Trumpets

After the interlude, the opening of the seventh seal is recorded in Revelation 8 :1. But instead of a grand, climactic ending, there was simply silence. Creation stood in awe. The silence created dramatic tension for those who first read John’s visions. What was this mysterious final stage of history? The answer to this question remained to be seen in the visions that followed.

The vision of the seven trumpets consists of a series of angels blowing trumpets. Each time a trumpet is blown, another judgment falls on the earth. It’s important to see that the vision of seven trumpets is structured in a similarly to the vision of the seven seals. The vision presents six trumpets, followed by an interlude, and then the seventh trumpet. These trumpets recall the trumpets in Old Testament prophetic passages like Hosea 5:8, Joel 2:1, Amos 2:2 and Zechariah 9:14. They’re trumpets that sound when God comes with his angelic armies, calling the heavenly host to war against God’s enemies.

The first four trumpet blasts in Revelation 8:2-13 signaled judgments through the angelic armies on the four major regions of creation. When the first trumpet was sounded, hail and fire mixed with blood was hurled on dry land. The second trumpet sounded and something like a huge mountain was thrown into the sea. The third trumpet sounded and a blazing star was thrown into fresh water sources, making them bitter and undrinkable. And with the sounding of the fourth trumpet, the sky was damaged; a third of the day and a third of the night were without light. But as bad as these judgments were, only a third of each region was destroyed. At the end of this section, though, an eagle warned that even worse judgments were coming.

The fifth trumpet blast is recorded in Revelation 9:1-12. It set in motion an army of unnatural locusts. John described these locusts as horses prepared for battle, having crowns of gold, human faces, women’s hair, lions’ teeth, and tails like scorpions. But their power was limited. They could only wreak havoc on the earth for five months, and they were only permitted to attack the wicked.

The sixth blast of a trumpet is recorded in Revelation 9:13-21. It released four angels from the Euphrates River, who proceeded to destroy a third of humanity.

These first six trumpets are followed by a two-part interlude in Revelation 10:1-11:14. In a scenario that resembled God’s revelation of judgment to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 2:9-3:9, John received a little scroll containing prophetic messages, and he was told to eat it. The scroll tasted as sweet as honey, probably representing the good news that God’s plans for the world would be consummated without delay. But the scroll also turned his stomach sour, probably indicating that suffering would attend the consummation of God’s plans.

The second part of the interlude records John’s vision of two witnesses who died for the sake of the gospel. They performed miracles, called people to repentance, and warned of coming judgment. But then they were slain by God’s enemies.

Bible Reading: Revelation 8:1-13, 9:1-21, 10:1-11