THE 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.