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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 8

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Verse 1

Revelation 8:1

Chapter 8 - Seventh Seal; First Four Trumpets

Heaven’s Reaction, Revelation 8:1-2

The Prayers of Saints Ascend, Revelation 8:3-4

The Prayer’s Are Answered, Revelation 8:5

The First Trumpet, Revelation 8:6-7

The Second Trumpet, Revelation 8:8-9

The Third Trumpet, Revelation 8:10-11

The Fourth Trumpet, Revelation 8:12

The Eagle’s Warning, Revelation 8:13

- - - -

Is the 7th seal (Revelation 8:1) the silence (tranquility, rest), or it is introducing and including ALL of the 7 trumpets?

Matthew 24:29-31 Luke 1:10 (Dan Jenkins - thinks the 7th seal is the silence.)

Is the action of Revelation 8:2-6 subsequent to the silence, or contemporary?

[humor :) silence = Uho! There must be no preachers or women in heaven?! :) ]

The silence period (seventh seal) . . Revelation 8:1-6. The disclosures of the seventh seal consist in the signals of the seven trumpets, announced in the order of events by the seven angels. The trumpets sounded the beginning of the end of Jerusalem, of the Jewish temple, of Judaism and of all that constituted the Jewish state. It signaled the end of the world of Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:14 --not the inhabited world, but the Jewish world. As the seven trumpets of Jericho, borne and blown by the seven priests, signaled the fall of the Canaanite city standing in the way of Israel’s conquest (Joshua 6:13-21), so did the seven trumpets, sounded successively by the seven angels of Revelation, signal the fall of Jerusalem.

They signaled the end of the once "faithful city, turned harlot" (Isaiah 1:21); "the great city, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt where also the Lord was crucified" (Revelation 11:8; Revelation 11:13). It was the end of the apostate Jerusalem which stood in the way of the conquest of the gospel; the Jerusalem that refused the "testimony" which the martyrs under the altar of Revelation 6:9 had "held"; the word of God which the same enthroned souls of Revelation 20:4 had "witnessed."

It was the Jerusalem of Galatians 4:25-26, which was "in bondage with her children." The old Jerusalem was doomed to destruction before the advance of the "Jerusalem above" of Galatians 4:26, and "heavenly Jerusalem" of Hebrews 12;23, and the "new Jerusalem" of Revelation 21:1 --the church of the new covenant, the "holy city" and "temple" of the Christ who was the Lamb of Revelation.

When the angel opened this seventh seal, before the momentous announcements were heard, a dread and awful silence was recorded. - Wallace

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal . . Jesus is the One who opens the seventh seal, but from this point on angels will be involved in announcing the seven trumpets and later the seven bowls. - Utley

there was silence in heaven . . In the ot, silence is indicative of God’s impending judgment (see Habakkuk 3:3-6; Zechariah 2:13Zechariah 3:2). There is a dramatic pause in the endless praises of the living creatures (Revelation 4:8). - FSB

silence in heaven . . Dramatic pause in the unceasing heavenly praise (4:8); the angels and redeemed anticipate God’s further acts of judgment (cf. Habakkuk 2:20; Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13). NIVZSB

there was silence in heaven for about half an hour . . There have been several theories connected with this silence: (1) the rabbis relate it to a period of silence to let the prayers of the saints be heard; ... (3) others relate it to several OT passages where humans are to be silent in the presence of God (cf. Habakkuk 2:20; Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13); and (4) some relate it to dramatic effect for the coming intense judgment on unbelievers. - Utley

There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour . . There has been a great effort among commentators to interpret the meaning of this silence. I think that it is a hush of awe before the march of the awful judgments about to come, the calm before the storm breaks forth, the oppressive silence before the burst of battle. It is designed to emphasize the events that follow. - PNT

The purpose of the silence is to prepare for what is about to happen by heightening expectation of God’s awesome judgments to follow (cf. Habakkuk 2:20; Habakkuk 3:3; Zephaniah 1:7-8, Zephaniah 1:15, Zephaniah 1:17-18; Zechariah 2:13). Perhaps the silence represents God listening to the prayers of the saints.307 It is the lull before the storm, as a few moments of calm precede the most devastating destruction of a tornado or hurricane. - Constable

Verse 2

Revelation 8:2

8:2–5 Heaven’s Incense Altar: The Saints’ Prayers, and Fire Flung to Earth. Like the just-completed cycle of visions associated with the Lamb’s breaking the scroll’s seven seals, a sevenfold vision series begins with a glimpse into God’s heavenly sanctuary. As seven angels stand ready to sound warning trumpets, the incense altar from which smoke rises (symbolizing the prayers of the suffering church) is the source of a succession of fiery judgments cast from heaven to the earth—devastating, but still restrained, foretaste of final judgment to come. - ESVSB

8:2–6 This scene of preparation in heaven introduces the seven trumpets of judgment and continues the theme of God’s receiving and answering prayer (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 6:9-11). - NLTSB

8:6–11:19 The Seven Trumpets. The seven angels introduced in Revelation 8:2 now sound their trumpets, initiating a second cycle of divine judgments (cf. Revelation 6:1-17). These judgments lead to heavenly praise (Revelation 11:15-18). - NIVZSB

seven trumpets . . In Revelation, trumpets primarily announce impending judgment. The trumpets are of greater intensity than the seals, but not as destructive as the final bowl judgments will be (cf. Revelation 16:1-21). - MSB

the seven angels which stood . . Should be, which stand. It is probably a designation of seven Angels (commonly, perhaps correctly, called Archangels) who permanently enjoy special nearness to God. - CBSC

the seven angels . . These may be the seven archangels spoken of in Jewish tradition (see RSVA Tobit 12:15; 1 Enoch 20). Of these, only Michael is mentioned by name in Revelation (Revelation 12:7). - FSB

and I saw the seven angels who stand before God . . It is interesting that the DEFINITE ARTICLE appears, “the seven angels.” In rabbinical Judaism the seven angels of the presence are named in (RSVA Tobit 12:15 ) and 1 Enoch 20:1–7. They are Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael or Sariel, Gabriel, and Remiel. - Utley

seven angels . . stand ready to sound seven trumpets, initiating limited judgments that warn of coming destruction (cf. Ezekiel 33:1-6; Joel 2:1) and summon rebels to repent (Rev. 9:21). - ESVSB

seven angels which stand before God . . the angels who act as his immediate ministering servants, to whom were given seven trumpets. The seventh seal, therefore, embraces these angels and their trumpets, and all they do in the following verses belongs to this seal. The seventh and last seal will not be exhausted until the seven trumpet angels have discharged their mission. - PNT

seven angels . . John saw someone, perhaps God, give seven trumpets to a group of seven angels standing before the heavenly throne (cf. Revelation 1:4; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 8:6; Revelation 15:1).

Exactly who these angels were is not clear. Some interpreters have identified them with seven archangels in Jewish tradition (cf. Book of Jubilees 1:27, 29; 2:1–2, 18; 15:27; 31:14; Tobit 12:15; 1 Enoch 20:2–8), but there is no basis for this in Revelation. They are apparently simply seven other angels who have great authority. These trumpets appear to be different from the trumpet of God (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16) and other trumpets mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:19; Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:1), though they too announce God’s working (cf. Ezekiel 33:3). - Constable

seven trumpets were given to them . . There may have been seven angels to correspond to the seven trumpets. In the OT trumpets were often used to communicate to God’s people, either religiously or militarily (cf. Exodus 19:16; Numbers 10:1-10; Isaiah 27:13; Jeremiah 4:5-9; Joel 2:1; Zephaniah 1:16; Zechariah 9:14; 2 Esdras 6:23). In the NT a trumpet will announce the Second Coming of Christ (cf. Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). - Utley

trumpets . . were used to assemble the people in OT times. Numbers 10:1-2 Numbers 10:9-10; Leviticus 25:9; Amos 3:6 ;

1 Corinthians 15:52 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ;

Here the trumpets seem to be announcing the Judgments of God. The climax is in Revelation 11:19 (cf Revelation 11:15-19).

trumpets . . Trumpets play a major role in God’s dealings with His people (cf. Exodus 19:16; Exodus 20:18; Isaiah 27:13; Jeremiah 4:5; Joel 2:1; Zephaniah 1:16; Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). They were part of Israel’s ceremonial processions (e.g., Joshua 6:1, Joshua 6:13-16; 1 Kings 1:34, 1 Kings 1:39; 1 Chronicles 15:24), and they assembled the Israelites for war, journeys, and special feasts (e.g., Numbers 10:9-10). They also warned of the coming day of the Lord (e.g., Joel 2:1), and they announced the new year in Israel (e.g., Numbers 29:1). Here they announce divine judgment in the day of the Lord (cf. Zechariah 1:14-16). - Constable

seven trumpets. . Instruments of battle (e.g., Joshua 6:5). When blown by the angels, these trumpets initiate the next seven judgments. - FSB

Joel’s Day of the Lord was heralded by a trumpet, Joel 2:1 .

The trumpet judgments are reminiscent of the ten plagues of Egypt (Exod 7:14 – 11:10) and have the same purpose—to show the powerlessness of earthly gods (or satanic powers) and to demonstrate beyond doubt the power and sovereignty of God. - NLTSB

Verse 3

Revelation 8:3

another angel . . One different from the seven with the trumpets - Revelation 8:2.

This text and Revelation 5:8 have been used to promote the rabbinical theological concept that angels are the bearers of prayers to God. The Bible is silent on how to interpret this type of detail. These symbolic passages should not be used to define speculative theological details. This is a vision and not meant to define the role of certain angels. It does affirm that the prayers of the saints do affect God. - Utley

The vision at this point is very reminiscent of priestly service as it took place in Israel’s tabernacle and temples. Another angel acting as a priest came into view and stood before the golden incense altar in heaven (cf. Revelation 6:9). His censer of gold, appropriate in view of God’s presence, contained coals of fire. The angel received more incense to add to the prayers of the saints already there. - Constable

at . .over . . = epi = on or at the altar. More literally, on the altar, R. V. “over the altar.” - CBSC

altar . . = the brazen altar, cf Revelation 16:6-7 ; the golden altar is the incense altar in Revelation 9:13. The people prayed while the priests burned incense, Luke 1:10, cf/Zacharias.

Revelation 5:8-9 If every church prayed as you - how much incense would angels have to mix with the coals of the altar. Let’s keep the incense box full!

altar . . The altar has been identified as either the incense altar before the veil in the Holy Place or the altar of sacrifice (cf. v. 5; Revelation 9:13). However, this vision is not the earthly Tabernacle or Temple in Jerusalem, but the throne room of God in heaven (cf. Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:11, Hebrews 9:24). The incense altar fits this context best. - Utley

golden censer . . A rounded vessel in which incense and burning coals were placed together. The resulting sweet fragrance often accompanied worship ceremonies and religious rituals (see Luke 1:9) - FSB

golden censer . . Firepan used by priests to burn spices in temple worship (Leviticus 16:12; 1 Kings 7:50). NIVZSB

golden censer . . . A golden pan, suspended on a rope or chain, that was used to transport fiery coals from the brazen altar to the altar of incense, in order to ignite the incense, symbolizing the prayers of the people (Revelation 5:8; Exodus 27:3; cf. Luke 1:8-9). This occurred twice daily at the time of the morning and evening sacrifices. - MSB

he was given . . "Who" gave the incense to the angel is not revealed and apparently is not important to the picture.

offer it with . . Literally, give (i.e. add) it to the prayers; ... Apparently the image is, that the prayers of the Saints are already lying on the Altar, and the Angel, in modern liturgical phrase, “censes the holy things.” - CBSC

prayers . . 8:3–4 The prayers of God’s people ask for God’s ultimate justice and judgment (Revelation 6:10-11; see also Revelation 5:8; Ezra 9:5-6; Psalms 141:2; Daniel 9:21). The mixture of incense and prayers that reaches God’s presence shows that God hears their prayers (see Revelation 6:9-11) and is prepared to act. - NLTSB

the prayers of all the saints . . Exactly which group of saints this represents is uncertain, but this does show that God knows and responds to the needs of His people (cf. Exodus 3:7). Incense was a symbol of prayer (cf. Psalms 141:2; Revelation 5:8) because the smoke went up and disappeared from the visible realm to the invisible realm. - Utley

the golden altar . . Perhaps the same altar as Revelation 6:9, where the souls of the slain saints had been seen. - Leviticus 16:12-13 - day of atonement.

This seems to parallel the opening of the seals, Revelation 5:8.

8:3–5 The earthly OT sanctuary had two altars, one for bloody sacrifice in the courtyard and the other for smoky incense inside, adjacent to the veil into the Most Holy Place (Exodus 27:1-8; Exodus 30:1-10).

John sees only one altar in heaven, fulfilling both functions (Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3). As incense was associated with the prayers of the saints in the earthly sanctuary (see Psalms 141:2; Luke 1:9-11), so it is in John’s visions (see Revelation 5:8).

Not only martyrs under the heavenly altar (Revelation 6:9-10) but also suffering saints on earth cry out for justice. Therefore fire from the altar, from which the saints’ prayers rise, will be flung to earth in judgment, indicating that the judgments to follow answer the prayers of the saints. - ESVSB

And another angel came and stood over the altar . . The scene reveals the altar of the tabernacle, “a pattern made after heavenly things.” This is the altar of sacrifice from which the coal was always taken to light the incense (Leviticus 16:13). This angel receives the incense and offers it upon the golden altar, the altar of incense. The incense is “the prayers of the saints;” these to reach the throne must be lighted from the altar of sacrifice; or by faith in the blood of the Lamb of God. - PNT

Verse 4

Revelation 8:4

And the smoke . . As the smoke arose before the throne, so the prayers of the saints in the name of the crucified Savior arise to God. The special significance of all this is that in the terrible judgments about to follow, the prayers of the true and faithful saints will still come before God, and his providence will be over them. - PNT

smoke ... with . . Incense and prayers mingled together.

The mixture of incense and prayers that reaches God’s presence shows that God hears their prayers (see Revelation 6:9-11) and is prepared to act. - NLTSB

(also Swete, p. 108)

from the hand of the angel . . The angel appears to be performing a priestly action. (compare Leviticus 16:12; Numbers 16:46).

Verse 5

Revelation 8:5

the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth . . This is an allusion to Ezekiel 10:2.

Coals for the incense altar before the veil would have normally been taken from the altar of sacrifice at the front of the Tabernacle (cf Revelation 9:13). These are Tabernacle symbols whose meaning is fluid. The key theological thought is that this is occurring before God in heaven. - Utley

cast . . = 2 Aorist, Active, Indictive.

threw it to the earth . . Initiates judgment in response to the prayers of the saints—probably those recorded in Revelation 6:10. - FSB

The action of the angel, as he throws fire down upon the earth, signals the dramatic beginning of God’s judgment (see Genesis 19:24; Exodus 9:23; Leviticus 10:2; Deuteronomy 9:3; 2 Kings 1:10). - NLTSB

Therefore fire from the altar, from which the saints’ prayers rise, will be flung to earth in judgment, indicating that the judgments to follow answer the prayers of the saints. - ESVSB

and cast it . . Probably cast the censer full of burning coals, but possibly only “scattered the fire,” as Numbers 16:37. The meaning must be, to represent the same instrument as obtaining God’s mercy on His people, and executing His vengeance on His enemies: cf. Ezekiel 10:2. - CBSC

This fire cast from the altar upon the earth indicates that the judgments of God are about to fall upon it. - PNT

and there followed peals of thunder . . These types of physical phenomenon are often associated with YHWH’s presence (cf. Revelation 4:5; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:18; Exodus 19:11; Psalms 18:10-13). - Utley

thunders, and voices ... = Mt. Sinai - when God was about to speak - God got the world’s attention! Exodus 19:9 ;Exodus 19:16 ; Exodus 19:18-19

When God says there will be thunders and lightening and earthquakes then when such passes it is a figure of "God Speaking!"

In judgment again Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2) there came judgment in Ezekiel 38:19-20 .

thunders and sounds and lightnings and an earthquake . . This formula, first mentioned in Revelation 4:5, is used again in Revelation 11:19 and Revelation 16:18. The latter three usages follow a set of judgments (the seals, trumpets, and bowls). - FSB

peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake . . Alludes to the Sinai theophany (Exodus 19:16-20; cf. Revelation 4:5). A storm theophany also concludes the cycles of trumpets (Revelation 11:19) and bowls (Revelation 16:18). - NIVZSB

Verse 6

Revelation 8:6

8:1–6 These verses represent the actions during the period of silence. - Utley

*** In response to the saints’ prayers ( Revelation 6:10 ) we seem to have the whole action of the 7 trumpets.

Seven trumpets seem parallel to Luke 21:25-26.

Joel 2:1 picture of God’s judgment against Judah when the Babylonians overthrew and conquored the nation. (A trumpet sound pictured at Christ return at the resurrection 1 Thessalonians 4:16). The trumpet pattern is like that before, 4 & 3 with 4 natural disasters described.

8:6–13 The next wave of judgments begins; four of the seven trumpets are blown in this section. The attacks, which come against nature and the cosmos, are intended to lead sinful humanity to repentance, not totally destroy them. - FSB

Describes the commencement of judgment. John’s imagery recalls several of the plagues from the book of Exodus. - FSB

8:6–11:19 The Seven Trumpets. The seven angels introduced in Revelation 8:2 now sound their trumpets, initiating a second cycle of divine judgments (cf. rev 6:1–17). These judgments lead to heavenly praise (Revelation 11:15-18). - NIVZSB

8:6–11:18 Angels Sound Seven Trumpets. Revelation’s third sevenfold series (with a second interlude in 10:1–11:14) portrays judgments sent from heaven in response to the saints’ prayers. Judgments revealed by the first four trumpets harm the same spheres that will be destroyed when the first four bowls are poured out (Revelation 16:1-9): earth, sea, rivers and springs, and sky. The damage done with the trumpets is limited to “a third”: God restrains his wrath, while giving foretastes of total devastation to come if rebels ignore his warnings. - ESVSB

seven trumpets . . Introduced in Revelation 8:2. This scene recalls Joshua 6:2-5, where seven priests blow trumpets before Jericho’s destruction.

In Scripture, trumpets summon the community for worship or battle (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 10:1-10) and announce the Lord’s glorious presence in revelation (Exodus 19:16), judgment (Joel 2:1), and salvation (1 Thessalonians 4:16). - NIVZSB

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets. See verse 2. There is the utmost deliberation. All must be made ready. The four angels hold back the winds (Revelation 7:1), then there was the silence of half an hour (verse 1); now the seven angels prepared themselves to sound.

This implies that all things were being made ready for the great events to follow. Trumpets. The trumpet is used to give a signal. Usually it implied the march or charge of armies. See Joel 2:1, Joel 2:15; Jeremiah 4:5; Ezekiel 33:1-6. Sometimes it calls the people to worship. See Numbers 31:6; 1 Chronicles 15:24. The reader will see that the first is likely to be the significance here. - PNT

Verse 7

Revelation 8:7

The earth is smitten.

The purpose of the Trumpet Judgments is to work repentance, Revelation 9:20 .

The Trumpet Judgments affect : 1) land; 2) sea ; 3)water 4) heavenly bodies; 5) bottomless pit; 6) River Euphrates; 7) heavenly acts

First - Revelation 8:7 the earth - 1/3 part burned

Second - Revelation 8:8-9 the sea - 1/3 part as blood, fish, ships

Third - Revelation 8:10 fountains of waters - 1/3 made bitter

Fourth - Revelation 8:12 heavenly bodies - sun, moon, stars

Fifth - Revelation 9:1 angel with key to bottomless pit

Sixth - Revelation 9:13 River Euphrates - 4 angels loosed

Seventh - Revelation 10:7 mystery finished - little book eaten

First Trumpet = storms - Ezekiel 38:22 ;

The number "1/3" is not unique to the book of Revelation. Zechariah 13:8-9

These plagues often resemble the Egyptian plagues ( Exodus 9:22-25 ;Joel 2:30-32 ff ) John adds blood to the hail and fire of the exodus narrative.

Each of the first four trumpets affects one-third of its target (see Ezekiel 5:1-4, 12; Zechariah 13:8). The point is not to convey an exact measurement; instead, it indicates that God’s judgment on the earth is beginning but has not reached its zenith. Together, the first four trumpets form a unified message of judgment - -

This is usual prophetic language that graphically portrays a coming judgment by God. Don’t get lost in trying to make it an allegory and every piece equal to some specific event. The whole of the message, is a severe judgment is coming.

Joel 2:30-32 ff quoted in Acts 2:19 with regard to "the last days" of Judaism, of the last days of the Mosaical dispensation (Acts 2:15; Hebrews 1:1-3) and the beginning of the new Messianic age is now ushered in.

The judgment upon Israel came because of their rejection of God’s Son, Matthew 21:37-41; Matthew 22:6-7; Matthew 23:34-38;

Verse 8

Revelation 8:8

second Angel . . sounding his trumpet. Judgment illustrated by the sea.

The 1) earth and 2) sea are affected - food supplies. From the language it sounds like a volcano Jeremiah 51:25 . Not literal, but figurative

Vs. 8 mountains . . In OT prophetic language they usually stand for social institutions, and government. In Ezekiel 38:19 there is a "shaking" of the ruling or controlling power.

Verse 9

Revelation 8:9

Effect of the second angel sounding is continued; affecting a third of the sea creatures and ships.

The imagery of vs 8-8 echoes Jeremiah 51:25, Jeremiah 51:42, where God announced that he would make Babylon, Zion’s destroyer, a “burnt mountain” and cover it with the sea. - ESVSB

The wealth of the religious hierarchy in Jerusalem’s came from the tithes of the world-wide trade of Jewish merchants. Sea captains lament Babylon’s (Jerusalem, Revelation 11:8 ) ruin in Revelation 18:17-19.

Verse 10

Revelation 8:10

third angel . . - a star named "Wormwood" bitterness fell on waters and many men died, Revelation 8:10-11.

star . . = lamp, torch, Lamp (λαμπὰς) Revelation 4:5 ( meteor ); Daniel 8:10 ; Matthew 24:29 ; Isaiah 13:10-11

burning as it were a lamp . . Rather, like a torch, with a flaring trail of fire. The same image is used of natural shooting stars, e.g. Verg. Aen. ii. 694. - CBSC

Stars usually symbolized the princes, judges, priests, the lesser ruling authorities in a nation or kingdom (The sun, moon represented the higher governing authorities. )

star fell . . The falling star, as in Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:25 and Luke 21:25, represented the downfall of authorities and rulers of the persecuting governments-- Wallace

The same imagery was in Isaiah’s description of the fall of the Babylonian rulers; the constellations were used as the symbols of their positions, and the same figures of speech were used by the prophet as metaphors of the darkness that settled over the empire in the destruction of ancient Babylon. (Isaiah 13:10-11) - Wallace

rivers and on the springs of water . . Corresponds to Exodus 7:20-25. Whereas the previous judgment was against salt water, this judgment is against fresh water. - FSB

Verse 11

Revelation 8:11

star . . named Bitterness (literally wormwood, a shrubby plant yielding a bitter extract) is symbolic rather than physical. Bitter water is connected with judgment from early in Israel’s national experience (Exodus 15:22-26; Numbers 5:18; Jeremiah 9:13-16; Jeremiah 23:15). The message is that wide-scale judgment has begun. - NLTSB

wormwood . . is a plant native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa, with a bitter-tasting and poisonous extract from the root. Deuteronomy 29:18 ; Proverbs 5:4 ; Amos 5:7; Amos 6:12. Imagery is from Jeremiah 9:15 , Jeremiah 23:13-15 ;

wormwood . . A leafy plant that causes water to become bitter. Though wormwood is not poisonous, it can be combined with other elements that are (e.g., Deuteronomy 29:18, where “poisonous and bitter fruit” is actually “gall and wormwood”; Lamentations 3:19). - FSB

wormwood . . A bitter-tasting shrub (see NIV text note), which symbolizes sorrow (Proverbs 5:3-4) and judgment (Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15).

waters … bitter. Recalls the first Egyptian plague (Exodus 7:20-21) and the bitter water at Marah (Exodus 15:23); contrasts with “springs of living water” (Revelation 7:17). - NIVSB

Verse 12

Revelation 8:12

fourth angel . . = 1/3 sun & moon smitten; heavenly bodies are affected. Such symbols represent higher ruling authorities in OT prophetic language.

Like the 9th plague of Egypt - Exodus 10:21-23 . - sun, moon, stars. Terms used to describe the fall of a nation (compare Joel 3:15; Amos 8:9). cf. Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:11 ; Luke 21:25.

the fourth angel . . On the fourth day of creation, God made the sun the moon, and the stars (Genesis 1:14-19). - NLTSB

sun … moon … stars … turned dark . . Alludes to Exodus 10:21-23; Matthew 24:29; the darkness is partial, not total, covering “a third of the day.” Darkness symbolizes the primordial world (Genesis 1:2), evil (Luke 22:53; John 1:5), and final destruction (Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10). The beast and its kingdom will be “plunged into darkness” (Revelation 16:10). - NIVZSB

Darkness has always been a sign of God’s judgment (cf. Exodus 10:21; Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 34:4; Isaiah 50:3; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:2, Joel 2:10, Joel 2:31; Joel 3:15; Amos 5:18; Mark 13:24). The heavenly bodies were often worshiped as spiritual powers. God created them (cf. Genesis 1:14-19; Isaiah 40:26); named them (cf. Psalms 147:4; Isaiah 40:26); controls them (cf. Isaiah 48:13); and they praise Him (cf. Psalms 148:3). - Utley

Verse 13

Revelation 8:13

angel . . [eagle] . . The majority of manuscripts from all periods have the word aetos (“eagle”) here. However, a minority of late manuscripts have the word angelos (“angel”). The Textus Receptus form of the Greek text follows the latter reading, as do English translations based on it, like the KJV and NKJV. - FSB

eagle . . vulture, Bird of prey ; OT symbol of vengeance and wrath.

The ancients regarded the eagle as a symbolic messenger of God (see 4 Ezra 11:7–8; 2 Baruch 77:19–26). NLTSB

This can refer to (1) a vulture (or eagle), which often was a symbol of slaughter (cf. Ezekiel 17:3; Habakkuk 1:8; Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37); (2) an allusion to the judgment scene in Ezekiel 39:17-20; Hosea 8:1; (3) an allusion to the intertestamental apocalyptic book of II Baruch 77:21–22, in which a vulture sends a message to God’s hurting people; or (4) the Roman army standards which were topped by eagles. - Utley

flying overhead . . = The “flying in midheaven” is probably another allusion to birds of prey soaring above the earth (cf. Revelation 14:6; Revelation 19:17). - Utley

through the midst of heaven . . Rather, in mid-heaven: it is a single compound word. It occurs again in Revelation 14:6, Revelation 19:17, and nowhere else in the N. T.: but in the later classical Greek it is not uncommon for the position of the sun at noonday. Yet the last of the places cited from this book, where all natural birds are said to fly “in mid-heaven,” seems rather as if St John used it of the air, the space between earth and sky. - CBSC

Woe, woe, woe . . This possibly corresponds to the last three trumpets which are to come (cf. Revelation 9:12; Revelation 11:14; Revelation 12:12); it may also be a symbol of intensity (like “holy, holy, holy” of Revelation 4:8). In Hebrew a three-fold repetition is a superlative (cf. Holy, holy, holy of Isaiah 6:3). In the OT “woe” marks a certain poetic lament related to death and judgment.- Utley

Woe, woe, woe . . The threefold use of “woe” corresponds to the three remaining trumpet judgments. It communicates distress, pain, suffering, and displeasure. - FSB

Woe . . Terror, terror, terror . . A threefold announcement would be recognized as a message from God (see Acts 10:16). • The terror (Greek ouai) that sounded like an eagle’s screech was directed against humans of this world who were not among God’s faithful people (Revelation 6:10; Revelation 9:4, Revelation 9:20). - NLTSB

to those who live on the earth . . In Revelation this phrase refers to unbelievers, [to those persecuting the souls of Revelation 6:9-10] not all earth’s inhabitants (compare Revelation 3:10; Revelation 6:10; Revelation 11:10; Revelation 13:8). - FSB

by reason of . . = because of

by reason of the other voices . . in other words, "you aint seen nothing yet!"

The first four trumpets shows judgment on the people as symbolized by natural phenomena, the last three more specific and devastating.

Remember that this judgment was to the people without the seal of God - Revelation 9:4

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Revelation 8". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/revelation-8.html. 2021.
 
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