The Opening of the Seventh Seal
- Revelation Eight -
Six of the seals on the little book had been opened and their messages had been heard. Now the seventh seal was opened so its contents could be disclosed. The opening of the seventh seal was attended with a solemn silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. In expectation of destruction and overwhelming calamities there was only silence.
There was also the appearance of seven angels. Each angel had a trumpet that was to be used to introduce a new series of events. The opening of the first six seals had given an overview of what was to happen. When the seventh seal was opened we see the details of the events. The period of silence is the entire Christian age from that point until the end. This is the same time frame pictured by the first six seals.
Trumpets were used to sound certain sounds. These seven trumpets sounded forth the beginning of a new series of events. Another angel is also introduced in vision. This angel is pictured in the act of giving worship and honor to God. He had "a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." Much like when Korah led his rebellion God is here pictured as sending fire from heaven. (Number 16) God"s wrath is poured out on those who oppose His cause. This is likewise very similar to Ezekiel 10:2, where the man clothed in linen is commanded to go between the wheels under the cherub, and fill his hands with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and to scatter them over the city. This was a symbol of God"s destruction against wicked society.
The angel casts the censer to the earth. The effect was that "there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." (Revelation 8:5) All nature is in the hand of the Almighty as He brings His judgment against the persecuting forces.
When the first angel sounded a third part of the vegetation was consumed. As the second angel sounded the burning mountain was cast into the sea and a third part became blood. A third part of the boats and fish were destroyed. The third angel sounded and a burning star named Wormwood fell upon the waters and a third part of them were made bitter and many died because of the waters. The third part of the light, both for day and night, was smitten when the fourth angel sounded. At this point an angel flies "through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!" All of these events lead us to the final triumph of Christianity.
The opening of the seventh seal - Revelation 8:1-3 : At the opening of the seventh seal "there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." This silence in heaven demonstrated a sober, awestruck view of the judgment of God coming on the wicked. The prophet wrote, "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests." (Zephaniah 1:7) There was a silence of reverence and expectancy. "Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation." (Zechariah 2:13) The silence shows that man cannot yet know all of God"s plans.
In the book of Numbers chapter 10 we learn that the trumpets were used to: (1) call the people together, (2) signal the time for Israel to journey, (3) call the people to war, and (4) sound an alarm. Joel wrote, "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand." (Joel 2:1)
There was an angel, in addition to the seven, that appeared. The Judgment of God was about to be executed. The genuine Christians pray much to God for protection. Their prayers are pictured as much incense that is offered to God. The conquering Christ brought judgment upon all that opposed Christianity.
The seven angels prepare to sound - Revelation 8:4-6 : The judgment God spoke of through John was occasioned by severe persecution against the church by Rome. God would send destruction that would stop Rome"s persecution, yet at the same time spare the church. The picture is that God hears the prayers of His struggling people.
God would send forth judgment against the persecutors. The trumpets are warning and a call to repentance. The sounding of the trumpets announced the coming of vengeance upon Rome. This chapter provides a picture of God"s warnings concerning His judgment against the wicked. This is only a partial judgment to warn wicked men.
The first two angels sound - Revelation 8:7-9 : This is not final judgment as only a third of everything is touched. These are warnings to call the wicked to repentance. The sounding of the first trumpet had to do with land disasters. Many of these plagues sound like what happened to Egypt when the ten plagues came upon them. Hail and fire are usually a symbol of Divine vengeance.
The second trumpet was followed by volcanic eruptions that caused the death of one third of the fish and the destruction of one third of the ships. Mountains being cast into the midst of the sea represent great disorders, especially when kingdoms are moved by hostile invasions. (Psalms 46:2) Now God"s people know that He will punish Rome for how they have persecuted His people.
The next two angels sound - Revelation 8:11-13 : The third trumpet led to a star named Wormwood being thrown into water and one third of the fresh water was make bitter and poisonous. Rome had distressed Christians and now they will face much distress.
The fourth trumpet led to a third part of the sun, moon and stars being destroyed. Calamity would come upon Rome as if darkness should spread over the sun, moon, and the stars, leaving the Roman world in gloom and despair. All of this was the result of their persecuting God"s people and being unwilling to repent of those evils. The judgment of God was descending upon that corrupt society. John wrote, "And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!" (Revelation 8:13)
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 8". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany