"I saw another angel coming down from heaven...
and the earth was illuminated with his glory."
Revelation 18:1

7 Trumpets Dual Fulfillment: Ancient Rome and the US



***See below here for the Seven Trumpets summary chart with links for more detail on each one.***

The United States has often been compared to ancient Rome, even in news media. These two world powers have many striking similarities, even down to things such as public health, public services, social issues, and even architecture (LINK “architecture” TO http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-has-roman-architecture-influenced-modern-architecture.html). Some have pointed out that factors which led to the decline and fall of ancient Rome are the exact same elements that the United States is struggling with, and which may ultimately lead to its fall. While it may seem scary to think of it that way, the reality is that while earthly kingdoms are all coming to an end Christ’s eternal kingdom is soon to be established. Having this comforting knowledge along with the knowledge of the details that prophecy provides can help us to make sense of the often confusing things we see happening all around us.

Ancient Rome and the United States in modern times seem to be the reference points for the dual fulfillment of the 7 trumpets Prophecy. The two powers sit like book ends of the Christian age – with ancient Rome presiding in power over God’s people in the early Christian age, and the United States being the power before Christ’s second coming. Both Rome and the United States have been the leading world power of their times so that the things involved with and effecting these kingdoms have worldwide impact.

Rome anciently was also the territory which first persecuted Christians and 7th day Sabbath keepers by bringing in Sunday laws through cooperation with the papacy. Revelation also points out in chapter 13 that the United States will persecute 7th day Sabbath keeping Christians by bringing in Sunday laws through cooperation with the papacy.

The concept of a dual application of the 7 Trumpets relating formerly to the Roman Empire and finally to the United States seems to have some uncannily close parallels, to such an extent that there is almost a true repeating of all the same historical events only in slightly different context and in a different age.

Some have argued that since God is perfect the only “perfect” interpretation of a prophecy would be a one time event, rather than a dual application. Some argue for a historical view, while others argue for a futurist view. But we should also consider some very important factors in regard to this question. First, and most importantly the fact that God has said He is the God of the living, not of the dead. This means that God has great interest in seeing each living generation studying the Bible with great zeal to discover the truths for their time. God desires each generation to have this experience- not just those of one generation in history.

Those who suggest that prophecies could only be fulfilled once throughout history limit God’s ability to foresee the future and reach people in different generations with messages relevant to their times. This makes the Bible a dead letter instead of the Living Word, and also takes the Bible out of the hands of the people by encouraging the idea that there is no more to be discovered in the Word of God than what has already been officially recognized by the church in generations past. Along with that the idea is often promoted the impression that you must be an “expert” or nearly have a PhD or background in Greek and Hebrew in order to correctly understand scripture.

It is only earthly-minded human beings who throughout the centuries that have tried to chain the Bible to convent walls and keep it away from ordinary people. God desires for ordinary, humble people to be able to have a greater understanding of what He is doing through careful study of the Bible. God pronounces a blessing in the first chapter of Revelation on those who will read it.

At no time in history have events unfolded on such an apocalyptic scale as they are now. If the Bible documented the rise and fall of kingdoms throughout history, how would it not make mention of Earth’s final events? It doesn’t stand to reason that Revelations prophecies would primarily have been fulfilled only historically.

Ellen White, who was given prophetic insight about end time events that has proven accurate (for example she predicted the civil war at a time when it was generally not expected to come to war, and she also described the scenes of 9/11/01 NY which she saw in vision nearly 100 years before it happened), pointed to a dual application of the prophecies of Revelation when she said;“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. Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us...” {3Selected Messages 426.1}

When she made this statement the Adventist pioneers already understood and believed that the 7 trumpets had fulfilled historically. The historical view of the Roman Empire as the primary territory on which the 7 Trumpets prophecy fulfilled was espoused by the SDA pioneers and has been held by the SDA church for many years since then, and Ellen White fully supported that interpretation in her time. But the fact that she made this statement about trumpets soon to fulfill indicates that she directed us toward another future fulfillment, a dual fulfillment of the prophecy. Adventists recognize the prophetic gift of Ellen White. Though we do not place her writings above the Bible, her writings are a blessing from God to act as a compliment to the Scripture. While we should never base a doctrine solely on her statements, we do find her writings to be insightful in leading to further discoveries of what the scriptures say.

Two extremely important principles in understanding prophecy interpretation are; 1)New light must not conflict with or set aside former truths and 2) all Bible verses related to the subject matter must be considered to bring the whole picture together. Any new understanding must logically fit into the whole picture that the Bible teaches about the subject matter. We must let the Bible interpret itself as we compare scripture with scripture.

The idea of dual fulfillment of prophecies, with the subsequent fulfillments often thematically related to the former fulfillment perfectly preserves the historical interpretation of the Bible prophecy without preventing a modern interpretation which may shed light on current events happening in our generation.

As we study into the Word of God, we find that dual application of some prophecies creates somewhat of a hologram effect, in that one may see a different picture depending on what generation they lived in. Contrary to making this a less than “perfect” interpretation, it shows an amazingly perfect picture of history at different times, foreseen by an all-knowing God who is able to make His Word relevant to people in every age. It shows that the Bible is not an outdated script that was only important to prior generations, but rather is “the living Word,” forever, just as current as today’s newspaper, and also validates the divinity of its Author, showing that it was not merely written by men but by God Himself.

Below I have summarized of the parallels of the dual fulfillment of the 7 Trumpets prophecy. This is not an exhaustive summary, but includes key points. Further prayerful study of these and other sources will reveal deeper understanding. The historic fulfillment of the 7 Trumpets prophecy is perhaps described best by James White and Uriah Smith. As described in James White’s book “The Sounding of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation 8 and 9,” and Uriah Smith’s book “Daniel and the Revelation,” the first four trumpets were fulfilled on Western Rome, the fifth and sixth trumpets (which includes the 2 woes) deal with Islamic attacks on Eastern Rome, while the seventh trumpet ended the empire. Amazingly, the dual fulfillment regarding the United States also seems to follow this same western and eastern pattern! It has been said that “history repeats,” but who would have ever thought that it could have been possible for history to repeat with such successive detail?

The world wide nature of the 7 trumpets prophecy is shown repeatedly throughout it, with the repeated mention of “The Earth” as the battle ground on which these trumpets are fulfilling. The verses which make that clear include; Revelation 8:5, 7, 13, 9:1, 3, 4, 11:18. It is actually quite an obvious feature of this prophecy that it describes specific details of things that will happen on planet Earth as signs of the times. The events that fulfill the second occurrence of the prophecy, just prior to Christ’s return, seem to happen on such a global scale and in such highly observable ways that it’s almost as if God is pleading with us through His Word to notice the signs of Christ’s soon coming. It also seems to fulfill the words of Christ that the signs of His coming would be such things such as “wars and rumors of wars,” natural disasters, etc.

An important key to understanding the 7 trumpets prophecy appears in the very last verse of the prophecy, chapter 11 verse 18, after the 7th trumpet blows. This is spoken in the song of the twenty-four elders which seems to summarize and comment on all that has happened during the time of the sounding of the trumpets, culminating in the very last phrase that says the time has come “that You... should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

The destruction of the natural environment on earth is a theme that seems to reoccur throughout the 7 trumpets prophecy. Each of the first 4 trumpets especially seems to refer to key events which also serve as markers for some type of global environmental degradation. We will see how the destruction of the environment as seen in deforestation/desertification, oceanic pollution, fresh water pollution nuclear waste dumping, as well as air pollution are all very significant in God’s eyes. Not only is the degradation of environmental resources an obvious threat to life on earth and a sign of the increase of evil in our world, but it is also something that God Himself is calling attention to through the 7 Trumpets prophecy – as if He’s calling out to us recognize that these things indicate our time on earth is growing short.

Another extremely important factor to consider is that there are some time periods involved in the seven trumpets prophecy. Since some of those proved to last for several hundred years in the first fulfillment, it clearly cannot be repeated with the same lengthy time periods. But in order to understand this we must look at what the angel says right in the midst of the 7 trumpets prophecy.

It says in Revelation 10:1-7;

1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” 5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, 7 but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.”

This is a key factor to understanding the dual prophecy fulfillment including the time periods. When this angel makes the proclamation that “in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets” he seems to be referring to prophetic time reckonings. The word that is translated “delay” in verse 6 of the NKJV is actually “time,” or “Chronos” in Greek – which Strong’s concordance defines as “time either long or short.”

The “mystery” that has to do with understanding “the prophets” has always been prophetic time, or the day for a year principle taught through Ezekiel 4:6. So, here we have a huge spectacularly dramatic show of an angel who appears from heaven with a rainbow on his head and face like the sun, etc. (likely Jesus Himself!), who declares that this mystery is to be finished in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

In other words, after the first fulfillment of the 7 trumpets prophecy, which ended sometime around 1844, probably, we are not to use prophetic time any more in reckoning, instead we must use literal time. And since the second fulfillment of the 7 trumpets prophecy took place entirely after 1844, any time periods we may come across must be reckoned using literal time rather than prophetic time. So, if it says “5 months” that would be 5 literal months, rather than the 150 years you would get by multiplying 30 days times 5 (=150) and taking each of those days as one year.

In understanding this we are not seeking to set dates for the Lord’s coming or the time of trouble or any of those things which only God knows, but only to understand the earthly events of the second fulfillment of the 7 trumpets prophecy. God has revealed special messages to Adventists to let us know clearly that there will never again be a message based on time, and that we must never build up a false excitement based on time or be setting times. But if there is a time period that is talking about an earthly event that has taken place in modern times, it is not in violation of any of those principles to be able to understand the time period in which it took place.

One of the best examples I can think of for this is in regard to the 5 month period that is mentioned as part of the fifth trumpet fulfillment. The time period of something that took place for a literal five months in the second fulfillment of the prophecy helps to identify that it was the correct event.

Some will always go to extremes and use a concept like this as license to set dates for the Lord’s coming and try to spread excitement and enthusiasm based on time and date setting, but those who do that are clearly not acting in accordance with the plain counsel which God has given to His people about this matter. From my studies of the matter, there is no logical way for us to know when the Lord will come because even when there have been time periods involved in some prophecies, the final judgment sometimes comes many years after the time period ended. For example, the destruction of Jerusalem didn’t occur until years after the ending of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy which ended at the stoning of Stephen in 34 AD.

It is always an adventure to study scripture to understand what God is doing more. But it is something we must approach prayerfully with a humble heart, seeking to ask for God’s guidance with our understanding. Before beginning to look into the rest of this study, perhaps this would be a good time to take a moment to pray and ask for God’s blessing in order to understand His Word more clearly.



(Note: throughout the following blogs most quotes in reference to the Roman Empire are from “Daniel and the Revelation” by Uriah Smith)



7 Trumpets Dual Fulfillment Summary Chart

Click on the link for more details about each trumpet.

 

Trumpet

Roman Empire

United States

First Trumpet

Visigoths attack of Rome under Alaric (Western Rome), scorched earth policy, Roman deforestation

WWI (Bombs), US midwestern drought of the 1930’s, global deforestation and desertification

Second Trumpet

Vandals attack of Rome through naval pirate attacks led by Genseric. They surprised the unguarded roman fleet in the bay of Cartagena.

 

Japanese surprise attack of US unguarded naval fleet in Pearl Harbor which got the US into World War II.  German U-boat naval attacks, and huge WWII naval losses worldwide.

Third Trumpet

Attack of Huns on Rome - Uriah Smith described the events in words that would dually apply to a nuclear bomb; “compared to a blazing meteor” ...“many persons would perish... wide desolations would be caused in the vicinity of those rivers and streams, as if a bitter and baleful star should fall into the waters, and death should spread over lands adjacent to them, and watered by them.’” He said the third trumpet would involve ‘Total extirpation and erasure,' ... ‘The Scourge of God.’”

End of WWII, Nuclear Bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Nuclear testing on US soil.

Fourth Trumpet

Fall of Western Rome - Uriah Smith chooses a poem to describe the events of the fourth trumpet which draws the visual picture of a volcanic eruption

 

Mt St Helens eruption in western United States

Fifth Trumpet

Rise of Islam, Islamic terrorism

 

Rise of Islam, Islamic terrorism/ 9/11

Sixth Trumpet

Rise of Ottoman Caliphate

Rise of ISIS Caliphate

Seventh Trumpet

Mystery of God Finished

Mystery of the ages is complete (Paul calls the Gospel a mystery), Possible final nuclear war (“great hail”)






For very excellent topical Bible study resources, including end-time events and prophecy, see the following resources (Amazing Facts- btw, I am in no way connected with them in business) :http://www.amazingfacts.org/Bible-study/Bible-study-guides.aspx See also;

Know The Future

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