Now that we have received the comfort from the sealing of the righteous in chapter 7 we are going to get back to the business of judging in chapter 8.
Hopefully you remember from earlier that there are seven seals that are opened to reveal judgments on the earth, especially those who oppose God and his people. Behind the seventh seal are seven trumpets and in the seventh trumpet are the seven bowls. These seals, trumpets, and bowls take up most of the remainder of Revelation. So, in essence, the seals and what they reveal makes up most of the book.
As the trumpets begin to sound, they indicate a great number of trials being brought upon the earth. The echoes of the 10 Plagues in Egypt can be heard throughout this passage. Waters turned to blood, hail, destruction of crops, death, the sun and stars darkened. And yet, each trumpet brings destruction to only 1/3 of whatever is affected. It’s a partial judgment. Why are partial judgment and not a full destruction? These trumpets are warning blasts. They will ideally provide a wake up call to anybody opposing God and provide them an opportunity to change sides before a greater judgment comes. In this way, the judgment of God is in its own way a type of grace in that its intent to is get people’s attention and bring them to repentance. This idea is there in Exodus during the plagues as well. Several times we are told that God performed those great signs and wonders so that Israel might know that God is God and that the world might know that only God is God. While it seems that God is pouring out his wrath on Egypt (in Exodus) and Rome (in Revelation), there is a strong implication that part of the reason is to bring about the world’s awareness that God is God.
I have known people in my own life who have been awakened to their own need for repentance and a change in their life by tough times. Will it work in Revelation? I guess we will find out tomorrow. Spoiler alert: It’s not likely.