QB42 The Seals Trumpets and Bowls (Part 1)

The question we are currently asking in our studies is not whether the wrath of God has been reserved for the Day of the Lord (for in Quick Bite 41 we have already seen that this is the case), but how the seals, trumpets and bowls fit into the picture. This is a point of great contention and difficulty. The two main positions on this are either the three sequences are progressive, that is the seals are followed by the trumpets which are followed by the bowls, one sequence following the other, or the three sequences are simultaneous, that is the first seal, first trumpet and the first bowl happen at the same time, then the second seal, trumpet and bowl take place and so on. Obviously, they both can’t be correct, so which one is right, or is there another possibility? I believe there is. What I have proposed so far is that the sixth seal and seventh trumpet converge at the same point, the Day of the Lord, when the Elect are Gathered, but I do not support that the bowls also converge on that day.

The progressive view would say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, the sequence of seven trumpets doesn’t begin until Rev 8:2 which is after the seventh seal in Rev 8:1.’ Since the Bridal view I’m presenting here must stand up to scrutiny, I’ll answer this objection here. Rev 8:1,2 [LEB] And when he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. True the reference to the seven trumpets is made after the reference to the seventh seal, which if we saw the Book of Revelation as entirely linear in the chronology of the events it describes then yes we would have to accept that the sequence of trumpets does not begin until after the seventh seal. The problem with this approach is that the Book of Revelation is thematic and does not always place these themes or events in chronological order but rather the way in which either John received them, or at least in the order he wrote them down. An example of this is Rev 7:14 NKJV – 14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. But the appearance of the Dragon, Beast and False prophet who cause 3 ½ years of great tribulation against the Elect don’t appear until Rev 12 and 13. This kind of juxtaposition is typical of Revelation, because of the complexity of the vision John received, there is no simple way of writing everything down, other than the way he was instructed. The Book of Revelation contains both macro and micro views and perspectives, zooming in at times on specific details, whilst at others zooming out to give the big picture, like Rev 12 which covers a much larger timeframe some of which is historical with the imagery of the birth and ascension of Jesus as the man-child snatched up to heaven. So when reading Rev 8:1,2 which gives the seventh seal in verse 1, and the start of the seven trumpets in verse 2, it’s not enough to presume that just because the reference to the trumpets comes after the reference to the seventh seal, that they must therefore be one after the other chronologically. This is a key principle to have in our ‘good student of the word’ toolkit: that any separate sequence or theme given to John is chronological in itself, for example, in the seven seals sequence, seal one is followed by seal two and so on, but when attempting to sort the sequences and themes together chronologically, the scripture reference should not be the only consideration. For example, if you were asked to describe three weddings which had all taken place yesterday, the simplest way to do that is to describe them one after the other, but that doesn’t mean they were sequential. Rev 8:1 and 2 are connected grammatically by the use of the word ‘and’. ‘And I saw the seven angels who were given seven trumpets.’ The use of ‘And’ doesn’t mean what’s described in verse 2 follows that in verse 1. How else might John introduce the seven trumpet sequence? Nowhere in Revelation does he try to teach, or give an apologetic to what he’s witnessing, but he simply records as instructed. The use of ‘And’ is perfectly acceptable in this case as the start of a new sequence. The word ‘and’ in the Greek can be interpreted ‘also’, in which case the translators could have written ‘I also saw seven angels who were given seven trumpets’. In summary then, because things have to be written sequentially, doesn’t mean that the events themselves are necessarily progressive. Therefore, just because the first reference to the seven trumpets in Rev 8:2 follows the seventh seal in Rev 8:1 does not disprove the proposition that the sixth seal and seventh trumpet converge on the Day of the Lord, but is rather a literary necessity when describing multiple events, that one must follow the other in the text.