Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

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The Revelation
Revelation was taught by Dr. James Modlish

Chapter Eight

The First Four Trumpets


The The opening of the seventh seal introduces the next series of judgments, the seven trumpets. In the Old Testament, trumpets were used to: announce war (Num. 10:5-9); move the camp (Num. 8); announce the feasts (Num. 10: 10); and bring about judgment (Josh. 6:13ff). The trumpet sound is a symbol of power and authority (Ex. 19:16).

Note that there is a definite parallel between the seven trumpets and the seven vials of chapters 15-16:

It would seem that the seven vials are an intensified judgment following the judgment of the trumpets.



1. Silence (1) This is the lull before the storm; (see Zech. 2:13; Hab. 2:20; Isa. 41:1; Zeph. 1:7; 1:14-18). In (7:10-12), we have a great expression of praise from the heavenly hosts; here we have a breathless silence in heaven as judgment is about to fall.

2. Supplication (2-6) We noted in chapter 4 that there is a heavenly sanctuary, and here we have the altar of incense, symbolic of prayer. (See Lev. 16:12 and Ps. 141:2). This angel may be Christ, the Heavenly Priest. The "prayers of the saints" are not prayers given through the names of the saints in glory. In (5:3), no man was found worthy to open the book save Jesus Christ; so why should anyone pray through any other name? These prayers are the prayers of God's people, "Thy kingdom come!" This incense especially represents the cries of the tribulation martyrs (6:9-11, 20:4). Many of the prayers of vengeance in the Psalms will be used rightfully by Israel during those days of suffering. The fire from the altar cast upon the earth speaks of the wrath of God about to be poured out on unbelievers. (Compare vs. 5 with 4:5, 11:19, and 16:18), and you will see that the thunderings always give warning that the storm is coming. The seven angels stand poised for action, then sound one by one. 


The first judgment parallels the seventh plague of Egypt (Ex. 9:18-26). Egypt is a type of picture of the world, so it is logical that the plagues in Moses' day be repeated on a worldwide scale during the tribulation. Hail storms can do terrible damage; but when you have fire mixed with hail, the possibilities of desolation are staggering. One-third of the trees and green grass will be destroyed by this first trumpet judgment. There are thirteen references to "the third part" in (Rev. 8-9).

The second trumpet affects the sea, turning one-third into blood and killing one-third of the creatures, as well as destroying one-third of the ships. This parallels the first plague in Egypt (Ex. 7:19-2 1). The burning object that fell was not a literal mountain; it was "as it were" a great mountain. "The sea" here may mean only the Mediterranean; but it is likely that all the seas on the globe are involved.

The third trumpet affects the rivers, making their waters bitter. The great star of (vs. 10) is known only to God, who calls the stars by their names (Job 9:9-10).

Jeremiah prophesied that one day Israel would have to drink the bitter waters (Jer. 9:14--15). It seems that this bitterness will continue until the establishing of the Millennial Kingdom; for in (Ezek. 47:6-9), it is prophesied that the healing waters will overcome the bitter effects of the tribulation judgments.

Are these judgments to be understood literally? We think so. If God could send these same judgments to Egypt in Moses' day, what is to prevent Him from sending them upon the whole world? We can only imagine the tremendous economic results from the loss of farm and pasture land, and from the loss of water. Mankind has never appreciated the blessings of God's goodness in nature. Yet, even when He takes away some of the blessings, men will still not repent (9:20-21). 


The fourth angel sounds and brings about tremendous consequences in the skies, for one-third of the light of the heavenly bodies is blacked out! This is the fulfillment of a prophecy by Christ in (Lk. 21:25-28), as well as by Amos in (Amos 8:9). It is interesting to note that God brought the heavenly bodies into being on the fourth day of creation, and with the fourth trumpet will darken them.

What will the consequences be? For one thing, there will be terror on earth. Men have always feared the signs in the skies. This terror, however, will not bring men to repentance. There will also be tremendous results in the vegetable kingdom, with shortened days robbing plants of sunlight. Of course, Jesus said that the shortening of the days during the tribulation would mean the saving of lives (Mt. 24:22). However, it is easy to imagine the sin, crime, and terror that will take place on the streets when darkness comes early in the day, and when night is darker than ever. "Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light," says (Jn. 3:19-20). There will certainly be a crime wave on earth such as never before! 


This is a literal messenger from God, giving warning to the world that the next three judgments will be even worse! You would think that men would heed God's call and repent, but such is not the case.

The phrase, "they that dwell on the earth" is found also in (3:10, 6:10, 11:10, 13:8, 13:14, 14:6 and 17:8). It refers, not only to those who live on the earth, but also those who live for the earth. They are "earthlings" - people who reject heaven, its Christ and who prefer to live for this world. They are perfectly described in (Phil. 3:18-20). They are pictured in Exodus as the "mixed multitude" that lusted after the foods of Egypt and refused the manna from heaven. This class of people will go through tribulation (Rev. 3:10) and will be responsible for the killing of God's saints (Rev. 6:10). They will rejoice when God's two witnesses are slain (11:10); but note the contrast in (12:12), where heaven rejoices at Satan's expulsion! (Rev. 13:8) makes it clear that these earth-dwellers will worship the Beast, which means they will have an outward disguise of religion, but they will have no inward experience of saving faith. Having rejected the truth, they will believe the lie!

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