Summary: When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be nore more, then what?
“The Great Unveiling: Bring On the Trumpets”
The sound of trumpets is uplifting. It revives our spirits, our toes start tapping, and sometimes we want to get up and dance. Growing up I was never sad when I heard Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass or Louis Armstrong. We get excited when we hear the trumpets going full blast during the Hallelujah Chorus; it thrills us to hear golden trumpets playing the familiar strains of “God of Our Fathers.” Trumpets are exciting and pulsating.
But in Scripture it’s often quite different. When people heard trumpets they seldom thought of toe tapping and dancing. Trumpet blasts meant something of great significance was about to happen and they’d better be ready for a major event. And that’s what’s in mind here in Revelation 8. We look at the first 4 trumpets today.
With that background, let’s first examine the PLACE OF THE TRUMPETS in the Bible. Trumpets appear frequently in Scripture PRIOR TO REVELATION. An excellent background passage is Numbers 10. This really is an introduction as to the use of trumpets in early Israel as ALERTS. Specifically, trumpets were used to call people together, to move the tribes from one place to another, to sound an alarm in an emergency, and to celebrate days of the sacred feasts. Whenever the people were to be alerted the trumpets were blown.
In the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel we come to understand the seriousness of what’s in Numbers: "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: 'When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.' In other words, listen to the trumpets! This is what is behind the scene of the tumbling walls of Jericho. And recall Gideon’s band: in Judges 7:22 we read: “When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled…”
The prophets used the image of the trumpet blast to ANNOUNCE THE DAY OF THE LORD. Joel 2:1-2: “Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand….” Zechariah 9:14: “Then the Lord will appear over them; His arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet.” And even the great prophecy of Isaiah 27:13: “And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” Remember even Jesus himself said, (Mt. 24:31): “And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from one end of the heavens to the other.” God will blow the trumpets again when the time for another phase of HIs judgment arrives.
That brings us to the place of trumpets in REVELATION. In this 8th chapter the trumpets announce what the seals pictured. They announce the plagues of judgment, which fall upon the earth and its inhabitants. THEY HERALD THE WRATH OF GOD. The judgments concern those who oppose Him. It assures us that the wickedness of the earth does not go unnoticed. And now we realize that there is a part of judgment from which we are exempt. God will deal with the evil in the world in His own way and own time. WHERE THE SEALS SHOWED US JUDGMENT AS A RESULT OF SIN – MAN REAPING WHAT HE HAS SOWN – THE TRUMPETS SHOW US THE DIVINE ACTIVITY IN JUDGMENT. It reveals that there is divine intervention to bring extra calamity upon the wicked and evil in the world. These trumpets say “Listen; the time has come. God is ready to move s against the godless, evil society on earth. So be ready!”
But just what particular judgments are we talking about? What are THE PLAGUES OF THE TRUMPETS? First of all, let’s take a moment to look at THE MOTIVE OF THE PLAGUES. The plagues here in Revelation closely parallel those in Exodus. They cover all of nature – the land, sea, fresh water, and the heavenly bodies. And they LEAD TO FREEDOM FOR GOD’S PEOPLE. They bring freedom and release for God’s people and bondage for His enemies! The constant allusion to the plagues means that God will again bring punishment upon the hostile powers that oppress His people as a prelude to that great and final exodus in which the Church – the people of God - is taken into the eternal presence of God. Even the fall of Rome was preceded by a series of “natural” disasters that could only have come from God.