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Bible Commentaries

Larkin's Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scriptures

Revelation 8

Verse 1

1

SEVENTH SEAL

(Silence.)

Revelation 8:1.

“And when He had opened the ’SEVENTH SEAL,’ there was SILENCE IN HEAVEN ABOUT THE SPACE OF HALF AN HOUR.”

We must not forget that the “SEVENTH SEAL” includes all that happens during the sounding of the “Trumpets,” and the pouring out of the “Vials,” and so extends down to the ushering in of the Millennium. To illustrate, a rocket fired into the air may burst into “seven stars,” and one of these stars into “seven other stars,” and one of the second group of stars into a third group of “seven stars.” So the “Seventh” Seal includes the “Seven Trumpets,” and the “Seventh” Trumpet includes the “Seven Vials.”

The “SILENCE” that followed the breaking of the “Seventh Seal” was preparatory to what was to follow during the sounding of the “Trumpets,” and the pouring out of the “Vials.” This “SILENCE” was something remarkable. The Four and Twenty Elders ceased their harp-playing; the angels hushed their voices, and the Cherubim and Seraphim and all the host of Heaven were silent, and so great was the silence that all Heaven was awed by it; and to add to the noticeableness of it, John added that it lasted for “HALF AN HOUR.” Now a “half an hour” is not long when engaged in some pleasant employment, but it causes a nerve breaking tension when we do not know what is going to happen, and when a life is at stake a minute, or even a few seconds, seem to be hours. The suspense of the half hour of SILENCE in Heaven was intense. But why that half hour of silence? What did it portend? It was the period of silent preparation for the awful judgments that were to burst forth in the earth under the “Trumpets” and “Vials.”

Verses 2-5

5

THE GOLDEN CENSER .

Revelation 8:2-5.

“And I saw the SEVEN ANGELS which stood before God; and to them were given SEVEN TRUMPETS. And ANOTHER ANGEL came and stood at the ALTAR (The Golden Incense Altar), having 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. And the smoke of the Incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the Angel’s hand. And the Angel took the CENSER and FILLED IT WITH FIRE OF THE ALTAR, and cast it INTO THE EARTH; and there were VOICES, and THUNDERINGS, and LIGHTNINGS, and an EARTHQUAKE.”

Following the SILENCE in Heaven John saw “SEVEN ANGELS” of official importance, for they stand in the presence of God, to whom “SEVEN TRUMPETS” were given. Trumpets are used to call to war, to worship, for the convocation of the people, to proclaim Festivals, as the Year of Jubilee, the Feast of Tabernacles, and for Judgments. Exodus 19:16. Amos 3:6. Joshua 6:13-16. Zephaniah 1:14-16. These “Seven Angels” prepared themselves to sound. That is, they took the Trumpets that were handed them and took up their positions where they could in turn sound their Trumpets. But before the Trumpets were sounded John saw ANOTHER ANGEL with a “GOLDEN CENSER” in his hand come and stand before the “Golden Incense Altar.” The name of this “Angel Priest” is not given, and it is useless to speculate as to who he was. Some claim it was Christ, because He is our “Great High Priest,” but that is immaterial. We are told that he was given much incense, and that he offered with it the prayers of the “ALL SAINTS.” These Saints were the Saints of the Tribulation period, and their prayers were for deliverance from their enemies. This will account for the remarkable act of the “Angel Priest” of filling the Censer with FIRE FROM OFF THE ALTAR, and casting it on to the earth, the effect of which was seen in the VOICES and THUNDERINGS, that broke the SILENCE of Heaven, and the LIGHTNINGS and EARTHQUAKE on the Earth. As the same four things happen when the “Seventh Trumpet” sounds (Revelation 11:19), and the “Seventh Vial” is poured out, it is clear that the “Seventh Seal,” the “Seventh Trumpet,” and the “Seventh Vial,” all end alike, and synchronize as to their ending, that is, all end at the same time, the “end of the Week.” The Judgments that follow on the Earth as the Trumpets sound, and the Vials are poured out, are the answers to the prayers of the Saints for vengeance on their enemies.

Verses 6-7

7

THE SEVEN TRUMPETS

(Hail--Fire--Blood.)

Revelation 8:6-7.

“And the ’SEVEN ANGELS’ which had the ’SEVEN TRUMPETS’ prepared themselves to sound. The ’First Angel’ sounded, and there followed HAIL and FIRE mingled with BLOOD, and they were cast upon the Earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”

There is no need to spiritualize this. It means just what it says. These things have happened before why not again? It is the fulfilment of Joel 2:30-31, where the Lord says that in the “latter days” He will--“Shew wonders in the heavens’ and in the earth, BLOOD, and FIRE, and PILLARS OF SMOKE. The sun shall be turned into DARKNESS, and the Moon into BLOOD, before the GREAT AND THE TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD COME.” The DAY when He shall come to take VENGEANCE ON HIS ENEMIES. The Lord is going to repeat the “PLAGUES OF EGYPT.” They were literal, why not the “Trumpet” and “Vial” Judgments? The literalness of these Judgments give us the “key” to the LITERALNESS of the Book of Revelation. No less than 5 of the 9 Plagues of Egypt are to be repeated during the Tribulation Period. This Plague is the same as the “SEVENTH EGYPTIAN PLAGUE.” “And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be HAIL in all the Land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the Land of Egypt.” And Moses stretched forth his “rod” toward heaven: and the Lord sent THUNDER and HAIL, and the FIRE ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained HAIL upon the Land of Egypt. So there was HAIL, and FIRE mingled with the HAIL, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the Land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the HAIL smote throughout all the Land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the HAIL smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. ONLY IN THE LAND OF GOSHEN, WHERE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE, WAS THERE NO HAIL.” Exodus 9:22-26. The difference between this Egyptian Plague, and the Plague of the First Trumpet, is, that the situation will be reversed. Then the “CHILDREN OF ISRAEL” escaped, now they will suffer. The Judgments of Egypt were directed against Pharoah, the Judgments of the Tribulation Period will be directed against Israel.

The Egyptian “Plague of Hail” was clearly a great “ELECTRICAL STORM” that did not touch the Land of Goshen where the Children of Israel dwelt. The FIRE that “ran along the ground” was lightning. The difference between the Egyptian Plague and the one John describes is, that in Egypt man and beast suffered with the vegetation, while only the trees and the green grass will suffer when the First Trumpet sounds, and the HAIL and FIRE will be MINGLED WITH BLOOD. In Egypt the “Hail” smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree, but under the First Trumpet only one-third of the trees and grass will be burnt up.

Verses 8-9

9

SECOND TRUMPET .

(The Burning Mountain.)

Revelation 8:8-9.

“And the ’SECOND ANGEL’ sounded, and as it were a ’GREAT MOUNTAIN’ burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea BECAME BLOOD; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, DIED; and the third part of the ships were DESTROYED.”

As this “MOUNTAIN” is to fall on the sea, and the Judgments poured forth by the “Trumpets” and “Vials” are to fall mainly on that part of the world bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, it is highly probable that the “SEA” here mentioned is the Mediterranean Sea.

Notice that John does not say that it was a “Mountain” that he saw cast into the sea, but that it appeared like a mountain, not a burning volcano, but an immense meteoric mass ablaze with fire. That was as near as John could describe it. The effect of this “burning mass” on the sea, into which it fell, was to turn a third part of the sea into BLOOD. If any are disposed to doubt the possibility of such a thing let them turn to the “First Egyptian Plague” Exodus 7:19-21, and read the account of the turning of the waters of the River Nile into BLOOD. “And all the waters that were in the river were turned to BLOOD. And the fish that was in the river DIED; and the river STANK, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river: and there was BLOOD throughout ALL THE LAND OF EGYPT.” The only difference between the “First Egyptian Plague,” and the effect on the Mediterranean Sea by the falling of a “Meteor” into it at the sounding of the Second Trumpet, will be, that only 1/3 of the sea shall become BLOOD, that where the “Meteor” strikes, and thus only 1/3 of the living creatures in the sea shall DIE. One-third also of the ships shall be DESTROYED, possibly by a tidal wave, or the “Meteor” may fall on a fleet of naval vessels, like the storm that destroyed the Spanish Armada.

Verses 10-11

1

THIRD TRUMPET .

(The Star Wormwood.)

Revelation 8:10-11.

“And the THIRD ANGEL sounded, and there fell a ’GREAT STAR’ from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the ’Star’ is ’WORMWOOD’: and the third part of the waters (rivers) became WORMWOOD; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

When the “Third Trumpet” sounded a “GREAT STAR” fell from heaven burning like a lamp (R. V. Torch). This will doubt-less be another “Meteor,” that will assume the form of a “Torch” in its blazing path through the heavens, and when its gaseous vapors are scattered as it explodes, they will be absorbed by the third part of the rivers and fountains of waters, and they will be poisoned by the noxious gases, and made bitter, and many men shall die from drinking of those waters. “Wormwood” is a perennial herb, very bitter, and is used in the manufacture of “Absinthe.” It is much used in France as a beverage, and is more intoxicating and destructive than ordinary liquors. This time is foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah. “Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, because they have forsaken my law, Behold, I will feed them, even this people (Israel), with WORMWOOD, and give them WATER OF GALL to drink.” Jeremiah 9:13-15.

Verse 12

2

FOURTH TRUMPET .

( SUN , Moon and Stars Smitten.)

Revelation 8:12.

“And the ’FOURTH ANGEL’ sounded, and the third part of the SUN was smitten, and the third part of the MOON, and the third part of the STARS; so as the third part of them was DARKENED, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”

What happens under the sounding of this “Trumpet” is so similar to what happened under the “Sixth Seal” that it is not necessary to further dwell on it here. These are some of the “Signs” spoken of by Christ, in Luke’s Gospel, that shall precede His Second Coming. There shall be signs in the SUN, and in the MOON, and in the STARS, and upon the earth distress of nations, with PERPLEXITY.” Luke 21:25-28.

THE ANGEL WARNING .

(“Three Woes” Announced.)

Revelation 8:13.

“And I beheld, and heard an ANGEL (R. V. Eagle) 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.”

The Revised Version, and many Manuscripts substitute “Eagle” for ANGEL, but that does not affect the meaning, for if God could make Balaam’s “ass” to speak, He can use an “Eagle” to announce a message.

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Bibliographical Information
Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 8". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/clr/revelation-8.html.