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Revelation 8

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Verses 1-2

Rev 8:1-2

SECTION FOUR

SOUNDING OF FIRST FOUR TRUMPETS

Revelation 8:1-12

1. THE SEVENTH SEAL OPENED

Revelation 8:1-2

1 And when he opened the seventh seal, there followed a silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.--When the preceding seals were opened there was an immediate disclosing of the things they contained, but in this there is a brief silence before the scenes begin to appear. Commentators offer various explanations of what is represented by the half-hour silence, but the text gives no hint why such delay occurred before the things of the seal were made known. Often there is a brief, impressive calm before the storm in material elements. So this short silence in heaven between breaking the seal and appearance of its visions may have been intended only to emphasize the storms that would break loose when the four restraining angels no longer held back the destructive winds mentioned in 7:1-3.

2 And I saw the seven angels that stand before God; and there were given unto them seven trumpets.--All the events revealed by the sounding of the seven trumpets come under the seventh seal, else there would be no disclosures at all by that seal. The acts of worship described in verses 3-5 are only preliminary to the sounding of the trumpets, as verse 6 indicates. This demands the view that events of the seventh seal did not end till the sounding of the seventh trumpet or, that the seventh seal extends to the end of the world. All we know about these angels is that they were some that stood "before God." Probably the only reason for seven is the fact that there were seven trumpets to be sounded. If more than one was needed, then naturally there would be seven. It is not stated by whom the trumpets were given to the angels, but, as they "stand before God," it would be a reasonable presumption to say that God gave them. It was by his authority, of course, that they were to sound them.

Commentary on Revelation 8:1-2 by Foy E. Wallace

The silence period (seventh seal)—Revelation 8:1-2.

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.

“There was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."—Revelation 8:1.

This scene was in Heaven: It was the place where all of these correlated visions were disclosed. The “silence” here was accentuated by the contrast with the “voices” in the six seals before it. It was the silence of dreadful suspense, fearful expectation, a calm before the storm.

The silence period was for the space of half an hour: It was the symbol of pause, the sign of shortness of time. A similarity exists between this silence and the cessation of singers and trumpets in the cleansing of the temple by Hezekiah when the king and all the congregation “bowed themselves and worshipped.” (2 Chronicles 29:1-36) The silence here followed in immediate succession the scene of chapter 7, where all the angels, elders and beings “fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God.” The similarity between the cessation of the singers and the silence of the angels was impressive. The former was a cessation of reverent worship, after the “singers sang” and the “trumpeters sounded” at the altars of Hezekiah. The latter was a silence of waiting awe, after the voices of “all the angels” in chapter 7 had ceased; it was a silence significant of what was about to occur in the final scene of the seventh seal.

“And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets."—Revelation 8:2.

The angels were the announcers; the trumpets the signals for what had been announced to begin. It followed the vision of “the day of wrath” in the sixth seal, and was a further vision of judgments, of things “shortly” to come to pass, which had been set forth in the six preceding seals. The trumpets of the seventh seal were the signals to proceed to the accomplishment of that which the seals signified.

Commentary on Revelation 8:1-2 by Walter Scott

THE SEVENTH SEAL

Revelation 8:1. — And when He opened the seventh Seal there was silence in the Heaven about half an hour. The seven-sealed book, or scroll, seen in the open hand of Jehovah (Revelation 5:1-2) has its Seals successively opened by the Lamb. Six of the seals were broken in chapter 6, and now, in the first verse of our chapter, He opens the final one, with the result that the book of God’s counsels respecting the earth lies open before us. The plans, the counsels of our God regarding the vast interests of earth, as also the means and manner by which these counsels will be effected, are no longer a secret. All are disclosed. But why is the seventh Seal separated from the preceding six? Naturally one would suppose that it would have concluded chapter 6. But instead a whole chapter (Revelation 7:1-17) comes in between the sixth and seventh Seals, a parenthetic interruption breaking the orderly sequence of events. The sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-17) announced judgment of such an appalling character that in the universal terror which ensued the fears of men, from the king to the slave, supposed the general horror to be the great day of the wrath of the Lamb. But no, and so ere the seventh Seal is opened, which is preparatory to the infliction of yet further and severer judgments, the veil is drawn aside, and two great millennial companies from amongst Israel and the Gentiles are introduced into the scene, the result of an extensive work of grace carried on even while judgment is desolating the earth (Revelation 7:1-17).

“Silence in Heaven” (Hengstenberg and some other expositors argue for a silence on earth, and quote in proof Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7, Zechariah 2:13; these passages speak of a silence on earth, whereas our text, which so far as we can judge has no parallel or proof text in the Old Testament, speaks of “silence in Heaven.” We are satisfied that the force of the expression simply denotes a brief pause during which the course of judgment is suspended. This is confirmed by a consideration of two texts, in both of which premonitory intimations of coming judgments are stated in substantially the same words. Under the first text, Revelation 4:5, we have a course of divine inflictions down to the close of chapter 6. Then comes a pause intimating a brief cessation of judgment. Then in the second text, Revelation 8:5, a further and similar intimation of divine chastisements is announced, and these latter take effect under the Trumpets. The silence is in Heaven because the judgments proceed from it.) does not mean that the songs and hallelujahs of the redeemed are silent. The silence must be interpreted in connection with the immediate subject on hand, which is judgment. But, inasmuch as the source of these judgments on earth is the throne set in Heaven, the silence is there. The course of judgment is arrested. There is a pause both as to the announcement and execution of further chastisements. The silence is of brief duration. “Half an hour” simply denotes an exceedingly brief period during which judicial action is suspended. The breaking of the seventh Seal is followed, not by judgment, but by an ominous silence. It is a calm before a storm, like a stillness in nature preceding a tempest. How long the awful suspense lasts we are not informed, but in the meantime we are called to witness an action of an entirely different character from anything which has yet passed before us, and one which fills up the interval of the half an hour, whatever may be the precise length of time thereby indicated.

THE SEVEN ANGELS.

Revelation 8:2. — And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. That the angels here referred to are a distinguished and select number seems evident from the insertion of the definite article, “The seven angels,” as also from the highly honoured place assigned them, “who stand before God.” “The seven” are distinguished from the seven who pour out the Vials (Revelation 15:1). Only of the trumpet angels is a special position (“before God”) predicated.

There are distinctions amongst the angelic hosts. They are distributed into various orders and ranks, but all, from the archangel down to the least, are servants. They have no relationship to God founded on redemption. They are servants, and never rise out of that position, nor do they desire it. The two great characteristics of angel life are unquestioning obedience and activity in service (Psalms 103:20; Hebrews 1:7; Hebrews 1:14). The presence angels is a familiar Jewish thought. They are supposed by some to be identical with the seven Spirits before the throne (Revelation 1:4), and by others the term is regarded as a borrowed expression from the apocryphal book of Tobit. Both are wrong. Why depart from obvious simplicity and force an interpretation for which there is really no adequate reason? What the angel Gabriel said of himself, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God (Luke 1:19), is here said of these seven presence angels. As to the number, seven, they represent the full power of God in judicial judgment.

Revelation 8:2“And seven trumpets were given to them.” The place of subjection is ever the place of even the most exalted of God’s creatures; the trumpets were given. Sovereign action is the prerogative alone of the Creator. But why trumpets? No wind instrument was more generally used in the national life of Israel than the trumpet. It convened them in public assembly. Its loud blast summoned them for war, and directed them when to advance and when to retreat. On the promulgation of the law “the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder.” In their solemn feasts the trumpet was largely employed. Its loud warning notes announced the near approach of danger or an enemy. By sound of trumpet the journeys in the wilderness were directed. The year of jubilee, and, in fact, on all important national occasions the trumpet was employed (see Leviticus 25:9; Exodus 19:19; Numbers 10:2-10; Leviticus 23:24, etc.). The circumstances calling for the public interference of God in judgment, as detailed in our portion of the Apocalypse, are somewhat similar to the coming days of Joel 2:1-2, “A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness.” Both Joel and John refer to the blast of the trumpet, intimating that God is about to deal openly and before all in judicial chastisement with the iniquity before Him, a public and loud announcement that He is about to do so. “The seven trumpets” signify a complete and full announcement. The mystic trumpets of the Apocalypse must not be confounded with the literal trumpets of Old Testament times.

Commentary on Revelation 8:1-2 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 8:1. The seventh and last seal was opened but nothing took place for half an hour. In the march of events it frequently happens that a lull will come between different campaigns. That is described here as being a silence of half an hour. We recall that when the four angels inRevelation 7:1-3 were prepared to continue the action of God’s judgments against the persecutors of His people, they were told to hold the winds back until the sealing of the faithful had been completed. This half hour silence represents the lull in the judgments while the sealing was being done.

Revelation 8:2. The events of the seventh seal will include several verses, for there are seven angels involved in the events and all that transpires in connection with them is what was revealed when the seventh seal was broken. The angels were given each a trumpet but they will not all be used in the same series. Four of them will sound one after the other, then will come a halt after which the remaining three will sound. (See Revelation 8:13.) Doubtless the first four angels correspond with the four that were holding the four winds that were to bring consternation upon the persecutors of God’s people, which is the reason why the seven angels are divided into separate groups, four and three.

Commentary on Revelation 8:1-2 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 8:1

Regarding Revelation 8:1. With the first verse of this chapter, one reaches a watershed in the interpretation of Revelation, a moment of decision, that affects the understanding of all that follows. This verse is the pivot upon which the whole interpretation turns, making the problem of its interpretation probably the most important in the whole book. Once the wrong view of Revelation 8:1 is established in the interpreter’s understanding, it is impossible for the exegesis of subsequent chapters to be correct; and most of the systems of interpreting Revelation are wrong because this verse was either ignored or misunderstood. Observe the verse itself.

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

In these brief words, we have all that pertains to the opening of the seventh seal. The half hour of silence does not either include or introduce the seven trumpets, or anything else. Since the sixth seal brought a vision of the Second Advent and final judgment, followed by a special vision of the safety and felicity of the saints (Revelation 7), not only while they are enduring sufferings and tribulations, but also through the final judgment into heaven itself, the most natural question of the soul is, "What will it be like in heaven?" The Scriptural answer to that question is this half hour of silence. It is not revealed. There is not a word in the whole Bible that actually portrays the events following the judgment of the last day, "the day of the Lord." Even the marvelous two chapters which conclude this prophecy reveal nothing of the events that are to take place afterwards. John himself said, "It is not yet made manifest what we shall be" (1 John 3:2), a statement which is parallel with the thought here. A moment later, we shall note some of the important corollaries that derive from this interpretation; but first, we shall give the interpretation of this verse as found in the writings of others:

It is a silence of fearful apprehension.[1] The silence is transitional.[2] It introduces a new series of symbols (the trumpets).[3] It may be a breathing space in the narrative.[4] It is a dread suspense in anticipation of events to follow.[5] All heaven breathlessly awaits the final act of divine judgment.[6] It is a brilliant device for deepening the suspense.[7] It begins a new series of visions, the trumpets.[8] It represents a broken or interrupted whole.[9]

The vast majority of commentators hold views similar to those cited here; and the net result of such an interpretation is that of making the trumpets a vision of events coming subsequently and in sequence to the six seals. This we believe to be incorrect. That half hour of silence is a terminus reaching all the way to eternity and summing up all that had been revealed by the opening of the six seals, which disclosed conditions of the whole period between the two Advents of Christ. This understanding of the silence forces the conclusion that whatever else may be revealed in Revelation covers identically the same time period as that covered by the opening of the six seals. A number of scholars discerned this exceedingly important truth:

Revelation 6:11 is clearly a reference to the final judgment ... the half hour silence is the full content of the seventh seal ... the end, after the judgment, is pictured by the silence. This shuts out the possibility of the trumpets and bowls being pictures of historical events subsequent to the seals ... They present different aspects of the same time period as the seals.[10] Each new series of visions (trumpets and bowls) both recapitulates and develops the theme already stated in what has gone before.[11] It is noteworthy that both the seals and the trumpets bring us to the end (Revelation 6:17; Revelation 11:15); and this requires us to recognize some measure of recapitulation, when the narrative backs up and recovers the same ground.[12] He (John) has in mind at this point to double back and present more material.[13] The successive visions (the seals) are paralleled in the trumpets.[14] The arrangement of the trumpets is parallel to that of the seals.[15] Man cannot yet know all of God’s plans (comment on the silence).[16]

Others could be cited, but these are enough to show that the interpretation advocated here is by no means unique. This view of the half hour of silence as the totality of the seventh seal stresses the importance of the seventh seal. Roberson objected that such a view, "Does not give the same significance to the seventh seal which the reader is entitled to expect";[17] but this objection is removed by the view of it as a withholding of any prophecy at all regarding the afterlife, thus making the seventh seal one of the most important and significant things in the whole prophecy. No other solution is adequate. This confirms the view of the sixth seal as a picture of the final judgment, and clears up the wonderment of many regarding no mention of the end in the seventh seal; but the end has already happened! The silence regards the time after the end, and God is silent with reference to that. Plummer also noted this:

The events narrated under the vision of the trumpets are not an exposition of the seventh seal, but a separate supplementary vision. The silence is typical of the eternal peace of heaven, the ineffable bliss of which it is impossible for mortals to comprehend, and which is, therefore, symbolized by silence.[18]

The crucial importance of Revelation 8:1 requires our study of it to be as thorough as possible. It is the key to our conviction that the prophecy of Revelation is a series of sections, each ending in the final judgment, and all of them therefore parallel and having reference to the same extended time period between the two Advents of Christ, and each of them recapitulating from different viewpoints the events regarding all the world of both believers and unbelievers, with specific references to both classes again and again.

This understanding of Revelation dates back many years with this writer, and it was delightfully exciting to discover, far later, the able defense of this view by William Hendriksen. Before glancing at Hendriksen’s argument, the reason why this interpretation came about is significant. In the Old Testament Joseph interpreted the parallel dreams of Pharaoh regarding the seven fat cattle devoured by the seven lean cattle, and the seven good ears of corn consumed by the seven blasted ears which followed them; and the answer God gave to Joseph was, "The dream of Pharaoh is one" (Genesis 41:25). There are far more resemblances in the various series of visions in this prophecy than there were in Pharaoh’s two strange dreams; and this fact long ago led this student to the conclusion that, in a sense, all seven of these sections in Revelation are one. A summary of Hendriksen’s very extensive presentation of this view is:[19]

The book consists of seven sections, running parallel, and spanning the whole dispensation between the first and second coming of Christ.

Each ends in the judgment day.

Both the first trumpet and the first bowl affect the earth (Revelation 8:7; Revelation 16:2); the second trumpet and the second bowl affect the sea; the third trumpet and the third bowl affect the rivers; the fourth in both series refers to the sun. This type of correspondence in the series is extensive, including the divisions into groups of four and three, etc.

The same themes appear in all sections: the bliss of the redeemed, the destruction of Christ’s enemies, the judgment of the wicked, divine judgments upon men, trials and persecutions of the church, etc.

Even the interludes are similarly constructed.

The seven churches addressed at the beginning constitute somewhat of an overture for the whole production; and they suggest a sevenfold division of the whole prophecy.

The same promises are repeated in all sections. God shall wipe away all tears appears in Revelation 7:17, and in Revelation 21:4. Many other similarities and resemblances will be pointed out in the notes on the text throughout.

The acceptance of the above interpretation does not mean that no specific events in history are prophesied; for it is our conviction that many such things are included, although most of them may not be restricted to specific dates nor limited to any single fulfillment. The fulfillment of the wars and famines under the six seals, for example, has been repeated in many fulfillments throughout history, and will doubtless be fulfilled again and again in the future.

[1] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 551.

[2] Ray Summers, Worthy is the Lamb (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1961), p. 153.

[3] W. S. Thompson, Comments on Revelation (Memphis, Texas: Southern Church Publications, 1957), p. 87.

[4] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 40.

[5] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919), p. 269.

[6] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 646.

[7] Martin Kiddle, The Revelation of St. John, The Moffatt New Testament Commentary, p. 144.

[8] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentaries, Vol. 20, The Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 119.

[9] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 53.

[10] Douglas Ezell, Revelations on Revelation (Waco: Word Books, 1977), pp. 44-47.

[11] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 106.

[12] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 121.

[13] Vernard Eller, The Most Revealing Book in the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), p. 104.

[14] Ralph Earle, op. cit., p. 555.

[15] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1079.

[16] James William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 632.

[17] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 52.

[18] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 20, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 229.

[19] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), pp. 23,25, 26,28, and 139.

Revelation 8:2

And I saw the seven angels that stand before God; and there was given unto them seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2)

The pageantry here did not take place during the silence, but after it. "Revelation 2-6 are a preface to the vision of the trumpets."[20]

Seven angels that stand before God ... It is natural that many should understand these as the seven archangels, and Barclay named them (not from the Bible, of course, but from Tobit): "Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel and Remiel.[21] Only one archangel is mentioned in the Bible, Michael; and it seems logical to conclude that there could be only one archangel, the one of highest authority. See more on this in my Commentary on Jude, p. 534. Barclay also thought that "this verse is out of place, due to some copyist’s error";[22] but such views come from a failure to see this little paragraph as a fitting introduction to the trumpet judgments.

There were given unto them seven trumpets ... "The reason for only seven angels being mentioned is that there were just seven trumpets to be sounded."[23] The usual view of this place, which is rejected here, is that "the seventh seal becomes the seven trumpets."[24] This series of judgments is new, but it covers the same time period as the seven seals; and there is here a significant difference. Whereas the first four judgments under the seals derived from the sins of people, the first four in the series of the trumpets are the result of what appears to be supernatural intervention. "The trumpets are structured over the same pattern as that of the seals,"[25] "but the judgments under the seals were natural, ordinary occurrences; the supernatural is added here."[26] The trumpet is often mentioned in Scripture in connection with the last things. See 1 Corinthians 15:50 ff and 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

[20] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 230,231.

[21] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 41.

[22] Ibid., p. 38.

[23] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 118.

[24] Ralph Earle, op. cit., p. 552.

[25] Vernard Eller, op. cit., p. 107.

[26] Esther Ohstad, Courage for Today, Hope for Tomorrow (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1973), p. 38.

Commentary on Revelation 8:1-2 by Manly Luscombe

1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Here is real drama. You know that something important is about to happen. But, you wait. You keep waiting for 10, 15, 25 minutes. Still waiting. The drama is building. The silence (calm and quite) is a sharp contrast to the loud persecution and chaos on earth. If the 6th seal is the Second Coming, what is expected in the 7th seal? This seal must deal with eternity. Some believe that the silence is to emphasize that we are in the presence of God. Habakkuk 2:20, “The Lord is in His holy temple: Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” We are now entering the presence of God. In awe, we stand in silence. Others, I among them, believe that the silence indicates that God does not do anything rashly. Even when He is ready to destroy the world, He waits calmly. This is a picture of the longsuffering, endurance and patience of our God. God will not end this world out of any anger of the moment. Count to 10 is good advice when we are angry. God waited 30 minutes, in silence, to assure everyone that this was His determined will and not His momentary wrath.

2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. After the half hour of silence, there appear seven angels. Each angel has a trumpet. Out of the 7th seal comes the introduction to the sounding of the seven trumpets. Trumpets were used to command and to warn. The trumpet was their “early warning system” at a time of attack or storm. Any threat to the peace and safety of the people was announced by the sounding of trumpets. Trumpets were also used to pre-announce (call attention to) an announcement. For example, when a king was entering the city, the trumpet would sound. The trumpet would let all know that the king was coming to make an announcement.

Verses 3-6

Rev 8:3-6

2. A PRELIMINARY VISION

Revelation 8:3-6

3 And another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer;--The verses of this paragraph present a vision of worship after the manner of the Jewish tabernacle service, which is declared to be a figure of the "true tabernacle." (Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:1-11.) Therefore this was an appropriate way to represent a worship scene, and would be understood by all because they were familiar with that method of worship. Christians who knew the typical nature of Jewish worship would not be sur-prised when John described this pictorial scene in heaven. There was the brazen altar of sacrifice in the outer court, and the golden altar of incense in the holy place of the tabernacle over against (in front of) the mercy seat in the most holy place. Incense was offered in the holy place at the golden altar, but the fire was obtained from the brazen altar. (Leviticus 16:12-13.)

and there was given unto him much incense, that he should add it unto the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.--All along in the visions John saw God upon the throne in heaven. The golden altar which he saw in this vision was before the throne; hence, no doubt that the vision was in heaven. (See also Revelation 4:1.) In Revelation 5:6 the golden bowls of incense were said to be "the prayers of the saints," probably meaning that incense typically represented prayer. In the text above is a similar worship scene, but it is said the angel should "add it" unto the prayers of all saints. Perhaps the idea is that incense was symbolically represented as bearing their prayers up to God. The thought in both passages is substantially the same. While the priests were inside the temple burning incense, the people were outside praying. (Luke 1:9-10.) Hence, appropriately the incense was repre-sented as prayer or as bearing the prayers up to God.

4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.--Here it is said that the incense went up "with" the prayers of the saints, but the margin says "for" the prayers. This will harmonize better with the words in 5:8, and show that incense is an emblem of prayer. In the seventh chapter we have the sealing of the servants of God, after which the four angels were to let loose the destructive winds which would hurt the earth. These referred to the terrible disasters that would occur when the first four trumpets would sound. This vision of the saints’ prayers ascending to God evidently means that they were pleading for mercy and help to sustain them in such fearful times as were about to come upon them. At least the vision was designed to encourage the saints to perseverance in prayer as a means of preserving their faith. The evident general purpose of all these visions was not only to warn the saints of dangers that had to be met, but also to prepare them for successfully meeting any difficulties that might come to them.

5 And the angel taketh the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and cast it upon the earth:--Here the .censer, but no incense, was filled with fire from the brazen altar and the angel cast it upon the earth. "Much incense"--many prayers--had been offered to God, but in spite of all of them the destructive powers represented by the four winds had to come. This is here symbolized by casting the coals of fire upon the earth.

and there followed thunders, and voices, and lightnings, and an earthquake.--Casting down the coals of fire indicated fearful judgments that were to fall upon the earth, which, as viewed in these symbols, was limited to that part controlled by the Roman Empire at that time. The disturbances in the material elements here mentioned mean that these judgments in the form of commotions, destruction, and bloodshed were doing their deadly work. They are symbols which are more fully described in the visions of the first four trumpets in the following verses. They are not to be taken literally, but there is no reason why the word "prayers" here should not be thus understood. Again we have evidence that literal expressions may be used as a part of a description which, in the main, is symbolical.

6 And the seven angels that had the seven trumpets pre-pared themselves to sound.--Trumpets were used to give warningor announce some events. (Joshua 6:16 Joel 2:1; Joel 2:15 ; 1 Corinthians 15:52.) The silence of verse 1 had ended, the coals of fire had been thrown upon the earth and the angels pre-pared to sound. As each trumpet was sounded there appeared before John the vision of dreadful disasters. What do these pictures represent? Who were primarily affected by them?

Here again the expositor stands on treacherous ground, and should move with special care and caution. Having already accepted the view that Revelation portrays the history of the church from the time John saw the visions, including also the nations with which it came in contact, we are forced to say that these trumpet visions referred to the church and the Ro-man Empire.

Constantine placed imperial approval upon the church--Rome and Christianity were allied. During the reign of Theodosius, A.D. 381-395, Christianity triumphed and Paganism was de-stroyed. Gibbon says: "The zeal of the emperors was excited to vindicate their own honor, and that of the Deity: and the temples of the Roman world were subverted, about sixty years after the conversion of Constantine." (Decline and Fall, Vol. III, p. 131.) It was between the endorsement of Christianity by Constantine and the destruction of Paganism that the seal-ing of the servants of God was in progress, as mentioned in chapter seven. After the destruction of Paganism in the Roman Empire, the next important period in her history ended with the fall of the empire itself in A.D. 476. The view of several commentators is that the visions that appear at the sounding of the first four trumpets refer to the destructive pow-ers which accomplished that end. This not only seems the most plausible, but harmonizes best with the general principle of interpretation that both the church and Rome must be included in any view that is correct. Therefore the four outstanding pow-ers that came against the Roman Empire after the death of Theodosius, A.D. 396, must be the ones signified by the four symbolic trumpets.

Commentary on Revelation 8:3-6 by Foy E. Wallace

“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 prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne"—Revelation 8:3.

The altar was a place of sacrifice; the throne was a mercy seat. The angel stood at the altar before the throne to join with those who prayed.

The angel offered much incense . . . with the prayers of all the saints--This more than usual incense had a significance-- the additional incense was because of the prayers of all the saints in contrast with the prayers of only those saints which were under the altar--of chapter six. It was added to the prayers of the great multitude of chapter 7, in behalf of the comparatively few souls of saints under the altar. This superadded prayer in which the angel joined was the same in character and purpose with the prayer of the martyrs in Revelation 6:9, for the Lord to “avenge” their blood. The martyrs had been told to rest, or wait, until the time (see Revelation 6:9-10). The time was about to be signaled, the prayer was about to be answered, joined by all the saints, superadded by the angel; that for which they were to be avenged, for which they were told to wait, was about to be done--it was ready to be executed.

“The smoke of the incense which came up with prayers of the saints ascended up before God, out of the angel’s hand”—Revelation 8:4.

The smoke ascended in acknowledgment of the prayers being heard, recognized and received at the throne. The incense ascended to God out of the angel’s hand, which was the sign that the answer to the prayers of all the saints, joined with the cry of the souls under the altar, would be forthcoming.

“The angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake”—Revelation 8:5.

The same fire that consumed the incense would speedily destroy the enemies of the saints, and the apostate city of Jerusalem, and the temple of Judaism. The fire-filledcenser was cast into the earth.

As previously shown “the earth” signified the place of the persecuting powers. The censer filled with the fire of the altar was “cast into the earth” as an act to cause explosion --and the result was symbolized by voices, thunderings, lightning and an earthquake. This was the fourfold sign of the judgments ready to come, gathering as a storm approaches with thunderings, and the earthquake signified the shaking of persecuting powers. The four angels and four trumpets were four signs that these events were about to break in fury.

“And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound”—Revelation 8:6.

The procession of events was ready to begin.

Commentary on Revelation 8:3-6 by Walter Scott

THE ANGEL PRIEST.

Revelation 8:3-5. — And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might give (efficacy) to the prayers of all saints at the golden altar which (was) before the throne. And the smoke of the incense went up with the prayers of the saints, out of the hand of the angel before God. And the angel took the censer, and filled it from the fire of the altar, and cast (it) on the earth: and there were voices, and thunders and lightnings, and an earthquake.” The scene before us is one of profound interest, and cast moreover in the mould of familiar Jewish imagery. “Another angel.” Who is he? We are satisfied that the angel priest is Christ, our great High Priest. The service at the altars proves it, for both the brazen altar and the golden altar are referred to. No mere creature could add efficacy to the prayers of saints, for that could only be effected by One having in Himself independent right and competency. Further, the action recorded at the altars is of a mediatorial character, one between suffering and praying saints on earth and God; and as Christianity knows of but “one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5), the proof is undeniable that the angel priest is Christ and Christ alone, not a representative person or company, as some expositors understand it. There is a pretty general consensus of thought amongst the early expositors of the Apocalypse in rightly regarding the angel here as meaning Christ to the exclusion of all others. “Another angel” is three times used of Christ in the apocalyptic visions (Revelation 8:3; Revelation 10:1; Revelation 18:1). This title is one which supposes reserve and distance. The appellation “Lamb” is characteristic of the Apocalypse as a whole, and of the Seals in particular, and seems to be the chosen title expressive of Christ’s interest in His saints, as also of their intimacy and nearness to Him. Under the trumpet series of judgments Christ morally retires and invests Himself in angelic title and character. When the saints come distinctly and prominently on to the prophetic scene then the title Lamb appears (see Revelation 7:17; Revelation 14:1, etc.).

Revelation 8:3And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer.” The reference here is to the altar of burnt-offering which stood in the court of the tabernacle of old. The fire at first miraculously kindled (Leviticus 9:24) was to be afterwards fed by the daily, yearly, and other sacrifices. This altar is mentioned six times in the Apocalypse, and simply as “the altar” (Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3; Revelation 8:5; Revelation 11:1; Revelation 14:18; Revelation 16:7). It is only from Hebrews 9:4 we learn that the censer in use in the yearly day of atonement (Leviticus 16:1-34) was of gold. The censer was employed to carry the fire from off the brazen altar.

Revelation 8:3And much incense was given to him that he might give (efficacy) to the prayers of all saints at the golden altar which (was) before the throne.” The incense employed in the tabernacle service was composed of four ingredients, specified in Exodus 30:34-36. It was a special preparation compounded according to a divine formula. Any unhallowed make, or use of it, was punished with death (Exodus 30:37-38). No doubt the four precious ingredients, three of which are only named once, set forth the moral beauties and perfections of Christ as witnessed in the four Gospels, but it needed the fire of judgment to draw out the full fragrance of Christ, and this Calvary alone could accomplish. The golden altar, twice referred to in the Apocalypse (Revelation 8:3; Revelation 9:13), stood within the tabernacle in the holy place, right in front of the veil. Blood, the witness of death and judgment, was put upon its four horns yearly (Leviticus 16:18-19), as also on other occasions for atonement (Leviticus 4:7; Leviticus 4:18). Incense was also burned upon it each morning and evening (Exodus 30:7-10), “a perpetual incense before the Lord.” The deep, deep meaning of the incense is more than tongue can tell or pen delineate. The sweet savour of Christ, what He was, what He did, and what He suffered is set forth by the incense.

Now let us put the various parts of the scene together and seek to understand its true bearing. The whole action is called for by the fact that a large body of suffering saints are on earth during the time of the sounding of the Trumpets, and for them intercession is needed. In an early period, under the fifth Seal, a company of martyrs is beheld. Their souls are under the altar, and they cry and pray (Revelation 6:9). But no priestly intercession is made for them; they need it not. This grace is provided for the living, not for the dead. The prayers of these saints, at the solemn crisis of the world’s history in which their lot is cast, are not recorded. No doubt their general burden will be appeals to God for deliverance from, and judgment on, their ungodly oppressors. Their prayers do not breathe the accents of grace, but rather the reverse. (“The character of the answer determines the nature of the petition that had been offered.”)

Prayer for judgment then will be right and godly in accordance with the character and spirit of the Dispensation, as it would be most unsuitable now and contrary to the spirit of this period of God’s long-suffering mercy. Spiritual prayer at the very best is necessarily imperfect, and so Christ adds His own perfectness in life and death. Thus the smoke of the incense, i.e., the savour of Christ and the prayers of the saints went up together, not out of the golden censer, but “out of the hand of the angel before God,” more intimate, more near surely than “out of the censer.” How prevailing then the prayers of even the weakest saint when accompanied with the sweet savour of God’s beloved One. The Angel (Christ) having gone from the altar of burnt-offering to the altar of incense, and presented the prayers of “all saints” then on earth to God, adding to them the sweet savor of His life and sacrifice, returns to the altar of burnt-offering and fills His now empty censer with fire from off it. But not with incense, for that was on behalf of saints. Judgment, pure judgment, will be meted out to the apostate earth, and of this we have the stern intimation in the forcible act of the angel who “took the censer and filled it from the fire of the altar, and cast (it) on the earth.” A striking intimation of judicial procedure. God is about to punish the earth, and as the altar was the expression of His holiness and righteousness in dealing with the sin of His people of old, so that same holiness and righteousness will search the earth and judge and punish accordingly. The angel’s act is immediately followed by the symbolic signs of almighty power. “There were voices, and thunders and lightnings, and an earthquake,” harbingers of the coming successive outbursts of divine wrath on the earth. “These terms compose a FORMULA OF CATASTROPHE; and the fourfold character here denotes the universality of the catastrophe in respect of the thing affected.” (“The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John,” p. 341. — Hooper.) We have the same divine formula intimating immediate judgment substantially repeated four times (Revelation 4:5; Revelation 8:5; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:18). In the first of these references the concentration of coming wrath is limited to these three tokens: “lightnings, and voices, and thunders.” In the second and third references an “earthquake” is added; while in the fourth (Revelation 16:21) we meet with a still further addition! “and great hail.” But in the four texts we have, with slight variation in the order of the terms, “lightnings, and voices, and thunders.”

PREPARING TO SOUND.

Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves that they might sound with their trumpets. These seven angels do not themselves execute the judgments which they announce. The four judgment angels (Revelation 9:14) are distinguished from the seven trumpet angels. The seven presence angels received their trumpets before the episode of the angel priest’s intercession (Revelation 8:2). But the greatness and solemnity of the work on hand is intimated by the signs and tokens of almighty power. Now the angels prepare themselves. There is no hurry, but premonitory signs by Christ, and careful preparation by the angels, certainly indicate the serious nature of the situation, one calling for unsparing judgment.

Commentary on Revelation 8:3-6 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 8:3. Incense is a symbol of prayer, and while the judgments of God against the persecutors were preparing, the faithful servants of God were engaged in their devotions to Him. That is why the incense and prayer are combined in this verse.

Revelation 8:4. The odor of incense was pleasing to God in the days when such services were required (Exodus 30; Leviticus 16:12-13). and likewise the prayers of faithful servants in the Christian Dispensation are acceptable (1 Peter 3:12).

Revelation 8:5. Filled it with fire off the altar. In the Mosaic system the priest obtained the fire from the brazen altar with which to burn the incense. The angel followed the same pattern in the symbolical performance, except that after having used some fire for the burning of incense before the golden altar, he got some more fire which he put in the censer (a portable fumigator) and cast it into the earth. This aroused voices like the sound of thunderings which were the complaints of the foes of truth at the prospect of God’s judgment about to come upon them. So mighty and widespread were these murmurings that John likened them to an earthquake.

Revelation 8:6. The half hour silence is about to end and the four winds are about to be released; the first four angels with trumpets are about to sound.

Commentary on Revelation 8:3-6 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 8:3

And another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should add it unto the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Revelation 8:3-6 seems to connect the prayers of the saints with the trumpet judgments; and, in a sense, "it is these prayers that set the judgments in motion."[27]

Over the altar ... All speculations about where, exactly, this altar is located, and whether or not it is the same as the one mentioned in Revelation 6:9, "are uncalled for."[28] This prophecy does not present any diagram of the heavenly scene which John saw. Any altar is a place where prayers and sacrifices are offered.

Having a golden censer ... In Revelation 8:5, it is stated that the angel "taketh the censer," and some writers have expressed wonder as to how he could take it when he already had it; but such quibbles are due to not recognizing the nature of these visions, which "are surrealistic, rather than rational and logically consistent."[29]

Much incense that he should add it to the prayers of the saints ... We are sure that Beckwith is wrong in supposing that this offering of incense added by the angel to the prayers of the saints was "to add efficacy to the prayers of all Christians."[30] No!

The role of an angel does not consist in making the prayers of saints acceptable to God. The mediatorial role of angels does not find a place in New Testament theology.[31]

There is only one mediator between God and man, Jesus our Lord (1 Timothy 2:5). The angel here did not produce the incense; it was given to him. "Therefore, the angel is not here represented as giving efficacy to prayers."[32] There is no support whatever here for the mediation either of angels or dead saints. Hendriksen thought the incense given to the angel might "represent our Saviour’s intercession in heaven for the redeemed";[33] and it also might signify the service which angels perform for those who shall be the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14). The important truth here is the fact that the prayers of God’s people enter into the purpose of God in the forthcoming judgments.

[27] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 120.

[28] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 269.

[29] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 124.

[30] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 270.

[31] Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), p. 182.

[32] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 231.

[33] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 142.

Revelation 8:4

And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.

Smoke of the incense ... prayers ... went up before God ... The prayers were heard, and God’s response was at once evident in the sending of judgments upon the earth, symbolized by the casting of fire upon it by the angel with the censer. "The judgments of the wicked, which follow in the trumpet visions constitute the answer to the saints’ prayers."[34]

ENDNOTE:

[34] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 232.

Revelation 8:5

And the angel taketh the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and cast it upon the earth: and there followed thunders, and voices, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Filled it with fire, and cast it upon the earth ... "This is the main symbolical act."[35] It shows that God’s judgments upon the earth are definitely connected with the prayers of his saints. The most powerful influence on earth is that of prayer; and there are no significant events of earth that do not sustain some relationship to Christian prayers, whether observable by people or not. "This casting of fire also symbolizes that God’s judgments are about to descend upon earth."[36] "The earth here means the entire earth,"[37] and does not mean the land as distinguish from the sea; hence, all the judgments that follow are the answer to prayers.

What are the real master powers behind the world, and what are the deeper secrets of our destiny? Here is the astounding answer: the prayers of the saints and the fire of God.[38]

[35] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 271.

[36] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 232.

[37] James D. Strauss, op. cit. p. 129.

[38] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 121.

Revelation 8:6

And the seven angels that had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

This verse begins the trumpet judgments, and it should be noted that all of them are tempered with mercy, only "the third part" of affected things being involved. "The mercy is greater than the judgment."[39] This is another particular in which the trumpet judgments parallel that of the seals, in which only "the fourth" part was hurt or destroyed. A big difference is that the seal judgments were ordinary events; these are supernatural and represent the direct intervention of God in the progress of the natural order of creation. There is clearly here an echo of the primeval curse upon Adam and his posterity in Genesis 3:17-19, when God intervened to reduce the desirability of the natural environment "for Adam’s sake"; and these judgments show that God is still doing the same thing, and, presumably, for precisely the same reason, "for Adam’s sake." It was for the spiritual advantage of man that the curse came upon the ground for Adam’s sake, and it must be that the continuing adjustment of human environment by the Father is also for the purpose of making it a little easier for people to set their minds upon the things eternal "The first four of these involve natural catastrophes; the last three fall directly upon men."[40] This motif of four and three appears repeatedly in this prophecy. "This fresh series of disasters does not advance matters any further than the previous seal-series."[41] All of the things in both series concern the life of people in the present dispensation. Referring the judgments to the so-called "Great Tribulation" is a mistake. "The tribulation began with the Cross and resurrection and continues until the end of time."[42]

The judgments in this and the following chapter do not need to be identified with any particular time or event. Their fulfillment is multiple and continuous throughout history. As Pieters said:

I know them. Have we not ourselves twice, in 1914-1918, and again in 1939-1945, seen the bottomless pit opened, and the heavens darkened by the swarms of evil things that issued from it? Has not the thunder of two hundred million hellish horsemen shaken the earth in our day?[43]

The same thing, of course, may be said of countless natural disasters occurring almost every week everywhere on earth. These verses enable people to connect all such disasters with the will of God; and yet God’s purpose is benign. The Lord cursed the ground for Adam’s sake; and the great floods, earthquakes, droughts, volcanoes, etc., all these visitations, are for the same purpose, that evil men may learn repentance and be saved. All such things are depicted, not literally, but symbolically in the trumpet series.

[39] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 1080.

[40] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit.. p. 126.

[41] James Moffatt, Expositor’s Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 403.

[42] Douglas Ezell, op. cit., p. 47.

[43] Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1934), p. 130.

Commentary on Revelation 8:3-6 by Manly Luscombe

3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Here is much symbolism borrowed from the Law of Moses. The altar, the incense, the golden censer, and the placement of the altar of incense are taken from the Old Testament. John explains some of the symbols here. The smoke of the incense represents the prayers of the saints. The smoke from the incense altar in the Jewish temple, which sat just outside the veil, sent smoke through the veil to the Ark of the Covenant, the mercy seat and the presence of God. So the prayers of these hurting saints are passing through the veil and into the presence of God. Message: God hears your cry. God is aware of your needs. God hears your prayers.

5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. The angel took the censer filled with fire and threw it down on the earth. The earth here represents the wickedness of evil men who are opposed to God. (See Revelation 12:12; Revelation 12:16; Revelation 13:11; Revelation 16:2) The angel is casting fire on those who have been unfaithful to God. The earthquake depicts the fear and shaking of those who are fighting against the will of God. The noises, thunder and lightening are pictured as coming from the throne of God. (Revelation 4:5). This verse ends the opening of the seven seals. We now move to the sounding (warning) of the seven trumpets.

6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The angels are ready to sound their trumpets one at a time. The trumpets were used to announce great events and warn of danger. I believe the trumpets about to be sounded are sending a signal of danger and warning.

Special note: Before we begin to discuss the sounding of the seven trumpets, we must understand the term “third part of man” that is used throughout this section of Revelation. Allow me to quote here from Woodruff. “The key to interpreting this series of seven trumpets lies in understanding the symbolic meaning of the “third part of man.” Therefore, we must determine the descriptive meaning of the fraction “1/3.” In order to do this, we must consider a few passages which have a bearing on its meaning.” (1, 137)

Stay with me for few minutes. In Revelation 9:4 the locusts are instructed not to hurt “any green thing,” but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (non-Christians). Therefore, “any green thing,” must mean Christians. The locusts were commanded not to hurt Christians. Any plant, which is alive and growing, must be colored green. However, if we apply this meaning to Revelation 8:7, Christians would be destroyed.

Here is my conclusion: “Any green thing” represents the spiritual part of man’s being. Man has two parts - physical and spiritual. One part is physical - represented by the number four - of the earth and material. The other part is spiritual - represented by the number three - of the divine, deity and trinity.

Therefore, the fractions are symbolic. Fractions mean a part of the whole, as opposed to the entire. The fraction “one-fourth” means a part of the material and physical. The fraction “one-third” means a part of the spiritual. Quoting Woodruff again, “The “third part of man” is used throughout the trumpet series. Therefore, the warnings, which are sounded by these trumpets, are to prepare man so he will not lose his spiritual part. This would condemn his soul to hell. In other words, they describe events taking place during the Christian dispensation which affect the spiritual part of man.” (1, 137-138)

Verse 7

Rev 8:7

3. SOUNDING OF THE FIRST TRUMPET

Revelation 8:7

7 And the first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth:--This was what John saw and heard in the vision; finding what it symbolizes is another matter. Hail and fire are evidently used to indicate punishment or destructive forces, fire probably meaning lightning when joined with hail. Referring to the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 9:23), the Psalmist said: "He gave over their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts." (Psalms 78:48.) See also Psalms 105:32. Any devastating, withering, or destroying power that came against Rome would fulfill the signification of these words. John saw the hail and fire mingled with blood, which doubtless means that the two elements would produce bloodshed, the whole scene representing destructive warfare, bringing dreadful punishment and loss of life to the empire. This is indicated by these combined elements being cast upon the earth which meant the Roman world. (Luke 2:1.)

and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.--On this language two important questions present themselves: (1) What is meant by "the third part"? (2) Are any of these words to be taken literally? Confessedly both are difficult questions. A failure satisfactorily to answer them, however, will not affect our duty to God, nor make it necessary to change the general plan of interpreting this book. The visions must apply to the Roman Empire in the periodindicated, even if we cannot certainly find the exact thing signified by every term used. We have already found that passages of general symbolic significance may contain both figurative and literal expressions. A splendid example, already mentioned, is Psalms 80:8-11. The words "vine," "plantedst," "root," and "boughs" are all figurative. But "Egypt," "nations," "sea" (Mediterranean), and "river" (Euphrates) are all very literal. In Jeremiah 3:6 the harlotry of backsliding Israel is figurative, but "high mountains" and "green trees" where their idol altars were placed are literal. Hence, the words "trees" and "grass" in this vision can be applied either figuratively or literally according to what the facts may require.

Commentators vary greatly in their views of what is signified by the expression "third part." Only two applications of it seem worthy of consideration. One is that it signifies an indefinite but "large amount" the other, that the word "earth" means the Roman Empire, and the third part means practically one-third of the empire. In either case it is not necessary to say it means exactly one-third. The expression "third part," however, is used literally as signifying a part of the whole. It seems a natural view to say that the expression means one-third of the Roman Empire, and that as each of the four trumpets is sounded, one-third of some particular part of the empire was affected by the destructive power indicated in the vision.

As already shown the four destructive powers to be let loose at the sounding of the first four trumpets must come between A.D. 396 and the end of the Roman Empire, A.D. 476. Of the expositors consulted three (Elliott, Barnes, and Johnson) hold the view that the Gothic invasion, under Alaric, in the first part of the fifth century is signified by the first trumpet vision. This application of the language seems to have all the probabilities in its favor and is therefore accepted as correct. The leading features of Alaric’s invasions may be gathered from chapters 30 and 31 of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. They are as follows: In 403 Alaric was defeated by a Roman general and retired from Italy. In 408 he laid siege to Rome the first time when, according to Gibbon, "that unfortunate city gradually experienced the distress of scarcity, and at length the horrid calamities of famine" and "many thousands of the, inhabitants of Rome expired in their houses, or in the streets, for want of sustenance." The miseries of famine were aggravated by pestilential disease. This siege was raised by the payment of an enormous and humiliating ransom. In 409 Alaric again attacked the city by capturing the source of supplies, by which he forced the acceptance of his demand for a new emperor. In 410 by his third and final siege the city was taken, buildings plundered and burned, both men and women inhumanly tortured and murdered till the streets were filled with dead bodies. After six days the Gothic army evacuated the city, and a few days later Alaric, their leader, was dead.

Surely such destruction of life and property would be fittingly represented by the symbols of hail, fire, and blood. The word "trees" is sometimes used symbolically to represent men. (2 Kings 19:21-23; Daniel 4:20-22.) Grass also may represent people. (Isaiah 40:7.) Probably trees, because of their height, indicate rulers, leaders, and those of prominence, while grass would mean the common people. As rulers, military leaders, and the people suffered, the vision fits the facts, if trees and grass are understood symbolically. A "third part" of the trees would signify that not all the rulers were relieved of their position; all the people, however, felt the effect of the siege.

If trees and grass are to be taken literally, the symbol still finds fulfillment; for the invasion of such a devastating army produces just that kind of results. An invading force that could overrun a country which had subdued and civilized a large part of mankind, sack its capital city which had stood for more than eleven hundred years, and carry away its richest treasures was undoubtedly strong enough to leave the country as if swept by devastating fires. The Gothic blow staggered the Roman Empire, but did not end it. In 412 Adolphus, Alaric’s brother-in-law and successor, concluded a treaty of peace with Rome. He says that at first he aspired "to obliterate the name of Rome" and gain immortal fame as "the founder of a new empire"; but deciding that the Goths were incapable of sustaining a well-constituted government, he determined to "restore and maintain the prosperity of the Roman Empire." (Vol. III, p. 295, Decline and Fall,)

Commentary on Revelation 8:7 by Foy E. Wallace

THE SOUNDING OF THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (Revelation 8:7 to Revelation 9:21)

When the silence of the seventh seal ended, seven angels stood ready, with seven trumpets, to signal the commencement of the series of judgments, woes and plagues.

The descriptive language employed in the revelation of these trumpet signals and woes was parallel in character and substance with Luke’s record of the startling signs and the astronomical terrors which the Lord told the disciples would be fulfilled before that generation passed away. (Luke 21:25-26) There is no way to dissociate the record of Matthew and Luke foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem from the visions of Revelation.

The earth smitten--(the first trumpet)—Revelation 8:7.

“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.”

1. Thehail, fire, blood, cast upon earth. These descriptions were symbols of devastation. The earth, as in previous signs, denoted the place of the powers (Ezra 1:2), and here applies to the Jewish powers (Romans 9:28), as the comparison with the records of Matthew and Luke have verified. It is the trumpet of devastation on the land of the Jews, and of judgments on the land beast, the Jewish persecutors.

2. The trees and green grass. These symbols signified that the plague of devastation affected the earth and all that was naturally of it, or the total destruction of that part of the nations represented by the Jewish powers. The meaning of a third part was based on the three woes, one part for each woe of devastation.

Commentary on Revelation 8:7 by Walter Scott

FIRST TRUMPET.

Revelation 8:7. — And the first sounded (his) trumpet: and there was hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth; and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” “Hail and fire mingled with blood.” These are not to be understood as literal destructive agencies. They are symbols. The seventh plague in Egypt was one of “hail and fire,” a tempest unexampled in the history of that most ancient of kingdoms (Exodus 9:18-25). The coming judgment here announced will be of a more appalling character, more ruinous and widespread, not one, moreover, effected by the destructive forces of nature, “hail and fire.” The introduction of a third element, not as a separate devastating agency, but the two first named, “mingled with blood”, stamps a peculiar and superhuman character on this judgment. It is one which in its singular combination of forces is entirely outside the domain of nature. The judgment is not of a providential kind, not a literal hail and fire storm. What then do these symbols teach? How are we to read and understand them? On this Scripture is by no means silent.

Hail signifies a sudden, sharp, and overwhelming judgment from above, God the executor of it (see Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 28:17; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:21). Fire is the expression of God’s wrath. As a symbol it is more largely employed than any other in the Sacred Volume. Thorough, unsparing, agonising judgment is denoted by fire. It has, of course, other significations, but we are only concerned now with its judicial application (see Deuteronomy 32:22; Isaiah 33:14; Luke 16:24; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:14-15). Blood signifies death, both physical and moral. In the latter it would, assume the form or character of apostasy, i.e., the utter abandonment of revealed truth, all religious profession given up;(* Judges 1:12, “twice dead;” first as dead in sins, second dead by apostasy.) for blood as physical death, see Genesis 9:5-6; Ezekiel 14:19; for blood as moral death, see Acts 2:19-20; Revelation 6:12; Revelation 16:3-6. Now while the two former symbols may be regarded separately, “hail and fire,” we cannot so treat the third. The “blood” was mingled with those two elements of destruction. Combined they express a truly awful outburst of divine wrath, whoever or whatever the agencies may be to accomplish the divine purpose. The trumpet sounds, the judgment is a public one.

Revelation 8:7And they were cast upon the earth,” thus covering as a subject of judgment precisely the same sphere on which the angel scattered the fire from the altar (Revelation 8:5). In both cases (Revelation 8:5 and Revelation 8:7) the term “cast” implies irresistible power behind. That the judgment of the hail and fire with blood is not traceable to natural causes is evident from the fact that they were cast down, not falling from the heavens in an ordinary way, but impelled by an unseen yet powerful arm. The area affected is said to be the earth. But as earth and sea are separately referred to in the symbolism of the Apocalypse we have to inquire what they respectively signify. In Revelation 10:1-11 we have a vision of Christ characterized by the insignia of divine majesty. He descends from Heaven to claim the world as a whole. It is His. Significantly, therefore, in the assertion of His universal and sovereign right He plants His right foot on the sea and His left on the earth, thus taking possession of the whole scene under Heaven. Those two parts of the natural creation present a picture of (1) restlessness (sea), and (2) stability (earth). The same symbolic representations in other parts of the Apocalypse, as elsewhere, fix and determine a meaning as precise and full as if the words and not the symbols were used. A symbol brings before the mind a complete picture of what is intended to be conveyed, oftentimes much more forcibly than by the use of a lengthened statement; hence the universality of symbols in the expression of human thought. The earth, then, denotes that part of the world civilized and under constituted authority, fixed and settled government. The sea, on the contrary, represents that portion of the world in disorder, the scene of anarchy and of wild rebellion, without divine and civil government. (It has been asserted that the symbolism of the Hebrews was borrowed from Egypt and Assyria, where in both kingdoms the system of representation had attained to a high degree of excellence. But are we to conceive of God borrowing from the pagan nations of antiquity? The thought betrays gross ignorance, and in its conception is thoroughly infidel. The truth is that symbolism is much more ancient than the kingdoms referred to, and is coeval with the existence of the race. Thus in the earliest period revealed (Genesis 2:1-25) the symbolic trees of life and of the knowledge of good and evil arrest our attention as being the first symbols presented to men. It is part of the universal language. A symbol presented to the mind conveys in a forcible manner the moral features or characteristics of the thing on hand. Thus a lion, “the lord of the forest,” at once suggests the idea of majesty, of royal power; hence these moral characteristics denoted by the symbol may be applied to Christ (Revelation 5:5), or to the first of the great universal empires (Daniel 7:4). It is not that the lion represents either Christ or the mighty Babylonian empire, but rather the characteristics of the lion in greatness and majesty, and of course these qualities may be applied to persons or objects as the case may be. The symbol represents a certain moral characteristic or idea. It must not be supposed that the frequent use of symbols is a mark of the poverty of language. In fact in every language and amongst all peoples, civilized and barbarian, a representative system of speech is in general use. The language of symbols quickly became incorporated in the religions of the ancient world. “It was the language of the shrine, the oracle, and the temple.” With many invisible realities are more easily conceived of when represented by objects presented to the eye and mind. Our readers will find help in the perusal of “Sacred Symbology,” by John Mills; but especially in an article entitled “Symbols” in vol. 1 of “Notes and Comments on Scripture,” by the late J. N. Darby.) The public rejection of God will be quickly followed by the repudiation of civil and magisterial authority, and when lawlessness and impiety have reached their climax then God intervenes in judgment. Of this the prophetic part of the Apocalypse affords a striking witness, as we hope to see in the course of these studies.

“The third part of the earth was burnt up,” also the third part of the trees, and all green grass. We now witness the dire results produced by this manifest judgment from Heaven. Those lands on which Christianity has shone so brightly are then given up to judgment. God in His relation to the nations as supreme has, in the time of the Trumpets, been forsaken, and Christianity abandoned. What then remains but the mighty arm of God to be bared in judgment? The destructive symbolic elements were cast upon the earth. The results are threefold.

(1) The third part of the earth was burnt up.” This is wholly omitted in the Authorised Version, but inserted in the Revised on unimpeachable authority. The western part of the prophetic earth is here designated as the third part. (The four universal empires, and there are but four, are represented as metals (Daniel 2:1-49) and beasts (Daniel 7:1-28). These are Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The three are expressly named in Scripture by the Hebrew prophet. The fourth, or Roman, is pointed out in Luke 2:1, “There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” Rome was founded 753 B.C., shortly before the ten tribes were taken captive by Shalmaneser. Romulus, its first king, gave name to the city, which was destined to play such an important part in the world’s history. Carthage, the African rival of Rome, was the only power which seemed to check its growing greatness. The African was the elder of the two, and of great wealth. But Ham had to succumb to Japheth. Rome increased in power and in territorial extent till the known world lay at her feet (Luke 2:1). Says Gibbon: “The empire of the Romans filled the world.” After the conquest of Greece the early virtues of the Roman character became impaired and degeneration set in. Integrity and justice, once so characteristic of early Rome, were now wantonly sacrificed and trampled under foot, while personal ambition, instead of care for the State and its interests, became the distinguishing features of its emperors and generals. After the empire had existed for more than five hundred years, undivided and universal, its dismemberment in the fourth and fifth centuries took place. It ceased to exist. The rise of the papacy and decline of the empire were coeval and connected events. The supremacy of the See of Rome dates from the fourth century. The present European situation, with its numerous and conflicting interests, is the result really of the complete break up of the once undivided empire of the Caesars. The pen of the historian has traced the history of Rome from its rise, 753 B.C., till its inglorious fall, A.D. 476, but there it stops. God lifts the veil and shows the future of the now defunct empire. The Hebrew prophet (Daniel 2:1-49; Daniel 7:1-28) and the Christian apostle (Revelation 17:1-18; Revelation 19:1-21) clearly show that the empire will be revived and shown to be in existence at the Coming of the Lord in power. Its utter destruction by the Lord in Person will be immediately succeeded by the millennial and universal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will surpass in greatness, character, and in territorial extent every power on earth since the world began (Daniel 7:26-27).) The revived empire with its personal, persecuting, and blasphemous head, the “little horn” (Daniel 7:8), with its ancient and renowned capital, Rome (Revelation 17:18), will again dominate the earth, but the empire, at least in its most guilty part, the west, will be given up to feel the Lord’s vengeance. Whether the term “burnt up” refers to the desolating ravages of war or other heaven-sent agencies we know not, but that the empire will be wasted and desolated by several combined judgments seems evident.

(2) The third part of the trees was burnt up.” Here the stern hand of judgment reaches out to the great and distinguished; to men in the haughtiness of pride and position. Destruction overtakes all such, all, of course, within the sphere contemplated in the prophecy. A tree is an apt and familiar figure of human greatness; of pride and of high position amongst men (Ezekiel 31:1-18; Daniel 4:4-27; Judges 9:8-15, etc.).

(3) All green grass was burnt up.” There is no limitation here, no “third part,” or even “fourth part,” as under the fourth Seal (Revelation 6:8). Grass refers to the people of Israel (Isaiah 40:7); the human race is also spoken of as grass (1 Peter 1:24). Green grass” would naturally signify a highly prosperous condition of things amongst the inhabitants of the empire generally. The association of trees and grass, as in Revelation 9:4 and here also, would intimate judgment upon all, high and low, involving the utter destruction of all their happy surroundings. The condition indicated by the “green grass burnt up” points to a general scene of desolation. What awful days are in store for these countries now so highly blest and favored, but then in retributive justice given up to the stern judgment of God.

Commentary on Revelation 8:7 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 8:7. It should be remembered through Revelation 8:12 that the plagues symbolized represent the reverses that came upon the Roman Empire which finally resulted in the downfall of the government. The items mentioned arc figurative or symbolic, but they are worded as if literal calamities were being imposed. That is because in a book where certain facts of an immaterial character are predicted in symbols, the events have to be reported as if they were happening literally. Thus we have a hail and electrical storm that causes bloodshed and scorching of much of the vegetation.

Commentary on Revelation 8:7 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 8:7

And the first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

These first four trumpets are given very briefly, but the last three are presented more extensively. "All of them reveal the active involvement of God in bringing judgment upon a wicked world."[44] Many scholars mention the plagues of Egypt in connection with these, but "the resemblance is only general."[45] The sounding of the first four trumpets results in disaster falling upon the earth, salt water, fresh water, and the sky. "They are God’s judgment upon human sin and are intended to lead men to repentance."[46] "Everything is injured by sin, and nature itself cries out against man and thus appeals to God."[47]

Hail ... fire ... blood ... cast upon the earth ... Neither hail nor blood can actually "burn up" anything. Such expressions are merely to show the violent and destructive nature of the things foretold. The language is clearly figurative. Some have supposed that these symbolize wars, bloodshed, violence, and social upheavals; but the clear distinction between these first four trumpet visions of judgments upon earth, sea, rivers ,and atmosphere and the three trumpet "woes" directly against "men" seems to say that the first four are not against people directly; although, of course, whatever affects the environment necessarily affects people also. For this reason, we interpret the first four trumpets as the perpetual equivalent of the primeval curse upon the earth "for Adam’s sake." God does not intend for the sinful race of man to find any earthly situation altogether cozy and comfortable.

In the progression of history, less and less of the earth remains habitable. The great dust bowl of the 1930’s in Oklahoma is a tiny example of how the elements themselves are at times hostile "to the land." Look at the damage visible to the eye all over the world, which has been thus destroyed. The deserts, the badlands, the fertile valleys destroyed by soil erosion, etc., are a few examples.

The interlocking and conjunctive nature of the first four trumpet judgments should be noted. They are presented almost simultaneously in a brief six verses, indicating that all four work together, and suggesting that their effect should be understood collectively, all of them working hand in hand to produce a more hostile environment for man in the physical creation that surrounds him. Forest fires, droughts, swamps, rampaging rivers, ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and all such natural disasters have indeed "burnt up" a third of the earth, and the damage is still being done. All of it is God’s response to the wickedness of man; but wicked men also contribute to the progressive damage, as indicated in the final three trumpets.

Third part of the trees, and all green grass ... The denuding of the earth of a significant part of its forests is an astonishing and spectacular feature of a third of the earth this very day. Travelers in Korea and other oriental countries cannot fail to be impressed with this feature of the landscape; and even in America today, where are the mighty forests? Let any man ask the price of 1,000 board-feet of white pine or black walnut, and he will suddenly be aware that the trumpet of God still sounds over the trees.

All the green grass ... This is best understood to mean, "All the grass in the one third of the earth mentioned."[48] All these disasters coming upon the land are under the control of God and are limited. Only a minor part of the earth can be affected by such things. Some have called Revelation the Book of Doom; but it is the opposite of that. It is the book which reveals the Father’s limitation and restraint of the doom which already had come when man rebelled against his Creator.

[44] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 184.

[45] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 232.

[46] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 112.

[47] James William Russell, op. cit., p. 633.

[48] Leon Morris, op. cit., p. 123.

Commentary on Revelation 8:7 by Manly Luscombe

7 The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. The first four trumpets warn of spiritual testing and trials. Just as the seals warned of physical harm that could come to our bodies, the trumpets are going to warn of things that could destroy the spiritual part of man. The color green is not used to distinguish living from dead. It is used to distinguish spiritual life from spiritual death. Plants need to be green, because chlorophyll is necessary for the plant to live and produce fruit. Christians, who are green, are filled with what is necessary for spiritual life and production of fruit. Trees and green grass represent those who are alive spiritually, Christians. The hail and fire show us that Christians will suffer persecution, trials, pain and death because of their faith. The expression, “mingled with blood” shows that some of this persecution will be so harsh that lives will be lost. Remember, the third part teaches us that even Christians are able to lose their spiritual life and be lost because of persecution. The 1st trumpet warns us that we can deny the faith and lose our spiritual life.

Verses 8-9

Rev 8:8-9

4. SOUNDING OF THE SECOND TRUMPET

Revelation 8:8-9

8 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; --The sounding of the second trumpet was the signal for the second vision to appear, indicating a second power that would contribute to the down-fall of pagan Rome. The words "as it were" show that it was not a real mountain, but appeared as one to John. It was burning with fire--probably volcanic--and when cast into the sea gave it the appearance of blood. Here it may be observed, as under the first trumpet, the "third part" of the sea may mean a large part, not exactly one-third. Since the picture could not represent the casting of a real mountain into the sea, the word must be used symbolically. In that sense it means "kingdom." (Isaiah 22:3; Jeremiah 51:24-25 ; Daniel 2:35.) If "sea" and "water" mean the same thing, then in a figurative sense sea means "peoples." (Revelation 17:15; Jeremiah 47:1-2.)

9 and there died the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, even they that had life; and the third part of the ships was destroyed.--If a literal burning mountain were cast into the sea, the natural result would be that fish and other sea animals would be killed and ships would be destroyed. While John saw all this in a vision, it must signify something else. The things represented, however, must be suggested by the things seen in the picture. The whole scene is one of carnage, bloodshed, and destruction. The burning of ships would indicate the destruction of maritime commerce and national protection. With the destruction of ships would go the lives of those who manned them. Placing this destruction on the sea instead of land, as in the first trumpet, shows that the attack on Rome would come from the sea; that is, the struggle would be in the waters near that part of the empire. The "third part" means not all would be destroyed, but a large part would.

In harmony with the line of interpretation of the expositors already mentioned, it is very probable that the vision of the second trumpet was fulfilled in the invasion of the Vandals under Genseric. If the explanation of the first trumpet is correct, this scourge of the empire came at the proper time. Something must be its fulfillment and nothing else seems more appropriate. Concerning Genseric, Gibbon says that in "the destruction of the Roman Empire" his name "has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila." (Decline and Fall, Vol. III, p. 370.) In A.D. 429 he began his conquest in Africa, which ended in A.D. 439 when Carthage was taken. This whole province was lost to the empire. Speaking of Genseric’s ambition Gibbon says "he cast his eyes towards the sea; he resolved to create a naval power," which resolve he carried into effect, and the "fleets that issued from the ports of Carthage claimed the empire of the Mediterranean." In due time he cast anchor at the mouth of the Tiber, advanced from the port of Ostia to the gates of the city of Rome. The results, in part, are thus described by Gibbon: "But Rome and its inhabitants were delivered to the licentiousness of the Vandals and Moors, whose blind passions revenged the injuries of Carthage. The pillage lasted fourteen days and nights; and all that yet remained of public or private wealth, or sacred or profane treasure, was diligently transported to the vessels of Genseric." This occurred in A.D. 455, and three years later the Roman emperor had prepared a navy of "three hundred large galleys, with an adequate proportion of transports and smaller vessels." By a surprise attack by the Vandals the Romans were defeated, "many of their ships were sunk, or taken, or burnt; and the preparations of three years were destroyed in a single day." (Decline and Fall, Vol. III, p. 482.)

The significant thing here is that the attack upon the western part of the empire was from the sea. A fact that does suitably correspond with the vision John saw.

Commentary on Revelation 8:8-9 by Foy E. Wallace

The sea smitten--(the second trumpet)—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.”

1. The burning mountain. The mountain was used to signify a powerful monarchy, as in Amos 4:1 --and the mountain burning with fire in this symbol signified that the powers which hindered the church were seething in the fury of preparation for attack and destruction. The same imagery is used of Israel’s powerful enemies in Isaiah 40:1; Isaiah 41:5. In this vision of the tribulations which were so soon to overwhelm the church, the burning mountain symbolized the lust of war, and it was descriptive of the Roman and Jewish persecuting powers.

2. The mountain cast into the sea. The great burning mountain was seen in the vision as being cast into the sea. The Roman emperor was symbolized as the beast of the sea and was represented as coming up out of the sea: and this symbol evidently signifies that the government which would wage this war against the church would be the empire and its tributary powers.

3. The smitten sea. As earth referred to the Jewish powers in the land of the Jews, the sea signified the Roman powers. The smitten sea meant the destruction of the power of the sea beast--the Roman persecutors ceasing to make war against the church. The creatures of the sea died and the ships were destroyed; all of which were symbolic descriptions of the broken powers of persecution

Commentary on Revelation 8:8-9 by Walter Scott

SECOND TRUMPET

Revelation 8:8-9. — And the second angel sounded (his) trumpet: and as 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, which had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” “A great mountain burning with fire.” Scripture itself gives the force of the figure. The mighty Babylonian monarchy is thus spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:25), “Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth; and I will stretch out Mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.” Jehovah here threatens the Chaldean kingdom — apparently so firmly established in its might and greatness as to defy an overthrow — with consuming judgment, a “burnt mountain.” Again, the stone which no human hand or tool had touched falls with crushing effect upon the feet of the image, the figure of Gentile power, and then becomes “a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:1-49). The world-wide dominion of the Son of Man is thus set forth. A mountain as a symbol represents a kingdom (Isaiah 2:2; Zechariah 4:7; Jeremiah 51:25) or a firmly established power (Psalms 46:2; Revelation 6:14; Revelation 16:20). The abstract idea, important to lay hold of in these prophetic symbols, is that of a strong, consolidated, established power, and this power itself the subject of God’s governmental vengeance, for the Seer saw it burning with fire, becoming in the divine hand the instrument of judgment upon the heathen. The weeping prophet, Jeremiah, exactly defines the force and value of the imagery in our text (Jeremiah 51:25).

Revelation 8:8. — “Was cast into the sea.” In the previous Trumpet (Revelation 8:7) the earth was the scene of judgment; here it is the sea. The earth is the Roman world in general, the third part being the western portion of the empire. The sea sets forth a state of rebellion against constituted authority; of peoples in a condition of unrest, and consequently outside the limits of the Roman world. Within this latter, in the past as in the future, authority and government are upheld. The ever-restless sea (Isaiah 57:20; Daniel 7:2-3; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 18:21) is here the chosen figure to denote the peoples of the earth in dire anarchy, owing to the want of a strong controlling power or firm hand. Civil and governmental authority are ordained of God (Romans 13:1). The state of things in the future amongst the nations outside the territorial limits of the revived Roman power may be compared to the condition of France during the reign of terror in the eighteenth century — a nation without God, without religion, and with but the semblance of government, controlled by the wild passions of the mob, the devil’s playground in Europe. The prophetic sea, therefore, represents the general condition of the nations without civil and spiritual government. Into the seething masses of mankind, of heathenism, this burning power is cast. We now witness the dire results produced. These are threefold, as in the first trumpet.

(1) The third part of the sea became blood.” Does blood here symbolize a violent natural death, or does it refer to the spiritual death of apostasy? In our judgment these two forms of death are here combined. Those nations in political or in outward relation to the dominant power of the Roman empire are destroyed. The destruction of life amongst the Gentiles, in association with the guiltiest of the four universal empires, is what the symbol sets forth. Spiritual and physical death is the sure result of any connection with the apostate, blaspheming, and persecuting power of Rome.

(2) The third part of the creatures which were in the sea, which had life, died.” That part of the world not brought into orderly subjection to constituted authority, but in external relation to the empire, is next seen in vision, as visited in judgment. Persons, and not peoples or nations in general, as in the first judgment, are in question. The term “creatures” would imply as much. Even in heathenism varying measures of responsibility and commensurate degrees of guilt exist. “The third part,” i.e., the worst is before us in this series of divine chastisements. “The third part of the creatures which were in the sea, which had life, died.” The interpretation of the Seals is a simple matter compared to that of the Trumpets. In the latter there is a purposed mysteriousness in the symbols employed which makes a minute examination somewhat difficult. Here, however, with Revelation 2:23 and Revelation 3:1 before us we are on firm ground. Moral, spiritual death is the undoubted force of the judgment here executed. Death towards God, towards principles of truth and righteousness, and, in fact, death viewed morally in its widest aspect and character.

(3) The third part of the ships were destroyed.” Now this destructive power, whether a nation or a system, violently thrown into the unformed masses of mankind not only works awful destruction, physical and moral, on peoples and persons, it wrecks also the commerce and means of communication with distant countries. “The third part of the ships were destroyed.” But the tale of judgment is not yet told. The darkness thickens as the night wears on. Horror succeeds horror. Oh that Christendom would wake up to the stern reality that the Judge is at the door!

Commentary on Revelation 8:8-9 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 8:8. The judgments of God against the Empire continue as thy second angel sounds his trumpet. Great mountain burning signifies thedownfall of some unit of the government. Cast into the sea symbolizes the people (represented by the sea) as feeling the effects of this political downfall. Sea became blood signifies that much bloodshed was suffered among the people caused by the internal disturbances.

Revelation 8:9. All of this is figurative because the literal sea and its vessels of traffic were unharmed by the political confusion. But it gives a picture of what did occur, and in stating an exact percentage as dying we will understand that a great portion suffered but the government was not exterminated..

Commentary on Revelation 8:8-9 by Burton Coffman

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 there died the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, even they that had life; and the third part of the ships was destroyed.

The second judgment falls upon the sea. It is foolish to suppose that John is here merely making imaginative use of the imagery derived from volcanoes, etc. This language goes far beyond any natural phenomenon ever heard of. A literal picture of what is described here is impossible. A third of the ocean turned to blood, and yet two thirds of earth’s shipping still remaining active upon it, is an impossible conception. A third of the ships destroyed, and a third of the creatures in the sea destroyed - the preterists point to certain great naval battles of history; but in truth, no single event of all history could possibly fulfill so terrible a prophecy as this; and yet such interpreters seem to be correct in the view that great maritime disasters are here suggested. Any particular one? No. It would be an exercise in futility to fasten an identity with this trumpet judgment upon any one of them, except as an example.

As an example, we cite the wreck of the great Spanish Armada in 1588, not by a naval battle, but by a great storm, which preserved England from subjection to the regressive tyranny of Spain, and led to the first Thanksgiving Day ever observed in the English-speaking world, and from which our own Thanksgiving Day customs are derived. This is only an example of many maritime disasters, nor may we suppose for an instant that John consciously foretold this. It may be objected that John’s language here cannot be reconciled with such an event; but we ask, what event could be? Furthermore, any naval captain of the Spanish Armada would most likely have agreed that "a burning mountain" had been cast into the sea!

The destruction depicted in this vision may not be confined to any one time or locality. The trumpets do not follow the seals in a chronological sequence, but, "Both are being fulfilled side by side in the same epoch."[49] That epoch, of course, is our own. We continue to be amazed at the exhaustive efforts of commentators to find parallels of this in the plagues of Egypt; but absolutely nothing in those judgments is worthy to be compared with these. Therefore, like Lenski, "We do not stress the resemblance of these judgments to those plagues."[50]

We cannot leave this prophecy of the "burning mountain" cast into the sea without citing the only literal historical fulfillment of it that is known; and, even in this, the sea did not become blood. On August 27,1883, the 2,623-foot mountain Krakatoa in the Sunda strait of Indonesia literally exploded, burned up completely, and was cast into the sea, the waters where the mountain stood having been 1,000 feet deep ever since.[51] Following this event, atmospheric waves girdled the earth seven times; tidal waves are thought to have destroyed a million lives; some tidal waves reached England, more than 11,000 miles away; and the explosion was actually heard at Bangkok at a distance of 3,000 miles! Thus, within the memory of a few people who have just died, we still have the evidence that the trumpet of God still sounds above the waters of the sea.

Of course, we do not think that John prophesied this, nor any other particular disaster; but he surely conveyed the revelation that includes all such things; nor should we for an instant suppose that great maritime disasters belong to the past alone. How inadequate and limited are the interpretations of these prophecies which confine them to obscure events in the history of a single nation some sixteen centuries, or more, in the past!

Lenski, and many other respected commentators, applied these two verses (Revelation 8:8-9) to, "Destructive religious delusion, not the old paganism, but a new delusion which will not accept the gospel."[52] While this fits our own age well enough, it appears to us that it is more fittingly applied to the judgments of the trumpet woes. We cannot get away from the inference in these first four trumpets that the judgments do not fall upon people directly, but upon land, sea, river and air. Providential intervention in human environment is meant. "All of these four judgments show that the sin of man can and does adversely affect the rest of creation, which reacts disastrously upon man’s own life."[53]

[49] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 234.

[50] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 278.

[51] Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961 edition, Vol. 13, p. 499.

[52] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 279.

[53] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 647.

Commentary on Revelation 8:8-9 by Manly Luscombe

8 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. The symbol of water is shown to represent people in 17:1 and 15. John is not concerned about the environment and pollution of our water in this text. He is apprehensive about the masses of people who are living on this earth. The severe persecution in the first century was causing many people to deny their faith and lose their spiritual life. The 2nd trumpet warns us that people of all ages can, in time of hardship, lose their spiritual life by giving in to the persecution, regardless of how severe it might be.

9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. The part of man, which is spiritual (soul or spirit), is destroyed. This is not saying that 33% of all Christians will die. This is a warning that yielding to the persecution can cost you your spiritual life with God. What is the meaning of the “ships” mentioned here? Listen to Paul as the literal ship taking him to Rome was about to sink. “Except these abide in the ship, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:30-31) The spiritual parallel is that we must remain in the ship of believers, in the church, the ship of Zion, if we expect to be saved. Jumping overboard or abandoning ship will result in our spiritual death.

Verses 10-11

Rev 8:10-11

5. SOUNDING OF THE THIRD TRUMPET

Revelation 8:10-11

10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great star, burning as a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of the waters; --Surely there must be some significance in the change of place where the events occurred. Under the first trumpet it was on the earth, under the second on the sea, and this on the rivers and fountains of waters. This difference could not be a matter of chance. The thing John saw in the vision was a great burning star falling upon the third part of rivers and fountains. It is generally understood, and correctly, that the star refers to a ruler, prince, or person of rank. (Revelation 1:20; Numbers 24:17.) Whoever is here represented by this star, he was to bring a destructive power against the Roman Empire. One-third of the rivers and fountains in the western part of that empire were to become bitter and cause many to die. Coming like a flaming meteor would indicate the suddenness with which his work would begin or be accomplished. Since earth, sea, and rivers were three different parts or places in the empire, there is no special reason why they should not be used in their natural sense, for we have already seen that symbolic scenes may have in them both figurative and literal language. Even if these words should be applied symbolically to the people rather than the literal places, it would still be true that these places were the theaters where these events were to occur. They had to occur somewhere.

11 and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.--We should not forget that the "third part" does not have to mean that exact amount, but may stand for a considerable part of the population that might suffer from an invasion coming by way of the rivers. The term "wormwood" is defined by the text itself as meaning "bitter," and indicates an extreme kind of suffering. The meteoric leader would become as destructive in his work as the wormwood would be deadly to those who drank it.

If the two preceding trumpets have been correctly interpreted, then the third trumpet should find its fulfillment in the attacks made against Rome by Attila, whose career extended from A.D. 433 to A.D. 453. The history shows that Genseric and Attila were contemporary part of the time. Genseric, however, began about five years earlier than Attila; hence, takes the lead in point of time, although Attila’s invasion of Italy came about three years before the sack of the city by Genseric in A.D. 455.

Gibbon says that "in the reign of Attila, the Huns again became the terror of the world," and that Attila "alternately insulted and invaded the East and the West, and urged the rapid downfall of the Roman Empire." The facts here gleaned from Gibbon are found in the Decline and Fall of the Empire, chapters 34 and 35. Attila was marvelously successful in gaining ascendancy over neighboring peoples and is said to have been able to bring into the field an army of some five to seven hundred thousand soldiers. As a military leader he was a star of the first magnitude. Gibbon further says that Attila considered himself the recipient of "celestial favor" and serted his divine and indefensible claim to the dominion of the earth." Quite an appropriate view to harmonize with a burning star falling "from heaven." The last few years his operations were upon the river--frontiers leading to Italy; conflagrations and enormous bloodshed followed in his path. In the spring of 452 he is said to have set forth to conquer Italy. Before reaching Rome the emperor and senate sent a commission to meet him to obtain a treaty of peace. The deliverance of Italy was purchased at an immense ransom, and Attila departed, recrossed the Danube, and soon died. Thus ended the career of one who was considered the "scourge of God." If his work was not what was intended by the third trumpet vision, nothing else seems more probable. It is certain, at least, that something was intended. No harm can be done to the text or the plan of salvation by pointing out the similarity between his work and the vision.

Commentary on Revelation 8:10-11 by Foy E. Wallace

The rivers smitten--(the third trumpet)—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 called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

1. A great star from heaven. 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-- falling as it were a burning lamp, or torch, as a spent meteor of the heaven, falling from their former power and dominion. 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. “The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give. their light: the sun shall be darkened . . . and the moon shall not cause her light to shine . . . and I will punish the world for their evil and the wicked for their iniquities.” (Isaiah 13:10-11)

The Babylonian “world” and its rulers were the objects of the punishment in this passage. The same familiar symbols are employed by Jesus in the records of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and by John in the visions of Revelation, foretelling the ruin of Jerusalem, the doom of Judaism and the downfall of their rulers.

2. And it fell upon rivers, fountains of waters: The smitten rivers are the representations of the drying up of the source of the existing powers. The fountain is the source of a stream; the river is the channel of its flow. When the persecuting powers were smitten the fountain of waters dried up, and the river of their power ceased to carry the evil flow.

3. The waters became wormwood and; many died because they were made bitter. Wormwood was the name of a plant, distinguished for intense bitterness, and used to denote anything offensive and nauseous. The use of it to designate either food or water was a sign of extreme suffering. In this connection the name of the falling star was called Wormwood, for the bitter effects accompanying the downfall of the powers here symbolized, which attended the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. It was so revolting that even the mental picture of the physical putrification turns to nausea, the bitterness of which only wormwood could signify. Matthew’s record says “for then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21) Mark’s record reads: “For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.” (Mark 13:19) Luke tersely says: “For there shall be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.” (Luke 21:23)

Commentary on Rev 8:10-11 by Walter Scott

THIRD TRUMPET.

Revelation 8:10-11. — And the third angel sounded (his) trumpet: and there fell out of the Heaven a great star, burning as a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. And the name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many of the men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” At the blast of the trumpets the four restraining angels let loose the four winds of the earth, the providential agencies of judgment (Revelation 7:1). The dark cloud of vengeance upon a guilty scene is lifted for a brief space, during which God in sovereign grace works amongst Israel and the Gentiles (Revelation 7:1-17). Then under the Trumpets the orderly course of judgment is resumed. The previous blasts announced judgments of the most appalling character on the earth and on the sea: the former the scene of governmental order, and where, too, God had been more or less professedly owned; the latter the sphere where the forces of anarchy and the will of man reigned supreme, which is ever to the denial of spiritual and civil authority. This Trumpet intimates a judgment equal in terrible severity, and in some respects even more awful than the preceding ones. “There fell out of the Heaven a great star.” The Heaven is the source of authority; it is a definitely fixed position; hence the introduction of the article “the Heaven.” All spiritual, civil, and political authority has its source above. “The heavens do rule ” (Daniel 4:26). Under the two preceding trumpets the instruments of judgment were “cast” upon the earth and sea respectively, but from whence we are not informed. Here this apostate dignitary fell out of the Heaven. (The “great star” of Revelation 8:10 must not be confounded with the falling star of Revelation 9:1. Both are spiritual rulers, viewed as morally fallen from their high position. They are, however, distinct personages.) The word “cast” would imply the exercise of irresistible power on the part of the unseen actor, as also the violence of the judgment; whereas “fell,” as also in Revelation 9:1, would rather point to a sudden, unexpected downfall. The “star” as a symbol is one of frequent occurrence in the Apocalypse, and denotes a ruler, or one occupying a place of influence and position in responsibility to God (Revelation 12:1-4; Revelation 6:13, etc.). Supremacy is denoted by the sun; derived and subordinate authority is figured by the moon; while stars point to lesser authorities. This “great star” evidently symbolizes a distinguished ruler responsible as set in the moral firmament to give light in the then dark night of the world’s history, but he is an apostate personage, one under the immediate judgment of God, “burning as a torch;” in this respect like the “great mountain burning with fire.” The epithet “great” is attached to the mountain, and also to the star; only in the former a corporate power or system is referred to, whereas in the latter an exalted individual is meant. Who this degraded and apostate person is we are not informed. Some regard the great fallen star as denoting the personal Antichrist. (The symbolic name of the star (Revelation 8:11) gives no indication of the person referred to, but rather of the baneful influence exercised.) But that does not amount to more than conjecture. The Antichrist plays an important part in the coming crisis, as we shall see in subsequent studies.

Revelation 8:10It fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.” Waters in general signify peoples (Revelation 17:15; Isaiah 17:12-13); the sea points to a state of commotion, of unrest amongst those peoples (Isaiah 57:20; Daniel 7:3); floods, fulness of earthly blessings (Isaiah 44:3), as also earthly calamities (Amos 8:8); rivers, the ordinary life of a nation or people characterised by certain principles (Ezekiel 29:3; Isaiah 18:2); fountains, the sources of the principles and influences which act upon the life of a nation (Joel 3:18; Jeremiah 6:7).

Revelation 8:11. — The name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many of the men died, because they were made bitter.” The name “Wormwood” is significant of character. Many of the older expositors regard the personage here as Satan, but, as has already been remarked, we have no means to identify the person by name. The geographical area affected is the “third part.” The fountains, the sources of national life, are poisoned. All under the withering influences of this fallen being partake of his character, “Wormwood.” Evidently there is a reference to that interesting incident in Israel’s history detailed in Exodus 15:22-25. There the bitter waters were made sweet; here the sweet waters are made bitter. National life and character are corrupted. A judicial dealing of an intensely solemn character overtakes a third part of the nations; their springs of action, their motives, principles, and moral life are poisoned, with the result that “many” die. It is not physical but moral death that is in question, truly more awful than the former. “When you look at these bitter ingredients infused into the waters by the fall of this great star, the wonder is not that many died, but that any lived.” (“Lectures on the Revelation.” p. 181. — Ramsay.)

Commentary on Revelation 8:10-11 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 8:10. No change in the general drama takes place, but some special incident is predicted to affect the people unfavorably. A star in symbolical language denotes some leader, and he is here likened to a meteor that. falls to the earth, selecting as its landing place the rivers and fountains of water. That is attacking a vital portion of a country because of the necessity of water.

Revelation 8:11. The name of this star was Wormwood. That is from the Greek word APSINTHOS, which Thayer defines, "wormwood, absinthe." Webster’s -definition of the word is as follows: "A green alcoholic liquor containing oils of wormwood and anise, and other aromatics. Its continued use causes nervous derangement." It is no wonder, then, that many men died of the waters.

Commentary on Revelation 8:10-11 by Burton Coffman

Revelation 8:10-11

And the third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great star, burning as a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of the waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood: and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

The third angel sounded ... Moffatt thought that this part of Revelation came "from Iranian or Mandaean eschatology,"[54] but scholars will continue to fail in their search for the meaning of the New Testament in the writings and folklore of paganism.

There fell from heaven a great star ... Who was he? There are as many answers as there are writers. He has been identified as: the devil, Lucifer, Atilla the Hun, Pelagius, Origen (Luther’s opinion), Arius, or Pope Gregory the Great! The futurists think of their antichrist.[55] The simple truth is that this angel is not identifiable with any individual, evil person. "Wormwood, symbolical of bitter sorrow (Lamentations 3:19), is the name of this star (Revelation 8:11)."[56]

Upon rivers and fountains ... How can the waters of rivers and fountains turn into bitter sorrow for people? Ask any one who ever depended upon wells or fountains that dried up, or who ever survived any great flood of a mighty river. The river which once was life and joy to people became their defeat and their execution. What river? Any one of hundreds all over the world.

The rivers of China are a good example of this. The Yangtze Chiang, the Yellow river, also known as the Hwang-ho, and others, cross the mainland of China, descending from the great Tibetan plateau and bearing incredible loads of sediment, the Yangtze Chiang alone depositing over a billion tons of sediment a year[57] and cause incredible flood damages at uncertain intervals. The beds of the rivers are continually being built up by the great sediment load, until finally, the great river strikes out in a new direction, changing course radically, and traversing the most populated area in the world, with the result of the loss of millions of lives and untold property damage. Such floods have been the recurring curse of the Chinese mainland for countless centuries. But this situation is worldwide.

There is nothing new in such recurring calamities; never a day passes without news media reference to such things in one part of the world or another; what is revealed in these trumpet visions is that such things are not "mere accidents of nature." Moreover, they are restrained. Only a minor part of the earth will suffer such things. "The newspapers tell you all about such things,"[58] except that they are God’s warnings that people should repent and turn to God. "Four thousand years of recorded history tell of man’s repeated failure to avoid the destructiveness of floods."[59] Why? A star named Wormwood has fallen upon the rivers and fountains of earth. Who can deny it?

Some expositors rely upon a spiritual interpretation of these judgments. For example, Hough wrote:

When men turn to wickedness, they tamper with something far more profound than they know. A power comes from above to ruin the very waters upon which the wicked depend for the life they are misusing.[60]

Such a view is true, of course; but we believe that something more tangible is meant.

This turn of earth’s waters into bitterness is the opposite of the Old Testament event of making the bitter waters of Marah sweet (Exodus 15:25). When people tire of drinking earth’s waters made bitter, may they turn to Christ who is able to make the bitter waters sweet.

The reaction of rebellious minds against these judgments should be noted. Some have spoken sarcastically of God’s "killing off large numbers as an object lesson to survivors," and seem to be resentful; but Caird effectively answered such objections thus:

The question mark which death sets over human existence is just as great whether they die soon or late, alone or in company, violently or in their beds. All men must die; and their ultimate destiny is not determined either by the moment or the manner of their death.[61]

[54] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 405.

[55] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 281.

[56] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 144.

[57] Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961 edition, Vol. 23, p. 875.

[58] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 144.

[59] Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961 edition, Vol. 9, p. 385.

[60] Lynn Harold Hough, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. XII (New York-Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 429.

[61] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 113.

Commentary on Revelation 8:10-11 by Manly Luscombe

10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter. There are two symbols which must be understood here: (1) The star, named Wormwood, and (2)The rivers, waters and fountains. God is the fountain of living waters. (Jeremiah 2:13) Jesus promised that he would provide living waters to those who believe his teachings. (John 7:38) The rivers and fountains represent the teachings of those who direct the spiritual lives of people here on earth. Wormwood is bitter. (Proverbs 5:4) These waters (teachings) are made bitter. False teachings will cause many to die, not physical, but spiritual death. If you follow these false teachers you will lose your spiritual life. The 3rd trumpet warns that if you abandon the truth for false teachings, you will suffer spiritual death. Following a false teacher is just as deadly as denying the faith in the face of persecution.

Verse 12

Rev 8:12

6. SOUNDING OF THE FOURTH TRUMPET

Revelation 8:12

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; --John here sees one-third of the sun, moon, and stars smitten. Naturally this would represent some dire calamities that would affect the people in a certain part of the Roman Empire. Some understand the heavenly bodies to represent rulers, princes, and others in authority as being hurled from their positions. Possibly such events are involved in the calamities indicated, but they are not necessarily the fulfillment of the vision. Darkening of these luminaries may only indicate the gloom that disasters would bring regardless of the nature of them.

that the third part of them should be darkened, and the day should not shine for the third part of it, and the night in like manner.--The light was not completely blotted out ; or, if so, only for a time. This implies that either some dim light continued to shine or the light would come back. Here, as suggested before, the third part may indicate only a considerable period of time or part of the time mentioned. An exact one-third is hardly probable. If the three preceding interpretations are correct, the fourth trumpet vision found fulfillment in some devastating power that came against the Roman Empire, the same western division affected by the preceding powers. According to historians the Western Empire ended in A.D. 476. In the last half of the century the most of the Western Empire was controlled by barbarians and the emperors at Rome were only such in name. The rule was exercised by a patrician, the officer of highest military rank. In 476 the soldiers under Odoacer mutinied and ousted Augustulus, the young emperor, from the throne, and offered submission to Zeno, emperor at Constantinople. The former glory of both emperor and senate was gone, and Odoacer by authority of the Eastern emperor ruled Italy as patrician for fourteen years. (Decline and Fall, Vol. III, p. 512.) So ended the Western Empire ; the rulers lost their power, yet enough was left to show the light had not been completely extinguished; or, if so, it would be restored by another and different kind of ruler in the city of Rome.

It should never be forgotten that in all the calamities that befell pagan Rome there was an indirect effect upon the church. The overthrow of pagan rulers naturally gave religious teachers more influence, with the consequent result that the Bible was gradually taken from the people, and spiritual darkness began to spread. This in time led to the inauguration of a new spiritual ruler in the imperial city who, with the title of Pope, claims to be the universal father of the church.

Commentary on Revelation 8:12-13 by Foy E. Wallace

The sun smitten--(the fourth trumpet)—Revelation 8:12-13.

“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. 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!”

1. The sun, moon and stars: The blackout of the sun, the moon, and the stars, the darkness of the day and even the denseness of the night are the signs of the stark distress and pall of gloom descriptive of the fourth stroke of the trumpets, in the darkness that settled over the Jewish state and nation.

The four trumpets have sounded a cycle of judgments, land, sea, rivers and luminaries, a complete sphere of symbols, envisioning descending distress and tribulation, suffering and sorrow, in signs comparable to the calamities of the seals in the symbols of earthquakes, famine, pestilence and carnage. All of these visions announced with profound proclamations of the trumpet symbols that the time of these terrors was at hand.

2. Angel flying midst heaven: Here is an angel differing from all others of the visions before this scene. This flying angel was the imagery of the eagle, and flying “in the midst of heaven,” was symbolic of a swift messenger of warning to the existing powers of the quickly coming calamities.

3. Saying with a loud voice. The voice of this angel was loud, not in sound, but in meaning--a great voice, a portentous message of immediate importance, revealing its imperative character. The angelic voice vibrated with the intonations of woe--“woe, woe, woe”--in awful refrain to enhance the gravity of the pronouncements.

4. Other voices . . . yet to come. It was “by reason” of three trumpet pronouncements to follow that the flying angel called his woes. The fearful plagues of the four trumpets that had sounded were only a start in the succeeding terrors. The “other voices” were the messages of the angels of the remaining trumpets “yet to come,” which was the “reason” for the flying eagle of woe.

In the series of seven trumpets, four had sounded, three remained. The woes of “the other voices” of the three angels and trumpets “yet to sound,” in their respective turns, held forebodings “to the inhabiters of the earth” beyond all that had been theretofore depicted.

The “inhabiters of the earth,” does not mean all the people in the world. The “earth” has been defined as the place of the powers to which reference is made and is limited by such reference. Accordingly it sometimes denotes the place of the Jewish powers only, but in other instances both the Jewish and the Roman powers, as the context of the attending signs and pronouncements show.

Until now the visions have surrounded Jerusalem, Judaism and the Jews, and the seals and trumpets have revealed and signaled the events that betoken the “end of the world” to them-the Jewish world-the destruction of their state. This is undoubtedly the significance of the expression “end of the world” in Matthew 24:3. On this point Mark records that four of the disciples (Peter, James, John and Andrew) asked Jesus privately, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled” (Mark 13:3-4). In the threefold account of the same event, the end of the Jewish world, and the attending signs, Matthew, Mark and Luke join in saying the generation to whom he was speaking should not pass “till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34); and “till all these things be done” (Mark 13:30); and “till all be fulfilled” (Luke 21:32). It is noteworthy that the three inspired narrators emphasize all the things set forth in the signs would reach their fulfillment in that generation. Matthew lends even greater force to the already unequivocal statements by his statement in chapter 23:33, “Verily, I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.” By no manner of means can such forthright language be circumvented. Men may talk and write about it but they can neither write nor talk around it.

It is so with the opening of the seals and the sounding of the trumpets, the relation to the destruction of Jerusalem, the demolition of the temple, the downfall of Judaism, and the end of the Jewish state is too evident to be controverted. With the “loud voice” of the flying angel, therefore, alerting the “inhabiters of the earth,” the Jewish world, to the crescendo of woes in the “other voices” of the trumpets of the three angels “yet to come”--the vision increases in the forebodings of what was characterized as “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26)

In the grim contemplation of eventualities the hearts of men would fail. And of those very indescribable occurrences, in the successive events connected with the siege and desolation of Jerusalem, there is indisputable evidence to sustain their historicity.

Commentary on Revelation 8:12-13 by Walter Scott

FOURTH TRUMPET.

Revelation 8:12. — And the fourth angel sounded (his) trumpet: and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so that the third part of them should be darkened, and that the day should not appear (for) the third part of it, and the night the same.” The sun, moon, and stars collectively symbolize the whole governing body, from the supreme head down to all lesser authorities — a complete system of government in all its parts. Under the sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-13) the same symbols are presented to express an utter collapse of all governing authority on earth. The might of man is broken. Every power under Heaven is overthrown. Long established governments, and all dependent power and authority fall in the universal crash. There, however, the disruption of the whole social fabric, and the overthrow of every seat of power, is in no wise restricted. The only limitation under the Seals is a “fourth part,” which occurs but once (Revelation 6:8). Here under the fourth Trumpet the judgment and its effects extend to the “third part” of the prophetic scene, the western part of the revived empire. In this connection the term “third part” occurs five times (Revelation 8:12). The effect of this judgment is that moral darkness, like a funeral pall, settles down upon the empire.

Commentary on Revelation 8:13 by Walter Scott

A LOUD AND UNIVERSAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE THREE WOE TRUMPETS.

Revelation 8:13. — And I saw, and I heard an eagle flying in mid-heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to them that dwell upon the earth, for the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound.” “I saw and I heard,” both eye and ear were engaged, thus intimating the rapt attention and interest of the Seer in the events which passed before him in the vision. The Authorised Version reads angel,” but we have substituted eagle on decisive and competent authority. There is a mission entrusted to a flying angel (Revelation 14:6), as also one, but of a different character, to a flying eagle (Revelation 8:13). Mid-heaven, or the firmament, is the sphere traversed by both, so that they could scan the earth from its center to its remotest bounds. The former is a messenger of mercy, this latter is a herald of judgment. The triple cry of “woe” finds its fitting announcement by the eagle. In its rapid and lofty flight across the meridian sky it aloud proclaims the coming doom of the christianized portion of the earth, of those who proudly rejected the “heavenly calling,” of whom Paul writes, “Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). A special class is here singled out from earth’s inhabitants, a moral class, spoken of as those “that dwell upon the earth,” and twice previously referred to (Revelation 3:10; Revelation 6:10). On these apostates, the worst in these dark and evil times, direct and irremediable judgment is publicly and loudly announced. A more fitting symbol could not be employed than an eagle in its aerial flight across the heaven, scanning from afar its prey. The eagle is the harbinger of approaching judgment (see Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 48:40; Matthew 24:28). The four preceding judgments were of a general character, but in those to come the climax of horror is reached; hence this preliminary announcement. (“Woe, specially on those who had their settled place on earth, in contrast with the heavenly calling, and who were unawakened and unmoved by the judgments on the earth, but cling to it as their home in spite of all is then announced. Threefold woe! The term ‘dwellers on,’ or ‘inhabiters of,’ the earth has not yet been used, save in the promise to Philadelphia and the claims of the souls under the altar, for both of these were in contrast with such. After all these dealings of God, they are a distinct and manifested class, and spoken of in what passes on the earth as such. Against this perversely unbelieving class the earthly judgments of God are now directed; the first against the Jews, the second against the inhabitants of the Roman earth, the last universal.” — “Synopsis of the Books of the Bible,” vol. 5, p. 605, Morrish ed.)

Commentary on Revelation 8:12-13 by E.M. Zerr

Revelation 8:12. Third part is commented upon at verse 9. This angel gave a sound that resulted in throwing all the luminaries out of order, pitching the country into a state of semi-darkness. It was another shake-up among the leaders of the empire.

Revelation 8:13. The things which happened to the country, when the four winds were turned loose or when the angels sounded, seemed bad enough if that was to be the end of the troubles. But it was not, for there came another angel flying through the midst of heaven, which denotes that he came into the region of the political heavens of the Roman Empire. He pronounced a triple woe on the people to come when the remaining three angels sound their trumpets. Let us bear in mind that we are still reading of things that were revealed when the seventh seal was broken.

Commentary on Revelation 8:12-13 by Burton Coffman

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; that the third part of them should be darkened, and the day should not shine for the third part of it, and the night in like manner.

This is impossible of any literal understanding. If only a third part of the sun was stricken, it could not prevent the two thirds from shining all the time; so the judgment is against the things which are seen in the sky. This probably stands for heavenly intervention in the atmospheric area of man’s environment. Lenski quoted someone’s complaint that the apostle "either forgot or ignored the fact that he has already cleared the heavens of the stars (Revelation 6:13)!"[62] But that is only one of a thousand difficulties encountered by an interpretation that makes these various series of visions (seals, trumpets, and bowls) to be sequential, consecutive, or concerned with successive events. Each series is independent and parallel with reference to the others.

Third part ... This is repeated five times in this verse, emphasizing the limitation God has placed upon atmospheric disasters, the limitation being for man’s benefit. The purpose of their being permitted at all, and even sent upon the earth, is benign and merciful, having the purpose or design of leading to man’s repentance.

What kind of disasters are meant here? Such things as violent weather, radical changes of climate due to sunspots or shifting of the jet stream, and many other changes harmful to man are meant. But do not people know all about such things, claiming to predict the weather and nearly everything else? In a sense, maybe, this is true; but look at exactly this type of change which destroyed the Indian civilization in Frijoles Canyon, an event of quite recent historical times; and there are many other examples of environmental changes that have wrecked whole civilizations. As for man’s being able to predict such things accurately, it is a vain delusion. Not even the daily weather predictions are in any sense accurate. The trumpet of God has been sounded above all such things, with the result that vast numbers of people are continually being hurt by them; "and the analogy with the other members of this fourfold series shows that that result is intended."[63]

Some commentators find the fulfillment of this vision in "particular periods of the Roman empire, or in some notable eclipse of the sun";[64] but we view such explanations as totally inadequate. "All evils that are due to the abnormal function of the heavenly bodies throughout this entire age are indicated."[65]

Lenski gave a spiritual interpretation of this, understanding the darkness as that "which took place in the Greek and Roman Catholic churches, and in many sects, and the folly of men generally."[66] We agree that such things are indeed darkness, but we believe all four of these first trumpets are related to natural judgments upon man’s physical environment. As Roberson pointed out, "No time limit is set on these judgments."[67] They occur again and again repeatedly throughout history. Their aim is the reformation of mankind, not their destruction, a fact which is seen in the oft-repeated limitation, not upon the times of their recurrence, but upon the extent of their destructive power.

[62] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 282.

[63] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 558.

[64] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 235.

[65] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 144.

[66] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 282.

[67] Charles H. Roberson, op. cit., p. 56.

Revelation 8:13

And I saw, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a great voice, Woe, woe, woe, for them that dwell on the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, who are yet to sound.

An eagle ... Woe, woe, woe ... This is intended as an ominous sign, the eagle being chosen perhaps because it is a bird of prey. The rather fanciful notion that, "God uses nature to send his messages to men,"[68] is not likely to be the meaning. God used John the apostle to send this message. The communication with God through nature is quite limited. The use of this bird, described by Caird as "a vulture, means that there is a theological reason why the woes are to be worse"[69] than the misfortunes caused by the four first trumpets. We cannot agree with those who identify this eagle as "a symbol of Roman legions, some exceptional prophet, Gregory the Great, or even Christ himself."[70] Rist even thought that this eagle might be the living creature with the eagle’s head."[71] Is it any wonder that people get mixed up and confused in their studies of this prophecy?

Strauss pointed out that the prophecy here of woes that shall be worse and worse "is in harmony with Paul’s teachings (1 Timothy 3:12)."[72] Smith correctly viewed all of the first four trumpet judgments as "relating to some disaster falling upon the world of nature, and also that this verse is the first appearance of the word translated woe in the Apocalypse."[73] It seems to us that Bruce correctly gave the meaning of the three woes here announced:

It is not only in man’s natural environment that the repercussions of his sin are felt; that same sin unleashes demonic forces, uncontrollable by man, which bring woe after woe upon him. These are symbolized by the next three trumpets.[74]

Beckwith’s summary of this and the next chapters is also helpful:

The first four trumpets are sent directly upon part of the world of nature, and upon men indirectly. The fifth and sixth woes are sent directly upon the persons of men. They assail the whole world and are peculiarly poignant and demonic in character.[75]

From these observations, it is clear that the vision of the eagle is transitional, marking the diverse natures of the four first and the three last trumpets.

[68] William Barclay, op. cit., p. 46.

[69] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 117.

[70] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 284.

[71] Martin Rist, op. cit., p. 431.

[72] James D. Strauss, op. cit., p. 134.

[73] Wilbur M. Smith, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, New Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 1072.

[74] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 647.

[75] Isbon T. Beckwith op. cit., pp. 558,559.

Verse 13

Rev 8:13

SECTION FIVE

SOUNDING OF THE FIFTH

AND SIXTH TRUMPETS

Revelation 8:13 to Revelation 9:21

1. THE WOE TRUMPETS ANNOUNCED

Revelation 8:13

13 And I saw, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a great voice,--The King James Version has "angel" instead of "eagle." This is a question of textual criticism which it is unnecessary to give here. The true facts may be derived from either one. Angels have been the usual agents through whom announcements have been made in the visions; but an eagle in the symbol may be the appropriate emblem to proclaim the coming woes. Its cry may have been especially significant for the purpose. The word "woe" sets the last three trumpets off in a separate class from the four preceding.

Woe, woe, woe, for them that dwell on the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, who are yet to sound.--Doubtless the "earth" as John understood it was the Roman Empire. The woes promised then would affect those who dwelt in some part of that empire. Of course all classes, saints and sinners, would be affected more or less. The general results can be seen, though we may not always be able to find definitely what particular thing may be designated by every feature of the vision. Of course the preceding trumpets signified "woes" too, but these three indicated some that were distinctly different.

Sermon on Revelation 8:1-13

The Seven Thunders

Brent Kercheville

The Seventh Seal (Revelation 8:1-5)

Revelation 8 begins with the seventh seal opening. When the seventh seal was opened by the Lamb, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. What does this silence represent? In the prophets there is a call for silence because God is acting in judgment. Notice Zechariah 2:13“Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” In Habakkuk 2 judgment is pronounced and the images of judgment conclude with a call for silence. “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). God is acting. Sit silently and watch.

The scene then reveals seven angels who stand before God. We have not read about these seven angels before. Jewish apocalyptic writings declare that there were seven angels before the throne and even name these angels (1 Enoch 20:2-8). Each of the angels are given a trumpet and these trumpets will bring judgment on the earth. Verses 3-5 depict a beautiful picture. Another angel takes incense and puts it in his censer. The smoke of the incense rises up to God. The prayers of all the people of God are shown rising before God. The incense is a symbol showing that their prayers are acceptable to God. Then the angel takes the censer, fills it with fire from the altar, and throws it on the earth. God is responding to the prayers of all the saints. God in action are often depicted as thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and earthquakes (see Mount Sinai; Exodus 19:16-19). Therefore, these judgments are in response to the prayers of the holy people of God.

The First Trumpet (Revelation 8:6-7)

The first angel blows his trumpet and hail and fire mixed with blood are thrown upon the earth. The imagery is similar to the Egyptian plague of hail and fire (Exodus 9:22-25). Hail and fire are common symbols of God’s judgment. “With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him; and I will pour down torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur, upon him and his troops and the many peoples that are with him.” (Ezekiel 38:22 NRSV) Sodom and Gomorrah along with the cities of the plains were destroyed by raining fire and sulfur.

Notice the destruction that occurs when this first trumpet sounds. Only one-third of the earth is burned up. Only a third of the trees and green grass are burned up. Saying that a third is destroyed is God’s way of saying that a portion are destroyed. Notice another place in prophecy where God speaks of thirds in judgment.

“In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:8-9 ESV)

These are images of partial judgments. In each of the first four trumpets we will read that only one-third are destroyed. These partial judgments were predicted in the first four seals of Revelation 6. Now those partial judgments are occurring.

The Second Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9)

The second angel blows his trumpet and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea. Then a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died and a third of the ships were destroyed. This image of judgment is also patterned after the Egyptian plague when the Nile was turned to blood (Exodus 7:20-21). A great mountain is symbolic for the overthrow of a kingdom. In speaking about Babylon’s coming judgment, Jeremiah prophesied:

“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, declares the LORD, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain.” (Jeremiah 51:25 ESV)

Remember also the first prophecy of Daniel with the large statue of different metals. The stone that strikes the image becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:35) which represents the kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44). This image is not symbolizing a burning volcano or anything like that. A nation is being judged. This trumpet also affects a third, continuing to show that partial judgments are unfolding against this nation.

The Third Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11)

When the third trumpet sounds, a great star falls from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water. The name of the great star that fell is Wormwood. Wormwood was a plant with a bitter taste found in Palestine. This bitter plant is used a few times by the prophets. In speaking about Jerusalem, Jeremiah declared these messages.

Therefore, this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: “I am about to feed this people wormwood and give them poisonous water to drink.” (Jeremiah 9:15 HCSB)

Therefore, this is what the LORD of Hosts says concerning the prophets: I am about to feed them wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land. (Jeremiah 23:15 HCSB)

Jeremiah used the picture of wormwood to show that the punishment fit the crime. The suffering will be bitter because their bitter wickedness. Jeremiah spoke of the prophets polluting Israel with idolatry. Therefore God was polluting them with bad water, that is, with the bitterness of suffering. “The springs of water” is an important judgment and is commonly used in the Old Testament because most of Judah’s water came from natural springs. Therefore, bitter suffering is coming upon earth. Revelation 8:11 reveals that many people would die from these judgments.

The Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12)

The fourth trumpet sounds and a third of sun, moon, and stars are struck so that a third of their light is darkened. We learned in Revelation 6:12-14 that the sun no longer shine, the moon becoming like blood, and the stars falling from the sky are symbols of final judgment on a nation. In Revelation 8:12 we again see only a third of these celestial bodies struck. Therefore, this is not yet the final judgment but only a partial judgment, the great tribulation, affecting part of the earth. The point of the first four trumpets shows devastation coming on part of the earth. This is the great tribulation, but not the final judgment, as a nation receiving God’s wrath for its sins.

An Eagle (Revelation 8:13)

Then John hears an eagle flying overhead and crying out with a loud voice three more woes are to come. If you thought the first four trumpets were full of terrible judgments, the final three trumpets are worse. Woe to those who live on the earth because the rest of the trumpets are about to sound.

The eagle is an image used by God as a harbinger of doom. The Old Testament uses the eagle as a picture of destruction.

The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young. (Deuteronomy 28:49-50 ESV)

In Ezekiel 17 we read a parable of two eagles. The message of the parable was that Babylon was the eagle destroying Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s prophecy rests on God’s promise made at the inauguration of the nation of Israel. God promised curses on Israel if they disobeyed. One of the images of this curse is in Deuteronomy 28:49 that a foreign nation would destroy them, swooping down like an eagle. John in Revelation 8 sees an eagle flying overhead declaring woes upon the nation as the rest of the judgments are about to be executed.

LESSON 14

SOUNDING THE TRUMPETS

Read Revelation 8:1 to Revelation 9:21

1. What followed the opening of the seventh seal? Ans. Revelation 8:1.

2. How many angels stood before God and what was given to them? Ans. Revelation 8:2.

3. Where did another angel stand and what did he do? Ans. Revelation 8:3.

4. What ascended before God from the angel’s hand? Ans. Revelation 8:4.

5. What do the bowls of incense represent? Ans. Revelation 5:8.

6. What followed when the angel cast fire on the earth? Ans. Revelation 8:5.

7. Then what did the seven angels prepare to do? Ans. Revelation 8:6.

8. Tell how the earth was affected by the sounding of the first angel. Ans. Revelation 8:7.

9. What happened to the sea, to the creatures in the sea, and to the ships when the second angel sounded? Ans. Revelation 8:8-9.

10. What was affected by the sounding of the third angel? Ans. Revelation 8:10.

11. What was the name of this star? Ans. Revelation 8:11.

12. What was smitten when the fourth angel sounded? Ans. Revelation 8:12.

13. The sounding of the other three trumpets was prefaced by what announcement? Ans. Revelation 8:13.

14. What fell from heaven when the fifth angel sounded? Ans. Revelation 9:1.

15. What did this fallen star do? Ans. Revelation 9:2.

16. What came out of the smoke from the abyss? Ans. Revelation 9:3.

17. What were the locusts forbidden to harm? Ans. Revelation 9:4.

18. How were they to punish those who "have not the seal of God on their forehead?" Ans. Revelation 9:5-6.

19. Describe the locusts. Ans. Revelation 9:7-10.

20. Who was the king of these locusts? Ans. Revelation 9:11.

21. How many woes were then past and how many were to follow? Ans. Revelation 9:12.

22. Tell of the death and destruction that followed the sounding of the sixth angel. Ans. Revelation 9:13-19.

23. What of those who were not killed with these plagues? Ans. Revelation 9:20-21

E.M. Zerr

Questions on Revelation

Revelation Chapter Eight

1. What seal was opened next?

2. State what followed.

3. For how long did it continue?

4. What did John see then?

5. Tell what was given to them.

6. Where did the other angel stand?

7. What did he have?

8. Tell what was given unto him.

9. With what was he to offer it?

10. On what was he to offer it?

11. Where was this located?

12. Tell what became of the smoke.

13. With what was the censer then filled?

14. What was done with it then?

15. State what resulted in this.

16. What did seven angels have?

17. Tell what they prepared to do.

18. What followed sound of the first angel ?

19. Upon what place were they cast?

20. With what results?

21. What appeared after 2nd angel’s sound?

22. Into what was it cast?

23. State the result.

24. What part of the creatures died?

25. Tell what was destroyed.

26. What fen at sound of the third angel?

27. From where did it fan?

28. What was its appearance?

29. Upon what did it fan?

30. State the name of this star.

31. Ten what it turned into its own likeness.

32. What resulted to men?

33. How were the waters made to become?

34. What bodies smitten at sound of 4th angel?

35. Ten what portion of them was smitten.

36. What part of them was darkened?

37. For how long did the day not shine?

38. And what part of the night?

39. What did John see?

40. Did he hear anything?

41. Where was the angel seen?

42. How was he traveling?

43. What kind of voice was he using?

44. Ten what he pronounced thrice.

45. Upon whom were these to come?

46. Where did these creatures inhabit?

47. Was anything yet to come?

48. By what means were they to sound?

49. Through what beings was this to be done?

50. How many angels were there to sound yet?

Revelation Chapter Eight

Ralph Starling

When the 7th Seal was opened there was found,

7 angels and seven trumpets for them to sound.

But the sound of their trumpets could not begin

Until the prayers of the saints could ascend.

Then the 1st angel with his trumpet began to sound.

There was hail, fire, and destruction all around.

The 2nd trumpet brought destruction upon the sea,

And one third of the creatures and ships ceased to be.

The 3rd angel sounded, pollutin the waters and the rivers.

And many men died because the waters were bitter.

The 4th angel sounded, darkening the sky.

The sun, moon and stars could give no light.

Still another angel appeared but not of the seven.

Announcing 3 woes were yet to be given.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 8". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/revelation-8.html.
 
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