25 Suffering and the Seven Trumpets
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Our journey in Revelation continues as we discover who the active agent is behind the Seven Trumpets as they describe the terrible destruction that comes to the earth. It's not who you might have thought!
Who does What in the Cosmic Struggle?
Breaking Open the Seals
The slaughtered Lamb (who slaughtered it?) shows that the Suffering described by the Seals is the result of the Accuser’s presence on earth. It is NOT God punishing people but the “thief” (John 10:10) stealing away the health, wealth and happiness God gave in the beginning.
Breaking Open the Seals Satan’s influence is clear in Seal 6: Mass suicide is preferred to the Second Coming. This choice shows the success of Satan’s propaganda against God.
Breaking Open the Seals Sealing means to read but NOT understand (Daniel 12:4, 9). Daniel: God sent Israel into captivity (9:7b, 12, 14, 16, 24). Moses (Lev 26:14-23, Dt 28:21-26) God punishes disobedience. Ezekiel (5:7-17, 14:12-21) 4 curses for disobedience sent by God.
Breaking Open the Seals Daniel is unsealed by Jesus’ revealing that all suffering comes from Satan, including HIS OWN SLAUGHTER. To break open a Seal means to show its cause. The Trumpets, Battles and Plagues will all be unsealed in when we understand they originate with Satan!
Seven Seals (4:1—8:1) Ez 5:17; Lk 21
White horse: Antichrist’s who include fake Christians
Red horse: War and all its attendant ills
Black horse: Famine—physical, emotional and spiritual
Pale horse: Above with plague and disease
Souls under the altar: Martyrs who want action from God
Trumpets as Punitive Judgments
“judgments God will pour upon the unsaved world” –Osborne, Evangelical scholar
“actual judgments on the majority of earth’s inhabitants” – Beale, Evangelical scholar
God’s covenant curses on His enemies” – LaRondelle, Adventist scholar
“the primary focus is on punitive judgment – Pauline, Adventist scholar
Trumpets as Punitive Judgments
“righteousjudgmentsandvengeanceuponthese who viciously harassed and oppressed the faithful” – Stefanovic, Adventist scholar
Scholarlylogicis:themartyrsareaskingfor vengeance and the trumpets are the retribution asked for.
BUTtheyweregivenwhiterobesandtoldtowait (6:10). NO PROMISE OF PUNITIVE ACTION OR REVENGE.
Jesus on Vengence
• Matthew 5:38-40 NLT • 38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ • 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. • 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.
The first angel blew his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and they were hurled to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up (Rev 8:7). • Trumpet: Warning of War or call to Festival• This is a bad reality. Third—part not all. • Good gifts perverted. (Water, warmth, life)
The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (Rev 8:8-9). • Thrown down from where? • Mountain=kingdom, sea=areas of wickedness, blood=death,
The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many died from the water, because it was made bitter (Rev 8:10-11). • Star from heaven: (Lk 10:18; Isa 14:12; Ez 28:14) • River of life (gospel-John 4:14; Rev 7:17) becomes bitter poison!
The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light was darkened; a third of the day was kept from shining, and likewise the night (Rev 8:12). Sun=Jesus Christ, Moon=Bible Stars=Christian leaders (Revelation 12:1)
ThenIlooked,andIheardaneaglecryingwithaloudvoice as it flew in mid-heaven, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” (8:13)
The last three are going to be worse than the first four.
“How awful! How awful! How awful!” (trans . Tonstad)
These are all awful consequences of sin.
God does not use the methods of sin. He is Holy— without sin.
Finding the Acting Subject
Who is the acting subject in the trumpet sequence? Who is behind the events depicted in the Trumpets?
Who is responsible for the cruelty and the calamities reported?
Most theologians make God responsible.
The text is saying the opposite. – End first half.
Fifth Trumpet—Test Case
And the fifth trumpet blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit; he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit (abusos), and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft (9:1-2). Jesus: “I saw Satan fall from heaven . . . lightning” (Lk 10:18) Pit: abusos demons fear (Luke 8:31) Sun: Sun of Righteousness is darkened through misunderstanding.
Actions of the Fallen Star
The from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given authority like the authority of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to damage the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads (9:3-4). • Scorpions: Luke 10:17-18
Fallen Star Inflicts Suffering
They were allowed to torture them for five month, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death but will not find it, they will long to die, but death will flee from them (9:5-6). • This is inescapable, bad suffering: Gulag, life with hard labour, anxiety/depression, addiction, guilt, revenge.
Nothing Like It
In appearance the locusts were like horses equipped for battle. On their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lion’s teeth; they scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle (9:7-9). • A description of demonic activity in the world?
The Agent Revealed They had tails like scorpions, with stingers, and in their tails is their power to harm people for five months. They have as a king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek his is called Apollyon (9:10- 11). In English “Abaddon” or “Apollyon” means Destroyer. A story is being told here in distilled form of the cosmic conflict. Exodus 12:23, John 10:10, Dragon and Beasts are the cause. NOT the Lamb.
Identity of the Fallen Star from the OT
How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of the Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! (Isaiah 14:12)
When OT writers wanted to comment profoundly they wrote poetry.
This passage is poetic Hebrew at its best.
Day Star is the brightest star, even seen in day light (Venus). Jerome translated as Lucifer.
Identity of the Fallen Star from the OT You said in your heart, “I will ascent to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God: I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). • A non-human reality, the Day Star, Lucifer, an angelic being rebels and wants to rise above his estate. He kept this secret agenda in his heart.
Echo of Isaiah (14) in Revelation
Fierce struggle indicated
To the Pit
(9) • Great Star • Heaven • Fierce struggle • Fallen (ejection) • Earth • Pit • Destroyer
Downfall of the Star But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. You will not be joined with them in burial because you have destroyed your land, you have killed your people (Isaiah 14:15, 20). • Isaiah understands that this being is destroying the earth, hence is the Destroyer. • “brought down” has a parallel in Revelation
• 13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice speaking from the four horns of the gold altar that stands in the presence of God. 14 And the voice said to the sixth angel who held the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great Euphrates River.” • 4 angels 7:1-3
Sixth Trumpet • 15 Then the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth. 16 I heard the size of their army, which was 200 million mounted troops. • One-third
Sixth Trumpet • 17 And in my vision, I saw the horses and the riders sitting on them. The riders wore armor that was fiery red and dark blue and yellow. The horses had heads like lions, and fire and smoke and burning sulfur billowed from their mouths.
Sixth Trumpet • 18 One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues—by the fire and smoke and burning sulfur that came from the mouths of the horses. 19 Their power was in their mouths and in their tails. For their tails had heads like snakes, with the power to injure people.
Sixth Trumpet • 20 But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood— idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Downfall of the Star
• Thedragonflungathirdoftheangelsdown(12:4) • Thegreatdragonwashurleddown(12:9) • Theaccuserhurleddown(12:10) • Thedevilhasgonedowntoyou(12:12) • Censerhurledontheearth(8:5) • 1st—Hail,fireandbloodhurledontheearth(8:7) • 2nd—mountainthrownintothesea(8:8) • 3rd—greatstarfellfromthesky(8:10) • 5th—starthathadfallenfromthesky(9:1)
The ‘Thirds’ in the Trumpets (30)
Rev 12:4 indicates the dragon drew a third of the stars from heaven. This is a clear indicator of who the agent is in the trumpets.
First: “a third of the earth . . . a third of the trees” (8:7)
Second:“athirdofthesea...athirdofthelivingcreatures...a third of the ships” (8:8)
Third: “a third of the waters” (8:10)
Fourth:“athirdofthesun...athirdofthemoon...athirdofthe stars ...athirdofthelight...athirdoftheday...Andlikewisethe night” (8:12).
Sixth: “a third of humankind . . . a third of humankind” (9:15, 18).
‘Third’ is a link which indicates agency not quantity.
Closing in on the Acting Subject
John perceives in these ‘thirds’ the fingerprint of Satan on all the instances of disaster and suffering that he catalogues.
The stroke of Satanic genius was to hide his evil intent and to attribute suffering to God.
Criminal diguised as a police officer.
Judgment versus Revelation
Readings that prioritize judgment tend to read the trumpets as though God is the only acting subject in the world.
God “is not the only one who is at work in this world—as the Apocalypse makes so abundantly clear.” – Vogtle, “Der Gott der Apocalypse,” 383.
Judgment versus Revelation
ThefifthtrumpetistheDestroyerorSatan’swork – As are all the trumpets
Thesevenbowlsfallonthesame“localities”asthe trumpets. (Appendix 6)
• 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: • “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
Who does what in the Cosmic Struggle? Satan is the: Accuser Adversary Deceiver Destroyer Way to God Instigator Liar Murderer Thief Truth about God Life of God Jesus: Resurrection & Life John 11:25; Abundant life John 10:10
Who does what in the Cosmic Struggle? “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10) Satan (Destroyer) Steal away Faith Kill your Hope Destroy your Love Jesus (Creator) Author of Faith Source of Hope Lover of your Soul
Church’s fragmentation result of the work of Satan.
Seals show historical suffering is because of Satan
Trumpets emphasize that the “star that fell from heaven” has brought bloodshed and suffering to earth
Satan is the active agent in suffering in Revelation.
Revelation is not a list of punishments from God but the revelation of the cause of all suffering, viz. Satan, the Devil, the Serpent, the Dragon, the Destroyer, the Deceiver, the Murderer.
We must still consider the 7 Battles and the 7 Plagues. Who causes them?