Articles: The Day

"A New Approach to Revelation" by Tricia Tillin (Part Eleven)

how the day of atonement Temple service sheds light on the book of revelation: The Service Outlined (3)

John had at the beginning passed beyond the common court of men and women, into the Court of the Priests, since he is a privileged onlooker. However most people would see nothing of what was going on there, and would gather at about the time the incense was about to be laid on the golden altar of the sanctuary. This was known as the "time of prayer" in the Temple.

Go Back to Summary/Contents Page

The Great Multitude

Luke 1:10 "And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense."

Notice the word "multitude". Now, John returns with the Levitical musicians and choir to the steps overlooking the Women's Court to watch proceedings there. And he suddenly notices that while he has been away, a GREAT MULTITUDE has gathered! Who are all these people, and how did they suddenly arrive, he asks.

The angel is surprised that he does not know, because this is the normal time for the people to gather, the "hour of incense". They are "arrayed in white robes" because they have come to take part in the holiest day of all, Yom Kippur. The people would have had to sanctify themselves before entering the Temple, normally by ritual washing, but in the case of this multitude the blood of Jesus Christ has washed them clean. (Rev 7:14)

The more important piece of information the angel provides, however, is where they have come from, and how: "these are the ones who come out of the Great Tribulation..." In other words, this is the result of the alarm signal we heard earlier, the throwing down of the Magrepha.

Those who trusted and believed in God for salvation have not run away into the rocks and caves like everyone else when they saw the end approaching, but have heeded the words of Jesus about that moment:

Luke 17:26-37 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. "Where, LORD?" they asked. He replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather."

Matthew 24: 30-31 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."

Those who believe, and were faithfully watching and waiting for the "Sign of the Son of Man" to arise in the sky (just as the priest watched for the morning star) were not on earth for the full duration of Seal Six but were, as the scripture says, brought OUT of the Great Tribulation of those days. Now in the heavenly Temple they give thanks to God for their salvation (Rev 7:9) and they have gathered to take part in the worship that is about to begin.

"Crying Out With a LOUD Voice"

How I love these little discoveries that bring light to scripture. Here is one classic example. At first glance, the verse in Revelation 7:10 where the great multitude gathered to worship in the heavenly Temple are said to be "crying out with a loud voice..." is mere window dressing, and in that sense irrelevant. However, looking at this place in the Temple service (but ONLY at Yom Kippur) we find the people praising and shouting out with a LOUD voice for a particular and special reason.

At Yom Kippur the Holy NAME which was never ordinarily spoken or pronounced, was uttered by the High Priest.. But so sacred was the name that, we are told, the people SHOUTED their praises LOUDLY so they would not hear the Name of God. Let us see what the multitude in Revelation say in praise... "Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour and power and might, be to our God FOR EVER AND EVER, Amen" . Now compare the statement below:

"At the height of the most impressive solemnities of the Yom Kippur ritual in the Bet Mikdash the High Priest would invoke the name of God using the original pronunciation of the word, a pronunciation which has now been irrecoverably lost....Our present Mishnah teaches that there were sages... who taught in addition that when the High Priest uttered this most holy name three times on Yom Kippur his voice could be heard in Jericho. [But] While the High Priest was uttering the Divine Name all the people shouted out as loudly as they could 'Blessed be His Majesty's glorious Name for ever' (in Hebrew: Barukh shem kevod malkhuto le'olam va'ed). They did this in order to drown out the voice of the High Priest so that they would not hear the most holy Name. If such steps were taken in the Bet Mikdash itself in order to drown out the voice of the High Priest how are we to explain the idea that his voice could be heard in Jericho? (It is in commemoration of this shout in the Bet Mikdash that, to this day, on Yom Kippur when we recite the Shema we shout out this doxology instead of adding it quietly as we do on all other occasions of the year.)" [The Study of Tractate Tamid]

Coming to Completion

Just two more tasks lie ahead for the priests before the morning service is over, and the special Yom Kippur ceremonies can begin. It is very important to note that ALL the preceding events, including the Rapture, have taken place BEFORE the Day of Atonement itself, as a preliminary to the Day. The dividing line between the Morning Service and the Yom Kippur ceremonies is - in terms of Revelation - the fourth trumpet. For more on that, please read on.

The final combined task of the priests, to complete the morning service, is to go to the very top of the altar and offer into the fires there the parts of the lamb, the flour offering and the wine. At the exact same moment, the trumpets began to sound.

After the priestly blessing the meat-offering was brought, and, as prescribed in the law, oil added to it. Having been salted, it was laid on the fire. Next the high-priest's daily meat-offering was presented, consisting of twelve cakes broken in halves. Finally, the appropriate drink-offering was poured out upon the foundation of the altar. Upon this the Temple music began. It was the duty of the priests, who stood on the right and the left of the marble table on which the fat of the sacrifices was laid, at the proper time to blow the blasts on their silver trumpets. The priests faced the people, looking eastwards, while the Levites, who crowded the fifteen steps which led from the Court of Israel to that of the Priests, turned westwards to the sanctuary. On a signal given by the president, the priests moved forward to each side of him who struck the cymbals. Immediately the choir of the Levites, accompanied by instrumental music, began the Psalm of the day. The Psalm of the day was always sung in three sections. At the close of each the priests drew three blasts from their silver trumpets, and the people bowed down and worshipped. This closed the morning service. [Edersheim "The Temple: Its Ministry and Services" Chapter 8]

The Sound of Trumpets and the Noise of Cymbals

From Discussions on the Mishnah we read: "The limbs would be handed to the High Priest one by one. He would rest his hand on each one and then throw it into the flames of the main fire-stack. ... "

The Pouring Out of Wine & The Trumpets

After all the limbs had been consigned to the flames another ritual was to be performed, that of the libation of wine. The wine was poured onto the south-western corner of the altar.

It was necessary that the exact moment of the offering of the libation of wine be made known to the Levitical choir and orchestra who were situated on the other side of the Nicanor Gate, on the platform at the top of the flight of fifteen steps leading down to the so-called Women's' Court. There were two trumpeters standing on a table in readiness. ... The trumpeters would sound Teki'ah, Teru'ah and Teki'ah, and this was a warning to everyone to pay attention for the libation was about to take place.

When the High Priest (or any other priest) bent down to pour the wine out of the pitcher onto the altar the Deputy High Priest would wave a flag, and 'ben-Arza who was in charge of the cymbal' would clash his cymbal which was an audible signal to the Levitical choir to start singing the psalm of the day."

This introduces the place in the Yom Kippur service and the book of Revelation where the trumpets begin their sound.

Revelation Chapter Eight

At this point also, in Revelation 8:3, we see the priest who had just offered the incense (Rev 8:3) standing with the others. But instead of quietly laying down his vessel, he THROWS IT DOWN upon the earth, where it makes a great noise.

So here is the "clashing of the cymbal" in Revelation 8:5 when loud noises, thunder and lightning, and an earthquake, announce the moment. In the discussion above it is pointed out that, "At the sound of the cymbal the Levites would break into song. The signal of the cymbal was necessary, of course, because the singers could not see what was going on in the Priestly Court.

Each psalm was divided into sections. We do not know how they were divided nor how many verses there were in each division. Perhaps the divisions were a function of the melody (which is now unknown). When the choir and orchestra reached the end of a section each of the two priests in the priestly court would sound his shofar. At the sound of the shofar all the people would prostrate themselves. As the previous Mishnah stated: 'With each section a Teki'ah and with each Teki'ah a prostration.' " [The Study of Tractate Tamid]

Trumpets and Bowls Simultaneous?

Since the trumpet sounds and the pouring out of wine happened at the same exact moment, on the day of Yom Kippur, we should see a similarity between the TRUMPETS and the BOWLS.

And of course we do!

In Revelation the Trumpets and Bowls appear to cover the SAME events (except that the trumpets are a herald of the event that has been set into motion, not the event itself. The event that each trumpet announces starts to occur, gathers momentum, and at the end of the day is represented by the ultimate fulfillment in the bowls of wrath.)

However, just like the Seven Seals earlier, the trumpets and bowls follow a particular arrangement that is "Four, Two, and then ONE".

By the way, I realise this is a large study (trumpets and bowls, and when they occur) so I have put my finding on THIS PAGE, where you can see that there IS a definite relationship between the trumpets and bowls, and understanding them depends on our looking at Revelation as a vision and not a book that we read chronologically

Four, Two, One

Just like the Seals, the sequence of trumpets is divided into Four, Two and One. The first four of the seals are a set, of four horsemen. Then two different seals occur, and finally - after a pause - a seventh seal that is heavenly in scope and finalises all the rest.

Likewise the trumpets and bowls.



Angel with incense Rev 8:3

Angel with Incense, Rev 15:7


(1) Hail, fire, blood, EARTH, greenery

(1) EARTH, sores

(2) Mountain into SEA

(2) SEA to blood

(3) Fallen Star, RIVERS, waters

(3) RIVERS to blood

(4) Third of Sun, moon, stars SKY

(4) Sun scorching SKY


(5) Bottomless pit, demonic pain, Abbadon

(5) Darkness, pain

(6) Euphrates, demonic war, horsemen

(6) Euphrates, demonic war, Armageddon,


(7) KINGDOM comes, noises, hail, storms, earthquake

(7) AIR, city falls, noises, hail, storms, earthquake

The first four of the trumpets describe one event and its consequences, the downfall of Satan.

  • The first trumpet is the first earthly manifestation of the coming asteroid, the hail fire and "blood" that precedes it, synonymous with Seal Six
  • The second trumpet shows Satan's actual fall as the "great mountain" - or meteor/asteroid - that is to fall into the ocean. This great mountain or star (8:11) is the physical manifestation of a spiritual body, the DRAGON who is cast out upon the earth because there is "no more place found for him" in the heavens, the Rapture having taken place, and the war in the heavens having been lost. (Rev 12:7-8)
  • The third trumpet shows the effect on the sea of this great mountain's disastrous descent. It also demonstrates that the dragon's fallen angels accompany him. One called Wormwood (the great star burning like a torch Rev 8:9) makes much of the earth's water bitter because of its toxic nature.
  • The fourth trumpet shows further damage (first seen in Seal Six but held back until this time) to the sun, moon and atmosphere. The effect of this asteroid strike is what we call a "nuclear winter" or "impact winter" with water vapour and debris thrown into the upper atmosphere, clouding over all that we normally see.

Incense of prayer brings the judgement

John relates the prophecies (trumpets and bowls - just as with the seals) as one uninterrupted sequence. But we have to remember that Revelation is in fact a series of visions, not one long chronological event! We are not watching a movie from beginning to end, but reading a manuscript that patches together several visions, overlapping and intertwining. This makes it harder to grasp the flow.Altar of Incense

If you take a look at the separate page about the Trumpets and Bowls, you will see that what kicked off in Seal Six progresses steadily from that time, gaining momentum and severity through first the trumpets of warning then the bowls of wrath until the final end.

This is where the setting of the Yom Kippur ceremonies helps us, because we are given pointers to the timing within the text of Revelation. Just before the start of the trumpet series, AND before the bowl series, we are told that the offering of INCENSE has been given. (Compare Rev 8:3 with Rev 15:7)

One might understandably conclude therefore this is the same incense offering, not realising that there are in fact THREE incense offerings at different times during Yom Kipper.

Three Incense Offerings in the Temple

The daily morning and evening service have an offering of incense on the golden altar that stands before the veil of the Holy of Holies. Additionally, during Yom Kippur, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies itself and offer incense directly before the Lord, where the Ark once stood.

At just the right place in the Temple service, we find in Chapter 8 of Revelation the angel offering incense, then casting his censer to the ground - or, onto the Earth. The trumpet-blowing angels are standing ready to blow (8:2), just as they would be in the Temple. As soon as the incense has been offered, those trumpeters would accompany the worship of the people, and at the same moment the vessels of wine would be poured out on the altar.

We are informed by those who wrote about Temple music that SEVEN trumpets would blow during the service, one for the opening of the Sanctuary Gate, three in the pauses for the morning reading, and again three in the evening. Although it's tempting to align Revelation's seven trumpets exactly to these Temple trumpets, there are reasons we should not. Firstly, the door-opening trump is heard by John as he ascends (Rev 4:1) but it is not the first trumpet of Revelation. The FIRST FOUR trumpets of Revelation are a sequential set (as explained previously) and we cannot separate the first one from them.

Secondly, do we separate the first four trumpets from the final three as morning and evening services - as in the Temple? Possibly! However, this disguises the fact that hardly any time passes between them in reality so introducing a long gap is not helpful.

The 42 Months - What Relevance do they Have?

On the actual day of Yom Kippur the morning service would have ended by around 9-10am and the evening service would not begin until nearly 5pm. The intervening time would be spent offering the specific Yom Kippur sacrifices. This appears to introduce a long afternoon gap.

If you take a look at the chart that compares the Temple service to Revelation, you can see that as far as Revelation is concerned there is nothing much that happens during that long afternoon, simply because the time was spent making offerings and sprinkling the blood - none of which happens in Heaven OR in the book of Revelation for fairly obvious reasons.

I believe this time-period is the three and a half years when the world worships the False Christ and his Prophet who is presumably giving good reason - through deceptive miracles, signs and wonders - for mankind to trust in his peace-making efforts.

Nonetheless, there IS a relevance in Revelation to this afternoon Yom Kippur ceremony and it concerns the two beasts of Revelation. To find out about it, please go to the next page in this study.

If you are interested, intrigued, confused, or just want to give me some feedback, please e-mail me direct: Contact Page

© 2014 Tricia Tillin-Booth. All rights reserved. Birthpangs Website:  This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information.   One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.