The Seven Trumpets of Revelation are God’s final call to come to repentance before the Great Day of God’s judgment.
Little can be known ahead of time about the actual events of the Seven Trumpets. And even less is known today about the Feast of Trumpets that foretells these events. But the Bible does reveal the timing and meaning of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation. And these are important truths that are urgent for us to understand!
We will learn:
- The purpose of the Trumpets.
- The timing and context of the Trumpets.
- Some order of end-time events.
- What is The Great Day of God?
- How to respond to the Trumpets.
- The Bible’s description of the actual events.
- How the last Three Trumpets tell us about 3 “Woes” that are to come on the earth.
The Seven Trumpets of Revelation are an end-time event that is described in several places throughout the Bible as “the shaking of the powers of heaven.” Here are some of the verses where we see these Trumpets:
Joel 2:2 “A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness.”
Joel 2:30-31 (Acts 2:20) “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
Zephaniah 1:15-16 “A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm.”
Revelation 6:12-13 “The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth.”
Isaiah 13:10 “The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth.”
Amos 8:9 “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord God, that I will make the sun go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight.”
Matthew 24:29 (Mark 13:24) “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Luke 21:25-26 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Let’s see what we can discover in the Bible about these “things which are coming on the earth.”
A Lesson of Silver Trumpets
Since the Biblical Feasts contain the outline of the Plan of Salvation, we can begin with the lessons contained in the Feasts to help understand Revelation’s Trumpets. These Trumpets are foretold in the Feast of Trumpets of Leviticus 23:24-25.
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.”’” Leviticus 23:23-25
This Feast is to be held as “a memorial of the blowing of trumpets” and points back to Numbers 10:9 which tells us that God will remember us when we call upon Him.
“When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.” Numbers 10:9
“Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” Nehemiah 4:20
So we can see that one of the lessons contained in this Feast is about how we can sound an alarm to God when our enemy attacks and He will remember us! This is very different than the other Feasts which contain memorials about remembering God. This lesson is described beautifully in Psalm 107:
“Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.” Psalm 107:10-16
There is a second lesson about the Trumpets within the Feast Days. This lesson tells us of a great Trumpet that sounds as a warning 10 days before the Day of Atonement. This Day of Atonement is also referred to in Scripture as:
- The “Great Day of God Almighty,” (Revelation 16:14)
- “The Day of Judgment,” (Matthew 11:22)
- “The judgment of the Great Day,” (Jude 1:6)
- “The Day of the Lord of Hosts,” (Isaiah 2:12)
- “The Day of the Lord,” (Joel 2:1)
- “The Last Day,” (John 12:48)
- And even simply “The Day.” (Hebrews 10:25)
A Second Lesson
Here is where the second important lesson about the Trumpets comes in. The Bible teaches us about Trumpets being an alarm to announce the time of God’s judgment. This Day will not come upon us without warning. The Bible says,
“If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it? Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:6-8
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” Joel 2:1
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1
This wake-up call is the purpose of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation. They come at the time in Earth’s history when the final message of warning is going out to the world. God has fitted His army of 144,000 and prepared them to sound this warning. He has poured out the latter rain of the Holy Spirit to give strength and power to this final message. And He is preparing to make the final Atonement in the heavenly sanctuary. It is the last chance for the inhabitants of the world to choose to be on God’s side. God has sent out an army to help the people of the earth and He has given His army these instructions:
“Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head.’ ” Ezekiel 33:2-4
The End of Grace
Even though the Bible speaks about the “Last Day,” many people do not connect this to a final end of Christ’s work. We tend to think that all of Christ’s work was finished at the Cross, but the Cross marked only the beginning of His work. The final end of His work will come at a day when sin and suffering will come to an end for God’s people and mankind will be reunited with God. This moment will be marked by another event as great as the Cross—the Day of Atonement. Are we prepared and looking forward to this event? Jesus says,
“Take heed lest … that Day come on you unexpectedly.” Luke 21:34
We do not realize that God has set limits on sin. God told Adam and Eve, “You will surely die,” if you eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. [Genesis 2:16-17] And they ate the fruit, but they did not die. What explains this? Did God lie?
God is the only source of life. There is no life outside of God’s domain. If we separate ourselves from Him we have no access to His life-giving power. When mankind stepped outside of God’s Law, when we rebelled against God’s authority, we would have died instantly if it were not for his Grace. Sin is not a noun, but a verb which describes an act of rebellion against God. Eve’s act of rebellion against the commandment of God cut her off from God and she brought on herself instant death. Yet God immediately intervened and extended His mercy, finding a way to keep her alive. Though impossible to understand, this act of grace can be seen in this verse,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
It is through both the love of the Father and the life of the Son that we are able to remain alive long enough to overcome our rebellious hearts and be reunited with God. It is the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that extends life to us for a “grace period” while He works out His plan to reunite us with heaven. But this time of Grace has a limit and we are nearing its end.
The time is coming when mankind will be faced with making our final choice to join God’s kingdom or not. There will be a moment when Christ will finish the work that He began at the foundation of the world. It is a moment when our rebellion against God must come to an end because sins will no longer be forgiven. Scripture tells us that He will begin His work in us and also finish His work on one great day.
“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
As the inhabitants of the world are nearing this final day of God’s judgment. It will be a profound time of decision and we will find people polarized into two opposing camps. There will be those who have chosen to be reunited with God. These will forsake rebellion and learn to live in righteousness. They will find that the final outcome of God’s work will be peace.
On the other side of the decision, those who desire to continue in wickedness will not learn righteousness. They would not appreciate the reward of peace even if they were given it.
We can see this story told in Isaiah 26.
“When Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let grace be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness. …
“Lord, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us.” Isa. 26:9-10, 12
It is the work that Jesus has done in us that will bring us to this peace. We will make the choice to obey God, but it is Jesus who will teach us how to live in peace.
“Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked.” Psalm 94:12-13
And He will find satisfaction with His labor when His work is finished. We can read about this in Isaiah 53.
“He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many. For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong. Because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:11-12
Blow the Trumpet Sound an Alarm!
In His mercy, God does not leave us without warning of the completion of His work. This profound event is announced by the Seven Trumpets of Revelation. These Trumpets are great cosmic events that will shake the earth to its core. Scripture talks of this moment as the great Day of Judgment. Joel links these two events together—the final judgment of God and the shaking of the heavens:
“Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there will I sit to judge all the surrounding nations. …
“Multitudes, multitudes in the Valley of Decision! For the Day of the Lord is near in the Valley of Decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The Lord also will ROAR from Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem. The heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:12-16
The inhabitants of the world have had an opportunity to know God. But many things have left them in doubt about the goodness of God. We see texts such as these:
“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matt. 24:12
“But I had pity for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, wherever they went.” Ezekiel 36:21
These iniquities among God’s people have caused men to misunderstand and reject God’s call to them. And so we are held in indecision about whether to follow God or not. It will take a mighty loud message to get our attention and to help us realize that the time of God’s grace is coming to a close. To get our attention, God will blow a trumpet and sound an alarm. The first four Trumpets will be earth-shattering events that will alert the entire world that God’s mercy toward unrepentant men is about to end.
“ ‘Blow the trumpet in the land.’ Cry, ‘Gather together’ and say, ‘Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities.’ ‘Set up the standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, and great destruction. . . . ’ For this, clothe yourself with sackcloth, lament and wail….” Jeremiah 4:4-8
“Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. Alas for the day! For the Day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty.” Joel 1:14-15
“Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law.” Hosea 8:1
What are we to do at this time?
“ ‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:12-13
“The Great Day of the LORD is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the Day of the LORD is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That Day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. ‘I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse.’ Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the Day of the LORD’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land.” Zephaniah 1:14-18
These Trumpets sound because:
- The Day of the Lord is at hand, “it is near and hastens quickly.” The Second Coming is very near.
- The Day of Atonement is rapidly approaching.
- The people of earth have one last chance to repent.
- God says, “I will bring distress upon men, . . . because they have sinned against the Lord.”
The coming calamity is brought on by the disrespect for God’s covenant. The Trumpets announce “the Day of the Lord” and come as a last call of mercy and as a warning of the doom that is about to fall on those who refuse that mercy.
There is a positive side to this story. There will be people who respond to this warning. Isaiah tells about a remnant who, though they are about to perish, will come to the Lord at this time.
“For it is a people of no understanding; therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, and He who formed them will show them no favor. And it shall come to pass in that Day that the LORD will thresh, . . . and you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; they will come, who are about to perish . . . and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” Isaiah 27:11-13
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Revelation 7:9
Timing & Context of Revelation’s Trumpets
The lesson of the Feast of Trumpets also tells us of this alarm. The Feast of Trumpets comes 10 days before the Day of Atonement. On that Day of Atonement, there will no longer be any forgiveness for sin, not for God’s people nor for the unrepentant sinners. Before this day the Feast of Trumpets comes as a final alarm announcing the impending close of probation for the earth. This tells us of a last “Loud Cry” announcing the end of mercy at the end of earth’s history.
We turn to the Book of Revelation now to confirm that this is exactly the time frame in which these 7 Trumpets are sounding. First, in Revelation 8 we see that when the final Seal (on the Scroll of Revelation 5) is opened there is silence heaven during an event that is about to happen. Then we see that Revelation 8 also tells us about the sounding of these Seven Trumpets. And then we see an “Angel” in heaven who is about to make the final Atonement. These Trumpets lead up to the moment when the Seventh Seal is opened and the silence in heaven occurs. We will see that this silence is at the moment when both the Seventh Trumpet sounds and the Final Atonement is made.
“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw seven angels who stand before God and to them were given Seven Trumpets.” (Revelation 8:1-2)
Silence in Heaven
There has been much speculation about this silence in heaven among students of prophecy. But the context of the chapter, and a thorough knowledge of the event that is portrayed here, will clearly define this silence. We will see that the Beings in Heaven are holding their breath in anticipation of the events that are about to take place.
On a smaller scale, this is what happened in the time of ancient Israel when the high priest entered into the Most Holy Place of the temple in order to make the yearly Atonement. All people were gathered around the tent of meeting waiting in breathless anticipation, listening for the sound of the bell and pomegranate on the hem of the priest’s garment.
What we are about to see in the texts following Revelation 8:1 is the Final Atonement made by Jesus as our High Priest. This is the final crowning act of salvation and determines who will finally receive the right to rule the earth. There is a Heavenly court convened and all Heaven is silent in anticipation of this great and solemn event. Next we are given an overview of what is about to happen. Revelation 8:3-5 contains the picture of Jesus making the Final Atonement in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
“Then another Angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense that He should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the Angel’s hand. Then the Angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.” Revelation 8:3-5
This “golden altar” in Revelation 8 represents the altar of incense that was in front of the veil and was also part of the furniture of the Most Holy Place. The “Angel” who we see standing at the golden altar is Jesus who is about to make the Final Atonement in the Heavenly Sanctuary. These verses give us an overview of the scene that is going to take place after the Seven Trumpets finish sounding.
Trumpets & The Final Atonement
This Atonement is an act that takes place in the Heavenly Sanctuary so it is not witnessed here on earth. But mankind will be able to see the impact that it has on the earthly elements. The same scene is also in Daniel 12:1 which says, “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great Prince who stands watch over the sons of your people.…” And is repeated again in Isaiah,
“The Lord stands up to plead, and stands to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment. …” Isaiah 3:13-14
The ancient Hebrews would have understood that this act of “standing up” signified a judgment scene and that a great judgment was about to be pronounced from the throne. This is the reason that the Pharisees became so enraged with Stephen when he looked up and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56) They were happy to hear their history being recited. They even tolerated being accused of their sins. But when it came to the part of the story where God was standing up in order to pass judgment on them for their actions, then they did not want to hear anymore and took up stones to stone Stephen.
Michael is standing up, just as we see the Angel standing at the golden altar. This “Michael” is another name for Christ and appears in Scripture when He is acting in the role of Prince or Captain of the army. Looking deeper into the Daniel 12 text, we see a description of the scene that immediately follows the moment when Michael stands up. Afterwards, let us compare this to the story of Revelation 8.
“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great Prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:1-3)
This text reveals a story:
- Michael, our great Prince, is standing up for judgment.
- There will be a time of trouble such as has never been before.
- God’s people will be delivered, those who are written in the Book of Life. (This is also shown in Isaiah 4:3)
- There will be a special resurrection. Those who are resurrected at this time will be a mixed group, some will live and some have everlasting contempt.
- There is a picture of two other groups, “the wise” will shine like the brightness of the firmament.”
- Many will shine like the stars. Here again we see a glimpse of the Lord’s army. They will go forth with the power of the Holy Spirit during the Loud Cry and turn others toward righteousness while they are in the Valley of Decision.
There are many comparisons between Daniel 12 and Revelation 8. This act of Atonement will be a judgment. And just like the scene in Daniel 12, this action is followed by a “time of trouble.” It is within this context that we find the 7 Trumpets of Revelation.
“And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.” (Rev. 8:2)
The Biblical Feast Days give us the knowledge that the Trumpets come before the Atonement. So we know that we are stepping back in time in verse 6 to see the trumpets sounding before this Atonement is made. We will verify that this is true when we see the Atonement completed after the final trumpet has sounded.
“So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” (Revelation 8:6)
7 Trumpets of Revelation
The Bible separates these 7 Trumpets of Revelation into two distinct groups. The first group of trumpets comes rapidly. Mrs. E.G. White can give us a little insight into the surprise that wakes up the sleeping virgins and declares the coming of the Bridegroom. She describes these Trumpets as a “sudden and unlooked-for calamity” that comes at the time of the final Atonement. We read:
“It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,’ and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul’s need to be supplied.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 412
Let us look at these first Four Trumpets. Revelation 8:6-12:
“So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded: and hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
“Then the second angel sounded: and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
“Then the third angel sounded: and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.
“Then the fourth angel sounded: 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 were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”
“The first angel sounded: and hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.”
- Hail, fire, mingled with blood.
- These fall on the earth.
- 1/3 of the greenery is burned up.
“Then the second angel sounded: and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”
- Something like a great mountain, burning.
- Falls on the sea.
- 1/3 of the sea life dies.
- 1/3 of the ships are destroyed.
“Then the third angel sounded: and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.”
- A star falls from heaven.
- It is burning like a torch.
- It falls on the rivers.
- The star is called Wormwood.
- The waters become like wormwood.
- Many men died from the water.
“Then the fourth angel sounded: 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 were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.”
- The Sun, Moon and Stars are darkened.
- This lasts for 1/3 of the day and 1/3 of the night.
Many people have insisted that these verses need to be seen in a spiritual and symbolic sense. There is no way to know certainly what these events are until they happen, but there is no Bible evidence to interpret these things symbolically. The only reason to interpret Bible descriptions symbolically is if there is no simple earthly answer. But in this case, the descriptions are not all that mysterious. The only questionable description found here is about the “wormwood.” Everything else is straightforward and can be literally attributed to a direct hit from a meteor shower. The hail/fire/blood can be meteorites. The great burning mountain sounds like a small asteroid. The star burning like a torch, sounding very much like a description of a comet, is possibly a meteorite developing a tail as it burns through the atmosphere. We don’t need to know the reason that it poisons some of the waters, just that it does.
Finally, the darkening of the sun, moon and stars can all be explained by the voluminous smoke and atmospheric catastrophe caused by the 3 previous events. There may also be additional particles passing between the Earth, Moon and Sun that block the light. Additionally, this type of cosmic impact can affect our plate tectonics causing volcanoes to erupt, also explaining the darkening of the atmosphere by their smoke and ash.
These appear to be literal, physical cosmic cataclysms. One third of the grass/fish/men are destroyed. We do not need to get out our calculators to figure out how many that is, neither do we need to start planning some kind of conservation event to save these masses. The Bible is telling us simply that “not all” grass/fish/men are destroyed. This is just the kind of event needed to fully wake up the rest of the world and let them know that soon,
“The LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:21)
When these cataclysmic events fall on our world, where are God’s people? Are not these events going to be terrible? How will God’s people live through them? Scripture gives us the answer, but it is the faith that you are establishing with God NOW that will be able to carry you through. Let’s look at God’s answer to this question:
“Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. ‘Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations….’
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness.
“The LORD also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem. The heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:11-16
“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.
“Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:4-11
One of the most profound declarations regarding these first Four Trumpets comes in the description of the remaining Three Trumpets.
“And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!’ ” (Revelation 8:13)
No matter how bad we think these first four Trumpets are, they are not even on the same scale as the three “Woes” that are yet to come. And we have to believe Scripture when it says that these “woes” are bad, but they are filled with so many unearthly descriptions that we can’t even figure out what is happening. We cannot even try to explain these last 3 Trumpets with literal events. These verses can only be described with spiritual symbolism and Bible history.
The 5th Trumpet: the First Woe
“Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.
“And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.
“Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
“They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
“And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
“In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
“The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
“They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.
“And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.
“They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months.
“And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.” (Revelation 9:1-11)
Many of the symbolism of the Fifth Trumpet can be discovered by a careful study of Scripture. Some of these descriptions may not be understood until it comes to pass. But a couple of significant things should be pointed out.
- We are profoundly influenced—even to our core—by Greek mythology and spiritualism which tell us that Abaddon and Apollyon are Lucifer and that the “bottomless pit” is his domain called “hell.” But the Bible tells a different story about these verses. Can we come away from our preconceived ideas and see what the Bible is actually saying here?
- This “star” that falls from heaven is not another meteorite. Called “he,” we can see that it is a Being. In fact it is Christ. This comes as a shock, but a deeper look into BOTH the text here in Revelation 9 and the context of the entire story of these Trumpets will agree. Let’s look first at the Greek word for “fallen” which is actually “alighted” just like a bird who flew down and alighted on the earth. Here is a look at the Greek from Strong’s Dictionary.
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon adds, “to descend from a higher place to a lower.” This is referring to the fact that Christ stooped low to take on humanity in order to redeem us.
- Revelation 9:1 says, “To him were given the keys to the bottomless pit.” Because this passage in Revelation 9:1-11 uses these words: “star fallen from heaven,” “bottomless pit,” “Apollyon,” “torment,” people have long attributed this Trumpet to Lucifer and claimed that he opens the bottomless pit. And they use this text to prove it:
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
“Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’” (Isaiah 14:12-17)
But the true information that is brought out in this passage is that Satan does not open the house of his prisoners. And we are also shown that his desire is to make himself equal with God. And no matter how much damage he causes on earth, he will still be brought down. In fact, he will be brought down to Sheol which is the Hebrew word for the grave or the pit.
On the other hand, this fallen “Star” of the 5th Trumpet is given the keys to the bottomless pit. The keys are not stolen or taken by force, but given. This can only be Christ because He is the only One who came down from Heaven and is given any keys. Christ is the only one who “opens the house of the prisoners.”
Satan would like to step into the place of God and he would like us to think that this reference here in the 5th Trumpet is about him, but he never opened the graves to release its prisoners. Satan is never given any keys, he never sets his captives free, and he is only the “angel of the bottomless pit” through the Roman Catholic view of hell. Shall we let the Roman Church define this passage of Revelation for us? This picture of the 5th Trumpet cannot be taken outside of the context of the rest of the Bible just because we want to see the forces of evil that we have grown up believing in. Christ is the only One who has power over the grave and He says,
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death.” Revelation 1:18
“The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)
There are many texts referencing Christ coming from Heaven and taking on humanity so that He can release us from the power of death. Here are a couple:
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38)
“I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.” (Isaiah 42:6-8)
“Thus says the LORD: In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; that You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.” (Isaiah 49:8-9)
“As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” (Zechariah 9:11-12)
- “He opened the bottomless pit” (verse 2). For some of us this calls to mind the special resurrection that Jesus spoke of in Matthew. “Jesus said to him,… ‘I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ ” (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62) This same mention is also found in that parallel text that we read earlier from Daniel 12. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Whatever is happening here, we must remember that only Jesus holds the keys to the prison of death, and that through death He has gained the power over death. (Hebrews 2:14)
- “Power to hurt men 5 months” (verse 10). These “locusts” are commanded to only hurt those men “who do not have the seal of God.” This is not more torture on God’s people. It is some kind of an agony, maybe even an agony of mind, that is inflicted upon those men who are not sealed by God. If we understand what is happening at this time in Revelation, we will know that this means they are considering taking the Mark of the Beast. Remember the context of the Trumpets? They are sounded as the last warning before the Atonement, before the door to mercy closes, and before Christ’s coming.
- “Abbadon,” “Appolyon” (verse 11). These names mean “The Destroyer.” Strong’s tells us that “Abbadon” is from Hebrew origin and means, “a destroying angel.” “Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” Is it so hard to see God as “The Destroyer?” After all, His entire work here on earth is to destroy sin. And those clinging to their sin will be destroyed along with it.
The 6th Trumpet, the Second Woe
“Then the sixth angel sounded: and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’ So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
“Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. “And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.
“By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.
“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:13-21)
- The announcement comes from before the golden altar. We just saw in Revelation 8:3-5 that the Angel who is standing at the golden altar is Christ as He is making the Final Atonement. Christ is giving this command to the “four angels who are bound in the great river Euphrates.” Like the 5th Trumpet, this Trumpet is not commanded by Satan.
- Then we notice that there is an exact date set for this destruction to be released. This date is marked on someone’s calendar.
- The Beings that are delivering this destruction are described as “horsemen” and “horses.” We see the same thing in the previous trumpet where the beings are locusts but have the appearance of horses. “The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle.” (Rev. 9:7) This is exactly the same thing we read in Joel 2:4, “Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like swift steeds, so they run.” Notice how Joel 2 describes these “horses” as the Lord’s army. (Joel 2:11)
- The destructions released by these four angels are called “plagues.” Has not God used plagues in the past to attempt to “wake up” the unrepentant? (Exodus 7:3-5) Like Pharaoh, these men will harden their hearts in denial of God.
- The men who are not killed by these plagues have a characteristic that tells us what is happening here. They do not repent (verse 21). These are unrepentant men who are receiving these plagues.
- This text is referring back to the sins of Babylon when it fell. Revelation 9:21 says, “They did not repent. . . that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.” Daniel 5:4 explains the sin of King Belshazzar when Babylon fell:
“They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.” (Dan 5:4)
We are pointed back in time in order to tell us who these men are. These are the finally unrepentant who have rejected all the messages of warning that have come from all the other Trumpets. Just like King Belshazzar, they see the handwriting on the wall and know that their end has come. These men will not repent and they will receive God’s judgments just as we read in Isaiah 27:11.
“For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them.”
The 7th Trumpet, the Third Woe
We have come to the end. Six Trumpets have sounded and there is one more final great WOE to come upon the earth. Take a deep breath and let’s look at just how grievous this final Woe is!
“The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying:
“ ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’
“And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
“The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.’
“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” (Revelation 11:14-19)
WHAT?! What kind of a grievous Woe is this when Christ receives the kingdom? The final Woe of the Seventh Trumpet announces the exact moment when the “The kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” We are allowed to see this amazing worship scene in Heaven. The silence is now broken and all Heaven proclaims with a loud voice that Jesus Christ has received the Kingdom!
We see this same story in Daniel 7:22 when “the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.” This is the crowning work that Jesus has been working toward since His First Coming. He has been opening the seals on the scroll one by one until this Seventh Seal is opened (Rev. 8:1) and this final Trumpet has sounded (Rev. 11:15). All heaven breaks out in worship as judgment is made against the Little Horn (or Satan himself) and in favor of the Saints!!!! Christ, our Elder Brother and Representative in Heaven receives the right to rule the earth. He is given the Kingdom and is at last our KING!!! Truly this may be a “woe,” but on whom?
Revelation 11:19 completes the Seven Trumpets and shows us that the Atonement is now complete. This verse says, “And the temple of God was opened in Heaven and there was seen in His temple the Ark of His Testament. . . .” In the earthly sanctuary, when the veil was ripped in two from the top to the bottom at Christ’s death it showed that the earthly temple no longer played any role in the lesson of salvation. So the opening of the temple in heaven shows us that the work of this temple is also finished. We can see all the way into the Heavenly Temple because Christ is no longer in there working to correct the sin problem. His priestly work is finished.
7 Warnings Are Over — The Atonement
One more important point needs to be made. Satan will use these devastating events, falsely, as evidence of God’s wrath coming upon the earth because God’s end-time people have not heeded his (Satan’s) instruction to change the Sabbath. These events are the final straw that causes Satan’s people to issue a death decree. Their reasoning is that if these last remaining people will not conform to the overmastering delusion, they should be put to death so that God will stop pouring out His judgments on the earth. They will be correct in thinking that these Trumpets are coming from God, and also correct in realizing that they are directed toward the unrepentant people of earth. The error is in interpreting that God’s commandment-keeping people are the cause of His wrath.
Now the other meaning of the Feast of Trumpets comes back into the forefront. God’s people sound a new trumpet. They have been giving a last-call message of salvation to a dying world. But suddenly their trumpet will be turned to God as they plead for His aid and pray that He will remember them and come and save them.
We turn back to Joel 2 to see this part of the story:
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, “Where is their God?” ’ Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.” (Joel 2:15-18)
It is the act of the Final Atonement that seals the fate of the people of earth. It brings an end to the oppression of God’s people. It also closes the curtain on the call of mercy. This scene is witnessed in Daniel. Daniel 8:13 asks a question regarding the Little Horn who has been tearing down God’s Law, trampling His sanctuary and prevailing against His saints. The question is, “How long?” And the odd answer is given in verse 14: “For 2300 evening-mornings, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed/restored/vindicated.” We read about this exact moment in some of the other prophetic books.
“And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one Day.” (Zechariah 3:9)
“In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” (Jeremiah 50:20)
This act of “cleansing the sanctuary” is the exact act of making that Final Atonement. And it comes here in Daniel as a rescue from the persecutions and abominations of the Little Horn.
When Christ lifts up His voice to His Father and declares that He has a remnant who are at long last “At One” with God and His kingdom, then God’s hand of protection will be lifted from the unrepentant and placed fully on His own people. At this moment Christ’s intercession for sinners will cease. And Satan will no longer have the power to hurt or kill God’s saints.
Can’t you just picture the Heavenly scene that follows? Christ had already declared to His Father that He longs to be with His people when He prayed, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am.” (John 17:24) So it is not necessary for Him to ask again. Now Christ announces to His Father that “It is done. I have made the ‘At-one-ment’ and I have a people who are one with Us and Our kingdom.” Then we can see the Father Himself saying, “Go, get them as fast as You can!!!” After all, it was God who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It was the Father who loved us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place, restore us to God’s image and bring us back to Him.
God’s Last Cry of Mercy
The Seven Trumpets of Revelation all fall within the Seventh Seal on the Scroll. They sound the last cry of mercy to the earth.
In fact, we hear about the “Battle of Armageddon” as the last battle, but we don’t know what it looks like or where to find it in Scripture. And here it is in the 7 Trumpets. A battle for souls and for a kingdom. The final king will be chosen by the choices made during the Loud Cry of these Trumpets.
The first four Trumpets get the attention of everyone living on the earth. Probation is closing, the Final Atonement is about to be made and the end of sin and Christ’s Second Coming are near. The last three Trumpets are woes for the impenitent of the world who have not listened to the final call of salvation. These people have become harder and harder to reach until at last they are completely unrepentant. Trumpet 5 falls on those who do not have the seal of God. Trumpet 6 reveals the fully impenitent. And Trumpet 7 announces the Final Atonement as Christ finishes His work as High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary and the Kingdom of Earth is turned over to the Saints of the Most High. Alleluiah!
With blaring Trumpets and a desperate cry, God is giving the world one last chance to respond to Him. But why wait? We do not have to wait until Trumpets are sounding all around us. We can respond to His call for mercy now, with open hearts. We can accepted Him now and have the time we need to develop a deeper trust in God and form a character that can be at one with our Heavenly Father.
This heart-work is the only preparation we can possibly do to prepare for the events that are coming on the earth. Laying up food stores or weapons and moving to a remote location is not going to save us from God’s wrath against sin. With the glorious promise of Christ becoming our King, and earthly kingdoms turning to dust and blowing away like the chaff from the summer threshing floor (Dan. 2:35), let us hold fast to this advice from Isaiah and Proverbs.
“Come My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself for a little moment until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:20-21)
“Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught. ” (Proverbs 3:25-26)
“Thy dead men shall live! Together with My dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, yes who dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)
 Daniel 10:13, 21; Jude 1:9 “archangel” is better translated “chief of the angels;” Rev. 12:7.
 Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Joseph Henry Thayer, Christian Gottlob Wilke, Carl Ludwig, Wilibald Grimm, Grand Rapids, Associated Publishers and Authors, 1889.
 Further reading on this topic can be found in White, The Great Controversy, Chapters 38-40 pp. 603-652.