Revelation 8 in Bible Prophecy – The Seventh Seal and the First Four Trumpets
Silence in Heaven
8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Jesus, who is the Lamb of God, breaks the seventh and last seal and there is silence in heaven for 30 minutes. The sixth seal (chapter 6) is the Day of the Lord and the seventh seal follows it. The Lord returns at the end of the Day of the Lord to save the Jews from destruction at the Battle of Armageddon. The silence may be at His second coming when He returns with all the saints to annihilate the wicked. This is speculative because we are not told why there is silence in heaven.
Zechariah may be referring to the same event when he speaks of the return of the Lord to dwell with His people. Those before the Lord are commanded to be silent because He is raised up from His holy habitation.
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” (Zechariah 2:10-13)
Revelation chapter 4 through 8:1 moves through a series of events listed below:
- John’s opening scene in heaven
- Breaking of seals 1-6
- Sealing of the 144,000
- Multitude stand before the throne of God
- Breaking of 7th seal
Now we move into the seven trumpets. Do the trumpets continue on chronologically following after the seventh seal? When do the trumpet judgments begin?
Revelation does not seem to be clear regarding these events.
Jesus provides a chronology of last days events in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 (see the Biblical Prophecy Timeline Chart for full sequence of end time events). I have sequenced the book of Revelation to align with the timeline Jesus provides. I assume the seal and trumpet judgments end close to the same time at the end of the Great Tribulation.
The question is, “What happens after the seventh seal? It make no sense to say that the trumpet judgments happen after the seal judgments because the fifth seal happens at the Great Tribulation and the sixth seal at the end of the Great Tribulation. Revelation 8:2 does not begin with a follow on conjunction like, “then” or “after these things”. It just begins with “and.” Let’s assume the trumpet judgements start sometime during the time of the breaking of the seal judgments.
The Trumpet Judgments
Seven Angels Prepare to Sound the Seven Trumpets
8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
Have the trumpet judgments begun?
When Do the Trumpet Judgments Begin?
In Daniel 12:4-7, the seals of the book are concealed until the “time of the end”. Has the “time of the end” already started? Daniel speaks of the “time of distress such has never occurred” in verse 1. He also speaks of a time period of 3 1/2 years for “all these events to occur” in verse 7. So when he speaks to the sealing of the words until the end time this seems to indicate that the seals will not be opened until the time of the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years). This seems to indicate before the seals or the trumpets begin the book must be opened by Jesus at the start of the Great Tribulation. Let the reader be guided by the Holy Spirit as to if the first trumpet judgment as begun.
Some do believe the trumpet judgments have already begun. If the star falling from heaven opening the bottomless pit is Satan (see section Revelation 9:1-11 The 5th Trumpet – Bottomless Pit Opened) then the fifth trumpet must occur close to the middle of the 70th week when Satan is cast to earth (Revelation 12:13). If this is true, then the first four trumpet judgments must occur either prior to the Great Tribulation or at the start of it.
An Angel Holding a Censor With the Prayers of the Saints
A angel stands at the altar in heaven with a golder censer and incense is given to him so he can offer incense of the prayers of all the saints. The angel is not praying but the angel is offering up the prayers of the saints.
We have jumped back in time. The saints are back on the earth and they are praying. What are their prayers? It may be for safety but many will be killed for their faith. The prayers are likely for them to hold fast “to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:2).
The Altar of Incense Before the Throne
In Solomon’s temple the altar of incense was not located in the Holy of Holies where the ark of the covenant was located. The altar of incense was just outside in the Holy Place (Exodus 30:6). In Hebrews 9:1-5, Paul tells us the golder altar of incense is located inside the Holy of Holies with the Ark of the Covenant. In heaven, the altar of incense stands before the throne of God in the most Holy of Holies. The golden altar of incense represents Christ. Incense was burned on this altar continually as a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people as a sweet aroma to God.
- The altar was outside the Holy of Holies prior to Jesus’ death on the cross.
- In Hebrews the altar is inside the Holy of Holies.
- Jesus now is at the right hand of the Father. One now has access through Jesus to the throne room of God.
- In the Millennial Kingdom Jesus will rule from the temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. See Ezekiel 40-48.
The Trumpet Judgments Begin
An angel takes a censer filled with fire from the altar and throws it to the earth. Voices and thunder are heard then lightnings and an earthquake. The seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets.
The First Trumpet Judgments
Hail, Fire and Blood
8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
The first angel sounds the trumpet. Hail, fire mingled with blood are cast to the earth. One-third of the trees burn up and all the green grass burns up. The hail and fire may be literal hail and fire from heaven burning up one-third of all the trees. It also may represent warfare.
The Second Trumpet Judgment
Mountain Burning With Fire
8:8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
8:9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
The second trumpet judgment begins with an angel sounding a trumpet and a great mountain burning with fire is cast into the sea. One-third of the sea becomes blood, one-third of the fish die and one-third of the ships are destroyed. A nuclear bomb, falling meteorite or comet seem to fit the image of a mountain burning with fire cast into the sea
The Third Trumpet Judgment
Star Falls From Heaven
8:10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
8:11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
The third judgment begins and a great star falls from heaven burning like a lamp. The result is one-third of the rivers and springs became poisoned and many die from drinking the water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A possibility for this event is a comet or meteorite will impacting the earth and poison the waters.
The Fourth Trumpet Judgment
Sun, Moon and Stars Darkened
8:12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
The fourth trumpet sounds and one-third of the sun, moon and stars are darkened. Two ideas on what will take place with this judgment. The first idea is a dark cloud covers the earth and darkens the skies letting only two-thirds of the light through. Thus, the sun, the moon and the stars are darkened. The second idea is of 16 hour days. Somehow each day is shortened from 24 hours to 16 hours.
An Angel with Three Woes
8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
Four trumpet judgments have occurred, three remain. An angel flies around the earth announcing of the upcoming three woes.
What are the three woes?
- The first woe is the fifth trumpet judgment (Revelation 9:12).
- The second woe is the sixth trumpet called the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 11:14).
- The third woe is announced to be come quickly after the two witnesses are killed in Revelation 11:14, however no completion of the woe is given in scripture. The third woe is likely the seventh trumpet judgment.
Written by Timothy BrownShare this: