Life, Hope & Truth

From the September/October 2020 issue of Discern Magazine

What Is the Meaning of the Seventh Trumpet?

The Bible speaks of a seventh trumpet that will sound before Jesus Christ’s return to earth. What does the sounding of this last trumpet mean for you?

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The book of Revelation provides an overview of prophetic events that will occur in the end time before Jesus Christ’s second coming and beyond.

This section of Scripture includes many symbols, including “seven seals,” the sounding of “seven trumpets,” and “seven last plagues” to be poured out of “seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God” (Revelation 5:1; 8:2, 6; 15:1, 7).

The seals, trumpets and plagues represent a series of events that will affect all mankind during these momentous times.

The sounding of the seventh trumpet announces the culmination of God’s plan for this world and the remaining steps that He will take to ensure that His plan is accomplished for all of mankind.

What does the Bible say about this last trumpet, and what does it mean for you?

What is the message of the seventh trumpet in Revelation?

The apostle John recorded what he saw in vision:

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’

“And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.’

“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail” (Revelation 11:15-19).

What does the seventh trumpet mean?

The sounding of the seventh trumpet signals the long-awaited arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth.The sounding of the seventh trumpet signals the long-awaited arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth. This trumpet, which is also called the third “woe” (Revelation 9:12; 11:14), will be one of the most important announcements in human history. The establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth is the fulfillment of biblical prophecies recorded throughout the Bible.

In the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, God through the prophet Daniel revealed that eventually a kingdom would arise that would destroy all the human governments that preceded it. Most important, God said this kingdom “shall never be destroyed … and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

Years later, Daniel also had a dream in which God confirmed the coming of this eternal kingdom. In his vision Daniel saw “One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven,” who “was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.”

And again, Daniel noted that His dominion “shall not pass away, and His kingdom [is] the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

What did Jesus teach regarding the Kingdom of God?

During His earthly ministry, Jesus was the representative of the Kingdom of God, and this subject was the basis of His teaching. As Matthew wrote: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23; compare Mark 1:14; Luke 8:1).

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He spent 40 days with His disciples before ascending into heaven. He spent this time “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). The Kingdom of God, which has been prepared by God the Father and His Son from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34), was clearly the focal point of His teaching.

The Kingdom of God has likewise been the focus of God’s people throughout the ages. Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10), and Jesus instructs us to pray for this Kingdom to come (Matthew 6:9-10). Additionally, Jesus said that seeking this Kingdom and God’s righteousness is to take priority in our lives (Matthew 6:33).

What happens after the seventh trumpet?

After the seventh trumpet, John heard the 24 elders worshipping God (Revelation 11:16-18). Their praise of God also reveals what conditions will be like at that time.

These elders say that the nations were angry, that God’s wrath has come, that the time for rewarding God’s faithful people has come and that God will soon destroy those who destroyed the earth.

Let’s now consider how these end-time events relate to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

The nations were angry

In the book of Revelation, seven seals are opened before the blowing of the seven trumpets. The second seal, represented by a rider on a red horse (one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse) signifies war. War, of course, is what often happens when nations become angry with each other. And Bible prophecy indicates that wars will escalate prior to the return of Christ.

When Jesus gave signs of the end of this present age in His Olivet Discourse—signs which correlate with the seals in the book of Revelation—He said, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:7).

Some of the conflicts between nations during the end times are specifically identified. Bible prophecy indicates that a major conflict will erupt between powers warring over control of the Middle East. “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind” (Daniel 11:40).

In addition to this conflict, Zechariah 14:2 says that in the end all the nations will come together “to battle against Jerusalem.” When Christ returns, these armies will unite to fight against Him and quickly be overcome (Revelation 19:19-21).

The wrath of God

As the seals are successively opened in the book of Revelation, the seventh seal includes the seven trumpets. These trumpets are actually punishments called the wrath of God that will come upon the earth’s inhabitants because of mankind’s sins (Revelation 6:16-17).

So, by the time the seventh trumpet sounds, mankind will have already been suffering from the wrath of God.

The wrath of God, however, is not yet complete. Because humans will still refuse to repent of their sins and acknowledge Jesus as the King of the earth, seven last plagues—also called “seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God” that will follow the seventh trumpet—will wreak additional devastation upon mankind and the earth (Revelation 15:7).

In these seven last plagues, “the wrath of God is complete” (verse 1).

What happens to faithful Christians at the seventh trumpet?

In praising God at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the 24 elders also noted that the time had come for the dead to be judged and God’s faithful people to be rewarded. (Do you know what the Bible means by a converted, faithful Christian? See our online article “Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen.”)

The Bible shows that the sounding of this trumpet is indeed the great hope of the saints throughout the ages.The Bible shows that the sounding of this trumpet is indeed the great hope of the saints throughout the ages.

In teaching about the resurrection of the dead, Paul wrote: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

On another occasion Paul wrote: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The judgment of God

The last item mentioned by the 24 elders as they praise God is that those who destroy the earth will be destroyed (Revelation 11:18). These are people “who have, in their conquests, spread desolation over the earth and who have persecuted the righteous, and all who have done injustice and wrong to any class of men” (Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament).

Thus, in their praise of God, the 24 elders summarize what has led up to the blowing of the seventh trumpet and what is yet to occur.

Remembering the seventh trumpet

The blowing of the prophetic trumpets is such an important part of God’s plan of salvation for mankind that one of God’s annual holy days pictures these events. The Feast of Trumpets pictures the return of Christ, His judgment upon mankind, and most important, His establishment of the peaceful Kingdom of God here on earth.

This year the Feast of Trumpets falls on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. If you’d like to join Christians around the world who will be observing this day in anticipation of Christ’s return, feel free to contact us for further information.

To learn more about end-time events that will affect your life, see “How 7 Trumpets of Revelation Will Affect Humanity” and our booklet The Book of Revelation: The Storm Before the Calm.

About the Author

David Treybig

David Treybig

David Treybig is a husband, father and grandfather. He and his wife, Teddi, have two grown children and seven grandchildren. He currently pastors the Austin, Texas, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He has served in the pastoral ministry for over 40 years, pastoring congregations across six states.

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