11. The Seventh Seal Trumpets
Revelation 8 & 9
On March 27, 1980, a series of small earthquakes brought a dormant volcano to life called Mount St. Helens in Skamania County, Washington State, in the Northwest of the USA. The mountain had been dormant since its last period of activity in the 1840s and 1850s. Geologists studying the rumbling and earthquakes warned the residents that magma might be moving below the volcano. For nearly two months, all in the area were informed that Mount St. Helens could blow.
A man by the name of Harry R. Truman refused to hear the warnings of impending destruction. He had built up a million-dollar business by renting out 100 boats he had on fifty-four acres of land beside Spirit Lake at the foot of the volcano. He didn't believe the area could be destroyed, so he stayed and ignored the warnings, thus becoming the focus of national media because of his stubbornness.
Perhaps, he thought that he would see rivers of lava come down. However, it was not to be. The searing blast came at 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, traveling at around 300 mph. People estimate that Harry Truman perhaps had time to turn his head before being buried under 150 feet of landslide and mudflows. His life ended because of his stubbornness in refusing to listen to the warnings of impending destruction.
We are continuing to study the breaking of seven seals on a scroll in the hands of the Lord Jesus. In Chapters 8 & 9 we will witness the wrath of God as the final seal is opened and the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls of wrath are poured out upon the earth. In His mercy, God gives us a solemn warning and reveals what will happen at this time. This is a strong admonition for those who have hardened their hearts to turn to the Lord before this “great and terrible day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31).
What are the reasons people ignore warnings such as Harry R. Truman did about the eruption of Mt. St. Helens? What warning signs do you see in the earth today?
This writer believes that the events taking place during the opening of the first six seals of the Book of Revelation are not the wrath of God but consequences on earth due to the departure by many of earth's inhabitants from all moral standards. When the Lord broke the sixth seal of the scroll, we saw cosmic signs in the sky and the worldwide movement of the earth’s crust: “every mountain and island was removed from its place” (Revelation 6:12-14), and those who have hardened their hearts to the Lord begin to seek a place to hide from the wrath of the Lamb that is now about to be poured out upon them (Revelation 6:15-17). There is no Scriptural evidence of God’s wrath poured out before the cosmic signs in the sky. In fact, the Antichrist sits in the temple of God proclaiming himself as a god (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and makes war against the saints, the elect of God, those who refuse to take his mark and worship him: “It was given power to wage war against God's holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (Revelation 13:7).
If he is making war on the saints, then the people of God are still present on the earth up to this point. It is my opinion that the cosmic signs herald the wrath of God. Both Matthew (24:29-31) and Mark (13:24-27) record Jesus telling us that, after the cosmic signs, i.e., the sun darkened, the moon not giving its light, the movement of the stars, the world would see Him coming in great glory in the sky, and at that time, He would send forth His angels to gather His elect (those who belong to Christ).
In chapter seven of the Book of Revelation, we read about the sealing of 144,000, specifically from the nation of Israel. This writer believes these individuals are Jewish Messianic believers from the land of Israel; God shows His people that He has not forgotten the promises He gave Israel that He will bring forth a remnant from the tribes of Israel (Isaiah 10:20; Romans 11:5). The seal speaks of ownership, deliverance, and salvation (Ezekiel 9:4-6; Ephesians 1:13). Along with them are also seen a great multitude of Gentiles (non-Jews) who have responded to the Gospel from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue. These individuals seen in heaven are robed in white, symbolizing purity and righteousness, not as a result of their own works, but as a result of the Lamb's (Jesus) blood shed for them (Revelation 7:14). Those before the throne of God are those caught up (raptured) by the angels to heaven. The Apostle John writes of a silence in heaven that takes place after the gathering of the elect of God and the breaking of the seventh seal of the scroll.
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
1When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
If you belong to Christ, this is a scene you will see someday. How do you interpret the silence as Jesus opens the seventh and last seal on the scroll in His hands? Why was the silence so long?
After the scene of loud worship and praise in Revelation chapter seven, there is now a solemn silence as all eyes focus on Jesus as He breaks the last seal and opens the scroll. The multitude of people standing before the throne are all aware that everything is about to change because the Lord Jesus is going to bring justice to the earth. This thirty minutes of silence is a solemn moment in time and will seem like an eternity.
2And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5Then 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 (Revelation 8:2-5).
As everyone watches, seven mighty angels step forward. In the original Greek text, the definite article tells us that these angels are not the kind of angels we usually read about; these are the seven angels that stand before God. Luke's Gospel tells of one of the Presence Angels, Gabriel, who appeared to Zechariah the priest, father of John the Baptist: “The angel answered, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news’” (Luke 1:19).
To stand in God's presence is a position of high honor, and here we read of seven archangels who come close to the throne and are given seven trumpets. Another angel comes before the golden altar of incense before God with a golden censer, a covered incense burner hanging on golden chains. He was given much incense to offer to symbolize prayer and supplication to God for justice. These prayers are likely similar to the prayers we read about at the opening of the fifth seal: "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (Revelation 6:10). The prayers of God’s people for justice are now acted upon by God. The judgment of God is only now taking place at the opening of the seventh seal.
The solemn silence is finished as the hot coals from the censer are thrown to the earth, bringing “peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake” (v. 5).
6Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. 7The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. 8The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter (Revelation 8:6-11).
Trumpets were sounded in Israel as a call to battle, as in Gideon’s war with the Amalekites (Judges 7:16). Trumpets were also used when Joshua blew trumpets, and Jericho's walls fell )Joshua 6:20). A trumpet was also sounded when kings came on the scene, and at the sound of the seven loud trumpet blasts, the King of Kings is about to make war on those who hate Him. Paul, the Apostle, wrote: 7“This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The blazing fire (v. 7) about which Paul spoke is now taking place at the opening of the seventh seal. A third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass are burned.
When the second trumpet sounds, something that looks like a huge mountain, perhaps an asteroid, hits the sea with coastal cities bearing the brunt of the tsunami it creates. At the sounding of the third trumpet, a third of all freshwater is poisoned, i.e. the rivers, lakes, and springs. Could this be nuclear fallout on a third of the earth? We don't know what continents or nations are included in this judgment, but this is only the prelude; it is hard to imagine things getting much worse, but they do.
12The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. 13As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (Revelation 8:12-13).
When the fourth angel sounds his trumpet, the light of the sun, moon, and stars is diminished by thirty-three percent, likely causing havoc on all food production. John hears an eagle proclaim woe to the inhabitants of earth for that which is yet to come. In the Hebrew language, when one desires to emphasize something they say it twice, which is why you will often read Jesus saying, “truly, truly, I say to you...” (John 5:24), but here we have great emphasis by three woes pronounced together. Things are going to get worse.
The Fifth Trumpet
1Then the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and it was given the key to the pit of the Abyss. 2The star opened the pit of the Abyss, and smoke rose out of it like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. 3And out of the smoke, locusts descended on the earth, and they were given power like that of the scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5The locusts were not given power to kill them, but only to torment them for five months, and their torment was like the stinging of a scorpion. 6In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, but death will escape them (Revelation 9:1-6).
At the sound of the fifth trumpet, a star falls from heaven. Angels are often symbolized as stars (Revelation 1:20), so this is likely an angel opening the Abyss' pit. The result of the Abyss being opened brings great darkness to the earth’s atmosphere (v. 2). To the Apostle John looking at the creatures that come forth, he describes them as locusts with the sting of scorpions that brings pain to all who have taken sides with the Antichrist and rejected the Gospel. John writes that people will seek death, but death will escape them. How can a man seek to die but be unable?
This inability to die could be the possible result of those who upload their conscious self into a computer, popularized by the movie Transcendence with actor Johnny Depp. This plan by elites is also known as Transhumanism or Human 2.0, i.e. a plan by elites to overcome death by becoming part of the growing number who want to overcome the weakness of humanity with the aid of technology. This is not fiction, but a very real idea which has funded research behind it. I encourage you to read the links provided below. This could be one explanation for why some could not die. It may be that they have tampered with their humanity.
7And the locusts looked like horses prepared for battle, with something like crowns of gold on their heads, and faces like the faces of men. 8They had hair like that of women, and teeth like those of lions. 9They also had thoraxes like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the roar of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10They had tails with stingers like scorpions, which had the power to injure people for five months. 11They were ruled by a king, the angel of the Abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek it is Apollyon. 12The first woe has passed. Behold, two woes are still to follow (Revelation 9:7-12).
Apollyon or Abaddon is likely a ruling evil angel controlling demons from a place under the earth in Hades. He is released to cause chaos and disorder to all the earth.
The Sixth Trumpet
13Then the sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God 14saying to the sixth angel with the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river the Euphrates." 15So the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16And the number of mounted troops was two hundred million; I heard their number.17Now the horses and riders in my vision looked like this: The riders had breastplates the colors of fire, sapphire, and sulfur. The heads of the horses were like the heads of lions, and out of their mouths proceeded fire, smoke, and sulfur. 18A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that proceeded from their mouths. 19For the power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; indeed, their tails were like snakes, having heads with which to inflict harm (Revelation 9:13-19).
With the sounding of the sixth trumpet, four angels bound at the River Euphrates are released to kill a third of the remaining people who survived the first five trumpet judgments. Some believe that the two hundred million mounted troops are humans, but it seems to this writer that from their description, these creatures may be created by fusing the DNA of animals with humans, either that or demonic hordes. The angels who release the riders and horses have been bound up till now. We do not know if they are good or evil angels, we are only told that they are released to act at the command of God. They have been bound up until this point, restrained at the river Euphrates, having been prepared to act at this precise time.
20Now the rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the works of their hands. They did not stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21Furthermore, they did not repent of their murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and theft (Revelation 9:20-21).
After these terrible tragedies and death all over the earth, why do we twice read that they would not repent? Why do some people set their will against God and harden their hearts the way that Pharaoh did during the ten plagues that God brought upon Egypt in Moses’ time?
The fact we are told they “still would not repent” (Rev. 9:20-21) seems to indicate that the people left on earth could still repent if they chose to. But we are not told of anyone repenting. There may be people on earth at this time who are not believers, but did not take the mark of the Beast. Even today, there are those who see the signs of the times and have withdrawn from society. Some perhaps took extreme measures to live “off the grid” but have still not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. We are looking at a time when some will not repent because of the way they have chosen to live up until this time and have damaged their conscience to the point that they no longer have sensitivity to good and evil. Jack Weltman writes this about a seared conscience:
"If we suppress the conviction of the Spirit of God and resist Him and keep on sinning, after a time, the conscience is so seared or burnt that we cannot hear the Spirit speak to our conscience anymore. That’s because God has given every one of us His light, so even with “their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or defending them (Rom 2;15), they simply suppress this knowledge (Rom 1:18) and eventually, the conscience cannot hear what the Spirit of God is telling them. The more a person suppresses (ignores) the voice of the Spirit, the harder it is for the Spirit of God to speak to them about their sin. If this continues, the conscience will become like a callous on a hand... it will not feel anything anymore. Paul wrote to Timothy that “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Tim. 4: 1-2).
With such terror taking place on the earth, John is astounded to tell us twice that there is no repentance among the earth's inhabitants. He writes first about the rest of humanity's unrepentant state; that they held on to the works of their hands, their labor, and that they refused to stop their worship of demons and false idols. John then writes that they would not repent of the murder of believers during the persecution that takes place in the second half of the seven years. They wouldn't change their minds or habits of sorcery and drugs, for the Greek word, pharmakeía, translated as sorcery in verse 21 (from pharmakeuō, "administer drugs"), means drug-related sorcery. The Lord also brings up the abomination of sexual sins and theft. Sexual immorality refers to sexual acts outside of the confines of marriage.
In our beginning illustration, we saw that Harry Truman resisted the many warnings of danger from the rumblings under Mount St. Helens. Why did Mr. Harry R. Truman refuse to take action and leave the vicinity when the warning came? Perhaps he thought he would have time and that the lava would flow slowly enough, or that the warnings of impending doom for those who stayed in the area were lies, or at best an exaggeration of what could potentially happen if the volcano erupted. This man obviously thought he was in control. Whatever it was that kept him from taking action; greed, pride, ignorance or stubbornness, it cost him his life. The loss of his life was needless, as he had been warned, but refused the truth that could have saved him.
At the trumpet judgments, many will refuse to listen to reason and will not change their minds or the direction of their lives. Their destruction will be complete, and God is vindicated in their judgment. Have you wondered about the evil in this world today and how it seems that so many innocent people suffer while people who do evil in this world continue to thrive? Does it make you angry that people in this world suffer needlessly and starve while the majority of the wealth is held by a small margin of the earth’s inhabitants? If it makes you angry to see the suffering and injustice in our world and the destruction of God’s creation, how much more do you think the Lord of Hosts is angered by these things? He sees all things. We cannot comprehend the amount of sorrow He has witnessed. If we could comprehend this, we would be awestruck at His mercy. When He comes again, He will come in His majesty and power to make all things new.
Maybe you have somehow come across this message on the Internet. Do not think it a coincidence. There are no coincidences with God. The Lord has led you to consider the direction of your life at this moment in time. I implore you through the written word. Do not wait another minute. Get your life right with God now. God is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Here is a typical prayer you could pray:
Prayer: Father, I now come to You, believing that You have a plan for my life. Thank You for loving me and sending your Son into the world to pay the penalty for my sin, which has kept me so long from enjoying Your presence. I repent and turn away from sin and ask Christ to come and live in me as I give Him control of my life. Thank You, Father, for the gift of eternal life. Amen!