The Seventh Seal
In the last chapter, the opening of the Seventh Seal was delayed in order to show John the 144,000 from all the Tribes of Israel and the Martyrs of the Great Tribulation. In this chapter, John is returned to the opening of the Seventh Seal, which revealed a period of silence.
When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence for about half an hour in heaven. Rev. 8:1
In the Scriptures, silence is used to describe the end of war as can be seen in the following passages.
“Therefore, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,” declares the Lord. Jer. 50:30
“In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!” Amos 8:3
As these passages describe, to defeat your enemies in war is to silence your enemies. Accordingly, the silence of the Seventh Seal will follow the defeat of God’s enemies at the Battle of Armageddon as described in the events of the Sixth Seal, and completes the list of events that were shown to John through the opening of the Scroll with Seven Seals.
Summary of the Seven Seals
In the opening of the Seven Seals, John was given an overview of the major events that will take place in the Last Days beginning with the wars, famines and plagues that will increase like birth pains. The wars of the Last Days will be accompanied by a growing number of martyrs, who will maintain their testimony of Jesus to the point of death. These martyrs will cry out from Heaven for their blood to be avenged. The prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven will be followed by the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, which will serve as a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth, before the prayer of the martyrs for judgment and revenge is answered. The Inhabitants of the Earth will respond to the warning of God by killing God’s people in the events of the Great Tribulation. After the Great Tribulation, the blood of the martyrs will be avenged through the Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm, which will occur on the day of the Battle of Armageddon, when the people on earth will attempt to hide in caves from the Wrath of God. The Wrath of God will be followed by the Silence in Heaven that will signal the defeat of God’s enemies.
Having been given the above order of events, John was next shown the judgments of Seven Trumpets and the plagues of the Seven Bowls, which will add more details to the events that were described in the opening of the Seven Seals. Specifically, the sounding of the Seven Trumpets will describe the judgments that will avenge the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven, and the pouring out of the Seven Bowls will describe the plagues that will avenge the blood of the martyrs of the Great Tribulation itself. In this way, the events of the Seven Seals provides the context in which the events of the Seven Trumpets and the Seven Bowls will take place.
The Seven Trumpets
Following the opening of the Seven Seals, John was, next, shown the sounding of Seven Trumpets. When we read that John was shown the events of the Seven Trumpets, after he was shown the events of the Seven Seals, it does not mean that the events of the Seven Trumpets take place next, but that John saw them next. Accordingly, the judgments of the Seven Trumpets will occur within the events of the Seven Seals, starting from the point of the Fifth Seal, when the Martyrs in Heaven will pray for judgment and revenge. This can be seen in the following verses that describe how John shown the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven, before he saw the sounding of the Seven Trumpets.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. Rev. 8:2-6
In the above verses, we read that before the angels prepared themselves to sound the Seven Trumpets, John was taken back to the prayer of the saints going up before the Throne of God, which is another description of the events of the Fifth Seal, when the Martyrs in Heaven will pray for judgment and revenge as repeated below.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Rev. 6:9:11
When John was given another view of the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven, followed by the seven angels who will sound the Seven Trumpets, it tells us that the events of the Seven Trumpets will begin after the Martyrs in Heaven pray for judgment and revenge. Accordingly, the sounding of the Seven Trumpets will announce the judgments that will take place after the Martyrs in Heaven pray for judgment and revenge. In the previous chapter, we read that these judgments will be carried out by the four angels who will harm the land, the sea, and the trees after the 144,000 from all the Tribes of Israel have been sealed (See Revelation Chapter 7). Accordingly, the sounding of the Seven Trumpets will describe these same judgments, in more detail, as well as four additional judgments that will follow the prayer of the Martyrs.
The First Trumpet
As described above, the First Three Trumpets will announce the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees that will take place after the Martyrs in Heaven pray for judgment and revenge. The purpose of these plagues will be to warn the Inhabitants of the Earth before the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven for judgment and revenge is answered. As a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth, the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees will not directly harm the Inhabitants of the Earth, themselves, but will harm the world around them, beginning with the sounding of the First Trumpet, when a third of the trees will be burned up.
The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on 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
In the Scriptures, hail and fire represent judgment, and blood represents revenge. When we read that fire and blood will be hurled down on the earth, it does not mean that literal blood and fire will fall from the sky but is another description of the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven for judgment and revenge. The actual Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, which will take place following the prayer of the martyrs, will be a world-wide drought that will cause a third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass to be burned up.
The Second Trumpet
When the Second Trumpet was sounded, John saw something like a huge mountain that was thrown into the sea and a third of the sea turned into blood.
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
In these verses, when the word like is used to describe the mountain that is all ablaze, it means that the Scriptures are not speaking of a literal mountain but something that is like a huge mountain. Accordingly, when stones, boulders, or mountains are used symbolically in the Bible, they represent kingdoms.
“Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the Lord. “I am against you, you destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,” declares the Lord. Jer. 51:24-25
In the Book of Daniel, the increase and eventual reign of the Kingdom of God on earth is also described as a rock that will strike the kingdoms of the world and that will grow to become a huge mountain that fills the whole earth.
While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth… “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” Dan. 2:34-35, 44
In the above verses, the statue of iron, bronze, silver, and gold represent the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome that followed the time of Daniel. The stone that struck the statue and that grew to be a huge mountain represents the kingdom of God that will endure forever, while the previous kingdoms will be swept away. Likewise, when the Scriptures describe a stone, boulder, or mountain being hurled into the sea; it is a description of a city, nation, or kingdom being destroyed in battle.
Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.” Rev. 18:21
From the above precedence in Scripture, we learn that when the Second Trumpet is sounded and the huge mountain is hurled into the sea, it represents a huge kingdom that will be defeated in battle. The fact that the mountain is all ablaze tells us that the defeat of this kingdom will come as a result of the judgment of God.
The defeat of the huge kingdom that is thrown into the sea will be accompanied by the second Plague on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, when a third of the sea will turn to blood. When the waters turn to blood, it will be a literal event as can be seen by how a third of the living creatures in the sea will die and a third of the ships will be destroyed.
The Third Trumpet
In the events of the Third Trumpet, we will learn the identity of the kingdom that was thrown into the sea as well as the name of a great star that will also fall from the sky.
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
In the Revelation, stars often represent angels.
“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.” Rev. 1:20
Accordingly, the description of the great star that fell from the sky, it is a description of a great angelic being hurled to the earth. The fact that the great star is described as blazing like a torch is an indication that it, too, will fall to the earth as a result of God’s judgment. In a later chapter, we read how the great star will be given the key to the shaft of the Abyss and is named Destroyer.
The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a 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
They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). Rev. 9:11
From the above Scriptures, we can conclude that in the events of the Second and Third Trumpets, the great star represents Satan, whose name is Destroyer, and the huge mountain that is thrown into the sea represents his kingdom. When the Second Trumpet is sounded, the kingdom of Satan, consisting of the angels who follow him, will be thrown into the sea like a huge mountain all ablaze. Following the defeat of his angels, Satan himself will fall from the sky, blazing like a torch in the events of the Third Trumpet.
In conjunction with the fall of Satan to the earth, when the Third Trumpet is sounded, the third Plague on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees will take place, when a third of the waters on earth will turn bitter, and those who drink from the poisoned waters will die.
The First Three Trumpets: A Warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth
In the events of the First Three Trumpets, we are given more details to the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, which will occur after the events of the Fifth Seal when the Martyrs in Heaven will pray for judgment and revenge. As discussed in the previous chapter, the purpose of these plagues will be to warn the Inhabitants of the Earth before the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven for judgment and revenge is answered.
In addition to the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, the sounding of the First Three Trumpets will alos announce great judgments in the heavens, when Satan and his kingdom will be defeated and hurled to the earth. When Satan falls from the sky, he will become enraged and will entice the Inhabitants of the Earth to attack Israel as described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet.
The Fourth Trumpet
In the description of the Fourth Trumpet, we read how the Inhabitants of the Earth will respond to the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees by attacking God’s people, beginning with an Attack on Jerusalem as described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet.
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
Although, these verses do not mention Israel directly, we know that the events of the Fourth Trumpet are referring to an attack on Israel based on the description of how a third of the sun, moon, and stars will be struck. In the Scriptures, the sun, moon, and stars are used to represent Israel. This is first seen in the story of the patriarch Joseph who had a dream in which the original family of Israel is described as the sun, the moon, and the twelve stars.
Then he (Joseph) had yet another dream, and informed his brothers of it, and said, “Behold, I have had yet another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” He also told it to his father (Jacob) as well as to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Am I and your mother and your brothers actually going to come to bow down to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Gen. 37:9-11
The sun, the moon, and the twelve stars are also used to portray Israel in the Revelation itself.
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman (Israel) clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars (the Twelve Tribes of Israel) on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth… She gave birth to a son, a male child (Jesus), who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. Rev. 12:1-2, 5
In these verses, the woman, who will give birth to the Son is an obvious reference to Israel, who is again described as the sun, moon, and twelve stars, which is the same way that Israel is depicted in the events of the Fourth Trumpet when a third of the sun, moon, and stars will be struck.
In the events of the Fourth Trumpet, the attack against Israel is further described as a time when a third of the day and a third of the night will be without light. This is a literal event that will take place when smoke from the burning fires will darken the sky. This is a familiar theme in the Scriptures where the darkening of the heavens is used to describe the destruction of a city or nation that comes under the judgment of God.
“Son of man, take up a lament concerning Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him… When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens. I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign Lord. …For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘The sword of the king of Babylon will come against you.”’ Ezek. 32:2, 7-8, 11
See, the day of the Lord is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. …See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Babylonians, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. Isa. 13:9-10, 17-19
In the above examples, the overthrow of Egypt by the Babylonians and the destruction of Babylon by the Medes are also described as a time when clouds blocked the light of the sun and the moon so that the skies became dark. As in these instances, when Israel is struck, smoke from the burning fires will cause a third of the day and a third of the night to be without light.
The Attack on Jerusalem
The attack on Israel is one of the pivotal events that will take place in the Last Days and is described throughout the Scriptures. To better understand this event, we must depart from the narrative of the Revelation in order to read how the Attack on Jerusalem is described in the rest of Scripture. In the Gospel of Luke, the Lord warned of the future Attack on Jerusalem by telling the people that when they saw their city being surrounded by armies, they were to flee to the mountains for safety.
“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” Lk. 21:20-22
Consistent with God’s previous judgments against Israel, when Jerusalem is attacked, the Lord will spare a Remnant who will be saved from destruction by fleeing to the mountains. From these verses, we learn that whenever we read about those in the country not entering the city or those in the city fleeing to the mountains, we are reading about the Attack on Jerusalem, as repeated in the following passages.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” Luke 17:30-37
We know that the above verses are describing the Attack on Jerusalem because they contain the same warning concerning not entering the city as we saw in the previous passages, which described how Jerusalem would be surrounded and attacked. In these instructions, the people on housetops are told not to go inside their homes to retrieve their possessions before fleeing to the mountains. This tells us that the Attack on Jerusalem, which is described in the sounding of the Fourth Trumpet, will come as a complete surprise to the residents of the city who will not have time to gather anything from their homes before escaping from the destruction.
The suddenness by which the Attack on Jerusalem will take place can also be seen in the above reference to Lot who had to suddenly flee from Sodom to avoid being killed in the destruction of that sinful city. Jesus used the example of Lot’s wife, who hesitated and was destroyed, to emphasize how the people living in Judea should not attempt to save their life, in the form of gathering their possessions, before fleeing to the mountains. Also, in these verses, we are told that half of the people will be taken and the other half left, which is a reference to how half of the survivors of the attack will be taken into exile and is another identifier for the Attack on Jerusalem.
I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Zech. 14:2
“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Lk. 21:23-24
In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn further details concerning the Attack on Jerusalem through a comparison to the days of Noah when the people knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Matt. 24:36-41
In these verses, the Attack on Jerusalem is identified by the description of those who are taken and those who are left, which is also found in the Luke’s description of this same event. In Matthew’s account, the people of Israel are reminded how Noah escaped from the time of punishment by entering the Ark, while, those who were destroyed in the flood were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage before the flood came. This is a reference to how leading up to the Attack on Jerusalem, the people will be carrying on with their daily activities and will be completely unaware of their pending destruction. Only those who act to save themselves by fleeing from the city, before the destruction begins, will be spared just as it was in the days of Noah. (We will learn more about how this surprise attack will be accomplished, in a later chapter.)
The Great Tribulation
In Mathews account of the Attack on Jerusalem, we read that this event will be followed by a Great Distress that will never be equaled.
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Matt. 24:15-21
The above verses are another account of the Attack on Jerusalem as can be seen by how they contain the same warning concerning fleeing to the mountains as was used in earlier passages to describe this same event. In this account, the disciples are told that the Attack on Jerusalem would be followed by a Great Distress that will never be equaled. The word that is translated as Distress is the Greek word thlipsis (SEC 2347), which is the same word that is translated as Tribulation in the previous chapter, where it used to describe the period when the great multitude of God’s people will be killed.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. Rev. 7:9
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation (thlipsis SEC 2347); they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Rev. 7:13-14
The Great Distress (Tribulation) will be a continuation of the attack against God’s people that will start with the Attack on Jerusalem and that will expand into an attack against all of God’s people who maintain their testimony of Jesus. The description of the great multitude who will be killed brings us back to the narrative of the Seven Trumpets, and the events leading up to the Great Tribulation, which are summarized below.
– As we approach the end of the Last Days, the Martyrs in Heaven, who have been killed since the time of Christ, will pray for judgment and revenge.
– Following the prayers of the Martyrs in Heaven and the sealing of the 144,000, the First Three Trumpets will sound that will announce the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, which will serve as a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth before the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven for judgment and revenge is answered.
– The Inhabitants of the Earth will respond to the warnings of God by attacking God’s people during the Attack on Jerusalem, when a Remnant will flee to the mountains.
– Following the Attack on Jerusalem, the Inhabitants of the Earth will attack the rest of God’s people in the events of the Great Distress (Tribulation), which will never be equaled.
– After the full number of God’s people have been killed in the Great Tribulation, the condition given to the Martyrs in Heaven, concerning their fellow servants who would be killed, will have been met, and the Wrath of God will be poured out.
The Last Three Trumpets
When the Inhabitants of the Earth kill God’s people in the events of the Great Tribulation, they will become guilty for all the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven that has been shed since the time of Christ. Consequently, following the Great Tribulation, the Last Three Trumpets will be sounded that will avenge the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven as announced by an eagle who will cry out concerning the Three Woe’s that will accompany the Last Three Trumpet blasts.
As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” Rev. 8:13
The mention of the Three Woes that will be poured out on the Inhabitants of the Earth is in contrast to the plagues of the First Three Trumpets, which will only harm the Land, the Sea, and the Trees. When the Last Three Trumpets are sounded, the Wrath of God will fall directly on the Inhabitants of the Earth, themselves, in order to avenge the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven.
Order of Events of the Last Days
1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal) – The 144,000 are sealed
– 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s angels are cast from Heaven (2nd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan is hurled to the earth (3rd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
3. The Great Tribulation – The full number of God’s people are killed
– The Last Three Trumpets are sounded
4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm – The Battle of Armageddon (6th. Seal)
5. Silence in Heaven – The enemies of God are defeated (7th. Seal)
 Ezek. 38:22, Is. 4:4; 66:16, Amos 7:4, Heb. 10:27, 2 Pet. 3:7
 Num. 35:19, Ps. 58:10, Rev. 16:6
 These kingdoms are described in detail, in this same chapter of Daniel.
 The sea that will partly turn to blood is most likely the Mediterranean Sea, which borders Israel.
 In the Scriptures, Satan is described as a guardian cherub (Ezek. 28:14), which would place him above the angels and is why he is described as a great star in the above verses.
 Gen. 19:24-26
*The numbers in parentheses is from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (SEC).