Times and Seasons
The Seventh Trumpet
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.—Revelation 11:15
As Christians, the days in which we are .now living are the most exciting and ..anticipated times since the beginning of the Gospel age! For nearly 2,000 years the church has longed for the promise of our Lord’s return and the establishment of his long-awaited kingdom.
In Acts we read of the expectations of the disciples and our Lord’s response to their query: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:6,7). In verses 10 and 11 we are informed that “two men,” undoubtedly heavenly messengers sent for this purpose, added “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Although the disciples were told the “times and seasons” were something they would not understand at that moment, we would not conclude that our Lord never intended them to investigate these matters further, nor never would there be a time when these “times and seasons” would be revealed.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”—1 Thessalonians 5:1-5
The apostle here used the same terminology as did our Lord regarding “times and seasons.” They are two different Greek words: chronos (meaning a space of time) and kairos (meaning a fixed or marked time, or occasion). The word chronos indicates there would come a time when certain signs of world conditions would suggest to the watchers that something was about to happen. The word kairos indicates to those same watchers something more definite, fixed, or determined which would validate their reasoning upon the signs, such as time prophecy pointing to specific events.
In our focus on the Seventh Trumpet, we find that both “times and seasons”—time periods and episodes—are revealed which confirm our reading of the signs regarding our Lord’s return and the establishment of his kingdom (chronos), and specific dated episodes verifying those signs, hopes, and expectations (kairos). (See Matthew 16:1-4 for a stinging rebuke to the religious rulers of his day regarding their inability to connect “times and seasons.”)
Trumpets in the Bible are signaling instruments. They were used to assemble armies, signal an attack, sound an alarm, or herald an important occasion. Trumpets are loud and shrill sounding so they can be heard broadly and distinctly. Although the seven trumpets in Revelation are not literal soundings intended to be heard with a literal ear, those who have spiritual “ears to hear” have heard and heeded the soundings of the trumpets. This is especially so in our day with the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet.
Outside of Revelation there is only one place in the Bible where specific mention is made of seven trumpets, with special emphasis placed on the last or seventh of these. This is in Joshua 6, which describes the events of Joshua and his army encircling Jericho. Each day, for six days, they marched around the city with the trumpets; on the seventh day they marched seven times around the city, blew their seven trumpets, and shouted. The walls of Jericho collapsed and the city was taken. Correlations exist which are significant in understanding the symbolic trumpets of Revelation. This is a fruitful comparative study in itself, but for our purpose we merely observe that sounding of the seventh day’s trumpets marked the end of their objective. There was no eighth, ninth, or tenth day of trumpets and warnings. The seventh was the last one.
So also in Revelation, the seventh trumpet is the last of a series of seven trumpets. Events associated with it mark the end of an objective. The seven trumpets are synchronous in time with the seven messages of the seven angels. They have occurred in an historical sequence beginning at the start of the Gospel age (shortly after our Lord’s ascension into heaven); they will end at the close of the Gospel age (our day and the time immediately ahead of us).
This chart compares the events described under the message of the seventh trumpet of Revelation with the trumpets mentioned by our Lord and the apostle Paul. Note the harmony between these four New Testament passages.
The different names given these trumpets (i.e., The Seventh Trumpet, Great Trumpet, Last Trumpet, and Trumpet of God), all indicate the same trumpet. The events variously associated with each one are convincing beyond doubt.
The Mystery of God (Revelation 10:7)
Each of the trumpets, either clearly stated or implied in the context, includes something about a “mystery” being completed or revealed. The mystery of God’s Divine Plan of the Ages is being revealed in great detail to those who have heard the message of the Seventh Trumpet, including the mystery of the church as the Body of Christ, their call and purpose, the mystery of why God permits evil, the mystery of why God has seemingly delayed his plans to bless all the families of the earth, etc. One day soon all mankind will be able to rejoice in this knowledge, but presently it is only understood by the elect.
The Sounding of the Trumpet
That the trumpet is sounding in each of these passages indicates these events are going into effect. Harvest truths are being heralded far and near and many are coming to know the true purposes and plans of God as never before because it is the due time.
The times and seasons are understood now also. Many in Christendom read the signs of our day such as Israel’s regathering, worldwide stress and trouble, and say, “The Lord is coming soon.” We, on the other hand, see these same signs, but see the “seasons” also, that is, specific chronological time measurements which indicate not that the Lord is coming, but that he has already returned, invisibly, to direct earth’s affairs, gather his elect to himself, and begin the times of restitution (Acts 3:19-21).
One time feature of special note relates to the days of Daniel, the 1,260, 1,290 and 1,335 days (Daniel 12:7-12). Each of these periods began in 539 A.D., with the 1,335 days concluding in the year 1874, specifically marking the “blessedness” of that time, the second presence of the Lord. (See also Matthew 24:37-46.)
The Dead Judged
The next feature listed is the judgment of the dead. This is not the general judgment of the dead of all mankind, but an advance judgment of those who have been associated with God through Jesus Christ during the Gospel age. These alone are being judged since the Lord’s return. Those deemed faithful to their covenant of sacrifice (Revelation 2:10) will be “raised in Christ” as two of the texts state, while Matthew 24 says the “elect” are “gathered.”
Revelation 11:18 adds some additional detail. Three groups are indicated: “thy servants the prophets,” the “saints,” and “them that fear thy name, small and great.” The first group may at first seem to indicate the prophets of old, but this cannot be according to Hebrews 11:39,40. These prophets must indicate the New Testament prophets (teachers) as referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 2:20, 3:5, etc. One of the first works our Lord would naturally perform at his return in “gathering his elect” would be to raise those “prophets” from the dead to be with him.
The “saints” (a common term associated with the faithful Christians of the Gospel age and used approximately 60 times in the New Testament), likewise are awarded their resurrection from the dead onto the spirit plane of existence during the sounding of this trumpet. We believe this occurred shortly after our Lord’s return. The saints who die in the Lord since that time no longer need to sleep in the dust, but pass immediately to their reward. (See 1 Corinthians 15:50-54.)
The last group to receive its reward consists of “those that fear thy name, both small and great.” This appears to refer to the entire world of mankind who will eventually, if compliant with the terms of life offered them in the kingdom, likewise obtain their reward—everlasting life on the earthly plane of existence. Revelation 20:11,12 styles this the “great white throne” judgment.
If this is correct, we have a clearer definition as to how long this Seventh Trumpet sounds (or is in effect). If it began in 1874 at our Lord’s return and includes the resurrection of all the dead of mankind, then we would understand it to last nearly the entire 1,000 years.
Next on our chart regarding events associated with the Seventh or Last Trumpet we have “voices.” Primarily it is the voice or message of the “Archangel,” our Lord at his return as indicated in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. His voice or message heralds a new order or dispensation beginning the times of restitution. As Revelation 11:15 states the matter, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” What remarkable news this brings to the Lord’s people who have long looked for and desired it (Acts 1:6; Revelation 6:10). All who hear this message join their voices together with him to proclaim these “glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).
Anger, Wrath, Trouble
Another common theme embedded in each of these trumpets is trouble. Of course there has always been trouble in the world since sin was first introduced in Eden, but this seems to be a special kind or type of trouble. Revelation says “the nations were angry” and “thy wrath has come,” while the other three texts indicate this by the symbol of “clouds.” The term “clouds” is used in a variety of ways in the Scriptures. Sometimes they convey to the observer that God himself is involved, that it is heaven-born, something not man-made nor manufactured. (See Exodus 13:21 and Matthew 17:5.) At other times clouds convey the idea of something obscure or hidden from normal view, revealed only to the eye of faith (Acts 1:9; Revelation 1:7). Lastly, clouds represent trouble, especially in the form of heavenly judgment (Job 3:5; Isaiah 19:1; Ezekiel 38:9,16). This appears to be the case with this trumpet, as the context reveals.
Earth’s kings and rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical, have held dominion for several millennia. These, along with “wicked spirits in high places,” are not eager to yield their power and position to earth’s New Ruler. As 1 Corinthians 15:25 states, “he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” The storm clouds are gathering for the final conflict. Psalm 2 portrays this conflict, as well as its glorious outcome.
Lord’s Second Advent
Perhaps the most
significant and thrilling theme common to each of these final trumpet texts is
the one indicating our Lord’s return, or second advent. Revelation 11:15
contains the message of his reign begun. In Matthew 24, in answer to the
disciples’ question “what shall be the sign of thy coming” (Greek parousia,
meaning “presence,” not “coming” as the authorized version reads), Jesus
gave several signs indicating his presence at the end of this age. The
signs included the “tribulation of those days,” “the sound or voice of the
trumpet,” the “gathering of his elect” and the regathering of Israel as
indicated by the budding fig tree. It is highly unlikely that Jesus would give
signs indicating his second presence if every literal eye would in fact see him.
the 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 text, the apostle Paul clearly speaks of this trumpet
in relation to the Lord’s return as mentioned in verse 23. Again, the word
rendered “coming” is parousia and should be rendered “presence.”
the 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 text, Paul states “the Lord himself shall descend
from heaven with (or accompanied by) a shout,” again connecting the second
advent of our Lord with the trumpet, in this case the “trump of God.”
a grand and rare honor it is to hear the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet! Those
who hear its sounding and understand the times and seasons rejoice in hope and
realize that shortly God’s kingdom shall fill the earth completely, evil will
be eliminated and peace and harmony between God and man shall be an eternal
“All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations” (Psalm 145:10-13).