Saturday, 28 January 2017 23:12

50. The Seven Trumpets: general view * Revelation 8 and 9

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*** Background ***: So far, we have seen the period from John’s time all the way to Jesus’ Second Coming from 2 different perspectives. The first one, was through the Seven Churches. The second one, was through the opening of the Seven Seals. With the Seven Churches, we looked at the Church history, and with the Seven Seals, we studied the path of the one who overcomes as the message of God is spread out. We are now starting yet another way to look at this exact time frame: the Seven Trumpets. Chapters 8 and 9 include seven angels, who were given trumpets. Just as it was with the opening of each of the Seven Seals, when each of the angels blow their trumpet, events happen on Earth. The Seven Trumpets are also divided in the same format as the Seals.

Seven Seals

Seven Trumpets

First 4 Seals (the four horsemen)

First 4 Trumpets (one third of the Earth)

5th and 6th Seals

5th and 6th Trumpets (1st and 2nd Trumpet Woes)

Interlude (chapter 7)

Interlude (Chapters 10-11)

7th Seal

7th Trumpet (3rd Trumpet Woe)

The first thing we need to study is the symbol used: trumpet. The greek word used in Revelation is salpigx. In the Old testament, we see two different words used for trumpet: shophar and chatsotserah. They were both considered sacred instruments. The chatsotserah trumpets were typically made out of hammered metal, and were used by the priests in different occasions, such as calling the congregation together, war alarm, and during festivities (Numbers 10:2-10). It was also used in the temple services (2 Chronicles 5:12-13; 2 Chronicles 13:12-14). Gideon used it to win a battle (Judges 7:19-20). The shophar trumpets were usually made out of ram’s horn, and were the most mentioned of the two. The shophar was not a musical instrument, but it was a signaling instrument (Judges 3:27; Judges 6:34; 1 Samuel 13:3; Isaiah 18:3; Isaiah 27:13; Jeremiah 4:5,19; Jeremiah 51:27; Joel 2:1). There are other passages that highlight interesting connections between the shophar and the Seven Trumpets of Revelation: right before God gave the 10 Commandments from the mountain, God’s voice was heard, loud and clear, as the “voice of a trumpet” (shophar) (Exodus 19:16); the shophar was to be sounded throughout the land on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 25:9); in Joshua 6:4-5, we read about 7 priests, carrying 7 ram’s horns, and the walls of the enemy city of Jericho fell down after they blew their trumpets.

There are many other Old Testament Bible texts relating to the function of both types of trumpets. But the text in Numbers 10:8-10 is perhaps the most crucial one for the understanding of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation: “And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations. And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.” A key concept in this passage of Numbers 10:8-10, is the idea that they should blow the trumpets, like an alarm, so the people would be remembered by God. God really does not need us to remind Him that we exist. The audible clue for the Israelites was more for their own benefit, so that they would have an instant feedback telling them that God had not forgotten about their situation. Wether the issue was for God to forgive their sins, or to deliver them from enemy hand, the sounding of the trumpet meant that God had heard their prayer.

In the Old and in the New Testaments, trumpets are always included in the description of the Day of the Lord, or Second Coming of Christ (Joel 2:1; Zephaniah 1:16; Zachariah 9:14). In Matthew 24:31, Jesus said: “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 we read: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The text in the beginning of chapter 8 of Revelation makes it clear that the prayers of the saints are related to the blowing of the trumpets: "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." (Revelation 8:3). Back in the fifth seal, the souls under the altar were claiming for justice. And so, the mention of the prayers of the people in Revelation 8:3 brings us back to the Old Testament language: when the alarm was sound by blowing the horn, the people were reminded to seek God in prayer (Joel 2:15-17), and the wicked were to be warned, repent, and return to God so they could also have life (Ezekiel 33:1-20). The blowing of the trumpet is an alarm to bring people close to God, so God can save them. He wants to save everyone. But God can only save those who want to be saved. He loves us so much that He won't force salvation on anyone that doesn't want it. The people have to allow salvation to come to them, by turning themselves back to their Creator. God’s salvation can only be received by those who are willing to accept it.

*** Overview ***: In Revelation 1:10 and Revelation 4:1, the sound of the trumpet is a symbol of God’s presence, in the person of Jesus. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. The 5th Seal showed us blameless people, pleading for justice, against those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 6:10). The blowing of the trumpets is an alarm reminding the saved that God has heard them, and is a call to the wicked to repent, because His coming is near. As far as who will be affected by the blowing of the trumpets, Revelation 8:13 is clear about who the target is: the people of the earth. The events resulting from the trumpets are only to affect the people who do not have the seal of God (Revelation 9:4). The prayers of the saints under the altar were heard, and God will execute His judgment on the wicked on the last days. However, God has been sounding His alarm since John’s time. God has been giving the wicked plenty of warnings to repent and turn to God. As they reject God’s message, the trumpet events grow increasingly more intense. Over the next few studies, we will look closely at each Trumpet, and learn how each of them impacts the people of the Earth.

   
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