The Great Tribulation

June 10, 2021

Revelation 8:6-13

Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water — the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”


It is important to note here that the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven personalities, and the seven bowls of wrath all concern the same time period. In the seven seals, we see the judgment which is the result of man’s willful activity. In the seven trumpets, we see the judgment which is the direct activity of God. In the seven personalities we see the judgment which is the result of Satan’s fight against God. In the seven bowls of wrath, we will see the final judgment of the Great Tribulation, which is the direct activity of God because of man’s and Satan’s rebellion.

I have often described this Great Tribulation as a time period when God is pouring out judgment on an unbelieving world. The Great Tribulation is a time period where God gives the unbelieving world exactly what it desires: a world without Him. As God takes His hands off of sinful man, the earth will see the true nature of the evil one and his realm (see chapters 9-18).

After the sounding of the first trumpet, one third of every form of botanical life is affected first. This undoubtedly will have a major impact upon the earth. One of the consequences of rejecting the Creator is judgment poured out on all His creation. The second trumpet impacts the oceans which occupy most of the earth’s surface. One third of all the living creatures in the sea will die a literal death. Earth’s water system will be contaminated and will no longer be able to sustain life as we know it. The third trumpet brings some kind of contaminant that will affect fresh water supplies. The fourth trumpet impacts mankind’s dependence on the sun for light and life. The laws of nature are radically altered by these celestial disturbances. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:29.

Chapter eight ends with a warning of the three trumpets yet to sound. Once again it is important to note that this time period was prophesied in Daniel chapter nine. In Daniel chapter nine, seventy-sevens or 490 years were prophesied for Israel. Many biblical scholars believe that the time period John is writing about in Revelation chapters six through eighteen is the last week of years from Daniel’s prophecy. This time period (the Great Tribulation) was for Israel to “finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy.” This is Israel’s final opportunity to get it right and acknowledge their Messiah.

Some scholars believe that this has already been fulfilled, while other scholars believe this language is figurative and should not be taken literally. This writer takes the text more literally. God is revealing His plan and how the final restoration of mankind will unfold.

Questions to Ponder

How do you feel as you read about these judgments? How are these prophecies a blessing to the reader? As a believer, how should these prophecies motivate you to share your faith?

Prayer Points

  • Worship the Lord as the hope of the Nations, Jesus Christ the Son of God from Whom salvation comes.
  • Invite the Holy Spirit to search your heart and confess anything He reveals to you.
  • Thank Him for His forgiveness, grace, mercy, love and justice.
  • Pray for your “Top 3” (those you are praying for to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior).
  • Ask the Lord for open doors to share His love in word and deeds.

Suggested Prayer
Lord Almighty,

I worship You as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. All power, glory and dominion belongs to You. Forgive me and Your church God, for times when we are easily distracted. God, I ask that You would stir all our hearts and lives with Your holy urgency and passion for those far from You. I ask for Your will to be done in our lives individually and together as a body. In the Name of Jesus Christ I ask, amen.