When you hear a trumpet sounding, what do you think of? I think of a huge parade, or maybe a king entering a banquet hall. You might think of a majestic orchestral arrangement, or a lieutenant attempting to wake up his fellow soldiers. Well, in Revelation chapter 8, there are seven trumpets. And they all signify warnings or represent events that have taken place in the past. Today, we’re going to look at the first four trumpets and what they mean to us. Let’s start with the context of the trumpets so that we can really understand what’s going on.
First of all, you find the context of the trumpets in verses 1-6. An angel, whom we understand to be Jesus (RH, July 4, 1893 par. 5, COL 156.2, CET 91.3), comes and stands at the altar of incense. We know that this altar is in the Holy Place (Ex. 30:1-10, EW 251.3), so we know that this represents Jesus moving to the Holy Place, which takes place at the Crucifixion. That’s the backdrop for the trumpets.
In verse 5, it says “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire from the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” It appears to us that the censer is being cast down, but you’ll notice that the word “it” is supplied, so the verse could be saying either the fire or the censer is being cast down. I believe it’s the fire because Jesus doesn’t stop mediating for us with His censer until the close of probation (EW 279, 280), and we’ve already concluded that these verses (2-5) are talking about Jesus moving into the Holy Place at the cross.
This fire that is being cast down represents God’s judgement on Jerusalem. When Jesus moved into the Holy Place and threw fire down onto the earth, He had already tried to give them many chances. But they had rejected them over and over again, and now they would reap the consequences.
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
In the first trumpet, there is hail and fire mingled with blood.
As for the grass, there are many Bible verses that indicate that it represents people (Numbers 22:4; 2 Samuel 23:4; 2 Kings 19:26; Job 5:25; Psalm 37:2; 72:6; 90:5; 92:7; 102:4, 11; 103:15; 129:6; Isaiah 37:27; Isaiah 40:6-7, 1 Peter 1:24), but also some that indicate it represents the Scriptures (Psalms 23). To me, neither of them make sense. Even in the Dark Ages, there was still light from the Bible being shed through the Waldenses and others who remained faithful to God. And there’s obviously never been a time when all mankind was wiped out. The Bible wouldn’t say ALL green grass was burnt up if it wasn’t… However, those are the only two interpretations that I have found, so the one that makes more sense to me would have to be the Word of God. In GC 60.2 it says, “The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests.” At that time, the Bible wasn’t available to the people, and important truths were taken away from the them. Therefore, the green grass was destroyed.
Because water in the sanctuary represents the Holy Spirit,
8And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
9And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
Because everything in Daniel is a prophecy, and Revelation is the revelation of that prophecy, I went to do some research in Daniel. (AA 585.1) In Daniel 2, the mountain that fills the whole earth is God’s kingdom, so I though that maybe the mountain represented God’s kingdom. It mentions a mountain being a kingdom twice, but three other times it mentions a mountain in correlation to the Holy Mountain/Mount Zion. And fire represents God’s righteousness, so it makes sense that Mount Zion would be burning with the fire of God’s righteousness. It’s the rejection of His righteousness that kills the living creatures and makes the sea blood.
Water usually represents people (Rev 17:15), so in this case, it’s the people who reject Christ’s righteousness that turn to blood, or rather, get destroyed.
10And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
I think it’s interesting that it say the polluted water is what kills the men. Water in this case obviously does not mean people. I think it represents error, and the poepl who drink are made spiritually bitter (against religion and anything to do with it), or that are spiritually dead.
The star represents Satan and his errors. They are what makes the water bitter. His cloud of error pollutes the church, causeing mayn to dies spiritually.
12And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
I didn’t get to study this trumpet as much…. but it kind of sounds like the signs of the end mentioned in Matthew 24, which happened before 1844. I’m not sure if I can make a connection there though.
Something cool I noticed about the 5th trumpet is that the trumpet mentioned in Joel 2:1, 12-17 is a message directed to everyone who is spiritually lukewarm, letting them know that if they are going to stand in the last days, they need a serious reformation. It connects to the warning given to the Laodicean church in Rev. 3:14-19, and it’s the same warning presented by the first angel in Rev.14:6(the first angel’s message correlates to the trumpet. (GC 311.1)
In conclusoin, I really enjoyed studying this topic. Thank you so much for your spiritually enriching class