There really is no better way to describe what is going on in the first part of the book of Revelation than a whole lotta trumpets. Angels with trumpets—announcing and getting the attention of all heaven and earth. There are trumpets for good things and for bad things, associated not only with this prophetic end-of-days book, but also with trumpets that are used throughout the entire Bible. Trumpets are purposeful for an assortment of things on God’s agenda. In today’s article, we will see how they will be used in a way never used before – heralding judgment. It is forecasted for the end of days during the tribulation. They are the trumpet judgments of the book of Revelation.
You will see, however, some similarities in how trumpets were used in the Old and New Testament and how they are still used in the here and now.
God finds these instruments useful as we see them in the days ahead, predicted in Revelation.
And sometimes when heavenly beings speak, they sound like a trumpet.
As John is being given the message to the seven churches starting in Revelation chapter one, he hears a loud voice “as of a trumpet.”
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” Revelation 1:10-11a).
The voice that sounds like a trumpet here in this setting is Jesus Christ. John turns around in this scene, and Jesus addresses him and reveals to him His identity.
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore’” (Revelation 1:17-18a).
Further on in Revelation, John is addressed again with “a voice like a trumpet speaking.”
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this’” (Revelation 4:1).
So, we see here that in heaven the voice of Jesus and heavenly messengers, like angels, have voices that sound like a trumpet – sometimes a loud trumpet!
As I am doing this study, I am seeing trumpets in a whole new light! Let’s continue on…
Not all trumpet blasts mean the same thing. However, the sound draws our attention to the one, or ones that have a message to communicate.
It is intended first as an attention getter so that all of heaven and earth don’t miss what is coming afterwards. In the Bible, it is heralding something important that is getting ready to be said, or that is to happen, or both.
It also brings order, or assembly, to a large group of people in order to move them to a different place.
A good illustration is the military. When the bugle sounds Reveille at sunrise, you know it’s time to be up for roll call and ready yourself for the day ahead – whatever that may entail.
God very much wants us to respond in this way, in readiness and willingness. He has something on His agenda that needs us to be gathered and assembled for that which is coming.
It can also be a signal from man to God as a cry for help, and for the defeat of the enemy.
“So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city” (Joshua 6:20).
So, we see it can work both ways: to communicate matters of importance from God to us, and from us to God.
Important, Importante: paramount, urgent, crucial, critical, imperative and not to be missed or overlooked.
Our youngest son played the trumpet very well. However, when he was practicing at home, he often used a cup mute, which muffled the sound quite a bit. It conveniently attached onto the end of the trumpet. Now, you could hear yourself think if you were not able to enjoy a concert rehearsal right then and there.
God does not have a cup mute, because what comes after the trumpet blast is not to be missed. He wants the attention of every living creature.
I see four trumpets in scripture that I would like to discuss today; the last one is a trumpet judgment, and there are seven angels and seven trumpets that execute this judgment on God’s behalf.
Let’s go way back in time for just a moment as we begin today’s article about all these trumpets!
The trumpet of assembly:
In the Old Testament, a shofar, or a trumpet fashioned from a ram’s horn, was used to gather the people and assemble them. There were also silver priestly trumpets which had a different sound. There were signals associated to each of these trumpets and their blasts.
“And when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance” (Numbers 10:7).
The Israelites knew the difference between all the different trumpet blasts and were able to distinguish between them as to what was being communicated.
“And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled” (Exodus 19:14-16).
This too was a trumpet assembly, as the Israelites approached Mount Zion after the washing of their clothes and abstaining from sexual relations to receive the Ten Commandment from God through Moses.
But as this scene continues, the trumpets get louder and louder, as a call for God’s attention to their assembly and sincerity towards Him.
This is a holy moment, and the people are in awe of God with fear and trembling. God in turn answers Moses with thunder. God manifests His presence as a cloud on the mountain and gives His words as commandments on tablets of stone, and thus establishes a covenant with the children of Israel. (Read Exodus chapters 19 and 20 for the full story.)
According to the New Testament, there will be a trumpet sounded at the end of the church age. As part of the body and bride of Christ, I anticipate hearing this very soon!
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will 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 thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
This trumpet blast will call all believers in Christ very suddenly from the four corners of the earth, both the dead in Christ and those who are alive, to meet the Lord in the air.
Don’t forget the scripture in Revelation chapter one where Jesus is described as having a voice “as of a trumpet.” Giant clue of the imminent rapture to me!
This is our assembly and ingathering to Christ; and for the Christian, this is the last trumpet.
The trumpet judgments of Revelation are the last trumpets for some, but not for the blood-washed saints of Jesus Christ. The trumpet judgments that are described in that book and within this article do not apply to the body and bride of Christ at all.
The trumpet of proclamation, preparation and warning:
The trumpet of Joel is a good illustration.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand” (Joel 2:1).
In this example, the blowing of the trumpet is a warning for God’s people. Also with the warning, a proclamation is declared here—foretelling of the “day of the Lord” and to expect and prepare for this time. It has not happened yet, but as with all scripture, it will be fulfilled.
The trumpet and the Feast of Trumpets:
I personally believe that Jesus Christ was born mid-September, between the year 3 and 6 BC, during the Feast of Trumpets, on Tishri 1 of the Jewish calendar.
According to the Talmud, Adam and Eve were created on Tishri 1 in 3760 BC.
Source: Tishri in Jewish history and tradition, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Tishri-years.
Tishri 1 is the first day of the first month on the Jewish civil calendar, also referred to as Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year) or the Feast of Trumpets.
Jesus has many names that scripture uses to identify Him: the Alpha and Omega, or the First and the Last. These are little clues for me that suggest he may have been born on Tishri 1, like Adam and Eve.
The apostle Paul also referred to Jesus as the “last Adam.”
And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).
This is my own opinion, but I insert it here as it has spiritual and historical significance where trumpets are concerned. I simply see so many outstanding things that point to Jesus during the time of year known as the Feast of Trumpets.
Orthodox Jews take these feasts very seriously and solemnly in their observance.
But, as a whole, they continue to miss the picture that each one of these fall feasts paints of Jesus Christ in the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
The meaning of the word “Feast” here means: appointment. These last three appointments, or feasts, will be fulfilled by Jesus Himself in the future days to come, starting with the first of the fall feasts—the Feasts of Trumpets. I believe that this is singular only to the rapture of the church, and it has been proclaimed year after year during this feast in such a prophetic way.
Since I have a blessed hope to be called by the trumpet at the rapture, I anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ at any time and live in readiness. The day and hour of His return is a secret only the Father in heaven is privy to.
However, I just have to say, every year during the Feast of Trumpets—my awareness is heightened.
For the Jews, the Feast of Trumpets historically uses both the shofar and the silver priestly trumpets in its observance. It is a call for repentance and self-examination as the Day of Atonement approaches – the trumpet to ready the people for repentance and forgiveness of sin. There is a Sabbath rest during this time; they perform no manual labor as they bring their sin- and burnt offerings to the Lord.
But, an offering for all sin, for all mankind, and for all time was given; God’s only begotten Son became sin for us, the perfect Lamb of God who took the sin of the world upon Himself.
He lived a perfect life, died on the cross, was buried and rose again on the third day. He appeared to more than 500 people before ascending into heaven according to the scriptures. He sits at the right hand of the Father in glory. His name is above all names.
He is coming again, first to snatch his bride from the judgment that is coming upon the earth (the rapture), and then again with the saints of God (Second Advent of Christ) to destroy his enemies and to establish His rule and reign upon the earth for a thousand years (Millennial Rule of Christ).
He is the only atonement, and in His name alone is forgiveness of sin. He is the only way to the Father.
The Jewish people and the nation of Israel, as well as Gentiles, who have not believed and received God’s gift of salvation and redemption in the person of Jesus Christ – who are living during this time predicted in the future of the book of Revelation – will be the recipients of these judgments—the seven trumpet judgments.
Trumpets of God’s judgment: The seven angels and the seven trumpets of Revelation, chapters 8-11.
The first trumpet: Grass of the Earth.
1/3 of the trees and 1/3 of the green grass is destroyed. Anything that is classified as vegetation applies here.
The second trumpet: A great burning mountain is thrown into the sea.
1/3 of the seas are turned to blood, 1/3 of marine life is destroyed, and 1/3 of the ships that sail upon the seas are destroyed.
The third trumpet: Wormwood.
A burning star named Wormwood falls from the sky into the rivers and springs of the earth. 1/3 of the world’s water supply becomes bitter, and many die because of the bitter waters.
The fourth trumpet: The sun, moon and stars.
1/3 of the sun is struck so that it does not shine, 1/3 of the moon does not give its light, and 1/3 of the stars are darkened as well. 1/3 of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.
It gets much worse, as we hear a warning in heaven at this point in the judgments.
“And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” (Revelation 8:13).
I will warn you, dear reader; this is bad stuff—so hold on! Woe indeed!
The fifth trumpet: Scorpions from the bottomless pit. (Just their address gives me the creeps.)
“Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
“They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
“The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails.
“Their power was to hurt men five months. And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon” (Revelation 9:1-11).
Five months of this type of agony is a long, long time. I sure hope they repent.
The judgment continues….as another woe is announced.
“The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come” (Revelation 9:12).
The sixth trumpet:
“The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’ And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.
“The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury” (Revelation 9:13-19).
Two hundred million of these creatures!
A moment is given to report on repentance that is happening upon the earth. Unfortunately, this is not a good report.
“The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).
Seriously, how could you not repent after all this? It defies explanation.
Now, we have a few events before the seventh angel sounds his trumpet.
“But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7).
At this time, the two witnesses will finish their three and a half years of prophesy. They will be martyred and resurrected after three and a half days. They will be called up to heaven in the sight of all. See Revelation 11 and read my article, “Enoch and Elijah, Final Curtain Call” for the great story of these two saints of old, prophesying and coming back to die during the tribulation.
“The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon” (Revelation 11:14).
The seventh and final trumpet:
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.’
“And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
“The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.’
“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm” (Revelation 11:15-19).
This is a proclamation judgment: the reality of heaven revealed, and what will transpire upon the earth because of it!
This reminded me of the part in the Lord’s Prayer that says:
“…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah.” This is proclaimed as a power shift here in heaven, and it will be manifested on the earth at the time Jesus will return at the end of the seven-year tribulation, at the Second Advent of Christ. Jesus will reign upon the earth, ripping it out of the hands of the enemy of old—Satan. He has been the dark lord of this fallen world since the fall of Adam and Eve; but that will change at that point in time, as Jesus will establish His rule upon the earth.
Jesus will take back the kingdoms of the world as His own. The elders around the throne are elated in worship as this is proclaimed in heaven. His power and authority will be established on the earth forever! He moves forward in judgment of the dead, rewards for the saints, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.
He manifests His great power and finishes this scene with displays upon the earth with weather phenomena: lightening, rumbling, thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm!
The trumpet judgments are now complete.
I will leave you now – but I will have more to say in the weeks ahead on this very “revealing” book of the Bible.
Listening for the last trumpet—the trumpet of our assembly and ingathering to Christ!