The Temple

millennial temple

THE TEMPLE OF GOD AND THE ALTAR (11:1). The prophet writes a lengthy description of measuring the future kingdom’s Temple in Ezekiel 40:3-48:35. The Temple has been rebuilt on its original site in Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock is destroyed. The Antichrist most likely permitted this rebuilding in the terms of the seven-year covenant, which he breaks in the middle of this period. The altar indicates Israel has returned to the OT sacrificial system, which ended with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. Israel is still spiritually blind.

The Temples of Scripture

1000 B.C.
Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.

516 B.C.
Built After the Babylonian Captivity

Refurbished Zerubbabel’s Beginning in B.C. 19
Destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70

Built Before or at the Beginning of the Tribulation
Destroyed during the Seventh Seal

Built at the Beginning of the Millennial Kingdom
Destroyed at the New Creation

The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are Its Temple

Spiritually, the Church and believer are the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 2:16).

A REED LIKE A MEASURING ROD (11:1). John is told to measure three things: (1) the Temple; (2) the Altar; and (3) the worshipers. At first, it would seem that this measuring signifies God’s promise for the restoration and rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem, with greater emphasis on extension and enlargement.

The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah (Jeremiah 31:39).

Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 1:16).

Yet, this measuring rod is bad news for Israel since John is told to “count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.” Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome all oppressed Jerusalem in ancient times and the Revived Roman Empire will afflict the city in the last days.

The counting of the worshipers is a reversal of the Ten Plagues on Egypt, where Israelites were excluded and the Gentiles included. This marks the beginning of the second half of the Tribulation foretold in Christ’s Mount Olivet Discourse:

First half of 42 months: “Beginning of Birth Pains” (Matthew 24:8)
Second half of 42 months: “Great Distress” (Matthew 24:21)

The only other time 42 months is used is for the exact time of the reign of the Antichrist, who is the Beast out of the sea (Revelation 13:5-7). Hence, this time measurement marks off the last half of Daniel’s Seventy Seven:

He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).

Three things the Antichrist does will open the eyes of Jews to God’s Word: (1) he will break a seven year covenant in the middle; (2) he will put an end to sacrifice and offering; and (3) he will set up the image of the beast on a wing of the Temple (Revelation 13:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2).

A preview of this prophecy occurred in the spring of 168 B.C., when the armed forces of Antiochus Epiphanes stood as guards at the Temple and regular worship was discontinued. On the Sabbath day, the city was attacked, women and children were captured and multitudes were slain. His army occupied the citadel overlooking the Temple. Heathen idolatry was made mandatory, and the Hellenic culture was enforced on Jewish life. The climax of blasphemy was the erecting of the image of Zeus on the Temple’s altar of burnt offering (2 Maccabees 6). Antiochus Epiphanes did not fulfill Daniel 9:27 according to Jesus:

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 (Matthew 24:15-16).

From what Jesus told His disciples, three things are clear:

1. The Temple will be rebuilt
2. The abomination that causes desolation lies in the future
3. Terrible times will come upon Jerusalem

This will be the fourth time God puts an end to the sacrificial system through His instruments: (1) Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.; (2) Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C.; (3) Titus in A.D. 70; and (4) now the Antichrist at the middle of the Tribulation. Israel’s return to the sacrificial system shows they are still rejecting Jesus Christ, the once for all Sacrifice. Therefore, the Jews will be judged while the Gentiles are used as a source of their judgment as in the previous stoppages.

Jesus describes what will happen to the land and people of Israel during these 42 months:

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. This is the time of punishment, fulfilling all that has been written. 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 (Luke 21:20-24).

Measuring is a symbolic action used in Scripture to divide between the holy and ungodly, and thus, to indicate divine protection or destruction (Ezekiel 40-43; Zechariah 2:1-5; Jeremiah 10:16; 51:19; Revelation 21:15-16). Measuring also signifies God’s ownership of the Temple.

The Second Half of the Tribulation

CHAPTER ELEVEN from 1-14 is the second interlude or parenthesis before the seventh trumpet is sounded in 15-19, which marks the beginning of the second half of the Tribulation Period. This chapter is one of the most difficult in the whole Apocalypse. There are two witnesses, who testify for 42 months or 1,260 days; based on the Hebrew month of 30 days that is three and one half years. Either their opposition to the Antichrist is placed by commentators in the first or second half of Daniel’s Seventy Seven.

This chapter opens with the Temple of God on Earth and closes with the Temple of God in Heaven. The Temple, altar, worshipers, and Holy City have to do with the Jews and their place in the plan of God. This chapter while literal in its events most likely portrays a symbolical opening of Israel’s eyes to the Gospel and hence the salvation of all Israel.

Historicists see the Temple representing the true remnant of the Church (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:4) in the midst of the papal church at the time of the Reformation. The 1,260 days become 1,260 years, the duration of papal power. The two witnesses represent the Waldeneses, Albigeneses, and others who resisted the papacy before the Reformation.

Preterists see the 1,260 days as the period of the Jewish War, of Nero’s persecution, or both. The two witnesses are either historic prophetic witnesses against the Jews before the destruction of Jerusalem or civil and religious authority in Israel.

Idealists hold that the 1,260 days symbolizes the entire Church Age. The two witnesses are the Church.

Futurists hold to 1,260 days from the beginning to the end of the Tribulation, or two periods: first half (1,260 days) and second half (42 months). The two witnesses are individual prophets who will appear in either the first or the second half of the Tribulation. Millennialists envision the Temple of God being rebuilt in Jerusalem and playing a major part in the events of the last days.

The Angel and the Little Scroll

CHAPTER TEN is a parenthesis between the sixth and seventh trumpets. As with the opening of the seventh seal, a delay of two scenes takes place before the blowing of the seventh trumpet. This chapter is a precursor to the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation Period—the most awful holocaust of terror, suffering, violence, and catastrophe the world will ever see (Matthew 24:21).

Chapter ten echoes Daniel 12:7-12 and Ezekiel 1-3. Here God’s sovereign control over the events serves to encourage and comfort His people in the midst of demonic trepidation. This chapter contains an unusual angel, act, answer, announcement, and assignment.

ANOTHER MIGHTY ANGEL (10:1-3). If the angel of chapter five is Gabriel, then this angel could be Michael, whose name means “like God.” This could explain some of his characteristics. Both Gabriel and Michael appear in Daniel’s prophecy. The sevenfold description of this angel might indicate he is an envoy of Christ or Christ Himself (cf. Daniel 10:5-7; Revelation 1:12-16):

1. He was robed in a cloud = glory or chariots of God (Psalm 104:3)
2. With a rainbow above his head = God’s covenant faithfulness
3. His face was like the sun = righteousness (Revelation 1:6)
4. His legs were like fiery pillars = judgment (Revelation 1:15).
5. His voice as a lion roaring = the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) or Christ ready to devour His prey (Isaiah 31:4-5; Jeremiah 25:29-36; Hosea 11:10-11; Joel 3:16; Amos 3:8)
6. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land = message for the whole world
7. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke = undisclosed judgments.

It appears that God’s presence, authority and power are being pictured by this mighty angel. The adjective “another” (allon) could imply one of the same kind; that is a created being. On the other hand, this book also reveals the person of Jesus Christ. Jehovah Witnesses erroneously teach that Jesus Christ is the Archangel Michael. Most Historicists, Preterists, Idealists and Futurists hold this mighty angel is Jesus Christ. Christ will come in the clouds (Revelation 1:7) as He ascended hidden by a cloud (Acts 1:9). Significantly, God makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind (Psalm 104:3).

A LITTLE SCROLL (10:2) is the seven-sealed scroll (Title Deed to the Earth) the Lamb received from God the Father in Revelation 5. The fact that it lays open in His hand shows the seven seals have been broken. Some hold this little scroll is the Book of Revelation or the Bible, while others think it is the OT prophecies.

VOICES OF THE SEVEN THUNDERS (10:3-4) are interpreted by historicists as the seven crusades or seven wars between the Reformation and the sounding of the seventh trumpet at the French Revolution. The sealing up of prophecy is an unusual act for this Apocalypse (cf. Revelation 22:10). Christ directs John concerning what to write and not to write (cf. Revelation 1:11, 19; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 12, 14; 10:4; 14:13-14; 19:9; 21:5).

STANDING ON THE SEA AND ON THE LAND (10:5) since the prophecies relate to both land and sea.

RAISED HIS RIGHT HAND TO HEAVEN (10:5) signifies an oath or a solemn vow (cf. Daniel 12:7). The patriarch employed similar language:

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath (Genesis 14:22).

However, Jesus taught that humans should avoid such language in Matthew 5:34-35:

But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

Here the announcement is based on the authority of God’s promise.

THERE WILL BE NO MORE DELAY (10:6) signifies that the time the disciples visualized has come (Matthew 24:2; Acts 1:6); the martyrs’ blood shall be avenged (Revelation 6:9-11); and the end has come (Daniel 12:1). Historicists hold this is the last opportunity for the papal church to return to God before coming under His judgment.

THE MYSTERY OF GOD (10:7). Mystery denotes a hidden or secret thing, purpose or counsel, not obvious to the understanding that is made known. Here the secret counsels of God are revealed concerning the circumstances surrounding the end of Satan’s rule on earth and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom.

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3).

Jesus taught His disciples:

The knowledge of the secrets [mysteries] of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them (Matthew 13:11; cf. Amos 3:7; Ephesians 3:7-13; Romans 11:25-32).

God’s purposes in Christ will be accomplished, just as He announced to His servants the prophets. The kingdom described and prophesied throughout the OT is a literal earthly kingdom. The Jews had their eyes so filled with the picture of the literal kingdom that they rejected Jesus Christ because His spiritual kingdom did not fit into their idea. The kingdom of heaven/God is a present, spiritual reality (Romans 14:7) experienced by new birth (John 3:3), yet the future literal kingdom of the world over which Christ will reign (Revelation 11:15).

Preterists believe “the mystery of God” refers to the predominantly Jewish nature of the Church that ended with the destruction of the Temple.

Idealists only see this mystery as the spiritual kingdom in Christ (Colossians 2:2; Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:3-6).

THE MYSTERY OF GOD FINISHED (10:2). “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then is finished the mystery of God” is a literal translation of the Greek. It is not a sharp piercing cry, but a long drawn out judgment. In the days of the seventh trumpet, Satan, filled with fury, will wreak havoc on the earth and sea (Revelation 12:12), until he is seized and bound (Revelation 20:1-3). His capture will occur when Christ comes and overthrows the kings and nations of this world (Revelation 16:16-21 19:17-21; cf. Romans 16:25-26).

THE LITTLE SCROLL—TAKE IT AND EAT IT (10:9-11) illustrates the consumption (assimilate and appropriate the contents) of God’s Word prior to its proclamation as seen with the prophet Ezekiel.

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them (Ezekiel 3:1-4).

“Sweet as honey” might result from the answering of the Martyrs’ prayers. The prophetic revelation tasted sweet in John’s mouth because of its promise of vengeance and redemption, but it turned sour in his stomach because of its predictions of impending wrath. At first, the prophecies of this book are sweet as honey until one understands the terror they hold. The future is sweet but the immediate is bitter! A distastefulness of heart is a prerequisite to the proclamation of God’s judgment and wrath.

John is told to warn many peoples, nations, languages and kings of the bitterness to come. They are to be forewarned that God’s longsuffering ceases; this present evil age (the time of the Gentiles) terminates; and His King will be installed on God’s holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2).

Historicists think what happens with John typifies the ministers of Reformation, who are charged to preach the Gospel to the many nations and languages. The papal church’s grand ministry was not preaching the Gospel but the performance of rites and ceremonies.

Preterists connect the eating of the scroll to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 because Ezekiel’s prophecy was about the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The order to John to prophesy concerns visions of the fall of Rome in the second half of Revelation.

Idealists view the receiving of the Gospel as “sweet as honey” to the taste with resulting persecution as bitterness (“turned sour in the stomach”). The prophecy John received earlier in this book, He is ordered to tell to the world.

The Second Woe

SECOND WOE (9:12). The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come. The three woes are in sequence; therefore, the trumpets must be in sequence also.

THE SIXTH TRUMPET: THE RELEASE OF FOUR ANGELS (9:13-21). At the sounding of the sixth trumpet, a voice comes from the horns of the golden altar, which stands in the Presence of God.

HORNS signify power; on the Golden Altar, they represent the power of God’s grace and mercy. Israelites fleeing judgment could seek mercy by taking hold of the horns (1 Kings 1:50-51; 2:28). Therefore, the horns link God’s judgment to His atonement.

FOUR ANGELS (9:14-16). Righteous angels are not bound so these must be evil angels bound at the great river Euphrates. This river points to Babylon, the plain of Shinar, where Satan’s mystery religion took root (Zechariah 5:8-11). The Euphrates was the promised eastern boundary of Israel and it is east as far as the Roman Empire stretched.

God still controls history: the four angels were kept ready for this very hour, day, month, and year. They were released to kill a third of mankind.

One-fourth of mankind will be killed with the fourth seal (6:8) 25%
Of the remaining seventy-five percent one third is killed here 25%
Hence one-half of mankind will be slain in two judgments 50%

The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. China claims to have had this number under arms as early as A.D. 1961. It might be the army of the Antichrist out to conqueror the world. The objective of this army moving westward might be the Revived Roman Empire ruled by the Antichrist. Many scenarios are plausible. This army would stretch eighty-seven miles long and five miles wide.

Some think the description of the horses might be John’s attempt to describe modern war machines, such as tanks and armored vehicles, and the smoke might be immense clouds of radioactive fallout.

The four angels could command the two hundred million demons loosed under the fifth trumpet. Each force might go in the four directions of the wind to slay the third part of mankind. There are angelic armies mentioned in 2 Kings 2:11; 6:14; Revelation 19:14 and supernatural leaders oppose one another (cf. Daniel 10:13, 20; 11:1; Revelation 12:17).

TAILS WITH HEADS (9:19) indicates the ability to unleash devastation in two directions.

THE REST OF MANKIND (9:20-21). God and the Lamb’s wrath reveal the hardness of man’s heart; the survivors still did not repent! The trumpets are warnings intended to bring men to repentance, and they intensify as the end approaches. The unbeliever’s refusal to repent during the Tribulation will be astonishing. The darkened mind is pictured by their worship and practices.

Historicists view this trumpet and woe as the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire to the Turks in A.D. 1453. The Ottomans wore scarlet, blue, and yellow.

Preterists find the Romans and confederates invading Palestine from the Euphrates believing Israel’s conquerors had previously come from Assyria, Babylon, and Media-Persia. However, Media-Persia overthrew Babylon, not Israel.

Idealists hear the voice releasing demonic forces from the horns of the golden altar.

Futurists view an invasion of a massive army influenced by demons from the Orient. Others hold that this army is demonic forces.

The First Woe

THE FIFTH TRUMPET: THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS (9:1-12). It’s Hell on earth! The star that had fallen (perfect passive participle) from the ouranou (heaven, not sky) to earth is not a literal star, but an intelligent being as indicated by the personal pronouns and personal acts ascribed to him. This star is not the “angel of the Abyss” of Revelation 9:11.

Jesus said in Luke 10:18, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” This might be speaking of the fall of Lucifer from heaven, when he became Satan, the adversary and archenemy of God and man (Isaiah 14:12-15). On the other hand, the star could be the same angel that binds Satan at the beginning of the Millennium in Revelation 20:1-3. This star (angel) is given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.

THE ABYSS. In Revelation, the King James Version renders abussou “the bottomless pit” (9:1,2,11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3), which denotes the abode of evil spirits, but not the place of final punishment. The Abyss is to be distinguished from Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6) and the Lake of Fire (Revelation 9:20; 20:10).

FURNACE and SMOKE indicate a place of torment. No wonder the demons begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss (Luke 8:30-31). Fallen angels do not escape God’s judgment!

THE LOCUSTS (9:3-10). These are not locusts but demons. These locusts eat no vegetation unlike those of the eighth Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:3-20). They have a king but “locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks” (Proverbs 30:27). They are not suffocated by smoke, or burned by fire, as would be literal locusts. They rise from the prison for demons; they are indestructible; and they are intelligent, receiving commands not to hurt those who have the seal of God on their foreheads.

The appearance of these demons who behave like locusts is anything but that of a locust:

1. Battle horses speak of power and might.
2. Golden crowns (stephanos) denote victory.
3. Faces resembling human faces speak of intelligence.
4. Women’s hair speaks of enticement and seduction.
5. Lion’s teeth show their ferociousness and savageness.
6. Breastplates of iron point to invincibility.
7. Sound of wings like thundering horses and chariots rushing into battle indicates overwhelming force.
8. Tails and stings like scorpions show limited power since the sting of a scorpion is exceedingly painful for several hours, but is seldom fatal.

THE ANGEL OF THE ABYSS (9:11). This angel’s name in the Hebrew is Abaddon, but in the Greek, his name is Apollyon. This angel is a fallen one who is now bound in the Abyss with these demons. His name means destruction or destroyer. Scripture reveals that there is organization in spiritual realm; for instance, Romans 8:38; Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:15. As the king over the released demons, Apollyon rules and commands the demons but with limited powers:

1. Not to hurt the grass
2. Not to hurt any green thing
3. Not to hurt the trees
4. Not to hurt the people of God
5. To hurt all other people
6. Not to kill people
7. To torment people for five months

Historicists apply the locusts to the Islamic hordes.

Preterists interpret the locusts as the Romans’ attack on Jerusalem.

Idealists believe the locusts are symbolic of the character of demons and some hold that Apollyon is Satan.

Futurists see the locusts as a literal demonic attack in the Tribulation. Some futurists see the rise of New Age heresies under the leadership of a future apostate pope.

Three Woes Announced

THE FLYING EAGLE IN MIDAIR (8:13) announces three woes that correspond to the three final trumpet judgments (9:12; 11:14; 10:1-16:21). This cry introduces the grievous nature of what is coming. Is the eagle to be taken literally as Balaam’s donkey that talked (Numbers 22:28-30) or an angel? The Textus Receptus and other manuscripts have angel instead of eagle. It seems more likely scribes would have changed eagle to angel than vice versa.

The eagle, the strongest of birds, appears as a symbol of God’s retribution in Jeremiah 48:40, where the LORD describes King Nebuchadnezzar as an eagle swooping down, spreading its wings over Moab.

Historicists believe the eagle is an angel announcing the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Preterists believe the three vows refer to the destruction of Jerusalem: the first woe is the seditions among the Jews themselves; the second, the besieging of the city by the Romans, and the third is the capture of the city and burning of the Temple.

Idealists make no separation since they see the judgments repeating throughout history.

Futurists see the announcement itself as more important than the one who announces.

First Four Trumpets

THE FIRST TRUMPET: HAIL AND FIRE MIXED WITH BLOOD (8:6-7). Hail is always used of judgment. The seventh Egyptian plague of hail of Exodus 9:13-32, was literal hail. In 1921, in Chech Shae, Yunnan, China, fire and hail mingled with blood fell over the countryside.

What is meant by a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up? Literally, it means a third of the earth’s vegetation is destroyed.

Historicists and Preterists say this destruction is the result of warfare.

Idealists say this destruction repeats through this age but the command not to affect the trees is no longer in force.

Futurists, who do take the vegetation symbolically, say the green things are symbols of agricultural and commercial prosperity. Others interpret the third part of the world to be the Western confederation of nations, the trees to be great men and leaders, and the grass to be ordinary people.

THE SECOND TRUMPET: A HUGE MOUNTAIN THROWN INTO THE SEA (8:8-9). Something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea sounds like a huge meteor or asteroid, which would have a devastating effect on those who live in countries that depend upon the fishing industry. This is reminiscent of the first plague on Egypt, where the waters were turned to blood (Exodus 7:14-21).

Historicists see the Vandals (A.D. 428-468) under their king Genseric, to whom historians refer as “the Tyrant of the Sea” as this huge mountain.

Preterists hold the burning of Jerusalem (Mt. Zion) is the mountain ablaze; the casting into the sea is the scattering of the Jews into the nations.

Idealists take the imagery to mean the fall of powers like Babylon (Jeremiah 51:15, 42) or the eruption of a volcano, like Vesuvius in A.D. 70.

Futurists either take the mountain to be the Revived Roman Empire and the sea as the nations or a huge rock of combustible gases that ignites as it enters the atmosphere. In the OT, mountains can symbolize nations and kingdoms (Isaiah 2:2; Zechariah 4:7; Psalm 46:2; Jeremiah 51:25; Daniel 2:35).

THE THIRD TRUMPET: THE STAR WORMWOOD (8:10-11). This is the opposite of the bitter water of Marah that was turned sweet (Exodus 15:22-25). Drinking water is the greatest shortage in the world. A reduction of one-third of the drinking water will result in the death of many people, even if the water is not poisoned. The wormwood plant has a strong bitter taste, which is an OT symbol for bitterness and sorrow.

He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall [wormwood] (Lamentations 3:15).

You who turn justice into bitterness [wormwood] and cast righteousness to the ground (Amos 5:7).

Wormwood is God’s judgment on those who disobey Him. It is the bitter taste of death.

Historicists view wormwood as Attila the Hun and his eight hundred thousand men upon the banks of the Danube. It is estimated that three hundred thousand were slaughtered in the rivers, resulting in disease and death from drinking the water.

Preterists hold the bitterness is from decaying corpses in the Sea of Galilee.

Idealists see pollution from flooding, industry, commerce, etc.

Futurists connect the fire of the first three trumpets from the angel hurling the golden censer to earth. Wormwood represents the religious-political realm under a personage, such as the Pope, or papal like religious system. In the Scriptures, the Godhead is referred to seven times as “living water” (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13; Zechariah 14:8; John 4:10-11; 7:38; Revelation 22:17), but many people drink of Satan’s deceits and die (Proverbs 9:17-18).

THE FOURTH TRUMPET: THIRD OF SUN, MOON, STARS STRUCK (8:12-13). When Christ suffered and died for our sins, there was darkness over the earth from noon to three on Passover A.D. 33 (Matthew 27:45). Darkness is the appropriate judgment for those who love the darkness and hate the Light (John 3:19). All the natural light sources are struck by this judgment: sun, moon, and stars, which have been consistently used by pagan religions as objects of worship (Deuteronomy 4:19). The darkness upon the earth is reminiscent of the ninth plague on Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23). This plague showed that Ra, the sun god, was nothing! Yahweh alone is to be worshiped.

Jesus predicted “there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars” at the end of the age (Luke 21:25) and the OT prophets foretold this coming day of darkness before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Isaiah 13:10; Jeremiah 4:23; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Amos 5:20). Hence, Jesus speaks of the end of the Tribulation when He returns so this darkness occurs during the Tribulation.

Historicists view the sun, moon, and stars as the political firmament of Rome and the collapse of the Western emperors in A.D. 476.

Preterists see the heavenly bodies as the deaths of Roman emperors by murder or suicide along with the leading High Priests in Jerusalem, who perished in disgrace, or exile, or by violent hands.

Idealists also see this trumpet as the fall of Rome.

Futurists that symbolize this occurrence see the darkness as a reduction of the light of the Gospel during this period. Those of a non-symbolic view hold to an eclipse that extends to a third part of the day and a third part of the night, shortening the day-night cycle (cf. Matthew 24:22). The pollution from preceding trumpets may have caused a portion of the sun, moon, and stars to be blotted out.

If non-symbolic, the first four trumpet judgments have to do with plagues affecting vegetation, seas, rivers, and heavenly bodies. The last three affect not the material, but the moral creation.

Seven Angels with Seven Trumpets


Historicists identify the trumpets as a series of invasions against the Roman Empire by Vandals, Huns, Saraens, and Turks. The sixth trumpet brings the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (A.D. 1453).

Preterists insist the first four trumpets correspond to disasters inflicted by the Romans on Jews in the Jewish War (A.D. 66-70). The fifth trumpet depicts the demonic spirits rendering the besieged Jews irrational and self-destructive. The sixth trumpet refers to the Roman armies, who destroyed Jerusalem and slaughtered or deported all the Jews.

Idealists see the seven trumpets like the plagues of Egypt befalling sinful humanity many times in history, demonstrating God’s displeasure.

Futurists view either literally or symbolically the seven trumpets as coming judgments upon the earth during the Tribulation.

SEVEN ANGELS WITH SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2). Names of seven archangels, who stand before the Throne, are stated in the noncanonical book of Enoch 20:2-8: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel, and Remiel. Beware Enoch is not an inspired writing. We read in Luke 1:19 that the angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God.”

Notice the article in verse 2: “I saw the seven angels who stand before God.” These are not just any ordinary angels, but the seven angels who administer the judgments of God. While the seven seals are opened by the Lamb, the judgments of the seven trumpets and the seven bowls are executed by seven angels. This commentator holds that the seven trumpets are part of the seventh seal and the seven bowels are part of the seventh trumpet.

This scene is reminiscent of Battle of Jericho.

The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding (Joshua 6:13).

Seven blasts on seven trumpets, by seven priests, after a sevenfold march on the seventh day, meant the fall of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. Here are seven blasts on seven trumpets by seven angels on the seventh week of Daniel that will send the world ruled by Satan crashing to its end.

TRUMPETS are assigned to angels in Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52; and Revelation 4:1, 4. Trumpets are the most used musical instrument in the Bible, appearing over one-hundred twenty-five times, for many purposes. Trumpets were used to (1) declare war; (2) assemble the people; (3) proclaim great events such as the festivals and the Year of Jubilee; (4) announce the arrival of kings; (5) hail the fall of cities; and (6) show the presence, majesty and power of God. In Revelation, trumpets primarily announce impending judgment. In a unique sense, every one of the foregoing purposes is present in these seven trumpets.

The seven trumpet judgments are of greater intensity than the seal judgments. Six trumpets finish the first three and one half years of the Tribulation; the seventh begins the last half of this period. Others think the first trumpet begins the second half or Great Tribulation. The timing and length of each is indefinite, except the effect of the fifth trumpet judgment, which will last five months (9:10).

ANGEL WITH THE GOLDEN CENSER (8:3-5). Some identify this angel as Christ. In the OT, the preincarnate Christ is called the Angel of the LORD and the angel of His presence (Genesis 16:7; Isaiah 63:9). The smoke of the incense epitomizes the prayers of the saints for the vengeance of the LORD.

Here is a beautiful picture of an OT practice. Every morning and evening, the priests would use a golden censer to put incense on the altar of incense in front of the second curtain of the Tabernacle or Temple. Behind this curtain was the Most Holy Place into which only the High Priest could go once a year to intercede for the nation.

Smoke from the incense concealed the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that the High Priest would not die on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 11-15). In Revelation 8, the Throne is exposed and it is no longer a place of mercy.

This angel does not act like any ordinary priest for he replaces the prayers mingled with smoke with fire from the altar and hurls the golden censer on the earth, signifying God’s vengeance has begun on behalf of the martyred saints. This was accompanied by peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

The Silence in Heaven

THE LAMB OPENS THE SEVENTH SEAL (8:1). When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Historicists identify the silence as the time the 144,000 are sealed along with the destruction of Jerusalem when no complaints in heaven are heard.

Preterists see the silence as no more complaints being heard in heaven.

Idealists view heaven in awestruck silence, anticipating the completion of God’s purposes. The silence in heaven is the lull before the storm.

Futurists hold the silence may be compared with the silence before the foreman of a jury reports the verdict.
The seventh seal is not a judgment but the commencement of another chain of God and the Lamb’s wrath.

Within this seal is contained the seven trumpets and seven bowl judgments (Revelation 8:2-19:10). The silence is the quiet before the storm (cf. 8:5); like a Sabbath pause.

The Great Multitude

AFTER THIS (7:9-17) refers to the sealing of the 144,000 Israelite evangelists. The Holy Spirit will empower their ministry (Joel 2:28). Pentecost is a token of this outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:14-21). The fruit of their evangelism will be a saved multitude during the Tribulation that no one could count. Undoubtedly, the books of Daniel and Revelation will play an important role in their conversion also. This multitude stands in contrast to the 144,000.

The Great Multitude
Name: Every nation, tribe, people and language
Number: Countless amount
Locality: Heaven
Purpose: Martyred
Reward: Received

Nations = political bodies
Tribes = families
People = geographic groups
Language = diversity

The 144,000
Name: Twelve Tribes of Israel
Number: Definite amount
Locality: Earth
Purpose: Preserved
Reward: To be received

The martyred Tribulation saints receive prominence and honor.

Position, 9 Standing before the Throne in front of the Lamb
Purity, 9, 13 Wearing white robes
Praise, 9 Palm branches in their hands (cf. John 12:13)
Privilege, 15 Serving or Worshiping God day and night in His Temple

Worship of the saints is the appropriate response to God and His salvation in the Lamb. The angels, elders and living creatures join the worship with sevenfold praise (7:12).

The saint’s praise of verses 15-17 celebrates the fulfillment of the twenty-third Psalm (cf. John 14ff; Hebrews 13:20).

Ten Blessings of the Redeemed:

1. To stand before God’s throne
2. To serve God day and night in His Temple
3. To have God shelter them
4. To hunger no more
5. To thirst no more
6. To have no oppressive sun
7. To have no scorching heat
8. To be shepherded by the Lamb
9. To have springs of living water
10. To have no more sorrow

HEAT in the Bible is symbolic of persecution and suffering. SUN signifies government. There will be no more oppressive government. God is still working out His program in human history, distinctions still exits between Jews and Gentiles, the Church, Israel, and the Tribulation Saints. Such distinctions will disappear, after the Millennial Kingdom, when there is no longer any sea, which is made up of all classes of people (21:1).