Summary: Jesus returns to earth at the seventh trumpet to establish his eternal reign, judge the ungodly and reward His followers.
This morning, we reach a milestone in our study of the Book of Revelation as we reach the halfway point. And as I’ve pondered the passage that we’ll look at this morning over the past couple of weeks, I’m convinced that there is a sense in which this particular passage is a pretty good summary of the main theme of the book which we identified at the beginning of our journey:
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Matthew 24:13 (ESV)
So go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Revelation 11 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 15:
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 forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
As we’ve previously discovered, there are some striking parallels among the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl. In each case, we see flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and an earthquake. Those similarities lead me to believe that they are all describing the same event from different perspectives.
Perhaps one way to help us understand this is to think of a broadcast of a major sporting event. Throughout the stadium, there are a number of cameras that are recording the action. And all of those various camera feeds go to a control center where there is a director who can view all the various camera angles and then choose which one to send to the viewers who are watching the event. And whenever there is a crucial play, the viewers at home can see the replay from several different vantage points.
I think that is a pretty good picture of John’s visions that He records for us in the book of Revelation. First he sees the events from the vantage point of the church as pictured by the seals. Then, it’s as if God shows him the replay of the events from one of the other cameras and we have the trumpets which view the same events from the perspective of unredeemed mankind. Finally God provides John with one more replay, and John sees the bowls which view those events from God’s perspective. The analogy breaks down somewhat because the seals, trumpets and bowls may not picture exactly all the same events, but at a minimum the seventh in each series are similar enough to allow us to conclude that, at a minimum, it is likely that the end point of all three series is picturing the same event.
THE SEVENTH TRUMPET
When the seventh trumpet is blown, there are three significant events which all take place simultaneously:
3 Simultaneous Events:
• Jesus begins His earthly reign
Before Jesus began His earthly ministry, He went into the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan. And one of things that Satan offered to Jesus was the reign over the kingdoms of the world.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Matthew 4:8, 9 (ESV)
But Jesus, knowing that it was not yet time for Him to assume that reign, avoided the temptation to take that which was rightfully His by the wrong methods at the wrong time. But when the seventh trumpet is sounded, Jesus will claim that which belongs to Him and He will assume His perpetual reign over the kingdoms of the earth.
• The ungodly are judged
There is no doubt that much of what is described in our passage is rooted in Psalm 2, which is even today considered to be a Messianic Psalm by the Jews. That Psalm begins with these words:
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
Psalm 2:1 (ESV)
This is a perfect description of what we observe in our world today. Nations rage and people plot, but it is all in vain. Because for those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, when that seventh trumpet blows, they are going to face God’s judgment and His wrath, exactly as Psalm 2 predicts: