There was a period of silence in heaven (verse 1). That silence ended with the sound of a trumpet. Trumpets were the loudest musical instruments. Then, an awful storm began on the earth. The description of the storm seems worse that any storm that has ever happened in the past.
We may ask when these events will happen. John describes three series of judgements that must happen in the period before Christ’s return to rule the earth. Bible teachers have given a name to each series, by reference to the events in heaven at the same time. The first series is called the ‘7 seals’, and begins in Revelation 6:1. The second series is the ‘7 trumpets’. The third and last series, the ‘7 bowls’, begins in Revelation 16:1. Then Christ returns.
In these passages, there are several references to a period of three and a half years. It seems likely that there are two such periods. That makes a total of 7 years. So, these judgements seem to be during the 7 years immediately before Christ’s return. The number 7 has a special meaning in the Book of Revelation; it shows that something is complete or perfect. So, when God’s judgement against the evil systems, forces and rulers of this world is complete, Christ will return.
God said that the earth would suffer because of people’s evil deeds. In this judgement, we start to see how much the ground must suffer. A truly awful storm rains down upon it. There is ice, and fire, and even blood in the storm. It may remind us of the plague (terrible event) of blood in Exodus 7:14-24. Or perhaps it reminds us of the plague of hail (ice that falls like rain) in Exodus 9:13-35. Those plagues only affected one country; this event destroys much of the world. However, the result is the same: people refuse to turn to God (Revelation 9:20-21; Exodus 9:34-35). Instead, they become even more bitter, angry and evil.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.