The seventh trumpet ushers in the end of the age, the consummation of the kingdom, and the final judgment – Revelation 11:15-19.
When the seventh seal was opened, a half hour of “silence” followed in heaven before the angels began to sound the “seven trumpets,” a time for the prayers of the “saints” to be heard and offered on the “golden altar.” Now, when the seventh angel sounds the final trumpet, a great multitude of voices in heaven declared the triumph of the kingdom by God and His Messiah. The nations of the earth have become the possession of the Lamb, just as promised – (Revelation 8:1-6).
- (Revelation 11:15-16) – “And the seventh angel sounded; and there came to be loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become [the kingdom] of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign unto the ages of ages. And the twenty-four elders who before God do sit upon their thrones, fell down upon their faces and rendered homage to God, saying, We give thanks to you, O Lord God, the Almighty, Who is and Who was; because you have taken your great power and become king.”
The twenty-four elders gave thanks to the one “who is and who was.” This phrase occurred in the prologue of Revelation, and in the vision of the Throne:
- (Revelation 1:4) – “Grace to you, from Him who is and who was and who is coming.”
- (Revelation 4:8) – “Holy! holy! holy! Lord, God, the Almighty — Who was and Who is and Who is coming.”
The third stanza has been dropped from the declaration – “He who is coming.” With the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the “Day of the Lord” has arrived. The coming of God is no longer anticipated – He has arrived. We have reached the end of the age, the consummation of the victory of the “Lamb.”
- (Revelation 11:17-19) – “And the nations were angered; and your wrath came, and the fit time of the dead to be vindicated, and to give their reward to your servants the prophets and to the saints, and to them who revere your name — the small and the great, and to despoil them who were despoiling the earth. And the sanctuary of God which is in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant in his sanctuary appeared, and there came to be lightnings, and voices, and claps of thundering, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
The time arrived for the dead to be judged, to reward the righteous, and to “destroy them that destroy the earth.” This last phrase alludes to the dirge from the book of Jeremiah against ancient Babylon, a passage used previously in the second trumpet:
- (Jeremiah 51:25) – “I am against you, O destroying mountain, THAT DESTROYED ALL THE EARTH; I will stretch out my hand upon you, roll you down from the rocks and make you a burnt mountain.”
- (Revelation 8:8-9) – “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a GREAT MOUNTAIN BURNING WITH FIRE was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”
The declaration released by the seventh trumpet also echoes words from the prophecy of Daniel:
- (Daniel 7:26-27) – “But the JUDGMENT SHALL BE SET, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and TO DESTROY IT UNTO THE END. And the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
“And there was opened the sanctuary of God in heaven, and the ark of his covenant was seen.” The lid of the ark constituted the “mercy seat” where Yahweh met and communed with the representative of Israel – “Between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony.” The ark symbolized the covenant faithfulness and loving-kindness of Yahweh. The mercy seat was the point of contact between heaven and earth, where His presence was found – (Exodus 25:21-22).
At this point, the sanctuary is open, and the ark is in plain sight. The image of an opened sanctuary anticipates the picture in the vision of New Jerusalem where there is no sanctuary:
- “For the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its sanctuary, and the nations walk amidst its light and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it” – (Revelation 21:22-24).
In “New Jerusalem,” the “tabernacle of God is with men.” He will dwell with them, and they will be his people. No longer veiled behind the curtains of the sanctuary, His presence will be the fill the city with light and glory – (Revelation 21:3-4).
The sounding of the “seventh trumpet” signals the time of judgment – “Your wrath came, and the dead were judged.” The series of seven trumpets ends with the “wrath of God” completed, as do the “seven bowls full of wrath.” On some level, both sevenfold series conclude at the same endpoint.
Before the seven trumpets began to sound, an angel hurled a censer filled with fire from the altar onto the earth. This was followed by “thunders, and voices, and flashes of lightning, and an earthquake” that marked the end of the “seven seals” and the commencement of the “seven trumpets.” This group of events now repeats at the close of the “seven trumpets,” only with the addition of “great hail” – (“flashes of lightning, voices, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail”).
The same phenomena occurred in the vision of the Throne – (“Out of the throne proceed flashes of lightning, voices, and thunders”). They are found also at the end of each sevenfold series in the book. Each time, a new element is added, an “earthquake,” “hail,” “a great earthquake,” or “great hail” – (Revelation 4:5, 8:5, 11:19, 16:17-18.
The “seventh bowl of wrath” includes verbal and conceptual links to the “seventh trumpet.” For example, when the seventh bowl was emptied, a great voice from the sanctuary declared, “It is done!” Likewise, when the “seventh trumpet” sounds, “great voices” declare the victory of God over the kingdoms of the world. The “seventh bowl of wrath” produced a “great earthquake” that divided the “great city.” Likewise, just prior to the seventh trumpet blast, a “great earthquake” caused a tenth part of the great city to fall.
The sound of the final trumpet signaled the time for the “dead to be judged, and to reward your servants the prophets, the saints, and them that fear your name, the small and the great.” This mirrors the “Great White Throne of Judgment” where the dead, the “great and the small,” were standing to be judged. The clause, “great and small” links the two scenes from chapters 11 and 20.
Likewise, when the seventh trumpet sounded, the wicked were condemned just as they were before the “Great White Throne of Judgment.” Thus, both visions include the judgment of the dead. In other words, the same final events are described in both visions, though from different perspectives – (Revelation 11:5-19, 20:11-15).