My boys and I just listened to chapters 7 and 8 of Revelation. My oldest looked at me afterward and asked, “Mom, why does the Bible have scary stuff like that in it?”
Good question! The seven trumpets are difficult to understand. I’ll be the first to admit that. But God is always willing to help us understand his word when we ask him. He’s been helping me understand these strange chapters and I want to share what I’ve been learning. But don’t trust my word. Read and study the verses we examine for yourself.
Let’s look for some clues in the rest of the Bible. Remember, the Bible interprets the Bible. There are a lot of trumpets in the Bible when you start looking. A keyword search on Bible Gateway for trumpet gave 104 verses. Wow, that’s a lot of trumpet blowing!
Trumpets were important in Bible times. Trumpets could communicate with a bunch of people at once. There were no televisions or radios or the internet.
Here are some of the reasons they blew trumpets:
- The coronation of a king (1 Kings 1:39, 9:13)
- When God spoke (Exod. 19:16, 19)
- To call an army to battle (Judg. 7:22)
- To let the people know God remembers them and saves them (Num. 10:8-10)
- To warn of danger (Num. 10:8, Isa. 18:2-4, Ezek. 33:3-4)
- To mark the beginning of each month (Num. 10:10, Ps. 81:3)
- On holy days and solemn days in the temple services (Lev. 23:24, 25:9)
- To make music and praise God (2 Chron. 5:13, Ps. 150:3)
- A call to repentance (Isa. 58:1, Jer. 6:17)
- Announcing the day of the Lord – judgment (Joel 2:1)
- Jesus’ second coming (Matt. 24:31, 1 Cor. 15:52)
Now let’s see if any of these reasons fit the seven trumpets blown in Revelation, chapters 8-9.
- The prayers of God’s people go up to God and then seven angels prepare to blow trumpets. God does remember his people. (Rev. 8:4, 6)
- God’s answer is described just like it was on Mount Sinai, with thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. Trumpets are sounded. (Exod. 19:16, Rev. 8:5-6)
- These trumpets warn of danger, because every time an angel sounds a trumpet, horrible things happen. Watch out!
- A call to battle. This is some war! God’s army, the 144,000, are described in chapter 7. Now Satan’s army is described and numbered. (Rev. 9:11, 16-17)
- These trumpets also call people to repentance, but it seems no one is listening! (Rev. 20-21) Remember God’s people have already repented and been sealed (Rev. 7:4, Rev. 9:4)
- When the seventh trumpet sounds, Christ begins to reign. Sound like the coronation of a King! And it is a time of judgment. Jesus comes to give rewards to his people. (Rev. 11:15-18, Rev. 22:12)
God does not want anyone to be lost. He is sending loud trumpet warnings. Danger ahead! Danger ahead! There’s a war and the enemy is fierce! Repent! Be saved! In case you don’t think this is a fearsome enemy God allows him to show his true character. Yikes! If you read these two chapter (Rev. 8, 9) you know this is a horrendous, evil, fire-breathing, torture inflicting, man hating enemy with a humongous army. But God remembers his people and offers them protection when they hide themselves in Him.
God will be the victor in this war (Rev. 10:15). I want to be on the winning side with a King of love reigning on the throne. How about you?