"Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, "Come!" (Revelation 6:1)
Reminiscent of the 10 plagues to fall on Egypt during the Exodus (Exodus 7-11), a series of catastrophic events will take place during the End Days to enact the judgment of God upon the earth.
Although Revelation does have more plagues than just the seven seals and seven trumpets (the seven bowls and the seven thunders—the latter of which John was not even allowed to write down their specific calamities: Revelation 10:4), this article will cover the seals and trumpets.
The article will discuss all 14 of these plagues, discuss the importance of the number seven in Scripture, and will cover why we should care about these events that will take place in Revelation.
Number Seven in the Bible: Symbolism and Importance
Number symbolism spans all of Scripture, and seven plays a particularly important role, especially in Revelation. Seven tends to mean wholeness and perfection. The reason the devil adopts the number 666 is that six tends to represent incompletion or imperfection.
Because each plague in Revelation comes in a septet, this signifies completion or perfection of the wrath of God.
What Do the Seven Seals of Revelation Mean?
These seals make an appearance in Revelation 6:1-17 and Revelation 8:1-5. When John sees a scroll in heaven, which no being except for “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” can open (Revelation 5:4-5), John watches as God breaks open the seals one by one to unfurl the scroll.
The First Seal (Revelation 6:2)
"And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer."
This first seal introduces the antichrist onto the scene as a rider of a white horse. This rider wears a crown and will deceive many with talks of peace, but he will wage war against the saints.
The Second Seal (Revelation 6:4)
"And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword."
Despite the promises of peace from the antichrist, warfare will break out after this seal breaks. A red rider on a horse slays a great number of people.
The Third Seal (Revelation 6:5)
"When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand."
A rider on a black horse will spread famine throughout the earth. With whatever population is left on the earth from after the warfare, they will have to survive by bare means of food.
The Fourth Seal (Revelation 6:7-8)
"When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth."
Death, riding upon a pale horse, wipes out one-fourth of the earth. Many had attributed the events of the second through fourth seals to the great wars, famines, and bubonic plague which wiped out good portions of Europe in the 14th century.
The Fifth Seal (Revelation 6:9)
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne."
Those martyred will ask God how long until He judges the earth. They are told a little while longer and given a white robe.
The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-14)
"When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."
Catastrophic natural events take place from a rattling earthquake, the sun turning black, the moon turning blood-red, and mountains and islands disappearing.
The Seventh Seal (Revelation 8:1)
"When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour."
Silence fills heaven. Reminiscent of the Sabbath day of rest God took on the seventh day after creation, a brief pause occurs before the following judgments.
What Do the Seven Trumpets of Revelation Mean?
After the silence, angels sound the seven trumpets, the next septet of judgment.
The First Trumpet (Revelation 8:7)
"The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up."
Hail, fire, and blood will rain down on the earth and wipe out one-third of all plant life.
The Second Trumpet (Revelation 8:8)
"The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood."
A burning mountain falls into the sea, turns one-third of the ocean to blood, and one-third of all sea life dies.
The Third Trumpet (Revelation 8:10)
"The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water."
A star called wormwood poisons one-third of all the fresh water supply.
The Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12)
"The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night."
One-third of the moon, stars, and sun darkens.
The Fifth Trumpet (Revelation 9:3-11)
"Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon."
Demon locusts with human faces, long hair, lion’s teeth, and the power of a scorpion sting plague and sting nonbelievers for five months. Those who are stung will wish for death.
The Sixth Trumpet (Revelation 9:12-18)
"The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come. Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths."
Four fallen angels are released and wipe out people from sulfur and fire pouring out of their mouths. They manage to wipe out one-third of mankind.
The Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15)
"Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."
Another break from the plagues, and onto the seven bowls of judgment, 24 elders in heaven declare it’s time to destroy those who destroy the earth. The temple in heaven opens, featuring the Ark of the Covenant.
Why Should Christians Care about the Seven Seals and Trumpets?
God has provided us a blueprint of what will take place during the End Times. As we rapidly approach such times, we should be aware of the severity of judgment that will take place. When we have become cognizant of such catastrophes that will take place, we understand the great cost of Jesus’ salvation for us to spare us from God’s judgment.
We also understand we need to spread the Gospel to as many souls as possible, so they can receive God’s grace from this wrath. Keeping in mind some plagues only affect non-Christians (the locusts, for instance), if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they will avoid some of these events that will take place in the future.
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