Our revelator, John, stands on the cusp of eternity, entrusted with scrolls and forebodings of great import. Seven trumpets herald forth, each unleashing a cascade of heavenly pronouncements and earthly upheavals. Meanwhile, two witnesses stand as divine sentinels, testifying amidst chaos and tribulation, their voices heard throughout the ages. Gather your courage and steel your resolve, for within these chapters we see the celestial meet the terrestrial.

References to Bible Verses:

Revelation 8:7-13; Isaiah 2:13; Isaiah 40:6-7; Exodus 7:14-22; Exodus 9:18-26; Jeremiah 51:25; Jeremiah 51:27; Jeremiah 51:30; Revelation 13:11-18; Exodus 15:23; Luke 21:25-26; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15–16; Revelation 13:1–15; Matthew 24:8; Revelation 9:1-21; Exodus 10:4-14; Deuteronomy 28:38; 1 Kings 8:37; 2 Chronicles 7:13; Joel 1:4; Amos 4:9; Proverbs 30:27; Exodus 27:2; Genesis 15:17-21; Genesis 2:10-14; Genesis 4:16; Genesis 11:1-9; Genesis 14:1; Genesis 10:8-10; Revelation 10:1-11; Revelation 1:15-16; Revelation 4:2; 1 Peter 5:8; Ezekiel 3:1-3; Revelation 11:1-19; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Zechariah 4:1-3; Genesis 2:23-24; 2 Kings 2:11; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 13:1-10; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16; Hebrews 9:4; Hebrews 13:5

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Jason: Welcome to the My Minister Mission Podcast. We are your host, Jason.

Laura: And Laura,

Jason: Our revelator, John, stands on the cusp of eternity, entrusted with scrolls and forebodings of great import. Seven trumpets held forth, each unleashing a cascade of heavenly pronouncements and earthly upheavals. Meanwhile, two witnesses stand as divine sentinels, testifying amidst chaos and tribulation.

Their voices heard throughout the ages. Gather your courage and still your resolve, for within these chapters we see the celestial meet the terrestrial. With humility and reverence, we open our hearts and our minds as we seek to grasp these profound truths and spiritual illuminations within these pages of God's Word.

If you thought the seven seals were intense, You're in for a very special episode.

Laura: So we previously described the seven seals, which are the first seen in heaven of the coming judgment of God. And just to summarize, the first seal brought the white horse and the first rider, which was conquest. The second seal summoned the red horse and second rider, which was war. The third seal sent the black horse and third rider, which is famine, and the fourth seal called upon the pale horse and the fourth rider named death, or pestilence, with Hades following.

The fifth seal showed us the martyred souls, and the sixth seal brought about earthquakes, black sun, blood moon, and fallen stars. And after the sixth seal, we moved into the 144,000, and then the tribulation martyrs, and the great multitude. And then we circled back to the seventh seal, which silenced heaven.

Now, these first four trumpets describe judgments that fall upon the earth, which impact natural objects like the earth, trees, grass, seas, rivers, and so on. And these first four trumpets outline the severity of God's judgment as he starts to attack his very creations on earth. They also reveal the mercy of God's judgment in the sense that he doesn't destroy everything.

Jason: Starting with the first trumpet in Revelation 8:7, "The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came a hail and fire mixed with blood. And it was hurled down on earth. A third of the earth was burned up. A third of the trees were burned up. And all the green grass was burned up." Wow, this can't be good.

So there's a lot of possible symbolism here. Figuratively, the references to earth could mean the land of Israel. The trees could represent the apostate leaders, such as Isaiah 2:13, and the grass could represent Israel as a spiritually weak nation, if you look at Isaiah 40:6-7 for that. Blood may be a result of the phenomenon described in this verse, and it's unclear if the hail and fire was red or if it was brought forth red blood, regardless, it seems to be describing some kind of storm, but the storm could be figurative as in a storm of heresies or a literal storm.

Now, this first trumpet seems to remind us of the 7th plague in Egypt, the turning of water into blood Exodus 7:14-22 and sending thunder and hail, which is in Exodus 9:18-26. Now, some believe that the description of a third of the earth being burned up could be a vision of nuclear war, but regardless of how we view this, the first trumpet results in the eradication of one third of all the trees and all the grasses on earth.

Now, whether that's figuratively apostate leaders and Israel's spirituality, or literally a destruction of the majority of the Earth's resources, or maybe a combination of the two. Now, there's more reason to believe that these events are to be interpreted literally, though.

Laura: And the fact that this trumpet affects one third of the earth lends credence to the effects of the trumpet judgments being more intense than the effects of the seals being broken. One of my commentaries pointed out that the one third measurement may not be meant in a literal sense, but more along the lines of God's judgment being in its beginning stages.

Regardless of that though, I kind of have to wonder, are these judgments what was written on the scroll that only Jesus was deemed worthy to open, or did the scroll contain something else entirely?

Jason: I don't know, but this level of destruction would not only cripple the world's food supply, but it would disrupt economic stability, destabilize society. I mean, losing a substantial portion of the grasses is also likely to restrict food available for livestock, further straining the ability of the earth to feed hungry people.

I mean, this is bad.

Laura: Yeah. And if that's not ominous enough, and of course it certainly doesn't help the food supply associated with the third seal, but let's move on to the trumpet outlined in Revelation 8:8-9, "The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died. And a third of the ships were destroyed." Now John was very careful with his words here. He may not be describing an actual mountain, but rather something like a mountain. I mean, in other words, this blazing mass could be something as big as a mountain.

And it is possible that John is describing a meteor that crashes into the sea, resulting in a cataclysmic ecological disaster that killed a third of the sea creatures and destroyed a third of the boats. And of course turned the water into blood or at least blood like. Now when you combine that with the hail and fire from the first trumpet, it's possible these are related where a meteor shower precedes a large meteor crashing into the sea.

Now, this is more bad news for the food supply, and with the boats being destroyed, really bad for the supply chain. One of my commentaries stated that this mountain could also be a volcano. I mean, I've seen documentaries and such on the super volcano in Yellowstone, but anyway, either of those are possible, though.

We could also look at this great mountain as a symbol for a nation that will be judged. Because we've seen mountains used as symbols of governments or nations, such as in Jeremiah 51:25, 51:27, and 51:30. However, using that in this context doesn't make much sense, because it doesn't really fit with the burning fire and being thrown into the sea, so this seems to be more likely to be interpreted literally.

And of course, there are theories that suggest that this is specifically the Mediterranean Sea. Because it ends up under the control of the beast in Revelation 13:11-18. But the results of the second trumpet would mean great financial losses to the beast. But, with these judgments being from God, would he really care if the beast suffered financial loss?

Jason: Naw

Laura: I don't think so. I don't think so. And of course, this does echo the first plague that God sent to Egypt.

Jason: Yeah. So what's the one thing you don't want to ask when you're in the middle of the tribulation? What could go wrong or what else could happen, right?

Laura: Yes.

Jason: Because if you're keeping track, the earth has lost a third of the trees, all of its grass, a third of the sea life, a third of the boats, and now the third trumpet sounds in Revelation 8:10-11, "The third angel sounded his trumpet and a great star blazing like a torch fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star was Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter and many people died from the waters that had become bitter."

Well, this is certainly interesting. Now, this could represent an actual object, again, like a meteor that burnt up in the atmosphere and polluted the freshwater supply. Going back to the first trumpet and the possibility of nuclear fallout, it could also explain widespread freshwater pollution as well. Commentary suggests that this star could also represent the fall of some political figure or governor. Or an ecclesiastical figure in the church causing corruption. Or a combination of all of that!

The name of the star is interesting, though. Wormwood is an herb that is very bitter, and the bitterness can symbolize sadness. Now, this results in yet another ecological disaster, with a third of the fresh waters turning bitter, like wormwood, and killing many. Now, in small doses, wormwood is actually a therapeutic herb. But in larger doses, it becomes toxic to humans. Also interesting to note that wormwood is related to the plant that absinthe is made from. Some fun facts from me there. Now, more likely that these events are literal rather than figurative.

But this bitterness is also symbolic of the bitter consequences of sin. Now, we see something similar in the Old Testament, when the Hebrews journeyed through the Negev, they came upon bitter waters at Marah. That's in Exodus 15:23. Now, in Exodus, though, When the people complained to Moses, he called upon the Lord, and the Lord showed Moses a log that he threw into the water, and it became sweet.

Now, Jesus was crucified on a wood cross, and that shows us God removed the bitterness of our sin through Christ's sacrifice. As for the tribulation, I doubt the people left on earth will be quite so lucky, with their fresh waters.

Laura: And it also shows that when Jesus is removed from our lives, from our situation, all we're left with is bitterness.

Jason: Absolutely.

Then the fourth angel sounds the fourth trumpet in Revelation 8:12, "The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light. And also a third of the night." So with the fourth trumpet comes a third of the naturally occurring light being plunged into darkness, sun, moon, and stars all diminished by a third. And Jesus warns of this in Luke 21:25-26, "There will be a sign in the sun, moon, and stars on the earth nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea, people will faint from terror. Apprehensive of what is coming to the, on the world for the heavenly bodies will be shaken."

Laura: So not only are we losing light for one third of both the day and night, but we're also losing one third of the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars when they are visible. This definitely is going to cause a problem with agriculture and crop growth, and if you look at modern times, it will also impact solar power, global climate, and energy use.

Now, some believe that this darkness will allow the righteous Jews to escape to the mountains when the false prophet sets up an image in the holy place, which is described in other prophetic passages. Daniel 11:31, 12:11, Matthew 24:15-16, and Revelation 13:1-15. And this trumpet, again, echoes the 9th plague of Egypt when darkness covered the land.

Jason: Yeah. Now I want to circle back to something we mentioned in the introduction episode of this series. Now, if you recall, when it comes to the apocalyptic genre, it doesn't really follow a linear timeline. I believe I refer to it as a mosaic at times. Well, we just went through seven seals and have now touched on the first four trumpets. Now these events. They don't necessarily have to be linear, meaning it's quite possible that some of these events, or many of them, are happening in tandem between the seals and the trumpets and even the bowls when we get there.

So what does this mean? Well, if you recall in our last episode, we covered the first four seals as the four horsemen, and they were all related to each other before moving on to the seal five and six. The same pattern kind of emerges here with the first four trumpets. And there's likely a correlation between the seals, trumpets, and eventually bowls. And it could be that the events of the first four seals and trumpets are each describing the same events in different ways, or it could be that they are describing different events that are happening at the same time or not at all.

Laura: And just to play devil's advocate here but there is also a strong possibility that these events actually are linear. I mean, that's not to say that the seals, trumpets, and bowls are one time instantaneous events. But they could be that as well. I mean, the scroll couldn't be fully opened unless all the seals were broken in sequence, right? And all of the angels aren't going to blow their trumpets all at once. So I can imagine that these judgments are both immediate and ongoing, that is, the effects continue even after the initial seal opening, trumpet blast, or bowl pouring.

And I did some math, because of course I did, toilet paper math and all, and if these judgments are unleashed sequentially, and if the seals and trumpets are prior to the midpoint of the tribulation, With the bulls being after that, then there will be a seal broken or a trumpet sounded every 45 days, give or take, with the bulls being poured out every 90 days or so,

Jason: It's interesting. Now these first four seals, trumpets, and bowls,

Laura: or simply just the seals,

Jason: true these could be what Jesus described in Matthew 24:8 as the "beginning of the birth pains" or the "beginning of sorrows." That being said, as we finished Revelation chapter 8, we receive a somber warning in 8:13, "As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels."

Laura: and I'm kind of getting some Lord of the Rings vibes here. Sorry for the interruption

Jason: yeah, no, that's definitely Lord of the Rings vibes. And you know, Tolkien was a Christian, so maybe Lord of the Rings has some Revelation vibes. Just saying.

Laura: Could be.

Jason: Now, going back to the subject, the ancient Greek word for eagle and angel are actually very close in spelling. So some versions of this is an angel flying rather than an eagle. But that being said. These woes are well founded because terrible things are about to happen with the next three trumpet blasts.

Laura: Now, looking at verse 13, the Greek word for inhabitants here is katoikeo, which means to live or dwell. And while this does refer to living in a city or a region, it also has connotations of unclean spirits living in people, God dwelling in his sanctuary, Christ living in the hearts of believers. But in Revelation, however, this word is almost always used in the negative sense. That is unbelievers who live or dwell here on earth. Chapter 2, verse 13 is the only exception to that. Now, these people, these inhabitants of the earth, are enemies of God and have aligned themselves with the beast.

Jason: Yikes. So the last three trumpets aren't dealing with natural objects like the first four. Instead, they are focused on pain, death, and hell. Now, as I mentioned earlier, the order of these events between the seals and trumpets, they may be more thematic than chronological, they may not. The first four seals and the first four trumpets represent judgments directed against the earth. The last three seals focus on heaven with the martyrs, cosmic disturbances, and the heavenly prelude. And then these last three trumpets will speak of hell and demonic activities.

Laura: That doesn't sound fun at all. But anyway, moving into Revelation chapter 9, we go to verse 1, and that's that reads, "And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth. And he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit." This is a very interesting verse. The star here is referred to as a "he", so it's a person and not a thing. And the star was fallen, not falling, which suggests past tense, like a fallen angel. Now this could be Nero. It could be an actual fallen angel, could be an evil spirit, or it could be Satan himself, which would make sense since he was cast out of heaven. And we'll talk about Satan being cast down in Revelation 12:9 in a later episode.

Now, some have actually suggested this could be a good angel or even Jesus himself, possibly because in Revelation 1:18, it is Christ who has the keys of Hades and death. I'm inclined to believe it is an angel, but whether he's good or bad is a matter of context. It could be the angel who rules over the abyss described later in this chapter, or it could be Satan himself, or it could be one of God's angels who is opening the abyss for the purpose of judgment.

It's not really clear. What is clear, though, is that the key is given by God for his purpose. Then we look at the bottomless pit, and that remains a bit of a mystery as well. Some versions of the Bible suggest it's the abyss. And I suppose it could be the center of the earth. I mean, being at the center would have no bottom because it Is the bottom.

That's a bit of a mind bender to wrap your head around. But anyway, of course the bottomless nature of the pit could be purely symbolic. The word used here is "abyssos", and it's certainly considered a prison for some demons. And that word is the same word used in Luke 8:31, where the demons beg Jesus not to cast them into the abyss.

Jason: So once this pit is opened, bad things happen. Revelation 9:2-6 reads, "When he opened the abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the abyss. And out of the smoke, locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass or the earth or any plant or tree. But only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days, people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will elude them."

Yikes. So these locusts are obviously not natural, and they're able to sting humans like a scorpion, but they aren't allowed to touch any of the plants. Just FYI, I, Jason, have been stung by a scorpion before, and it's not pleasant. Not at all.

Walvrood, a Christian theologian and pastor of the 20th century, describes these locusts as "a visual representation of the hordes of demons loosed upon the earth." So basically, God is opening the prison cell and letting hordes of demons descend on the earth like a swarm of locusts to torment those being judged. I think the most disturbing part of this is that the tormented ones will seek to die, but will be denied any release from the consequences of their judgment. I mean, this is bad. Interesting to note, the locusts were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, any plant or tree and those people who did have the seal.

Laura: Now, these people who are sealed do seem to be the 144,000 from Chapter 7. Now, it does make me wonder if this number is literal or figurative, as some commentaries suggest. I mean, think about it, if only 144,000 people are counted in this sealing, And what about the ones who become believers later on? I mean, I would hope they'd be afforded the same protection as the first 144,000.

Jason: Right? So basically the scorpion demon things were commanded not to harm anything growing spiritually. So those who were still on earth, but were truly seeking the truth and the will of God did not have to fear these demons. Now, I don't know about you, but I, if I'm surrounded by a horde of demons stinging me like a scorpion, I'm gonna turn to God real quick. I don't know about you, Laura.

Laura: I probably would as well, but then again, we do have common sense.

Jason: Fair. So I was curious about the number five, what that meant in reference to the five months of suffering. And of course, I did some research. Now the number five appears several times in the Bible, but as far as I could find, there's no specific symbolism associated with the number like seven and three and whatnot.

However, I did find that the number five is associated with the fifth Hebrew letter, which is "Hei", which by itself means "to look" or "to behold." Now, this letter is often used as an abbreviation for "hashem," which translates into roughly into "the name." And it was how Hebrew people would refer to God without saying the Hebrew name as a sign of respect.

Now, this is just my personal interpretation, so take it with a grain of salt, but perhaps this combination of meanings could represent "behold God" or "watch God" or maybe even "seek God." I mean, I could be completely off in the field of that, but some biblical scholars consider the number five to represent God's grace, mercy, and favor. Because there are several instances of the number five in the shape and size of the altar for offerings to the Lord from the tabernacle, which represents grace and mercy, though, in this context, it may seem like there's less than ample grace and mercy, but consider all of those who seek God are protected from this hoard. So I don't know, maybe.

If that wasn't bad enough, it goes on to describe the appearance of these locusts in Revelation 9:7-10, "The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lion's teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months."

Laura: Okay, those things sound ugly as I'll get out.

Jason: Bad right?

Laura: Anyway, clearly these are not locusts. But it makes me wonder why they're described as such. I mean, It is possible that it was because locusts have been agents of God's judgment pretty consistently in the Old Testament. If you look at Exodus 10:4-14, Deuteronomy 28:38, 1 Kings 8:37, 2 Chronicles 7:13, Joel 1:4, and Amos 4:9.

And then you've got the repetition of the word "like", like crowns, like human faces, like women's hair and so on. So it's less about the description and more about creating an emphasis that these are unholy and unnatural creatures intended for awesome cruelty. And as mentioned before, using the word like may have also been John's way of describing these unnatural creatures with the only words he had.

Jason: And now we come to the Angel of the Abyss that we mentioned earlier in Revelation 9:11. It wraps up this fifth trumpet with, "They had as king over them the Angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek Apollyon (that is destroyer)." Yet another reminder that these are not natural locusts because they don't have kings. I mean, locusts are locusts. The Bible tells us this in Proverbs 30:27, in case you needed extra proof. It reads "locusts have no king yet they advanced together in ranks." Now this angel is referred to as Abaddon or Apollyon. Both of these represent a destroyer or place of destruction. Now my commentaries tell me that this is Likely Satan himself or a high ranking demonic leader.

Laura: But either way, there is a sort of irony in the unrepentant believers being tormented by the very beings they worship. Which is kind of a tie in to the Roman Emperor Domitian, whose patron god Apollo, Apollo, Apollyon, was symbolized by a locust. And I also find it interesting that both the Hebrew and Greek words were used here.

Jason: Yeah, it's kind of weird. But before moving on to the sixth trumpet, a warning is issued. "The first woe is past. The other two woes are yet to come," Revelation 9:12. Oh boy.

The sixth trumpet of sound in revelation nine 13. "The sixth angel sounded his trumpet and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God." In the tabernacle, and the temple of Israel, the golden altar was the altar of incense, which represented the prayers of God's people. Now, these horns that are described in Exodus 27:2, they stood at each corner of the altar and atoning blood was applied to the horns. It was from these horns that John heard this voice, so it's kind of clear that the prayers of God's people play a big role in the end times. Now, perhaps the sixth trumpet occurs in answer to this prayer.

But Revelation 9:14-15 goes on to describe what this means, "It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, release the four angels who are bound at the river Euphrates. And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind." So my first thought here is that these four angels might be the same angels represented in Revelation 7:1, but there's no clear connection between them. It's also not clear if these angels are God's angels or fallen angels in service to Satan. But whoever these four angels are, they have been preparing for this moment of judgment.

Laura: Jason, take another look at the verse. I mean, it says, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." I mean, if the angels are bound or tied up, that would lead me to believe that these are evil fallen angels being released to exact God's judgment. But on the flip side of that, it's hard to fathom fallen angels doing God's bidding. But with their evil nature, killing a third of mankind is kind of in their wheelhouse, no matter who gave the order.

Jason: Yeah, it's kind of like God's just like, go play for a while. So that's what's going

Laura: I don't necessarily like the sound of that, but

Jason: No the demonic locusts that were released with the previous trumpet were restricted to tormenting mankind, but God's upping the ante here because these four angels have been given the authority to kill on a massive scale, whether good or bad angels, they have a specific objective and limit. They are to kill one third of mankind, on the authority of God and within God's timing.

Now this reference to the Euphrates, it is interesting because it was a landmark of ancient Babylon and the frontier of Israel's land as fully promised by God in Genesis 15:17-21. It's associated with the first sin, Genesis 2:10-14, it's associated with the first murder, Genesis 4:16, the first organized revolt against God, Genesis 11:1-9, the first war confederation, Genesis 14:1, and the first dictatorship, Genesis 10:8-10. That's a lot to take in. The first trumpet also takes us back to win the Chaldeans, crossed the Euphrates and defeated the house of Judah in 2 Chronicles 36:15-20.

Laura: So, how do these four angels go about exacting their death toll? Revelation 9:16-19 provides a grim description of what's to come. "The number of the mounted troops was twice 10,000 times 10,000. I heard their number. The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this. Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury."

Jason: Okay, so you'll like this if you do the math twice 10,000 times 10,000 is 200 million troops. Yikes. Now, is that number symbolic or literal? It might simply be hyperbolic and just a way to represent a number that is impossible to count. Greater than anything mankind has ever seen before. But if that's not scary enough, let's go through this grotesque description of these horsemen.

There's a couple of ways to view this description. If this is a natural army as a not demonic or supernatural, then the way these horsemen are described could be the way John described, maybe modern warfare machines. So the result is this weird description in the only words he knew.

Laura: Now, as a teacher, the colors stuck out to me. Red, blue, and yellow. And my first thought was primary colors that can be mixed to form purple, green, and orange. Okay, so that's not exactly important here, but anyway. But the writers are wearing colors that match the plagues that come from their horses. So the riders wearing red have horses that spew fire. Those wearing blue have horses that spew smoke. And those wearing yellow have horses that spew sulfur.

Jason: Interesting observation. Now, we've never actually seen a human army this size. In 1965, China claimed to have a a militia of 200 million, but that claim was heavily doubted. At the peak of World War ii, the count was 70 million. That being said, an army of 200 million would have a hard time killing one third of the world's population. We currently have 8.1 billion people worldwide, so today each soldier in this massive army would have to kill 13 to 14 people worldwide. I mean, it's possible, but to do that kind of devastation globally will be quite a feat of any natural army.

So based on that, and the grim description of these horsemen, it's probably more likely that this is a massive army of demons invading the earth, which continues this demonic theme described as locusts were unleashed.

Laura: One of my commentaries suggested that this army may not be an either or situation, but quite possibly a both and. This army of 200 million is both natural and demonic. Perhaps the riders are human and the horses are demonic. I mean, that would certainly make the army dualistic in nature.

Jason: That's scary. So what does mankind do? Revelation 9:20-21, "The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands. They did not stop worshipping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood. Idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor do they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality, or their thefts." So mankind doesn't repent, despite the presence of some pretty obvious signs of supernatural evil and God's existence. It's truly amazing how quickly humans forget God's lessons, even those lessons that come directly from his judgment. Now, this list of sins is certainly reminiscent of our modern world.

Laura: And this does seem to indicate that the seal of God that was applied to the 144,000 in Revelation 7 Continues to afford the people of God protection from the outpourings of his wrath. And in my opinion, not just those original 144,000, but every believer thereafter. Because why would God protect some of his people, but not all of them?

Jason: Yeah, I think this is more of a great multitude myself.

Laura: Yeah, the more I read, the more I lean towards maybe the 144,000 was where it started. And then as it continued, the seal of God continued to be applied to the new believers. Anyway, so what is the purpose of these judgments? Are they designed to bring about redemption and repentance, or are they intended to punish and destroy?

I mean, I believe the answer's both. There are some people who will experience these judgments, realize they've been wrong, and turn to Jesus. There are those, however, who, upon seeing these judgments, will harden their hearts as Pharaoh did when God sent the plagues to, well, plague Egypt.

Jason: Then we get to Revelation chapter 10, which is, well, I mean, it's odd. But if you recall between the sixth and seventh seal, there was somewhat of an interlude. And this chapter appears to be following that same pattern with regards to the trumpets. Now, it's possible that these interludes are an offer of mercy, giving more time and opportunity for repentance.

But chapter 10, verse 1 starts out, "Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head. His face was like the sun, his legs were like fiery pillars." Now, that's quite a picture. Like many of these other passages, there are people who identify this mighty angel as Jesus, because some of the imagery does apply to him, for example, Revelations 1:15-16 describe Jesus with "his countenance like the sun shining in its strength." Now in the New Testament, angels are not clearly identified with Jesus, but he is associated with The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament. Notice I said THE Angel of the Lord, not an angel of the Lord.

Laura: Yes the imagery here does typically apply to Jesus, but as you just mentioned, Jesus is never called an angel or The Angel anywhere in the New Testament. That terminology was only used for him in his pre incarnate appearances. Now it is possible that this angel is the one who was introduced in Revelation 5:2, the one who asked who was worthy to break the seals. It could be the one mentioned in chapter 18, verse 1, or it could be another angel altogether.

Jason: Yeah, I think the majority of theologians see this angel as being Michael, because there are similarities between this mighty angel and Michael in Daniel chapter 12. But again, we don't know for certain, but I think it's clear that this angel has come from the presence of God. Now the rainbow is yet another reminder of God's promise to man, similar to Revelation 4:2. The angel is also robed in clouds with a face like sun and rainbows are kind of a natural phenomenon when the sun shines through the cloud, so there's that. I mean, I have to admit that when I first read this, I honestly imagined this angel was like 50 feet tall. But anyways.

Laura: Well, my commentaries do state that this angel could be a tie to the Colossus at Rhodes that was toppled by an earthquake in the late 200s BC. And the statue still lay broken when John penned Revelation. The statue was about 100 feet tall and represented the sun god Helios. The angel mentioned in this verse was surrounded by a cloud, indicating that he dwarfed the Rhodes statue, and by implication, all other idols

Jason: So he could have been a giant.

Laura: Could have been a giant.

Jason: So then in Revelation 10:2-3, "He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. And he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke." So this little scroll comes from the Greek word, biblaridion, which actually probably translates more accurately into little book than little scroll. Some believe that this scroll may be the very scroll that nobody but Jesus could open, but John used a different word to describe it back in Revelation 5:1, so it's unlikely, but they could be related. Now maybe this little scroll is just a portion of what's in the main scroll, just a portion of what John was allowed to see and make reference to.

Now the angel's stance, right foot on the sea, left foot on the land, represents his authority over earthly situations. In other words, his power is universal and in command of all things under his feet.

Laura: In 1 Peter 5:8, the devil is said to be "like a roaring lion." And while that's true, this angel is also giving a shout like the roar of a lion. But that's not because he's trying to intimidate us, but because he's speaking on behalf of Jesus, who is the lion of Judah.

Jason: That's so interesting. I love how this kind of goes back and forth, but now these voices of the seven thunders intrigued me. But alas, there isn't much out there that seems to explain them. Now Laura did mention that some believe that there are seven archangels. So one theory I've toyed with is that these are the voices of these archangels.

But if you're wondering what they say. Well, Revelation 10:4 might be a bit of a disappointment to you, "When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. But I heard a voice from heaven say, seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down." So it turns out this message was something special between God and John. And as I understand this is an irritation to many of the commentaries, because why bother mentioning them at all if we're not allowed to know what the message was? It seems that some believe this is a reminder to keep our pride in check and remain humble before God. I mean, I believe this is also a reminder that God has a special message for each of us. But for now, this all remains a mystery.

But the following is revealed to us in Revelation 10:5-7, "Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens. And all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it and the sea and all that is in it and said, there will be no more delay, but in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished just as he announced to his servants, the prophets."

So small tangent here in biblical terms, a mystery isn't something that is unknown. It's something that no one could possibly know unless it was revealed. If you can guess or intuitively figure something out, it's not really considered a mystery. So something can be known, but it's still considered a mystery in the biblical sense. And that's basically what John received. It could be that all this mystery of God refers to how he resolves all things. The finished work of his plan for all the ages in the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Maybe this mystery covers why God allowed Satan and man to rebel and go in their own way. I believe that one day we will know God's mystery here when he is ready to reveal it to us.

Laura: And with the knowledge of what the seven thunder said, John gets further instructions. Revelation 10:8-9 says, "Then the voice from heaven spoke to me again, Go and take the open scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land. So I went to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. Yes, take it and eat it, he said. It will be as sweet as honey in your mouth, but it will turn sour in your stomach. So I took the small scroll from the hand of the angel and I ate it. It was sweet in my mouth, but when I swallowed it, it turned sour in my stomach." Well, this angel certainly knew what was going to happen.

This entire exchange ties back to Ezekiel 3:1-3 where it reads, "The voice said to me, son of man, eat what I am giving to you. Eat this scroll, then go give its message to the people of Israel. So I opened my mouth and he fed me the scroll. Fill your stomach with this, he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth." Several commentaries I consulted indicate that this eating is more symbolic than literal. In order to preach God's word, John must first internalize it. Receiving and learning about God's Word is a sweet experience for the most part. I imagine there are times when we say, "ouch, but amen." And I did steal that from the pastor of one of my dear friends. And if he's listening, he'll get the reference. Anyway, the part where it turns sour seems to be when John realizes that he's being called upon to pronounce judgment. Judgment we know to be insanely harsh on unbelievers. Unbelievers that we may know and love. Sour indeed, though that doesn't seem like a strong enough word for it.

Jason: It doesn't. But now we can move on to Revelation 10:11, "Then I was told you must prophesy again about many people, nations, languages, and kings." So there's some debate about the word "about" some scholars believe that the word should have been translated to "against" which has a strictly negative connotation. The word about, on the other hand, allows for an interpretation of both promise and judgment in the prophecies. What's interesting to note is that while Ezekiel was commissioned to take the message to the people of Israel alone, John is tasked with taking it to all the people of the world.

Laura: All right, so we are still in the interlude between the second and third woes, or the sixth and seventh trumpets, whichever you prefer. And we're going to shift gears a bit and get into some of what Jason referred to as a mosaic. And while I tend to see the seals, trumpets, and eventually bowls as linear, I do believe that there is some backtracking and such that takes place. Revelation 11 is one of those chapters that I would say has some flashback qualities to it. And verses 1 and 2 of Revelation 11 reads, "Then I was given a measuring stick. And I was told, go and measure the temple of God and the altar and count the number of worshipers. But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months." Sorry, Jason.

Jason: I've made my peace with it.

Laura: Okay, we've got a lot going on here. And in looking through several websites and commentaries, there's no clear agreement on what these two verses are referring to. Literally, John could have been given a command to measure an actual physical temple, and this temple is likely the one in Jerusalem rebuilt after the rapture. And that makes sense, because the outer courtyard will be overrun for 42 months, which is three and a half years, which is 1260 days, half the tribulation, whichever measurement you want to use. And I'm pretty sure that couldn't happen if this was the temple in heaven.

Jason: Now in the commentaries I read, it explains that sometimes in the old Testament, the idea of measuring communicates ownership, protection, and preservation. It shows that God knows every inch and he is in charge, which is one of the glorious themes of Revelation. In fact, later when we get to the seventh trumpet, Revelation 11:17 uses the word "pantokratōr" as "Almighty God", which means "He who holds sway over all things," or "ruler of all," and nine out of the ten times this word is used in the New Testament, it is used in Revelation.

Laura: There does seem to be an agreement, though, that the nations that will trample the city are Gentiles. Since, traditionally, Gentiles aren't allowed in the temple. But I'm honestly not so sure about that. Unless the definitions of Jew and Gentile have been amended. That a Jew isn't just someone physically descended from Israel, but someone who has put their faith in Jesus. And in this case, a Gentile would be defined as one who has not, which could be a plausible theory, especially considering the information on the 144,000 that we uncovered in the last episode.

Jason: So, those of you who like our rabbit trails are going to love this one. I found an interesting reference to this temple. So what if the outer courtyard or the outer court of this rebuilt temple includes the Islamic Dome of the Rock Shrine? Which currently stands on the Temple Mound and is of course, a place of great contention between the Jews and the Muslims. Now, here's where it gets interesting, in 70 AD when the Romans conquered Jerusalem, they destroyed the city so completely that the foundations of the old temple aren't easy to find. It's been a pretty common thought that the Dome of the Rock Shrine stands on the palace of the old temple. However, newer research is starting to provide evidence that the temple may actually have stood to the north of where the Dome of Rock Shrine is today. And if that temple were rebuilt at its original location, the Dome of Rock Shrine would be in its outer court. Now, if this is the case, that might explain why the angel told John, "But do not measure the outer courtyard for it has been turned over to the nations," or rather the Gentiles.

Laura: Okay, speaking of rabbit trails, I'm going to head down one of my own making. So take what I'm going to say here with a grain of salt. So the Dome of the Rock is a Muslim shrine. And Muslims are descended from Abraham's oldest son, Ishmael, whereas the Jews are descended from Isaac, the son of promise. And this whole thing could very well tie back to the sibling rivalry where Ishmael and his mother were sent away because he was picking on his little brother. And I did have a thought. What if the Antichrist is descended from Ishmael?

Jason: Ooh that's interesting.

Laura: That would explain why he'd be so bent on the destruction of Jerusalem and persecuting the seed of Abraham, which is the followers of Christ, physically descended from Abraham or not. So it is possible that the Antichrist is seeking revenge on both the physical and spiritual descendants of his father Abraham's favorite son.

Jason: This is why I enjoy this series, this book of the Bible so much. There's so many ways to view, contemplate, and consider, but we won't actually have any concrete answers until we stand before the throne ourselves. But it is super fun to think about.

Laura: Oh, absolutely. Now, on the flip side of this literal measurement, we could look at it figuratively with the believers being considered the temple of God. Because in 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul writes, "Don't you know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you?" Now, I'm not entirely sure how the altar fits in here then, but with this theory, the measurement was portrayed as believers being measured against God's standard to see how they rated protection. But, I'm not so sure I agree with that. I mean, first, to hold a human being against God's standard would leave them coming up woefully short. And no short jokes, Jason. I'm only five foot three.

Jason: I said nothing.

Laura: The caveat to this would be if the measurement was through the blood of Jesus, which gives us Jesus's righteousness and thereby causes us to measure up to God's standards. And if this figurative theory holds true, then the outer courtyard refers to Jerusalem itself being violently persecuted for three and a half years. So, of course, like with everything else we've discussed, the Temple and its measurements could be both literal and figurative. And it's this next section that brings the literal part into play.

Revelation 11:3-5, reads, "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1260 days. These two prophets are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of all the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die." Now, who are these two witnesses and can someone talk to them about the Avengers initiative?

Jason: More of a Justice League guy, but I'm just saying.

Laura: Nope, Avengers all the way. I mean, that is a pretty cool superpower, but before I get too far off on a tangent, let's talk about who these unnamed witnesses may be. And there are two running theories that I've come across, and I'm going to touch on them both, and why they could both be plausible, but Jason has a little rabbit trail that he wants to go off on.

Jason: Yeah, I wonder if these two olive trees are the same as that Zechariah saw in his vision of the olive trees and the lampstands in Zechariah 4:1-3. It reads, "Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakens from sleep. He asked me, What do you see? I answered, I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also, there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the others on the left." So this solid gold lamp stand or golden candlestick and other translations represents the church overall set up to illuminate this dark world with the light of the divine revelation. Now, the lamp stand belongs to God and under the gospels, the seven lamps could represent the seven churches or rather the seven angels, which we talked about back in Revelation 1:20. Now, this lamp stand had a bowl on top of it, which was collecting oil that was constantly dropping into it from the seven secret pipes or passages. Now they diffuse this into the seven lamps. So basically these lamps are self sufficient in this vision.

Now this is significant because one of the more tedious duties of the temple service was constantly having to care for the lamps on the golden lampstand. They had to be refilled with oil, they had to have their soot cleaned out, the wicks had to be maintained, and so on. But here in Zachariah's vision, he's seeing these lamps as being self sufficient, or self fulfilling. And where is the oil coming from? Well, these lamps are filled by olive oil coming directly from these two olive trees.

Now, the context here is that God can easily and often does accomplish his gracious purpose without any help from man, but sometimes he does use us as his instruments, but he doesn't need us. It's quite the opposite. We need God. Now, tying this back to Revelation 11:4, one of my commentaries suggested that he made These two witnesses to be like Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two olive trees in Zechariah's vision. Now that doesn't mean that they are Zerubbabel and Joshua, just made in their likeness of them. So, that's my rabbit trail.

Laura: Which is a theory that I had not heard about the witnesses. I've actually come across two, and before I jump into those, I do want to point out that when we are connected to God, as the lamps are connected to the olive trees, He will sustain us and give us what we need to accomplish His purposes.

And back to the witnesses. Now, the first theory is these two witnesses could be Enoch and Elijah. And the reasoning behind that is that these two men were the only two men to be taken to heaven without experiencing physical death. Enoch in Genesis 2:23-24, and Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11. And scripture also says that it is appointed for man to die once and then be judged, Hebrews 9:27. And in another couple of verses we'll see this happen and sorry for that spoiler.

So the second theory is that these two prophets are Moses and Elijah. Now, I like this theory, too, since it does have a similar tie in with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after Jesus' resurrection. Long story short, these two guys were heading home and they were devastated by the events surrounding Jesus' death and had lost hope because they thought Jesus was going to deliver them from the Romans, but he just got crucified. So on their way home, which was about a seven mile walk, Jesus shows up and starts walking with them, but he keeps his identity concealed.

They explain why they're so upset and Jesus begins telling them things from the law and prophets concerning himself. So, basically, Jesus is walking and telling these two guys how to see him in the Old Testament from the books of the law written by Moses and the books of the prophets represented by Elijah. And oh, to have been there for that Bible study. If I could go back to any Bible moment, that would probably be it. Anyway, these two witnesses prophesy about Jesus in a similar manner to the one Jesus used on the road to Emmaus.

So it could stand to reason that Moses and Elijah are prophesying about Jesus. Showing how he was present all throughout scripture. Another thing that leads credence to this theory is that Moses and Elijah were present with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. But Moses has already died once. And if you go back to Hebrews 9:27, it's appointed for man to die once. So, Again, we may never know who these guys are.

Shoot, even the people who see them prophesying may not know who they are. And I do wonder if their time for prophesying has anything to do with measuring the temple. Maybe they had to stay within a certain physical space in order to not be able to be harmed. I mean, we don't know. But what we do know is that they have some other pretty cool powers.

I mean, Revelation 11:6 says, "They have power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish." And there's another check in the Moses and Elijah column. I mean, Moses was involved with bringing the plagues of judgment to Egypt, water into blood, and all those things. And Elijah did make it stop raining for three and a half years, 1260 days, 42 months, and so on, back in the days of King Ahab. And we know the plagues of Egypt were bad. So I can't imagine how bad it would be to get the same plagues plus more as often as the witnesses desired.

Jason: I do want to note one thing here in the ancient Greek grammar, the use of "these", "they", "them" are all in the masculine gender. So we at least know that these two witnesses are men, but that being said, one of my commentaries suggested that the identity of these two witnesses, well, it's really not significant. Otherwise we would have been told outright who they will be.

But John goes on to say in Revelation 11:7-10, "When they completed their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them, and their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, the city where their lord was crucified. And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them."

Laura: And here's the death I mentioned, but this verse does give me a bit of hope. The two witnesses aren't killed before God's appointed time, before they've completed what God sent them out to do. The same is true of us, even though it may not seem like it at times. And with two near death experiences this year, I know God's protecting me because I've not yet accomplished what he has planned.

Anyway, the two witnesses, who have been preaching for three and a half years, have been killed by the beast from the Bottomless Pit, and most commentaries seem to agree that this beast is the Antichrist mentioned in Revelation 13:1-10. I speculated earlier that this Antichrist begins his rise to power after the Rapture when people are searching for a savior to bring them out of the darkness they've been thrust into. And I still stand by that. Up until now, this Antichrist has had the facade of being, for lack of a better term, a nice guy. People have been swindled into believing he's there to help. And I'd wager that even some Christians had their doubts about who this guy really is. This event, though, seemingly marks the midpoint of the Tribulation, which, excuse my math from earlier, I told you that Bible math is worse than toilet paper math.

Anyway, these witnesses have been prophesying for three and a half years. And now they're dead. The Christians are mourning while the enemies of God are rejoicing. Jerusalem has gone from being the holy city of God to one associated with the debauchery of Sodom and the idolatry of Egypt. Now, these two men are killed in the streets, and they're left there for three and a half days, while the entire world, all peoples, tribes, nations, languages, Watch.

And you can't tell me that this isn't possible. I mean, when Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins wrote the Left Behind series, all the way back in the mid 90s to about 2007, with these events being described in a book published around the year 2000, cell phones and video cameras didn't even become commonplace until 2004 at the earliest. So broadcasting this to the entire world would have had to rely on mainstream media coverage. But with the invention of social media, live streaming, cell phones in the hands of so many people, this event could be broadcast around the globe in very close to real time. And the celebrations would occur on a global scale as well.

I mean, after all, the two men who have brought all these additional plagues and death are now dead themselves. Everything looks even more hopeless than before. But just you wait.

Jason: Revelation 11:11-14 goes on to read, "But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up. Terror struck all who were staring at them. An aloud voice from heaven called to the two prophets, Come up here. And they rose to the heavens in a cloud as their enemies watched. At the same time, there was a terrible earthquake that destroyed a tenth of the city. 7,000 people died in that earthquake, and everyone else was terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second terror is past, but look, the third terror is coming quickly."

So three and a half days dead and God breathes life back into the witnesses. I don't even want to imagine the flies and maggots that probably would have been swarming the stench and all that. Yet even with this, as nasty as it would be, people are still watching, still flocking to see. Then they stand up, just as alive as anyone else standing there. And as the people watch, in both terror and amazement, the two witnesses ascend to heaven, very much like Jesus did.

Now, these two were immortal and invulnerable, but only until they finished their testimony, as Laura already mentioned. Now, for my research, I glean that these witnesses were meant to die to strengthen their testimony, basically sealing their testimony with their blood. I like to think that God decided the earth was not worthy of their testimony, so he called them home, but not before raising them from the dead just to, you know, freak everyone out.

Laura: And I can't help but think of those old Billy Mays Oxiclean commercials. But wait, there's more! And this seems to keep happening. Now we just can't leave it here. Not only were the witnesses murdered, their bodies left in the streets for three and a half days, resurrected and taken to heaven. Oh no, we also have an earthquake that destroys a tenth of the city and kills 7,000 people.

And those people who do survive the earthquake will give glory to God and acknowledge his power and sovereignty over the world. There is some debate as to whether these people will come to a true saving knowledge of Jesus, or if it's simply a foxhole conversion. That is a momentary acknowledgement, but no authentic faith.

And lastly, we come to the seventh trumpet. Revelation 11:15-19 reads, "The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven, The world has now become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. The twenty four elders, sitting on their thrones before God, fell with their faces to the ground and worshipped him. And they said, We give thanks to you, Lord God, the one who is and who always was. For now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people. And all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest, it is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth. Then in heaven, the temple of God was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen inside the temple. Lightning flashed and thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm."

Okay, so I tried to break this section up and take it bit by bit, but it wasn't really cooperating, at least not right away. So verse 15 reads, "Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven, The world has now become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever." And we've talked before of seven representing perfection or completion, and it's no different here. The trumpet judgments are complete, and this trumpet sounds the arrival of the king. The judgments to follow will not be partial judgments, only affecting a portion of the earth. One fourth, one third, one tenth, and so on. No, the judgments that come next will be complete in their destruction. God is firmly in control and he unleashes his full wrath on the world that continually refuses to turn to him. There is no escape.

Jason: I want to point out something really quick. In 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, it reads, "Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

So this trumpet, it may or may not be the same as the seventh trumpet. You see, in this verse, much like 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16, it's likely pointing us towards the rapture. Now, if you are a pre trib rapture believer, then this last trumpet cited in 1 Corinthians 15 is probably a different trumpet from the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11.

But if you believe that Jesus gathers up his people after the wrath of God is poured out on the Jesus rejecting world, then it's arguably that this trumpet is the same trumpet as Revelation 11. That being said, the "last trumpet" is also a reference to a figure of speech that originated with the Roman military, which used three trumpets to direct the military personnel.

The first trumpet was meant to "strike the tents and prepare to leave." The second trumpet was meant to "fall in line" and the third or the last trumpet meant it was time to "march away." So in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, this "last trumpet" could very well relate back to the rapture. As a call to action for Christians to march away with Jesus. So there you go.

Verses 16 through 17 go on to say, "The 24 elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground to worship him. And they said, we give thanks to you, Lord God, the almighty, the one who is and always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign." So here we see these 24 elders again, representing the entirety of God's people or the people of God. They are thanking God for beginning to reign and quite possibly for beginning to avenge the deaths of the martyrs. Something I found intriguing is that it says "the one who is and who always was," but there is no mention of the one who is to come. So my commentary state that this is intentional because Jesus has now come. It's no longer a future event, but It's happening at that very moment.

Laura: And finishing up with verses 18 and 19, "The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants, the prophets, as well as your holy people. And all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth. Then in heaven, the temple of God was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen inside the temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm."

Okay, I can kinda see where the mid trib camp is coming from, especially in light of what you just shared about the Last Trumpet, Jason. According to my commentaries, the world was filled with wrath when they refused to do as God commanded. Now, though, God's wrath has filled the world, and the judgment mentioned here Could be the judgment seat of Christ, which I talked about in the introduction episode. And as a brief recap, that judgment is for believers where they will give an account, not of their sins, but what they've done in service to the Lord and will be given crowns as their reward.

I did mention that it is generally believed that this judgment will take place after the rapture. Whenever that happens to occur, and the following bowl judgments, which we'll get to in another episode, will be the full outpouring of God's wrath on those who martyred his people, which ties back to the fifth seal when the martyrs asked how long it would be until they were avenged.

And the word fear in verse 18, I do believe, would more accurately be translated as honor or respect. So now we're looking at the Temple of God and the Ark of the Covenant. In Old Testament times, the Ark was where the presence of God was. And I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, wait. Back up, I'm not singing Wicked here. But I have heard it said that while the Israelites were in the desert, the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night rested over where the ark was in the tabernacle, indicating that God's presence rested in the ark. It contained the tablets of the law, an urn of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded. See Hebrews 9:4.

And as a side note, these represent man's rebellion against God's law, God's provision, and God's appointed leadership. During the exile, the ark disappeared, but it never lost its significance. The appearance of the ark in heaven indicates that God's presence and protection continue for his people. Wars and earthly calamities cannot destroy the ark's significance. Similarly, no power on earth can rob believers of the presence and protection of their Lord. Hebrews 13:5 holds Jesus's promise, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." And because of his promise, the writer of Hebrews writes in verse 6, "So we can confidently say the Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

And at the end of the Trumpet Judgments, powerful phenomena accompanied what John heard and saw in heaven. Yes, including another earthquake. These same phenomena occurred at the end of the Seal Judgments in Revelation 8:5. And it seems that all nature gave its Amen to what God was doing.

Jason: Amen. Indeed. With the witnesses testimony completed in the seventh trumpet sounded, we come to the conclusion of this episode. So join us in a couple of weeks for our next episode of unveiling revelation as we continue to try to unravel these mysteries by covering the woman, the child, the dragon, the two beasts and the lamb.

So if you're reading ahead, make sure you spend some time in chapters 12, in the book of revelation for next time. If you're enjoying the series, we'd love to hear from you. Visit https://myministrymission.com/contact and send us a message or use the link to find my social media. I encourage you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And I urge you to like, and subscribe this podcast and your favorite app. And if you're so moved, I would love to get a review or a rating from you on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or PodChaser. But until then, remember to read your Bible, be kind to each other until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you.

God bless everyone.

Laura: Bye!