Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sounding The Seventh Trumpet (2001) "Darkness Surrounding"

[Reprinted as written by Avenged Sevenfold]

Darkness coats us.
The smell of fall.
Changing season.
The graveyard is alive, black cat across my path,
the chill of cold wind, the breath of the dead.
Imprisoned souls.
Trapped for eternity.
Black crows break the silence.
The garden of the dead s alive tonight and you can't stop it.
Just enjoy it.
Open up your mind and you will feel it too.
The sound, the touch, the thoughts, that you've been so blind to.
You can feel the thoughts of the dead.
Feeling the thoughts of the dead.
True or false, it's still there, teaching me.
True or false, still there, teaching me.
You can feel it tonight.
The wood has rotted away.
Take the time absorb it.
Their time is slipping away.
Stone all carved by hand.
Statues that resemble their faces.
They still breathe.
Come join us.
Smell the burning ember's, night flickering away.
Timeless but soon gone.
Timeless but soon gone.
I can find myself, alone with just my thoughts.
As time crumbles away.
As I crumble away.

The poet paints a rich picture, using all the senses, of a dark autumn night, in which we sense the stirring of the dead. Life is illustrated in the movement of the black cat, breath in the chill wind, death in the smell of fall (which is also the word used to describe sin), cries in the crows.

The poet opens himself to receive the full, sensual experience of the imprisoned souls waiting for the end of time, thinking their thoughts. The rotted wood of crumbling caskets becomes the crumbling of the poet's sense of self, merging with the sibillant whispers of the dead, as he too awaits the end of time.

What exactly is "the seventh trumpet", the title of this song cycle? The answer is found in the last book of the Bible, written by the apostle John. In it he describes a spectacular vision about the future, the end of the world, actually. Using the vocabulary and culture of his day, he struggles to find the words and concepts that could adequately convey what was happening before his eyes.

One image he used was the sounding of trumpets, rich with symbolism in anciet Israel. God's voice was likened to the trumpet. The priests announced the holy feasts with blasts from the sacred ram's horns. God presented His holy covenant with His people to the tune of angel trumpets and so again God's word became flesh in a little known hamlet to the fanfare of an angelic brass ensemble. And so it will be at the end of the world, the end of time as we know it: there will be trumpets.

The trumpets are introduced in the eighth chapter of Revelation:

I noticed that the seven angels who stood before God were each given a trumpet...The seven angels now got ready to blow their trumpets.

When the first angel blew his trumpet, hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down on the earth. A third of the earth, a third of the trees, and a third of all green plants were burned.

When the second angel blew his trumpet, something like a great fiery mountain was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

When the third angel blew his trumpet, a great star fell from heaven. It was burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on a third of the springs of water. The name of the star was Bitter, and a third of the water turned bitter. Many people died because the water was so bitter.

When the fourth angel blew his trumpet, a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck. They each lost a third of their light. So during a third of the day there was no light, and a third of the night was also without light.

Then I looked and saw a lone eagle flying across the sky. It was shouting, "Trouble, trouble, trouble to everyone who lives on earth! The other three angels are now going to blow their trumpets."

When the fifth angel blew his trumpet, I saw a star fall from the sky to earth. It was given the key to the tunnel that leads down to the deep pit. As it opened the tunnel, smoke poured out like the smoke of a great furnace. The sun and the air turned dark because of the smoke. 3Locusts came out of the smoke and covered the earth. They were given the same power that scorpions have.

The locusts were told not to harm the grass on the earth or any plant or any tree. They were to punish only those people who did not have God's mark on their foreheads. The locusts were allowed to make them suffer for five months, but not to kill them. The suffering they caused was like the sting of a scorpion. In those days people will want to die, but they will not be able to. They will hope for death, but it will escape from them.

These locusts looked like horses ready for battle. On their heads they wore something like gold crowns, and they had human faces. Their hair was like a woman's long hair, and their teeth were like those of a lion. On their chests they wore armor made of iron.

Their wings roared like an army of horse-drawn chariots rushing into battle. Their tails were like a scorpion's tail with a stinger that had the power to hurt someone for five months. Their king was the angel in charge of the deep pit. In Hebrew his name was Abaddon, and in Greek it was Apollyon. The first horrible thing has now happened! But wait. Two more horrible things will happen soon.

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet. I heard a voice speak from the four corners of the gold altar that stands in the presence of God. The voice spoke to this angel and said, "Release the four angels who are tied up beside the great Euphrates River." The four angels had been prepared for this very hour and day and month and year. Now they were set free to kill a third of all people.

By listening, I could tell there were more than two hundred million of these war horses. In my vision their riders wore fiery-red, dark-blue, and yellow armor on their chests. The heads of the horses looked like lions, with fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. One-third of all people were killed by the three terrible troubles caused by the fire, the smoke, and the sulfur. The horses had powerful mouths, and their tails were like poisonous snakes that bite and hurt.

The people who lived through these terrible troubles did not turn away from the idols they had made, and they did not stop worshiping demons. They kept on worshiping idols that were made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood. Not one of these idols could see, hear, or walk. No one stopped murdering or practicing witchcraft or being immoral or stealing...

At the sound of the seventh trumpet, loud voices were heard in heaven. They said,

"Now the kingdom
of this world
belongs to our Lord
and to his Chosen One!
And he will rule
forever and ever!"

Then the twenty-four elders, who were seated on thrones in God's presence, knelt down and worshiped him. They said,

"Lord God All-Powerful,
you are and you were,
and we thank you.
You used your great power
and started ruling.
When the nations got angry,
you became angry too!
Now the time has come
for the dead
to be judged
It is time for you to reward
your servants the prophets
and all of your people
who honor your name,
no matter who they are.
It is time to destroy everyone
who has destroyed
the earth

The door to God's temple in heaven was then opened, and the sacred chest could be seen inside the temple. I saw lightning and heard roars of thunder. The earth trembled and huge hailstones fell to the ground.

The graveyard is indeed full of the living, waiting for the end of time.

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