REVELATION CHAPTER 8

THE DAY OF THE LORD & THE SEVEN TRUMPETS

In Chapter 8, John describes the breaking of the seventh seal, which ushers in the Day of the Lord. When the seventh and final seal is broken, the seven-sealed scroll, or Large Scroll, described in Revelation 5, will unroll. The Large Scroll contains the seven trumpet and seven bowl judgments. Remember, Jesus Christ returned to Earth during the Great Tribulation to Rapture the Church to heaven, immediately following the breaking of the sixth seal. Christ remains on Earth during the Day of the Lord, and is actively interfering with the world's events through His messengers - the avenging angels.

The Day of the Lord will be a time of unprecedented spiritual warfare. Jesus Christ and Antichrist, both on Earth, will be battling for the souls of the undecided, those who have not yet chosen either Jesus or Satan, embodied in Antichrist. During this time, three forces will be preaching the Word of the Lord: (1) the Two Witnesses (See Rev 11:3-6); (2) the 144,000 Jews, who will witnesses of God’s faithfulness to the nation Israel (See Rev 14:1-5); and (3) an angel sent by God to preach the gospel to every living creature on earth (See Rev 14:6-10).

The Day of the Lord represents God's fiery judgment. These judgments are likened to the fire and brimstone destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. See Luke 17:29. Peter explains that God once judged the world with water, and on the Day of the Lord, will destroy the Earth with fire:

2 Peter 3:6-7  [6] By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed (in Noah's day. See Gen 6:17). [7] By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

As the seven trumpets are blown, God’s judgment begins to fall upon the earth. Each trumpet judgment contains an element of the supernatural, unlike anything accompanying the breaking of the seals. These supernatural occurrences include abnormal occurrences of fire, waters turning to blood, burning asteroids colliding with the earth, the striking of the sun, moon, and stars, locusts released from the bottomless pit, and angels sent to kill a third of mankind.

Note the symbolic power of the trumpet judgments. Trumpets served many functions in the Old Testament: (1) to call God’s people together; (2) as a call for repentance; (3) to announce judgment; (4) as a call to salvation; (5) as a call to a King’s coronation; and (6) to announce the end times judgment. See Joel 2:1, Zech 9:14. The trumpet judgments will signify all of these things; Jesus Christ is calling believers to salvation, non-believers to judgment, and is announcing His reign as King of the Earth. Note that the trumpet judgments will not cease but will rather build, one upon the next. The harmony of an orchestra serves as an appropriate metaphor to understand this judgment; just as music becomes deeper and more powerful with each additional instrument, God’s wrath will begin as a single note, and intensify as each subsequent trumpet is blown.

Note that the seven trumpets are a call to salvation; during the Day of the Lord another period of evangelism will occur for those who have not taken the mark of the beast. Like the 144,000, those saved during the Day of the Lord will have rejected Antichrist but not accepted Jesus at the time of the Rapture. Indeed, in many cases the Rapture itself (the Second Coming of Christ) will convince non-believers that Jesus Christ is Lord. As such, the Day of the Lord will be the time of final harvest of believers. Notice how Christ gives mankind every possible chance to accept His gift of salvation, and how He wages war for the souls of unbelievers up till the very moment of Armageddon.

SILENCE IN HEAVEN; THE DAY OF THE LORD BEGINS

1 When he (Jesus) opened the seventh seal, (the seventh seal is the last of the seals binding the seven-sealed scroll. Once opened, the contents of the Large Scroll will be unleashed) there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (There will be silence immediately before the Day of the Lord. See Zephaniah 1:7. The opening of the 7th seal begins the outpouring of God’s wrath, and the silence conveys the awesome nature of this event; deity is about to invade human history and the End of the World – as we know it - is about to occur.)

THE GOLDEN CENSER – THE PRAYERS OF ALL THE SAINTS

2And I saw the seven angels who stand before God (these seven angels are probably among the powerful Cherubim who surround God’s throne) and to them were given seven trumpets. (Each of the trumpets is blown by an angel) 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer (In Biblical times, the Jewish priests would offer incense to God in the tabernacle by placing incense and hot coals in a container and allowing the resulting smoke to ascend towards heaven. A similar practice is observed in many Catholic churches today; priests walk down the center aisle swinging containers of incense. In heaven, the golden censer will hold incense, which represents the prayers of all the saints.), came and stood at the altar (of God). He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. (The angel comes to God with the prayers of the martyrs and saints seeking God’s vengeance, which have previously gone unanswered) 4The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. 5Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth (converting righteous prayers into fiery judgment); and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (The prayers of the saints are answered; the Day of the Lord is upon the Earth) 6Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

There are seven trumpet judgments in all, each brought forth by an angel sounding a trumpet blast. The first four trumpets will result in devastating ecological disasters, which will affect one third of the Earth. Remember, Jesus is still battling for the souls of the undecided, and the first four trumpets are designed to bring these souls to repentance and salvation. See Revelation 9:20. Also note that the first four trumpet judgments in many ways parallel the plagues visited upon Egypt in Biblical times. See Exodus 7-12. In both cases, God was calling unbelievers to repent. The early plagues (or trumpets) were a show of strength, urging sinners to follow Him, and the later plagues (or trumpets) were a show of judgment accompanied by death.

THE FIRST TRUMPET: THE LAND IS JUDGED

7The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire (possibly lightning) mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. (Similar to the plague called down by Moses upon Egypt, where hail struck the Earth and caught on fire, although this judgment will be much wider in scope) third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. (The Land is judged; literally, 1/3rd of the trees will burn, and all of the grass will burn. Since only one-third of the earth is destroyed by these trumpet judgments, this is only a partial judgment from God. While God is demonstrating his wrath via the trumpet judgments, He is still giving mankind a chance to repent. During the Day of the Lord, the 144,000 and the 2 Witnesses are actively calling mankind upon to repent and to accept Jesus)

THE SECOND TRUMPET: THE SEAS AND OCEANS ARE JUDGED

8The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. (A burning massive asteroid falls from outer space and crashes into the sea). A third of the sea (most likely the Mediterranean Sea) turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (The asteroid will most likely strike the Mediterranean Sea, known in Biblical times as "Roman Lake," causing one-third of the sea creatures to die and the sea to turn to blood. Note the parallel with the plagues of Egypt; when Pharaoh refused to repent, Moses struck the Nile, turning it to blood.)

THE THIRD TRUMPET: THE FRESH WATERS ARE JUDGED

10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water (a second object falls from space and somehow affects the fresh waters on the Earth. This is perhaps caused by the chemical residue, debris from the asteroid, as well as the heated poisonous gasses from its tail) — 11 the name of the star is Wormwood (Wormwood is a very bitter herb that was used in the Old Testament to signify bitter judgment. See Deut 29:18, Jer. 23:15). A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. (One third of the fresh waters become bitter, contaminated, poisoned, and undrinkable. Although this causes a great loss of life, God is still holding back ultimate judgment in order to allow unbelievers to repent.)

THE FOURTH TRUMPET: THE HEAVENLY BODIES ARE JUDGED

12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark (At this point, the natural world is in total chaos. This darkness could be result of environmental damage from Wormwood, as the atmosphere fills with dust, or could have a separate devastating cause.). A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. (Again, the damage is still only partial. Again, this trumpet judgment references the judgments of Egypt; the ninth plague to visit Egypt caused thick darkness to cover the land for three days).

AN ANGELIC WARNING: THE WORST IS YET TO COME!

13 As I watched, I heard an eagle (A cherub. Perhaps this is the living creature that had the face of an eagle. See Rev 4:7) 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!” (The next three trumpets are called "Woes." The angelic eagle repeats the word “Woe” three times, to signal the three trumpet judgments to come)

The first four trumpets bring judgment against the Earth (the Land, the Oceans, the Fresh Waters, the Skies) in the form of massive environmental damage. The final three trumpets, or WOES, bring judgment directly against mankind. The judgment of the three woes - trumpets 5, 6, and 7 - introduce us to the worst expression of God’s wrath recorded in the Book of Revelation; we see a world afflicted by unrestrained demonic activity. The time of repentance is at an end, and God will finally and ultimately judge those who refuse to believe.

Go to Revelation Chapter 9