Seven trumpets announce terrible plagues in the book of Revelation. Why has God decided this is necessary before the return of Christ? What will the result be?
Why will God send the seven trumpet plagues mentioned in the book of Revelation? What is the purpose of these plagues, and how do they prepare the world for Jesus Christ’s second coming?
This short article won’t look at the seven plagues themselves, but you can find the first six in Revelation chapters 8 and 9, and the seventh trumpet announced in Revelation 11 and continuing through much of the rest of the book. We also have an article about “How the Seven Trumpets of Revelation Will Affect Humanity.”
But in this article we will look at why.
The great day of His wrath
The apostle John gives the setting of the seven trumpets in Revelation 6. This comes at the end of the sixth seal—the heavenly signs—just before the seventh seal was opened to reveal the seven trumpets.
In Revelation 6:17 John quotes the fearful people of that time crying out: “The great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Why is God so angry? Why would the Lamb—the loving Son of God who gave His life for us and who wants everyone to be in His family—be so angry at the world that He sends these plagues?
God hates sin
A couple of important passages from Isaiah help explain why God is angry. Isaiah 58:1 says: “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
God hates sin because it is the antithesis of what He is. It destroys us. It causes the pain and suffering of our world, the broken families, the violence, the mental anguish, the meaningless lives and purposeless deaths. Satan uses sin to try to thwart God’s plan and keep us from becoming God’s children. (Learn more in our article “What Is Sin?”)
The next chapter of Isaiah contains these additional reasons God hates sin:
“Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. … Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways” (Isaiah 59:2, 7-8).
God sees the permanent damage that sin can cause: eternal death! So He uses temporary punishments to try to get our attention.
The Day of the Lord: A call to repentance
The book of Joel also talks about this great day of God’s wrath, using the more common name throughout the Bible: The Day of the Lord. Joel 2:1 says: “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand.”
God continues in verses 12-13: “‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your hearts, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”
God’s punishments are for the purpose of calling us to repentance. God wants to forgive people and have them become right with Him. He wants us to become His children. (Learn more in our articles “What Is Repentance?” and “Children of God.”)
Why seven plagues?
But why does God need seven terrifying plagues to bring people to repentance?
If one plague would wake everyone up, that’s all God would use. But obviously it will take all seven trumpet plagues to finally bring this world to repentance.At the end of Revelation 9 is a prophecy of what will happen even after the first six destructive plagues have occurred.
“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21).
If one plague would wake everyone up, that’s all God would use. But obviously it will take all seven trumpet plagues to finally bring this world to repentance. Satan has done his best since the time of Adam and Eve to inoculate humanity against feeling guilt for breaking God’s laws. He has worked to convince people that God’s laws are not valid, and to make repentance seem pointless, ridiculous or foolish.
After the seventh trumpet
When the seventh trumpet sounds, Jesus Christ will be announced as King of Kings (Revelation 11:15). Verse 18 then summarizes many of the events of that seventh trumpet and beyond: “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.”
Those who have been destroying the world will be destroyed. The angry nations will be defeated, and God’s righteous anger will be spent. Jesus Christ and the saints will be ready to rule—and to teach those who come out of that terrible period ready to repent.
After all of that bad news, the prophesied best news ever will be fulfilled! And the people of the world will finally be ready to hear—and to repent—and to change. The trauma of the seven trumpet plagues will be overshadowed by the wonderful world tomorrow that will come! God speed that day!
Read more about the plagues and how to avoid them in our articles “What Is the Day of the Lord?” and “The Wrath of God: How to Survive.” Read more about the good news on beyond that time in our article “Best News Ever.”