Christian Churches of God

No. CB96




The Seven Trumpets of Revelation


(Edition 1.0 20060711-20060711)


The Seven Trumpets of Revelation are introduced with the opening of the Seventh Seal, following half an hour of silence in the heavens. In this paper we will examine what the messages of these trumpets reveal. 





Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ã 2006  Ruwani Wijesuriya, ed. Wade Cox)



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The Seven Trumpets


Silence in Heaven


In the prequel to this paper (CB95), we learned that the seventh seal opened with a silence in heaven. We don’t exactly know what this silence is caused by or how long it will last according to how we calculate time. We can speculate that the length of the silence could be from an actual half hour to a prophetic time frame that could last up to 20 years. We can also speculate that the silence is caused by the four winds being held back by the four angels.


Revelation 7:1

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. (American Standard Version)


It is after this silence that the seven trumpets were given to each of the seven angels. 


Revelation 8:1-2

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2  Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (RSV)


If we think back to the Seals, it was the Lamb or the Messiah, who opened each of the Seven Seals. However, with the trumpets, each one is sounded by a different angel. Christ, at this point, is involved in sealing the elect (made up of the 144,000 and the Great Multitude) and preparing for his Advent.


As the seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets, another angel causes thunder, lightning and an earthquake to take place (Rev. 8:3-5). This angel has a golden censer and offers up incense at the altar, just like the High Priest of the temple did (see paper The Tabernacle in the Wilderness (No. CB42)). This angel might be assumed to represent the High Priest.


As we examine each trumpet, let’s keep in mind that the trumpets generally deal with thirds. That means that one third of most things are torn down and destroyed while two thirds are spared. This is because God is teaching us that physical things represent spiritual things (Heb. 8:5). In the case of the trumpets dealing in thirds, we are reminded that one third of the angels rebelled against God (Rev. 12:4).


The First Trumpet


Revelation 8:7

The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (NKJV)


This sounds a lot like the plagues of Egypt (Ex. 9:22-26). Egypt, being a type of this world, sees the destruction of its grass and trees by the hailstorms. It is a depiction of what is to come at the sound of the first trumpet. The prophet Ezekiel also seems to be referring to this event in chapter 38, verse 22.


The hail and fire could come in many different physical forms. It could be meteors, storms or other things that kill one third of the vegetation. This means that there will be a famine in the land and people will become ill or die of hunger.


Another possibility is that the hailstorm is referring to a fallen angelic being that will be cast down to earth and by whom the destruction takes place (Isa. 28:2). People worship many things today (trees, animals, objects) and these things become gods to them. If we go with this idea, then the angel that is cast down represents a god of this world who is destroyed. This is very much like what Moses did in Egypt. He destroyed all the Egyptian gods one by one.  (See the papers Moses and the Exodus (No. CB16) and Moses and the Gods of Egypt (No. 105)).


Second Trumpet


Revelation 8:8-9

Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (NKJV)


The mountain here could be referring to physical disasters like volcanoes erupting under water and causing massive tsunamis. These would destroy not only sea-life and ships, but also nearby coastlands. We saw a forerunner, or an example of this, when the volcano erupted in the Indian Ocean in December 2005.


On the other hand, the mountain here could also be figurative, meaning that it represents something else. It could be referring to an angel, as in Jeremiah 51:25, causing destruction. Sometimes oceans represent people as nations or states, creatures sometimes represent people, and ships sometimes represent false religions. Is it the gods of this world being destroyed just as Moses did in Egypt?


It seems that the prophet Amos was given a vision of this event.


Amos 7:4

Thus hath the Lord GOD shown to me: and behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part. (Webster)


Third Trumpet


Revelation 8:10-11

Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. (NKJV)


When water in rivers and lakes is polluted, that means the fresh water supply that people use for their daily needs, like cooking and drinking, is diminished. Drinking polluted water causes illness and death, which is what will happen.  Already, people are polluting the water supply by careless living. It will only be made worse, and quite fast, at the third trumpet.


Jeremiah 9:15

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, [even] this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. (NKJV)


Jeremiah 23:15

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. (KJV)


Once again we can speculate that this star is an angelic being. Angels are often referred to as stars in the Bible (Deut. 4:19; Job 38:7). It could mean that this star is responsible for further polluting and destroying pure religion or the worship of the One True God, which is depicted by the fresh water. We know that water is often used to represent the Holy Spirit in the Bible (Jn. 7:38).


Fourth Trumpet


Revelation 8:12

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light was darkened; a third of the day was kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night. (RSV)


With this trumpet, the three sources of light –sun, moon and stars – are reduced in capacity by one third. It may be that God will literally hold them back from giving light, however, it is more likely due to other reasons such as nuclear explosions, volcanic explosions or both.


Isaiah 13:10

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (ASV)


There are many other Scriptures that talk about this time. Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9; Mark 13:24 are just some of them.


So the days will be made shorter and the nights longer. When the balance between night and day is disrupted, a great many natural disasters could take place as a result.


A reverse example in increased sunlight would be global warming and ocean levels rising because these two events are controlled mainly by the strength of the sun and the cycle of the moon.


So what is the spiritual application of this event?  Is it again referring to the rebellion of a third of the Host and the effect it has on Christ, the Church and all beings that have ever lived?


With the first four trumpets we saw many a disaster take place. Heaven and earth were shaken and stars have fallen from the sky.


Matthew 24:29

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. (NKJV)


When we think it couldn’t possibly get worse, it does. However, God does nothing without warning the people (Amos 3:7).


Revelation 8:13

And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! (KJV)


So here, God is having the angel give a solemn warning to the people on earth that when the last three trumpets sound, horror and misery are going to follow. This is why these next three trumpets are called Woes. This separates them from the four that preceded them in that what’s to come is much worse than what the world has ever seen to this point.


So let’s examine the last three trumpets, also called the three woes. 


Fifth Trumpet (1st Woe)


Revelation  9:1-10  

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key of the shaft of the bottomless pit; 2 he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4 they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; 5 they were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion, when it stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death will fly from them. 7 In appearance the locusts were like horses arrayed for battle; on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; 9 they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails like scorpions, and stings, and their power of hurting men for five months lies in their tails. (RSV)


The first woe is when the bottomless pit is opened and the locusts are released. There could be actual locusts plaguing man but more importantly, in a figurative sense, this is talking about war and chemical weapons that cause massive destruction. This will be planned and carried out by Satan and his demons. It will be such a bad time that people will want to die but will not be allowed to because Satan’s desire is to torment them and make them suffer (Jer. 8:3; Hos. 10:8; Luke 23:30).


Revelation 9:12

The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come. (RSV)


Sixth Trumpet (2nd Woe)


Revelation 9:13-19 

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphra'tes."  15 So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the troops of cavalry was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number.  17 And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulphur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur issued from their mouths.  18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur issuing from their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, with heads, and by means of them they wound. (RSV)


With this trumpet, four destroying angels are released. They have been bound, maybe since the rebellion up to this point, perhaps because they are so evil. They are given power to destroy one third of mankind. Just like the previous trumpet, this trumpet is also referring to destruction by war, but with more intensity and damage. The mention of troops, cavalry, breastplates, horses and chariots, gives us clues that it is talking about war. This is probably John’s perception and description of modern- day war items such as tanks, guns, bombs and other weapons. In his day, these were not yet invented so he is describing it using war symbols of his day that are familiar to him. 


We know that Satan is the commander of this army because of the imagery John uses of serpents here. The serpent represents Satan in the Bible (Rev. 12:9; 20:2).


So by this time there is utter destruction and death of one third of people on this earth. That means one out of every three people is dead.  This is a lot of human beings. Well, we would think that the remaining people, who have seen all this, would repent and turn to God, but they don’t. They are not willing to give up the evil desires and habits of human nature. 


Revelation 9:20-21

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk; 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts. (RSV)


At this time the two Witnesses of God are still telling the world to repent. They are warning the people who are left of what will happen if they don’t repent. Once again, God is so merciful that He allows the people to be warned one last time. Instead of seeing their error and repenting, these people go as far as to kill the two Witnesses that warn them. See the paper The Witnesses (No. 135).


Another important event that takes place during this time is called the Seven Thunders. These are mysteries because John was told to seal them up and let them remain secrets until the end (Rev.10:3-4). The meanings of these will only be known at the Seventh Trumpet, when Christ returns to this earth and all the mysteries of God are revealed (Rev. 10:7).


The Seventh Trumpet (3rd Woe)


God gives a sign that the Seventh Trumpet and the final woe are just about to come. This sign is that the two Witnesses are brought back to life after lying dead in the streets for 3 ½ days, and they ascend up to heaven in a cloud. At this time there will be a great earthquake that will kill 7,000 people (Rev. 11:11-14).


After these things have occurred we know the Seventh Trumpet is ready to sound. 


Revelation  11:15

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever."  (RSV)


With this trumpet, Christ returns to earth to judge the people according to his Father’s will.


People will not accept him at first and will form a great army to try to fight against him, under Satan’s direction (Rev. 16:14). God then deals with the god of this world (Satan) and his followers. As a result another sequence of events start to take place.  These are called the seven bowls of God’s wrath. 


Let’s keep in mind what happened in Egypt when Pharaoh (a type of Satan) and his people the Egyptians (a type of people of this world) rejected Moses (a type of Christ). This kindled God’s anger and certain plagues followed as a result. We read this in Exodus chapters 7-11.  This is a prototype (something that points to the future) of what is to happen when this world rejects Christ.


The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath


Revelation 16:1

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, "Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God."  (RSV)


  1. Sores and boils on men (v.2)
  2. Sea turns to blood (v. 3)
  3. Fresh water turns to blood (v. 4)
  4. Men burned by the sun (v. 8)
  5. Darkness and pain (v. 10)
  6. Frog spirits and war (vv. 12-14)
  7. Great Earthquake (v. 18)


After these bowls of God’s wrath are poured out, the great battle between Christ and Satan comes to an end. Christ wins the battle and Satan is bound for one 1,000 years.


Revelation 20:1-2

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (RSV)


This is the beginning of the Millennium where Christ will rule and God’s Law will be established on this earth again. 


Isaiah 11:6

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard and the goat will be at peace. Calves and yearlings will be safe among lions, and a little child will lead them all. (New Living Translation)


This world does not need to experience all these horrific events if only people would repent and turn to God. So we see that it is through obedience to God that we are saved.


For further study see the paper The Seven Trumpets (No. 141).







The Seven Trumpets





Exact timeframes unknown.





(Uncertain as to when Witnesses

arrive; they are here 3½ years before

 Messiah returns.)





(144,000 are sealed and great multitude

wash their robes in the blood of

the lamb before Messiah returns) 


Silence for half an hour







Trees & grass burned





Seas struck






Water struck






Heavens struck



1st Woe


Bottomless pit opened



2nd Woe


1/3 of man killed







7 thunders and Witnesses killed


3rd Woe


Christ’s Return


The Seven Bowls






Malignant sores





Seas turned to blood





Water turned to blood





Scorching sun





Darkness and pain





Kings of the East





Great earthquake