Overview of the Trumpets – Rev 8-11

For an overview of the trumpets, it is important to know that we have to see the whole context of Revelations. We saw the lining up of the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls of wrath. The sixth seal seems to be the same event as the seventh trumpet, which seems to be the same event as the seventh bowl. However, there is more that happens in Revelations. Why would we place the trumpets in the second half of the final tribulation? Why would we place it at the beginning – or at least close to the beginning?

It has been argued by many (I seem to be the only one I can find that holds to a futurist view and puts them close to the beginning) that the trumpets progress from the middle of the week to the end of the week. The argument is that the sealing of the 144,000 doesn’t happen until the middle of the week, and since the four angels are holding back the four winds from harming the land, sea, and trees (7:2-3), then the seven trumpets must be after this. Why, you might ask? If you look at the first four trumpets, they seem to be harming the land, sea, and trees.

I have no problem with this reasoning. Where my contention comes is that there is nowhere that I can find that would support the sealing of the 144,000 at being explicitly at the middle of the week. Why can’t they be sealed at the beginning? I don’t see anything in any text that would explicitly limit the sealing of the Jewish people to being at the middle of the week. Rather, it seems to make sense to me that if in Daniel the temple is rebuilt and the sacrifices are being offered that there would be a people who stray away from this. I can think of multiple rabbis that I’ve heard mention this is a bad idea. I can think of other rabbis who are excited to participate at the temple (there is almost no doubt in the mind of most religious Jews that the temple will be rebuilt).

Right away, then, we would see a dividing line. There would be a segment of Jewish people that are not devoted to the sins of Judah. They separate from the men who would go contrary to the Law by making a pact with death and hell. They see it as against God, and in that, I wouldn’t doubt that there would be some sealed at the very beginning. It makes perfect sense to me when I read Daniel that there are those who will “forsake the holy covenant” (Dan 11:30) and “violate the covenant” (Dan 11:32) “because of rebellion” (Dan 8:12). The rebellion doesn’t explicitly have to be that they some how start a riot or war, as in the days of Titus. It could very well be that by confirming the covenant (Dan 9:27), they are indeed violating the covenant. The next step is merely to affirm that this Antichrist figure is indeed god, and allow him to build up that abomination of desolation.

In regard to the trumpets being the full seven years, what arguments do I have to make such a claim? We’ve already mentioned that the trumpets seem to be much weaker in caliber to the seals. The first four would be before the abomination of desolation, and the fifth seal would be the Antichrist march on Israel. We see the fall of a star (compare Rev 12:7-9), and the star opens up the Abyss. Then, these “locusts” attack anyone and everyone who does not have the seal of God. Who are they that would have the seal of God? They are Jews. Go back to Ezekiel 9 and look at the context. This is speaking of Jerusalem, and not speaking of all nations. Compare Rev 9:1-12 with Joel 1-2. We see the symbolism of “locusts” used in Joel as an “army from the north” to march down and utterly devastate the land of Israel. John is pulling from this imagery to explain what he is seeing in his vision.

So, when we see that the king over the locusts, the angel of the Abyss, is the destroyer, it makes sense then that this is somehow relating to the establishment of the abomination of desolation. We can compare this with Rev 11:7, where the Antichrist figure (the beast) is actually claimed to “come up from out of the Abyss”. The destroyer, the king over this locust army, is the Antichrist. Satan is the star that falls to the earth to open up this Abyss. We see the “abyss” described again in Rev 13:2, where out of the seas a monster comes forth, and this is the Antichrist figure. Then, again we find in Rev 17:8 that this beast is the one that comes out of the Abyss.

We saw earlier the correlation between the fallen star and the fall of Satan in Rev 12. If we keep reading Rev 12, we come to verse 12 that reads, “Woe to the earth and sea, because the devil has gone down to you!” What are the last three trumpets called? They are the three great “woes”. John is using similar language here for a reason. The fifth trumpet lines up too well with the fall of Satan, the establishment of the Antichrist and the abomination of desolation, and the “woe” given to the earth and sea. If the fifth trumpet is the march on Jerusalem and establishment of the abomination of desolation, then it only makes sense that the first four trumpets are before that. If the establishment of the abomination of desolation takes place halfway through the final week (Dan 9:27), then once again, it makes most sense that these other trumpets take place in the first half of the week.

So, in the expression of timing, we find that the seals and trumpets both go from the beginning – or near the beginning – unto the end of the Tribulation. There is an interval between the sixth and seventh seal, and an interval between the sixth and seventh trumpet. We find another interval – albeit only a verse – between the sixth and seventh bowl of wrath. This is the progression that John has chosen. It would appear that in the chronology of events, John has chosen that the seals and trumpets are the full seven years, and that the intermission would return to the beginning as well. Now, in regard to Rev 10-11, we find the scroll that the angel holds to take us back to Rev 5. Why? Remember what the scroll represented. The scroll represented the judgments to be poured out upon Israel and Jerusalem. In Rev 11, we find the exact same thing to be true. (It should be noted that Rev 11 is the final 3 ½ years.)

So, when we look at the overview of the trumpets, what we find is a lot of reference to these cataclysmic events mentioned elsewhere in prophecy. Because we can somewhat line up those events being referenced, we can better understand where John is telling us the progression of events are taking place in our timeline. It takes incredible painstaking attention to the details to line all of this up correctly, and even with such attention it seems rather difficult to line everything up.

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2 thoughts on “Overview of the Trumpets – Rev 8-11

  1. Good day TJustinComer,

    You commented on my site a couple of times recently and so I thought that I would come and check out your site. After reading your post on the trumpets I thought that I would put in my two cents worth. I personally believe that the seals, trumpets and bowl judgments are all chronological, that is, that they take place in the order that God put them in. I have attempted to rearrange them myself, but it turns into a chronological nightmare. Before continuing I have noticed that you have made references to John in regards to his personal input regarding the events of Revelation such as when you said, “This is the progression that John has chosen.” Regarding this, we need to understand and remeber that God is the author and John is the writer and that the order of events contained in Revelation are by God’s design and not John’s. I believe that Peter made this point when he said:

    “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

    In addition to this in Rev.1:19 Jesus tells John to “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” Therefore, everything that is written is by God’s design and John has nothing to do with his own input, writing style or arrangemenet regarding the events of the book of Revelation.

    Now regarding the following:

    “The sixth seal seems to be the same event as the seventh trumpet, which seems to be the same event as the seventh bowl.”

    Now regarding the above, many times in Scripture we are told that the last day events leading up to Christ’s return are to be compared to a woman having birth pains, the inference being that these events would tape place closer together and become more intense as they lead up to the end. That being said, everything becomes progressively worse as you go beginning with the seals, into the trumpets and to then finally the bowl judgments. Though there are simularities regarding the sixth seal, the seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl, they are individual events. For example, though there is an earthquake mentioned as takeing place at the sixth seal, it is not the same earthquake as mentioned at the seventh bowl judgment. In fact there are many earthquakes mentioned throughout Revelation and all take place at different times. In comparison, the sixth seal it is mentioned as “a great earthquake,” where the one that takes place at the seventh bowl is referred to as the greatest earthquake to ever take place since man has been on the earth. At the sixth seal quake, the word “Kineo” is used which means to stir or excite, that is, the mountains and islands are moved, jostled in their places. In contrast the quake which takes place at the seveth bowl is so powerful that Scripture states that “Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.” This would demonstrate that this quake that takes place here at the seventh bowl is not the same as the quake that takes place at the sixth seal, ergo, they are two separate events. In like manner, we also have various events that take place with the sun, moon and stars, yet they are all seperate events specific to that particular judgment.

    Another issue I would like to point out is that the seventh trumpet cannot be the same as either the sixth seal or the seventh bowl and for very sound reasons. Let’s take trumpets 5, 6 and 7 for example. Trumpets 5, 6 and 7 are announced in the following way:

    “As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (Rev.8:13)

    One thing that I like to point out regarding these tree trumpets is the reason why they are referred to as “Woes” and that because they are all demonic in nature.

    Fifth Trumpet/first woe:
    Demonic beings are let out of the Abyss to torment the inhabitants of the earth for five months with stings like that of scorpions.

    “The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.”

    Sixth Trumpet/Second woe:
    the four evil angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates are released to kill a third of mankind and they do this by gathering a demonic army of ten thousand times ten thousand twice which equals 200 million. Note: My quess is that these four angels gather these 200 million from the Abyss which will have been previously opened at the fifth trumpet.

    “The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.”

    Seventh Trumpet/Third woe:
    Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

    “But WOE to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!”

    First of all, these three trumpets are viewed as a specific group, distinquishable from the seals, the first three trumpets and the bowl judgments and that as I said because all three are demonic in nature. That they are referred to as woes is meant to bring our attention that these are worse than what has previously taken place, being demonic in nature. Second, we know that at least trumpets 5, 6 and 7 are in chronological order. We can deduce this from the fact that after the fifth trumpet/fist woe has taken place, then comes the announcement that the first woe has passed and the second woe is coming soon. Likewise, after the sixth trumpet/second woe has completed, then the announcement is made that the second woe has passed and the third woe is coming soon. Those following announcements definitely demonstrate that after trumpet five comes trumpet six and after trumpet six comes trumpet seven. Consequently, this is also why I tell people that the war in heaven where Satan and his angels are cast to the earth, could not have possibly taken place yet and that because the world would have had to have experienced the first and second woes taking place first, being that they are chronological. Sufice to say, I have not seen any demonic beings stinging people for a period of five months nor is there any historical record of such an event.

    In regards to where the first seal is opened in relation to that last seven year period, I have always leaned toward the first seal, the rider on the white horse, as being synonymous with when that ruler makes his covenant with many for one ‘seven’. Just as you were speaking about simularities within the seals, trumpets and bowls, there are also two riders on white horses. I have a document where I have compared the characteristics of the two riders and it is instantly obvious that they are not the same riders. The rider on the white horse of the first seal is a counterfeit of the rider on the white horse of Rev.19, the riders being the antichrist and the Lord respectively.

    Recarding chronology, we also know that the bowls are in chonological order in relation to the seals and trumpets which can be garnered from the following:

    “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.” (Rev.15:1)

    In the verse above the bowls are treated as a unit because “with them” God’s wrath is completed and they are said to be last. Therefore, since the bowls are said to be “last” then other plagues of wrath would have had to come before them, which would had to have been the seals and the trumpets.

    In closing, I believe that the correct way to read Revelation is in the order that God put it in, first the seals, followed by the trumpets, which is then followed by the bowls, which is then followed by the return of the Lord to end the age and establish his literal thousand year kingdom on earth.

    Yours in Christ

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    1. Hey there! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I just got back from vacation on Sunday and finally have a chance to sit down and reply.
      You’re quite right about John being the one writing, but not the one dictating. I suppose that after a while I began searching for new ways to express that John is not an automaton, but has real valuable expression throughout the vision.
      The chronology of Revelation seems to me to best be a chronology of vision, but not necessarily of events. I used the example of Revelation 8:5, 11:19, and 16:18 all pretty well describing the same thing. Beyond this, there are also problems that I find in claiming strict chronology. How can we have the benediction of 11:15-19 before the coming of Jesus? Does chapter 14 signify a harvest before the final end harvest? Where do you find credence for that if so? Rev 6 parallels Jesus Olivet Discourse. The events lead up to the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds, which would make sense if the book cycles, but if not then why do the seals lead all the way up to the events mentioned just prior to Jesus’ return only to then take another 13 chapters to get there?
      In regard to the trumpets, I don’t think that chapter 12 has anything to do with the seventh trumpet. The seventh trumpet ends with chapter 11, because the ‘lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm’ close the thought – just like in Rev 8:5 and at the end of 16.
      Because chapter 12 is independent of the seventh trumpet, the “woe” mentioned in 12:12 seems to line up just fine with the fifth trumpet.
      I’m not sure where you get the idea that the woes are demonic in nature, because nothing in the text explains that. The angels are the ones to sound the trumpets, it affects real events in time and space, and it affects they who don’t have the seal of God upon them. This is just like when you go back to Ezekiel 9 and find the angel sealing the people in Jerusalem. There are angelic beings that are slaying men, and not demons.
      In regards to the bowls being the last plagues, I agree. Not only are they the last plagues mentioned in the vision, I have no problem with them being performed just prior to the return of Christ. The seals are not the trumpets, and the trumpets are not the bowls. Just because I think they all culminate at the same event doesn’t necessitate them all being the same thing. I think the seals begin with the ‘confirmation of the covenant’ in Dan 9:27, the trumpets most likely somewhere around the beginning of the sacrificing at the temple (Dan 8:13-14 suggesting 2300 days before the end), then chapters 12-14 being from just before the midpoint unto the end (chapter 13 showing the abomination of desolation), the bowls of wrath most likely being within weeks of the return of Christ, and chapters 17-19 being the destruction of Babylon immediately before the return of Christ.

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