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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 8

Verse 1

And when he opened (κα οταν ηνοιξεν). Here modal αν is used with οτε (used about the opening of the preceding six seals), but οταν is not here rendered more indefinite, as is sometimes true (Mark 3:11; Revelation 4:9), but here and possibly (can be repetition) in Mark 11:19 it is a particular instance, not a general rule (Robertson, Grammar, p. 973).

There followed a silence (εγενετο σιγη). Second aorist middle of γινομα. "There came silence." Dramatic effect by this profound stillness with no elder or angel speaking, no chorus of praise nor cry of adoration, no thunder from the throne (Swete), but a temporary cessation in the revelations. See Revelation 10:4.

About the space of half an hour (ως ημιωρον). Late and rare word (ημ, half, ωρα, hour), here only in N.T. Accusative of extent of time.

Verse 2

Stand (εστηκασιν). Perfect active of ιστημ (intransitive). Another "hebdomad" so frequent in the Apocalypse. The article (the seven angels) seems to point to seven well-known angels. In Enoch 20:7 the names of seven archangels are given (Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel, Remiel) and "angels of the Presence" is an idea like that in Isaiah 63:9. We do not know precisely what is John's idea here.

Seven trumpets (επτα σαλπιγγες). We see trumpets assigned to angels in Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 4:4. See also the use of trumpets in Joshua 6:13; Joel 2:1. These seven trumpets are soon to break the half hour of silence. Thus the seven trumpets grow out of the opening of the seventh seal, however that fact is to be interpreted.

Verse 3

Another angel (αλλος αγγελος). Not one of the seven of verse Revelation 8:2 and before they began to sound the trumpets. This preliminary incident of the offering of incense on the altar covers verses Revelation 8:3-6.

Stood (εσταθη). Ingressive first aorist passive of ιστημ (intransitive), "took his place."

Over the altar (επ του θυσιαστηριου). See Revelation 6:9 for the word for the burnt-offering, here apparently the altar of incense (clearly so in Luke 1:11; possibly also Revelation 9:13), but it is not clear that in apocalyptic the distinction between the two altars of the tabernacle and temple is preserved. Aleph C Q have the genitive, while A P have the accusative επ το θυσιαστηριον.

A golden censer (λιβανωτον χρυσουν). Old word for frankincense (from λιβανος, Matthew 2:11; Revelation 18:13), but here alone in N.T. and for censer, as is plain by the use of χρυσουν (golden) with it. Cf. 1 Kings 7:50.

Much incense (θυμιαματα πολλα). See Revelation 5:8 for θυμιαμα (the aromatic substance burnt, also in Revelation 18:13), but here for the live coals on which the incense falls.

That he should add (ινα δωσε). Sub-final clause (subject of εδοθη, was given, singular because θυμιαματα neuter plural) with ινα and the future active indicative of διδωμ, to give, instead of δω, the second aorist subjunctive.

Unto the prayers (ταις προσευχαις). Dative case. In Revelation 5:18 the θυμιαματα are the prayers.

Upon the golden altar (επ το θυσιαστηριον το χρυσουν το). Accusative case here, not genitive as above, and apparently the altar of incense as indicated by the word golden (Exodus 30:1; Leviticus 4:17). Note triple article here το (once before the substantive, once before the adjective, once before the adjunct "the one before the throne").

Verse 4

The smoke (ο καπνος). Old word, in N.T. only Acts 2:19; Revelation 8:4; Revelation 9:2; Revelation 9:17; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 15:8; Revelation 18:9; Revelation 18:18; Revelation 19:3. Here from the incense in the angel's hand.

With the prayers (ταις προσευχαις). So associative-instrumental case, but it may be dative as in verse Revelation 8:3 (for).

Verse 5

Taketh (ειληφεν). Vivid dramatic perfect active indicative of λαμβανω as in Revelation 5:7, "has taken." The angel had apparently ]aid aside the censer. Hardly merely the pleonastic use of λαμβανω (John 19:23). John pictures the scene for us.

Filled (εγεμισεν). He drops back to the narrative use of the first aorist active indicative of γεμιζω.

With the fire (εκ του πυρος), live coals from the altar (cf. Isaiah 6:6).

Cast (εβαλεν). Second aorist active indicative of βαλλω. See Genesis 19:24 (Sodom); Ezekiel 10:2 and Christ's bold metaphor in Luke 12:49. See this use of βαλλω also in Revelation 8:7; Revelation 12:4; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 12:13; Revelation 14:19.

Followed (εγενοντο). Came to pass naturally after the casting of fire on the earth. Same three elements in Revelation 4:5, but in different order (lightnings, voices, thunders), lightning naturally preceding thunder as some MSS. have it here. Perhaps φωνα, the voices of the storm (wind, etc.).

Verse 6

Prepared themselves (ητοιμασαν αυτους). First aorist active indicative of ετοιμαζω. They knew the signal and got ready.

To sound (ινα σαλπισωσιν). Sub-final (object) clause with ινα and the first aorist ingressive active subjunctive of σαλπιζω. The infinitive could have been used.

Verse 7

Sounded (εσαλπισεν). First aorist active indicative of σαλπιζω, repeated with each angel in turn (Revelation 8:8; Revelation 8:10; Revelation 8:12; Revelation 9:1; Revelation 9:13; Revelation 11:15).

Hail and fire mingled with blood (χαλαζα κα πυρ μεμιγμενα εν αιματ). Like the plague of hail and fire in Exodus 9:24. The first four trumpets are very much like the plagues in Egypt, this one like a semitropical thunderstorm (Swete) with blood like the first plague (Exodus 7:17; Psalms 106:35). The old feminine word χαλαζα (hail) is from the verb χαλαω, to let down (Mark 2:4), in N.T. only in Revelation 8:7; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:21. The perfect passive participle μεμιγμενα (from μιγνυμ, to mix) is neuter plural because of πυρ (fire).

Were cast (εβληθη). First aorist passive singular because χαλαζα and πυρ treated as neuter plural. "The storm flung itself on the earth" (Swete).

Was burnt up (κατεκαη). Second aorist (effective) passive indicative of κατακαιω, old verb to burn down (effective use of κατα, up, we say). Repeated here three times for dramatic effect. See Revelation 7:1-3 about the trees and Revelation 9:4 where the locusts are forbidden to injure the grass.

Verse 8

As it were (ως). "As if," not a great mountain, but a blazing mass as large as a mountain.

Burning with fire (πυρ καιομενον). Present middle participle of καιω. Somewhat like Enoch 18:13, but perhaps with the picture of a great volcanic eruption like that of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Strabo tells of an eruption B.C. 196 which made a new island (Palaea Kaumene).

Became blood (εγενετο αιμα). Like the Nile in the first plague (Exodus 7:20). Cf. also Revelation 16:3.

Verse 9

Of the creatures (των κτισματων). See Revelation 5:13 for this word κτισμα. Even they that had life (τα εχοντα ψυχας). Here the nominative articular participle is in apposition with the genitive κτισματων, as often in this book. See Exodus 7:20 for the destruction of fish, and Zephaniah 1:3.

Was destroyed (διεφθαρησαν). Second aorist passive indicative of διαφθειρω, old compound, to corrupt, to consume, to destroy (perfective use of δια), also Revelation 11:18. The plural πλοιον just before the verb makes the idea plural.

Verse 10

Burning as a torch (καιομενος ως λαμπας). See Revelation 4:5; Matthew 2:2, perhaps a meteor, striking at the fresh-water supply (rivers ποταμων, springs πηγας) as in the first Egyptian plague also.

Verse 11

Wormwood (ο Αψινθος). Absinthe. Usually feminine (η), but masculine here probably because αστηρ is masculine. Only here in N.T. and not in LXX (πικρια, bitterness, χολη, gall, etc.) except by Aquila in Proverbs 5:4; Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15. There are several varieties of the plant in Palestine.

Became wormwood (εγενετο εις αψινθον). This use of εις in the predicate with γινομα is common in the LXX and the N.T. (Revelation 16:19; John 16:20; Acts 5:36).

Of the waters (εκ των υδατων). As a result of (εκ) the use of the poisoned waters.

Were made bitter (επικρανθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of πικραινω. Old verb (from πικρος, bitter), as in Revelation 10:9. In a metaphorical sense to embitter in Colossians 3:19.

Verse 12

Was smitten (επληγη). Second aorist passive indicative of πλησσω, old verb (like πληγη plague), here only in N.T.

That should be darkened (ινα σκοτισθη). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist passive subjunctive of σκοτιζω, from σκοτος (darkness) as in Matthew 24:29, but σκοτοω in Revelation 9:2.

And the day should not shine (κα η ημερα μη φανη). Negative purpose clause with ινα μη and the first aorist active subjunctive of φαινω, to shed light upon, as in Revelation 18:23, not the second aorist passive subjunctive φανη with different accent. The eclipse here is only partial and is kin to the ninth Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:21).

Verse 13

An eagle (ενος αετου). "One eagle," perhaps ενος (εις) used as an indefinite article (Revelation 9:13; Revelation 18:21; Revelation 19:17). See Revelation 4:7 also for the flying eagle, the strongest of birds, sometimes a symbol of vengeance (Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8).

Flying in mid-heaven (πετομενου εν μεσουρανηματ). Like the angel in Revelation 14:6 and the birds in Revelation 19:17. Μεσουρανημα (from μεσουρανεω to be in mid-heaven) is a late word (Plutarch, papyri) for the sun at noon, in N.T. only these three examples. This eagle is flying where all can see, and crying so that all can hear.

Woe, woe, woe (ουαι, ουαι, ουα). Triple because three trumpets yet to come. In Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:19 the double ουα is merely for emphasis.

For them that dwell on the earth (τους κατοικουντας). Accusative of the articular present active participle of κατοικεω, is unusual (Aleph Q here and also in Revelation 12:12) as in Matthew 11:21. There is even a nominative in Revelation 18:10.

By reason of the other voices (εκ των λοιπων φωνων). "As a result of (εκ) the rest of the voices." There is more and worse to come, "of the three angels who are yet to sound" (των τριων αγγελων των μελλοντων σαλπιζειν).

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/revelation-8.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.