Monday, August 8, 2011

Revelation 9 (Part 6) The Sixth Trumpet

By Odon Bulamba (26th August 2005)

The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number. Revelation 9:13-16

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God.

In verse 16, the angel blew his trumpet. He is the sixth one. He might have been different from the first five ones. After blowing the trumpet, John heard a voice, which didn’t come straight from God, but from something symbolic, the sound of a horn. In Revelation 8 and Exodus 30, we studied the role of the altar. In Exodus 30: 1-12, we see how this golden altar is completely different from the altar used to offer sacrifices (chapter 27).

In chapter 30, we see how the golden altar was a very special place for God: He said he would come and meet with “you” there. God also specified He will need perfume. So, every time Aaron will come to clean the lamps or the area, he had to offer perfume as well as every evening he had to offer incense. Aaron was not allowed to go there if he was unclean. In order for Aaron to enter that first holy place, he had to prepare himself physically first, then spiritually. Aaron was never sure he was clean enough, so he would be attached at his left or right leg and also had a bell attached to him. The bell was a sign for the people that Aaron was alive. If Aaron went inside in a state of sin, he knew God would kill him right there. So he knew he had to be ready and fear God.

The Israelites knew that in that place, everything was serious and the person inside could die. And Jesus said that even by our thoughts we could sin. If Aaron walked into that holy place, and thought: “What did my son do yesterday?” he might have been condemned. But knowing he was chosen by God he realised he had to make an effort to live a pure life and every time he wanted to go to God, he had to purify himself because God Himself is pure.

Unfortunately, in our new generation, we don’t purify ourselves before going to God. We think God is just like a friend. It is true that he is our friend but he is a holy friend, not like you and I, and He gets closer to people who try their best to be clean. If you are not clean, God will keep His distance from you.

So Aaron used to prepare himself, he would put on the robe he had been given and dress exactly according to God’s instructions. Unfortunately we enter the holy place today, and stand in the presence of God without asking ourselves if we are ready to be there or not, if we deserve to be there, and without checking our actions.

What really supported Aaron, was his community. He knew he was chosen as a servant of God and his entire community was behind him waiting for him to do something. If he didn’t do what God had told Him to do who will do it at his place? Let’s imagine, if I didn’t feed my children, who will do it or if I didn’t play my role in the church of God, who will do it for me? I know many people are waiting for the result of my meeting with God as the people were waiting for Aaron. If someone here prays for me, I am waiting for something from their prayer. But if that person doesn’t do it, I will not get what I should.

So let’s fulfil our responsibility all the time and we even have greater responsibility that Aaron has. His work was to go inside with the blood, do the atonement and come out. That was all. But for us, we have bigger responsibilities, God asks the strong to help the weak, God asks those who have knowledge to share it with those who don’t, and we have to love each other. Aaron didn’t have that responsibility he just had to serve God once a year, but you and I are called to serve God every minute of our lives. So if Aaron was useful in God’s eyes, who are we now? Don’t you think we are better than him?

So every time Aaron went inside, he would carry the blood, put it on the four corners of the altar and then spray blood everywhere else. God taught Aaron to offer just one particular type of sacrifice not just anything he wanted. Remember once, Aaron’s children offered something different and God killed them.

When I was young, my Mum used to say: “You are a lucky boy because God is a bit old now. When He was younger, He was angry and He wouldn’t have tolerated what you’re doing. He would have killed you on the spot, no time to say sorry.” I used to laugh but later on, I understood that God is not older, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The difference is that we have grace now so we have that chance to live. Ask yourself, if you were living in Moses’ times, would you still be alive today? Maybe God would have killed all of us because of our sins. Who can stop God from killing you? Doctors or science can’t do it.

So that altar was supposed to be a place of reconciliation with God. When I think of atonement, I think of someone admitting they are wrong but if you don’t admit your wrong doing it will be hard for Aaron to take the blood with his finger and put it on the corner of the altar. The sign of atonement tells us to admit our faults, our wrongdoing. People often can’t admit their wrong doings, but instead explain to God they meant something else. We struggle to accept our faults. This makes us resist God.

During this time they had the grace to repent only once a year, it was easier for people to accept they were sinners because they knew if they didn’t repent on that day, they wouldn’t have that chance tomorrow and if they died in sin, they will disappear forever.

Today we have that grace with us and at every second we can say sorry and forgive each other, but we don’t repent and don’t really accept our faults. In the old days, they had to remember all their sins before coming to the priest, the 1st of June I did that and in February I did that and in March it was that … they needed a good memory to remember 365 days in one year.

God wants to teach us that we have His grace today, why don’t we accept our faults, repent and follow His instructions. It will make things easier.

So the angel came from the corner of that altar. The corners were important because they meant atonement. To have atonement, first admit your sins or faults, otherwise it will be really hard or even impossible to hear God’s voice.

No comments:

Post a Comment