In this post we will consider some further chronological texts.

The Trumpets and Bowls

We learned in the previous post that the Seventh Seal follows the darkening of the heavens and commences the Day of the LORD. I.e. the Seventh Seal opens at the return of Jesus after the Great Tribulation.

From Revelation 8:1-2, we see that the Seven Trumpets are sounded after the opening of the Seventh Seal. These Trumpets signal the commands to unleash the wrath of God upon the earth, which manifests in the form of terrible natural and supernatural disasters, the scale of which has not been seen since the advent of humans.

The Trumpets therefore follow the seals and begin after the return of Christ. They are a description of judgments meted out on the Day of the LORD.

In Revelation 15:1, we see an announcement that the Seven Bowls of wrath are coming and that they will complete the wrath of God (which began with the First Trumpet). The contrast between Revelation 11:19 and 15:8 also strongly suggests that the Bowls follow the Trumpets (see also 10:7). The Trumpets begin the wrath; the Bowls complete it.

The Book of Revelation therefore gives us detail about what happens during the Day of the LORD, which is longer than a 24-hour day. The Fifth Trumpet alone lasts 5 months.

These judgments should be understood as literally as possible, making allowance for John’s difficulty in describing what he saw. I have written about this elsewhere, but by way of summary:

  • the Day of the LORD was compared by Christ to the Flood and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, both of which stories we understand as literal historical events (albeit making some allowance for how Genesis is written);
  • Revelation’s Trumpet and Bowl Judgments clearly echo the 10 Plagues of Egypt, which we also understand as historical events.

In summary, we can construct the following chronology from Revelation.

  1. Abomination of Desolation
  2. Great Tribulation
  3. Darkening of the heavens
  4. Christ appears in the sky
  5. Resurrection and rapture of the saints
  6. Trumpet judgments
  7. Bowl judgments
  8. Christ’s kingdom on earth begins