The prophecies of the "seven trumpets" are found in Revelation chapters eight, nine and eleven. Revelation 8:2-6 gives the introduction preceding the specific description of each individual trumpet. These trumpets are part of God's judgments that He will pour out on this wicked world during earth's final days.
In Revelation 8:7, the first trumpet brings hail and fire mingled with blood upon the earth to the extent that one-third of earth's trees are burned up, as well as the grass. This judgment is similar to the seventh plague poured out on Egypt in the days of Moses, which also had hail and fire mingled. The reference to fire accompanying the hail probably indicates severe and widespread lightning that ignites the fires that burn earth's trees and grass. These must be ferocious storms that encompass most of the world, because one-third of earth's foliage is destroyed. The description of blood mingled with the hail and fire might depict the loss of life caused by the hail, lightning and winds from this incredible global storm.
In Revelation 8:8-9, the second trumpet causes a "great mountain" that is on fire to be cast down to the earth, which destroys one-third of the ships in the ocean and kills one-third of the sea creatures, while causing one-third of earth's seas/oceans to become like blood. This is an obvious depiction of a large asteroid, perhaps miles in diameter, which would indeed have the appearance of being a mountain on fire falling from the sky. The bloodlike appearance of the ocean could be from discoloration caused by the asteroid or, more likely, is a graphic illustration of the blood shed by the hundreds of thousands of people killed when one-third of earth's ships are destroyed combined with one-third of earth's sea life also perishing. It is apparent that this asteroid lands in one of earth's great oceans, probably the Atlantic or Pacific.
In Revelation 8:10-11, the third trumpet causes a "great star" burning like a torch to fall from heaven, which results in one-third of earth's rivers and springs of water becoming wormwood, probably meaning they've become exceedingly bitter, undrinkable and poisoned. It states that this tainted water results in the death of many men. This certainly cannot be referring to a literal, physical star that falls to earth, because it could only affect the rivers and springs where it actually fell. To poison one-third of earth's rivers and springs would require hundreds or thousands of stars falling throughout the world. Therefore, this "great star" is obviously symbolic. And, we know that the term star is used elsewhere in the book of Revelation to represent angels (Revelation 1:20; Revelation 12:4,7,9). So, this third trumpet probably depicts a great angel coming down from heaven to turn one-third of earth's rivers and springs into "wormwood" as another judgment upon our rebellious world. Now, at this point, the earth has been pummeled by a global hailstorm, set on fire by the lightning from this storm, devastated from the impact of a huge asteroid, and had one-third of its fresh water sources poisoned and undrinkable. Millions of dead bodies will be everywhere and disease will be widespread throughout the world. Furthermore, multitudes will be dying from thirst and starvation. It is fair to say that chaos and panic will be rampant.
In Revelation 8:12, the fourth trumpet brings darkness to one-third of the sun, moon and stars. This could either be a supernatural miracle of God, or the natural result of the previous trumpets. Scientists tell us that one of the aftereffects of a major asteroid colliding with earth would be numerous earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions sending incredible volumes of ash into our atmosphere, which when combined with the smoke from fires already covering one-third of earth's surface, would certainly result in darkness covering much of our planet, probably the equivalent of one-third, as stated in Revelation. Whatever the cause, one-third of the world is now covered in darkness.
In the fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-11), the key to the bottomless pit is given to a "star" fallen from heaven. Since literal, physical stars do not have hands to receive or use keys, it is reasonable to assume that this star is also symbolic of an angel; in this case, a "fallen" angel named Abaddon or Apollyon, as stated in Revelation 9:11 (Revelation 12:4,7,9; Revelation 9:11). This angel uses this key to open the "bottomless pit". The Greek word used here is "abussos", which literally means an abyss or bottomless pit. As you will see, this is quite significant.
When the abussos is opened a dark smoke arises, from which comes "demonic locusts". Why do I call them demonic locusts? There are several reasons. This abussos is the place where the devil will be punished for 1000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). It is also the place where the demons named "legion" did not want to be cast into by Jesus (Luke 8:30-31); they were obviously familiar with it. It is also the place where the beast/antichrist of Revelation ascends from (Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8). Therefore, we know that it is a place of punishment or torment for the devil and fallen angels. It also may be the same place referred to by Peter in 2nd Peter 2:4, where angels who sinned were cast down to in "chains" of darkness. The word Peter used in this text, which is translated as hell, is tartaros, and it is only used once in all of Scripture. It means "deepest abyss", which would be similar to abussos' meaning of an abyss or pit that is bottomless. You can't get any deeper of an abyss than a bottomless one. It is also noteworthy that the angels in tartaros are in chains, and the devil will likewise be in a "great chain" in the abussos (Revelation 20:1-3).
All of these things indicate that it is probably not normal "insect-locusts" that had been locked away in this abussos. Furthermore, the antichrist who also ascends from the abussos, is certainly not a literal locust. Moreover, the king of this army of locusts is a fallen angel named Abaddon or Apollyon. Additionally, these locusts certainly do not look like normal locusts. They are shaped like horses, have faces like men, gold-like crowns on their heads, hair like women's, teeth like lions', iron-like breastplates and tails like scorpions. And, they sting people with their scorpion-tails causing pain so intense that men desire to die. These are obviously some kind of supernatural locusts, and their place of origin, the abussos, is certainly within the demonic realm. Therefore, I refer to them as demon-locusts.
Revelation 9:4 stresses that these locusts of the fifth trumpet only afflict people who do not have God's seal on their foreheads, so only the wicked. This statement was not made concerning the first four trumpets, which could indicate that the first four trumpets affected everyone, including God's people. This would be similar to the plagues that God sent upon Egypt in the days of Moses, because there also some plagues affected both the Egyptians and the Israelites, and some only afflicted the Egyptians; the first three plagues affected both, but the final seven plagues affected Egyptians only. Apparently, now, from the fifth trumpet through the seventh trumpet, only the wicked are affected.
The chaos and panic caused by the first four trumpets will be multiplied greatly by the supernatural attack of these swarming locusts with their tormenting stings during the fifth trumpet. At this point, people would do anything to get relief from the calamities that have befallen them. They would gladly support any government or person who could relieve their pain and offer solutions to their problems. This presents a perfect time and opportunity for antichrist to make his appearance. My article titled, "The Antichrist of Revelation", discusses the subject of the antichrist in detail.
The sixth trumpet is presented in Revelation 9:13-21. However, before discussing these verses in detail, it is necessary to refer to Revelation chapter eleven. This is where the subject of the "Two Witnesses" is presented. In my article titled, "The Two Witnesses of Revelation", I biblically prove that these witnesses represent God's people, Christian Jews and gentiles, doing God's final and powerful evangelistic ministry during earth's final days.
After these two witnesses (God's people) have ascended to heaven, Revelation 11:14 states that the "second woe" is past, and that the "third woe" is coming quickly. Revelation 11:15 then records the blowing of the seventh trumpet that includes the second earthquake and great hail in Revelation 11:19, which is obviously the fulfillment of the third woe that was "coming quickly" mentioned in verse fourteen; especially because there are no more trumpets to follow, for, as Revelation 11:15 states, "the kingdoms of this world have now become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ". Therefore, the judgments brought by the seventh trumpet are certainly the third woe. Keeping this in mind and, also, that following the blowing of the fourth trumpet in Revelation 8:12, there were still "three woes" yet to come associated with three remaining trumpets (Revelation 8:13); and, also remembering that following the fifth trumpet, Revelation 9:12 states that one of the "three woes" was now past, which meant that the fifth trumpet was the "first woe"; therefore, if the seventh trumpet is the third woe, and the fifth trumpet is the first woe, then the sixth trumpet has to be the "second woe". This is significant since it tells us that the sixth trumpet mentioned in Revelation 9:13-21, also includes the three and a half year time period of the ministry of the two witnesses in Revelation 11, because not until after their ministry is finished does Revelation 11:14 state that the second woe is past. It is important to remember this fact, that the sixth trumpet's time period is the same as that of the two witnesses. That being said, it is now time to discuss the sixth trumpet.
In Revelation 9:13-15 the sixth trumpet is blown, resulting in four angels being released to kill one-third of mankind. And, based on Revelation 9:16, they apparently make use of an army of 200 million horsemen to accomplish their task. Is this part of the "Battle of Armageddon" taught by most prophecy teachers today; a great, final war between nations fighting each other? Not according to the book of Revelation.
During the reign of the antichrist, the armies of the earth are not at odds with each other, and are not gathered together to fight each other. They are in unison serving the antichrist-beast, and are gathered together to fight Jesus when He returns (Revelation 17:12-14; Revelation 19:11-19). As depicted in Revelation 16:13-16, demonic spirits go forth doing miraculous signs to seduce and rally the world's armies to this audacious scheme of attacking Jesus Christ at His return.
Who, then, is represented by this army of 200 million horsemen? A thorough examination of Revelation 9:16-19 reveals some significant clues. First, it is an army of "horsemen". And, the Lord Jesus also leads an angelic army on horses in Revelation 19:11-14.
This passage states that the heads of the horses were like "lions". The lion is king of the land animals. Proverbs 30:30 says that the "lion" is mighty among beasts. Hosea 11:10 declares that the Lord roars like a "lion". Revelation 5:5 calls Jesus the "Lion" of the tribe of Judah. And, Proverbs 28:1 states that the righteous are bold as a "lion". So, the mighty lion, king of the land animals, is used to describe our Lord Jesus Christ and His righteous followers.
This passage also says that the tails of the horses are like "serpents", having heads. Although the serpent is used at times in Scripture to depict the devil, it is also used in a "positive manner" at other times in the Bible. It is used as an instrument of God's leaders when God turned the rods of Moses and Aaron into serpents (Exodus 4:2-4; Exodus 7:8-12). Also, it is used positively to describe a character trait needed by Christians when Jesus told His disciples to be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16). And, it is used to describe "leviathan", which the Bible depicts as a mighty sea serpent that is the "king" of the seas (Isaiah 27:1; Psalm 74:13-14; Job 41:1-34). Furthermore, God used the image of a bronze serpent on a pole to represent Jesus being lifted up on the cross (Numbers 21:5-9; John 3:14-15). Therefore, the serpent is indeed also used in Scripture in positive ways, representing the mighty leviathan, king of the sea creatures, and representing Jesus and His followers.
This passage additionally states that the "breastplates" of the horsemen were colored fiery red (I'll deal with the other two colors in the next two paragraphs), and that "fire" came out of the horses' mouths. Interestingly, Revelation 11:5 also pictured the two witnesses (God's people) with fire proceeding from their mouths.
Revelation 9:17 says that the horsemen's breastplates were also colored hyacinth blue, the color of "smoke", and it stated that smoke came out of the horses' mouths. Isaiah 6:4 portrays God's presence as being manifested by smoke. Revelation 15:8 reveals the temple in heaven to be filled with smoke from the glory of God. And, from numerous scriptures, it appears that things that God touches do smoke (Psalm 144:5; Psalm 104:32; Exodus 19:18). Furthermore, Joel 2:28-31 states that, just before the great and awesome "day of the Lord", there will be wonders on earth including "fire" and "smoke"; moreover, in the context of this passage, these things are associated with God's Spirit being poured out on His servants. Therefore, smoke is associated with God's presence and the work of His Spirit-filled servants in the Bible.
The breastplates of the horsemen are also colored sulfur yellow, the color of "brimstone", and brimstone came out of the horses' mouths as well. Brimstone is always dispensed by God in Scripture, never by the devil, demons or any of God's enemies. These evil entities do receive and experience the tormenting punishment of brimstone, but they never dispense or control the use of it. Brimstone is always controlled by God, and is associated with God's wrath against unrepentant sinners. This is evident in all of the following scriptures.
Brimstone is associated with God's wrath poured out on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24; Luke 17:29). Isaiah 34:8-9 says that the Lord's vengeance would turn Edom's dust into brimstone. Psalm 11:5-6 states that the Lord rains brimstone on the wicked. Ezekiel 38:21-22 declares that the Lord will rain down brimstone upon Gog. Revelation 14:9-10 states that those who receive the mark of the beast will drink of God's wrath and will be tormented with fire and brimstone. Revelation 20:10 says that the devil will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. The antichrist-beast and the false prophet will also be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 19:20). The Bible states that brimstone will be scattered on the dwelling of the wicked (Job 18:15,21). The Lord threatened to cast brimstone upon Israel as a curse if they forsook Him (Deuteronomy 29:23-28). And, Revelation 21:8 says that all of the wicked will die their "second death" in the lake of fire and brimstone. Once again, brimstone is always dispensed by God, never by the devil and his agents.
Revelation 9:18-20 referred to the fire, smoke and brimstone dispensed through the 200 million horsemen, as being "plagues". It is interesting that the two witnesses also strike with plagues (Revelation 11:6).
The 200 million horsemen operate during the sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:13-16). Likewise, the two witnesses also operate during the sixth trumpet, as discussed several paragraphs earlier.
Therefore, in summary, we've discovered several significant clues concerning the army of 200 million horsemen. (1.) We know that they do not represent the armies of earth fighting each other. (2.) We know that they are probably symbolic because literal, physical horses do not have heads like lions or tails like serpents, and they don't breathe fire, smoke and brimstone. (3.) We know that Jesus' angelic followers in heaven are also pictured as an army of horsemen. (4.) We know that Jesus and His followers are compared to a lion, the "king" of land animals, in Scripture, and we also know that the horses had heads like lions. (5.) We know that, although a serpent was used by the devil in the Garden of Eden, and is used to depict him at other times in Scripture; nonetheless, we also know that a serpent is used in positive ways elsewhere in the Bible, such as to depict Moses' and Aaron's authority over pharaoh, to represent the wisdom Christians need, and to represent Jesus being lifted up on the cross; moreover, a sea serpent, the great leviathan, is called the "king" of sea creatures. I ask you to think about the picture presented in this passage in Revelation 9:17-19. The front of each horse, the head, is a lion, the "king" of land animals, while the back of each horse, the tail, is a serpent, knowing that the sea serpent leviathan is the "king" of sea creatures. This could certainly be symbolic of an authority and power that is supreme, such as from the "King of Kings", Jesus Christ. Furthermore, once again, remember that Jesus is represented as the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Scripture, and is also represented by a bronze serpent in the Bible, and the lion heads and the serpent tails are at the front and back of the 200 million horses. (6.) We know that the horses have smoke coming out of their mouths, and we know that smoke can depict God's presence and the work of His Spirit-filled servants in Scripture. (7.) We know that brimstone also comes out of the horses' mouths, and we know that brimstone is always dispensed and controlled by God. (8.) We know that the time of the 200 million horsemen is during the sixth trumpet, which is also the time period of the two witnesses. (9.) We know that fire proceeds from the horses' mouths, and we know that fire also proceeds from the mouths of the two witnesses. (10.) We know that the 200 million horsemen dispense plagues, and we know that the two witnesses also strike with plagues.
When putting all of the above clues together, what do we come up with? Knowing that the army of 200 million is not the military armies of earth, and knowing that it is symbolic; what is it symbolic of? It certainly appears to be symbolic of authority and power with the "lion" and "serpent" symbolism. Is Jesus/God in charge of this army? And, the smoke and brimstone symbolism would seem to indicate God's presence and His judgment. Is God's divine presence saturating this army, and is He using it to dispense more judgments on earth? Also, knowing that the faithful angels in heaven are pictured on horses following their Divine Commander, Jesus Christ, is it possible, if not probable, that God is also picturing the end-time, faithful followers of Jesus on earth in that manner as well? And, remember that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 represent Christ's faithful followers conducting their final mission on earth. Finally, also remember that both the army of 200 million and the two witnesses bring plagues upon the people, both have fire proceed from their mouths, and both conduct their missions during the sixth trumpet. In view of all of these things, I believe that the most logical conclusion is that the 200 million horsemen in Revelation 9, and the two witnesses in Revelation 11, are one and the same; that is, God's people going forward to do God's final work on earth in the name of, and under the authority of their Divine Commander, Jesus Christ. They are pictured as two witnesses in Revelation 11 to depict God's two olive trees, two lampstands, two anointed ones, converted Jew and gentile working together to complete the final gospel mission to the world. However, in Revelation 9, they are pictured as the great army of "Christian soldiers" that they really are, totaling multiplied millions. It is interesting to note that if the number of Christians involved in this end-time evangelistic endeavor will actually be 200 million, the number of the horsemen, it would represent about ten percent of the worldwide Christian population. In this modern era of "easy believism", cheap grace and worldly, seeker sensitive religion, there may very well be only ten percent of professed Christians who will still serve Jesus in the face of civil fines, imprisonment and martyrdom.
There is still one question that needs to be answered. If the 200 million horsemen and the two witnesses represent God's people, how do they kill one-third of mankind, as stated in Revelation 9:15? Do they use guns and bombs? No! The answer is given in Revelation 11:6. They cause plagues to come upon the wicked, they turn the waters to blood, and they stop the rain from falling on earth for three and a half years, thus producing severe drought and famine throughout the world, which will certainly cause multitudes to perish.
In Revelation 11:15-19, when the seventh trumpet sounds, the declaration is made that "the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ", which tells us that the end has come. It states that the 24 elders who sit before God, possibly referring to the twelve patriarchs of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the New Testament, now fall on their faces in worship. Then, Revelation 11:19 states that there are lightnings, noises, thunderings, another earthquake and "great hail". The events described in this passage are identical to the description of the seventh plague in Revelation 16:17-21. These verses in Revelation 16 also state that there are noises, thunderings, lightnings, an earthquake and hail stones that each weigh a "talent", which is between fifty and a hundred pounds; that certainly qualifies as being the "great hail" mentioned in Revelation 11:19. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that Revelation 11:19 and the seventh plague of Revelation chapter 16 are both describing the same cataclysmic events at the end of the world. How cataclysmic? Revelation 16:17-21 states that the greatest earthquake in history causes the cities of the nations to fall, and causes every island and mountain to disappear; moreover, as previously mentioned, huge hailstones simultaneously fall upon them, weighing between fifty and a hundred pounds each.
The events of the seventh plague seem to cover the same time period as the sixth seal. Revelation 6:12-17 says that there is also a great earthquake that causes all of the mountains and islands to be moved out of their place during the sixth seal. And, the sixth seal also ends with the return of Jesus. This passage states that men are trying to hide themselves from His face. Therefore, the sixth seal and the seventh plague obviously cover the same period of time. However, the sixth seal reveals some extra information about additional cataclysmic events that take place at this time. Revelation 6:12-14 states that the sun becomes black, the moon becomes like blood (probably blood red in color), the stars of heaven fall to the earth, and the sky recedes like a scroll when it is rolled up. This supernatural phenomenon in the heavens matches the description given in the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and is unquestionably describing the same events and time period.
Mark 13:24-26 also speaks of a time when the sun is darkened, the moon does not give its light (which it wouldn't if it was blood red), the stars fall, and the powers in the heavens are shaken. And, immediately after this description, Mark 13:26 states, "then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory".
Likewise, Matthew 24:29-30 tells of a time when the sun is darkened, the moon does not give its light, the stars fall, and the powers of the heavens are shaken. And, once again, this is immediately followed by the Son of Man appearing in heaven. Furthermore, this passage states that the unsaved people mourn as Jesus returns, which goes along with the sixth seal's picture of them also trying to hide from Him.
Luke's description is similar to that in Matthew and Mark, except that he adds a few more details. Like Matthew and Mark, his account also speaks of there being signs in the sun, moon and stars, as well as the powers of the heavens being shaken, with these events being immediately followed by the Son of Man coming with power and great glory (Luke 21:25-27). However, he adds that the sea and its waves will be roaring, and that the nations and people on earth will be filled with distress, perplexity and fear, to the extent that their hearts will fail them. Luke's account of the sea and its waves roaring would certainly be accurate. The earth's surface is two-thirds water. If numerous stars are falling to the earth throughout the world, the majority of them will probably be landing in earth's oceans, seas and large lakes, thus causing huge tidal waves; moreover, the kind of massive earthquake that is described in the seventh plague and the sixth seal will also produce tidal waves throughout the world that will be many times greater than any this planet has ever experienced before.
The events mentioned in these passages in Matthew, Mark and Luke, as well as the events of the seventh trumpet, the seventh plague and the sixth seal, all bring us to the end of this world as we know it, and to the return of Jesus Christ.
For a more in-depth study of earth's final climactic days and the prophecies of the book of Revelation, including the antichrist, the mark of the beast, the seven trumpets and the seven last plagues, read "The End Of The World". And, also check out other interesting and provocative articles at http://godormen.com.