During the end times, seven-year tribulation God will pour out His wrath as judgment for the world's sin and as a final call for humanity to repent and worship Him. God gave John a vision of this time, which he recorded in the book of Revelation. A large part of God's judgment is described in three series of sevens: the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. The second of these series, the seven trumpets, is described in Revelation 8:6—9:21 and 11:15–19.
In his vision John sees seven angels holding trumpets and standing before God. An eighth angel offers incense at the altar with the prayers of believers. He takes his golden censer filled with fire from the altar and throws it towards the earth (Revelation 8:2–5). Then the first of the seven angels blows his trumpet.
Trumpet 1: "… hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth" (Revelation 8:7). The first trumpet sends hail and fiery blood to the earth, destroying one third of the trees and grasses on earth. This is similar to the seventh plague God brought upon Egypt (Exodus 9:13–35).
Trumpet 2: "… a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood" (Revelation 8:8). The second trumpet sends a fiery mountain into the sea killing a third of sea life and destroying a third of the ships on the water. This is similar to the first plague God brought upon Egypt (Exodus 7:14–25).
Trumpet 3: "… a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water" (Revelation 8:10). The third trumpet sends a star named Wormwood to the earth. It poisons the water and makes it bitter, causing many people to die.
Trumpet 4: "… a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night" (Revelation 8:12). The fourth trumpet takes away a third of all light and makes part of both the day and night completely dark.
Trumpets five through seven are also known as the “three woes” for the words of an eagle warning the people of the great pain that is coming (Revelation 8:13).
Trumpet 5: "They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone" (Revelation 9:5). The fifth trumpet will send a fallen angel with a key to open the Abyss. From the Abyss will come an army of locusts led by a king named Abaddon. They will look like horses with human faces and women's hair, breastplates of iron, lions' teeth, and scorpion tails. For five months they will torment anyone who is not a believer with the seal of God on their foreheads. Some commentators believe this to be a description of a type of machinery such as helicopters or possibly a description of barbaric warriors, whereas others believe it to be a description of literal creatures from the pit of hell.
Trumpet 6: "So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind" (Revelation 9:15). The sixth trumpet releases four fallen angels who had been bound at the Euphrates River in order to lead a great number of troops into battle to kill a third of humanity. They ride horses and wear red, blue, and yellow breastplates symbolizing the plagues they inflict upon humanity: fire, smoke, and sulfur.
Trumpet 7: "There were loud voices in heaven, saying 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15). The seventh trumpet opens the temple of God in heaven and John sees the ark of the covenant. The people in heaven rejoice knowing that Jesus will soon conquer Satan and bring an end to the evil on earth, establishing His everlasting kingdom.
Even after these terrible judgments many people will not repent of their sins, but will continue living in their immorality. Just as the Egyptians' hearts were hardened when God used Moses to bring plagues upon Egypt, so will their hearts be hardened against God. Yet God continues to fight for the salvation of humanity. He will send two witnesses to Jerusalem who will preach and perform miracles. The beast will eventually kill them, but three days later God will resurrect them and take them up into heaven. It is after this that the seventh trumpet is sounded. The next series of judgments is the seven bowls.
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