christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

revelation 8, the woes to come

Read Revelation 8 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: revelation 8, the fourth trumpet

The trumpet judgments encountered so far in Rev 8:

378: The battle of Hadrianople; the beginning of Roman military defeat – the earthquake of vs. 5 which heralds the start of the trumpet judgments
378 – 410: Invasion of the Goths under Alaric – the first trumpet
409 – 455: Invasion of the Vandals under Genseric – the second trumpet
445 – 452: Invasion of the Huns under Attila – the third trumpet
456 – 476: Invasion of the Germans under Odoacer – the fourth trumpet

Just as the first four seals were linked together in meaning and time, the first four trumpets were linked together in meaning and time. They described the barbarian invasions which brought about the fall of Rome; each invasion coupled with a march on or sack of Rome. And just as the first four trumpets struck the land, sea, rivers, and lights, the first four bowls of wrath to come will also strike the land, sea, rivers, and lights.

In the very next verse following the blowing of the fourth trumpet, something interesting happens:

And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” Rev 8:13

The events of the three remaining trumpets are the three woes to come. We can prove that the three woes are the events of the three remaining trumpets. The very next verse states:

Then the fifth angel sounded: [followed by the events of the fifth trumpet judgment,  Rev 9:1-11, then the next verse states:] One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things. Rev 9:1-12

So the event of the fifth trumpet judgment is the first woe. Next we read:

Then the sixth angel sounded: [followed by the events of the sixth trumpet judgment, in Rev 9:13-21, then a description of the interval period describing spiritual events in Rev 10:1-11:13, just as we had an interval period between the 6th and 7th seals, and just as we will have an interval period between the 6th and 7th bowls of wrath; then the next verse states:] The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly, Rev 9:13-11:14.

So the event of the sixth trumpet judgment is the second woe. Next we read:

Then the seventh angel sounded, [followed by a description of what John saw in Rev 11:15-19, then we have a description of the great dragon in Rev 12, and a description of the first and second beasts in Rev 13, and a picture of who is meant to receive the wrath of God which is about to be poured out in Rev 14 (the dragon and the beasts and those who follow them, which is why they had to be described and identified before proceeding); then the next verse states:] Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished (Rev 15:1), Rev 11:15-15:1

The rest of Rev 15 describes the scene in heaven when the seven angels are given the seven plagues. We see that the seventh trumpet contains the next series of judgments, the seven plagues or seven bowls of the wrath of God; just as the seventh seal contained the seven trumpets.

Rev 16 describes the seven bowls of wrath, and the interval period (Armageddon) of spiritual events between the sixth and seventh bowsl. When the seventh bowl of wrath is poured out, it is declared, “It is done!”, or the judgments, woes, plagues, and wrath of God is finished, and we are at the end of the age. The rest of the book describes the fall of Babylon the Great (Rev 17), whose fall was brought about by the seven bowls of wrath; the lamentation of the world over her fall (Rev 18), the rejoicing in heaven over her fall (Rev 19), and the events of the return of Bridegroom for the Bride through to the end of time (Rev 19 through 22).

So nowhere in Revelation does it say that the third woe has passed, but when the seventh trumpet is sounded (which contains the seven bowls of wrath), it is said that It is finished; and when the seventh bowl of wrath is poured out, it is said again that It is done. What is “it” that is finished and done? The third woe.

Continued in revelation 8, the division of the empire

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