The Sounds of Judgment: 7 Trumpets

The Sounds of Judgment: 7 Trumpets

Text: Revelation 8-11

This is the 2nd set of judgments in Revelation, beginning at the breaking of the 7th Seal in the Book of Redemptive History. These judgments grow progressively more frightening and terrible as God ramps up the Divine War Machine and prepares to unleash His full fury.

There is some frightening imagery, here but it is important that we do not abandon the Literal Principle here and begin to allegorize the text. Remember, there are NO allegories in Scripture.

1st Trumpet: Hail and Fire mixed with blood is cast to the earth. 1/3 of all trees and all the grass is burned up.
This is quite possibly a comet. If you have ever seen one through a telescope, the description is quite similar to what we have in this text. It is also possible, as Dr. MacArthur points out, that “This may describe volcanic eruptions that could certainly result from the earthquake in v. 5. The steam and water thrown into the sky by such eruptions could easily condense into hail and fall to earth along with the fiery lava (Ex 9:13-25). Dust and gases may so contaminate falling liquid water that it appears blood red. A lava storm would certainly create a blazing fire that devastates one-third of the earth’s forests.”
2nd Trumpet: a “mountain” is cast into the sea and destroys 1/3 of all sea life and ships
While the first trumpet could very well be a comet colliding with the earth, the result of this trumpet almost certainly is an asteroid colliding with Earth. The gasses surrounding the asteroid would ignite due to the tremendous heat generated while passing through the atmosphere.
The unmitigated heat would instantaneously kill every living thing in the impact zone and the shockwave, depending on the size of the asteroid would destroy all life for hundreds of miles. As to the ships, the sea would “swallow them whole” by way of the massive tidal wave an asteroid’s impact would cause. Doubtlessly, the blood red appearance would be the blood of the inhabitants of the ships, most likely ripped apart in the destruction.
3rd Trumpet: Wormwood and the waters are poisoned
It is clear that this is some form of celestial body that is cast to the earth. This time, though, the object disintegrates as it careens toward the planet. 1/3 of all the rivers and springs are rendered non-potable. Now, this is truly frightening; in His wrath, God allows the waters to be struck and absent drinkable water, death will be prolonged and miserable. (Normally it takes 10 days to die from dehydration. In this case, those 10 days will be experiencing continued judgment and the agonies will begin to mount.)
4th Trumpet: Celestial bodies are struck

The sun, moon, and stars lose 1/3 of their power. This would cause a drastic shift in climate (temperature, tides, etc).

Looking to the IVP New Testament Commentary:
“The four areas affected–earth, sea, fresh water and sky–made up the whole of the human environment as the ancients perceived it. These four spheres were what Jews and Christians acknowledged as God’s creation (compare 14:7). Despite the discovery of new oceans and continents, even the exploration of space, these four–earth, sea, fresh water and sky–are still the natural components of the human environment as we define it today.”
To this point, the Trumpet Judgments have dealt with the physical world. The next judgments are brought about by God unleashing demons to torment men and the sons of men.

5th Trumpet: The Abyss is opened and the judgment of locust like creatures

I have heard all manner of insanity in trying to describe what these may be. However, the Scripture is clear that these are demons. In his New Testament Commentary, John MacArthur explains,

“The demons incarcerated in the abyss are undoubtedly the most wicked, vile, and perverted of all the fallen angels. Jude describes some of them as “angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode,” noting that God “has kept [them] in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 6-7). That passage describes certain fallen angels who left the angelic domain to indulge in sexual sin with humans, just as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah attempted to engage in perverted sex with angels (Gen. 19:1, 4-5).”

And John Phillips gives us the following picture,
“Picture what the world would be like if we were to open the doors of all the penitentiaries of earth and set free the world’s most vicious and violent criminals, giving them full reign to practice their infamies upon mankind. Something worse than that lies in store for the world. Satan, cast out of heaven, is now permitted to summon to his aid the most diabolical fiends in the abyss to act as his agents in bringing mankind to the footstool of the Beast. (Exploring Revelation, rev. ed. [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N. J. : Loizeaux, 1991], 125)”

So begins the End of Days…Often we have heard “it was Hell on Earth,” but this time it will be. As the final 3 Trumpets sound Satan summons his most insidious allies to wage the final holocaust of judgment against a Christ rejecting world. Fear though, because even in this terrible trumpet judgment, there remain 9 more, 2 Trumpets and 7 Bowls and each will be more horrible than the last…

6th Trumpet: The Angels of Death are loosed

In certain portions of Jewish and some Christian sects, the angels Azra’el, Samma’el, and Salathi’el. There is no 4th angel associated with death. Note: The names of these angels are not found within mainstream Christianity and the Bible does not mention a specific “Angel of Death.”

These 4 angels are, again, fallen angels, since the Bible never refers to holy angels as being bound. The army that they command is not a human army, that will come in the next trumpet. Rather, this is a demonic horde that is unleashed and it is granted to them to kill 1/3 of humanity.

Before describing the horses, the actual agents of destruction, John briefly described those who sat on them. He noted that the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone. The color of fire is red; that of hyacinth, dark blue or black like smoke; that of brimstone, a sulfurous yellow, describing the rock which, when ignited, produces a burning flame and suffocating gas. Those are the very colors and features of hell (cf. 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8), and they paint a terrifying picture of God’s wrath poured out on the sinful world by these demons. These colors are reminiscent of the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the nearby cities (Gen. 19:24-28). {MacArthur NT Commentary}

At that future point in world history, idolatry, mysticism, spiritism, satanism, and all other forms of false religion will become pandemic, as demons lead people into more wicked and vicious behavior. Unbridled, unrestrained, escalating wickedness will run amuck as never before in human history (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13). As a result, in addition to idolatry, violent crimes like murders will be rampant. Bereft of any sense of morality, evil, unrepentant people will imitate the demon horde’s murderous blood lust. Believers in the true God will no doubt be their prime targets, as they lash out seeking revenge for the disasters God has brought on them. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

There is an interlude in chapter 10 and most of 11, a parenthetical of sorts that we will cover in our next lesson…

7th Trumpet: God answers and Christ is Coronated

The 7th Trumpet, as the 7 seals, is telescopic and contained in this Trumpet Judgment are the 7 Bowl Judgments, the final judgments mankind will face as God brings history to its close.

Instead of calling for the moment of the Rapture of the church, as the “last trumpet” does, the seventh trumpet calls for prolonged waves of judgment on the ungodly. It does not parallel the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52, but does parallel the trumpet of Joel 2:1-2: “Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

The seventh trumpet not only announces consuming judgment on unbelievers, but also the coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament trumpets were frequently sounded at the coronation of a king. During his attempted coup against his father David, “Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, “Absalom is king in Hebron”’” (2 Sam. 15:10). At the coronation of David’s true successor, Solomon, “Zadok the priest … took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!’” (1 Kings 1:39). Trumpets also sounded at the coronations of King Jehu (2 Kings 9:13) and King Joash (2 Kings 11:12, 14). {MacArthur NT Commentary}

In chapters 15 and forward we will see the results of this horrible judgment…

One Reply to “The Sounds of Judgment: 7 Trumpets”

  1. Good article. Revelation is always interesting to study to me, as terrifying as it will surely be upon the unsuspecting world. Any teacher/preacher who tells Christians they must endure any of the seven years of tribulation (and many do for their personal gain) have no ability to properly understand scripture and should be avoided. It seems that the status of the world is rapidly progressing toward the Day of the Lord and the Christian’s Blessed Hope is nearing. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

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