Seven Trumpets 6.3: Israel Tribulation
 
 


So much for Satan – now for Israel...
Four for the sun, moon and stars now dim
Compare that with what happened when the sixth seal was broken in Revelation 6:12
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
It is possible that the sun, moon and stars being darkened and falling may be a reference to the people of Israel undergoing great hardship – having their light dimmed. 

Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob, or Israel as he had then been renamed by God, had a dream in which he saw the sun, moon and stars bowing down to him. He told his father, and his father was not amused (Genesis 37:10). Dad twigged right away to the metaphor – sun, moon and stars translates as father, mother, brothers. And father was Israel.... 
The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night
If you cast your mind back to what happened after the Lamb of God broke the sixth seal, you will recall that those Jews who had been redeemed and passed through great tribulation (been atoned) were sealed and joined with their redeemed and atoned gentile fellows in heaven. 

Five for the locusts with the sting in their tail
And the unsealed souls they do assail

Things are a little less comfortable for those who have not been sealed by God. (Revelation 9:1-6)
The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

Notice the bit about the locusts that sting with scorpion-like tails the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 

I am suggesting the people who get stung are the Jews from Ezekiel 9 who did not grieve at the evil they saw taking place around them and so were not sealed with God’s seal by the scribe dressed in white linen.
But the locusts are not just armed with scorpion stings. They are like horses with... let’s let John continue his description in Revelation 6:8-11 of these strange, amalgam creatures...

The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.
Pretty hard to get a mental picture of what these creatures look like, right? 

They are obviously not just locusts, or scorpions, or horses or lions. So what are they?
I was surprised when reading Dante’s Inferno at what seemed to me to be the similarities between the creatures he describes and those that John talks about in Revelation. Dante describes weird, amalgam-snake-lizard type creatures that punish those who are confined to the part of hell reserved for thieves. They bring to mind John’s description of not just the fifth but also the sixth trumpet judgments. Both rely on creatures that change shape and inflict suffering in bizarre ways ... (Inferno Canto25)

as I looked
Toward them, lo!  a serpent with six feet
Springs forth on one, and fastens full upon him:
His midmost grasp'd the belly, a forefoot
Seiz'd on each arm (while deep in either cheek
He flesh'd his fangs); the hinder on the thighs
Were spread, 'twixt which the tail inserted curl'd
Upon the reins behind.  Ivy ne'er clasp'd
A dodder'd oak, as round the other's limbs
The hideous monster intertwin'd his own.
Then, as they both had been of burning wax,
Each melted into other,

(In other words ... a man is attacked and then blends with a six-legged monster)

...  The other two
Look'd on exclaiming:  "Ah, how dost thou change,
Agnello!  See!  Thou art nor double now,
Nor only one."  The two heads now became
One, and two figures blended in one form
Appear'd, where both were lost.  

Of the four lengths
Two arms were made:  the belly and the chest
The thighs and legs into such members chang'd,
As never eye hath seen.  Of former shape
All trace was vanish'd.  Two yet neither seem'd
That image miscreate, and so pass'd on
With tardy steps.  

... So toward th' entrails of the other two
Approaching seem'd, an adder (snake) all on fire,
As the dark pepper-grain, livid and swart.
In that part, whence our life is nourish'd first,
(the navel or belly button)
One he transpierc'd; then down before him fell
Stretch'd out.  

(In other words ... a man is attacked and changes shapes with a lizard)

The pierced spirit look'd on him
But spake not; yea stood motionless and yawn'd,
As if by sleep or fev'rous fit assail'd.
He ey'd the serpent, and the serpent him.
One from the wound, the other from the mouth
Breath'd a thick smoke, whose vap'ry columns join'd.

...never face to face
Two natures thus transmuted...,
Wherein both shapes were ready to assume
The other's substance.  

They in mutual guise
So answer'd, that the serpent split his train
Divided to a fork, and the pierc'd spirit
Drew close his steps together, legs and thighs
Compacted, that no sign of juncture soon
Was visible:  the tail disparted took
The figure which the spirit lost, its skin
Soft'ning, his indurated to a rind.
The shoulders next I mark'd, that ent'ring join'd
The monster's arm-pits, whose two shorter feet
So lengthen'd, as the other's dwindling shrunk.
The feet behind then twisting up became
That part that man conceals, (penis) which in the wretch
Was cleft in twain.  

While both the shadowy smoke
With a new colour veils, and generates
Th' excrescent pile on one, peeling it off
From th' other body, lo!  upon his feet
One upright rose, and prone the other fell.
Not yet their glaring and malignant lamps
Were shifted, though each feature chang'd beneath.

Of him who stood erect, the mounting face
Retreated towards the temples, and what there
Superfluous matter came, shot out in ears
From the smooth cheeks, the rest, not backward dragg'd,
Of its excess did shape the nose; and swell'd
Into due size protuberant the lips.

He, on the earth who lay, meanwhile extends
His sharpen'd visage, and draws down the ears
Into the head, as doth the slug his horns.
His tongue continuous before and apt
For utt'rance, severs; and the other's fork
Closing unites.  

That done the smoke was laid.
The soul, transform'd into the brute, glides off,
Hissing along the vale, and after him

The other talking sputters; but soon turn'd
His new-grown shoulders on him, and in few

Maybe both John in chapter 9, verses 7 to 11 of Revelation and Dante are describing something similar. 
Maybe it is not just an image of what happens during the great tribulation of Israel talked about by the Hebrew prophets. 
Maybe it can also be taken of a description of the way in which people who embrace evil are changed, transmuted, deformed by the evil they embrace. 
I have suggested that the trumpet judgements depict the Day of the Lord from a Jewish perspective. I will suggest that the Bowls of Wrath that are encountered in later on in Revelation 16 are a depiction of the same events from a non-Jewish (gentile) perspective.  
I will press Dante into service once again to bolster that argument. Dante alludes to Geryon, a beast with some similarities to the locusts of Trumpet five that transports him and his guide, Virgil, from the upper levels of hell (the hell of the violent) down into the lower levels of the hell (the hell of the fraudulent.)
Go back to the description from Revelation 9:7-10...
On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.
When descending into hell, Dante’s guide summons a monster that will take them down into the hell of the fraudulent by hurling a sash or rope that Dante wore around his waist into a chasm.  Dante kept it around his waist on the off chance that it might help him to snare a leopard. This sash may well be a metaphor for the decadent pride of humanist, classical Greek art, philosophy and literature that had led him to the woods of despair in which he was trapped at the start of the Inferno (Inferno Canto 16). 

Then the monster appears...
through the gross and murky air I spied
A shape come swimming up, that might have quell'd

...Canto 17...

"LO! the fell monster with the deadly sting!
Who passes mountains, breaks through fenced walls
And firm embattled spears, and with his filth
Taints all the world!"  Thus me my guide address'd,
And beckon'd him, that he should come to shore,
Near to the stony causeway's utmost edge.
     Forthwith that image vile of fraud appear'd,
His head and upper part expos'd on land,
But laid not on the shore his bestial train.
His face the semblance of a just man's wore,
So kind and gracious was its outward cheer;
The rest was serpent all:  two shaggy claws
Reach'd to the armpits, and the back and breast,

... So on the rim, that fenc'd the sand with rock,
Sat perch'd the fiend of evil.  In the void
Glancing, his tail upturn'd its venomous fork,
With sting like scorpion's arm'd.  Then thus my guide:
"Now need our way must turn few steps apart,
Far as to that ill beast, who couches there."
 
Did you notice that bit about the locust-reptile-beasts face?
that image vile of fraud appear'd,
His head and upper part expos'd on land,
But laid not on the shore his bestial train.
His face the semblance of a just man's wore,
So kind and gracious was its outward cheer;
The rest was serpent all:
In other words, the locusts of fraud can seduce many people to join them (both Jew and gentile) with their seemingly ingenuous manners before the true horror of their evil becomes apparent. 

Perhaps that is how the beast that will be encountered in Revelation 13:11-18 goes about his business. Perhaps the forces of Babylon mourned by all the traders and commercial types in Revelation 18 are successful in convincing people to worship them with all their heart, mind and labours by such deceit.
The symbol of this subservience of humans to the beast is the ‘666’ they have sealed on the foreheads (mind, brain) and hand (works of labour). If you are going to do any work, you will have to use your hands and your brain. So maybe the ‘666’ symbolises the way that people, while working to get the necessities of life for themselves, generally have to conform to the philosophy and practices of the beast
But let’s stick with my contention that the seven trumpet judgments are a depiction of what happens to the people of Israel during the great tribulation spoken of by their prophets. 
The sixth trumpet judgment also contains an amalgam creature, part horse, part snake – something like Dante’s shape-changing tormentors of thieves..
Now, let’s think about the culminating event of history for the Old Testament prophets – the Day of the Lord, when God sends a messiah to rescue Jerusalem and those that dwell in her from certain annihilation.
Six for the army of the damned
To be wiped away by a mighty hand

Revelation chapter 9 deals with an army that gathers on the banks of the Euphrates River (we are told later that they mass at Armageddon then head on to place Jerusalem under siege). 

This is the real apocalyptic stuff. But it is interesting to note that the action starts when the angels who have been placed outside the Garden of Eden to stop mankind getting back in (somewhere near the Euphrates River) are told to mobilise the armies that will take on Jerusalem and God. 
Genesis 2:10-14  A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.  The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.  (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)  The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 
Genesis 3: 23- 24 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.  After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Revelation 9: The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horn] of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number. 
 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. 
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The culmination of this battle appears in Revelation chapter 19. Jerusalem is saved by the messiah who then rules the world from Jerusalem for one thousand years – that’s the millennium you often hear referred to.

We will skip ahead for a sneak preview of the end of the book of Revelation since we are so close, but you will get the full picture in the Endings section of this work.
After the thousand year reign, evil once again rears its ugly head and foments revolution (Revelation 20). The faces of that evil are two powers, referred to as Gog and Magog. They are described in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 in a passage that follows a description of Israel as a valley of dry bones that are brought back to life when God breathes into them.
After the messiah triumphs over Gog and Magog, all evil-doers are thrown into a lake of fire. But you can forget that idea about hell-fire lasting forever. The earth itself is consumed by fire and a new heaven and earth are created for the righteous members of the human race – those that have been sealed by God. Those who have been made better people by the fires of atonement as a sign (seal) of the fact that they have been redeemed by God.

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Four for the sun, moon and stars now dim
Five for the locusts with the sting in their tail
And the unsealed souls they do assail





Six for the army of the damned
To be wiped away by a mighty hand


The Great Tribulation of Israel