This is part 5 in a 14 part series entitled Don’t Panic – Survival Guide to the Apocalypse. Full PDF Download available free here: Don’t Panic – Survival Guide
Act 2 – The First 1260 Days
As I mentioned previously, there are different interpretations of when and how these events will play out. Please allow some flexibility here as I give my best interpretation. Within the first 1260 days of the apocalyptic period, I suggest that the following will occur:
- 7 Seals release 7 specific actions
- Prophetic Wars will break out
- Certain individuals will be sealed by God
- A covenant will be confirmed with Israel
- There is a “dueling” of religions
- God will send 2 Witnesses
- 6 Trumpets release 6 judgments
The 7 Seals
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder,“Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse!Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
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?”
In Revelation chapter 6, I suggest to you that Jesus (the Lamb of God) opens the seven seals within moments of each other. This immediately begins what is known as “the tribulation” (or “the apocalypse”). Each seal is currently restraining an action; when the seal is released, the action is also released (unrestrained; allowed to begin). Some of these actions continue for a little while; some will continue throughout the entire 7 year period.
Seal 1 – White Horse with a Rider holding a Bow and wearing a Crown. It seems that a leader will begin a rise to power on the global stage. In 1260 days he will become THE global ruler and declare himself to be “god”. The effects of this seal opening will persist throughout the entire time period and represent the man the Bible refers to as the “antichrist” or the “beast”.
Seal 2 – Red Horse with a Rider Granted to Take Peace From the Earth. Many wars will occur as the world struggles to establish a “new world order” out of the chaos that has erupted. This seal also includes the brutal and massive violent response of humanity as they fight for survival. The effects of this seal opening will persist throughout the entire “apocalyptic” time period.
Seal 3 – Black Horse with a Rider Holding a Pair of Scales or a Yoke. There will be global famine of such a remarkable extent that a loaf of bread will cost a day’s wages – the poor will have a difficult time surviving. It would seem that volcanic ash in the atmosphere will lead to a decrease in food production. The wars from Seal 2 will further disrupt the food chain. Transportation of goods may also be affected by war and natural disasters. The world might be unequally affected by this famine, with pockets of the population being relatively unscathed. The effects of this seal opening will persist throughout the entire period.
Seal 4 – Ashen (Pale/Green/Dappled) Horse ridden by Death, Given Authority to Kill a Fourth of the Earth. It seems that a quarter of the earth’s population will die within a relatively short timespan, specifically from the causes of war, violence, famine, disease outbreaks, and wild animals. In current numbers, this would include the death of approximately 1.95 billion people. It would seem that the effects of this seal opening will be completed within a relatively short period of time (if I were to hazard a guess – maybe a few months to a year?).
Seal 5 – Martyrs Under the Altar cry out for Vengeance; Given White Robes and Told to Rest for a Little While. I believe that this describes the dead in Christ who were resurrected and taken up into heaven; others suggest that this pictures followers of Jesus Christ being killed for their faith. That will also certainly occur, particularly in the second 1260-day half. The effects of this seal opening seem to be immediate.
Seal 6 – Great Earthquake, Sun turns Black, Full Moon turns Blood Red, Stars fall from the Sky, Sky vanishes like a Scroll, Every Mountain and Island Moved, Earth Dwellers all Hide in Fear and Declare that the Great Day of the Wrath of God and the Lamb has Come. This is the “beginning of birth pains” as discussed in the previous chapter, and parallels what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24. The “birth pains” mark the start of the “tribulation” or “apocalypse”. The effects of this seal opening will be immediate, persisting for a short period of time (days? weeks?).
Seal 7 – Silence in Heaven for About Half an Hour, an Angel Offers the Prayers of the Saints Before God’s Throne, The Angel Fills the Censer with Fire from the Altar and Throws it on the Earth, Followed by Thunder, Lightning, and an Earthquake. The Seventh Seal brings forth 7 Angels with 7 Trumpets. The opening of this seal suggests that after the initial onslaught of the effects of the seven seals, there will be a pause before the trumpet judgments sound.
Wars Are Decreed
Wars, and rumors of war, strike black marks along the entire span of human history. That humans fight with each other is not unique.
Israel, as God’s chosen nation and people, is the central focus of Bible Prophecy. Throughout the Old Testament we are presented with prophecies and fulfillments of many wars involving Israel as she moves in to occupy and preserve her Promised Land.
There are several prophesied wars involving Israel that will occur in the future. The timing of these is broadly in “the latter years”. I suspect that war may break out shortly before, during, or after the disappearance of those who follow Jesus Christ, and continue off and on throughout the entire “apocalyptic” period of approximately 7-10 years. This will fulfill the release of Seal 2 mentioned above.
I would like to give you a brief overview of these wars, so that you will be able to recognize them and know that they are occurring when and how God said they would. There are several opinions as to how this might play out. First, a summary:
- Concurrently, the world will first be divided into four main parts (“kingdoms”).
- Two kingdoms may be ruled by singular rulers.
- One kingdom will be ruled by 4 “kings”.
- The fourth kingdom will be ruled by 10 “kings”.
- In this fourth kingdom, three of these 10 kings will be quickly displaced by the man who will become the “antichrist”.
- This fourth kingdom, led by the antichrist, will progressively take over the other 3 kingdoms over the next 3.5 years.
Nation Rising Against Nation
One of the first true “Birth Pains” that will indicate that the “time of the end” has finally arrived is Nation Rising Against Nation, and Kingdom Rising Against Kingdom.
Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Luke 21:10)
These phrases (“nation rising against nation”, and “kingdom against kingdom”) were a Hebrew idiom meaning war involving the entire known region. Since the entire world will be involved in the “time of the end”, it would suggest that the “nation rising against nation” mentioned by Jesus would most likely be along the lines of what we would consider World War 3. It will involve many nations.
The Destruction of Damascus – Isaiah 17
Isaiah 17 states that it is a prophecy against Damascus:
Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. (Isaiah 17:1)
The prophecy in Isaiah 17 points to the complete destruction of Damascus, never to be restored again. This is noteworthy because presently the city is recognized as the world’s longest continually inhabited city. Other cities (not specifically defined) are affected as well, and will be abandoned and desolated.
Isaiah refers to “that day” three times in this chapter. “That Day” is generally used in scripture to specifically refer to the “Day of the Lord”. Here, “that day” connects the destruction of Damascus with the “day” when the “glory of Jacob fades” and only “gleanings” remain. This is consistent with the Day of the Lord, or the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble”, where 2/3 of the Israelites will perish and 1/3 will be brought through the fires of testing (Zechariah 13:8-9). The Day of the Lord is not a single day, but a timespan of up to 7 years. This does not suggest the battle lasts for 7 years, but that the effects of it might – especially when coupled with all the other events of the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
Jeremiah 49:23-27 contains a prophecy concerning Damascus that connects its’ destruction with “that day” where they will “melt in fear”, and will be seized in panic when anguish and sorrows take hold of her as of a woman in labor. There are strong connections between a woman in labor and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Revelation 12:1-5, Isaiah 26, Isaiah 66). Jeremiah is certainly talking about the same event mentioned in Isaiah 17, which seems to be connected to the start of the “Tribulation” (Daniel’s 70th Week / the Day of the Lord).
Isaiah 17 also mentions that in “that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel”. This is consistent with the purpose of the entire Day of the Lord, from start to finish – God will use judgment to get His people’s attention and draw them back to Him.
The “many nations” and “peoples” who are attempting to plunder Israel are “driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale” in the span of one evening/night. It seems that the enemies flee, and are not destroyed.
The Arab-Israeli Promised Land War of Psalm 83
Psalm 83 is a prayer of the prophet Asaph. In it, he requests for God to break His silence towards Israel and protect her. He mentions a specific group of nations wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the map. The nations include Edom, Ishmaelites, Moab, Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre, and Asshur. Modern day equivalents would seem to be Egypt, Jordan/Palestinians, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.
This war appears to have been at least partially fulfilled in the Six-Day War of 1967. The exact nations described in Psalm 83 issued a coordinated attack against Israel, and Israel was victorious.
It’s also possible that the complete fulfillment, or a dual fulfillment, of this war is yet future. An interesting detail noted in Obadiah is that it places the battle against Edom (included in Psalm 83) near the Day of the Lord – “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.” (Obad 1:15). The reference of being near the Day of the Lord could refer to 1967, which is “near” in the sense of not being thousands of years off…. or this war could yet be future. The Day of the Lord was drawing “near” upon all the nations 50 years ago… but it is certainly much nearer now.
Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38 & 39
Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 detail a very specific war against Israel. For it to occur, Israel must be existing in a state of “peace and safety”. What this is exactly is debatable, but it seems that it involves either some overconfidence or lack of awareness (carelessness) on Israel’s part. She will not be actively at war when these nations attack her, and she will be caught by surprise.
A future leader or supreme commander will oversee a vast military alliance which will be heavily armed. In the Bible the leader is named “Gog”. I do not believe this is the human leaders’ name, but instead represents the spiritual entity behind the geographical region called “Magog”. The modern nation that “Magog” represents would seem to be either Russia or Turkey. The alliance appears to be primarily Islamic, and their goal will be to overtake Israel’s resources. It seems that Russia (Turkey?) will be joined by Iran and Islamic nations from north and east Africa (Ethiopia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and others), plus Islamic nations of the Middle East and Central Asia (Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and others). There may be mild protest to this invasion from unspecified nations (USA?), but there will be no intervention in support of Israel and Israel may not even have time to defend itself.
God will completely destroy the invading armies and send destruction to their homelands through a global earthquake, internal chaos and infighting, pestilence, torrential rain, hail, fire and brimstone. What begins as divine judgment on the troops surrounding Israel will expand to include the whole world. (Note there are strong connections to Seal 6 in Revelation 6 as well as the first Trumpet Judgment in Revelation 8).
Basically, God will raise Israel’s enemies up against her in such a way as to guarantee her destruction, just so that He can prevent her from being destroyed.
God breaks His silence with Israel for the purpose of announcing to an unbelieving world – Israel herself and all the nations – that He is still here! He intends to fulfill His covenant promises and reclaim Israel as His people and His land. God mentions this purpose 70 times in the book of Ezekiel; four times in these two chapters alone, to ensure He gets His point across.
It’s impossible to overemphasize the significance that God Himself is arranging this war exactly according to His schedule. God has one final test for Israel. He will use Gog / Magog as a challenge for both Israel and the nations. It will be deliberately presented so that it can be interpreted by Israel as the final war (Battle of Armageddon). Will Israel then turn to Jesus as the true Messiah, or will she embrace the anti-Messiah that satan will raise up?
Gog, the commander, will die upon the mountains of Israel along with his armies. After God intervenes and destroys the army, Israel will spend 7 months cleansing the land and burying the dead. Israel will also be able to use the invaders’ weapons as some type of fuel source and will plunder their equipment. They will do so for a period of 7 years (but there may be more than 7 years’ supply available). At the 7 year point, something will happen to intervene with this use if the supply has not run out (I would suggest the Second Coming of Jesus Christ).
I would suggest that the wars of Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39 might blur together and occur within a short span of time.
Regardless of the exact timing, God Himself will intervene to save Israel in these wars. As a result, Israel will want to re-institute their Temple worship of God with Old Testament-style sacrifices. The person (or ‘being’) who arises and takes credit for winning these wars won’t be God, but he will end up claiming to be.
A Global Leader Begins to Emerge
I believe the 3 wars detailed above (Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38-39), in addition to the World Wars (Nation Rising Against Nation), occur in very close proximity to the removal of the true church from the earth (those who have been “born again” through the blood of Jesus Christ). However, they may possibly be included in the description of the Antichrist’s rise to power. I am confident that it will become very clear at the time it occurs!
As the “apocalypse” begins, a great power vacuum will exist in the world. Prior social and economic structures will collapse under the burden of disaster. A man or being will rise to power quickly, to bring “peace” and “unity”. This man is known in the Bible as “the lawless one”, “the antichrist”, “false christ”, “false messiah”, and “the beast”. The “antichrist” will participate in ushering in a new world order. The details of the Antichrist’s rise to power is found in Daniel chapters 7, 11, and Revelation chapter 13. It would seem to fulfill the release of Seal 1.
A major calamity will come upon the world at some point, creating a power vacuum. I believe this will be the removal of the true church from the earth, with Seals 1-7 opening in its’ wake. Out of the power vacuum will arise 4 kingdoms. These 4 kingdoms will burst forth suddenly upon the world and are described as:
A Lion – which will rise up swiftly and strongly, then be toned down considerably. It’s possible this is parallel to the King of the South, who attacks the antichrist but will be subdued by him (Daniel 11:40).
A Bear – a ferocious kingdom acting out of perceived threat. It will have three initial great conquests. This kingdom may be tied to the King of the North (Daniel 11:40).
A Leopard with Four Heads – a very swiftly rising kingdom with 4 main leaders or nations. It may “lay in wait” patiently before suddenly rising up extremely quickly. Perhaps this kingdom is associated with the King of the East, or “news” from the east that troubles the antichrist (Daniel 11:44). It may make an agreement with the “King of the North”.
A Beast – exceedingly strong kingdom with no hint of weakness. This coalition of nations may involve the west, plus a scattering of remnant nations not incorporated into the other 3 Kingdoms. It will initially be a coalition of 10 leaders/nations. An eleventh leader will rise up, replacing three of the original members. It would appear that this eleventh leader, the antichrist, will attempt to fulfill the messianic expectations of the Jews (Ezekiel 34:25; Isaiah 54:10).
The Beast Kingdom will Devour the Other Kingdoms – In Daniel chapter 11, we are given a description of how this fourth Beast kingdom devours the other three kingdoms until ultimately the antichrist rules the entire world. The antichrist, through the power of Satan, will succeed in conquering the world. His wars are detailed in verses 40-45; he may use generous diplomacy (rewards) in addition to actual fighting. We have now arrived at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week – halfway through the “Tribulation”. The Antichrist is about to proclaim himself to be “god”.
God’s Special Seal
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
Included within the opening of the sixth seal is a description of 144,000 specific individuals whom God will place His mark upon. It seems that these are perhaps the first Hebrews who come to faith in Jesus Christ after the start of the “apocalypse”. They may currently be orthodox Jews. They likely do not know what tribes they descend from – but God does! This special seal upon them spares them from the effects of Trumpet 5. God may have other plans and purposes for them that has not yet been revealed. They may be spared from other judgments; we do not know in advance. Whether subsequent believers in Christ will also be sealed and spared some of these judgements we also are not told.
A Strong Covenant
A very important Bible prophecy for the time you are in is the 70 Weeks of Daniel, recorded in Daniel chapter 9. Most of this prophecy has been fulfilled – it is the final, 70th, “week of years” that remains. This final week, officially begins when a covenant is confirmed with Israel. Many people believe that the man who will become the antichrist (or perhaps his “false prophet”) will make, or confirm, a peace or land (or land for peace) treaty with Israel. The covenant may be made for 7 years (peace agreement), or it may be presented as eternal (a “new messianic covenant”).
And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. (Daniel 9:26-27 ESV)
Another possible interpretation of this passage is more easily seen when using a different Bible translation from Hebrew to English:
“And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation.” (Daniel 9:27 LXX Interlinear)
In this translation it appears that God reconfirms His Abrahamic land and people covenant with Israel. I would suggest this would occur through His intervention in the wars we just discussed above. If this is the case, people may not be aware of any agreement made or signed. I present the options to you, in case a treaty or covenant is made, so that you will be able to identify it. If someone enters into an agreement with Israel, or if Israel is suddenly attacked and miraculously survives, mark that man and/or that date. The confirming of this covenant, whatever it turns out to be, will start an event known as the 70th Week of Daniel. This 70th Week pertains directly to the nation of Israel and ethnic Hebrews, and is generally known as “The 7 Year Tribulation”. Hollywood refers to it as “the apocalypse”. The clock starts ticking at the covenant being confirmed.
Regardless of who confirms the covenant and how, what we understand from this prophecy is that:
- A covenant will be confirmed with Daniel’s people (Israel).
- This covenant confirmation will re-start the count of weeks. This is critical, because the confirmation of the covenant is the start-point for a number of day counts.
- In 1260 days, a man will declare himself to be “god” in the rebuilt Jewish Temple
- In 1260 days, the Jewish sacrifices in the Temple will cease
- In 1260 days, the altar of sacrifice will be desecrated. In the past, a shadow example of this was when Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the altar. This may or may not be repeated. Perhaps a sacrifice to this “god-man” will be made, or perhaps this is when his image will be set up and worshiped in the temple.
- In 2520 days, Jesus Christ will return in great power and glory.
- In 2520 days, Jesus will cast this “god-man” (antichrist) and his false prophet into the eternal lake of fire.
- In 2520 days, Jesus will defeat all those gathered against Him and establish His global kingdom.
There will be a dueling of religions on the world stage. On one hand, the man who is rising to power on the global stage will be forming a religion of some type. It may look a lot like Judaism in the beginning. He may be supportive of the rebuilding of the Third Temple by the Jews. On the other hand, God will send two witnesses who will act as prophets. These will be instructing Israel and teaching them to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
This “anti-messiah” or “antichrist” will be supported by a false prophet. The false prophet may identify himself “Elijah”. These two, and their entourage, will be extremely convincing and will be accompanied by all kinds of miraculous signs and wonders. They will be empowered by none other than satan – forming an “unholy trinity”.
At some point, the “antichrist” will likely identify as the Jewish messiah. He may also identify as the messiah for other religions as well, explaining that everyone had different understandings of the same thing. He may encourage Old Testament-style worship of God… at first. Some of Israel (up to 2/3) will seemingly embrace this man as their anticipated messiah, here to usher in the messianic kingdom. They will believe the events that will have already transpired (wars in which they survived, the building of the Third Temple, sacrifices restarting) have fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. They will believe that a time of peace and prosperity for Israel, the millennial kingdom, is nigh. In reality, their time of testing is just beginning.
God’s Two Witnesses
In Revelation chapter 11, we are introduced to two special individuals God calls His Witnesses:
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. ” (Revelation 11:3-13)
From this passage, we note that:
- They proclaim the gospel for 1260 days as prophets
- They are clothed in sackcloth – traditionally representing repentance
- They are two olive trees – they will be Jews (Hebrews)
- They are two lampstands – they will be God’s light, His representatives
- Fire pours from their mouths and consumes their foes – they are supernaturally empowered against being harmed
- They have the power to shut the sky (no rain) – this is similar to Elijah in his earthly ministry
- They have the power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire – this is similar to Moses in his earthly ministry
- When they have finished their testimony (they have an allotted number of days to prophesy – 1260), the beast that rises from the bottomless pit (an allusion to the resurrected antichrist) will conquor them and kill them – this indicates they have mortal bodies that can die.
- Their dead bodies will lie in the street for a period of 3.5 days, while people look on and celebrate with parties and the exchange of presents over their deaths.
- They will be killed in the “great city” where their Lord was crucified – this can be none other than Jerusalem.
- After 3.5 days, the breath of life enters their bodies as they are resurrected from the dead, likely to immortality
- God calls them to “Come Up Here”, and they are taken into heaven.
The identity of these two individuals is debatable, but many believe they might be Elijah and either Moses or Enoch from Old Testament times. Alternately, they may be two current age individuals, who function similarly to how Moses (“the Law”) and Elijah (“the Prophets”) functioned in the Old Testament. The two witnesses will fearlessly proclaim God’s judgment and the need for repentance – that the Kingdom of God is finally, truly, near!
The First 6 Trumpets (Revelation 8:6-9:21, 11:15,19)
When the seventh seal is opened, “approximately half an hour of silence” ensues. This is not silence as in the lack of sound, but silence as a “pause”. Once the silence ends, seven angels will begin to sound their trumpets. Each trumpet releases a specific judgment.
When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
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!” (Revelation 8:1-13)
I believe that the first six trumpets sound in this first 1260 day period; others believe they will be spread out over the entire seven year period. You should be able to identify when the trumpet has sounded in heaven by observing the effects as they occur on the earth. Trumpets 1-4 could happen in very quick succession as they seem related to each other by similar space/atmospheric events.
Trumpet 1 – Land Judgment – Hail and fire mingled with blood, 1/3 of trees burned, all green grass burned. 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.
Trumpet 2 – Sea Judgment – Great Mountain burning with fire cast into sea, 1/3 sea becomes blood. 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.
Trumpet 3 – Fresh Water Judgment – Great star falls from heaven, 1/3 of fresh water made bitter. 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 old testament. 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.
Trumpet 4 – Heavens Judgment – 1/3 of light from the sun, moon, and stars is dimmed. 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”:
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. (Revelation 9:1-19)
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.
Trumpet 5 – Woe 1 – Demonic locust army is unleashed from the abyss and tortures men for 5 months. They are not allowed to touch the sealed 144,000. Death is 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.
That this army is controlled by God is confirmed by Joel chapter 2, which discusses an attack in detail:
“They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. 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. At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks. They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows. Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. 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)
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 trumpet 5 closely follows trumpet 4, 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) Even in judgment, God extends His mercy. During the trumpets, repentance is still possible.
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”).
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. 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. It is not clear if humans are involved in this judgment or not. This demonic (or demonically inspired) 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. 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.” (Revelation 9:20-21).
This brings us to the climactic midpoint of the “apocalypse”.