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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Second Quarter, 2012

The First Trumpet Judgment: The Demise Of Faith

“And 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 tree was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Revelation 8:7).

Here is depicted a fire-storm of divine judgment on earth in which a “third part” of trees and all green grass is burnt up. Israel was divided into three parts in the Old Testament. A third part perished in the Babylonian Captivity (Ezekiel 5:1-12). Of the two-thirds that remained another third part would find salvation when the Messiah, Jesus Christ, had come (Zechariah 13:7-9; Isaiah 19:24; compare with Matthew 3:9-12; 8:11). The last unrepentant third part we see here facing the final demise of the old-covenant nation in the Roman wars of 66-70 A. D.

God’s people are refered to as trees of righteousness in the Old Testament (see, for example Psalm 1:1-3). The burning up of this relationship of old covenant Israel as the trees of the Lord’s planting came with the judgments inflicted by the Romans in 70 A.D. just as Jesus had said in Matthew 15:13.

The grass is green because of the life that is in it. All green grass burned up means that all spiritual life is destroyed. The life of God’s people under the progenity of Abraham was to be a life of faith. Jesus made it clear to his contemporaries that if they had the faith of Abraham they would recognize him as the Messiah (John 8:40). Those who perished in 70 A. D. lost all connection to the soul life of God through faith. Such a condition is part of Judaism’s remaining desolate house to this very day (Matthew 23:38-39).

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