Seven Vial Judgments vs Seven Trumpets: Compare & Contrast

vial judgments

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.

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eaglet
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eaglet

The Bowls Judgement, Armageddon, and Second Coming of Christ happened at the opening of the Sixth Seal. Compare Rev. 6 with Matthew 24, it resembles. Right after Rev. 6, the 144k and the multitudes followed which could mean this is resurrection and rapture event, the First Resurrection.
What follows after the First Resurrection? Isn’t it the Millennium? If so, then the Seventh Seal is the Millennium, the half hour silence in heaven and the thousand years of peace on earth.
Trumpet Judgement happens then at the very and of the Millennium. The Seventh Trumpet is the White Throne Judgement.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

4

corbin
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corbin

I believe that the seven trumpets happen in the future EGW states “Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded; vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth.” Selected Messages 3:426 (1890). – {LDE 238.1}. This statement alone states that the seven trumpets are in the future but also you have this. Here are EGW remarks regarding chapter 11 being a dual chapter taken place in the past and to taking place in the future. “Let all who would understand the meaning of these things read the… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

Hi Connie I don’t usually like to say anything nowadays as people always tend to resist or denounce what a say however because you have still got an open mind and want to know the truth I will try again. The rapture of the church clearly takes place at seal six as can be confirmed by Jesus teachings in Matt 24: I have said before that the trumpets represent the wrath of God and comes after the church is raptured. If you look carefully you will see that there are two groups of people that are killed. Firstly there are… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

Robert, I have thought it through. Quite thoroughly for about four decades in fact. I began as a pre-trib, because that was what I had been taught. Then I believed for about a decade that the rapture was at the sixth seal, but there were things that still just didn’t reconcile with that, so I went back to God in prayer and went through all the O.T. scriptures, all the passages in the gospels and epistles, and then Revelation verse by verse . Finally I saw that when Paul said it was at the last trump, he was being quite… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

Hi Connie I am no way trying to dismiss your years of studies but unfortunately your conclusions are wrong. You have assumed falsely that the six seal is at the end of Daniel 70th week which is not the case. You have also assumed that the wrath of God comes at the end of Daniel 70th week which is also incorrect. The trumpets comes after the sixth seal. In fact they start at the seventh seal. These are what represent the wrath of God. What Paul said about the last trump has nothing to do with these trumpet judgements in… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

Now you may say how is my reasoning and study flawed prove it to me and it’s simply this the trumpets mentioned by Paul are the resurrection/rapture trumpets which will only last a short time Revelation trumpets last Approx 3 1/2 years now does that make sense. No it doesn’t and that’s how you they are not the same

Connie
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Connie

Robert, I do not think the sixth seal comes at the end of Daniel’s 70th week. It comes after the great tribulation which is cut short of the 42 months or 1260 days. How much short is an unknown, but it has to be more than 5 months before the end, for the 5th trumpet takes that long. When Paul spoke of the last trumpet when the rapture occurs, he spoke of the last trumpet. There is only one last trumpet, the 7th, which comes at the end of Daniel’s 70th week, when the two witnesses are resurrected after their… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

Connie I don’t know what being a woman has to do with understanding prophecy in fact I have found that women tend to understand prophecy more readily than men that’s why I thought you would understand more than most but I see that I was mistaken. Sometimes it take some people longer to understand things because of their mindset however whether you want to believe it or not you will see it with your own eyes as all these things will take place within the next 14 years. The days being shortened that Jesus mentioned was the earth’s current cycle… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

Robert, believe what you want about your interpretation and my “mindset”. Time will tell which of us, if either of us, is right. God bless.

Connie
Guest
Connie

I left something out of my comment (not sure if it appears above or below this) when I mentioned the group getting Victory, I was speaking of the second group on the sea of glass are the ones raptured, not the first group.

eaglet
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eaglet

Robert, John the Apostle could have simply said that the Great Tribulation Saints are the last batch of the Dead in Christ for the First Resurrection(s) Pretribbers kept on claiming that the Mystery that Paul is talking about is the Secret Rapture. These are mere speculations. How can you say that this is speculation with regards to the timing of the resurrection and the rapture: Sixth Angel who holds the Sixth Bowl Judgement introduces the Bride Seventh Angel who holds the Seventh Bowls Judgement introduces the Great Whore/Babylon I hope you see the obvious logic here. Jesus when He was… Read more »

eaglet
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eaglet

Robert, If we say the rapture will precede the resurrection and the time difference is 7 years, analyze this Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout (shout of the Groom), with the voice of the archangel (Michael), and with the trump of God (Blessing of the Father/blowing of the shofar heralding the coming of the Groom to get his Bride): and the dead in Christ shall rise (resurrect) FIRST: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) TOGETHER with them (dead in Christ) in the clouds,… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

Wayne, I want to share an idea that someone posted as a comment on one of my blog posts. He said that the seals, trumpets, and vials could find a comparison in the story of the Exodus. He equated the seals with Israel’s time of slavery in Egypt. The despotic “antichrist” pharoahs, the famine that brought them there to begin with, the persecution and death that was foisted upon them are all found in similarity in the seals. In looking at that idea, I saw the sixth seal as the prophesied signs of freedom from slavery to this world for… Read more »

Eric
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Eric

Try considering this views: 1. Vials judgement happens before the start of the millenium. Keypoints are the mention of beast, false prophets. 2. Trumpet Judgement happens before the end of the millenium. Keypoints are the mention of bottomless pit, Apollyon, and Abaddon. 3. Silence in Heaven is the millenium period. 4. First Seal up to Sixth seal happens from the ressurection of Jesus Christ up to His Second coming. 5. Seventh seal is the millenium period. 6. Gog and Magog happens before the end of millenium. Apollyon or Abadon is Gog. 7. Consider the parallels of plague events in Exodus… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

Do you believe the two witnesses preach during the millennium? For they are killed at the end of the 6th trumpet, which if I understand you correctly you put at the end of the millennium. I refer you to Rev. 9:12 which call the 5th, 6th, and 7th trumpet the three woes. Then I refer you to Rev. 11:7-15 which tells us that the two witnesses die at the end of the 2nd woe (6th trumpet). That would put the trumpets within Daniel’s 70th week unless you are saying the two witnesses are around during the millennium, which wouldn’t fit… Read more »

Eaglet
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Eaglet

Connie, The two witnesses will prophesy again and will execute the plagues to the nations for 3 1/2 years, as clearly said in Rev. 11, and not for the entire millennium period. The same thing 2,000 years after the ascension of Jesus Christ, there will be 3 1/2 years of Great Tribulation prior to His second coming. I know you believe in dual fulfillment and typologies in prophetic events be it in the Old Testament and New Testaments. So I leave it up to you to analyze. Ezekiel 38 is the Gog and Magog of Rev. 20, obviously because Israel… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

You are welcome to believe whatever you want, but I find flaws in your suppositions, so will continue to believe what I believe, as it fits the Scriptures as far as I can see.

eaglet
Guest
eaglet

Try dividing revelation into two segments; Segment 1 is Revelation 2 to 11; segment 2 is Revelation 12 to 21. Compare this two segments and somehow you will notice it has the same essence or substance of the entire prophetic end time plan. The difference is they are viewed in two different angles. You will notice the sudden shift of John’s vision from the 11th chapter to the 12th chapter. You might want to consider the old testament prophecies on Israel having always describing two events like in Ezekiel, Joel, Isaiah, Zechariah…It’s like they are prophesying about the plight and… Read more »

Son of God
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Son of God

Hello children of the one true living God, please glorify our heavenly Father and thank him for his blessings.

Robert
Guest
Robert

One other thing I have noticed about this debate is that Wayne has been discussing mainly what is happening from the heavenly scenes by the Angels etc however the actual events are carried out on the Earth by the two witnesses Moses and Elijah

laura
Guest
laura

7 woes describe the physical /spiritual actions by man that line up with the other 7 angels and wrath. did you ever consider the 7 days of creation

Robert
Guest
Robert

Hi Connie Thanks for the very lengthy reply which helps me to see why you believe as you do. It is clear that we are seeing things completely differently and I am glad it is not a salvation issue as I love you as a good sister and friend. The difference in our view points is this: You see Jesus returning one more time at the end of Daniel’s 70th week which quite a few people believe and you made your points to this effect. However, there are actually two more comings of Christ mentioned in Revelation which a lot… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

That is very interesting Connie and I agree with a lot of your insights. However, where you place the Rapture is not where it is placed in scripture. You are assuming the 7th trumpet in revelation and the other trumpets mentioned are the same as the trumpets blown at the rapture. They are not. The rapture takes place the same time the 144,000 is sealed and protected which is at the 6th seal. The great tribulation ends at the 6th seal. ( note the great tribulation is not the whole of the last 7 years as many believe) The trumpets… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

I’m not quite sure I understand why you think the mark of the beast is not enforced until after the rapture if you put the rapture after the tribulation.That’s why it’s called the great tribulation, isn’t it? Don’t you suppose the reason God cuts the tribulation short is because as He told us, there would be no people left alive at all if He didn’t? Everyone would either be dead from refusing the mark, or be marked, leaving nobody to go into the millennium. It is only in cutting the tribulation short of the 1260 days, and going on to… Read more »

Matt
Guest

I agree with that robert. The trumpets are judgements and the seals are not. We are not appointed to Gods wrath so we are taken out at seal 6-7. Clearly we know that the seals are NOT judgements as the saints are asking how long will he hold out with his wrath.

robert
Guest
robert

Hi Matt I am so glad to see that God is enlightening other people apart from me. It can feel very frustrating at times when you can see something clearly and you can’t seem to explain it in a way that others can understand. One other thing you may want to research Matt Is the two resurrections as it can be seen very clearly to me that there are multiple resurrections within each one. i.e the first resurrection is a period rather than 1 event. This can be seen thus:- Jesus was part of the first resurrection, we will be… Read more »

Robert
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Robert

It is worth noting here that the only righteous alive on the earth at this time is the two witnesses and the sealed 144,000 Israel tribes. The others would have been executed for rejecting the mark of the beast

Connie
Guest
Connie

To what time are you referring? To the time of the trumpets or the vials? Not every Christian will be executed. Some will live until the rapture, which is at the 7th trumpet, so there will be righteous until that time. Then those who have not taken the mark (besides the 144,000) will live through the vials to go into the millennium. Zechariah tells us that there will be some from every nation that survive the Day of the Lord and go into the millennium. That is why there is a sheep and goat judgment, because there are those who… Read more »

Prophecy Viewpoint
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Prophecy Viewpoint

The trumpet warning judgments are said to be one “third, one “third”, etc. Satan drew a “third” of the stars of heaven. Maybe the LORD is trying to tell us who is behind the trumpets. The vial judgment are universal. They wipe out everything necessary for human life. If everything in the sea dies – that’s 75% of our oxygen. Plants are the other 25%. The LORD told Abraham that he would not destroy Sodom so long as ANY righteous people lived there. I believe the same will be true of the vial judgments. I believe the righteous will be… Read more »

Harry
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Harry

You are on the right track, just like the seals announce the trumpets. Excluding the 1st and fifth seals, just start relating the first trumpet to the second seal. I see that the first seal started at the crucifixion with Jesus being the first persecuted/Martyr and false religion/spirit of the antichrist growing ever since like the other three horses. The first trumpet opens the 70th week as the great tribulation leading to the middle of the week 5th seal day of the Lord. Rapture, Sealing 144k, great multitude. Then the wrath of the Lamb is the second half of the… Read more »

bumbutcha
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bumbutcha

No, all I’m saying is that we both agree that the temple is opened after the 7th trumpet sounds. If the 7th trumpet & 7th vial are the same event, then it also means that all of the plagues (trumpets & vials) are now (simultaneously) completed as opposed to the chronological view which has the vials following the trumpets. If the simultaneous view is true, then Rev 15:8 and 11:19 make sense since the temple is opened only after the plagues are completed (15:8) and the 7th trumpet is sounded (11:19).