8:2–11:19 Seven angels blow seven trumpets. The trumpets set in motion seven judgments leading up to the Second Coming. The trumpets form the second cycle out of several that depict God’s rule over history from various angles. On the structure of these judgments, see note 6:1–8:1. Like the trumpets used in the battle of Jericho (Josh. 6), these trumpets lead up to the fall of the worldly city (11:8 note, 11:13), and in the seventh trumpet the complete victory of God arrives. The trumpet plagues are reminiscent of the plagues on Egypt, signifying God’s judgments on idolatrous power.
The seven seals began with announcements of riders commissioned to bring calamities (6:1–8 note). The seven trumpets, by contrast, contain descriptions of the calamities themselves. The intensity of judgment has increased. Yet still some things are spared: most of the trumpet plagues fall on a third of the people or the land, not on all; the locust plague of 9:1–12 is over after five months; some people survive the collapse of the city in 11:13. By contrast, the later judgments with the bowls (15:1–16:21) are thoroughly devastating.