The seven trumpets and seven vial judgments are a topic of much speculation. Some posit that the seven trumpets and the seven vial judgments are essentially the same events. The theory can be described as the following: “The seven trumpets and the seven vial judgments describe the same events, but from different perspectives.” I will evaluate this theory as I compare and contrast the seven trumpets and the seven vial judgments in this article.
1st Trumpet & 1st Vial Judgment
The first trumpet and first vial judgment both impact the earth.
|Revelation 8:7 (1st Trumpet): The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.|
|Revelation 16:1-2 (1st Vial Judgment): (1) And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. (2) And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.|
I do not have a major issue with the theory here. The only issue is that the Revelation 8:7 focuses on the impact of the judgment on plant life while Revelation 16:2 focuses on the impact of the vial judgment on human life, but the theory accounts for this.
2nd Trumpet & 2nd Vial Judgment
The second trumpet and the second vial judgment both impact the sea by turning it into blood:
|Revelation 8:8-9 (2nd Trumpet): (8) And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; (9) And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.|
|Revelation 16:3 (2nd Vial Judgment):And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.|
The main issue I have equating the second trumpet with the second vial judgment is that there is a huge difference in magnitude between the impact of the second trumpet and the impact of the second vial judgment. 1/3 of the sea life dies from the sounding of the second trumpet, but all sea life dies following the pouring of the second vial judgment.
3rd Trumpet & 3rd Vial Judgment
The third trumpet and the third vial judgment both impact fresh water sources (fountains of waters and rivers):
|Revelation 8:10-11 (3rd Trumpet): (10) And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; (11) And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.|
|Revelation 16:4-7 (3rd Vial Judgment): (4) And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. (5) And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. (6) For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. (7) And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.|
The main issue I have equating the third trumpet with the third vial judgment is that it is hard for me to imagine most people electing to drink water that resembles blood because most people would surmise by examining the water’s odd color that the water is probably contaminated. I imagine the people drinking the wormwood water after the sounding of the third trumpet probably will be unaware that the water is unsafe to drink.
4th Trumpet & 4th Vial Judgment
The fourth trumpet and the fourth vial judgment both impact the sun.
|Revelation 8:12-13 (4th Trumpet): (12) And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. (13) And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!|
|Revelation 16:8-9 (4th Vial Judgment): (8) And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. (9) And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.|
I do not have a major issue with the theory here. Revelation 16 does not mention that the moon, the stars, and daylight were impacted by the fourth vial judgment, but that could be due to Revelation 16’s focus on how the sun will impact people.
5th Trumpet & 5th Vial Judgment
The fifth trumpet and the fifth vial judgment describe darkness overtaking the sky and people experiencing a lot of pain.
|Revelation 9:1-12 (5th Trumpet): (1) And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. (2) And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. (3) And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. (4) And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. (5) And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. (6) And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them…(10) And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months…(12) One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.|
|Revelation 16:10-11 (5th Vial Judgment): (10) And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (11) And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.|
I do not have a major issue with the theory here. As mentioned above, the fifth trumpet and the fifth vial judgment describe a dark planet and people in agony. Revelation 9:6 tells us that people won’t die from the locust plague while Revelation 16:11 emphasizes that people will be in pain (and does not mention that people are dying). However, an implication of equating the fifth trumpet with the fifth vial judgment is that the fifth vial judgment would have to last for five months since the fifth trumpet events will last for five months (Revelation 9:10).
6th Trumpet & 6th Vial Judgment
The sixth trumpet and the sixth vial judgment both involve the Euphrates River and describe the movement of troops.
|Revelation 9:13-21 (6th Trumpet): (13) And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, (14) Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. (15) And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. (16) And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. (17) And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. (18) By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. (19) For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. (20) And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: (21) Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.|
|Revelation 16:12-16 (6th Vial Judgment): (12) And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (16) And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.|
One major issue I have equating the sixth trumpet with the sixth vial judgment is that the spiritual beings responsible for rallying troops in each event are different in at least terms of quantity and origin. The four angels unleashed from the Euphrates River appear to be responsible for rallying 200 million troops while three unclean spirits from the mouths of the beast, false prophet, and the dragon are responsible for convincing people to assemble at Armageddon.
Another issue is that it is hard to imagine 1/3 of the world’s population dying in the effort to assemble the largest military force possible for the war of Armageddon. I imagine that the Antichrist, False Prophet, and Satan would want to minimize casualties as they work to assemble as many people as possible for combat since they will be involved in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil.
7th Trumpet & 7th Vial Judgment
The seventh trumpet and the seventh vial judgment both describe voices, lightning, thundering, an earthquake, and a great plague of hailstones.
|Revelation 11:15-19 (7th Trumpet): (15) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (16) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, (17) Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (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 unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (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.|
|Revelation 16:17-21 (7th Vial Judgment): (17) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. (18) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (19) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. (20) And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (21) And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.|
I do not have a major issue with the theory here. There are many parallels between the passage describing the events following the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the passage describing the pouring of the seventh vial judgment.
My Overall Thoughts
Overall, there are a lot of similarities between the trumpet events and the vial judgments. However, there are some areas where the trumpet events and the vial judgments are quite different. For instance, the second trumpet and the second vial judgment are different in terms of magnitude while the sixth trumpet and sixth vial judgment are different in terms of the spiritual beings involved. In addition, the vial judgments are more severe than the trumpet events, particularly the second vial judgment.
Therefore, I do not believe the trumpet events and vial judgments describe the same events in totality because there are some major differences in some of the judgments which lead me to believe that the events occur separately, particularly the second trumpet & second vial judgment, the third trumpet & third vial judgment, and the sixth trumpet & sixth vial judgment. However, I believe it is possible that Revelation 11:15-19 and Revelation 16:17-21 describe the same type of events because of the strong parallel between the two passages.