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The Seven Trumpet Judgments of Revelation


The wrath of the Lord begins with the open scroll (c.f., Zechariah 5:1-4). The scroll of Revelation ( illustrated on "The Revelation Seals" menu page) is sealed with it's seven seals. The picture of the scroll with the seven seals is a correct and accurate rendering of a Samaritan papyrus from the third century B.C. The original is presently housed in The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the seven seal impressions are still in place. Before unrolled, all seven seals must first be broken. The scroll in Rev. 5:1 is sealed simularly. The seals are not part of the content of the scroll itself, therefore all seven seals must be removed before one can deal with the contents (inside) of the scroll. The Rev. 5 scroll is the judgments (wrath) of God, the seals are not. Why is a scroll sealed with seven seals? According to Marvin Rosenthal (The Scroll of Revelation 5:1-8:1, Zion's Fire, Nov./Dec. 1992, p.16), this could mean one of two things:

  1. Seven witnesses were involved in the sealing of the scroll.

  2. The person who sealed the scroll used various seals to guard against forgery and to prove authenticity all the more.

Finally, the number seven is often connected with the character of God (Rev. 1:16, 20; 3:1; 5:6; 8:2; 10:3).

Not until all seven seals are opened does the wrath of God begin (Rev. 6:15-17 NASB). The Greek tense for "wrath has come" in verse 17 of Revelation chapter six is the aorist tense. The same example is found in Mark 14:41, where in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus says, "the hour has come." The very next event is His arrest. Following the sixth seal is this statement; just before the seventh seal is broken open. Only two events are between the sixth and seventh seals; the sealing of the 144,000 Jews from the twelve tribe and "a great multitude, which no one could count" in heaven (Rev. chapter 7). The 144,000 Jews are sealed to protect them from God's wrath to come on the whole earth and the "great multitude" is the church, the body of Christ raptured to heaven just prior to His wrath. That wrath begins in Revelation 8:1, with the opening of the seventh seal.

[Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. Click here to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.]

The trumpet judgments begin the wrath of God in the book of Revelation. Some have compared the trumpets with the bowls (vials), thereby concluding that they are concurrent. True, there are similarities, but the differences outweigh and strongly favor the argument for their being consecutive. That is to say, the seventh trumpet introduces and contains the seven bowl judgments, rather than the seven bowls as just a parallel extension to the seven trumpets. Following are the differences that reveal why the seven trumpets precede the seven bowls that follow consecutively:

  1. The trumpet judgments are prolonged, while the seven bowl judgment are in rapid succession. The fifth trumpet lasts as long as five months (e.g., Rev. 9:5,10), thus giving mankind a chance to repent.

  2. Most of the trumpet judgments are for only a third (1/3) of mankind and earth, while the bowl judgments cover the entire earth and judge all mankind.

  3. The seventh trumpet ends the mystery (Rev. 10:7; c.f., 11:15) and Christ takes possession of the earth, while the seventh bowl ends God's wrath (Rev. 16:17). The millennial kingdom on a restored earth then follows with Christ reigning.

Table Comparing the Trumpets and the Bowls
Trumpet Judgments Bowl (Vial) Judgments
1st Hail and fire, mixed with blood burn up 1/3 of the earth. Loathsome and malignant sores are given upon men who have the mark of the beast.
2nd A great mountain burning with fire is thrown into the sea and 1/3 of the sea becomes blood. The sea becomes blood and every living thing in the sea dies.
3rd A great burning star falls from heaven and falls on 1/3 of the rivers and on the spring waters. All rivers and spring waters become blood.
4th 1/3 of the sun and 1/3 of the moon and 1/3 of the stars are darkened. The sun with its fierce, firery heat scorched men.
5th Locusts', from the abyss, torment is like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man and lasts for 5 months. Beast's kingdom becomes darkened, and they gnaw their tongues because of pain of their sores.
6th Four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates are released so that they might kill 1/3 of mankind. Euphrates river is dried up, that the way might be prepared for the kings from the east
7th The kingdom of the world now becomes the eternal kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He begins His reign on earth. "It is done" (i.e., God's wrath is to finish now). There is so great an earthquake the great city (Jerusalem) is split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fall, every island vanishes, and the mountains flatten. Huge 100 pound hailstones come down from heaven upon men. Men blaspheme God because of the plague of the hail is extremely severe.




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