I recently gained some new insights into the first four trumpets in Revelation 8. Interpreting Revelation is difficult, so I might not have this right. However, those who are watching for Revelation to be fulfilled in our time should watch for the events I will describe in the next few posts. When these empires collapse, they can lift up their eyes in hope.
Humans have created a decimal word, but God orders things in terms of the number seven. There are seven days of creation; seven days in a week; debts are cancelled after seven years (Deut 15:1); the year of jubilee comes at the end of seven sabbaths of years (Lev 25:8); seventy sevens were decreed for Israel (Dan 9:24): a seven year cycle for agriculture (Lev 25:4).
This pattern of sevens also shapes the book of Revelation. There are seven angels, seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls. To understand the book of Revelation, we must understand the patterns of sevens. Many commentators treat these sets of sevens as sequential, but this leads to confusion. The sets of seven run in parallel, but each seven develops the events described in the previous one.
The first four seals describe the beginning of the Time of Distress (Rev 6:1-8). A seal is a mark of ownership. The seven seals (Rev 6) are a set of events that God will use to purify and refine his people. The seals are opened by Jesus in response to the prayers of the saints (Rev 5:8). The seventh seal brings the fulfilment of the Kingdom (Rev 8:1).
The seven trumpets are concentrated in the middle of the Time of Distress when the season is building to a climax. Trumpets are a warning of judgment (Amos 3:6-7; Is 18:3). They are launched by the prayers of the saints (Rev 8:3-5) and they call the church to action (Num 10:8-9). During the sounding of the trumpets, the church will go into battle. God’s army will have been prepared and purified during the seven seals. The Holy Spirit will eventually be able to give the Kingdom of God to this victorious church. The seventh trumpet releases the fulfilment of the Kingdom.
The kingdom of the world has becomeThe trumpets are directed at political powers. During the seven seals terrible troubles have emerged on earth. The people of the world look to powerful political leaders to solve these problems. These human governments will amass huge powers for themselves, but they will fail to keep their promises of deliverance. The Kingdom of Jesus becomes a reality when the world empires are destroyed for ever.
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever (Rev 11:15).
The trumpets are released in response to the prayers of the saints.
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them (Rev 8:4-6).