Multiple Final Judgments?

Final judgment scenes occur several times in Revelation. The sevenfold series of “seals,” “trumpets,” and “bowls of wrath” all culminate in the final judgment, and each time it is punctuated by terrestrial and celestial upheaval. And these three “judgments” are in addition to the one that occurs as the “Great White Throne of Judgement” when the wicked are cast into the “lake of fire.”

This becomes problematic if the book’s chapters are in chronological order. It would lead to the conclusion that multiple “final” judgments occur before the “descent of New Jerusalem.” However, if the chapters are not in chronological sequence, then the several judgment scenes point to the same final event.


The opening of the “sixth seal” produces “a great earthquake… the sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the full moon as blood”; basically, terrestrial, and celestial upheaval. The image represents nothing less than the “Day of the Lord,” the time of the “wrath of God and the Lamb. The day will be marked by “a great earthquake… and every mountain and island were moved out of their place.”

The “sixth seal” includes verbal links to the “Great White Throne of Judgment” when John “saw a great white throne and he who sat upon it; from his face, the earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them” - (Revelation 20:11-18).

Thus, the series of “seven seals” culminates in the “Day of the Lord,” the time of judgment and universal upheaval. Similarly, the series concludes with loud “voices, claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake” - (Revelation 8:1-6).

Likewise, the series of “seven trumpets” concludes with loud voices in heaven declaring the consummation of the kingdom of God, the vindication of the righteous, and the judgment and condemnation of the wicked.

Like the “seven seals,” the “seven trumpets” conclude with “flashes of lightning, voices, claps of thunder, an earthquake,” plus “great hail.” What is described is not another interim stage that must precede the end, but the arrival of the end itself - (Revelation 11:15-19).

The series of the “seven bowls of wrath” also concludes with a scene of judgment that is accompanied by the same visual and audible phenomena as the first two sevenfold series - (Revelation 16:17-21).

The “bowls of wrath” are called the “last plagues” that complete the “wrath of God.” After the seventh angel empties the final “bowl,” a loud voice proclaims: “It is finished.”

Babylon and all the cities of the earth fall, and this is followed by “flashes of lightning, voices, claps of thunder, and a great earthquake,” plus “great hail.” At this time, “every island fled, and no mountains were found,” effects that parallel the “sixth seal.” And the “great hail” parallels the “seventh trumpet” with its addition of “great hail.”


At the end of the “thousand years,” Satan is released to “gather the nations to the battle…Gog and Magog.” This Satanic army “surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.” But no actual battle takes place. As soon as the saints are encircled, “fire descends from heaven and devours” the forces arrayed against the church. Afterward, Satan himself is “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” - (Revelation 20:8-10).

The demise of Satan is followed by the “Great White Throne of Judgment.” Before it, the “earth fled and heaven and place for them was not found.” The “books” are opened and the “dead are judged out of the things written in the books.” Anyone whose name is not written in the “Book of Life” is cast into the “lake of fire” - (Revelation 20:11-15).

There are too many verbal links between the several judgment scenes in Revelation to be nothing more than coincidence. All three sevenfold series climax in the final judgment, and the “seven seals” and “seven trumpets” both culminate in the destruction of the wicked and the final vindication of the righteous.

Both the “seven seals” and the “seven bowls of wrath” produce upheaval on the earth and in the heavens, most likely, in preparation for the arrival of the New Creation.

Thus, in Revelation, there is one final judgment, not several.  The series of “seals,” “trumpets,” and “bowls of wrath” are not consecutive but concurrent. In each case, the same judgment scene is in view, and the description includes items found at the conclusion of each series, but also additional information is provided progressively such as the addition of “hail.”

From its start, Revelation moves inexorably forward to the end of the age, the judgment at the “Great White Throne,” and the arrival of “New Jerusalem.”


Destruction of Babylon

The Little Horn