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THE SEVENTH TRUMPET -- or THIRD WOE
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Revelation 11:15-19.
GREAT NATIONS OF TODAY, Chapter 10, p 85-104, Alonso T. Jones.
THE Seventh Trumpet was to sound, the Third Woe was to come "quickly" after the close of the sounding of the Sixth Trumpet; and the Sixth Trumpet closed Aug. 11, 1840.
Note especially that expression as to the coming of the Third Woe -- it "cometh quickly" after the end of the sounding of the Sixth Trumpet. It did not come immediately upon the expiration of the Sixth, as the Sixth came immediately on the expiration of the Fifth: there was a little space between the expiration of the Sixth Trumpet and the beginning of the Seventh; which space is announced, and its shortness signified, by that word "quickly." And, in this short space between the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets, that mighty angel of Revelation 10 came in with his message, which was to sound over sea and land.
That this is the place of that angel, is made certain by the fact that he refers to the beginning of the Trumpet of the Seventh Angel, as future. For that angel which stood "upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the Seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." Rev. 10:5-7.
And when that Seventh Angel sounds, and the mystery of God shall be finished, the kingdoms of this world "become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ." For it is written: --
"And the Seventh Angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." Rev. 11:15-19.
Note that first of all, at the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, the prophet's attention is turned first to heaven, and next to the earth: and note that first of all in heaven he hears "great voices" announcing the coming kingdom and reign of the Lord in His great power; and that when his attention is turned to the earth the first of all the things mentioned is: "The nations were angry." And it is the sober truth of modern history that from a little time -- "quickly" -- after 1840 until the present hour, the temper and attitude of the nations have been such that they exactly correspond to the expression, "The nations were angry." During all the time that has passed since that date, it has been true that the rulers of the great nations have had to be constantly on the alert to avoid a general war. And the Turkish power -- that power which is the last, remains in its descent, of what was at first the Eastern Empire of Rome: that government for which, Aug. 11, 1840, the great Powers of Europe became responsible -- that is the pivot upon which, during all these years, has turned the peace of the world. In the preceding chapter we gave the authoritative statements that, except for the great Powers of Europe, the Turkish power would have vanished long ago.
But the main importance of this important truth lies not simply in the fact that Turkey has all this time been kept in existence by these great Powers; but in that this has been done for a definite purpose. As acknowledged by those Powers themselves, the Turkish government has been thus maintained by the Powers, expressly to avoid a universal war. This was stated by the British Premier, Lord Salisbury, Nov. 5, 1895, in a speech to the world that was listening to know what would be said on the then burning Turkish-Armenian question. Speaking for the great Powers, he said: --
"Turkey is in that remarkable condition that it has now stood for half a century, mainly because the great Powers of the world have resolved that for the peace of Christendom it is necessary that the Ottoman Empire should stand. They came to that conclusion nearly half a century ago. I do not think they have altered it now. The danger, if the Ottoman Empire should fall, would not merely be the danger that would threaten the territories of which that empire consists; it would be the danger that the fire there lit should spread to other nations, and should involve all that is most powerful and civilized in Europe in a dangerous and calamitous contest. That was a danger that was present to the minds of our fathers when they resolved to make the integrity and independence of the Ottoman Empire a matter of European treaty, and that is a danger WHICH HAS NOT PASSED AWAY."
But what must be the real spirit of these great Powers, when, for more than half a century, the can thus agree in holding in existence the Turkish power, to keep themselves from fighting, when they can not agree not to fight? Why can they not agree not to fight among themselves, as easily as they can agree to keep this Power there as a preventive against their fighting among themselves? What could possibly more aptly express the true condition of things among these Powers than that sentence, "The nations were angry?"
This situation clearly reveals that these Powers are subject to a spirit which, when once loosed, will carry them utterly beyond themselves; and that they themselves recognize that this is so. And recognizing that this is the truth of the situation, all that they pretend to be able to do, is, by maintaining the Turkish power as long as possible, to restrain as long as possible this unruly spirit, which, when once let loose, must sweep them all away from themselves, into that dreaded and terrible vortex, involving "all that is most powerful and civilized in Europe in a dangerous and calamitous contest."
And who are these "great Powers of the world" that are thus inextricably involved, and that have thus "resolved?" -- They are the great Powers of Europe, the principal ones of which were brought upon the scene by the expiration of the sounding of the Sixth Trumpet, Aug. 11, 1840: the Powers that then became responsible for Turkey, and thus became vitally connected with the original Eastern Question. They were at first Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Britain....
Thus we have found the origin, the place, the present situation, the work, and the destiny of the great nations of to-day, which indeed include all the nations of to-day, for the great nations of to-day are "the kings of the earth and the whole world." Their origin is found through the knowledge of the first five of the Seven Trumpets; their place is the whole world; their present situation is the interminable entanglement of the Eastern Question, as it now embraces China; and, with China as their immediate center, and with Turkey as their original and ultimate center, their work is the arraying of themselves, and the mustering of their forces, in preparation for "the battle of that great day of God Almighty;" and their destiny is ARMAGEDDON.
The first Four Trumpets mark the downfall of the Western Empire of Rome; the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets mark the destruction of the Eastern Empire of Rome; and the Seventh Trumpet marks the downfall of all empires, all kingdoms, and all nations; for when the God of heaven sets up His kingdom, "it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms." Dan. 2:44.
The Woe of the Fifth Trumpet was called by Gibbon the "shipwreck of nations;" but the Woe of the Seventh Trumpet will be not only the shipwreck of nations, but of the great globe itself. For, in Rev. 11:19, among the events of the Seventh Trumpet -- the Third Woe -- are that earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great, by which every mountain and island are moved out of their places; and that great hail: both of which come in the time of the seventh plague, when God "ariseth to shake terribly the earth;" when the great voice is heard out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done;" and when the heavens depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, "and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. 16:17-21; 6: 14-17.
And since such is the situation, the work, and the destiny, of the great nations of to-day; and since the complications in which they are involved culminate only in that time of trouble "such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time," when there shall be delivered only those "that shall be found written in the book;" this urges upon every mind, that anxious question which before at the crisis of a nation was asked: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
And to this question on the answer is full and complete: and from the same source -- the Word of God, the Bible -- from which comes the true knowledge of the great nations of to-day.
DANIEL AND REVELATION--Chapter 11, p 538-542, by Uriah Smith.
"VERSE 15. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever. 16. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, 17. Saying, We give thee thanks O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."
From the 15th verse to the end of the chapter, we seem to be carried over the ground, from the sounding of the seventh angel to the end, three distinct times. In the verses last quoted, the prophet glances forward to the full establishment of the kingdom of God. Although the seventh trumpet has begun to sound, it may not yet be a fact that the great voices in heaven have proclaimed that the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, except it be in anticipation of the speedy accomplishment of this event; but the seventh trumpet, like the preceding six, covers a period of time: and the transfer of the kingdoms from earthly power to Him whose right it is to reign, is the principal event to occur in the early years of its sounding; hence this event, to the exclusion of all else, here engages the mind of the prophet. (see remarks on verse 19.) In the next verse John goes back and takes up intervening events as follows: -
"VERSE 18. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth."
"The Nations Were Angry." - Commencing with the wonderful revolution in Europe in 1848, that spontaneous outburst of violence among the nations, their anger toward one another, their jealousy and envy, have been constantly increasing. Almost every paper shows the fearful degree to which they are now excited, and how tense has become the strain on the relations between them.
"And Thy Wrath Is Come." - The wrath of God for the present generation is filled up in the seven last plagues (chapter 15:1), which consequently must here be referred to, and which are soon to be poured out upon the earth.
The Judgment of the Dead. - "And the time of the dead, that they should be judged." The great majority of the dead, that is, the wicked, are still in their graves after the visitation of the plagues, and the close of this dispensation. A work of judgment, of allotting to each one the punishment due to his sins, is carried on in reference to them by the saints, in conjunction with Christ, during the one thousand years following the first resurrection. 1Cor. 6:2; Rev. 20:4. Inasmuch as this judgment of the dead follows the wrath of God, or the seven last plagues, it would seem necessary to refer it to the one thousand years of judgment upon the wicked, above mentioned; for the investigative judgment takes place before the plagues are poured out.
The Reward of the Righteous. - "And that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets." These will enter upon their reward at the coming of Christ, for he brings their reward with him. Matt. 16:27; Rev. 22:12. The full reward of the saints however is not reached till they enter upon the possession of the new earth. Matt. 25:34.
The Punishment of the Wicked. - "And shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth," referring to the time when all the wicked will be forever devoured by those purifying fires which come down from God out of heaven upon them, and which ;melt and renovate the earth. 2Pet 3:7; Rev 20:9. By this we learn that the seventh trumpet reaches over to the end of the one thousand years. Momentous, startling, but yet joyous thought! that the trumpet is now sounding which is to see the final destruction of the wicked, and to behold the saints, clothed in a glorious immortality, safely located on the earth made new.
Once more the prophet carries us back to the commencement of the trumpet, in the following language: -
"VERSE 19. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."
Having introduced the seventh trumpet in verse 15, the first great event that strikes the mind of the seer is the transfer of the kingdom from earthly to heavenly rule. God takes to him his great power, and forever crushes the rebellion of this revolted earth, establishes Christ upon his own throne, and remains himself supreme over all. This picture being completed, we are pointed back, in verse 18, to the state of the nations, the judgment to fall upon them, and the final destiny of both saints and sinners. This field of vision having been scanned, we are taken back once more in the verse now under notice, and our attention is called to the close of the priesthood of Christ, the last scene in the work of mercy for a guilty world. The temple is opened; the second apartment of the sanctuary is entered. We know it is the holy of holies that is here opened, for the ark is seen; and in that apartment alone the ark was deposited. This took place at the end of the 2300 days, when the sanctuary was to be cleansed, the time when the prophetic periods expired, and the seventh angel commenced to sound. Since that time, the people of God have seen by faith the open door in heaven, and the ark of God's testament there. They are endeavoring to keep every precept of the holy law written upon the tables therein deposited. And that the tables of the law are there, just as in the ark in the sanctuary erected by Moses, is evident from the terms which John uses in describing the ark. He calls it the "ark of his testament." The ark was called the ark of the covenant, or testament, because it was made for the express purpose of containing the tables of the testimony, or ten commandments. Ex. 25:16; 31:18; Deut. 10:2,5. It was put to no other use, and owed its name solely to the fact that it contained the tables of the law. If the tables were not therein, it would not be the ark of his (God's) testament, and could not truthfully be so called. Yet John, beholding the ark in heaven under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, still calls it the "ark of his testament," affording unanswerable proof that the law is still there, unaltered in one jot or tittle from the copy which for a time was committed to the care of men in the typical ark of the tabernacle during the Mosaic dispensation.
The followers of the prophetic word have also received the reed, and are measuring the temple, the altar, and them that worship therein. Verse 1. They are uttering their last prophecy before nations, peoples, and tongues. Chapter 10:11. And the drama will soon close with the lightnings, thunderings, voices, the earthquake, and great hail, which will constitute nature's last convulsion before all things are made new at the close of the thousand years. Rev. 21:5. (See on chapter 16:17-21.)
THE SOUNDING OF THE SEVEN TRUMPETS OF REVELATION 8 AND 9, p 67-68, by James White.
1. The seventh angel is the last of a series of symbols, and, for this, and several other reasons, is not the same as the "trump of God," [1 Thess. 4:16,] and "last trump," [1 Cor. 15:52,] which is to raise the just.
2. The sounding of the seventh angel occupies a period of days. "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel," &c. Rev. 10:7. These days are doubtless prophetic, meaning years, in harmony with the time of the sounding of the fifth and sixth angels. But when the trump of God is heard, the sleeping saints come forth from their graves, and the living righteous are changed to immortality, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," and are caught up to meet their descending Lord.
3. Under the sounding of the seventh angel a series of events transpires. This was also the case with the other six. The events of the seventh angel necessarily cover much time. Among them we find mentioned, "The nations were angry"--"Thy wrath is come"--"The time of the dead that they should be judged"--"Give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great"--"Destroy them which destroy [margin, corrupt,] the earth."
While we may speak of fulfilled prophecy with positiveness, we would apply unfulfilled prophecy with becoming modesty. We may, however, suggest that the anger of the nations will be immediately followed by the wrath of God, or seven last plagues; [see Rev. 15:1;] that the judgment of the dead refers not to the judgment of the righteous, for that takes place before the plagues are poured out, but to the judgment of the wicked during the 1000 years of Rev. 20; that the full reward of the righteous will be given when they inherit the New Earth, at the close of the 1000 years; and that at that very time God will destroy by the second death all who have corrupted the earth. And why may not the sounding of the seventh angel continue until the end of the 1000 years? and the third wo, cover all wo till sin and sinners cease to be at the close of the seventh millennium?