I was thinking about the Sealed Scrolls, Trumpets and Bowls of Wrath judgment series from the book of Revelation this morning as I was driving around doing errands. In the Bible we have many references to groups of 7’s, particularly in Revelation. In addition to the 7 lampstands, the 7 spirits of God, the 7 horns, 7 eyes, and 7 churches, we obviously have the 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets and 7 Bowls. Added together these three equal 21, an uncommon number in scripture. This might actually be another clue (there are many others) that these 3 groupings are not in series, but are parallel, or roughly co-occurring. Why do I say that? There are only two uses of the number 21 in all of the Bible; that was the age Zedekiah became king and it was the amount of days Michael was resisted by the king of Persia on his way to answer Daniel’s prayer.
But the Bible is replete with references to ‘7’ s, as previously noted in just the book of Revelation, as well as the number ‘3’. Three, most auspiciously, is the number of persons in the Trinity. We know that 7 means ‘completion’ or ‘divine perfection’, so perhaps 7 being repeated 3 times is for emphasis and finality, or perhaps even more. Could there actually be some relationship between the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Lets look at some scriptures:
Ephesians 1:13, In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise
Ephesians 4:30, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
A seal is associated with the Holy Spirit, the evidence of salvation. The trumpet is associated with the coming of Yeshua, who provided our salvation:
1 Thessalonians 4:16, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Revelation 11:15, Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “ The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
Throughout the Bible, wrath being poured out is associated with YHWH-God’s judgment on those who reject salvation:
John 3:36, He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Rev 16:1, Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
Why does this association of the three persons of the Godhead to the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls reinforce for me their parallelism, or synchronicity? Because we know that God is not three separate beings, but a unified one; He is not in series (that error is called Sabellianism, or modalism or modalistic monarchianism, the belief that God transitions from Father to Son to Holy Spirit through time), but He is parallel–He is only one what (God), but three whos (Father, Son & Holy Spirit). The Seals, Trumpets and Bowls likewise are one what (the end times from John to the return of Christ) seen through three, individual descriptions. They are not predictive of separate times, but the same time through different lens. They co-exist; they overlap, they co-occur, interlace, converge; they are telescoping.
The last one or two of each series, Seals 6 & 7, the last Trumpet and the last Bowl all describe the return of the Lord. Along the way, down the road of history they tell us of different, important events, from different angles, with different emphases.