from a worldwide perspective. Notably, God was minded to execute judgment from a worldwide perspective in the very first and most ancient Tribulation Period; how much more now, though, after the dawn of the Gentile Church Age! I mean, given the unmistakable attribute of the Kingdom of the Messiah, that it is worldwide, it is to be expected that the Book of Revelation would cast the vision of impending judgment upon all nations and kingdoms of the earth. Even so, it is apparent that the trees of the earth in Revelation 8:7 are the various kingdoms in the earth as an Orchard before the Almighty. Not only was this analogous perspective introduced by the Tribulation Prophets of old, it was elaborated upon by the one and only Tribulation Prophet of the 1st century, Jesus Christ. He, being the Tribulation Prophet of Tribulation Period #2, expounded the mysteries of the Kingdom in its expansion worldwide through this very same analogy! Should we be surprised?
Tribulation Period #2
Do you remember the parables of Christ? These were metaphorically rendered prophecies. Christ used parables to explain the untold “mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 13:11) because, by using parables, He hid the meaning of the parables from the damned and revealed it to the elect. These parables would metaphorically and pictorially reveal: (Firstly) how the Kingdom would suddenly begin and rise in power – through the death of One Man, as a mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32), falling into the ground and dying (John 12:23-24). This marks the beginning of the Messiah’s everlasting, unconquerable Kingdom and Throne (Dan. 2:44-45), the throne of David (Isa. 9:6-7, Zech. 14:9, Ps. 72:8-11, 110:1-7, Acts 2:22-36), and this Kingdom, (Secondarily) though it be by the smallest of beginnings, like as a pitiful mustard seed is the smallest of seeds (Matt. 13:31-32) – this Kingdom will one day rise from the earth in which it was buried, and it, surpassing all other trees, will extend its branches into the very heavens above! By interpretation, the Messianic Kingdom will consummate in worldwide sovereignty, thrusting earthly humans upward into heavenly citizenship, calling heaven’s otherworldly powers to come down for earthly regenerations. With its roots extending down into the earth, its branches high into the heavens, it will come to be that, in Christ, heaven is the home of clay-made humanity while they abide on earth, whereabout staggeringly, heaven cometh down to earth and earth up to heaven (Col. 2:20, 3:1-4, Matt. 6:9-10, Heb. 3:1, Rev. 21:2, 22:16-17)! Alas, and did my Savior bleed, and did the Sovereign die?! So that, for me, even for me… I see “a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it” (Gen. 28:11-12)?! Do you understand? My reader, the parables of Christ explain the mysterious beginning of Christ’s Kingdom, how that, in its continual rising, it is undetected and unconquerable in progress, to the end that an eventual and unthinkable consummation would fulfill all things. The following two passages below located in the left column (Matthew 13:31-32 & 13:33) are parables that aim to express this inutterable picture, giving clarity to the mystery for those who have ears to hear:
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” -Matthew 13:31-32
“Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” -Matthew 13:33
"He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit." -Isaiah 27:6
"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." -Isaiah 11:10
“…all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD” – Num. 14:21
“…and the stone that smote the image became A GREAT MOUNTIAN, and filled the whole earth” – Dan. 2:35
“…let the whole earth be filled with His glory” – Ps. 72:19
“…the LORD shall be King over all the earth”, “…the governor amongthe nations” – Zech. 14:9, Ps. 22:28
“…the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” – Isa. 11:9, Hab. 2:14
“All nations…shall come and worship before Thee” – Ps. 86:9
Psalm 22:1, 6-31 (Death and Rise Prophesied) à Acts 2:22-36 (Death and Rise Declared) à Zech. 12:10(Consummation Prophesied) à Rev. 11:15, 15:4 (Consummation Declared)
This is utterly astonishing and staggering! That the Kingdom would come as a dying seed: a seed who is One Man, and He, by the spirit of resurrection (for “it is sown” see 1 Cor. 15:42-44), will be savingly planted within all of redeemed humanity like as a seed is buried under the soil (Matt. 13:8, 23, 1 Cor. 15:35-50), and throughout the centuries of Gentile-reconciliation which precedes the time when God will turn to the Jews for the consummation of the Messiah’s Kingdom, redeemed humanity will live in the same condition that Christ lived while He was in the flesh (“accounted as sheep for the slaughter” – Rom. 8:36). The world sees Him again, Christ’s “Image”, only now it is formed in Christian men of all nations and languages (Rom. 8:29). Christ, in them, appeals to their own national people like as Christ appealed to the Jews, therefore, as Christ suffered…Christians suffer. Rather said, Christ living in Christians will be at conflict with their present age, yet again, suffering at the hands of lost humanity. “Father forgive them” (1 Pet. 2:21, 4:1, 1 Thess. 3:3, Heb. 13:10-16), is still the Christian’s cry, suffering as willing servants before those that want them to die. Like Christ was… so they are, “baptized for the dead” (1 Cor. 15:29). Though redeemed humanity treads the course of suffering and rejection, this awesome seed of the resurrection which is sown within them will grow… its roots reaching forth to the ends of the earth (Rev. 5:9), until suddenly this Tree of the Lord will, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52), cause all the redeemed of humanity, the living and the dead, to be “caught up together” “in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17)! Do you see it, my reader? The seed that is sown will shoot forth from the grounds in which it died! This shooting forth is of an impossible speed, a divine burst of resurrection power! As a stone cut out of a mountain without hands, it will rise from thence, break in pieces every king and kingdom (Dan. 2, Ps. 2), for it is written, “this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53)! Hallelujah!
My reader, in the midst of this scene, what Hebrews 12:3 called “such contradiction of sinners” (Heb. 12:3), and it, a contradiction against so loving a Man… consider Him. Christ, who was born to be broken for them, to establish an everlasting Kingdom which, staggeringly, was born when He died, and they, thinking to extinguish this Man, a single flame, released Him from the confinements of His earthly body so that He might enflame the world with Himself! Death sent Him to hell, yes, and He got its keys (Hos. 13:14, Isa. 11:1-9, 1 Cor. 15:51-57, Rev. 1:18)! He arose from the dead and returned to earth, and He, presenting Himself in the scarred body in which He died, demonstrated that He was the prophesied King who would absolve the sting of death and overcome the grave, and now, having overcome it, He gathered His disciples to see the glorified body of redeemed humanity which, when His Kingdom is finally established, all humanity will have.
Those He left behind, being eyewitnesses of His glory and baptized in His Spirit, were enflamed with other-worldly courage to preach this Christ, unflinching in the face of death, for they knew the Lord had overcome it! This Christ, then ascending into Heaven, gathered His angelic hosts to send them forth to war. The Jews of Jerusalem shrank in dismay at Christ’s disciples on earth – earthly men, evidently, clothed in heavenly power, outnumbered by earthly humanity but helped by Heaven’s Army – these saints, now supported by Heaven’s army, are Christ-empowered to cry aloud the alarming truth, Heaven’s King has placed rebellious humanity before His imminent invasion, and He, just behind the clouds, is ready to dash the Kings of the earth like a potter’s vessel is broke in pieces. These Christ-empowered heralds of Heaven’s King are His ambassadors, and He, being full of compassion, has sent the world a forewarning. Jesus Christ, the King, commands the white flag of surrender (Lk. 14:31-33). All who cower before the victory of Heaven’s King, they will call upon Him as their Lord (Rom. 10:13). Knowing this, that Christ’s unconquerable army should soon arrive, they are encouraged to escape their inevitable destruction. The King, offering them a priceless redemption, a blood-bought pardon, causes all who surrender to be enveloped in His transcending and omnipresent Person – thus they, left in the world, remain at the hands of the army from which they defected (Satan’s army), and here, bearing witness to the truth, they suffer Christ’s passion once again. These witnesses, awaiting the imminent day of the Lamb’s vengeance (Heb. 10:30-31), do rejoice in the day of salvation. This Man, a single flame, the Jews sought to extinguish from the earth…they unknowingly released Christ from His earthly body like the rending of the Most Holy veil, and He, exiting the confinements in which He was held, filled all things with Himself! The Jews, blood red with His murder, are overshadowed by this Exalted Christ! They should stop and consider, are they able to go to war against this King and win? Will they be able to meet His other-worldly army with any success? While Christ is “a great way off” …oh man! Will you hearken and consider His “conditions of peace” (Lk. 14:31-32)? For when He finally arrives… IT IS FOR WAR!
He, in a moment of time, put off the garments of humanity and arrayed Himself in His Divinity – the Person whose presence they sought to extinguish suddenly became OMNIPRESENT! – and Christ, looking down, seated upon the circle of the earth, has vengeance and redemption burning in His eyes. They killed Christ; they were happy that He was delivered to die… but they will suddenly, in the blink of an eye, turn around and see Him whom they pierced (Zech. 12:10)! They, finding themselves standing in His shadow and looking up, will perceive His Kingdom is above all! Realizing He is this Jesus, the rejected Man, the One they killed and left for dead… they will be baffled with fear. The heavens rolling back as a scroll, even so, the Messiah’s Army is unveiled, and it, like an army of shining stars caught up in the clouds, will be seen in their courses following the Lamb (Matt. 13:43). Arrayed behind Him – the King of kings – they will be seen making themselves ready for the charge. The Lamb, seen at the forefront, will be the Brightest Light of the flaming army which follows. The King-led Host, riding upon the heavens, will cause the earth to melt for fear before the brilliant eyes of Christ. This recognizable Jesus – still marked in scars – they will look upon Him who they pierced (Zech. 12:10)! This One who was, who is, who will have finally come… He will be exalted in the mantle of Divinity! The earth, fleeing away from Christ’s unquenchable wrath, will cry out to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come: and who shall be able to stand” (Rev. 6:16-17)!? This Jesus who cannot die, returned to the stature in which He always was – seated upon the “Great White Throne”! Oh, my reader, do you know Him? “Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Rev. 20:11) – only now, shockingly, the redeemed of Gentile humanity can be seen standing with Christ and beside Christ, in the glory God gave Him before the foundation of the world (John 17:24)! Christ purchased and won for Himself what He prayed for, saying, “Father, I will that they…be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me” (John 17:24)!
For more information on Christ in the context of the 1st century Tribulation Period in reference to the Kingdom of God extending worldwide (through the Gentile Church Age) and therefore including all nations into the spectrum of divine judgment like never before, see: “Tares Among the Wheat”.
The woeful and redemptive experience of the Great Tribulation during the Tribulation Period #1 targeted the Jews of Israel and Judah in the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities. For the longstanding crimes of the Church the judgment came, as we have heretofore observed in detail. For the same cause, the woeful and redemptive experience of the Great Tribulation during the Tribulation Period #2 targeted the regathered Jews of the Land of Israel in the Roman Captivity of 70 A.D. Foremost of all, their apostasy was manifest in that they rejected and forsook the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Moreover, and at last, in perfect harmony, the woeful and redemptive experience of the Great Tribulation during the Tribulation Period #3 will target the redeemed but backslidden Christians worldwide (Gentilic Israelites and Jewish Israelites) and in the midst thereof God will orchestrate judgments upon unconverted physical Israel to the end that the whole remnant of them will be gloriously converted at last when God brings judgment upon Babylon’s World! All of this amounts to an undeniable backdrop of the Book of Revelation and the judgments recorded therein – that they are to be interpreted with regard to the nations of the world in their entirety, for this is the context of the Gentile Church – the people for whom the Great Tribulation cometh.
My reader, the Great Tribulation is a redemptive process for an otherwise unsaveable backslidden Church just like the Doctrine of Babylon demonstrated in the Old Testament (“The Mysteries of Redemption in the Great Tribulation”). Jesus of Nazareth spoke of a worldwide purpose of redemption as a major element of the Gospel Message, and the Old Testament foretold this foremost component of the Messiah’s heavenly and everlasting government. This, Peter declared, when he pointed to the exalted position of the Davidic Throne upon which Jesus of Nazareth is seated, saying: “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36)! Hence, when the Trumpets blast one-by-one and the mystery of redemption is progressively realized, all of the earth is brought one step closer to the consummation when: “The Kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). With the definitive vantage point of Christ’s enthronement fully realized, and, the heavenly visions of the Book of Revelation fully inhaled, there is yet one more analogous happening that needs to be interpreted at the blasting of the 1st Trumpet.
All Green Grass Burnt Up
At the sounding of the 1st Trumpet we have observed the interpretations of every analogous entity except, the grass. It was written, “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Rev. 8:7). Evidently, the trees are the kingdoms of the earth and their entirety is as a Garden before Almighty God; if this is the case, however, what is the grass? If a third part of the trees burn up at the sounding of the 1st trumpet, and this means that a third of the kingdoms of the world will be destroyed, what does it mean for all the green grass to burn up?
Similarly, like the biblical etymology of trees (scripture-interpreting-scripture), the potential meanings of grass are harmoniously diverse in Holy Scripture. Even so, we need to be prepared for categorically different definitions of the same analogous terms. Unsurprisingly, there is a strictly spiritual use of the term that conveys the spiritual status of individuals (Zech. 10:1, Isa. 35:7). Thus, as we observed in the analogous etymology of trees, the grass in Revelation 9:4 (strictly spiritual) is different from the grass in Revelation 8:7 just like the trees of Revelation 9:4 are different from the tress in Revelation 8:7. Grass is used to analogously illustrate the literal and physical weakness of a flourishing nation or people. In other words, the enormity of human accomplishment and civilization is like the abundance of grass, which flourishes (Job 5:25, Ps. 72:16, 92:7), only then to suddenly and quickly become scorched by the sun and killed (2 Kings 19:26, Ps. 37:2, 90:5-6, 103:15-16, Isa. 40:6-8, Ps. 129:6-7, Isa. 51:12, Amos 7:1-3, James 1:10-11, 1 Pet. 2:24, Prov. 27:23-27); and, if the hand of Almighty God so pleases, He can reduce a thriving nation into nothingness like the grass of a countryside is devoured by a Locust Plague in a single day (Prov. 27:23-27, Joel 1:4, Amos. 7:1-3)! Herein we observe mankind’s short-lived glory and proneness to perishing. Now, look again at Revelation 8:7.
“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Rev. 8:7).
If all the kingdoms of the earth are represented as trees in an Orchard and a third part of them is burnt up, this means that a two-thirds part of the trees are left intact and unburned. Also, in reference to the analogously rendered entities that will or will not be destroyed, we see that there are both trees and grass as is common in all Orchards. Furthermore, knowing the physiological nature of wildfires in the environment, it is right to believe that the fire burns the grass in the same place that the fire burns the trees; therein, I propose, “all green grass was burnt up”, but in the two-thirds part of the Orchard that is unburned both the trees and the grass are intact and well. Revelation 8:7 is a simple compounding of the two frequently used words in prophetic analogy, trees and grass. The destruction / desolation / burning / withering / dying of grass is used many times in the Book of Isaiah in the same analogous way that trees are used in the Book of Ezekiel. Strategically, the usage of grass cannot be found in Ezekiel or Jeremiah, but only Isaiah, albeit things are harmonious in meaning. Take, for example, what God said about Nimrim and threated concerning Israel, saying:
“For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.” – Isa. 15:6
“Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small. The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.” – Amos 7:1-3
The terms were used analogously to depict the literal and physical status of the City of Nimrim and the Kingdom of Israel (see also Isaiah 10:16-19, 28-34, 19:5-8). Herein, at last, the divine tutorial interprets the woes of the 1st Trumpet in full. The kingdoms (the trees and the regional grass residing in the same soil) will be thus judged by God and burnt up, as the divine tutorial has demonstrated in the pastime events.
Herein, also, at the conclusion of successfully interpreting the 1st Trumpet, we are poised to interpret the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 6th Trumpets by the same method. What I mean to convey is that, firstly, there is a distinguishable unity between all 6 Trumpets and, secondarily, there is a distinguishable unity between all the prophetic and analogous terms used in the divine tutorial of old. In other words, in the plurality of trumpeted events there is a singular pronouncement being made, which is: Babylon’s rise to power!