Showing posts with the label Seven Trumpets

The Forty-Two Months

The period when the saints endure persecution is presented in three different but equivalent forms – “ forty-two months ,” “ 1,260 days ,” and the “ season, seasons, and half a season .” These variations do not point to three separate periods. Instead, they link several visions that describe specific aspects of the persecution that takes place during this period.

Babylon Then and Now

The story of Ancient Babylon’s demise is reflected in the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl of wrath.  In  Daniel , on the eve of the city’s conquest by the “ Medes and Persians ,” King Belshazzar gave a feast “ for a thousand of his lords ” and “ tasted wine ” from the sacred vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the Temple in Jerusalem, thereby disrespecting the God of Israel while also praising the false gods of Babylon.

Three Woes

An eagle flying in mid-heaven announces the last three trumpets, the three woes unleashed against the inhabitants of the earth  – Revelation 8:13.  The first four trumpets have sounded. Now, an “ eagle flying in mid-heaven ” announces the final three and calls them “ woes .” Unlike the first four, the plagues unleashed by the last three trumpets afflict the “ inhabitants of the earth ” themselves, whereas the first four damaged the infrastructure on which human society depends – agriculture, commerce, freshwater supplies, and light.

Two Witnesses Slain

The “ second woe ” does not end until the “ Two Witnesses ” have completed their “ testimony ” and their “ corpse ,” singular, lies on the streets of “ Babylon .” Only then will the final trumpet be heard as its ushers in the hour of the judgment. The martyrdom of the “ Two Witnesses ” puts the end into motion and seals the doom of the “ Dragon .”

Sanctuary Measured

The sanctuary must be “measured” before the city can be inhabited, but first, it must be “trampled underfoot” by the nations - Revelation 11:1-2.  In the preceding vision, John was commanded to “ prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings ,” which set the stage for the next two visions, the “ measuring of the sanctuary and the altar ,” and the testimony of the “ two witnesses .” Both are connected by the equivalent figures of “ forty-two months ” and “ 1,260 days. ”

Fourth Trumpet - Darkness

The fourth trumpet blast causes a partial darkening of the sun, moon, and the stars of heaven over Babylon  - Revelation 8:12.  The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars is based on the ninth Egyptian plague that darkened the land for three days. It also employs imagery from the judicial pronouncement against Pharaoh in the book of  Ezekiel , a judgment carried out by the ancient empire of Babylon. Now, darkness will consume the realm of the “ Great City, Babylon ” - (Ezekiel 32:7-11).

Third Trumpet

The third trumpet results in a “great star” falling into the sources of freshwater and embittering them  – Revelation 8:10-11.  The third trumpet uses imagery from the first plague of Egypt that polluted the nation’s sources of freshwater. The “ Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river ” because it had turned “ into blood .” In the book of  Revelation , the plague also kills the fish in rivers and streams, and it “ embitters ” a third of the earth’s drinking water.

Second Trumpet - Burning Mountain

The second trumpet harms much of the commerce on which human society, the “inhabitants of the earth,” rely  – Revelation 8:8-9.  The second trumpet blast upsets the sea, and thereby disrupts a third of all seaborne commerce. In  Revelation , the “ sea ” is vital to the commerce on which “ Babylon ” depends, and it is the place from which the “ beast ” ascends. This explains why, at the end of the book, no “ sea ” is found in “ New Jerusalem .” In the symbolic world, it is linked to the “ Dragon ” and the “ beast .”

First Trumpet - Hail

The first trumpet blast unleashes forces that impact agriculture, as its plague is modeled on the seventh plague of Egypt  – Revelation 8:7.  Fire from the “ golden altar ” has been “ cast onto the earth ” in response to the “ prayers of the saints .” This is followed by “ claps of  thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake , ” phenomena that conclude the series of “ seven seals ” and signal the commencement of the “ seven trumpets .” Thus, we find the seven angels poised to sound their trumpets and unleash their “ plagues. ”

Sounding the Seven Trumpets

An overview of the series of seven trumpets and the several intervening events between the sixth and seventh trumpets – Revelation 8:7-11:19.  The series of “ seven trumpets ” follows the same pattern as that of the “ seven seals .”   Like the first four seals, the first four trumpets form a distinct group, and the last three are marked off from the rest as the “ three woes .”  And like the “ seven seals ,” several events interrupt the series between the sixth and seventh “ trumpets ,” and both series are preceded by the “ prayers of the saints .”

Seventh Trumpet, Third Woe

When the seventh seal was opened, a half-hour of “silence” ensued before the seven angels began to sound their “trumpets.” During that interlude, the prayers of the “saints” were heard ascending to the throne of God. Now, when the “seventh trumpet” sounds, “loud voices” declare the triumph of the kingdom and the possession of the nations by the “Lamb” as promised in the second Psalm.

Little Scroll

Next, John sees the scroll again, only now it is unsealed and open, signifying the time for his call to prophesy once more to peoples and kings  – Revelation 10:1-11.  The first six trumpet plagues  failed to cause the “ inhabitants of the earth ” to repent. Instead, they only hardened their hearts even more.  Something more is needed to complete “ the mystery of God .” The narrative now takes a new direction. Rather than another plague, John sees the scroll unsealed, then he is commissioned to prophesy to “ nations and kings .”

Sixth Trumpet - Second Woe

The sixth trumpet unleashes the demonic horde from beyond the “Euphrates” to afflict the “inhabitants of the earth”  - Revelation 9:13-21.  The blowing of the “ sixth trumpet ” also marks the commencement of the “ second woe .” While the description of the “ plague ” unleashed by the trumpet only continues until the end of chapter 9, the “ second woe ” does not end until the sounding of the “ seventh trumpet ” that will culminate in the final judgment. Presumably, the “ sixth trumpet ” will conclude when the seventh angel blows his trumpet.

Fifth Trumpet, First Woe

The fifth trumpet unleashes the first of “three woes,” and malevolent creatures began to ascend from the Abyss  – Revelation 8:13-9:12.  When the fifth angel blows his trumpet, John sees smoke “ ascending ” from the “ Abyss ,” a place ruled by an “ angel ” associated with “ destruction ,” and the “ Abyss ” becomes prominent in several of subsequent visions. It is the source of entities hostile to the “ Lamb ” and his people, creatures that “ ascend ” to wreak havoc, sometimes on the “ inhabitants of the earth ,” but more often on the “ saints. ”

First Four Trumpets

SYNOPSIS: The seventh seal ended with the seven angels prepared to sound their trumpets. A close link between the seals and the trumpets is seen as the first four trumpets sound - Revelation 8:7-12.  The first four trumpets parallel the  first four seals . Both seals and trumpets afflict within defined limits. The first four seals harm a fourth of the earth, the first four trumpets a third of the earth, sea, rivers and heavenly luminaries. Both series are preceded by the prayers of the saints that ascend as incense.

Silence in Heaven

At the end of the seventh seal, seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets, unleashing judgment on the “inhabitants of the earth”  – Revelation 8:1-6.  The saints have been “ sealed ,” washed “ in the blood of the Lamb ,” and brought safely through the “ great tribulation .” The full complement of “ witnesses ” has been assembled, and the time has arrived for judgment to be rendered against the “ inhabitants of the earth ” that persecuted the martyrs. Their plea for “ vengeance ” is about to be answered.