Revelation Chapter 8
Introduction to the Seven Trumpets (Rev 8:2-6)
A WORD REGARDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS INTRODUCTION
For reasons which will become more apparent when Verse 6 is discussed, it is likely that the Introduction to the Seven Trumpets is constructed something like this:
Verse 2: introduces the angels & their trumpets.
Verses 3-5: are Parenthetical
Verse 6: Re-introduces the angels & their trumpets.
This kind of construction has precedent in Revelation. For an example, see Chapter 12 Verses 6 and 14. Clearly the woman does not flee twice into the wilderness! But the Lord wished to end TWO DIFFERENT NARRATIVES with the experience of the woman in the wilderness. Likewise in Chapter 8, The Lord wishes to begin TWO DIFFERENT NARRATIVES with the angels and their trumpets.
VERSE 2 “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.”
AND I SAW: Here again is one of those re-focus markers which John uses so effectively. Had those who provided chapters and verses recognized this, Chapter 8 would have begun with Verse 2 as it should.
AND I SAW carries us back to the beginning of the age (to the first church)—now to introduce us to the trumpets. Rev 4:1 did the same thing to introduce us to the Seals. In each case it was in order to help us parallel these introductions to the introduction to the 7 Churches beginning in Rev 1:9. (See Note at bottom of page).
“Some think that the trumpets have to follow directly after the seals, but they miss the fact that this is a new vision. If we don’t recognize the breaks in the prophecy, Revelation becomes confusing and contradictory, but if we see the breaks in their proper places it can then be harmonized.”
THE SEVEN ANGELS WHO STAND BEFORE GOD: John clearly recognizes these. He had seen them before in Rev 1:16 and 20. These are the same individuals who are the messengers to the Seven Churches. Note, however, instead of giving admonitions to the various Churches (as they had done in Chapters 2 and 3), they are to be supplied with instruments so that their messages will be heard beyond the flocks to which they wrote. The messages in Chapters 2 and 3 begin, “To the angel of the Church in _____, write:”
In other words, those messages are to help each angel interpret to each Church its conditions, needs, and experiences. In the Trumpets, however, the angels are virtually given an amplification system so that, while they are serving the Church, they are also having an effect on society (the world);
THAT is the point of these Trumpet messages —to reveal the effects of dispensational truths on surrounding society.
AND TO THEM WERE GIVEN SEVEN TRUMPETS: Bro. Burns calls these “Proclamations of Liberty.” This well sums up what the messages COULD HAVE DONE for society. Society, of course, was not interested in the liberties offered by the words of these angels. To the contrary, the presence of these messages is an irritant to society —a virus which causes severe reactions.
These trumpets are given, of course, in succession as each angel appears on the scene. John, from his perspective “on the Lord’s day,” looks back to see that this history has filled the age.
Verse 2 as it is explained by Brother Shallieu in The Keys of Revelation.
“John’s remark that he “saw the seven angels which stood before God” indicates a previous familiarity with them. Indeed they were none other than the messengers to the seven churches already encountered in the second and third chapters of Revelation. In harmony with the interpretation of their prior activities, and in the absence of a statement to the contrary, the assumption is that the seven angels standing before God were each given a trumpet one at a time, showing the messages about to be blown are separate and distinct, as well as successive, in fulfillment. It would be rather unusual for all seven angels to be presented simultaneously with a trumpet. If such were the case, the reader would be so informed.
Another point merits attention. It should be noted that Verse 2 is intentionally separated from its natural association with Verse 6, and is seemingly misplaced in an incongruous manner before Verses 3 through 5, which describe a scene quite foreign to the theme of trumpets. This purposed interpolation will be explained with the treatment of Verse 6.”
NOTE: There are internal evidences galore that the Churches, Seals, and Trumpets are contemporaneous with each other. The introductions to the seven churches, seals and trumpets lend much credence to this position. Each introduction clearly contains elements placing the beginning of each series at the beginning of the age. This is an important reason for considering these introductions prior to a study of the three series themselves.
SUMMARIES OF EACH SERIES
The seven churches
This is an account of admonitions to the Church throughout the age regarding conditions, needs, and experiences in overcoming. In essence, these messages represent the concerns and teachings of each of the appointed “angels.”
The seven seals
This is a history laid out in advance, God has arranged (and recorded in His sealed scroll) pre-ordained changes and the circumstances or catalysts which would accomplish them. The stories of the Seals explain these changes and their effects on the consecrated. Evidence supports that the Seal is opened AT THE END of each period rather than at its beginning. Understanding comes after experiencing.
The seven trumpets
This series of descriptions shows the effects of dispensational truths on surrounding society. Society hears, and is somewhat disturbed, by these messages, but is not reformed by them. Consequently, the Seven Last Plagues (Chapters 15 & 16) are necessary. (It will be noticed that the plagues are poured out on the same sequence of elements as those who hear the trumpets).
THE FOCAL POINT OF EACH SERIES’ INTRODUCTION
Introduction to the churches:
This introduction (1:9-20) stresses Jesus as the powerful, experienced, always-present advisor, director, and protector over the Churches.
Introduction to the seals:
This introduction (Chapters 4 & 5) stresses the “tools” which God will use to accomplish the events which will affect the Churches; it also stresses His delegation of power for their accomplishment to the Lion-Lamb.
Introduction to the trumpets:
This introduction (8:2-6) stresses the loudness (power) of the dispensational proclamations. It stresses that the prayers of the saints (FOR THE KINGDOM) were actually being heard and carried out by this sequence of trumpeting. Finally, it stresses the eventual dismemberment of the present society by an additional pouring out (the seven last plagues) which will re-focus the messages of the trumpets and thus “finish God’s wrath.” (Rev 15:1)
We will continue with Verse 3 in our next post.
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