Seven Trumpets Sounded – Introduction

INTRODUCTIONAnd I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. (Revelation 8:6)

Seven Angels – Only two angels are specifically named in the canonical scripture (Michael and Gabriel).(1) The Apocrypha (Enoch 20:7) names seven archangels (Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel, Remiel). In the period between the Old Testament and the New Testament Judaism had commonly accepted that there were seven archangels (adding the five to the two others).(2)

Seven Trumpets – According to Numbers 10, trumpets had three important uses.

Call to Assembly – They called the people to assemble (Numbers 10:1–8).

Battle Call – They proclaimed war and battles (Numbers 10:9).

Special Event – They announced special times and occasions (Numbers 10:10).(3)

Seven trumpets are not unique to the book of Revelation. Commentators note that a series of seven trumpeters appeared in the Old Testament (Joshua 6:6 Chronicles 15:24; Nehemiah 12:41).(4) The first four trumpets in Revelation share a common feature in that their judgments affect natural objects, most of which are essential to sustaining life on the earth (trees, grass, sea, rivers, fountains, sun, moon, and stars). The last three trumpets (the so-called woe-trumpets) affect mankind’s life with pain, death, and hell.

In many respects, these trumpet judgments appear to parallel the plagues of Egypt. Five or six out of the ten plagues on Egypt correspond exactly to the trumpets: hail, fire (Exodus 9:24), water turned to blood (Exodus 7:19), darkness (Exodus 10:21), locusts (Exodus 10:12), and death (Revelation 9:18).(5) Because of the sweeping scale of the trumpet judgments, some scholars question how these judgments could possibly be taken literally. But if God could send these same judgments specifically to Egypt in Moses’ day, what is to prevent Him from sending them upon the entire world? Is His reach restricted to one region of the globe? Is His power limited in its scope? Cannot He who created all things exercise judgment on all things?

One can only begin to imagine the tremendous social, economic and life or death consequences from the loss of farm and pasture land and from the pollution of pure water. Mankind has never fully appreciated the blessings of God’s goodness in nature. Yet, even when He takes away some of those blessings, many sinners will still refuse to repent (Revelation 9:20–21).(6)

Comparison to the Seven Bowls – There is also a parallel between the seven trumpets and the seven bowls of Revelation 15–16. It seems that the seven bowls are intensified judgments that follow the trumpet judgments. It is possible that the trumpet judgments belong to the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation, while the bowls are poured out during the last three and one-half years, when God’s wrath is intensified. The second half of the Tribulation (the Great Tribulation) is referred to as “the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:10; 15:7). See Figure 15.1.(7) Insurance policies euphemistically refer to “acts of God,” but the extreme unpleasantness of “the wrath of God” when it is finally unleashed cannot be sugar-coated.

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Up Next – The First Trumpet.

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References

  1. Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Re 8:2). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
  2. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 8:2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 592). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 8:2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 571). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  6. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 820). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  7. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 818). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 

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