The Revelation describes three sets of seven actions; seven seals (Revelation 6), seven trumpets (Revelation 8 & 9), and seven containers of liquid, or vials of wrath (Revelation 16). The trumpets and vials have clear parallels and the understanding of these parallels is something which I have sought since before many of my readers were born. Really, this is something I have struggled with for a l-o-n-g time.
The seven seals that do not match the trumpets and vials confused me. The realization that the seals were the culmination of the events begun in the Garden of Eden caused me to believe that the trumpets and vials are separate from the seals. The trumpets and vials all conclude with statements of finality. They cannot chronologically follow the other events of the Revelation if they both point to the end. Therefore, they appear to parallel each other.
Here are the parallels between the trumpets and the vials:
Trumpet One – Hail, fire and blood are cast upon the earth
Vial One – The vial is poured out upon the earth
Trumpet Two – A great, burning mountain is cast into the sea
Vial Two – The vial is poured out into the sea
Trumpet Three – A great star fell into the rivers
Vial Three – The vial is poured out into the rivers
Trumpet Four – The sun, moon and stars are darkened
Vial Four – The vial is poured out on the sun
Trumpet Five – “The Destroyer” and demonic (Satanic) entities are released from the Abyss
Vial Five – The vial is poured on the Beast controlled by Satan
Trumpet Six – Four (fallen) angels are unloosed at the Euphrates River
Vial Six – The vial is poured out on the Euphrates River
These actions by the Lord are followed by the gathering of all nations at Armageddon for the Final Battle and the Victory of the Lord Jesus.
Trumpet Seven – “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)
Vial Seven – This is the final vial of the wrath of God. There is an earthquake that levels the entire earth and hailstones weighing one-hundred pounds fall upon the earth.
As usual, the answer to the question of why the Lord repeats these final actions is found in the Bible. Several places in the Word the Lord repeats Himself; we would say for emphasis. But the reason is clearly given in the account of Joseph and the dreams of Pharaoh.
Joseph told Pharaoh that the Lord repeated the dream in two slightly different (but parallel) versions “because the thing [is] established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.” (Genesis 41:32) The Lord repeats His final wrath against the rebellious world in two slightly different versions because His wrath is firmly established and He will shortly bring it pass (in the context of the Revelation).
Pray for the lost sheep that they might cease their rebellion and find Salvation. The Day is near.
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