By God’s grace, we will use three scriptures to learn what it means to sound a trumpet and pour a cup of judgment: Isaiah 58:1, Jeremiah 25:15-30, and Ezekiel 2:8-3:4. We will understand that both sounding the trumpet and pouring the cup of judgment symbolize prophesying God’s word.
Isaiah 58:1 says:
“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.” [NKJV]
This passage shows us that sounding the trumpet simply means deliver a message from God to a people: to alert them, correct them, or direct them.
Jeremiah 25:15-30 says:
“15 For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me: “Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. 16 And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.” 17 Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord had sent me: … 27 “Therefore you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.”’ 28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “You shall certainly drink! 29 For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the Lord of hosts.’ 30 “Therefore prophesy against them all these words,…”
From this passage, we see that the act of prophesying God’s judgment against a people is symbolized as making them drink the cup of God’s judgment.
Now that we know what it means to sound the trumpet and to pour the cup of God’s judgment, we can understand what it means when we are told, in the book of Revelation, that an angel sounded a trumpet. It simply means that the angel declared God’s word to the people of the world. And when we are told that an angel poured a cup of God’s judgment, it simply means that the angel prophesied God’s judgment against the world.
However, we should note that the angel does not refer to a spirit angel; it actually refers to a human messenger. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 our Lord Jesus asked John to write letters to the seven churches. Each letter was addressed to “the angel of the church”. For example, in the letter to the church of Ephesus He said: “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write…”. This angel of the church is obviously not a spirit angel. A physical letter will not be written to a spirit angel. The word “angel” simply means messenger. As such, the angel of the church of Ephesus is referring to persons in the church of Ephesus who consistently make themselves available to serve as God’s messengers to shine the light of His word to His people. In the same way, the angel that sounds a trumpet in each stage is not referring to a spirit angel. Rather, it is referring to the people in each stage who serve as God’s messengers to declare His word to the people of the world. And likewise, the angel that pours the cup of judgement in each stage refers to the people who serve as God’s messengers to prophesy His judgments against this world. For example, the fifth angel that sounds the fifth trumpet refers to the people who serve as God’s messengers in Stage 5 to preach the gospel of the Kingdom to the world and the fifth angel that pours the fifth cup of judgment refers to the people who God will use in Stage 5 to prophesy His judgments against the world. Usually, the people who sound the trumpet are also the ones that pour the cup of judgment later on in the stage they serve in.
Now that we understand the angel, the trumpet and the cup of judgment, we can look at Ezekiel 2:8-3:4 to understand how they relate to the book. It reads:
“8 But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” 9 Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe. 1 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. 4 Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.” [NKJV]
From this passage, we can pick some lessons about those who serve as God’s messengers in each stage. Just as Ezekiel needed to eat this book, so also God’s messengers in each stage need to eat the revealed portion of the book when a seal is opened. From Ezekiel’s experience, we see that eating the book simply means receiving God’s word. It is after a person has received God’s word that he/she can speak it. This is what God’s messengers, the angel in each stage, experience. When a seal is opened, God reveals truths to them and they accept it with all their heart; they live by it; and then they serve as messengers to sound it to the world. And when the world does not accept it, they serve as messengers to prophesy God’s judgment. The vision shown when a trumpet is sounded, or a cup of judgment is poured, is a prophecy of the effect of the ministry of God’s messengers in each stage. While the vision shown when a seal is opened is an overall prophecy of the main theme of each stage.