Summary: In Revelation, “trumpets” primarily announce impending judgment. The “trumpet judgments” are of greater intensity than the “seal judgments,” but not as destructive as the final “bowl judgments” will be (16:1-21).
By: Tom Lowe Date: 2/2/2016
Title: Seven Angels Prepare to Sound Their Trumpets (Revelation 8:2-6)
Revelation 8:2-6 (KJV)
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
In John’s vision, God is about to deal with the sin that is in the world. At the opening of the seventh seal, the response is silence (8:1). And a new vision begins, and we have in these five verses, the beginning of the wrath of God. The judgment of Jesus is going to be carried out. This is the great moment of justice for which suffering believers have been praying. The idea presented here is that all of the prayers for justice are given to God so that God can answer them all. He is going to begin the process of retribution for the persecution of the church.
The seven angels in verse two are specific angels. They are those who stand before God. And in this case, they are the ones with the responsibility of carrying out justice on the earth. The trumpets symbolize the instruments of that judgment (8:2). The trumpet judgments, like the seal judgments, are only partial. God’s final and complete judgment had not yet come.
The difference between the seventh seal and the first six is who is implementing the judgment. During chapters six and seven, humankind and nature are having their way. During this vision of the trumpets, it is the angels who have been given the role of executing the judgment of God on earth. Did anyone notice that there is yet another difference between the seventh seal and the first six? It is that no specific judgment is mentioned when the seventh seal is broken? The narrative moves directly to the seven trumpet judgments. From this we infer that the seventh seal consists of the seven trumpets.
There are Christians who will tell you that the Book of Revelation terrifies them. But it should not terrify you. Actually, it ought to be a comfort to you. I thank God that He is going to judge this world that is running wild today. The way that mankind has blundered and gotten this world into a mess makes it look like it is filled with madman. I thank God He is going to judge it, and He is going to judge it rightly. It is very comforting to recognize that.
Maybe you don’t like the fact that the gentle Jesus is going to judge. We have already seen that the wrath of the Lamb will be terrifying to those on earth. My friend, when you talk about the gentle Jesus, you had better get acquainted with Him. He died for you, He loves you, and He wants to save you, but if you will not have Him, I’d tell you, there is waiting ahead of you a terrifying judgment. Someone will say to me, “You are trying to frightened people.” I would like to scare you into heaven if I could, but I know you are too sophisticated and too cynical for that. But, my friend, judgment is coming on this earth. I say, Hallelujah! I am glad that it is coming and that God is not going to let the world go on like it is now. It has gone on long enough.