Q: In the 1st Trumpet, what do “the earth”, “the trees” and “the green grass” all have in common?
A: They are a source of food not just for mankind, but for the livestock and animals which mankind also depends on as a food source. What will inevitably follow is devastation to both food supplies. They also have in common a key role in the environment and atmosphere; it is difficult to grasp the scope of all the additional effects in this arena as well.
Q: Although this is most certainly a literal event, how might it be a symbolic warning of something greater?
A: In Scripture, mankind is metaphorically called “grass” (Is. 40:6) and trees. John the Baptist said, “…therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”. (Mt. 3:10) This may be a warning of what is about to come upon mankind, especially in light of the hail being accompanied by “fire, mixed with blood”.
Q: In the 2nd Trumpet, is this literally “a great mountain”?
A: No, it is “something like” to indicate this is the best description John could provide of this phenomena. Note that it destroys both the sea life in the sea and the ships of commerce which are on the sea.
Q: How does this relate to the 1st Trumpet in its net effect on mankind?
A: This is mankind’s other great food source.
Q: Although a literal event, how might this serve as a parallel symbolic warning as well?
A: The sea is a repeated biblical metaphor of the Gentile nations, and a “destroying mountain” is symbolically used of Babylon in Jeremiah. This may symbolically represent what is about to come upon the world system Revelation refers to as “Babylon the Great”.
“But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the Lord.
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
Who destroys the whole earth,” declares the Lord,
“And I will stretch out My hand against you,
And roll you down from the crags,
And I will make you a burnt out mountain.
They will not take from you even a stone for a corner
Nor a stone for foundations,
But you will be desolate forever,” declares the Lord.
— Jeremiah 51:24-26
Q: How does the 3rd Trumpet relate to both the 1st and 2nd Trumpets in its net effect upon mankind?
A: This is not just the final source of mankind’s food supply, but fresh water is critical in and of itself for all life.
Q: What is the dual meaning of “wormwood”?
A: It has multiple meanings in Scripture:
- It is first and foremost a real and tangible thing which poisons a water supply.
- It is used metaphorically throughout Scripture for the effects of practicing idolatry (Dt. 29:14-18).
- It is a judgment by God for pursuing false teaching instead of His Word (Jer. 9:13-15).
- It describes the “pollution” coming from false prophets (Jer. 23:15).
- It is the end result of perverting something good and pure for the opposite purpose of evil and wickedness (Amos 5:7; 6:12)
Application: Each of these judgments has something to do with mankind’s food supply, food being the most common biblical metaphor for God’s Word. Having completely rejected God’s Word and ways, the first judgments literally take away what those left behind have spiritually rejected.
Q: So how might this apply to the 3rd Trumpet?
A: It is not describing a spiritual condition where a third of mankind is given over to idolatry and deception and the abandonment of God’s Word, but rather is a literal, physical judgment taking place BECAUSE all of these spiritual conditions are present and normative for all those remaining on the earth. It is an example of “you reap what you sow” for those rejecting God’s Word and substituting something else.
Point: Because those remaining have spiritually dined on wormwood, the judgment is to literally experience wormwood.
Q: How does the 4th Trumpet actually invoke a multiplying effect on the previous three judgments?
A: The sun is critical to the healthy ecosystems of the land, sea and waterways. A reduction in sunlight would incur debilitating effects not just on plants and trees, but the plankton in the ocean as well.
Q: What might this be symbolically addressing?
A: It may reference the spiritual darkness to be encountered by those remaining who have reject Christ the Light. They are given over to literal darkness because they have chosen spiritual darkness.
Q: What is the meaning of “the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way”?
A: It would seem to reference a change in time where instead of 24 hour days, a change in celestial mechanics introduces 16 hour days. This is physically possible by a shift in the earth’s orbit and would be extremely disruptive to all remaining life on earth.
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
— John 3:19-20
Observation: The first four Seals were initiated in heaven out of direct sight and made visible with representatives of earthly agency in the guise of the Four Horsemen; the first four Trumpets came down directly from heaven as something “thrown” (1st & 2nd Trumpets), or which “fell” (3rd Trumpet) or was “struck” (4th Trumpet). These all specify that in each instance the source is the hand of God.
Application: These literal judgments of God’s wrath are taking place because of the spiritual conditions which mankind has chosen to embrace. They are literal expressions of the greater spiritual situation.