The table below shows the striking similarities between the Seven Trumpet judgments and the Seven Bowl judgments. The two accounts mirror each other in every substantial way.
- The same areas are affected (earth, sea, rivers, sun, Euphrates)
- The areas are affected in the same order (1 through 7)
- They are often affected in the same way (turned to blood, darkness, torment)
- An army is gathered at the same stage in the same location
- There are a total of 16 distinct events and all of them occur in the same order
- The final trumpet and bowl have seven similarities with very specific events being repeated such as a single earthquake and ‘great’ hail.
Most commentators suggest that the trumpets and the bowls are two distinct periods of time. The trumpet judgments come first and then followed by the bowl judgments. If this is true then it is an astonishing coincidence. We can try and calculate the statistical likelihood that the bowl judgments would so closely mirror the trumpet judgments as follows (see here for some background stats info):
- 16 different events
- Each could happen at 7 different moments
- The likelihood of any one of those events is 7^16
- Which is 33,232,930,569,601 (33 trillion to 1)!!!!
Obviously it is an incredibly unlikely coincidence that the bowl judgments just happen to follow the exact order of the trumpet judgments. Thus, the best explanation is that the Trumpet AND the Bowl judgments are referring to the same general events.
What about the differences?
I believe they are best explained as a difference in perspective. A trumpet when blown can be heard over a large distance. So the trumpet judgments describe events over a large area – perhaps from a global or continental perspective. When it is says a third of all living creatures die I think it means just that – a third of all living creatures across the globe died.
When the contents of a bowl is poured out it affects a relatively small area. So, the bowl judgments describe the same event from a local perspective. For example, when it says “every living thing in the sea dies” it means all things in this local area. My best guess is that this local area is the region of the Mediterranean Sea and it’s surrounds.
1/3 Earth struck
Those with the MOB receive loathsome sore
1/3 Sea struck and becomes blood (Rev 8.8)
1/3 Living creatures die (Rev 8.9)
Sea struck and become blood
Living things die
1/3 Rivers and springs struck (Rev 8.10)
Rivers and springs struck and become blood
Sun, Moon, Stars struck (Rev 8.12)
Sun struck (Rev 16.8)
Sun and air was darkened (Rev 9.2)
Torment those not sealed for 5 months (Rev 9.5)
King over them (Rev 9.11)
Throne of beast struck and its kingdom fills with darkness (Rev 16.10)
They gnawed their tongues because of the pain (Rev 16.11)
River Euphrates (Rev 9.14)
200 million army (Rev 9.16)
Euphrates struck (Rev 16.12)
Gathering them to battle (Rev 16.14)
|Rev 16.15: Behold I come like a thief|
Loud voices. Kingdoms have become Jesus’ (Rev 11.15)
Dead are judged, saints rewarded (Rev 11.18)
Lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Rev 11.19)
Loud voice. It is done. (Rev 16.17)
Noises, thundering, lightnings, a great earthquake (Rev 16.18)
Great hail (v21)
|SEAL 6: Rev 6.12-17|
A great earthquake (Rev 6.12)
Every mountain and Island moved (Rev 6.14)
Him who is seated on the throne (Rev 6.16)
Great day of His wrath has come.
|Islands and mountains flee (Rev 16.20)|