When Is the Seventh Trumpet of Revelation 11:15-19 Blown?
Clues to Dating the Seventh Trumpet
There is an important question that students of the trumpets of Revelation 8 through 11 will want to know the answer to, which is: When is the seventh trumpet blown?
But, why would one want to know the answer to that question? It depends somewhat upon one's viewpoint of the trumpets, but the most fundamental answer to this question is that there are many who teach that the trumpets are yet future. For some, this means all are in the future. For others, it means that only the last few trumpets are yet future, with the others in the past. If the seventh trumpet has already blown or is about to blow, then the question of any or all of the trumpets being in the future is answered automatically. If the seventh trumpet is yet future, then many will feel that their viewpoint will not need to change. Thus, the answer to the question of when the seventh trumpet is blown is very relevant to the viewpoint one takes with all the trumpets.
In order to answer the question of when the seventh trumpet is blown, there are several avenues of research in Revelation 8 through 11 that must be pursued. The first of these is found in Revelation 8:2-5. The second deals with Revelation 10:7. The third is Revelation 11:14-19. Because of the nature of the problem and the material available, on this web page Revelation 10:7 and Revelation 11:14-19 are largely considered together. A full understanding of this requires that the chiastic pattern of Revelation 11 will be discussed.
To begin, the author wishes to start with Revelation 8:2-5 and deal with the common problem this presents and why the understanding of this set of verses is often incorrect.
In Revelation 8:2-5, the seven angels which stand before God are given seven trumpets. Then, they stand and wait while another event takes place before they begin to sound. The intervening event is that an angel is seen standing at the altar (the one outside of the temple) and is given incense and a censer to burn it in. He then moves to the golden altar in the holy place and proceeds to burn the incense. Note that the golden altar is in the holy place of the sanctuary on the opposite side of the veil from where the ark of the covenant is located. The smoke is said to ascend up with the prayers of the saints before God. Then he takes coals of fire from off the altar, puts them in the censer, and hurls it upon the earth. This is followed by voices, lightnings, thunderings, and an earthquake. After he is done with this, then the seven angels begin to sound their trumpets one at a time.
Now, the problem here is to gain a proper understanding of what this angel is trying to tell us by the activities he does. Obviously he is acting out symbolic actions in order to convey a message. Let us be sure we understand clearly what he is telling us.
Ranko Stephanovic, on page 285 of his book Revelation of Jesus Christ (Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA), documents that it was the practice under the Jewish sacrificial system that when the priest offered up the evening daily sacrifice, he would afterwards go into the holy place and burn incense upon the golden altar while carrying the censer with him (and you can guess it had incense in it as well for that is what it was normally used for - but to my knowledge, we don't know that for sure). Then, when this task was complete, the priest would walk out of the temple and then seven trumpets would be blown to announce the end of the daily sacrifice for that day.
Some people, when reading the description of the angel's actions, decide that this activity and where it is carried out determines the date BEFORE the first trumpet. And, they are right. But the problem is that many such individuals decide that this action must take place at the end of the investigative judgment, which is yet future as of the writing of this web page (September of 2004). They decide that this is so because they think that hurling the censer full of coals and incense to the earth indicates that the investigative judgment is over. Unfortunately, they fail to consider all the evidence available, and miss certain evidence that would make it clear that Revelation 8:2-5 is not the investigative judgment scene.
In the Old Testament services of the sanctuary, the golden altar was ALWAYS kept in the holy place before the veil, just on the other side of the veil opposite from the ark of the covenant where the presence of God was manifested. Remember this: The golden altar was NEVER taken into the most holy place. There are no instructions in the Old Testament that the author has been able to find in which the priests were instructed to take the golden altar into the most holy place at any time. The priests were instructed by God to enter the most holy place only at certain times, particularly on certain ceremonial days, and they were never to enter without a censer with burning incense in hand. To do otherwise was to invite death. The cloud formed by the burning incense clearly represents the protection given by Christ so that we are not consumed by God. You can read about this in Leviticus 16.
Now, in this scene in Revelation 8:2-5, we find the angel standing before the golden altar in the holy place burning incense in a censer. In this symbolic ceremony the angel is representing time during the daily services of the sanctuary by his action of standing in front of the golden altar and burning incense. If it were the day of atonement that he was representing, he would NOT be standing in front of the golden altar offering up the prayers of the saints with the incense, but rather would be within the veil in the most holy place with the censer only AND without the golden altar in front of him. Hence, this symbolic ceremony does NOT represent the time of the investigative judgment but instead represents the daily ministration of Christ in the holy place, which He did from the time of his ascension to heaven until the beginning of the investigative judgment in the fall of 1844. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who are misinformed about this and consequently draw the wrong conclusions.
The fact that John sees this event with the angel standing at the altar outside of the temple is very significant, because that is exactly what the priest would have done during the course of the daily service. For the daily service, he would have done the daily sacrifice on the altar outside the temple itself, and then would have taken the censer with him and gone into the temple to the golden altar and there burned incense. The fact that John first sees him at the altar and then moving to the golden altar to burn incense strongly reinforces the fact that this represents the daily ministration of Christ, not the day of atonement service (the investigative judgment). This again reinforces that the activity seen by John is telling us that we are to understand that this occurs during the daily ministration of Christ.
A logical question is what are the saints praying for that are seen ascending upwards in the smoke of the incense? While we don't know the answer to that question, we can surmise that in the original daily services of the priests in the Old Testament, we can imagine that the people were praying for a number of things, such as for their nation, forgiveness of sins in general, perhaps protection from enemies around them? A possible clue is that we can see that afterwards the trumpets blow, so perhaps these prayers were offered up because of all the evil being done by Christians who claimed the name of Christ but were not really Christians. Hence, the punishment nature of the plagues that follow against those who claim to be Christians but are not. These punishments might be the answer to the prayers of the saints from which we can possibly infer the content of the prayers.
But to complete the understanding of what the angel's activity at the altar represents, we need to know exactly what hurling coals of fire upon the earth signifies? It represents the judgments of God against those who claim to serve Him but really do not. The action of this angel is very similar to what is described in Ezekiel 10 and 11, where an angel is instructed to take coals of fire and spread them over the city of Jerusalem, the people of which at that time were claiming to be God's people, but their hearts were far from Him. Thus, the true Christians have their petitions taken and they go up before God for consideration. The false, apostate Christians will instead reap the judgments of God against them for their faithlessness.
The activity of the angel at the golden altar sets the tone for the entire trumpet series. The trumpet plagues are there for the purpose of punishing those who claim to be Christians but are not true Christians. They will reap the judgments of God, and will not have their petitions granted by God. Revelation 9:20-21 makes it clear that another intent of these trumpets is to bring men to repentance, but it is also clear that most do not repent of their sins and continue in their way of life that brings the plagues upon them in the first place.
Once the censer has been hurled to the earth, the first angel sounds his trumpet and the plagues begin.
To Date Trumpet #7, It Helps to Know When Trumpet #6 Ends
Revelation 11 says that the sixth trumpet ends during the events of that chapter. It then details the seventh trumpet. To help in dating the seventh trumpet, it is logical that the seventh trumpet should follow the sixth trumpet because all the trumpets occur as a sequence, so it is important to find out when the sixth trumpet ends. Do keep in mind that there is a gap between the sixth trumpet and the beginning of the seventh trumpet because it says when the sixth trumpet is done that the seventh comes quickly, implying a time gap between them. Therefore, the seventh trumpet does not start immediately after the sixth trumpet ends. To help in understanding when the 6th trumpet ends, the pattern of Revelation must be explained first, so let us next turn to the study of the pattern found in Revelation 11.
Revelation 11 is built around a chiastic pattern. The chapter is readily outlined using an A-B-B'-A' pattern. The A and A' is the time of the investigative judgment and includes some details that go beyond the investigative judgment. The B and B' is the 1260 days, the details of which start near the end of the 1260 days and specifically deal with the French Revolution, and also includes some details that go a little beyond the 1260 days. Here is a table outline for the chapter with that pattern beside it so one can readily see that this is so:
Event Description in Rev. 11
|Time Parameters||Chiastic Pattern Level|
|Rev 11:1 And there was given me a
reed like a rod: and the
angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar,
and them that worship in it.
|Investigative Judgment - 1844 and onward||
|Rev 11:2 But the court which is without
the temple, leave
out, and measure it not; for it is given to the Gentiles: and the holy city
shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
|Rev. 11:3-13, Two witnesses story
during the 1260 days, the French Revolution details
||1260 days details and a little afterwards||B'|
|Rev 11:14 The second woe is past;
and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
||Before 1844 - see Rev. 10:7, note omission of 6th trumpet after 1844, this serves as a termination point of the second woe and as part of the information about the 1260 days, must be included with the events associated with it, so must end before 1844. Actual ending date was Aug. 11, 1840.|
|Rev. 11:15-19 - measurement (investigative
judgment) and result,
with reward pronounced - Christ receives the kingdom, the saints rewarded,
the wicked judged and rewarded, anger of the nations, wrath of God, dead are judged, wicked destroyed
|Investigative Judgment details and afterwards||A'|
The key to understanding Revelation 11 is found in verses
1-2. Many people read
those two verses and fail to properly understand them or their extremely important relationship with the remainder of Revelation 11. Verses 1-2 set up the time parameters for what follows in the remainder of the chapter, or in other words, they tell the reader what time periods the next two parts of the chapter cover in history. Revelation 11 cannot be understood correctly if the intent of these two verses is not properly understood.
Verse 1 tells you that John was given a measuring rod and told to measure the temple, altar, and the people in the temple area itself (inside the outer court) At this point, an extremely important question needs to be asked, which is: what is the symbolic meaning of measurement in Revelation 11? To answer this important question, refer to Daniel 5, and there you will find that measurement was God's investigative judgment of king Belshazzar. In the story, Belshazzar held a huge party one night. The Medes and Persians were outside the gates of the city trying to get in, but Belshazzar felt safe inside. During the party, he ordered that the vessels from the temple in Jerusalem be brought in for use by the party revelers. Soon after that was done, a hand appeared near a wall and began to write strange characters on the wall. Having done that, apparently the hand simply disappeared, leaving behind very puzzled guests as to the meaning of this strange event. Belshazzar's smartest, most educated men could not read the characters, so Daniel was called. Daniel told Belshazzar that God had weighed him (Belshazzar) in the balances, which means you could say Belshazzar was measured. Daniel then pronounced the result - Belshazzar was found wanting (deficient), and the reward to be given out because of the declared result was also stated - Belshazzar's kingdom was given to another. But this really is the same process that occurs whenever God does an investigative judgment, something for which many examples are shown in the Bible.
Some would object because some versions render Revelation 11:1 as stating that the temple and altar is to be measured, but the worshipers are to be counted only. Counting is a form of measurement, is it not? So, they are being measured by counting just as surely as they would be by measuring with a measuring stick. Counting people is simply a different measurement. The idea of counting really is a good one because in Revelation 11:15, we are told that Christ will receive his kingdom at the end of the investigative judgment. That cannot happen until the list of subjects of his kingdom is made up, something that will not be completed until the investigative judgment has ended. So, to count the worshipers in a way is to determine those who ultimately are part of the kingdom of Christ. Remember that John was to count or measure the worshipers in the inner court, not the outer court where the gentiles were. Thus, only the professed people of God are measured or counted. But that is what the investigative judgment is all about - measuring those who have claimed Christ as their Saviour. Thus, ultimately, Revelation 11:1 is telling you that an investigative judgment is to be done on the people of God - the worshipers in the temple. We know from Daniel 8:14 that the investigative judgment began at the end of the 2300 days, which can be dated to the fall of 1844.
In Revelation 11:2, the angel tells John NOT to measure the outer court (where the gentiles were to be) because they would trample the holy city underfoot for a period of 1260 days. In the Old Testament sanctuary, the gentiles were not to go beyond the outer court into the temple grounds where the inner court was. They were to remain there and go no further.
Now, to be told NOT to measure the people during the 1260 days is to tell us that there is NO investigative judgment during the 1260 days. This makes sense because in the previous verse, measurement symbolized the investigative judgment which Daniel 8:14, Daniel 9:25, and history clearly tells us began after the 1260 days/years.. Here we are told when measurement, or investigative judgment, is not to take place. The 1260 days encompasses the time period from 538 AD to 1798 AD. The fact that the 1260 days is mentioned in association with the command NOT to measure gives us a clue that not measuring is associated with a time period. Likewise, it only makes sense that when measurement is going on, it too is associated with a time period. The time period for the investigative judgment can be established by Daniel 8:14, Daniel 9:25, and history, and began in the fall of 1844.
But note that from 1798 to 1844, there is a time gap. Since the end of the sixth trumpet (second woe) is placed in Revelation 11 between the events of the 1260 days and the investigative judgment events, it stands to reason that the second woe must end somewhere between 1798 and the beginning of the investigative judgment in 1844. If that were not the case, then why associate the end of the second woe with the events of the 1260 days, and have it followed by the investigative judgment events? The second woe is believed to be the invasions of the Turks into Christian Europe during the latter years of the dark ages. From the information presented in Revelation 9 and history, it is clear that the Turks began to give up their sovereignty in 1840, though their empire was not finished off until World War I. The giving up of their sovereignty is what marked the end of the second woe because there was no significant expansion of their empire from then on and they were to some degree subject to the will of other powers from then on.
Revelation 11:2 says there is no measurement during the 1260 days. Revelation 11:3-14 repeats the 1260 days, but this time it gives details that occur during and a little after the 1260 days. The starting point for the events that are given in these verses is right near the end of the 1260 days and running to just a little after the 1260 days are over. Verse 14 simply serves to mark the end of the second woe and the events connected with the 1260 days in Revelation 11.
Likewise, verses 11:15-19 give the details of the investigative judgment time. Like the details of the events described for the 1260 days, which began right near the end of the 1260 days and ran to a little just past the 1260 days, the details outlined in Revelation 11 of the investigative judgment time (remember the investigative judgment itself started in 1844) should also run from near the end of the investigative judgment to just after. That does appear to be the case because most, though not all, of the consequences of the seventh trumpet take place AFTER the end of the investigative judgment.
Because of this pattern, it should immediately tell us that the seventh trumpet should be blown sometime before and near, but not at, the end of the investigative judgment. Let us delve into the details of the seventh trumpet to discover more clues to dating it.
How Do the Events That Occur After the 7th Trumpet Is Blown Help Determine When It Is Blown?
To begin, verse 15 tells you that when the 7th trumpet
was blown, it was followed by
voices that proclaimed the following:
Rev 11:15 ...The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and
of his Christ; and he will reign for ever and ever.
A little further it explains more of what is to come:
Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time
of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward
to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name,
small and great; and shouldest destroy them who destroy the earth.
Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in
his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices,
and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
After the seventh trumpet is blown, a whole series of events follow. For one, Christ receives His kingdom at the end of the investigative judgment. His kingdom is made up of people who are loyal to Him (it does say to reward the prophets, the saints, and those who fear the name of God, which certainly is telling us the consistency of His kingdom). The list of those who are loyal to Him will be complete at the end of the investigative judgment, and not before. Thus, He receives His kingdom at the end of the investigative judgment because only then can everyone know who those people are that will make up the complete kingdom. The temple being opened in heaven and the events that attend it can be associated with the seventh plague just before Jesus comes again, which is even further from the end of the investigative judgment.
So, how do we date the blowing of the seventh trumpet?
Many argue that on the basis of Revelation 10:7, it must be blown at the end of the investigative judgment. But, as explained below, this is probably not the correct understanding of Revelation 10:7. In addition, such an interpretation does not agree with Revelation 11:18. To explain why that is the case, Table 2 has been set up below to show the two parallel sequences of events found in Revelation 11:18:
Revelation 11:18 Dual Sequence Outlines
Sequence #1 - Anger against God's
people and God's
response to it
Sequence #2 - Reward Sequence
|1||Seventh Trumpet Blown (Rev 11:15)||1||Seventh Trumpet Blown (Rev 11:15)|
|2||the nations were angry||?||2|
|3||the wrath of God is come||Seven Last Plagues||3|
|4||4||reward the righteous - they get eternal life||Second Coming of Jesus|
|5||time to judge the dead||Millennium||5|
|6||6||Reward the wicked - destroy those who destroy the earth - they get eternal death||Hell|
In Table 2, the seventh trumpet blowing is shown as the first event of both sequences to give the idea that it comes before all the events that follow in either sequence, though it is not listed as one of the events of Revelation 11:18. It is there to keep the time relationship of the events listed in the table in proper perspective.
Note that the reward of the righteous, which is eternal life, is given at the second coming of Jesus. The wicked receive their reward at hell, which is eternal death. Not all of the reward of the righteous will be given at the second coming of Jesus. Some of the promises of God will be held back until after hell is completed at which time the earth will be recreated and a permanent home for the righteous will be given to each and every one upon the earth made new. That completes the reward of the righteous. But for any person without the prior reward of eternal life, there will be no eternal home on the new earth. Therefore, the first step - eternal life - is an absolute prerequisite for completion of the rest of the promise. As a result, the reward can and should be considered to be delivered at the second coming in this instance.
The events in Revelation 11:18 are written a little out of order and can be taken apart if one understands the sequence of events. When studying this, the author realized that there were two different sequences described in that verse that are intermingled. By separating them, one can see that they are sequences, and that helps to ascertain the relative dating of the "nations were angry" phrase. One question of interest is this: What does the Bible mean by this phrase, the nations were angry?
As you look over table 2, it should be clear that the two sequences involve events that move forward in time from start to finish. In the first sequence, it should be clear that if the last two events (the wrath of God and time to judge the dead) occur is sequence, then the first item (the nations were angry) must occur before these two events. Because the wrath of God is the time of the seven last plagues, the nations being angry MUST occur BEFORE the beginning of the seven last plagues. But when is the anger of the nations?
The nations being angry is not a reference to the anger of one nation against one another that results in warfare between nations. Rather this is the anger directed against the people of God. Why? Consider the following points:
- Jesus said the following Mat
24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of
wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these
things must come to pass, but
the end is not yet.
Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Mat 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
- The sixth trumpet events must complete before the seventh trumpet begins. If the anger of the nations precedes the blowing of the seventh trumpet, it should be listed as part of the events of a previous trumpet. That is not the case, indicating that this event is one that immediately precedes the wrath of God and follows the seventh trumpet.
- The sixth trumpet ended on August 11, 1840, so the seventh trumpet absolutely must follow that. Also this indicates that the anger of the nations cannot be the same as warfare, for that has existed since the earliest days of man upon this world and therefore should have been listed with trumpet number one.
- Revelation is not about nations rising to power and
fighting each other, but rather it is about the powers
that array themselves against the people of God and
how God will deliver them from this power. Therefore,
warfare against the true people of God is to be noticed
carefully. There are two periods of warfare against
the people of God. The first of these is when the
beast has power for 42 months and carries out a war
against God's people through its power over the nation.
The second is when the beast returns just before the
close of the investigative judgment and the beginning
of the seven last plagues. Again, this will be through
the power the returned beast has over the power of
the nations. The first is already past, and the second
is just before us.
Ultimately, the logical conclusion is that the seventh trumpet MUST be blown before the end of the investigative judgment. No other conclusion is possible.
What Is the Correct Explanation of Revelation 10:7?
Now let us turn our attention to Revelation 10:7.
Revelation 10:7 says the following:
Rev 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, whenever he is about to trumpet, was even ended the mystery of God, as He preached to His slaves, the prophets. (LITV)
As explained above, many see this verse and think to themselves that the "mystery of God" is the gospel of Jesus, so they assume that the "mystery of God" being finished must logically be the finishing up of the gospel work, or in other words, completion of the gospel commission that Jesus gave in Matthew 28:18-20. While this has an appeal to it and appears logical, the author has realized that this is probably not so (and no doubt, there are others who have reached the same conclusion). The belief is that the "mystery" of God" is the gospel. But it does NOT say that the giving of the gospel message to the world will be finished, but rather what it says is that the mystery of God (the gospel of Jesus) will be finished. The gospel is the "good news" about Jesus, the knowledge of Jesus and all associated knowledge that God wants us to have. To finish it means to complete it, to bring the knowledge to the full state that God intends for it to reach. This is NOT the same as giving the gospel to the whole world. That will be accomplished AFTER this knowledge is complete for only then can a complete accounting of the gospel be given to the world.
The root problem here is that a common assumption underlies the interpretation of this verse, an assumption that is likely incorrect at the heart of it. It is true that the "mystery of God" is the gospel, but finishing the gospel is not the same as finishing the giving of the gospel to the whole world. There IS a difference between the two and it makes all the difference in the world in the interpretation of Revelation 10:7.
When a person believes that the giving of the gospel to the whole world is at the heart of the finishing of the mystery of God, then this automatically forces the blowing of the seventh trumpet to the end of the investigative judgment, at which time the giving of the gospel to the whole world will be completed. But, if a person sees that this verse is actually referring to the finishing of the gospel, or completion of knowledge about the gospel, then it creates a situation in which the seventh trumpet can be blown before the end of the investigative judgment. Does this make sense?
If one insists that the finishing of the mystery of God is the finishing of the giving of the gospel to the whole world, then it creates a contradiction between Revelation 10:7 and the events of Revelation 11:18. Revelation 11:18 makes it abundantly clear that the seventh trumpet is blown before the end of the investigative judgment because it is blown before the time in which the "nations are angry" (review Table 2). Consequently, one must either deny what Revelation 11:18 says, or ignore it altogether as many do, or else find a better solution. The author decided that it would be more prudent to seek a better solution, or in other words, study Revelation 10:7 and 11:18 until a better and more harmonious understanding of the relation between these two verses could be achieved. That resulted in a better understanding of the meaning of the phrase "mystery of God".
To illustrate the contradiction presented by the common assumption about Revelation 10:7 in relation to Revelation 11:18, here is a small graphic picture of the problem (note: time is not to scale):
|-----------------|---------------|--------------| 1844 Rev 11:18 Revelation 10:7 Second Investigative Seventh Trumpet Investigative coming Judgment blown Judgment Ends Begins and seventh trumpet blown
With this type of contradiction, where there are two different dates given for the blowing of the seventh trumpet, one has to realize that something is wrong. The author first considered that perhaps there was a mistake in the translation of the Greek word commonly translated as "finished" or "completed" in Revelation 10:7 (there are known mistakes in translation that have occurred, so this is not impossible), but discarded this thought after some careful investigation revealed that this word was translated correctly. That being the case, it became apparent that the underlying assumptions about Revelation 10:7 were probably at fault.
Do remember that with this type of contradiction, one cannot simply assume that one verse takes precedence over the other. That won't work because two different dates for the same event occur here, something that must be resolved. The understanding of Revelation 11:18 apparently is not at fault, so Revelation 10:7 must be the source of the problem.
To solve this contradiction, the author started up his Bible software and looked up all verses in the New Testament which contained the words "mystery" and "God". The following verses came up:
Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
Colossians 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Looking over the verses above, one can see that there are different mysteries described. There is, for example, the mystery of godliness, which in 1 Timothy 3:16 is described as God manifesting himself in the flesh in Jesus. There is the mystery of Christ spoken of in Colossians 1:27, which was described as Christ being in the minds of the gentiles. There is also the mystery of the kingdom of God. All of these come close, and do help, but the one that comes the closest to the "mystery of God" is that spoken of in Colossians 2:2, for which it is pertinent that the surrounding verses be included for context. Here is what is said there:
Col 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have concerning you, and those in Laodicea, and as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,
Col 2:2 that their hearts may be comforted, being joined together in love, and to all riches of the full assurance of the understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God, even of the Father and of Christ,
Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.
Here Paul tells the Colossians that he struggled to be sure they had several things, including the full knowledge of the mystery of God, which he seems to equate to knowledge of the Father and of Christ. By this, Paul tells us that the knowledge of the mystery of God is the knowledge of the Father and of Christ. So, the mystery of God is that knowledge God wants us to have of Him. It is to know Him personally. But we do that through learning about God through the Bible, the best way we have of getting to know Him personally.
One could say that this mystery of God or knowledge God wants us to have is the gospel of Christ. But notice that speaking of this mystery to others or sharing it with others is not the same as the mystery itself according to Colossians 4:3, for there Paul says he wishes that the Colossians would pray for him and his coworkers that they would have occasion to speak to others about this mystery of Christ. People tend to get the gospel and the giving of the gospel mixed up in Revelation 10:7, which causes an incorrect interpretation. Revelation 10:7 is telling us that the knowledge of the gospel will be completed before the seventh trumpet is blown. That verse does NOT say that the giving of the gospel to the world will be completed. In order to understand this verse correctly, the distinction must be understood. We know the gospel will be given to the whole world and then the end will come, but this verse apparently is not the promise of that happening as many think it to be. That promise is found elsewhere in the Bible.
With the understanding that Revelation 10:7 is telling us that prophetic knowledge will be completed prior to the blowing of the seventh trumpet, this does NOT force the seventh trumpet blowing to the end of the investigative judgment, but rather allows it to be dated to some time prior so as to coordinate with Revelation 11:18. The dates of the two verses must coincide.
Below is an illustration of a corrected time line - the time line can now look like this:
|--------------------|------------|--------------| 1844 Rev 11:18 and Investigative Second Investigative Rev 10:7 Judgment Ends coming Judgment Seventh Trumpet Begins blown
With this timeline, there is no conflict between Revelation 11:18 and Revelation 10:7 because both permit the seventh trumpet to be blown before the investigative judgment ends, so can coincide.
There is a second time limit that helps determine that the seventh angel must blow his trumpet after the beginning of the investigative judgment. In Revelation 10:7, it says that there is no more time (this refers to the prophetic time of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14), but then tells us that in the days of the seventh angel, just before he begins to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God will be finished. This tells us that prophetic time where there are anchoring dates (starting or ending dates where the prophetic time is definite and tied to dates rather than events) are past. This plainly tells us, in the same sentence, that the seventh angel will blow his trumpet after the time of "time no longer" (Rev 10:6) has begun. Hence, there is more literal time yet to come and the mystery of God will be finished and the seventh angel will blow his trumpet during this time. Therefore, the seventh angel must blow his trumpet AFTER the autumn of 1844, when the investigative judgment began and the 2300 days ended.
What Prophecies Are To Be Opened Before the Seventh Trumpet is Blown?
The book of Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus (Revelation 1:1), which clearly tells us that by studying this book, one is getting acquainted with Christ. In addition, the context of Revelation 10:7 is that of an open scroll in the hand of the angel that comes down to John in his vision. This scroll is a book of prophecy, which we can know because in Revelation 5, we have the story of the scroll that is sealed shut with seven seals. Only the lamb, which represents Jesus, is able to open that scroll by undoing each seal. As He opens each seal, more and more of future history is revealed, indicating that this scroll, once opened, reveals history that was yet future to John. From this we may conclude that the closed scroll is prophecy that has not been opened to our understanding, while an open scroll is prophecy that has been opened to us so that we may understand it.
Now, specifically this open scroll refers primarily to the book of Daniel that was to be opened at the end of the 1260 days (in the year 1798 - see Daniel 12). Secondarily it very likely represents the book of Revelation, which was never a sealed book, but has been poorly understood because of efforts of men to keep the contents hidden and obscured.
Revelation 10:7 provides its own evidence that this is so. Here is why:
Rev 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, whenever he is about to trumpet, was even ended the mystery of God, as He preached to His slaves, the prophets. (LITV)
Who is it that this mystery of God has been revealed or preached to already? Answer: "His slaves, the prophets." Thus, from this we may conclude that this mystery of God directly involves prophecy. It is the prophetic teachings that are recorded by the prophets. Specifically, since this is presented in the book of Revelation, one should logically conclude that Revelation and the companion book to Revelation, the book of Daniel, is what is included in this definition. Therefore, the prophetic writings of Daniel and Revelation must be completely understood by somebody here on earth in order to complete the gospel, and then the seventh trumpet will blow. Once that trumpet has blown, we may expect the seventh plague to follow (remember that the trumpets are described as plagues in Revelation 9:20). Shortly after this, we may expect the gospel to go to the whole world. Then the remaining consequences described in Revelation 11:15-19 will follow the seventh trumpet plague itself.
Revelation 11 does not detail the cause of the seventh plague, unlike the first and second woes, which were caused by the Saracens (represented by the locusts) and the Turks (represented by the horses and horsemen), respectively. But given that it was Muslims (both the Saracens and the Turks were Muslims) that caused the first and second woes, and knowing that the seventh trumpet is also a woe, we may expect the third woe (or seventh plague) to be caused by another wave of Muslim wars against apostate Christians. This will anger the nations, and then, in an attempt to make things right with God because of disasters that will accompany this war, they will decide that God is punishing them for their sins and will choose a course of reform. Of course, then they turn on the people of God because those people will stand in the way of their "reform". This "reform" will turn out to be misguided because they will not be choosing obedience to God's way, but rather will choose obedience to commandments made up by men. Specifically, they will choose to honor a man-made Sabbath, the Sabbath selected for honor by the pope in Rome, Sunday, rather than the seventh-day Sabbath that God has chosen and requires us to keep in honor of His act of creating life upon this world. The result will be that the nations will become even more angry and the end time events follow naturally. You can read more of this in Revelation 13:11-18 and Revelation 17:8-14.
The author believes that like the second woe, in which the Protestant Reformation succeeded because the Turks attacked whenever the Papal armies were attacking the Protestants, it seems likely that the final work of spreading the gospel will be hindered by forces arrayed against this activity, but the attacks of the Muslims will distract these forces from accomplishing their ultimate objective, and thus serve to permit or even enhance the spread of the gospel. The attacks of the Muslims will cause many to question and study the Bible so that they will gain a better understanding of God and salvation. This will lead to salvation for many.
The fact is that completing the understanding the prophetic writings of Daniel and Revelation before the seventh trumpet is blown is in line with the book of Daniel, which says:
Dan 12:4 But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, to the end time. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Dan 12:9 And He said, Go, Daniel! For the words are closed up and sealed until the end time.
Most scholars say that this "knowledge" primarily refers to knowledge about the Bible, and not specifically to scientific knowledge, though that probably is included as well. Certainly it is true that since 1798, knowledge about God and the Bible has greatly increased.
When was the end of time, according to Daniel?
Dan 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was on the waters of the river, when he held up his right and his left hand to the heavens and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and a half. And when they have made an end of scattering the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
All things would be finished AFTER the 1260 days (time, times, and a half), which clearly means the end time occurs when the 1260 days are done. When you finish things, you bring them to an end, don't you? So, if you are in the finishing stage of doing a set of tasks, you are doing the end of these things. It only makes sense. The 1260 days/years ended on February 15, 1798 when the Papacy was decreed dead by the French authorities when they took over Rome. It didn't totally die, but it did lose its power over the saints and largely lost its control over the governments of Europe. As a result, we are now living in the time that Daniel was told is the end time.
Logically, then, the angel said in Revelation 10:7 that when knowledge about God is complete (what God wants us to know about prophecy), then the seventh trumpet shall be blown. The way it was actually said is that this completion of knowledge will occur just as the seventh angel is about ready to blow his trumpet. And clearly this involves prophecy about end time events, so includes both Daniel and Revelation.
What knowledge is it in Daniel and Revelation that must be completed prior to the blowing of the seventh trumpet? Daniel is generally well understood, though it is difficult. Most of Revelation is also well understood. However, there is one exception, which has to do with Revelation 17. The heads and horns of the scarlet beast have not been well understood. There are those who claim to properly understand these things, but the author has serious doubts about that. The pattern of interpretation used by most is in direct contradiction with how things are done in Daniel. Since God designed the visions given to both Daniel and John, it seems very unlikely He would use two different patterns for the same type of prophetic beasts. Unfortunately, most interpretations of Revelation 17 avoid use of the rules of interpretation derived from Daniel, so as a result, most interpretations of the scarlet beast and its heads and horns in Revelation 17 are incorrect.
As it happens, the heads and horns of the scarlet beast of Revelation 17 and the connection of the papal count to the number 666 as described on this web site was not understood prior to 1997. The author believes that this knowledge is probably that which must be completed. The study of Revelation 17 presented here on this web site, therefore, is likely to be fulfillment of this prophecy. Why didn't God simply tell us right there what the mystery of God is? The answer to that is that to have done so directly would have given away the secret! However, God does provide the answer, which the next section covers. Meanwhile, we are in a terrorist war now with Muslims that really got going after 1997. Does this suggest something to you?
Mystery of God and Mystery, Babylon the Great
The mystery of God is defined above as the knowledge of God that God wants us to have before He comes again, and in particular the prophetic knowledge of Daniel and Revelation. What is interesting is that Revelation 17, which in particular is probably that knowledge which must be completed before the seventh trumpet is blown, has a title for the woman who rides the 7 heads of the beast. She has the title of Mystery, Babylon.the Great. Elsewhere in Revelation, the terms "Babylon" or "the great city" are used instead, so they are the same thing. But clearly there is a mystery of Babylon that is presented here. It seems to the author that this title appears to be a parallel with the phrase "mystery of God" that is used in Revelation 10:7. This would strongly suggest that the title the woman has is referring to the knowledge of Satan and sin, instead of God, the prophecies, and doing right. Thus, there is significance to the title "Mystery, Babylon the Great".
Notice that Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17 is sitting on the seven heads of the scarlet beast. It says "And here is the mind which hath wisdom" (Rev. 17:9), which implies that there is a mystery to this and requires wisdom to figure it out. It is not obvious to the casual observer. But note also that it is a mystery during the time when the woman is sitting on the seven heads, but the fact that there is a mind that has wisdom to figure it out suggests that during this time, it will be understood before this time is over. Revelation 10:7 tells us the timing of when this understanding is created, which is that this understaning of this mystery will come before the third woe begins.
The woman sitting on the seven heads, along with their identity and when they exist, has always been a mystery. The entire section is written as a puzzle to be solved. Here is that puzzle:
Rev 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
Rev 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Rev 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
Rev 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Rev 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
Rev 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Rev 17:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Note that verse 7 tells you that there is a mystery to both the woman and the beast. Both are a secret or a puzzle to be solved.
The common understanding is that the finishing of the "mystery of God" is the finishing of the gospel work, or in other words the gospel goes to the whole world as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18-20. What is the mystery about the giving of the gospel to the whole world? Jesus gave a very plain command about that and there is no mystery about it. A mystery is something that is not understood, something that is a secret until revealed. Synonyms for mystery are puzzle or a riddle. The finishing of the gospel is not a mystery of any kind by any of those definitions. We may not know the details of how the gospel will be finished, but the fact that it will be finished is no mystery because Jesus tells us it will be finished. And He tells us how - the gospel will go to the whole world and THEN the end comes. Where is the mystery in that?
But this mystery in Revelation 17 has never been properly understood until now. Revelation 10:7 says that the mystery of God is the secret, mystery, or riddle that God has given to his prophets, so one must look elsewhere beyond this verse to know what that mystery is that God has revealed to his prophets. God did NOT reveal the answer to this puzzle in such a way that either of the writers of Daniel or Revelation figured it out so far as we can ascertain.
So, what is the mystery that he told them about? Look for the item labeled as a "mystery". There is this mystery of the woman and the mystery of the beast that God revealed to John as it is recorded in Revealtion 17, and indirectly to the prophet Daniel (think about the talking horn in Daniel 7, but it does not have the details of Revelation 17). There is no other item in Daniel or Revelation that is called a mystery except for Revelation 1:20, but that is no mystery anymore because it is explained in the same verse. Therefore, Revelation 17 is the only possibility for identification of the mystery delivered to the prophets. The description of the heads, horns, and the woman are stated in language that almost defies identification of the component parts. It begs to be identified and understood. Thus, this prophecy in Revelation 17 is the puzzle to be solved for it is the mystery that God has given to his prophets.
To solve this puzzle, the identity of the beast, the 7 heads, the 7 mountains, the 7 kings, the 10 horns, and the woman must all be correctly deduced. And the 8th must be properly identified. The fact is that most have failed to do this correctly because they do not understand two basic facts: (1) the rules of interpretation laid down in Danel apply also to Revelation, and (2) the identity of the scarlet beast. The secret was given to John and indirectly to Daniel as well. Until recently it remained a secret for Daniel had no idea what it was, and John does not say what he thought about it, but the author's guess is that he didn't know either because it was yet future to his time. How could he know because, so far as we know, he was not told the answer to the obvious questions - Who is the beast? Who are the heads? And so on.
There have been a number of hypotheses developed to explain the heads of Revelation 17. The only one that can be correct is the one developed just before the seventh trumpet blew, for the prophecy in Revelation 10:7 says that just as the seventh angel is about to blow his trumpet, then this mystery would be finished or completed. Since we are now in a Muslim war agairst Christians that started a few years ago here in America, we know that the seventh angel blew his trumpet. This means that any hypothesis developed just before the seventh angel blew his trumpet is much more likely to be correct. The one presented on this web site was developed just before the seventh angel blew his trumpet. Does this suggest something to you?
But now we understand from Revelation 10:7 that this puzzle will be solved before the seventh trumpet, or the third woe, begins. Since we now have a Muslim extremist war against Christian America, this is a clear sign that the third woe has begun. We are in for very difficult days ahead because of the third woe..
Table 3 below is a modification of Table 2 and shows the sequence of events for Revelation 11:15-19:
Sequence #1 - Anger against God's
people and God's
response to it
Sequence #2 - Reward Sequence
|1||Seventh Trumpet Blown (Rev 11:15), prophetic knowledge completed just before 7th trumpet is blown (Rev !0:7)||Before the "Nations were angry" of Rev 11:18||1||Seventh Trumpet Blown (Rev 11:15), prophetic knowledge completed just before 7th trumpet is blown (Rev !0:7)||Before the "Nations were angry" of Rev 11:18|
|2||Seventh Plague or Third Woe - Muslim War Against Christians (2 woes are Muslim, third should be one also)||Just after 7th trumpet blown||2|
|3||the nations were angry (Rev 11:18)||Near End of Investigative Judgment||3|
Christ Receives Kingdom
(Rev 11:15-17, Daniel 7:9-14)
|End of Investigative Judgment|
|5||the wrath of God is come (Rev 11:18)||First Six of Seven Last Plagues (Rev 16:1-16)||5|
Great Hail, lightnings, thunderings, earthquake (Rev 16:17-21)
Ark of God seen (10 commandments shown), lightnings, thunderings, great hail, earthquake (Rev 11:19)
|Seventh Plague of Seven Last Plagues (Rev 16:17-21)||6|
|7||7||reward the righteous (Rev 11:18)||Second Coming of Jesus (1 Cor 15:51-55)|
|8||time to judge the dead (Rev 11:18)||Millennium (Rev 20:4,5,11-15)||8|
|9||9||Reward the wicked - destroy those who destroy the earth (Rev 11:18)||Hell (Rev 20:9)|
In conclusion, we can know that the seventh trumpet will be blown AFTER the knowledge of the prophecies is complete, and this completion will occur before the beginning of the anger of the nations, which in turn occurs after 1844 and before the end of the investigative judgment. That is the final bottom line of this study.
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