As the seven seal is broken the silence is ended with the giving of seven trumpets to seven angels. If seals on a scroll represent the transfer of authority and power from one person to another. Trumpets are very symbolic of the heralding of the intention to use that power. Trumpets in the ancient world spoke of kings announcing decrees and generals in battle. The seven trumpets indicate that Christ is announcing his intention to go to war on behalf of his saints. This is further realized by the vision at first showing symbolic representations of the prayers of the saints going up before God and an angel then taking fire from the altar and hurling it toward the earth. To the seven churches they would have seen that their prayers do indeed have an effect in the very throne of God and that Jesus Christ indeed is going to go to war on their behalf.
Because these are trumpets, we could say they are heralding the return of Christ to earth. They would warnings to the enemies of God that his army is coming. The thing is these trumpets don’t just sound warnings they issue judgment on the inhabitants of the earth. The first four are ones that bring about great destruction. Trumpet one burns a third of the earth. trumpet two destroys a third of the sea with blood. Trumpet three makes a third of the rivers and streams poisonous and trumpet four destroys a third of the normal lights in the sky dimming the earth.
On earth, one would not necessarily hear the noise of the trumpets but you would see their effects. Because they are also symbolic though it means how these things would be looked at could be very different from what it portrayed in revelation. They are woes to the earth to be sure, but the once again there is no timeline as to how long it for each to take effect. There is no timeline at this point but there is the idea that the trumpets are heralding the arrival of Christ and his intention to make war against his enemies. Chapter eight ends with an angel speaking of how much the earth has already suffered and yet there are still three trumpets to sound.
I want to state here that as an open theist I see prophecy as conditional. That means if God declares judgment on someone but if that person genuinely repents, the judgment can be revoked by God. The seven trumpets and later the seven vials of God’s wrath can be looked at this way. It is possible that the book of Revelation is intended not as a guarantee of what is to come, but as a possible end if humanity does go completely off the deep end. it could also be that the conditions that existed in the time of the seven churches no longer exist and so these prophecies have become null and void. We then must look to how these prophecies reveal the character and nature of Christ and not necessarily the future.
Next: The Vision of the Seven Trumpets (Part Two)