The most exciting event ever to occur in the universe is about to happen: the coming of the Messiah in all power and glory to take the reins of world rule!
This event is depicted by the fourth annual festival in God’s holy day plan. Fourth out of seven makes it the central annual sabbath—and how central it is to God’s plan!
This event—and those immediately preceding it—is outlined in detail in the book of Revelation. This book, revelation from God the Father Himself (Revelation 1:1), reveals the time order surrounding the “day of the Lord.”
The Apostle Peter wrote that “the angels desire to look into” God’s plan for man (1 Peter 1:12). The Greek word for desire means stooping down, looking into or examining. As editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in The Epistles of Peter: A Living Hope, “The angels far exceed us in power and brilliance today. They possess a dazzling fiery radiance—to see one in its glory would probably make us faint! Yet Peter tells us that those great beings yearn to look into the process we are going through—in which God is re-creating Himself! They yearn to know His plans for mankind. They yearn to better understand what God is doing with you!”
The most important moment in God’s plan is the event depicted by the Feast of Trumpets: the return of Jesus Christ. So we can gather that the angels are particularly interested in the meaning of this holy day. And rightly so, because they feature in numerous prophecies about the events preceding Christ’s return. They are more active than ever. They are given a heavy role in the fulfillment of what this day pictures.
As Mr. Flurry writes in The Key of David, “God the Father and Jesus Christ and the great host of angels have all been waiting and waiting for this day—and now it is almost here!”
Let us examine the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets—by focusing on the events preceding Christ’s return—through the angels’ perspective. We can learn a lot about this holy day by examining the angels’ duties on this day’s fulfillment.
Introducing the Angels
Christ’s return will usher in what Matthew commonly called “the kingdom of heaven.” God’s world-ruling Kingdom will be “heaven on Earth.” So it is no wonder that—to appreciate fully the return of Christ and the events leading up to that tumultuous and majestic moment in human history—two chapters in Revelation are devoted to describing God’s heavenly throne room.
The Apostle John writes: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2).
In this vision, God puts John in the heavenly environment to see “things which must be hereafter.” Understanding the beauty of God’s surroundings is vital to the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets.
Herbert W. Armstrong said that God gave John “a glimpse of the seat of government of all the universe!” (ibid).
In this vision, we are introduced to powerful spirit beings known as the 24 elders: “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” (verse 4).
Verses 6-8 show us a sea of glass before God’s throne, and around it, four angelic beasts full of eyes, having six wings each and praising God night and day.
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (verses 10-11).
Chapter 5 introduces us to another “strong angel.” This being asks, “Who is worthy to open the book [the book described in verse 1], and to loose the seals thereof?” (verse 2).
And in the midst of these 24 elders and four living creatures is “a Lamb as it had been slain” (verse 6)—the one worthy to open the book.
These angels have harps and they handle our prayers (verse 8).
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (verse 11). All available angels—at least 100 million—are singing praises to God at this point!
Again, consider the fact that this description is part of the greatest book of prophecy—which details the events that God’s people celebrate on the Feast of Trumpets. What is described in Revelation 4 and 5 is obviously essential in order to know what is about to happen next.
Consider that God goes to great length to introduce these angels to us before getting into the narrative of the events pictured by this holy day. We must understand more about these brilliant, fiery holy angels and the part they will play in all this. It not only shows us the great meaning of this day, but also teaches a vital lesson of how we should view this day and what our attitude must be toward it!
Revelation 6:1 reads: “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four [angelic] beasts saying, Come and see.” Each of the four beasts says “Come and see” before each of the first four seals (also referred to as the four horsemen of the apocalypse). Revelation 6 describes six of the seven seals. The fifth seal represents the Great Tribulation.
Daniel 12:11-12 show that the events preceding the coming of the Messiah take on an actual countdown at the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
The Prophet Daniel also records that one of the great archangels has an important role in the opening events of the Tribulation. Verse 1 reads: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
As Mr. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, Michael is “called one of the chief princes … and whom Jude identifies as an archangel (Jude 9). Michael is the archangel specifically assigned to protect and minister to the 12 tribes of Israel … and to the true Church of God today ….” He stands up at the beginning of the Tribulation.
Moving on in the time sequence, we read: “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (Revelation 7:1-4).
Trumpets sound by wind, and these angels are holding back the winds—that is, the blowing of the seven trumpets. The seven trumpet plagues comprise the seventh seal, which represents God’s wrath. God’s wrath is held back until His people who have gone into the Tribulation are sealed—their eternal life guaranteed.
Verse 9 discusses “a great multitude, which no man could number”—those who repent in the Great Tribulation, whom God will protect from His wrath.
“And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (verses 11-12).
The joy, thrill and passion of all these angels in their various assignments show us how important this component of God’s plan actually is!
Next, one of the 24 elders actually speaks to John in this vision: “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (verses 13-14).
Revelation 8 begins: “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (verses 1-2). Seven angels are given an incredible assignment—each is given one of seven trumpets to signal a dramatic punishment in the Day of the Lord.
Once the seventh “seal” is opened, the events of the “day of the Lord” begin. This seal is made up of the seven last “trumpet” plagues, which occur over the final year of the 3½ years. No less than 16 chapters of the 22-chapter book are devoted to the seventh seal of the seven trumpet plagues!
The seventh trumpet, in fact, heralds that great event: the return of Jesus Christ.
“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne” (verse 3). This angel has the privilege of working with the 24 elders on our prayers.
Notice this detail next! “And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” (verse 6).
The seven trumpet angels had to get ready for this. Mr. Flurry writes in The Key of David: “The Father, Christ and His angelic helpers are surely already well into planning and organizing for the Second Coming!” (emphasis added). This verse describing John’s vision tells us that these angels are rehearsing—just as any theater company would for a stage production, or just as any royal entourage would prepare for a coronation.
Continuing in Revelation 8, the first four trumpet angels sound, and four trumpet plagues ensue.
Next: “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!” (verse 13). This other angel flies through to warn that three remaining trumpet angels are to sound—and blasts these are particularly woeful plagues!
The first 12 verses of Revelation 9 describe in vivid detail the fifth trumpet plague, which is the preemptive strike of the European beast power on the Asiatic hordes. (Our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy explains this.)
The sixth trumpet angel not only blows the sixth trumpet, he looses four additional angels from the Euphrates River! (verses 13-14). These are “prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men” (verse 15). This is the counterstrike of the Asian conglomerate (verse 16 reveals an army numbering 200 million men) against the European beast power.
An Important Inset
The next chapter begins: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire” (Revelation 10:1). At this point in the vision, the seventh trumpet angel is next in line to sound, but there is a pause and John sees a different “mighty angel” instead—the angel with the little book (verse 2).
Why is this inset relevant to this part of the Day of the Lord? Verse 7: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin [is about] to sound, the mystery of God should [ought to] be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” World events had gotten so close to the point when the trumpet angels were due to sound (the much-anticipated seventh trumpet angel most of all), but there was an apostasy in God’s Church, which the little book explains.
Verse 7 shows us that the seventh trumpet angel in particular has been waiting for that to get sorted out—waiting for the mystery to be proclaimed. This leads into the work of the two witnesses, as described in verses 3-6 of chapter 11. Their job is finished when the beast kills them toward the end of the Day of the Lord (verse 7).
After 3½ days, these men are resurrected and ascend to heaven in the sight of their enemies (verses 11-12). Then an earthquake destroys a 10th of Jerusalem and kills 7,000 men (verse 13). Then, John records: “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly” (verse 14).
We are finally ready for the third woe—the seventh trumpet blast.
The Seventh Trumpet
“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” (Revelation 11:15). After this trumpet angel sounds, the heavenly angels are rejoicing at Christ’s coronation! Christ will now begin to establish “heaven on Earth”—to administer God’s righteous, loving government here.
The 24 elders are particularly moved (verse 16). They declare, “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. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead [or nations], 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” (verses 17-18).
They are keenly interested in God’s plan. They know a lot about it! It’s time for nations to be judged and for God’s firstfruits to be rewarded! That understanding causes them to fall on their faces and worship God!
Revelation 12 is another inset explaining the history of the Church and Satan’s attack on it throughout the ages. Revelation 13 describes the Church’s adversary—ruled by the devil—the fierce beast of the Roman Empire. The first five verses of Revelation 14 then pictures the 144,000 firstfruits, who will be martyred in the Great Tribulation.
Their presence dovetails with another event that occurs at the seventh trumpet angel’s blast: All those who have died in Christ will be resurrected!
Matthew 24:30-31 read: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
The seventh trumpet is the signal for many angels to gather God’s people from all over the world. Those still alive and doing God’s Work in the place of safety will be in one place, but there are many more all around the world who will have just awoken in a resurrection (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). How excited must these angels be? They get to welcome God’s saints back into consciousness and into eternal existence!
Notice the role of the angels in proclaiming events as described in Revelation 14: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel …” (verse 6). Behind that angel, “there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (verse 8). Babylon is another term for the beastly system that has persecuted God’s true Church. Verse 9: “And the third angel followed them,
saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand.” Verse 15: “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Verses 17-20 state: “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”
These angels get to make some amazing pronouncements!
The Seven Vials
“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles” (Revelation 15:5-6).
These are the seven last plagues announced by the blast of the seventh trumpet angel. These plagues are conveyed by angels who “came out of the temple” in heaven—and the account describes even their righteous apparel!
One of the four heavenly beasts hands the vials to these angels (verse 7).
Revelation 16 begins: “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.”
Each angel pours out a vial, and notice this detail: “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 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. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments” (verses 4-7).
These angels are pouring out plagues and praising God while they are doing it! They are excited to see God’s justice in action!
Revelation 17:1 reads: “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.”
In the vision, one of the angels discloses to John some important background about Babylon—which has just fallen at the pouring out of the seventh vial.
Revelation 18:1-3 continue: “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
This brilliant, strong-voiced angel is sickened by Babylon. We are reminded to come out of and remain separate from that evil system. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (verse 4).
Verse 21 says: “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” This angel is elated by the end of the Babylonian system.
The Coming of the Messiah
The next chapter opens with this dramatic picture: “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. … And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:1-2, 4-6). There is so much excitement when Christ finally rules the Earth!
The Bible does not discuss these four beasts or 24 elders apart from Christ’s return and the events leading to it. Their role at this event shows how significant it is: the “marriage of the Lamb” has finally come! (verse 7).
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. … And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (verses 11, 14).
The angelic armies descend with Christ—upon spirit horses (see also Matthew 16:27). God’s saints then meet Him in the air and return with Him, as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Jude 14 point out.
Revelation 19:17-19 continue: “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”
There is one more angel to come in the sequence of events in Revelation—the angel who binds Satan (Revelation 20:1-3). That event is depicted by and celebrated on the following holy day: the Day of Atonement.
Angelic Excitement Must Not Exceed Ours!
How exciting for “all the holy angels” who accompany Christ at His return (Matthew 25:31). Is it any wonder that “the angels desire to look into” God’s plan?
How excited the angels are to carry out their assignments! The question is, how excited are we for the time when Christ establishes His Kingdom on Earth and we will sit on the throne of glory with Him? The angels’ excitement should not exceed our own!
Concerning the passage in 1 Peter 1, Mr. Flurry notes in The Epistles of Peter: A Living Hope that the word desire in verse 12 is in the present tense. He writes: “The angels are still fervently impassioned to learn more deeply about God recreating Himself in mankind as the plan unfolds. … If the angels, who will never be gods, have this intense interest, shouldn’t the depth of our passion at least match theirs? We are going to be Gods—sons of God!”
In his booklet Prophesy Again, Mr. Flurry notes how the angelic beings express their praise of God day and night. They are not depressed about their state, but thrilled to remain loyal to God and be active in His Work. We already saw how the 24 elders cast their crowns before the throne in adulation of the Messiah. Mr. Flurry writes: “They’re thrilled to be a part of God’s wondrous Work, and they will live happily—forever. … We all must learn a lesson from the righteous angels. … We need the gratitude of these angels. We need the joy and excitement that they have. If we don’t have a lot of that joy in our life, something is wrong. Obviously, a serious trial can weigh you down: Still we need to rejoice and praise God like these 24 elders—and even more, because our potential is so much greater.”
Read Revelation 5:8-10 again; it expresses the elders’ joy over the Lamb opening the seals. They are excited about Christ’s return and their part in it—and even that God has made human beings kings and priests. How about us?
Mr. Flurry explains how the righteous angels have greater potential because of man’s creation, because they will then be able to help multiple billions of members of the God Family. “It seems they could be praising God for making their future even greater by creating so many sons of God!” (ibid).
Think of how excited angels must be for the fulfillment of this day! This would never have been possible without God’s plan for man. They are more excited than we can imagine for what is likely their busiest day ever! Again: How about us?
Verse 10 says “we shall reign on the earth”! Christ is about to usher in heaven on Earth! And we are about to assume positions of kingly and priestly responsibility in that heaven-on-Earth government!
We should be the most excited beings in the universe!
Thank God for the Feast of Trumpets—which illustrates how excited God is, how excited His angels are, and how excited we should be for the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of heaven on Earth!