Tuesday, September 21, 2021

42. The Revelation: Introduction to the Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19)


The sounding of the seventh trumpet marks a significant milestone in the book of Revelation. It sets in motion the final events leading up to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the establishment of His earthly millennial kingdom. During its tenure will come the final fury of the day of the Lord judgments (Rev. 16:1–21), the final harvest of judgment on earth (Rev. 11:18; 16:19), and the Lamb’s defeat of the kings of the earth (Rev. 17:12–18), culminating in the final triumph of Christ at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11–21).

It should be noted that although the seventh trumpet is the last in the sequence of the seven trumpet judgments, it is not to be equated with the “last trumpet” in 1 Corinthians 15:52. The seventh trumpet covers an extended period of time, distinguishing it from the instantaneous (“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”) event of the “last trumpet.” Instead of calling for the moment of the rapture of the church, the seventh trumpet calls for prolonged waves of judgment on the ungodly.

The seventh trumpet not only announces consuming judgment on unbelievers, but also the coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament trumpets were frequently sounded at the coronation of a king (2 Samuel 15:10; 1 Kings 1:39; 2 Kings 9:13; 11:12, 14). The sounding of the seventh trumpet also marks the end of the interlude that follows the sixth trumpet (Rev. 10:1–11:14). Each of the three series of judgments (the seals, trumpets, and bowls) contains an interlude between the sixth and seventh events. Between the sixth and seventh seals came the interlude of chapter 7; between the sixth and seventh bowls will come the brief interlude of Rev. 16:15. These respites serve to comfort and encourage believers amid the terrors of God’s judgments, reassuring them that He has not forgotten them (Malachi 3:16–4:2).

Although the seventh trumpet sounds in Rev. 11:15, the judgments associated with it are not described until chapter 15. Chapters 12–14 are a digression, taking readers back through the tribulation to the point of the seventh trumpet by a different path. They describe the tribulation not from God’s perspective, but from Satan’s. Chapters 4–11 focused on Christ’s taking back what is rightfully His by means of the seal and trumpet judgments. Chapters 12–14 focus on the ultimate human usurper, the final Antichrist, whose career spans the same time period as the seal and trumpet judgments.