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The 7 Plagues in Revelations

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To understand the following, you must first get your head around the letters from Jesus to the seven churches in Revelations 2 and 3.  The churches were in physical places at the founding of Christianity, but they have a double meaning.   The churches also represent eras of time from Jesus’ ascension to the present day.  The time of the end Jesus spoke about spans 2000+ years.


It looks something like this:


Ephesus ascension - 100AD


Smyrna 100 - 313


Pergamum to 538 


Thyatira to 1560s


Sardis to 1790s


Philadelphia to 1840s 


Laodecia to end 


Source: God Cares, Mervyn Maxwell


Now, look at the picture below of the chiasmic structure of Revelations.  The two pink boxes explain the link between the 7 trumpets and the 7 plagues. 


The 7 trumpets are real celestial and earthly events.  The seven plagues are real plagues caused by the celestial and earthly events.   


Six of the seven celestial and earthly events, that are directly linked to six of the seven plagues in Revelations, have already happened.  These events all occurred within each of the eras denoted by the letters to the seven churches.  


Yeah, so what?  Here’s what:  We can use this information from the prophecies in Revelations to determine whether we are in the time of the 7th plague.




When you think about it it makes sense that God would keep empires like Rome in check by decimating their most valued resource.  All kingdoms need their underclasses from which to exploit wealth, fight their wars, and execute their agendas.  The economies of these powers were crippled from the massive losses of their human capital.


Before you get indignant about God visiting destruction upon the earth, please see Chronicles 21:12-13.  When King David sinned against the Lord he was given a choice of three penalties, one of which was to be under siege by human enemies, David chose to “not fall into the hand of man.”  


Man is a formidable foe when it comes to bringing destruction on the earth:  wars, environmental destruction, man-made diseases, millions killed by communism and millions killed by capitalism.  The list rivals the worst of the Biblical plagues. 



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Time period - ascension of Christ to 100 AD

Trumpet - 1st

Plague - 1st



1st trumpet

Revelations 8:7

“The fist angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up.”


Mount Vesuvius in AD 79


“In the year 79 just before the death of Vespasian, appeared a comet with a long coma in the month of June. On the first of November following, a most tremendous ebullition of fire and lava issued from Vesuvius and laid waste the neighboring country. At the same time, happened a violent earthquake, which buried the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeium; and so sudden was the shock, that the people, who were attending a play, had not time to quit the theater, and were all buried in a mass.


This dreadful catastrophe was preceded by rumbling noises in the earth, and the earth was heated to a great degree. Violent agitations of the sea, thunder and lightning also announced the approach of some dreadful event.

The eruption lasted three days, during which time such immense quantities of ashes and smoke were discharged, that day was turned into night, and the ashes were driven by different winds to Rome, Syria and Africa.


The agitations of the earth and the elements were tremendous and frighful. Baronius remarks, that some persons supposed the world would be reduced to chaos, or consumed with fire. The fish in the neighboring seas were destroyed.

This explosion of subterranean fire was preceded by a severe drought in Italy. The next year, 80, was remarkable for a terrible inundation in England; the Severn overflowing a large tract of country, and destroying multitudes of cattle.”


1st plague

Revelations 16:2

“And the first went and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them who worshipped his image.”


“These violent effects of subterranean fire were attended by one of the most fatal plagues recorded in history. 


A remark of Dion is here very important. He says that the ‘Ashes from Vesuvius caused, at the time, only slight indispositions or diseases; but afterwards produced an Epidemic distemper,’ The remark is incorrect, in ascribing even slight diseases to ashes; but it leads to a conclusion, which is of moment. The slight complaints which prevailed in the autumn of the year of the eruption, com|pared with modern observations, appear to have been the precursors of the plague, which broke out the next year, and as authors assert, destroyed, for some time, 10,000 citizens of Rome in a day.


The same year, while the Emperor Titus was viewing the ruins in Campania, a fire broke out in the city, which laid in ashes a great number of buildings.


The order of the events in this period was, a comet, drought, slight diseases, and an eruption of Vesuvius, with the earthquakes, the first year.

In the second, appeared the pestilence with its most malignant effects.”




A brief history of epidemic and pestilential diseases; with the principal phenomena of the physical world, which precede and accompany them, and observations deduced from the facts stated. : In two volumes.

Webster, Noah, 1758-1843.  p. 68

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Time period - to 313

Trumpet - 2nd

Plague - 2nd


2nd trumpet

Revelations 8:8-9

“And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;

And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”


A great death of fish in 231, multitudes of which were washed ashore on Britain; and an earthquake in Wales in 232.  In 235 a comet is noted.


In the reign of the Emperor Gordian, about the year 243, the earth was agitated by most violent earthquakes; and in 245 there was a prodigious inundation of the sea in Lincolnshire, England, which laid under water many thousand acres of land, which are said not yet to be recovered.


This latter period (around 262) was marked by destructive earthquakes in Rome, Syria and other countries.  In some places the earth opened and salt water issued. Trebellius Pollio says, "Frightful earthquakes shook Italy, Asia and Africa. For many days, [some authors say, three days] there was an unusual or preternatural darkness and a hollow rumbling noise in the earth, which opened in many places. Many cities in Asia were overwhelmed, and others lost in the ocean.


In the Universal History, it is said that this plague ravaged Capadocia and all Asia Minor, and was followed by famine, earthquakes and a great comet or meteor.


The great error of historians and physicians has been, that observing famine and pestilence often cotemporary, and the cause of the plague not being obvious to the senses, they have taken famine to be the cause. Whereas it will appear on careful investigation, that famine is an effect of the same cause which produces the plague among men. The dearth of provisions, during this formidable epidemic, is the effect of a pestilence in vegetation; that is, a failure in the principles of vegetable life, which proceeds from the same derangement of the seasons, or defect in the properties of air and water, which causes the plague among men

(Webster, Noah).



2nd plague

Revelations 16:3

“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.”


It is often said that the Cyprian Plague ushered the fall of the Roman Empire.

You can read about it here:



“The plague appears to have been most fatal in Rome at two different times, in the years 252 and 262 or 3, including the year preceding and succeeding each of these periods. It reached the northern parts of Europe, and in 266, Scotland had scarcely living people enough to bury the dead.


It first appeared in Ethiopia, on the confines of Egypt, and spread over all the provinces of the Roman Empire, which, says Zonaras, were excessively exhausted by its destructive ravages. 


Jornandes says, the pestilence desolated or disfigured the face of the whole earth.


In the reign of Gallienus, 5000 citizens of Rome perished daily, in 262, or the following year, a portion of this period most distinguished for convulsions of the earth (Webster, Noah).

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During the Industrial Revolution medicine was mechanized and the human body was treated as a sort of machine.  Darwinism swept the scientific world, and ‘hard science’ delighted in the compartmentalization of natural phenomena.  


What was lost was the connection of things:  God, celestial, earthly, human, animal, plant.  The earliest physicians knew this and practiced accordingly.  


Modern medical theory dismisses ancient knowledge to everyone’s detriment.  The modern scientific community has adopted a shallow view of connectedness while dismissing the knowledge compiled by physicians and astronomers for thousands of years. 


Academics dismiss ancient medicines as superstition while whitewashing the practices.  Leeches and bloodletting come to mind as examples of oversimplification of what, in reality, is rich knowledge about health of the body.  


Despite these efforts, there were a few academics around the time of the Industrial Revolution who shed light on the old way of looking at the world.


This is the lens through which we view the 7 plagues of Revelations.  

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Time period - to 538

Trumpet - 3rd

Plague - 3rd




Daniel 7:25 concerns the bishop of Rome, the political-spiritual power that arose out of the fourth beast, which is Rome.  


It also gives a time prophecy for this power that spans a period of 1260 years, from AD 538 - 1798.  In this age the Bible became outlawed and persecution of Christians ensued.  Many were labeled heretics against the Roman authority and tortured or burned to death.


You can learn about this time prophecy here: 




After the last Western Roman Emperor was removed in 476 A.D., the Popes of Rome took power in 538 A.D, when they were given authority by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian.


538 AD and the Transition from Pagan Roman Empire to Holy Roman Empire:  Justinian’s Metamorphosis from Chief of Staff to Theologian




3rd trumpet 

Revelations 8:10-11


“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;

And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”


In 531 appeared the resplendent comet, whose revolution is fixed at 575 years, supposed to be the same which was visible in the year BC 44, after the death of Julius Cesar. This was the fifth year of the reign of Justinian.


Not long after the approach of the comet in 531, the sun assumed a pale color, and shone with a feeble light. In a translation of Cedrenus, this phenomenon is thus described:  During the whole year, the sun gave a gloomy light, like the moon, and appeared as if eclipsed.


It is remarkable that tradition has preserved a faint account of a similar phenomenon, during the approach of the same comet, at the time of the Ogygean inundation, BC 1767. It is said, that the planet Venus changed her color, size and figure. An account is preserved in tradition, of a phenomenon of the same nature, during the approach of the same star, in a subsequent revolution. 


The appearance, in the period under consideration, is a well authenticated fact, and witnesses a singular change in the properties, and reflecting powers of the atmosphere, or denotes an essential alteration in the face of the sun

In either case, it seemed a prelude to the most dreadful calamities, famine, earthquakes, and pestilence


In 534 is recorded one of the most distressing famines that ever afflicted the earth; it continued many years, and destroyed multitudes of the human race. Pompeiopolis was this year overwhelmed in ruin by an earthquake, and great numbers of its inhabitants perished.


About this period, Vesuvius began to utter hollow rumbling noises, the precursors of an eruption.


Excepting a slight plague in Wales, no pestilence is mentioned until the year 542. But the famine, in great severity, had raged eight or nine years before; a proof that something more than famine is necessary to generate the plague (Webster, Noah).



3rd Plague 

Revelations 16:4-7


“And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”


Description of the Justinian Plague:


Procopius relates, "That this pestilence, which almost destroyed the human race, and for which no cause could be assigned but the will of God, did not rage in one part of the world only, nor in one season of the year. It ravaged the whole world, seizing all descriptions of people, without regard to different constitutions, habits or ages; and without regard to their places of residence, their modes of subsistence or their different pursuits. Some were seized in winter, some in summer; others in other seasons of the year.


It first appeared in Pelusium in Egypt and thence spread westward to Alexandria and all parts of Egypt; eastward towards Palestine, and extended to all parts of the world, laying waste islands, caves, mountains, and all places where men dwelt. If it passed by a particular country at first, or slightly affected it, it soon returned upon it with the same desolating rage which other places had experienced.  It began in maritime towns and spread to the interior country. It seized Constantinople in the spring of 543.


Most persons were seized suddenly without any premonition, nor was there any change of color or sense of heat; for until evening the fever was so slight that the patient was not ill, nor did the physician, from the pulse, apprehend danger. But in some cases the same day, in others the next, in others at a later period, a bubo arose, either in the groin, the armpits, or near the ear, or in some other part. All patients alike had these symptoms.


Some were seized with drowsiness and slumbering; others with furious distraction. The slumberers forgot all things.  Some would eat if desired, others were neglected and starved.


Neither physician nor attendant caught the distemper by contact of the sick or dead; and many, encouraged by their wonderful escape, applied themselves with assiduity to the care of the sick and the burial of the deceased.


Many were seized, they knew not from what cause, and suddenly died. Some who were given over by physicians unexpectedly recovered; others who appeared to be in no danger speedily expired. Many died for want of relief; others recovered without assistance. 


No cause of the disease could be devised by human reason—no means of prevention or cure.


The physicians opened the bodies of some, and found within the sores huge carbuncles. Those whose bodies were spotted with black pimples, of the size of a lentil, lived not a day. Those who had running sores escaped, and these were the most certain signs of recovery. Some had their thighs withered; others lost the use of their tongues.

To women with child, the disease was certain death.


This disease in Constantinople lasted four months, raging three months with extreme mortality. In the beginning, few died more than usual; but the disease gradually increased, till it swept off 10,000 persons in a day."


Authors mention the early effects of this disease on the brain; the patients, on the first attack, saw phantoms of evil spirits, which made them imagine themselves smitten by some person (Webster, Noah).

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Time period - to 1560s

Trumpet - 4th

Plague - 4th


4th trumpet

Revelations 8:12


“And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”




The Black Plague


This plague was so deadly that at least half or two thirds of the human race perished in about 8 years. It was most fatal in cities, but in no place died less than a third of the inhabitants (Webster, Noah).



4th plague

Revelations 16:8-9


“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.”



The Sun


From: Simon de Covino “Judgement of the Sun at the Feasts of Saturn” (1350)


“All the planets were in conjunction with Saturn in his own house of the zodiac, that is Aquarius, in three months of 1345 - January, February, and March.  That is not to say that all the planets were in conjunction with Saturn at once, but one after another in various days in those three months.  


The great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, which only happens every ninety years, is a conjunction which, according to philosophers, signifies great and amazing upheavals.  Aristotle in his book on the properties of elements says that because of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius kingdoms have been emptied and the earth depopulated.”


The allegorical poem, “The Judgement of the Sun at the Feasts of Saturn” describes the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn as a dispute between the planets over the fate of the human race, with Jupiter arguing on behalf of humanity and Saturn against it.  The sun makes the final judgement which is to bring the plague. 


The sun is the heart which governs all the planets in our system, as well as all life on earth.  Simon de Covino, who was a physician and astronomer from the University of Paris, believed that the human heart served the same purpose in the body and focused his treatments on the heart during the Black Death pandemic.



Scorched with great heat


Guido, an inhabitant of Avignon, says the malady was of two kinds:  “the first was a fever, with spitting of blood.”  All who were seized with these symptoms, died in three days.


The other kind came on with continued fever, carbuncles and abscesses, in the glands.  This was as fatal as the other, and the patient died in five days (Webster, Noah).


Other phenomena surrounding the Black Death:


The histories of that age relate, that the plague commenced in China, and was preceded by the bursting of a huge meteor or globe of fire; or as others relate, the fire burst from the earth.


Mezeray relates that in China, the disease originated from a vapor, which burst from the earth, was horribly offensive and consumed the face of the country through an extent of 200 leagues.


In 1347 appeared a frightful comet, in August. Preceding and during the prevalence of the disease, the whole earth was shaken by most tremendous earthquakes.


Over Avignon was suspended a meteor or pillar of fire for an hour. The heavens were at times illuminated as with flame, and meteors were frequent (Webster, Noah).



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