Revelation 8:7-13 / Trumpets of Desolation

Posted on July 19, 2015


This is the twenty-third in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hilcrest Baptist Church on the morning of July 19, 2015. This message will look at the ecological devastation of the first four trumpet judgments. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not necessarily a full transcript.


Rev. 8:7-13


As mentioned last week, this brings us into the last half of the tribulation. Let’s look at what events will be taking place as God begins to pour out His judgments.

The Antichrist will be hard at work, and this is the point at which he is seen for who he really is. The abomination of desolations will occur. Christ makes mention of this.

  • Daniel 9:27
  • Matthew 24:15

This is when the antichrist will stand in the temple, and declare himself to be the messiah.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

When the antichrist declares himself to be god, it will trigger the final judgments.
We need to understand that this is God’s wrath at work. These are natural disasters that are solely at the hand of God. These are not man made phenomenons. None of these ecological disasters that we will see, will be the result of nuclear war, as some have suggested.

The text paints a pretty clear image of what will happen. Though we may not know the exact means by which these judgments will be executed, man-made weapons of war do not fit the text.

During the judgments of the first six seals, we saw some catastrophic results of the actions of man (war, the ensuing famine, disease and economic ruin, etc.). From this point on, it is all God!

Vegetation burned up:

We really don’t know the means by which God will accomplish this, but it could possibly be by way of volcanic eruptions. The steam and water thrown into the sky by such eruptions could easily condense into hail and fall to earth along with the lava.

This is strikingly similar to the plague of hail in Egypt.

  • Exodus 9:23-25

Dust and gases may so contaminate falling liquid water that it appears blood red. Or, it could be actual blood. . .

Whatever the means of this judgment, a third of the trees and all the grass will be burned up. The ecological impact of this will be devastating.

Again, this second trumpet judgment is not caused by pollution, as even ships are destroyed. It must be emphasized that this is solely by the hand of God.

Could this be a huge meteor or asteroid surrounded by gases that will ignite as it enters earth’s atmosphere? Such an impact impact would certainly create a tidal wave, which could destroy a third of the world’s ships.

Again, this bears a strong resemblance to the first of the Egyptian plagues, where the Nile was turned to blood.

  • Exodus 7:20-21

The sea becoming blood may refer to an event known as red tides, caused by billions of dead micro-organisms poisoning the water—in this case the result of the meteor’s collision. Or it may be actual blood, a clear act of judgment. I tend to believe that in both this and the preceding trumpet judgments, that the reference is to actual blood.

Blood would serve as both a reminder and as judgment. The blood of Christ was shed to redeem them from their unrighteousness.

  • Matthew 26:28

However, they will reject Him, and their blood will be shed instead. You either accept the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf, or you pay the penalty for sin on your own. Because of this, much blood will be shed in the coming judgments. The blood presented here, would be a grim reminder of that.

With the second trumpet, the world’s oceans were impacted. Here, with the third trumpet, fresh water takes a hit.

This is another celestial body falling to the earth. This may be a comet, since it leaves a fiery trail. It could be that it will disintegrate as it nears the earth, scattering over the globe.

Whatever it is that falls to the earth, it will scatter a poisonous substance throughout the earth’s water supply. The star is named wormwood, and the waters are said to be turned to wormwood.

Wormwood is a bitter, poisonous substance, derived from a root, that causes drunkenness and eventually death. In the previous two judgments, we saw blood, which should be a reminder of Jesus Christ, and the penalty of sin. Here the water is turned bitter. We are reminded of Jesus on the Cross. He got no water, only vinegar mixed (bitter) gall.

  • Matthew 27:34

Again, we see that the atrocities Jesus endured on the cross, will now be paid by those who have rejected Him. As a result many men will die.

With the fourth trumpet, God will reduce to intensity of the sun, moon and stars by one third. Again, we see a likening to the ninth plague of Egypt, the plague of darkness.

  • Exodus 10:21-23

This will likely be one of the signs which Jesus mentioned

  • Luke 21:25

The loss of solar heat will cause a radical drop in temperature, producing severe changes in meteorological, botanical, and biological cycles. So much for global warming! Combine this with the poisoned water supply, and the loss of vegetation, and the earth will be in poor shape, indeed.

As bad as things have already been, the angel warns of the impending judgments. Woe, woe, woe: One for each remaining trumpet blast. Although the first four trumpets are unimaginable, they will be nothing like the three to come

There can be no question at this point about the reality of God, yet men will still choose to reject Him. His mercies are great, and His judgments are terrible, and in all of life, we are given the choice of which we will choose.

Will we choose to be a vessel of wrath, or a vessel of mercy? Christ can either redeem the lost and transform lives, or He can destroy both body and soul in hell. In this world we tend to fear man, but in the end, it is God we need to fear.

  • Matthew 10:28

It’s not too late to allow transformation through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons