In Revelation 8, the first four trumpets are sounded. Each trumpet marks a specific disaster that afflicts the land. There are four major ways in which Revelation is interpreted by Christian theologians; one of the most popular is the Preterist perspective. Preterists believe that most or all end time prophecy has already been fulfilled in events surrounding Israel’s seven-year war with Rome that began in A.D. 66.
Preterists believe that the seven trumpets were fulfilled in notable events over the course of Israel’s war with Rome. Preterists suggest that it is not a coincidence that the Jewish War began in Tishri, a month beginning with the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets is called the Day of Judgment. On this holiday trumpets are blown to mark the days of final judgment.
Some preterists have alleged that every event in the Jewish War that fulfills the seven trumpet plagues mentioned in Revelation 8-11 was marked by the actual sound of a trumpet. They also claim that these events also unfolded more or less in the order found in Revelation 8-11.
In the first trumpet, hail and fire is hurled to the earth burning a third of the land. Many preterists interpret the hail to be white granite stones launched by Roman catapults, while the fire is sometimes stated to be firebrands also launched by Roman siege engines. The fact that a third of the land is burned up points to the fact that the Romans burned much of Israel as part of its scorched earth policy.
In the second trumpet, a burning mountain is cast into the sea turning a third of the sea into blood and killing a third of the living creatures in the sea and leaving a third of the ships destroyed. Preterists assert that this was fulfilled in the destruction of the cities of Joppa and Taricheae along the coast of Galilee. In these battles, many Israelites were killed in the water, turning the water red with blood, and many ships were destroyed.
In the third trumpet, a third of the waters turned bitter. According to preterist scholars this was fulfilled when Israelites from Gadara were massacred at the Jordan River. The bodies of the slain then floated downstream to the lake Asphaltitis whose already bitter water was made more so from decaying bodies.
In the fourth trumpet, a third of the day and night are without light. Some preterists have asserted that this was fulfilled in a noteworthy thunderstorm during the Jewish War whose dark storm clouds blotted out the heavenly lights.
In Revelation 8:13, an eagle calls out in a loud voice, “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth!” Interestingly Josephus a Jewish historian that wrote a detailed historical account of the Jewish War states that amid the war a disembodied voice was heard crying a similar warning.