Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Seven Trumpets in Context

The book of Revelation unfolds the story of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Significant confrontational episodes of that drama are told in the two segments of Revelation that flank the central chapter. These two corresponding sections outline God's initiatives in His war against error. The seven trumpets in Chapters 8-11 form one of those sections. Chapters 13-16 provide the sequel. Let me offer a suggested approach to understanding these passages.

The War Against Error:

Revelation 8 - When 4th-century Christianity is corrupted by imperial patronage and pagan influences, God sends Arian barbarians swarming into Roman territory, bringing down the western empire and checking the advancement of the state religion.

Revelation 9 - When the eastern emperor overthrows the barbarian hindrance and asserts the supremacy of the Roman bishop, God sends Arabs and Turks to overtake the eastern empire.

Revelation 10, 11, & 13 - When the beast from the sea blasphemes God and makes war with the saints, God's two witnesses prophesy in sackcloth until the beast receives a deadly wound and a remnant is raised up to exalt the truths of God's word.

Revelation 13-16 - When the beast from the earth makes an image of the first beast and enforces the mark of the beast, God's three angel's messages are proclaimed with power throughout the world until probation closes and the seven last plagues fall on all who have spurned God's merciful appeals.

The Outcome:

"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." Revelation 11:15

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