Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter. The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night. Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come. Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound. The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. (Revelation 8:6-9:21, 11:15,19 ESV)
The Heavenly Yom Kippur Ceremony
After the silence from Seal 7, seven angels are given seven trumpets. An 8th angel comes and stands at the altar and offers incense with the prayers of the saints before the throne of God. The angel then takes fire from the altar and throws it to the earth – resulting in lightning, thunder, and an earthquake. The silence has been broken!
This event is significant in that it is the heavenly enactment of the Yom Kippur temple ritual. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment, incense is offered with sacrifices by the high priest to offer atonement for the people. It is the ONLY day of the year that the High Priest can enter the Holy of Holies, and as such, it is the most solemn and significant day on the Hebrew calendar. It would seem that the wrath of God cannot begin until this ceremony is performed in the heavenlies. The prayers of the 5th Seal martyred saints are about to be answered! God’s judgment is about to be released upon the world.
The Trumpet Judgments
In Revelation Chapter 8-9 , 11 we are introduced to the Trumpet Judgments. Let’s summarize these first and then discuss them in more detail.
- Trumpet 1 – Hail and fire mingled with blood, 1/3 of trees burned, all green grass burned
- Trumpet 2 – Great Mountain burning with fire cast into sea, 1/3 sea becomes blood
- Trumpet 3 – Great star falls from heaven, 1/3 of fresh water made bitter
- Trumpet 4 – 1/3 of light from the sun, moon, and stars is dimmed
- Trumpet 5 – Woe 1 – Demonic army is unleashed from the abyss and tortures men for 5 months. They are not allowed to touch the sealed 144,000.
- Trumpet 6 – Woe 2 – Demonic army of 200,000,000 is unleashed from the region of the Euphrates, where they have been bound, and kills 1/3 of humanity.
- Trumpet 7 – Woe 3 – Lightnings, voices, thunderings, earthquake, great hail. Contains the 7 bowl judgments, which complete the wrath of God.
Let’s delve further into the first 4 Trumpet Judgments – the Judgment of Thirds:
First Trumpet – Land Judgment – Hail and Fire, mixed with Blood – 1/3 of earth, trees, and green grass burned up
Hail and fire are frequent accompaniments of severe electrical storms. Will this judgment involve severe global thunderstorms with lightning and resultant forest and grass fire activity? Worldwide volcanic eruptions could represent the blood (reminiscent of Joel 2:30 – blood and fire and billows of smoke). Alternately, blood could be describing the death that results from the hail and fire. Blood is important in the description, because the Day of the Lord is about purging the land of its’ blood guilt. However 1/3 of the earth, trees, and grass is burned, it will be devastating to the animals and humans that are yet alive. Food will become even more scarce and the death toll from famine will increase.
Second trumpet – Sea Judgment – Great Mountain of Fire Thrown into Sea – 1/3 of sea became blood, 1/3 sea creatures died, 1/3 ships destroyed
The object plunging into the sea appears like a great mountain burning with fire – the most probable explanation is an asteroid or giant meteorite (the size of a mountain), surrounded by flaming gases. The devastation will spread worldwide and affect 1/3 of the seas – the contaminated water (blood) will kill 1/3 of the creatures and the giant waves that result (like tsunamis) will capsize 1/3 of the ships. Again, note the blood – this time in the sea.
Third Trumpet – Fresh Water Judgment – Flaming object from space poisons 1/3 of fresh water
This is likely a meteor or comet (burning like a torch), which breaks up in the atmosphere. The fiery debris contaminates 1/3 of the fresh water around the globe. Wormwood is a toxic plant, and is associated with bitterness, poison, and death in the OT. I’m not sure that the wormwood toxin will be the actual poison, or if it has been selected to represent some type of severe bitter judgment on the fresh water (possibly nuclear). It will be very difficult to obtain enough uncontaminated water to drink, and this will result in much animal and human suffering and death.
Fourth Trumpet – Heavens Judgment – Sun, moon, and stars darkened – Light is dimmed by 1/3
Light from the celestial bodies is darkened by 1/3, possibly by disruptions in the earth’s atmosphere. The loss of heat from the sun will cause temperatures to plunge drastically all over the world. Weather patterns will be severely disrupted, leading to violent and unpredictable storms. Agriculture will be affected. For further research on how atmospheric disturbance from something like ash (from Trumpet 1?) can affect weather patterns and agriculture, you can look up “Nuclear Winter”.
Now let’s discuss the final 3 Trumpet Judgments, also known as the “Woe Judgments”:
Fifth Trumpet (First Woe) – Demonic Locust Army Stings Humans for 5 months – death suspended
Satan will have been already permanently cast down to the earth [see further details in Rev 12:7-9], and is now given the key to the abyss to release its inmates (fallen angels). These appear resembling locusts, which swarm out from the abyss to plague the people of the earth with painful stings for 5 months. The normal lifespan of a locust is from May to September – maybe this is when they will appear?
There is no weapon that can harm them, and no cure for their torment. People will seek death (suicide?) but it will not be granted to them – Satan is holding the key to hell during that time and no one will enter. Note that the demons will not be allowed to affect the 144,000 Jews who have been sealed by God, placing the timing of this judgment after their sealing but before their martyrdom (Revelation 15). The locust army is not allowed to affect the physical world (grass, trees, greenery), which physical locusts would normally consume. Thus we can know that these are not literal locusts, but locust-like beings.
Sixth Trumpet (Second Woe) – Demonic Army Unleashed – 1/3 of mankind slaughtered
Here is yet another “one third” judgment. Four angels, who have been prepared specifically for this hour and day and month and year, are released from their bindings (indicating that they are fallen angels – holy angels are not bound). The time has come for them to enact judgment upon the earth in accordance with God’s purposes. This demonic army of 200,000,000 is released from the Euphrates river area and sent forth to slaughter 1/3 of mankind – death has returned to the earth.
That this army is controlled by God is confirmed by Joel chapter 2, which discusses this attack in detail. – “4They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. 5 With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle. 6 At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale.7 They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course.8 They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks.9 They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows.10 Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.11 The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?” (Joel 2:4-11 ESV)
The army is all consuming, just as literal locusts consume all vegetation. Note that the earth is shaking, the heavens are trembling, the sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars are not shining. The Day of the Lord is a time of darkness, throughout much of its course. This darkness may also indicate that T5 closely follows T4, or that the sheer number of demons roaming about literally darken the skies – YIKES!
Even yet God will call people to repent – “ “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (Joel 2:12-13. ESV) Even in judgment, God extends His mercy. During the trumpets, repentance is still possible.
It appears that this demonic army might consist of the fallen Watchers (from Genesis 6). These have been kept in chains until the judgment of the great Day – The Day of the Lord. “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—“ (Jude 1:6 ESV) and “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Peter 2:4 ESV)
The number of bodies piled up is difficult to fathom. Still – the bulk of humanity does not repent or turn to God. “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Rev 9:20-21 ESV). It’s shocking, but people will be so passionate about believing the lie of Satan that they will continue to stubbornly reject God.
Seventh Trumpet (Third Woe) – Flashes of lighting, rumblings, peals of thunder, earthquake, heavy hail – Contains the 7 Bowl Judgments
Before the 7th Trumpet is blown, there is a pause in the Revelation narrative as several other events are described. At the blowing, loud voices proclaim that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of Christ – it is certain, and it is coming to fulfillment. There are flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
The process that Trumpet 7 announces will take a number of days. The seventh trumpet heralds in the final events leading up to Jesus taking His earthly kingdom, and allows the 7 Bowls to be poured out. We are told in Revelation 10:7 that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled. This mystery is the redemption of all of creation, which began at the cross and is about to be completed!
In heaven, we will be rejoicing. The elders praise God who was and who is, but notably missing is the “who is to come”. With the 7th trumpet, the “is to come” has arrived – it is finished! The kingdom Christ paid for with His blood is now going to be claimed. There is a stark contrast on earth, where the nations are enraged.
7 Trumpets Timeframe
I believe the Trumpet Judgments occur sequentially as described. Trumpets 1-4 could happen in very quick succession as they seem related to each other by similar space/atmospheric events. How soon these happen after Seal 6 depends on how long the “approximate half hour of silence” is from Seal 7.
I discuss this more in my post on Seal 7, but possibilities for when the Trumpets begin to sound include:
- These may occur very soon after the rapture / seal 6 earthquake events
- They may start 7 days later, similar to Noah being sealed in the ark 7 days before the flood began
- They may start 10 days later, representing the “10 Days of Awe” between the Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur
- They may begin on Yom Kippur…and they might not; we simply are not told for sure
- They may begin halfway through the first half of the 70th Week of Daniel
We are not told how long it is after Trumpet 4 that Trumpet 5 sounds, but the duration of Trumpet 5 is given as 5 months. This is the first woe.
At the completion of the 5 month period of Trumpet 5, Trumpet 6 sounds. We are not told the duration of Trumpet 6, but we do know when it is completed. In Revelation chapter 11, we find out that the 6th Trumpet (2nd woe) ends after the 2 witnesses from God have been killed and resurrected from the dead 3.5 days later. The antichrist likely proclaims himself to be “god” and commits the “abomination of desolation” while the 2 witnesses are lying dead. Thus, whenever the 6th Trumpet Judgment begins, it appears to end approximately 3.5 days after the antichrist declares himself to be “god”. We know that this event occurs halfway through the 70th Week of Daniel (7 year time period commonly called the “Tribulation”).
It’s entirely probable that there is a long pause in between the completion of Trumpet 6 and the sounding of Trumpet 7. This would allow for the Beast to set up his rule and persecute the saints. At the blowing of Trumpet 7, loud voices proclaim that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of Christ – it is certain, and it is coming to fulfillment. The 7th Trumpet ushers in the 7 Bowl Judgments, and as such, I believe is likely near the end of the Beast’s rule.
Zechariah 14 tells us that before Jesus comes with His holy ones, the Mount of Olives will be split into two – from East to West – to allow the Hebrews one final chance to flee before a great (the greatest ever) earthquake of Bowl 7 occurs. I’m postulating that the earthquake of Trumpet 7 is the one that splits the Mount of Olives. I believe this is Jesus calling to the elect remnant in Jerusalem, “Come Out of Her, My People!”, right before the destruction of Mystery Babylon (end-times city of Jerusalem). Anyone who obeys would be spared from God’s final outpouring of wrath, and it seems that half the city might actually listen!
One other point I would like to make about the Trumpets is that #1-4 and #6 are “1/3 Judgments”. The end times connection to “1/3” is found in Revelation 12:3, where it describes the dragon as dragging 1/3 of the angels down to the earth with him. Most see this as the fall of Satan and the other fallen angels.
Trumpets 1-4 may relate to this casting down of satan and the fallen angels somehow, which is further described in Revelation 12. Perhaps the battle between Michael and the holy angels and Satan and the unholy angels occurs in the heavenly “silence” of Seal 7 during the Days of Awe, and they are ousted on Yom Kippur just in time to experience the 1/3 judgments on earth?? If there is any truth to the “Planet X” theory, Trumpets 1-4 seem to accompany it.
Trumpet 6 results in the slaying of 1/3 of humanity by a gigantic army that I believe is demonic.
Do the 7 Trumpet Judgments contain God’s wrath?
We have already examined the effects of the 7 Seals on the earth as being a result of the removal of the restraint of the Holy Spirit through the body of Christ. The Seals are not wrath, but at their opening, the inhabitants of earth recognize that the time of God’s wrath has arrived:
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17 ESV
The upcoming 7 Bowls are unequivocably wrath, as it states plainly that they are in scripture:
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.” (Rev 15:1 ESV)
What about the 7 Trumpets? Are these merely “judgment”, or are they “wrath”?
In Revelation 15, John states that the angels holding the 7 Bowls are the LAST, which strongly supports the view that the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls are chronological and not concurrent. It also confirms that the Trumpets, at least, were also wrath. The Bowls can’t be “last”, if nothing else came before them as “first”. The Seals, as we have discussed separately, are different in form and while terrible, appear to signify the removal of restraint more than active “wrath”. Thus, I believe that the Seals are a consequence of an event (the rapture of the church), and that the Trumpets and Bowls are the Wrath of God, contained within the Day of the Lord.
The Seals involve the removal of God’s light from the earth when the church is raptured. The Trumpets seem to involve the resultant infiltration of darkness as the earth is overcome by satan’s presence and deception. There is apparent connection between the 1/3 of angels that fall and the Trumpet judgments, as T1-T4 and T6 all involve “1/3’s”. Trumpets 5&6 seemingly involve demonic armies carrying out judgment according to God’s purposes. Trumpet 7 announces the final days when Jesus will take hold of His kingdom! For these reasons, I believe the Trumpet Judgments span the majority of the 7-year “Tribulation”, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. It’s possible that trumpets 1-6 encompass the first half, and Trumpet 7 comes near the very end of the second half.
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!