The period of Trumpet Judgments is recounted in Revelation 8-11. We see an introduction in 8:2-5, that summarizes what will be accomplished and reveals God’s motivation for that series of judgments. This is followed by the details (description of each trumpet judgment) in the rest of chapters 8 and 9, and 11:14-19, then the interlude which shares additional information and gives us a broader perspective.
Trumpet judgments #1-6 occur in the last 3 ½ years of the 7-year Tribulation. Connecting this time period to the time, times, and half a time mentioned in the Old Testament and Seal #5, it is a time of great persecution for the saints who have placed their faith in Jesus. This is also the time when the two witnesses will prophesy in Jerusalem.
Revelation 11:1-3 – Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
What will life be like on earth during these 3 ½ years? Here are the six things that happen as each of the first six trumpets are sounded by the angels. The first four affect the natural world; the next two directly affect people.
#1 – Hail and fire mixed with blood are thrown to the earth destroying one-third of the earth, one-third of the trees, and all the green grass.
#2 – Something like a great mountain burning with fire thrown into the sea, causing one-third of the sea to become blood.
#3 – A great burning star named Wormwood falls from heaven, causing one-third of the waters to become bitter and undrinkable.
#4 – One-third of the sun, one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars are darkened.
#5 – An angel opens the bottomless pit (the abyss, where demons are presently held). Creatures described as locusts or scorpions come out to torment mankind for five months; their sting is so painful they wish for death, but death will not come. These are no ordinary locusts; they are demonic, with faces like men, hair like women, teeth like lions, breastplates of iron, wings, and tails like scorpions.
#6 – Four angels are released to kill one-third of mankind. These angels were “bound,” which tells me they are fallen angels. God has “held them in reserve” … preparing them for the hour and day and month and year (9:15) of their release. These four lead an army of demonic horsemen two hundred million strong, killing by the fire and smoke and brimstone which comes out of their mouths and their tails which are like serpents with heads.
What is the result of these judgments?
One could imagine that seeing God’s power on display would cause men to repent, that they would bow before Him and plead for their lives and salvation. But that’s not what happens; their hearts are too hard.
Revelation 9:20-21 – The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.
Trumpet #7 connects to the Day of the Lord, the 30 days of bowl judgments which is the wrath of God. When that last trumpet sounds, there is no more delay. God will pour the full fury of His righteous wrath against sin out on this world, and when the dust settles, Jesus will reign.
Revelation 10:5-7 – Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.
Where will we be when all this happens? Well, if the pre-Tribulation rapture is correct, we will be in heaven, having been caught up to be with Christ before the seven years begin. But if not, we will be here from the beginning, and if we survive to the mid-point, we will see these judgments occur. Of course, I hope we aren’t, but if we are, and this takes place in my lifetime, then I trust God to give me the grace and strength and courage to die as a faithful martyr, living only as long as He determines for His sovereign purposes. His timing is perfect, and I will go home to be with Him at the exact moment He has ordained, not a minute sooner, and not a minute late.
What should our response be to these passages?
We should keep living in obedience to God’s commands.
We should keep sharing the gospel as God gives us the opportunity.
We should keep warning our loved ones that the Bible is true.
We should keep growing in our faith and trust in the only One who can save us, both eternally, and physically.
We should deepen our trust and confidence in God’s character, that He is good and loving because He has made a way of escape, and that He is righteous in His judgments against sin.
Revelation 11:15 – Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”