The Sounding of the Trumpets
Rubel Shelly   -  

Lesson 7: The Book of Revelation
Revelation 8:1 – 11:19

1. Revelation has three series of sevens: seven seals (6:1 – 8:10), seven trumpets (8:2 – 11:19),
and seven bowls (15:1 – 16:21). How does the transition work from one to the next? How
does this add to the dramatic effect of the book?

2. As the unleashing of divine wrath against the Roman Empire begins, why are the judgments
signaled by these trumpets only partial (i.e., by one-thirds)? What does this call to mind
about the character of God? Cf. 2 Pet 3:9.

3. When the Lamb of God opens the seventh seal – the transition point to the trumpets – there
is a brief time (i.e., “about half an hour”) of eerie silence. What is the point? Then a total of
eight angels come into view. What does the eighth angel bring with him? How does this
relate to what is about to happen with the sounding of the trumpets?

4. The first four trumpets have something of a collective message about how sin has an impact
on Planet Earth itself. What does this tell you about the nature of sin? What does it say
about the fulness of the redemption Jesus will provide? Cf. Rom 8:20.

5. What is different about the final three trumpets? The first four have affected the
environment. What do the final three touch?

6. Why is the episode of the little scroll a “mixed blessing” to John? That is, what is “sweet”
about it? What is “bitter”? Perhaps it is the specific foretelling of the fate of the Two
Witnesses of Chapter 11 – where faithful testimony to the gospel results in the apparent
death of the witnesses. How does pagan Rome react to their deaths? What happens next?

7. The sounding of the seventh trumpet signals the final overthrow of Rome. Why would there
be no more “partial” judgments against the wicked and persecuting empire?

Revelation is highly regarded as a work that takes seriously the power and nature of sin, portraying
unrighteousness not just as personal immorality but rather as systemic evil and social injustice. In this
regard, Revelation usually is recognized as offering the most sustained political critique of an “anti-God
society” anywhere in the New Testament: a society is “anti-God” when it uses its power to enslave
others, when it becomes prosperous by making others poor, when it revels in self-adulation, or when it
becomes cavalier about justice, ignoring the suffering of the innocent and allowing or perpetuating
violence against the righteous. And, in a basic sense, an anti-God-society is one that claims for itself the
prerogatives of authority and power that belong to God alone. (Mark Allan Powell)