Six Trumpet Judgments – Revelation 8:6-9:21

                The opening of the seventh seal of the scroll by Jesus reveals the seven trumpet judgments. Six of these trumpet judgments are seen in 8:6-9:21. The events recorded in chapter 10 take place between the sixth and seventh trumpets. The seventh trumpet is seen chapter 11. Out of the seven trumpets, there are seven vial or bowl judgments. The bowl judgments constitute the final pouring out of God’s wrath during the tribulation period. Both the sounding of the seven trumpets and the bowl judgments take place during the final 3 ½ years of the tribulation.

                The first trumpet. Notice what Revelation 8:7 says concerning the first trumpet: “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” [1]Hail and fire are both seen in scripture in accordance with divine judgment. Some references to consider include: Exodus 9:13-25 ; Job 38:22-23 ; Genesis 19:24 ‘ Psalm 11:6 ; Ezekiel 38:22 ; Joel 2:30. MacArthur writes: “The specific cause of the hail and fire is not revealed, but from a scientific standpoint an earthquake of the magnitude and extent of the one in verse 5 would likely trigger worldwide volcanic eruptions. Besides spewing vast quantities of flaming lava (which could be blood-red in appearance) into the atmosphere, the atmospheric disturbances caused by those eruptions could trigger violent thunderstorms that would produce large hail.”[2] The fire from the volcanic eruptions falling with the hail would make it appear as if blood is falling from the sky. I personally view the blood falling as descriptive in nature and not actual literal blood. As a result of this terrible event, a third part of all the trees are burnt up and all the green grass is burnt up. This would cause massive destruction of crops along with the death of many animals. Wood for construction would be lost. This is a devastating event that is beyond our comprehension, however, this is just the beginning.

The second trumpet. “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” [3] The great mountain burning with fire is no doubt a huge asteroid or meteorite. It falls into the ocean and as a result there is a massive amount of sea life that is killed. The blood from the sea creatures fills the oceans. Ships are also destroyed as massive waves sweep across the waters. “Considering that the oceans occupy about three fourths of the earth’s surface, you can imagine the extent of this judgment. The pollution of the water and the death of so many creatures would greatly affect the balance of life in the oceans, and this would undoubtedly lead to further insoluble problems. As of January 1, 1981 there were 24,867 ocean-going merchant ships registered. Imagine the shock waves that would hit the shipping industry if 8,289 valuable ships were suddenly destroyed! And what about their cargoes!”[4]

The third trumpet. “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.“[5] God’s wrath next reaches inland and touches the rivers and fountains of water (wells and sources of the rivers), making the fresh water taste bitter like wormwood. The National Geographic Society lists about 100 principal rivers in the world, ranging in length from the Amazon (4,000 miles long) to the Rio de la Plata (150 miles long). The U.S. Geological Survey reports thirty large rivers in the United States, beginning with the mighty Mississippi (3,710 miles long). One third of these rivers, and their sources, will become so bitterly polluted that drinking their water could produce death”.[6]

The fourth trumpet. “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!”[7] The fourth trumpet is very interesting. It affects the heavens. The sun, moon, and a third of the stars grow dim. “The judgments from the first three trumpets affected only a third part of the land and waters, but this fourth judgment affects the entire world. Why? Because it gets to the very source of the earth’s life and energy, the sun. With one third less sunlight on the earth, there will be one third less energy available to support the life systems of man and nature.”[8] It is possible that this particular judgment is temporary, for the fourth bowl judgment will reverse it, and the sun’s power will be intensified (Rev. 16:8–9). Then, at the close of the Tribulation, the sun and moon will be darkened again to announce the Saviour’s return (Matt. 24:29–30; see also Luke 21:25–28).”[9] An angelic messenger announces that there are three woes coming. These three woes are the last three trumpet judgments. Such destruction that has already taken place is enough to cause anyone who doubts the existence of God to change their mind. These events will certainly destroy any atheistic thought. However, it is still not over.

The fifth trumpet. The fifth and sixth trumpets are seen in chapter 9. “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. 12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” [10] The fifth trumpet brings the unleashing of a demonic army that rises up to torture mankind. The ‘star’ that fell is no doubt, Satan who was cast from heaven. He is given permission by God to unleash the demons who have been locked up in the bottomless pit. The demons are described by John as locusts who had the power to sting like a scorpion. “The demons had a ruler over them whose Hebrew name is Abaddon and whose Greek name is Apollyon. Both words mean “destroyer.” Though Satan is sometimes portrayed as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), here Satan and his demons are seen for what they really are, destroyers of people. This judgment confirms what was already intimated in preceding judgments, that the Great Tribulation, as Christ described it, will be a time of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matt. 24:21).”[11]

The sixth trumpet. “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. 20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” [12] The sixth trumpet brings another massive attack from a demonic army. This attack does not just torture, but brings death. The four demons that are set free to lead the demonic armies may be the demons that controlled the four major world empires of Babylon. As these demonic armies sweep across the globe, a third of mankind is killed.

Looking at these trumpet judgments causes us to realize the awesome power of God. It also causes us to grasp more fully the seriousness of sin. God’s wrath is real and powerful. He cannot and will not tolerate mankind continuing in their sin. His wrath must fall. Ample time and opportunity is given for men to come to faith in Jesus and be saved from God’s wrath. However, millions of people will still refuse to trust in Jesus even after experiencing God’s wrath. The good news for you and I living in this age of grace is that we will not face such wrath. Those who place their faith and trust in Jesus will escape the wrath of God and will be given a home in heaven. The question is whether or not you have trusted in Jesus for salvation. If not, why not today?

 


[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 8:7). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] John MacArthur. Because the time is near.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 8:8–9). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 593). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[5] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 8:10–11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 593). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[7] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 8:12–13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 594). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[9] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 594). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[10] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 9:1–12). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[11] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 953). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[12] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 9:13–21). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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