The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE SEVENTH TRUMPET
- In the book of
Revelation there are seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven
vials. The seventh seal contains the seven
trumpets, and the seventh trumpet contains the seven vials.
- That is the basic outline for Revelation 6--19, with a
few parenthetical sections added in.
- We have noticed that in chapter 9, after the sixth angel
sounded the sixth trumpet the narrative does not advance. Chapter 10 and most of chapter 11
are parenthetical, a brief interval between the judgments of the sixth and
- During this interval we saw different prophecies, most
notably the two witnesses who will prophesy during the latter part of the
tribulation period (11:3-12).
- As an aftermath
to the resurrection of the two witnesses, Revelation 11:13 tells us that a great
earthquake will occur in which a tenth part of the city of Jerusalem will fall
and seven thousand men will be killed.
- This will bring
great fear to "the remnant" (those who remain, who haven't yet been killed by
the various seal and trumpet judgments), and it is recorded that they will give
glory "to the God of heaven" (11:13b),
- After the two
witnesses ascend into heaven, and the great earthquake in Jerusalem, the second
woe is brought to its completion (11:14).
- Apparently this
is the final phase of the sixth trumpet. The third woe contained in the seventh
trumpet is announced as coming quickly.
AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
- When the
seventh trumpet is sounded, John hears "great voices in heaven" announcing that
the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall
reign forever and ever" (11:15).
- Previously a
single voice (cf. 11:12; 10:8) would make an announcement, but here there is
this great symphony of voices chanting the triumph of
- This will be
more glorious and more wonderful and more majestic than the grandest choir
singing Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus."
- The Bible
teaches that all earthly rule will soon pass into the hands of God.
Daniel 2:44 says "the God of heaven
shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed...and it shall stand for
- Daniel 4:3
says, "His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from
generation to generation."
- Daniel 6:26 and
7:14 and 7:27 say the same thing.
- Zechariah 14:9
says, "And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be
one LORD, and his name one."
- If we think of
the seven vials (which are poured out in chapter 16) as following the seventh
trumpet, this announcement seems premature. However, they do not follow the seventh trumpet; rather
they are the seventh trumpet.
- John Walvoord says, "Chronologically
the trumpets involved closely succeed one another and their judgments seem to
fall like trip-hammer blows as the great tribulation comes to its close" (The
Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- Therefore, the question of how the kingdoms of this
world can become the kingdoms of Christ when the seven vials are yet to be
poured out is resolved by understanding that the seven vials are comprehended in
the seventh trumpet.
- The Lord's process of destroying the kingdoms of this
world is under way. The kings
of this earth will gather on the Plain of Megiddo where they will be defeated at
the second coming of Christ (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21).
- Revelation 11:15 says Christ "shall reign for ever and
ever.” His reign will extend beyond the millennial kingdom, when He will reign
over the earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem.
- The millennial reign, which will last for one thousand
years will be succeeded by the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21, 22).
"And he shall reign for ever and ever" (11:15).
- Never again will the earth be under the control of man.
There will be a brief Satanic rebellion recorded in Revelation 20 at the end of
the millennium, but it will be unsuccessful and quickly put down.
God will send fire down from heaven and
devour all the rebels (Rev. 20:7-10).
- After the glorious announcement in Revelation 11:15, the
four and twenty elders "fell upon their faces, and worshipped God"
- We were first introduced to the four and twenty elders
back in Revelation chapter 4, where they were pictured sitting around the throne
of God in heaven.
- Here in chapter 11 they are seen giving thanks to God as
the eternal One “which art, and wast, and art to come,” because He has
manifested His power and assumed authority over the earth
THE NATIONS ARE ANGRY
evening we saw that Babylon is referred to in Jeremiah 1:13 as a "seething pot,"
boiling with anger and ready to spill out over
- Babylon (Iraq)
is still a seething pot, and so is Iran, and Afghanistan, and Syria, and Egypt
and the entire Middle East.
- In fact,
according to Scripture, all the nations are seething with devilish anger. Isaiah
57:20 and 21 says, "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot
rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
- Verse 18 is
considered a condensed review or a summary of the tribulation and the whole
millennial period. Notice it begins with, "And the nations were angry..."
- All throughout
Scripture we see references to the angry nations, furious at God, and refusing
to submit to His authority.
- Their refusal
to accept the Lordship of Christ is summed up in Luke 19:14: "We will not have
this man to reign over us."
- Psalm 2:1 says,
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his
anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their
cords from us."
- They are
rebelling against God, "and against his anointed." Acts 4:25 says Psalm 2 was
partially fulfilled at the cross. But it will find its complete fulfillment at the Battle of Armageddon.
11:18 describes the furor and anger of the Gentile nations at the end of the
tribulation when the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our
Lord, and of His Christ.
- The nations will be angry when the wrath of God comes
down on this wicked, sin-loving, Christ-rejecting world.
- There is a notable contrast here: the anger of the
nations, and the wrath of God (11:18). The wrath of men is wicked, but the wrath
of God is holy.
- Other important events related to the judgment of God
are mentioned -- the dead will be judged at this time. There are many references to
judgment in Scripture and we need to be careful to distinguish
- For example, the judgment seat of Christ is for
believers only. But the great white
throne judgment, described in Revelation 20 will be for the unsaved
- The judgment seat of Christ will take place after the
rapture, and the great white throne judgment will take place after the
- The context here in Revelation 11:18 seems to indicate
that John is referring to the resurrection of the righteous dead, and not the
wicked dead, who will not be raised until after the
- Verse 18 says, "And that thou shouldest give
reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear
thy name, small and great" (cf. 22:12).
- Also, the time will come when God will destroy those
which destroy the earth, referring to those wicked unbelievers still alive at
the end of the tribulation. Many of
these devil-worshipping rebels will have been killed already in the seal and
trumpet judgments, but some will still be alive and will face the righteous
judgment of God.
- The opening of the temple of God in heaven is related to
sounding of the seventh trumpet (11:19). There are several references in the book of Revelation to the temple of
God in heaven. According to Hebrews
8:5 and 9:23, the tabernacle in the wilderness was patterned after
- Though the earthly temple will be defiled and desecrated
by the antichrist, its counterpart in heaven shall never be
- With the opening of the temple in heaven, there are
accompanying lightnings, voices, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail, all
signifying the judgment of God (11:19).
THE SEVEN VIALS (16:1)
- As I said
earlier, the seventh trumpet
contains the seven vials.
- Before the
seven vials are poured out in chapter 16, there is another parenthetical
section, other important events during the tribulation period which
chronologically precede the second coming of Christ.
- John Walvoord
says, "Apart from the outpourings of the vials, which occur in rapid succession,
there is little chronological movement from this point until chapter 19 and the
second coming of Christ. Events and situations are now introduced which are
concurrent with the seals and the trumpets. These serve to emphasize the
dramatic climax of this period in the second coming of our Lord and Saviour,
Jesus Christ" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- There is much
curiosity over where the world is headed, and how it is all going to
there are kooks like Harold Camping who confuse people with their false
teachings and predictions.
- By the way, Mr.
Camping has apologized for his date-setting but as far as I know he has not
apologized for his other false teachings, such as his assertion that the church
age is over.
- Let me conclude
with a quote from Ray C. Stedman: "What a privilege God has given us to be able
to read the last chapters of the history of the earth! You can read ahead and
see where it is all going to end. The time is coming, this book teaches us, when
Jesus shall reign over all the earth. Righteousness shall be the characteristic
of the times, not unrighteousness as now. In that day: All drug traffic will
cease, all abortion mills will be closed, divorce will be unheard of, families
will live together in beauty, peace and harmony, wars will cease throughout the
earth, crime statistics will drop to zero, sex scandals will never be known,
truth shall be taught again in the schools, and many politicians and lawyers
will have to find honest work! In the beautiful words of Scripture:
'Righteousness will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea!' (Isaiah 11:9,
Habakkuk 2:14). Let us not lose hope, but encourage one another with the
certainty of the glory to come."