Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 30th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 8

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-13

Chapter 8

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour ( Revelation 8:1 ).

Silence can sometimes be an awesome thing, especially in a tremendous crowd of people. You see what silence for fifteen seconds does. It seems like it expanded, quiet. It is sort of an awesome thing. And there in heaven with vast multitudes singing and worshipping and seeing all of the activity that is there, and suddenly there is silence when this seventh seal is opened. It is sort of an awesome time.

Now, out of the seventh seal there will proceed now seven trumpet judgments. In these pyrotechnic displays during the Fourth of July, you seen these skyrockets burst open with a big flash, but from that there will be a secondary puff. Just about the time the big one begins to fade, the second one comes out of it with another flash. Well, that is what we have here. The seventh seal is opened and puff, here comes the second series of seven judgments. Out of the seventh seal, the seven trumpets now burst out. When you get to the seventh trumpet, then the seven vials of God's wrath, which complete the plagues, will be bursting out and coming forth.

And so the silence of about the space of a half-hour in heaven, just before now, this second series of judgments.

I saw the seven angels which stand before God; and to them were given seven trumpets ( Revelation 8:2 ).

Now, we know that the cherubim are about the throne of God. There are four of them. Satan used to be one of the cherubs. They seem to be the highest of God's created beings in an angelic form. The next highest are the archangels of which the Bible speaks of two. Michael, called the great prince, an archangel. Gabriel, when he announced himself to the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias, he said, "I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God"( Luke 1:19 ). There are seven angels that stand there in the presence of God, who are dispatched by God on particular missions.

Now in one of the apocryphal books of Enoch and also Tobec, Rafael is also named as one of the seven angels. Also in Enoch is named Uriel and Sacral and he names a couple of others, but here are seven angels who stand before God and to them were given seven trumpets.

And another angel came and stood at the 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 ( Revelation 8:3 ).

I believe that this other angel is Jesus Christ and we see Him now in His work as a mediator there in heaven as our great, Great High Priest.

Now, you remember on earth the high priests would go in and offer before the Lord the sacrifices for the people. And within the temple daily the priest would go in and would take these little incense burners with the coals from the altar and offer them, and the smoke of the incense would arise before the altar, which was called the mercy seat which was outside of the Holy of Holies. Daily they would go in and offer this incense.

Now, the earthly tabernacle was a model of heaven, as we have told you. So again, now we see the actual scene in heaven of which the earthly tabernacle was the model. But we see this angel, who as I say I believe to be Jesus, with a golden censer offering with much incense the prayers of all of the saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of which the altar in the tabernacle of the mercy seat was a model.

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand ( Revelation 8:4 ).

So, here are the prayers of the saints again being offered before God as incense.

Now, we found this happen back in chapter five, when the Lamb came took the scroll out of the right hand of Him whom sat upon the throne. The elders took the little golden bowls filled with odors, which are the prayers of the saints, and they offered them before the throne of God. That is when the church burst out saying, "Worthy is the Lamb to take the scroll." But our prayers are often referred to as a sweet smelling savor unto God, that they ascend unto God as a sweet smelling savor. So, here again the prayers of the saints being offered with incense before the throne.

These are possibly the prayers of those souls which were under the altar in chapter five saying, "How long, O Lord, before you avenge our blood." Now that God is going to pour out the second series of judgments, these prayers of the saints who were asking God to avenge their blood against those on the earth who had slain them, it could be that these are the prayers that are being offered at this time.

Back in chapter five, when Jesus takes the scroll, the prayers that are offered at that time are those prayers that were offered when you said, "Thy kingdom come thy will be done in earth even as it is in heaven." Our prayers will be offered at that time, because when He takes the scroll, that's the kingdom coming. That's getting the earth ready to establish God's kingdom. So, at that time those are the prayers that will be offered. Now, as we are getting ready to see these judgments, the prayers that those saints had offered for vengeance upon those who had slain them.

I often pray, "Lord, how long before you clean up this mess?" The corruption that is in the world, the corrupt people that are in the world, the corrupted morals. And when men kidnap a little girl three or four years old, abuse them and then kill them, I say, "God how long before you take vengeance on them, bring judgment on them?" I really get excited over these things and I really pray, "Lord, how long are you going to let this corruption go on?" The day is coming. God will judge the earth. Man will not get by with his iniquity.

So, the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar 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, he filled it with fire from the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound ( Revelation 8:5-6 ).

And so we see a spectacular display of lightnings, thunderings, and an earthquake that proceed the sounding of the seven trumpets.

And 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 the trees were burnt up, and all of the green grass was burnt up ( Revelation 8:7 ).

There is, in our solar system, an asteroid belt that does create great concern to many of the scientists and astronomers. Outside of Tucson, Arizona, they have established the Kit Telescope. In fact, it is quite a group of telescopes out there on Kit Mountain. And one of the main objects of research is that of charting and plotting and searching for asteroids that do present a real threat to the earth. There are some two thousand asteroids that have already been identified whose orbits can ultimately bring them into a collision course with the earth. There are another two thousand with the possibility of their orbits bringing them into contact with the earth.

The scientists are actually discussing preventative measures that might be taken should we discover one of these trajectories of the asteroids to be an immediate threat, say, within the next year or so. To send a, somehow, a space shuttle out there to try to somehow redirect the asteroid away from a collision with the earth, because an asteroid of one kilometer impacting the earth would do more physical damage than an all out nuclear warfare. The only thing it would not have would be the radiation after effects.

We know that the earth has shifted from its polar axis. We know that the northern area of the North Pole up in those areas, the Arctic Circle was not always an Arctic Circle. It was not always a frozen waste. It was not always covered with ice. For there in the ice they have found mastodons perfectly preserved, frozen there in the ice with tropical vegetation in their digestive tracts. It is believed by many scientists that the shift of the polar axis could have taken place as the result of an asteroid impacting the earth. They believe that the crater there in Arizona, outside of Windslow, that is three miles in diameter, five hundred and twenty-two feet deep, that this crater was formed perhaps by the impact of an asteroid. And that that was large enough, if the impact came at the right direction to have jerked the earth.

You take a ball that is spinning and suddenly you hit that ball with tremendous force. You can stop the spin of the ball or you can cause the ball to flip over. So, an asteroid hitting the earth would cause it to flip and suddenly these mastodons who were living sixteen hundred miles away from all of this polar Arctic ice would suddenly be frozen. The earth gets jerked in just a moment's time sixteen hundred miles, and suddenly this tropical area is under this cold air mass of the pole and immediately they are frozen in this fifty, eighty below zero kind of flash freeze, as suddenly they are under this mass of arctic air. And they believe that that is perhaps the cause of the mastodons being found there. The polar shift taking place instantly, from some, perhaps impact of an asteroid.

Now, they have talked about disintegrating an asteroid with an atom bomb. If we see one that is going to impact, you go out there. But then they have talked about the problem, that if you blow the thing apart, then you are going to have several asteroids impacting. That would only compound the problem. But they are actually studying methods by which they can deter the asteroid from its orbit that would impact the earth. It is a tremendous concern of the scientists today. And we are spending millions of dollars in research and study to protect the earth from this kind of a danger that does exist.

The chances of an asteroid impacting the earth this year are three in a million. So, there is not much of a chance, but yet it is there. It does exist. They have impacted before. The scientists believe that in 1906 that great cataclysmic catastrophe in Siberia which flattened huge trees, laid them over like toothpicks for several hundred miles, they believe that that was perhaps an asteroid impact. It is a thing that is a threat and a concern.

Now it could be that in studying these phenomena that are taking place in these trumpet judgments, these things could take place as the result of asteroid impacts. You see, the last asteroid that came close to impacting the earth was back in 1937. We almost had a calamity then. The asteroid came within five hundred thousand miles of the earth. And of course, we were monitoring the thing and we didn't know at that time, we weren't able with computers to plot the trajectory enough to know whether or not it was going to impact. But a lot of people thought it was going to impact back in 1937. That was the last close encounter we had with an asteroid of any size. Of course, we find meteorites eighteen hundred per second coming into our atmosphere somewhere around the earth. That is quite common.

Now this year Halley's Comet is returning. Behind Halley's Comet is that tail that is a bunch of what they call space garbage, debris, but meteorites. And every August we have a beautiful, heavenly display usually around the 20th or 21st of August, or so, where we pass through the debris of the tail of Halley's Comet left by its last orbit around this direction. And this junk that is there in space, we, every year pass through the orbit. When the earth orbits around the sun, when we get to that point where all the junk is, we see what we call the falling stars or the showers. And on many nights I have stayed out and watched the shower. It is really an exciting experience.

Now, Halley's Comet will probably not be visible to us this year because it is going to orbit on the other side of the sun. We may be able to see a little bit of the tail as it moves away from us. As it begins to leave, the gravitational pull of the sun will pull off more of the tail and bring it into our solar system so that we could very well have some interesting meteorite showers and all in the next few years. As the sun will pull off a lot of the debris from Halley's Comet, as it turns and starts to escape, not all of the tail will escape. A lot of the debris will be pulled by the gravitational strength of the sun. But this strong asteroid belt is out near the planet Jupiter, but sometimes they are pulled out of their orbit there and are brought into a collision course with the earth, and it is something that is being studied and it is quite interesting to the scientists.

Now, we find Jesus saying that the stars of heaven are going to fall like a fig tree casting forth its untimely fruit. In other words, some of these meteorite showers that we have seen are nothing to be compared with what is going to happen during the Great Tribulation period. And some of these things that are transpiring do sound like perhaps impact with asteroids and the effect that it would have. So, the first angel sounded followed by hail, fire, mingled with blood, and cast upon the earth.

Now remember the earth has gone through a period of three and a half years drought, so all the trees are very dry and all. And with this fiery shower hitting the earth, the trees and the dry grasses and all will be like tinder and a third part of them will go up in smoke.

The second angel sounded, and it was like a great mountain ( Revelation 8:8 )

Now it does sound like an asteroid indeed.

a great mountain burning with fire falling in the sea ( Revelation 8:8 ):

Fortunate. Had it impacted on the land surface it probably would have created another polar axis shift. But this great mountain of fire, a huge meteorite or asteroid falling into the sea.

and the third part of the sea became blood ( Revelation 8:8 );

It was probably the explosion of the thing. The disintegration into dust coloring the sea and turning into blood red like a red tide that we often see. And the result of it would be as the red tide, the killing off of the fish.

And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and a third part of the ships were destroyed ( Revelation 8:9 ).

The ships were probably destroyed by a title wave that would be created by such an impact. And the sea probably being the Mediterranean Sea and you had your yacht docked in the Mediterranean somewhere, you would probably lose the thing. A third part of them will be destroyed by this second trump of judgment.

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 ( Revelation 8:10-11 ):

The word is also translated "hemlock". It is a bitter poisonous substance.

and the third of the waters became wormwood [or poisonous]; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter [poisonous as a result of this third star, or the star falling from heaven, the third trumpet]. Now 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 darken, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise ( Revelation 8:11-12 ).

So, it is quite possible that in this-if it is indeed a meteorite shower, and when these meteorites come into our atmosphere and disintegrate, they turn into dust. And it could be that a tremendously heavy shower could create so much dust in our atmosphere that it would actually begin to filter out the light of the sun. Even as when Mount St. Helens erupted and it became dark at noon, in several of the cities in Washington around Mount St. Helens, as that thing disintegrated to dust and really darkened the skies.

So, a heavy kind of meteorite shower, if it is like a fig tree dropping its figs in a wind, just a heavy shower of meteorites around the earth, disintegrating into dust could very well shade the sun for a time with all the debris in the atmosphere. And so the sun shone but for a third part. And the moon, of course, was just a reflection of the sun and the stars.

And I beheld, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! ( Revelation 8:13 )

Now this word "angel" here is not the same word that we have been dealing with. "Aggelos", which is messenger, but "aetos" which is also translated eagle. And in some of your translations you will find eagle. The eagle flying through the midst of heaven. But, you remember that the cherubim, one of the faces was that of an eagle. So, this could be both an angel and an eagle, or one of the cherubim. Certainly it is not an eagle as we know an eagle. They are not able to speak. This one flies through the heavens and warns all of the inhabitants of the earth. So, it is orbiting the earth no doubt, saying, "Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound." In other words, you haven't seen anything yet. Four angels have sounded and we have had some pretty cataclysmic effects, but what is to come is even worse. "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth by the-

I had a parrot once that I trained to say, "Woe, woe, woe." Old George would-I kept him here in the office for a long time until my secretary got tired of him and gave him away when I was gone on vacation. And when I came home there was no George. But he would say, "Woe, woe, woe, sinners." He was a nice bird. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Revelation 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/revelation-8.html. 2014.
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