Trumpets and Prophets - Revelation Chapters 8-11

 Jamma Mokhriby


We concluded our previous message on the Book of Revelation which was titled, "Looking Down from Heaven," at verse 17 of Ch. 7. Our study ended with a panoramic view of the destiny of the saints which will be martyred during the time known as the Tribulation Period.
Starting at Ch. 8:1 we read of an awesome period of time in heaven when Jesus Christ opens the seventh seal. We are told that, "there was silence in heaven for about half an hour."
The continual worship heard previously around the Almighty's throne has suddenly ceased and the majesty of the silence of God permeates the majestic realm of heaven.
As we continue our study of the Book of Revelation in Chapter 8, we must understand the style of writing which will be presented from this particular point on as we are shown details of the events which surround two distinct groupings of occurrences.
These events are sent forth upon the earth from the angelic sounding of seven trumpets and the pouring out of seven bowls in heaven. It must be kept in mind these harbingers are not administering their duties in a sequential straight line as is often pictured, but instead we might consider these angels positioned in a circular formation.
In order to grasp the presentation of the information being revealed we need to keep in mind a historical style of story telling that continues to be utilized in various fashions during our present day. Whenever some great tragedy or event is being reported, modern newspapers will occasionally devote whole sections of their paper to thoroughly cover the same story from different angles and perspectives. As we turn the pages of one of these special editions we will often find that some articles start their report from some point at the beginning or within the story while another may describe things which led up to the drama.
Related stories may report on some individual's personal experience while another may present new facts or else a follow up containing final conclusions. The reports are all about the same story, but each report is unique and of added interest because of the newly added information and details which more thoroughly develops the picture of what had transpired.
Verses 2-6 of Rev. Ch. 8 detail that which took place in heaven when the second part of the Tribulation Period was initiated at approximately Rev. 6:12 when the sixth seal was opened.
A little recollection aid in recognizing this division in the Book of Revelation is that eight is the number for new beginnings in the Bible. Thus in Ch. 8 we are presented with a new beginning point.
Likewise number seven represents completion in the Bible and Ch. 7 brought us by summation to the completion of our first overview of the Tribulation Period with the rewarding of the tribulation martyrs.
We now return to our study in Ch. 8 of the Book of Revelation. Seven angels are seen being given seven trumpets in verse 2 while verses 3 & 4 reveal that another angel is given the ministry of offering the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar before God's throne.
These prayers will include those being made upon the earth by persecuted believers as well as the prayer for vengeance engendered by the souls of the previously martyred tribulation saints who were seen located under the altar in Rev. 6:9.
In Rev. 6:10 they cried out to God to judge and avenge their blood upon those who dwell upon the earth and God honors their petition of Him. It is the solemn implications for the earth when the seven trumpets are to be sounded, and God unleashes His fury in response to these prayers, that evidently causes the dramatic time of silence in heaven John witnessed in Rev. 8:1.
Verses 7-12 reveal what will transpire upon the earth when the first four of the seven trumpets sound.
The first trumpet brings hail and fire that is mixed with blood and a third of the vegetation is burned up. This will bring great famine to both man and beast.
The second trumpet sends something which has the appearance of a burning mountain into the sea. This burning mountain causes a third of the sea to become blood and destroys a third of the creatures in the sea along with a third of the ships. This flaming mountain could very possible be an asteroid. Please see our Rapture Watch Message, "The Burning Mountain" for further information.
At the sounding of the third trumpet a great star burning like a torch falls from heaven and poisons a third of the fresh water. A comet could qualify as this falling star. Please see our Rapture Watch Message, "Comet Dust and Fiery Mountains."
When the fourth trumpet sounds a third of the light from the sun, moon and stars will be darkened. Consider what effect this judgment will have on navigation, the discerning of the passing of time, plant growth and animal migrations.
As terrible as these first four trumpet judgment will have been, verse 12 of Ch. 8 heightens the level of threat by introducing the remaining three trumpets as three woes.
Chapter 9:1-11 describe the judgment of the woeful fifth trumpet released from the bottomless pit. Demonic locusts are unleashed upon the world by an angel fallen from heaven to torment men with unbearable stings for five months. The unnatural nature of these locust is further emphasized by the fact that they do not eat vegetation like their earthly counterparts. Either the same, or another fallen angel named Abaddon or Apollyon (which means destroyer) rules over them. Men will desperately seek death to escape the torment of these vile creatures, but we are told in verse 6 that death will flee from them.
We are told that the first mentioned fallen angel was given the key to open the pit of hell while Apollyon is revealed to be "the angel of the bottomless pit."
We are told in verse 4 that all who do not have the seal of God on their foreh4eads are hapless targets of these stinging locusts. This would mean that only the 144,000 sealed Jews of Rev. Ch. 7 will be safe from these spawn of Hell. For further information see our Rapture Watch Message, "To Die is Gain."
Revelation 9:12-19 reveal the judgment of the woeful sixth trumpet. Four fallen angels which are bound at the Euphrates River will be released to mobilize an army numbering 200 million men.
Without being dogmatic, the description John gives of these horsemen's appearance could very well be the description one might expect from a first century man attempting to explain a modern-day mechanized military. They apparently begin their killing enroute to their own destruction. By the time they finish their march, an additional third of those who were still left alive at that time join the growing host of the dead.
Advancing for a moment to Rev. 16:12 & 16, we find what we believe is the end results of this sixth trumpet lining up with the close of the Tribulation Period at the final great battle of this age called Armageddon. Our linking Rev. 16:12 & 16 with Rev. 9:12-19 has sound merit.
It needs to be kept in mind that the releasing of each judgment just sets events in motion. The after effects and final outcomes of one judgment often runs concurrent with other judgments.
Only those living through the Tribulation will be able to recognize the precise divisions and timetables, but a general picture is available for us to consider.
With this in mind we can consider the possible identity of this great army from Rev. 9 & 16 by the following facts:
1). This army is to be overseen by a number of kings found east of the Euphrates River according to Scripture. China along with other Asian nations are located in the region designated.
2). The Chinese have factually declared on numerous occasions that they can field a foot soldier army of 200 million men. The exact number specified in prophecy. A prophecy, which must be noted, that was recorded at a time when there was not 200 million people to be found living on the entire earth.
3). Bible prophecy declares that the Euphrates River will be dried up in order for this army to achieve access to the valley of Megiddo where the conflagration of Armageddon will take place. This supports that it is China's vast army being spoken of since an airlift of 200 million men from the East with all their vehicles, armaments and equipment is unrealistic. China will by necessity have to travel by a land route in order to accomplish this awesome mobilization into the Middle East.
Please review our Rapture Watch Message, "China's Road to Armageddon" for further information.
Returning to the final verse of Rev. Ch. 9 we find that the population of the earth found alive at the time of this judgment will still refuse to repent and turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Here we find further proof that salvation in Christ will still be available after the Rapture of the Church to Heaven. To point out that people are refusing to repent when salvation is no longer available would be disingenuous.
The seventh trumpet is then notably withheld from our view for the time being and Chapter 10 reveals John in heaven having a respite from the vision he had been witnessing upon the earth.
A mighty angel is seen holding a small book in his hand as he put his right foot on the sea and his left foot upon the land.
The little book could possibly be the same book found in Daniel 12:4 & 9.
We are told that John then heard seven thunders utter something which he was prohibited to disclose. What a secret John had to keep for all the remaining days of his life. Perhaps there is some relationship between this glorious secret and the inexpressible heavenly words which Paul said, "it is not lawful for a man to utter" in II Corinthians 12:4.
One day soon believers will learn firsthand of God's marvelous secrets. Revelation 10:7 reminds us that the angel, which will sound the seventh trumpet, is not out of John's view, but that in the day this angel sounds his trumpet, the mystery of God will be finished.
What is this mystery of God? A personal opionion is that it will have to do with the most challenging questin for every believr to answer abut why the all powerful God of eretnaity has not put an end to evil. It is during the time of this great tribulation that the Lord begins to forevr remove evil from His creation.
Verses 8-11 then reveal John taking the little book and having to eat it. As is many times the case with the Word of God for mortal men, the truth revealed in the book can be both sweet and disturbing at the same time.
John is then told he must continue to prophesy. His words will contain God's promises of life or damnation for all who will live upon the earth from that day forward.
Chapter 11 then backs up and fills in more details of the things that have taken place upon the earth.
Verses 1-13 direct our attention to two extraordinary anointed men of God. There is some debate as to whether Rev. 11:3 refers to them being here the first or last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation, or even an overlap of both.
One Scripture which tends to support the theory that the two prophets will not begin their ministry until sometime into the first 3 ½ years can be found in Ezekiel 38:22. There we find that when Russia invades Israel during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period, one of the plagues that will afflict them will be flooding rain.
The Scripture does not clearly state whether this plague comes upon them in their own country in route to Israel, or in Israel. If this rain does come upon them while they are in Israel then read in conjunction with Rev. 11:6, it would mean for certain that the prophets will not begin their ministry until after Russia invades since no rain is to fall during the time of their witness. There is also the likelihood that this drought will be global.
For our study we lean to the belief that they will be here at some point during the first 3 ½ years after Russia invades and will be the instruments God uses to awaken the 144,000 Jews of Rev. Ch. 7 to their heritage in Jesus Christ when God pours out His Spirit as prophesied in Ezekiel 39:29.
This is strongly supported by the reference to the temple and its worshipers having to be evaluated during this future time. Bible prophecy reveals in Daniel 9:27 that the Anti-Christ will stop the worship in the tribulation temple by the middle of the final 7 years. This would suggest that the two prophets will be here for at least some portion of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation Period while worship is still permitted.
In verses 1-3 of Ch. 11 John is first told to measure the temple and those who are worshiping there.
The tribulation temple must be erected in Jerusalem by the first 3 ½ years and the worship at this temple will have ceased during the final 3 ½ years according to Dan. 9:27.
The Jewish focus of the Tribulation Period is again made evident by this concern paid to the soon to be rebuilt temple in Israel. This is of paramount importance to many Jews and is a matter of unfinished business which will not be left unattended for much longer. For further information please review our Rapture Watch message, "The Temple will Fit."
Revelation 11:3-6 then tell us about the ministry of the two chosen prophets of God.
Verse 4, when read in conjunction with Zechariah 4:2-5 & 11-14, reveals their Old Testament association and their glorious position which has been established by God.
We pity the numerous false prophets of the past and living today who will answer for impersonating these "two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth."
For 3 ½ years no rain will fall during the days of their ministry and they will have power to strike the earth with plagues as often as they desire. This implys that the stopping of the rain could be a global judgment.
Verses 7-10 reveal that after 3 ½ years the beastly spirit which will apparently possess the Anti-Christ will kill them. Then a time of unholy rejoicing and giving of gifts will take place upon the earth because of their murder.
This global time of festivity, once again, does not fit well with the idea that this portion of Scripture will transpire at the close of the Great Tribulation. The close of the Great Tribulation will not be conducive to parties and celebrations.
Verses 11-13 then describe the two prophets glorious and wondrous resurrection and their being caught up to heaven before the eyes of the world after having been left lying dead in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½ days. Please see our Rapture Watch Message, "Israel's Lawbreaking Prophets" for further information.
Verses 14-19 then complete the sounding of the circle of trumpet harbingers with the closing of Ch. 11 at the blowing of the woeful seventh trumpet.
There are those who say this trumpet is the last trumpet blown at the Rapture of the Church recorded in I Corinthians 15:52 and I Thessalonians 4:16. Nothing supports their position other than the mention of a trumpet. A trumpet which is not referred to as "the trumpet of God" nor "the last trumpet" as divinely titled for the Rapture trumpet in I Cor. 15:52 and I Thess. 4:16.
The seventh trumpet written of in Rev. 11:14-19 is not the last trumpet that will ever be blown and neither is the last trumpet of I Cor. 15:52. This can be proven by another of God's trumpet blasts found in Zechariah 9:14-17 which is heard when Christ returns to save Israel from annihilation at the start of His millennial reign.
Again, even this trumpet of Zech. 9:15 is not the last trumpet referenced by Scripture. The great trumpet blast described in Isaiah 27:12-13 calls for the gathering together of the elect children of Israel during Christ's establishment of His millennial kingdom as is fully supported in Matt. 24:30-31. For further information please see our Rapture Watch Message, "Understanding Matthew 24."
The trumpet of God which sounds at the Rapture in I Corinthians Ch. 15 is a final trumpet only in the sense that it completes the Church Age of God.
A prime example can be found in Exodus 19:15-19 when the Lord was to come down in the sight of the Israelites after two days of their consecration. This passage of Scripture provides a noteworthy comparison for those who study the Church in relationship to Bible prophecy at the close of this second millennium.
As has been noted in our previous message in this series on the Book of Revelation titled, "Looking Down from Heaven" when we review Rev. 11:16-18, we still find no address or mention of the Church being found upon the earth during this time. Only the same twenty-four elders of the Church found in Rev. 5:8-10 are revealed once again seated before God as the view returns to heaven.
We are told that the woeful seventh trumpet announces the day when Jesus Christ begins to exercise His rightful authority over the earth during the second half of the Tribulation Period. The time of this event is just after the first wave of martyrs had been killed at the fifth seal in Rev. Ch. 6. The two prophets may very well be counted among these committed believers who loved not their lives unto death.
We are told the Temple of God in heaven is then seen open at this time and in Rev. 7:14 we are shown that the martyrs will be granted the honor of entering and serving God in this holy edifice.
Time is running out. Today is the day to have your sins forgiven by trusting with faith in the Son of God Jesus Christ who died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Don't put it off. Tomorrow may well be too late. The Rapture is going to happen.