THE TRUMPET JUDGMENTS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
“The Trumpets Judgments…are so terrifying that, as they are opened, all heavenly host become silent…These Trumpets Judgments were prophesied by Enoch as recorded in the book of Jude and were anticipated by the psalmist as well…Paul also confirmed these judgments against [the] unrighteousness of men.”
What is the purpose of the Trumpet Judgments?
These judgements come, not because God is angry, but because God is just and loving. They serve three primary purposes: 1) To slow and disrupt Satan’s efforts to oppress people of faith 2) to warn the lost to prepare spiritually for the final judgment 3) to shake humanity out of their stupor and draw the lost to faith 4) to validate the accuracy of Scripture, and 5) to urge the lost to call upon the name of the Lord for salvation.
The seven Trumpets Judgments may be summarized as follows:
- Trumpet 1 – Vegetation is Devastated ( 8:7)
- Trumpet 2 – Oceans are Polluted ( 8:8-9)
- Trumpet 3 – Fresh Water is Contaminated ( 8:10-11)
- Trumpet 4 – Celestial Objects are Darkened ( 8:12)
- Trumpet 5 – A Plague of Venomous Locusts Arise from the Abyss ( 9:1-11)
- Trumpet 6 – A 200,000,000-Man Army Marches from the East, Killing Many ( 9:13-21)
- Trumpet 7 – The Arrival of God’s Kingdom is Announced ( 11:15-19)
The first Trumpet Judgment: Vegetation decimated
Described as a blight of hail and fire, via a supernatural use of natural elements, the first trumpet blast will bring about the destruction of a third of all vegetation on Earth. This event will have a catastrophic and trickle-down negative impact on agriculture, livestock, medicine production, the economy, nutrition, and even oxygen quality.
There are similarities between several of the Trumpets Judgments and the plagues that befell a stubborn Pharoah in the days of Moses. The first Trumpets Judgment parallels the seventh plague on Egypt. Both judgments include hail and fire falling from the sky and destroy vegetation. The Judgement is a call to repentance.
The second Trumpet Judgment: A meteor or comet will fall into the sea
The second trumpet facilitates something falling into the sea. Oceans are turned to blood and a third of life in the sea is destroyed. Like the first Trumpets Judgment, this will have a catastrophic, trickle-down effect on humanity. Described as a huge burning mountain falling into the sea, the event will not only destroy life in the ocean, but also, a third of all ships—possibly due to tidal waves or changes in the dynamic of ocean waters.
The third Trumpet Judgment: Wormwood
Similar to the second Trumpets Judgment, the third Judgment involves a celestial object falling to the earth. This event will cause fresh water to turn bitter (resulting in many deaths). John names the object that falls to earth, Wormwood. The name was well known in the ancient world—associated with a bitter-tasting plant. This plant has an especially pungent taste, and, when consumed in large quantities, results in serious illness or death.
The fourth Trumpet Judgment: Reduction of light
The fourth Trumpet Judgment brings about dramatic changes in the sun, moon, and stars. Celestial objects will darken, reducing both daylight and nightlight on Earth by a third.
It is likely that increased darkness will be very unsettling to the masses—leading to increased crime, depression, anxiety, suicides, and mental illness.
The Trumpets Judgments are not the first tribulations noted in the book of Revelation. To help convey the gravity of what this document has profiled thus far, the first four Trumpet Judgments will likely bring about more death and destruction than all wars of the 20th century.
The fifth Trumpet Judgment: Tormenting creatures
The fifth Trumpet Judgment introduces the “first woe,” an event with spiritual or supernatural implications. John writes of a “star falling from heaven” to the bottomless pit. This event unleashes scorpion-like creatures from the demon world. These creatures torment humanity but do not cause death (though many will wish for it). Many scholars believe the subtle grammar markers in the Greek text indicate the star that falls from heaven is not a celestial object (similar to the first and second Trumpets Judgments), but rather, is a person. Scholar J.B Smith links the phrasing to Isa. 14:12-17 and Luke 10:18, which are references to Satan. Though the book of Revelation is thought to generally follow a chronological timeline, this event may follow the events profiled in Rev. 12:7-9.
The sixth Trumpet judgment: A great army will advance from the east
The sixth trumpet is initiated by a voice that comes from the “four horns of the golden altar.” It is likely that this signifies a righteous judicial judgment, spurred by the prayers of the persecuted who cry out for justice. The sixth trumpet effects the drying up of the great Euphrates, which makes
way for an army of 200,000,000 men to advance from the east. This army moves toward Israel and leaves devastation in its wake. Rev. 9:15 notes they kill a third of mankind. The unique and powerful descriptions of the horsemen in this army could point to a supernatural element, similar to the locust associated with the fifth seal. However, the language could be poetic imagery pointing to modern era military equipment and chemical and biological warfare.
The seventh Trumpet Judgment: Christ’s return and reign foreseen
Interestingly and mercifully, the seventh Trumpet Judgment does not bring destruction to the earth, but does carry a warning. When the seventh trumpet sounds, the coming of Christ and the “Kingdom of the Lord” is announced. This will be happy news for the remnant of true believers on earth, who will surely be eagerly waiting the return of the Lord and the coming Millennial Kingdom. But for Satan and his followers, the announcement is a tacit reminder that their time to rule is about to end and judgment is coming. Scripture notes that at the announcement, heaven rejoices but the nations rage.
The Trumpets Judgments are designed to draw people to a saving faith in Christ. Dr. Gaebelein writes; “The purpose of God revealed in the agonizing plagues described in chapters 8-9 is to bring societies to repentance (Cf. 16:9,11). God is not willing that any person should suffer His judgment but that all should repent and turn to him (Luke 13:3-5; 2 Peter 3:9). But when God’s works and words are persistently rejected, only judgment remains” (Ephesians 5:6).”
 Jude 14-15
 Psalm 96:13
 Romans 1:18; Acts 17:31
 Van Impe, Jack, The Prophecy Bible, (Troy, Michigan: Van Impe Ministries, 1999), 1584
 Zechariah 12:10; Romans 10:13
 Exodus 9:23-25
 Wormwood is associated with divine judgment in Jer. 9:15; Lam. 3:15, 19
 Rev. 11:17
 Rev. 11:18
 Gaebelein, Frank E, Expositors Bible Commentary, Vol. 12 (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1981), 495
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