7th Seal, Revealing seven trumpets. Seals concealed a revelation of the future but revealed news (truth) when opened. But a trumpet spoke of warning in activated war or judgment. Notice each trumpet only destroys a fraction of what it is sounded against. The ungodly people the judgment is directed against are meant to pay attention and repent, but they do not. Trumpets are obvious reminders of the plagues against Egypt in the days of Moses, so it is in the days of the persecuted Church. Every 1st century Christian reading this would see the parallel. In v3-5, we see the reason for the judgments, the Christian’s cry of “how long”, 6:10, was heard and acted upon. Our prayers have an effect. God’s power is seen at the right time. These judgments came upon the world because Christians cried for vengeance and also because God loves his children. In 9:20-22 we see what their end purpose is.
“silence…half an hour” v1, Hours in the Bible often speak of an important decisive action (1st Jn 2:18) some kind of work that changes everything, therefore an hour that is halved may lead us to think that something real significant is about to happen, a bit like the purpose served in a drum roll before an important person arrives.
“golden censer” v5, an eighth angel at the altar attends to sanctified prayers of Christians which appeared before God’s Throne in 6:9. This is the only appearance of the censer in the entire revelation, and it is the reason for the half hour of silence. When the angel throws the burning censer to earth, it represents God’s answer to Christians’s cry for help. Censers are explained best in Numbers 16:11-18. The angel represents Christ’s intercessory position in our prayer, He is the only mediator between God & the physical church, 1Tm. 2:5, but in this vision, Christ is opening the seal, The Father is on the Throne and our prayers are sanctified & answered!
“7 angels with 7 trumpets” v2-6, The significance of this lay in Numbers 10:1-10, they were used to call a congregation and also to enact the assembly to set out camp. Secondly they were used to alarm the troops of Israel before war, Thirdly they were a call to bring God’s children into remembrance before God in their Feasts annually. Therefore trumpets in Revelation tell us that we are never forgotten before God as they go though the pain of martyrdom and suffering in the crossfire of war, we must stick together and use real fellowship to grow and fight with the spiritual sword, the Bible. 1st Cor. 1:9, Gal. 2:9, Php. 2:1-3, 1st Jn. 1:7. We should never tolerate fellowship with the enemy, Rev. 18:4.
1st Trumpet, God’s war upon the Roman Empire’s agriculture/economy, v7
2nd Trumpet, God’s war on the Empire’s commerce, allies/trade with provinces, v8-9
3rd Trumpet, God’s war on the Empire’s religion, v10-11
4th Trumpet, God’s war on the Empire’s political leaders, v12
5th Trumpet, God’s war on the Empire’s cultural values\ethics, 9:1-12
6th Trumpet, God’s war on the Empire’s military, 9:13-21
7th Trumpet, God’s war resulting in victory, 11:15
When God shows the water is polluted in v11, it’s a sign that sin is mingled in what should help provide life, meaning that what appears to be healthy (religion) is actually deadly. Jeremiah 23:14-15 gives a good use of “wormwood”, and Amos 5:7-8 is wormwood’s description of God controlling the enemies own demise with whatever the enemy thinks/believes is good. Remember Exodus 15:22-25 shows that only God can sweeten polluted waters, making false religion change/repent!
The Three Woes, v13, the symbol of Rome’s Imperial rule itself, the eagle, speaks of it’s own shame in judgment upon itself. This emphasizes how deep the destruction of Rome is from God, as it’s own citizens are fully aware of how hypocritical, beastly and frightfully condemned they all are. This makes the church look like a very good place to be, even during a painful time of it’s history. The idea of each Trumpet only harming a third of whatever it warred against, is a reminder that this will be a long & painful war the church will experience, and just as in the days of Moses & Pharaoh, the Egyptians were destroyed and God’s children were proven powerful, but the enemy did not recognize real repentance, evil will linger even in the face of God’s judgment & destruction until the ultimate end and the glory of victory is delivered