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© by Rich Kelsey.  All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any way by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without the prior permission of the copyright holder, except as provided by U.S. copyright law.  ISBN 1-57921-526-2 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2002115819




Chapter Two 


“And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets” (Rev. 8:2).

A Trumpet Is a Shophar

"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand." (Joel 2:1)

The Hebrew trumpet in this passage is called a shophar; it was traditionally made from a ram’s horn and was used in ancient Israel during war as a rallying cry. In the Book of Revelation, seven of these trumpets are given to seven angels. These trumpet judgments have significant meaning. They also have a definite purpose—to drive Antichrist from the throne.

Understanding that Revelation was written in symbols, let’s look to Scripture for a physical example of trumpets being blown and then put together a model of what the trumpets in our study might signify. In the Old Testament book of Joshua, there’s a written record of Israel’s conquest of Jericho; the Lord spoke to Joshua telling him to lay siege on that city, saying,

“Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse” (Josh. 6:4–6).

 The long trumpet blast according to Jewish tradition is called “the last trump.”

The Israelites did as the Lord commanded and the wall of Jeri­cho fell. No earthly weapon was used to bring down that wall; the battle was won through a work in the Spirit. The Lord promised Israel the city if Israel fought the battle according to His statutes. Israel did just as the Lord commanded, and He was faithful in giving them the victory. In the last days, Christians will be facing impenetrable walls also; yet it is recorded that once more God’s people will be faithful. Then as Revelation’s final trumpet begins to sound, the victory[1] will be ours.

The Chronology of the Apocalypse

These trumpet judgments spell the end of Antichrist’s regime, with the seventh trumpet containing Revelation’s seven bowls of wrath. We can be fairly certain that much of the three and a half[2] years Antichrist was given to rule earth has passed before this time of trumpets begins. In Revelation, events escalate on a successive scale: to build a working model of Revelation’s time frame, let’s make some reasonable assumptions. Let’s consider that the same amount of time will expire between the loosing of all seven of the scroll’s wax seals. Let’s also consider a seven-year time frame with each seal lasting one year. If this is the case, the breakdown of the main events in Revelation could follow this pattern: the first six seals take up six years, which is six-sevenths of Revelation’s total time frame. This means the trumpet judgments would occur during the seventh and final year. Within the seventh trumpet plague, there are seven bowls of wrath;[3] therefore, all seven bowls will have the same duration as one of the trumpet plagues, meaning the seven bowls will last approximately seven weeks. Apparently, as we get closer to Armageddon, the judgments will follow each other in rapid succession, with each plague being more severe than the preceding plague.

John records that before any trumpet sounds, the servants of God are sealed.

“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: ‘Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God’” (Rev. 7:1–3).

This sealing can only point to divine protection from judgment.

Divine Protection from Mere Wind?

Over and over in Scripture, we see havoc that is caused by an east wind, and because the angel in our text comes from the east, we could simply accept this prophecy at face value and take it literally. But first let’s build a physical model in our mind’s eye and envision how being sealed by the Almighty God could affect those who receive his seal. Let’s consider two men standing on the same street in a major city; one of them has the seal of God upon him and the other does not, and the wind is blowing extremely hard. Will the one who has God’s seal be affected by the wind any less than the other man? Is literal wind the destructive force that God will protect his faithful from? Probably not—after all the word usage in Revelation usually has a figurative meaning.

Wind throughout Scripture is associated with a spirit, or force, like when the “sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where”[4] people were praying. Could the first trumpet be dealing with a spiritual force—possibly an evil wind? Again, let’s look to the Old Testament for a possible example: this next text depicts God’s people when they were worried about a possible conquest:

“Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind” (Isa. 7:2).

This text even likened people to “the trees of the forest.” This is noteworthy because trees were mentioned in the trumpet judgment. Please notice these people were “shaken,” meaning they were terribly frightened—the Bible verse makes no mention of any storm looming; it was a warring faction of Israel that was ominous. People at the end of time who have forsaken the knowledge of God will be spiritually and emotionally shaken by the coming conquest of God’s Christ, and

“like the wind their sins will sweep them away.” (Isa. 64:6 author paraphrase)

Yet those who are in fellowship with the Lord have no need to fear.

This next text is an end-time prophecy: it fits perfectly into our time frame and speaks of the coming low moral condition of the earth.

“The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls—never to rise again” (Isa. 24:20).

Wind was mentioned in that last text. In the last days, the wind of God’s judgment will blow upon our troubled world, yet the earth will not literally fall—these are figurative statements.

Speaking of one of the tribes of Israel, it is written,

“Ephraim feeds on the wind; he pursues the east wind all day and multiplies lies and violence” (Hos. 12:1).

Surely the wind is likened to a nega­tive force in that passage. Is it possible that the wind that blows near the end of time could be an illustration of “multiplies lies and violence”? In another Bible verse where wind is mentioned it reads,

“May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them away; may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them” (Ps. 35:5–6).

Seeing that the “angel of the LORD” is shown chasing after the wicked, the word usage points to the word wind representing a driving or pursuing force. None of these passages were speaking of literal wind.

Now please don’t misunderstand the point of my arguments. I would be the last person on earth to say there won’t be terrifying winds before Christ returns. What I am saying is, God is not going to seal us from mere wind—the protection He gives His faithful ones is protection from coming judgment that will sweep through our world like an east wind—judgment of a spiritual nature, which is far more devastating.

The First Trumpet Sounds

“The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up” (Rev. 8:7).

If we were to take the meaning of this last text literally, from a purely scientific standpoint, we might surmise that hail and fire mixed with blood was the result of a nuclear conflict—that’s a good possibility. If one-third of earth’s trees burned, the amount of smoke this would create and the amount of carbon dioxide it would produce would indeed cause famine on a major scale. This burning could also account for the moon turning red and the sun withdrawing its light, but wait! This type of devastation may be a little too much at this point in our timeline. Evidently we still have a year left before Armageddon. So again, we should consider that the word usage in our text might be figurative.

Let’s ask the question, what might hail and fire mixed with blood represent—spiritual warfare? This first trumpet will probably have more to do with the continued deception and apostasy of men and women rather than the literal destruction of vegetation.

A Symbolic Application

Let’s consider the part of the verse where it reads, “All the green grass was burned up.” Why only the green grass? Why not the multitude of grass that is mature and still standing, about to be harvested? And what about the wheat and barley grass that is cut and baled, yet still lying in the fields? Maybe we’re not talking about grass at all. Let’s ask the question: could this term “green” in prophecy be speaking of people with shallow roots who have turned from the knowledge of God? The Bible says,

“like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away” (Ps. 37:2).

Let’s look at the part of the verse where it reads, “A third of the trees were burned up.” In Revelation—speaking of Satan, where he is illustrated as a red dragon—it’s written,

“His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth” (Rev. 12:4).

The time frame when “a third” of these stars hit the earth is during Antichrist’s regime. Because the term “his tail” is used (speaking of the dragon), this could refer to a time near the end of his reign. If these stars falling depict men and women falling from the faith, then the trees that are burned up may represent people as well. One thing is certain: When the first trumpet sounds, the war in the spirit will escalate. God is going to seal us from harm, yet the forces we shall be protected from are far more deadly than wind.

Revelation paints a picture of all the forces of evil, knowing this is their last hurrah, lashing out at everything they can. Satan is about to be cast into a dungeon. His whole entourage is about to be removed from power. The opportunity to deceive man and wreak havoc is coming to an end. So they will try to spoil what’s left of their domain:

“Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste—nothing escapes them. They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle. . . . Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine” (Joel 2:3–5 and 10).

The Second Trumpet Sounds

“The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed” (Rev. 8:8–9).

Before we decide if this text should be taken literally or if it has a fi gurative meaning, let’s look at the word usage where we find sea elsewhere in the same book. The word sea is found 26 times in Revelation. Here are a few examples:

1.      “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev. 12:12).

2.      “And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea” (Rev. 12:18).

3.      “And I saw a beast coming out of the sea” (Rev. 13:1).

Within prophetic Scripture the earth can represent political strongholds while the sea can be an illustration of multitudes of people, languages, and nations.[5] The expression sea creatures is used in the Bible in reference to men, as in this passage,

“You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler” (Hab. 1:14).

The terms, ships and captains can also have figurative meanings. For example, Jesus is the captain[6] of our salvation.

The devil’s fury will not be focused upon a literal sea—his woes will affect multitudes of people, of different languages, consisting of many nations. Many among us will be looking for natural plagues coming in the days ahead and will fail to notice the more subtle deception Satan will be using. What we believe and what we profess and to whom we hold our allegiance is what the devil and his angels will be attacking. Their fury will be aimed at our faith in God.

A mountain on fire being hurled into the sea is speaking of Satan’s governmental forces impacting the nations, affecting mul­titudes and eventually burning out and coming to an end.

“ ‘I am against you, O destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain’ ” (Jer. 51:25).

Jesus said,

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23).

Was Christ was speaking in figurative language?  Probably.  If we are looking for a real mountain to be cast into the sea during the days of Revelation’s trumpet judgments, we may be missing out on the real wonder. Jesus Christ was probably talking about throwing down the powers of darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms—which “mountain” in Scripture is Satan’s kingdom.

The creatures in the sea who die could represent men and women who die spiritually due to the strong pressure this mountain imposes upon their unstable faith. The irony is, part of their lack of faith could be due to a misunderstanding of scripture. After all, if they knew what to look for in the time of deception and how to prepare for it, why would they die in the sea?

The Third Trumpet Sounds

“The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter” (Rev. 8:10–11).

A popular theory about this plague, taken from a literal viewpoint, is that the star named Wormwood in our text is depicting nuclear material polluting our fresh water supply. This is a good theory; “Chernobyl” translated into English spells Wormwood. Russia’s nuclear reactor by the same name once leaked massive amounts of radiation. It’s likely the earth will see contamination from radiation again before Armageddon from a number of sources, including possible tactical nuclear exchanges in eastern nations. Yet this text is crying out a figurative meaning, and here are some reasons why: This great star falls on rivers and streams and one-third of the earth’s water is affected! From a strictly geological standpoint, it would be impossible for the star to affect only fresh water, because on a scale of this magnitude the oceans would also be impacted.

This star has a name. In the same book, speaking of a different trumpet plague, we see another “star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.” (Rev. 9:1). This star also is called

“the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11)

Or in English, Satan.

We should note that the star of the Abyss—Satan—also fell from the sky just like Wormwood did. Bitter waters in Scripture are illustrations of spiritual deception, which can lead to spiritual death.

What Do the Prophets Say about Rivers and Streams?

Jesus cried out saying, 

“ ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit” (John 7:37–39).

Streams of fresh water depict the Spirit of God. In the last days, Satan and his whole host will pollute our spiritual environment. This is what the divine protection is for—without God’s seal on our forehead, we would be vulnerable to the bitter waters during these trumpet plagues. Why a seal in the forehead? This place on our body could be symbolic of where we hold our knowledge. A wise man seeking knowledge will find it; that is a sure promise from the Word. Knowledge of God’s Word is the key to surviving these plagues. Satan wouldn’t be satisfi ed with just harming people’s bodies—he wants to thwart Christ’s victory where it hurts the most: in the faith of men.

The Fourth Trumpet Sounds

"The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night." (Rev. 8:12)

This trumpet plague is speaking of a great loss of light. Our source of light, “the sun,” that which reflects its light, “the moon,” and even the hours of the day, “time itself,” will be lacking in light by one-third. Before we look for a symbolic application to this lack of light, let’s look for a natural physical explanation.

A theory has sprung up over the years explaining how a huge celestial object will strike the earth and that this object’s impact will speed up the earth’s rotation by one-third. However, there are problems with this theory. From a scientifi c standpoint, any object with enough mass and velocity to speed earth’s rotation by one-third after impact would also shatter the earth’s thin crust, causing liquid magma to spill out over most of the globe—killing all life on the planet.

Looking into Bible prophecy in the books of Ezekiel[7] and Daniel,[8] during the last days before Armageddon, we see a list of nations—some protesting the siege upon Jerusalem and others who are engaging in it. Yet if a large object had hit the earth and sped up its rotation by one-third, why are these nations still in existence? Even if the object just hit the ocean, it would still destroy most life on the planet. Also, the narrative in these books between these warring nations seems too calm if such a catastrophic event had occurred. For those simple reasons, let’s look in the Word for a figurative explanation.

Darkness in Prophetic Scripture

It will be earth’s darkest hour before the dawn arrives:

"Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God." (Mic. 3:6–7)


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[1] “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:51). 

[2] “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months” (Rev. 13:5).

[3]  "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, 'Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.'" (Rev. 16.1)

[4] Acts 2:2 

[5] Rev. 17:15 

[6] Heb. 2:10 

[7] Ezek. 38:10–13 

[8] Dan. 11:41–45