The seven seals (Revelation 6:1–17; 8:1–5), seven trumpets (Revelation 8:6–9:21; 11:15–19), and seven bowls/vials (Revelation 16:1–21) are three series of end-times judgments from God. The judgments get increasingly worse and more devastating as the end times progress. The seven seals, trumpets, and bowls are connected to one another. The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:1–5), and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven bowls (Revelation 11:15–19; 15:1–8).
The seven seals include the appearance of the Antichrist (Revelation 6:1–2), great warfare (Revelation 6:3–4), famine (Revelation 6:5–6), plague (Revelation 6:7–8), the martyrdom of believers in Christ (Revelation 6:9–11), a devastating earthquake causing terrible devastation, and astronomical upheaval (Revelation 6:12–14). Those who survive the six seals are right to cry out, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:16–17).
The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpet judgments. The trumpets include hail and fire that destroy much of the plant life in the world (Revelation 8:7), the death of much of the world’s aquatic life (Revelation 8:8–9; 8:10–11), the darkening of the sun and moon (Revelation 8:12), a plague of “demonic locusts” that torture the unsaved (Revelation 9:1–11), and the march of a demonic army that kills a third of humanity (Revelation 9:12–21).
The seventh trumpet calls forth seven angels who carry the seven bowls of God’s wrath (Revelation 11:15–19; 15:1–8). The bowl judgments include painful sores afflicting humanity (Revelation 16:2), the death of every living thing in the sea (Revelation 16:3), the turning of rivers to blood (Revelation 16:4–7), an intensifying of the sun’s heat (Revelation 16:8–9), great darkness and an intensification of the sores from the first bowl (Revelation 16:10–11), the advance of the Antichrist’s armies at Armageddon (Revelation 16:12–14), and a devastating earthquake followed by giant hailstones (Revelation 16:15–21).
Together, the seals, trumpets, and bowls of the end times comprise “the great day of [God’s] wrath” (Revelation 6:17) and serve to judge the Antichrist’s kingdom of wickedness. Revelation 16:5–7 declares of God, “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve. . . . Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”
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