After John sees that the sealed ones shall be able to stand in the “great day of His judgment,” he sees the opening of the seventh seal on the scroll, all acts of humanity are written in it, and are complete. Everything has been accomplished by the Lamb for the salvation of humankind on this earth. Still in vision, John sees seven angels standing in the presence of God who are ready for the final task. They are given seven trumpets to herald the coming of war.
Still in the Throne Room, John sees Jesus, our Mediator, take the censor to begin His heavenly, high-priestly ministry on behalf of His people. John sees the entire scene from Pentecost in 31 AD, to the close of this work by Christ when He throws down the censor at the Close of Probation. This scene of Jesus at the altar covers the entire time period of the seven churches, seven seals, and seven trumpets (Rev. 2,3,6, 8,9). When the censor is thrown down, probation closes.
In the context of Spiritual Israel on earth, the seven trumpets begin to blow. Why would God make war on Spiritual Israel, the church? In the OT when Israel went after other gods, God sent judgments on Israel asking them to repent. So, too, when NT Spiritual Israel apostatizes, God sends trumpet judgments asking them to repent and return to Him (Rev. 9:20, 21).
With the establishment of the Catholic Mass and the Priesthood in the church, apostasy took place. There is some difference of opinion as to what historical event is symbolized by the first trumpet. However, the following application from scholars in the 17th to the 19th centuries has stood the test of time. The first trumpet fell on the eastern part of Christianized Roman Empire by the attack of the Goths; the second trumpet fell on the southern part by the Vandals; the third trumpet fell on the central part by the Huns; and the fourth trumpet fell on the government and ended it. Calls to repent failed to make any difference on the Christianized Roman Empire and it ceased to exist. In its place the sea-beast of Rev. 13:1-11 began to rise.
More important than understanding all the details of each trumpet is to understand that God sent redemptive judgments on His wayward church to bring them to repentance. Consequences always follow the rejection of God’s Word. Let us learn a lesson and daily come to Him in an attitude of humble prayer asking the Holy Spirit to seal our minds and hearts so that we cannot be moved from the truths of God’s Word.
Kenneth Mathews, Jr. M.D.
Physician, Occupational Medicine
Greeneville, TN. U.S.A.