Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 8:13

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"
New American Standard Version
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Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   The Topic Concordance - Seals;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Trumpet;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Curse;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adonijah;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Birds;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Plagues of Egypt;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Eagle ;   Numbers;   Trump Trumpet ;   Witness;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Inhabiters of the Earth;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cherubim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Angel;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Angels;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Eagle;   Inhabit;   Revelation of John:;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I - heard an angel flying - Instead of αγγελου πετωμενου, an angel flying, almost every MS. and version of note has αετου πετωμενον, an eagle flying. The eagle was the symbol of the Romans, and was always on their ensigns. The three woes which are here expressed were probably to be executed by this people, and upon the Jews and their commonwealth. Taken in this sense the symbols appear consistent and appropriate; and the reading eagle instead of angel is undoubtedly genuine, and Griesbach has received it into the text.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And I beheld - My attention was attracted by a new vision.

And heard an angel flying, … - I heard the voice of an angel making this proclamation.

Woe, woe, woe - That is, there will be great woe. The repetition of the word is intensive, and the idea is, that the sounding of the three remaining trumpets would indicate great and fearful calamities. These three are grouped together as if they pertained to a similar series of events, as the first four had been. The two classes are separated from each other by this interval and by this proclamation - implying that the first series had been completed, and that there would be some interval, either of space or time, before the other series would come upon the world. All that is fairly implied here would be fulfilled by the supposition that the former referred to the West, and that the latter pertained to the East, and were to follow when those should have been completed.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

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.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven,.... The Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, instead of "an angel", read "an eagle"; and to "fly" agrees with either of them, and the sense is the same let it be read either way; and this angel may design either Christ, or a created angel, or a minister of the Gospel, as in Revelation 14:6; did the next trumpet introduce Popery, as some have supposed, Gregory bishop of Rome might be thought, as he is by some, to be the angel here intended, since he gave notice and warning of antichrist being at hand:

saying with a loud voice; that all might hear, and as having something of importance to say, and delivering it with great fervour and affection:

woe, woe, woe; three times, answerable to the three trumpets yet to be blown; and which are therefore called the woe trumpets: and these woes are denounced

to the inhabiters of the earth; the Roman empire, particularly the eastern part of it, which the fifth and sixth trumpets relate unto; and even the whole world, with which the seventh trumpet is concerned:

by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound! the design of this loud cry of the angel is to show, that though the distresses and ruin which the barbarous nations had brought upon the western empire were very great; yet those which would come upon the eastern empire by the Saracens and Turks, under the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets, would be much more grievous; and especially the judgments which the seventh trumpet would bring upon the whole world, when all the nations of the earth will be judged. From the sounding of the fourth trumpet, to the sounding of the fifth, was a space of a hundred and thirty five years, that is, from the deposition of Augustulus, A. D. 476, to the public preaching of Mahomet, A. D. 612.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

10 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!

(10) A lamentable prediction or foretelling of those parts of the divine execution which yet are behind: which also is a passage to the argument of the next chapter. Of all these things in a manner Christ himself expressly foretold in (Luke 21:24) and they are common plagues generally denounced, without particular note of time.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

an angel — A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read for “angel,” which is supported by none of the oldest manuscripts, “an eagle”: the symbol of judgment descending fatally from on high; the king of birds pouncing on the prey. Compare this fourth trumpet and the flying eagle with the fourth seal introduced by the fourth living creature, “like a flying eagle,” Revelation 4:7; Revelation 6:7, Revelation 6:8: the aspect of Jesus as presented by the fourth Evangelist. John is compared in the cherubim (according to the primitive interpretation) to a flying eagle: Christ‘s divine majesty in this similitude is set forth in the Gospel according to John, His judicial visitations in the Revelation of John. Contrast “another angel,” or messenger, with “the everlasting Gospel,” Revelation 14:6.

through the midst of heavenGreek, “in the mid-heaven,” that is, in the part of the sky where the sun reaches the meridian: in such a position as that the eagle is an object conspicuous to all.

the inhabiters of the earth — the ungodly, the “men of the world,” whose “portion is in this life,” upon whom the martyrs had prayed that their blood might be avenged (Revelation 6:10). Not that they sought personal revenge, but their zeal was for the honor of God against the foes of God and His Church.

the otherGreek,the remaining voices.”

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

People's New Testament

And I beheld, and heard an angel. An eagle in the Revision. The flight of this messenger through the midst of heaven shows that an epoch has been passed with the four trumpet visions, and that another epoch is about to begin. The voice proclaims, Woe, woe, woe. There are three woes; there are three woe angels.

Upon the inhabitants of the earth. Upon the earth as known to John. The geographical scene of those events which are historical must be looked for somewhere within the bounds of the great Roman world.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "People's New Testament". 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

An eagle (ενος αετουhenos aetou). “One eagle,” perhaps ενοςhenos (ειςheis) 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 μεσουρανηματιpetomenou en mesouranēmati). Like the angel in Revelation 14:6 and the birds in Revelation 19:17. ΜεσουρανημαMesouranēma (from μεσουρανεωmesouraneō 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 ουαιouaiουαιouaiτους κατοικουνταςouai). Triple because three trumpets yet to come. In Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:16, Revelation 18:19 the double κατοικεωouai is merely for emphasis.

For them that dwell on the earth (εκ των λοιπων πωνωνtous katoikountas). Accusative of the articular present active participle of εκkatoikeō 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 (των τριων αγγελων των μελλοντων σαλπιζεινek tōn loipōn phōnōn). “As a result of (ek) the rest of the voices.” There is more and worse to come, “of the three angels who are yet to sound” (tōn triōn aggelōn tōn mellontōn salpizein).

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

An angel ( ἑνὸς ἀγγέλου )

For angel read ἀετοῦ eagleLit., one eagle. The eagle is a symbol of vengeance in Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8.

Mid heaven ( μεσουρανήματι )

Only in Revelation, here, Revelation 14:6; Revelation 19:17. It means, properly, the meridian, the highest point in the heavens which the sun occupies at noon; not the space between heaven and earth.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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!

And I saw, and heard an angel flying — Between the trumpets of the fourth and fifth angel.

In the midst of heaven — The three woes, as we shall see, stretch themselves over the earth from Persia eastward, beyond Italy, westward; all which space had been filled with the gospel by the apostles. In the midst of this lies Patmos, where St. John saw this angel, saying, Woe, woe, woe - Toward the end of the fifth century, there were many presages of approaching calamities.

To the inhabitants of the earth — All without exception. Heavy trials were coming on them all. Even while the angel was proclaiming this, the preludes of these three woes were already in motion. These fell more especially on the Jews. As to the prelude of the first woe in Persia, Isdegard II., in454, was resolved to abolish the sabbath, till he was, by Rabbi Mar, diverted from his purpose. Likewise in the year474, Phiruz afflicted the Jews much, and compelled many of them to apostatize. A prelude of the second woe was the rise of the Saracens, who, in510, fell into Arabia and Palestine. To prepare for the third woe, Innocent I., and his successors, not only endeavoured to enlarge their episcopal jurisdiction beyond all bounds, but also their worldly power, by taking every opportunity of encroaching upon the empire, which as yet stood in the way of their unlimited monarchy.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Woe, woe, woe, &c.; implying that the trumpets of the three remaining angels portended still heavier calamities than those which had been announced. There is great difference of opinion in regard to the interpretation which is to be put upon the visions of the four first trumpets,--some commentators applying each specifically to some particular calamity recorded in history, while others regard them as intended to express only the general idea of disaster and suffering, by different images and varied forms of expression.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

13.] Introduction of the three remaining trumpets by three woes. And I saw and heard (the construction is zeugmatic) an ( ἑνός indefinite, as in reff.: see Winer, edn. 6, § 18. 9. Or it may carry meaning—a single or solitary eagle,—as might also be the case in one of the reff., ch. Revelation 18:21, see there) eagle (hardly to be identified with the eagles of Matthew 24:28; for 1) that saying is more proverbial than prophetic: and 2) any application of that saying would be far more aptly reserved for our ch. Revelation 19:17. Nor again is the eagle a bird of ill omen, as Ewald: nor a contrast to the dove in John 1:32, as Hengstb.: but far more probably the symbol of judgment and vengeance rushing to its prey, as in Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8. Nor again is it to be understood as an angel in eagle’s shape: but a veritable eagle in the vision. Thus we have the altar speaking, ch. Revelation 16:7) flying in mid-heaven (i. e. in the south or noon-day sky where the sun reaches the meridian, for which μεσουρανεῖν is the word. Wetst. cites from Eustath. on Il. θ. 68, αὔξησις ἡμέρας λέγεται καθʼ ὅμηρον τὸ ἀπὸ πρωΐας μέχρις ἡλιακοῦ μεσουρανήματος, τὸ δὲ ἐντεῦθεν φθίνειν ἡμέρα δοκεῖ. See his many other examples. So that the word does not signify the space intermediate between heaven and earth, but as above. And the eagle flies there, to be seen and heard of all. I may also notice that the whole expression favours the true reading ἀετοῦ as against the substituted ἀγγέλου) saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to those that dwell (the government of an accus. after οὐαί is also found in ch. Revelation 12:12) upon the earth (the objects of the vengeance invoked in the prayers of the martyrs, ch. Revelation 6:10; the ungodly world, as distinguished from the church) by reason of (so E. V., well: ἐκ denoting, as in Revelation 8:11, the source whence the woe springs) the remaining voices of the trumpet (the sing, is used generically: the three voices all having this common to them, that they are the sound of a trumpet) of the three angels who are about to blow.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

(8:13-9:21)Пятая и шестая трубы

13Орел ( в русской синодальной Библии - «ангел»), летящий посреди неба (чтобы весь мир смог услышать его крик), три раза возвещает о горе, которое посетит всех живущих на земле. Эти три горя соответствуют трем трубам, которые еще должны прозвучать; они откроют еще более страшные суды, чем предыдущие, поскольку направлены не на природу, а на мятежное человечество. В гл. 9 описываются первые два горя, а что касается третьего, то говорится только о его последствиях в грядущем царстве (11:15-19). Это горе отражено в 11:18, более отчетливо выявляется в 16:17-20, более подробно описывается в 17:12-18, воспевается в погребальной песни в гл. 18 и в гимнах 19:1 -10 и в завершение описывается в 19:11-21. Первое горе вполне соответствует бедствию исхода - саранче (Исх. 10:1-20); второе можно сравнить с уничтожением первородных в Египте, окончательным судом Бога над народом.



Scofield's Reference Notes


(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 8:13". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 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!

Ver. 13. And I beheld and heard an angel] αγγελου αετου, or, an eagle, as some copies read it. {See Trapp on "Revelation 8:12"} Gregory the Great seems to be pointed at, who is said to be the worst of all the popes that went before him, and the best of those that came after him. Hence he is brought in flying between heaven and earth. And that he cried with a loud voice; pointing at and painting out that to be Antichrist that should challenge to himself the title of universal bishop, and had a host of priests ready to follow him. Hic prope est, et in foribus, said he, and he said right; for his immediate successor, Boniface III, fulfilled the same that he had foretold.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 8:13. I beheld, and heard an angel flying through, &c.— Notice is here proclaimed by an angel, that the three other trumpets will sound to still greater and more terrible plagues, and are therefore distinguished from the former by the name of woes. They are not woes of a light or common nature, but such in the extreme; for the Hebrews having no superlative degree, in the manner of other languages, express their superlative by repeating the positive three times, as in this place. The design of this messenger is to raise our attention to the following trumpets; and the following we shall find to be more strongly marked than the foregoing. The foregoing relate chiefly to the downfal of the Western empire; the following relate chiefly to the downfal of the Eastern empire. The foregoing are described more succinctly, and contain a less compass of time; the following are set forth with more particular circumstances, and are of longer duration, as well as of larger description. Mr. Burton observes, "The seven trumpets fall next under our consideration; which, I conclude, are governed by the above-mentioned apocalyptical number, seven, four of which seem to me to have already sounded; but the three remaining ones, called the woe trumpets, I look upon as yet to be sounded; though we seem hastening towards them. For, however the imaginations of men, warmed with apious zeal for solving all scriptural difficulties, may have induced them to believe any past events to have answered to the apocalyptical descriptions; the imagery appears to me too strong for any one event that has yet happened, properly to be applied to. I am therefore inclined to think, that the fifth, sixth, and seventh are yet to sound. What induces me to think so, is, that in the vision of the prophet Habakkuk, a similar description seems to be given to this dreadful one now under our consideration; which has an apparent reference to those events that are to take place in the very last days.Habakkuk 1:6 <swordsearcher://bible/Hab1.6>. For lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling-places that are not theirs. Revelation 8:7. They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Revelation 8:8. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. Revelation 8:9. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. Revelation 8:10. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold, for they shall heap dust, and take it. This description must awaken our attention, and seems to answer to the tremendous warriors of this chapter. But, bad as the bulk of the giddy multitude may at this time appear, the bottomless pit, I hope, is not yet opened upon us; since, most probably, that will be a time dreadful beyond the power of imagination to conceive, and may be that very hour of temptation, which our Saviour has declared shall one day come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth, and from which Christ has most graciously promised to those who have kept the word of his patience, that he will keep them, Revelation 3:10 <swordsearcher://bible/Re3.10>. Whereas, although, through the great prevalency of sin, the multitude of the wicked already, at times, seem to ride triumphant; yet, God be thanked, there are not wanting many individuals, who are ready to stand forth in defence of religion, and many, who, in their words and works, set forth all its praise." See the Appendix to the Revelation, for other views of this subject.

Inferences and REFLECTIONS.—While we prepare ourselves, with silent admiration, to attend the discoveries here opening upon us, let us rejoice in the symbolical representation of the intercession of Jesus, our great High-Priest, shadowed forth, in so beautiful and expressive a manner, by the angel standing at the altar with the golden censer, and much incense. Behold, how the prayers of all the saints ascend before God with acceptance! See the method we are to take, if we desire that ours should be acceptable to him; and, encouraged by such a view, let us offer them up, not only with humility, but with cheerful confidence, though we are conscious of their great unworthiness.

To what wretchedness are they exposed, who oppress and injure those, that, through their great Representative, have such an interest in the court of Heaven! The hail and the fire shall, at the divine command, powerfully plead their cause; the mountains shall be torn from their bases, and cast into the middle of the sea; the sun, the noon, and the stars shall be darkened in their orbs, and all nature be thrown into convulsive agonies, ere God will suffer his faithful saints to be overborne; or fail to punish, with becoming severity, those who continue to persecute or evil entreat them.

Let such awful representatives as these remind us of the sovereign almighty power of God, whom all the hosts of heaven worship with reverence; and at whose awful word, when he gives forth his voice, hailstones and coals of fire descend (Psalms 18:13 <swordsearcher://bible/Ps18.13>.); at whose rebuke the pillars of heaven tremble, and the foundations of the earth are shaken; who speaks to the sun, and it shineth not; who darkeneth the moon, and sealeth up the stars. Who would not fear thee, O thou King of nations, so terrible in the judgments which thou executest on the earth? Deliver us, we entreat thee, from the multiplied and accumulated miseries of those who continue obstinately to oppose thee; and conduct us at length to thy heavenly presence; though it should be through days of darkness, and waters of bitterness, and seas of blood! Amen.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 8:13. An eagle flying in the zenith proclaims, by a threefold annunciation of woe, the three trumpets still remaining.(2506)

εἱδον καὶ ἤκουσα. Cf. Revelation 5:11, Revelation 6:1.

ἑνὸς ἀετοῦ. Concerning the indefinite meaning of the είς,(2507) cf. “Winer, p. 111. An eagle is mentioned, not an angel in the form of an eagle.(2508) That it is an eagle which appears as the harbinger of the still impending woe, has its foundation, not in the “prophecy” of Christ, Matthew 24:28,—for that passage contains no prophecy at all, but a proverbial assertion of the moral law upon which the threatening prophecies of the Lord depend,—nor is it to be regarded as an antithesis to the dove, John 1:32;(2509) nor does the eagle come into consideration as a bird of omen,(2510) for, apart even from the unchristian character of the idea, the evil omen does not lie in the eagle as such. But it is in the same way appropriate that the far-sounding, menacing cry of the mighty, dreadful eagle be raised, in which the irruption of devastating enemies is compared with the flight of the eagle to its plunder.(2511)

πετομένου-g0- ἐν-g0- μεσουρανήματι-g0-. Cf. Revelation 14:6, Revelation 19:17. ΄εσουρανεῖν designates the sun’s position in its meridian altitude; hence μεσουράνημα is first of all the astronomical relation which is occasioned by the sun’s standing in the zenith.(2512) According to this, the expression may designate the ΄έσον οὔρανον(2513) as the place for the ΄εσουρανεῖν of the sun, but not the space between the vault of heaven and the earth.(2514) The eagle flies to the meridian altitude of heaven, because the idea is thus given, that it can be seen and heard of all to whom its message pertains.

τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, as Revelation 6:10.

ἐκ τ. λοιπ. φων. The ἐκ, for the same reason as Revelation 8:11.(2515)

τῆς σάλπιγγος. The sing, is not distributive,(2516) but by its close connection with τῶν φωνῶν shows itself to be one conception.

τὸ ἀπὸ πρωίας μἐχρις ἡλιακοῦ μεσουρανήματος. In Wetst.

Who or what the eagle properly is, cannot be properly decided here, as in Matthew 24:28. Yet even here allegorical explanations are found. Beda: “The voice of this eagle daily penetrates the Church through the mouths of eminent teachers.” C. a Lap.:(2517) “Some prophet or other to be expected at the end of the world.” According to Joachim, the eagle is Gregory the Great; according to N. de Lyra, John himself; according to Zeger, the Apostle Paul. Herder, etc, also Böhmer and Volkm., propose the eagle of the Roman legions.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 8:13. ἀετοῦ) Others, ἀγγέλου.(94) But see App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. The Italian Version, and other most ancient authorities, widely apart from each other in age and clime, and in very great numbers, clearly vindicate the reading ἀετοῦ from all suspicion of a gloss. Another angel flying in the midst of heaven, ch. Revelation 14:6, altogether refers to the present passage: but the reading ἀετοῦ does not destroy this reference. The very appellation, an eagle, and not an angel, in this former passage, shows that it is not an angel, in the proper sense’ of the expression, who is meant; and the reference in the other passage to this former one teaches, that by the word another angel is denoted, an illustrious herald belonging to the human race, as distinguished interpreters acknowledge.— μεσουρανήματι) ΄εσουράνημα is a verbal, derived from the verb ΄εσουρανεῖν, which is said respecting a star which has risen three signs of the zodiac before the sun, and thus possesses the meridian, as Tzetzes demonstrates in his Exegesis of Hesiod, on the passage,

εὖτʼ ἂν δʼ ὠρίων καὶ σείριος ἐς ΄έσον ἔλθῃ οὐρανόν:

ἔργ. 607, 608.— οὐαὶ οὐαὶ οὐαὶ, woe, woe, woe) About the end of the fifth century there were not wanting presages of future calamities. The second woe is more disastrous than the first; the third than the second.— ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, upon the earth) D. Lange says: Bengel not only refers to past times the three woes, which refer to the vengeance yet to come upon the beast and the whore, but he also recalls the beginning of the papacy itself to the third woe, and so declares that the third woe has come a thousand years ago, and more than this. But when it is said of the second woe, Revelation 11:14, “The second woe is past; behold the third woe cometh quickly:” and immediately after the seventh trumpet follows, which refers to the completion of the judgments, and the enlargement of the kingdom of Christ, it can easily be imagined that the third woe cannot be thrown back so far.—Epicr. p. 406. I reply: The three woes have reference to the inhabiters of the earth; and I have shown that they have come long ago, and that the third woe has come, not indeed a thousand years ago, but yet almost eight hundred. The trumpet of the seventh angel, after the second woe is past, first sets forth things which are most desirable: then it describes the third woe; and when that is exhausted, a completion of the judgments is made and an enlargement of the kingdom of Christ. The interpretation of the Divine of Halle changes this order; and, without any cause, restricts the three woes denounced against the inhabiters of earth to the last times of the enemies; and accounts as the second woe the rage of the beast, which is really in the third woe. By which method the well-arranged order of the text is violently disjointed.— τῆς σάλπιγγος, of the trumpet) The singular number, put distributively for the plural, of the trumpets.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This verse is but an introduction to the other three angels sounding, declaring that the times which were to follow would be much more full of miseries and woes

to the inhabitants of the earth; by which I understand all those countries which lately were subject to the Roman empire. Others understand the more earthy, unsound, hypocritical part of the church. The

woe is thrice repeated, either to show the greatness of the calamities, or rather correspondently to the number of the angels yet to sound.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

горе, горе, горе Каждое слово относится к наступлению действия одной из трех оставшихся труб. Хотя невозможно без ужаса представить действия первых четырех труб, но они не сравнимы с тремя, которые еще будут (9:1-21; 11:15 и послед.).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

By reason of the other voices; because the calamities which they would indicate would be exceedingly great and destructive. Interpreters generally apply the preceding four trumpets to the four principal invasions of the barbarians-of the Goths under Alaric, of the Vandals under Genseric, of the Huns under Attila, and of the Heruli under Odoacer, extending from about A.D. 410 to A.D. 476. The details must be sought in the history of these times, and in the more extended commentaries on the Apocalypse. However great or long continued the calamities of the wicked in this world, they are only warnings and foretastes of greater and more lasting calamities which, if they continue in sin, they will suffer in the world to come.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

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!

What is said in this verse hath no connexion with the former, neither doth it form a part of the trumpet proclamations. It is not one of the seven Angels who had the seven trumpets, but another angel which John beheld flying through the midst of heaven, that as through the midst of the church. And the design of his embassy seems to have been to call up the more awakened attention of the Apostle to what was coming on under the remaining dispensations, which were to take place when the other three angels should sound their trumpets The Angel intimates this, by thrice repeating woe to the inhabitants of the earth, when these awful times came on, which should take place, as they sounded their trumpets. And awful indeed they have been, still are, and must be until the whole predictions contained in them are accomplished! We, who stand upon the hill of time which hath been trodden over by the generations since then, and before us, in ascending the rising ground of observation, and now look back, and behold in those already accomplished, in the correspondence between the prediction and the event, can and do see enough to lament; and much more to deplore in what yet remains to be fulfilled. And the generation now which looks on, if taught by grace, in viewing the whole that is past, compared with the prophecies here recorded by divine inspiration, may be well assured that every tittle must and will be accomplished.

It doth not fall within the compass of this chapter to enter upon the subject. This would be to anticipate it; and it will more properly meet our attention, as we prosecute the history of the trumpets, in their due time and place. But, before we finish the present chapter, I would take occasion, from what the angel here said (whom John beheld flying through the midst of heaven,) to observe, that as the times of the three last trumpets, evidently take in, not only the whole period of centuries, which have already run out, from the moment the fifth trumpet was sounded, to the present hour, but to the very end of time (for the seventh is not yet sounded, neither will, until it ushers in the kingdom of Christ, as is related, Revelation 11:14-15.) it will be our wisdom to consider the subject, with an eye to the Lord, more especially from the great interest in which the Church is included, in the events coming on, as well as our own personal concern. There cannot remain the shadow of a doubt but that we are now under the sixth trumpet. It hath been a long sounding trumpet of woe indeed in the Church. Many hundreds of years have passed since it opened, and no man can ascertain how much longer it will continue. It is blessed to consider, that, when ended, all the powers of antichrist will end with it: and that blessed period will come on when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign forever and ever. In the mean time it will be our mercy to watch a gracious God, as a gracious God is everlastingly watching over his people for good. I know the thoughts I think towards you, said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end, Jeremiah 29:11. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him. Woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him, Isaiah 3:10.

But, Reader with these things in view, and in the fullest assurance a faith, knowing that they must be so, allow me to say one word in closing up this chapter. We behold here an Angel pronouncing, woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of, the trumpet of the three Angels which were then remaining to be sounded. Most evidently the last of these trumpets hath not yet sounded. The two great powers which oppose Christ's kingdom, both in the East, and in the West, are still in their plenitude. The latter did indeed lately seem to be somewhat tottering; but is now more than recovered from his halting. And indeed great changes are to be expected according to scripture prophecy before the total fall. The death of the witnesses which is to take place before that event plainly shows that his termination is not yet, Revelation 11:8-9. But what I would in this place beg to remark is that after the second woe trumpet is said to be past, the third woe (not the seventh trumpet) is said to come quickly. And this is said, before the seventh Angel is said to sound. See Revelation 11:14.

From hence it should seem abundantly clear and evident, that under the sixth trumpet, or at the close of it, there is to be the third woe. And whoever considers the subject attentively, must conclude that so it will be. I am not, in the very nature of things, (unless the judgments indeed are now at the door,) likely to live to see it going fast as I now am the way of all the earth. But without a spirit of prophecy (for there can need none more than is before us) great commotions, such as the third woe intimates, may be supposed likely to take place before those two Anti-Christian powers of Mahometanism and Popery are destroyed. And however some men may please themselves with the hope that the world is evangelizing, the Holy Ghost speaketh expressly, and speaketh to the reverse: in the latter time there will be great departures from the faith, 1 Timothy 4:1. The Lord prepare his people for what he is preparing for them! Who that considers the real state of vital godliness in the present day but must be concerned for the eventual consequence. If there was ever a period more suited for that solemn question of our Lord's one than another, the present is eminently so: when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith in the earth, Luke 18:8.


MY Soul! behold the grace of thy God, when at opening of the seventh seal, and silence took place in the Church, before the new circumstances of sorrow began, Jesus will be seen at the Altar, in his High Priestly Office, with his golden Censer! Was it not to teach the Church, both then, and now, yea, in all ages, that under every seal opened, every trumpet sounded, every vial poured out, He is unceasingly engaged, for all his redeemed ones, and not a moment intermits his care, but is forever carrying on the whole purposes of his unchangeable priesthood? Oh! what a blessed view was here opened, for the everlasting consolation of the Church. Ye redeemed of the Lord! Ye Priests of my God! Ye Ministers of the sanctuary! never cease to shew the Church Jesus in this endearing office, as always engaged for his people. And do ye follow up petition after petition, neither keep silence, nor give him rest, until he hath made his Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Oh! the preciousness, from this blessed view of our God, that Jesus it is, at the Altar, which offers up in his incense, the prayers of his saints; and both the persons and offerings of his people ascend before God out of this Almighty Angel of the Covenant's hands!

Lord! thy Church finds cause to bless thee to this day, that amidst the destructions which have followed those trumpets, Jesus hath yet a seed to serve him, which are counted to the Lord for a generation, And, though heresies still abound, yea, are in various instances, increasing in the earth; yet the Lord knoweth them that are his. Oh! for grace, to be found faithful, and to live above the reproach of men, by living upon the faithfulness of God in Christ. And then, while all the woe trumpets have been, or now are sounding, and our God shall show wonders above, and signs in the earth, beneath, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke, Jesus will own them whom he hath sealed; and the world shall know whose they are, and to whom they belong, when that great and notable day of the Lord shall come!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And I saw and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a great voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe for those who dwell on the earth, by reason of the other blasts (Gk: voices) of the trumpets which are yet to sound.’

The eagle flying in Heaven presumably refers to the living creature who was in the form of a flying eagle (Revelation 4:7). (When a flying eagle is specifically described earlier in the book it is surely unnecessary to look elsewhere). Just as the living creatures were the ones who sent out the four horsemen, so it is one of them who declare the earth’s woes. The last three trumpets are being prepared for, and an indication is given of the awfulness that will result, beside which what has happened before will be as nothing. The woes are upon the ‘earth-dwellers’, a term regularly used in Revelation of non-Christians. The Christians are sealed against them. Eagles are often connected with judgment (Hosea 8:1. See also Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 4:13; Habakkuk 1:8). which makes the use of the eagle type ‘living creature’ especially relevant.

The fact that the last three trumpets are described as ‘woes’ in contrast with the remainder stresses their awfulness and the fact that supernatural agencies are more fully involved. It is saying that what has been previously described is as nothing compared with what is now about to be described. Here we have an intensification of all that has been described before, but taking the form of direct spiritual attack.

The Fifth Trumpet Sounds - The First Woe.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The warning concerning the final three trumpets8:13

"And I looked" (Gr. kai eidon) signals a new scene in John"s vision. John next saw, on earth, an eagle interrupting the angels by flying through the sky and warning those living on the earth to beware of the last three trumpet judgments. This could be a literal eagle (Gr. aetou, also translated "vulture," Luke 17:37). God has given animals the ability to communicate with people in the past (cf. Genesis 3:1-5; Numbers 22:28-30). Eagles (or vultures) are birds of prey that approach rapidly and are a sign of disaster ( Matthew 24:28). Thus this eagle is a fitting herald of God"s judgments to come. Another possibility is that this eagle is an angel (cf. Revelation 12:14). Mid-heaven is the position of the sun at noon, where everyone can see this bird. [Note: Morris, p125.] Obviously John was describing things from his vantage point. Its loud voice further guarantees that everyone on the earth will hear its message. The eagle announces the last three trumpet judgments, which are also "woes" ( Revelation 9:12; Revelation 10:14). They are especially bad because they have people rather than the objects of nature as their targets. There are several examples of double woes in Scripture ( Revelation 18:10; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:19; Ezekiel 16:23), but a triple woe announces an even worse calamity. The objects of these judgments are earth-dwellers, and their judgment is partially in response to the prayers of the Tribulation martyrs (cf. Revelation 6:10).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 8:13. The first four trumpets are over, and we might have expected to pass, as in the case of the seals, directly and without interruption, to the fifth. But we are dealing with a higher potency of judgment than that which met us under the seals; and at this point therefore, when a transition is to be made from the earthly to the spiritual world, our attention is specially called to the judgments that are to follow.

And I saw, and I heard one eagle flying in mid-heaven. The reading of the Authorised Version ‘angel’ instead of ‘eagle’ is undoubtedly a mistake of copyists, and the word ‘one’ ought to be given effect to, as at chaps. Revelation 9:13 and Revelation 19:17. Nor can there be much hesitation in determining why the eagle is thus fixed on as the bird of all others to proclaim woe. Most commentators indeed allow without hesitation that here at least, as so frequently in the Old Testament, the eagle is thought of as the bird of rapine and prey (Deuteronomy 28:49; Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22; Ezekiel 17:3; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8; Matthew 24:28; comp. also note on Revelation 4:7). That this eagle flew in ‘mid-heaven’ is easily explained. It was there that he could best be seen, and thence that his voice could most easily be heard by men.

His cry is Woe, woe, woe to them that dwell on the earth, by reason of the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound. By them ‘that dwell on the earth’ are to be understood the ungodly alone (comp. on chap. Revelation 3:10). The solemn warning has been given, and all is ready for the sounding of the fifth trumpet.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 8:13. And I beheld an angel flying through the midst of heaven — Between the trumpets of the fourth and fifth angels; saying with a loud voice — That is, proclaiming for the information of all, Wo, wo, wo, to the inhabitants of the earth — All, without exception: heavy calamities were coming on all; by reason of the other voices of the trumpet, &c. — As if he had said, Though the judgments signified by the four trumpets which have already sounded are very great and dreadful, yet greater judgments still remain to be inflicted on the earth, in the events that are to follow upon sounding the three remaining trumpets. Several interpreters suppose this part of the vision to be a representation of some faithful witnesses against the superstition, idolatry, and growing corruptions of those times; and that the dreadfulness of the woes of the three remaining trumpets is proclaimed to the corrupt members of the church, because as they were endued, by the divine revelation, with more knowledge than before, being all Christians by name, they therefore deserved to suffer more for their crimes than plain heathen, such as were chiefly concerned in the former judgments. Be this as it may, whether this angel was designed to represent any such faithful witnesses against these corruptions, and to signify that such should arise, or not, it must at least be allowed, as Bishop Newton observes, that the design of this messenger, in conformity with the design of the angels that sounded the preceding trumpets, was to raise men’s attention especially to the three following trumpets, predicting events of a more calamitous nature, or more terrible plagues, than any of the preceding, and therefore distinguished from them by the name of woes. And they are not woes of a light or common nature, but such in the extreme; for the Hebrews, having no superlative degree, in the manner of other languages, express their superlative by repeating the positive three times, as in this place. The foregoing calamities relate chiefly to the downfall of the western empire, the two following to the downfall of the eastern empire. The foregoing are described more succinctly, and contain a less compass of time; the following are set forth with more particular circumstances, and are of longer duration, as well as larger description.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The voice of one eagle: in divers Greek copies, of an Angel, saying, Woe, woe, woe! It is to fortell, in general, greater punishments and miseries. The Protestant translation has followed those Greek copies that read an Angel; but Dr. Wells, in his amendments, has restored that reading of an eagle which the ancient Latin interpreter had met with. (Witham) --- An eagle, on account of its swiftness, is here represented as chosen to announce by its cry of woe on the three succeeding ages of the Church, greater disasters to be sustained than in the preceding ages. (Pastorini)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

It would be better to have the word eagle here instead of angel. The eagle is a swift bird of prey with keen eyesight. Hosea warned Israel using the eagle as a symbol of the Lord"s coming. (Hosea 8:1) When God planned to use the Chaldeans in judgment against his people, Habakkuk described their horsemen as hungry eagles. (Habakkuk 1:6-8) This eagle warns that the previous trumpets are not as terrible as the three which are coming, designated also as three woes.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

beheld = saw, as Revelation 8:2.

an = one.

angel. The texts read "eagle". Greek. aetos. Elsewhere, Revelation 4:7; Revelation 12:14. Matthew 24:28. Luke 17:37. Compare Deuteronomy 28:49. 2 Samuel 1:23. Isaiah 40:31. Hosea 8:1. Habakkuk 1:8.

through = in. Greek. en. App-104.

the. . . heaven. Greek. mesouranema. Elsewhere, Revelation 14:6; Revelation 19:17.

loud = great.

to . . . earth = to them dwelling (see Acts 2:6) on (App-104) earth.

by reason of. Greek. ek. App-104.

other. App-124.

yet = about.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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! An angel. 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Syrian, Coptic, read, for "angel," 'an eagle:' symbol of judgment descending like the king of birds pouncing on the prey. Alluding to Matthew 24:28. Compare this fourth trumpet and the flying eagle with the fourth seal introduced by the fourth living creature: "like a flying eagle," Revelation 4:7; Revelation 6:7-8 : the aspect of Jesus presented by the fourth evangelist. John is compared in the cherubim, by primitive interpretation, to a flying eagle: Christ's divine majesty is set forth in the Gospel, His judicial visitations in the Revelation, of John. Contrast "another angel" (messenger) with "the everlasting gospel," Revelation 14:6.

Through the midst of heaven - `in the mid-heaven,' at the meridian: where the eagle is conspicuous to all.

The inhabiters of the earth - the "men of the world," whose 'portion is in this life' (Psalms 17:14); upon whom the martyrs had prayed that their blood might be avenged (Revelation 6:10). Not for personal revenge, but zeal for the honour of God against the foes of God and His Church (Psalms 139:21-22).

The other - `the remaining voice.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers


(13) And I beheld . . .—Better, And I saw, and I heard a single eagle (not “angel,” as in English version) flying in mid-heaven, saying with a mighty voice, Woe, woe, woe, to those that dwell upon the earth by reason of the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound! The best MS. authority is against the reading “angel,” and in favour of eagle. It is, then, an eagle, a solitary eagle, that moves across the heaven, and utters the warning Woe! It flies through the meridian sky, and is thus visible to the very horizon. It was an appropriate emblem: high-soaring as the spirit of the seer, the eagle-glance scanned the borders of the earth, and caught sight of the coming troubles, and gave warning; swift and strong as the judgments of God, its very form gave emphasis to the warnings of its voice (Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; and Matthew 24:28). And yet the emblem must bring to the minds of God’s children the care of Him who led Israel, instructed him, and kept him as the apple of His eye, and cherished him as “an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, and beareth them on her wings” (Deuteronomy 32:11). Is it not also a precursor of those eagle-like judgments which fall upon the carcase of dead nations or a dead society?

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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!
14:3,6; 19:17; Psalms 103:20; Hebrews 1:14
9:1,12; 11:14; Ezekiel 2:10 Reciprocal: Isaiah 6:2 - did fly;  Jeremiah 13:27 - Woe;  Ezekiel 16:23 - woe;  Hosea 7:13 - Woe;  Matthew 2:18 - lamentation;  1 Corinthians 15:52 - last;  1 Thessalonians 4:16 - with the trump;  Revelation 10:1 - another;  Revelation 12:12 - Woe;  Revelation 15:1 - last

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation


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 centre 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 christianised 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.}

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation".

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

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.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 8:13

Revelation 8:13 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!

By this


we may understand Christ or some of his holy angels, or some of his prophetical angels; that Isaiah, some of his ministers, or messengers: And for the better understanding of this verse, I shall premise a few things; First, that heaven and earth, in this prophecy, of the Revelation, are often used metaphorically. {read Revelation 6:12-14; Revelation 7:1-3; Revelation 9:1} Secondly, that the inhabitants of the earth are put in opposition to them that dwell in heaven. { Revelation 12:12} Thirdly, as by


is meant Sion so by earth we may understand Babylon. { Revelation 17:15; Revelation 17:18; Revelation 18:2; Revelation 18:10} Now I proceed; by the

inhabitors of the earth,

here we are to understand those people who are members of, and continue in the anti-Christian state of the Roman papal church, (called mystery Babylon, Revelation 17:5 the great whore and mother of harlots) both ministers and people, who have been made drunk with wine of her fornications, { Revelation 17:1-2} and do worship the beast, or his image, { Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:7-8} or received the mark in their forehead, or in their hand. Those are the persons and people against whom these three woes are denounced by Christ and angels. { Revelation 18:13; Revelation 14:9-11} If any man worship the Beast and his Image, and receive his Mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, etc.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation".

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

The Announcement of the Last Three Trumpets - An angel shouts in the midst of heaven to tell John that the last three plagues would be of greater severity than the first four.

Revelation 8:13 — "Woe, woe, woe" - Comments- There are to be three woes, each of which will be associated with the last three trumpets.

Revelation 8:13Comments- The angel's statement in Revelation 8:13 implies that the last three trumpets will be more intense than the previous.

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 8:13. And I saw, and heard an eagle flying through the midst of heaven, and saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe to those who dwell upon the earth before the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, which are yet to sound! Bengel: "The trumpets of the four first angels were not previously announced with their contents, but in regard to the three last there is now made an anticipatory proclamation. Under the former severe tribulations had already happened; yet they were not called woes. But now great lamentations come one after another, and it is declared, that although the trumpets of the four first angels have reached to all the four ends of the earth, still three woes under the trumpets of the three last must be endured (must pass by—for the trumpets are salutary to the church), ere the kingdom of God shines forth under the trumpet of the seventh angel."

The eagle, according to an entire series of passages in the Old Testament, is excellently fitted as a symbol and messenger of the divine judgment, especially of such as consists in hostile oppression. "The Lord will bring against thee," it is said in the original passage, Deuteronomy 28:49, "a people from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flies." In Hosea 8:1, it is said, "The trumpet to thy mouth! As an eagle (will the enemy come) upon the house of the Lord, because they have trampled upon my covenant, and have done wickedly against my law." This passage is the more remarkable, as the eagle appears in it, as here, in connection with the trumpet. In Habakkuk 1:8, "His (the Chaldean's) horsemen come from afar, they fly as an eagle hastens to his prey." In Jeremiah 48:40 it is said of Nebuchadnezzar, "Behold as an eagle will he fly, and spread out his wings against Moab." In Ezekiel 17:3 the king of Babylon appears as a great eagle. With these passages of the Old Testament the declaration of our Lord connects itself in Matthew 24:28, "Where the carcase is, there the eagles gather themselves together. Instead of an eagle, several critical helps, which Luther follows, have an angel. But this reading has merely originated in the vicious realism of the exposition, which appears also in the remark of several, who retain an eagle, that by this is to be understood here an angel like to an eagle. For the eagle there is a decided preponderance of external authorities, and even were the evidence on the other side equal, we should still hold the eagle to be the proper word. Bengel expressed his surprise, that angel should not have been found in more copies. Among prosaic copyists and critics no one certainly would have thought of eagle, unless it had originally stood in the text. But, on the other hand, how natural it was to displace the eagle, may appear from the remark of Züllig: "We could very well dispense with the marvellous speaking eagle." If an angel had been the subject, he would have been mentioned as another angel; comp. Revelation 8:3, Revelation 7:2, Revelation 14:6; Revelation 14:8-9. Not less stumbling than the speaking eagle must be the voice from the four horns of the altar, in ch. Revelation 9:13, to the realistic mode of exposition, and the song of praise from all the creatures in ch. 5. It is quite fitting that such hard stumbling-blocks should be thrown in the way of such a style of exposition. It should teach men to be less opposed elsewhere to the ideal interpretation, where matters do not lie so much on the surface—to perceive, for example, that the angels themselves also in the Apocalypse are often but the substratum for the kind of representation given, as in Revelation 8:3, Revelation 9:14. The flying is not decisive for either of the two readings. It is used of the eagle in ch. Revelation 4:7, and of the angel in ch. Revelation 14:6. The eagle here forms a contrast to the dove in John 1:32. Those cannot have had the dove coming down upon them, to whom the eagle is sent.

John sees the eagle flying in the midst of heaven. The space in the midst of heaven is here and in ch. Revelation 14:6 quite suitable for a message which must be heard by the whole earth. In ch. Revelation 19:17 also it is equally suitable. There an angel stands in the sun. doubtless because that is the loftiest position and radiates in all directions, and calls to all birds flying in the midst of heaven, round where he himself stands.[Note: These are the three passages in the Revelation where the μεσουπά νημα occurs. Ewald's exposition of the space between heaven and earth is against the usage. ΄εσουρὰ νεω always signifies in medio s. umbilico coeli sum, see Stephani Thes. ed. Paris.]

Whether the οὐ αί, woe, should remind one of the croaking of the raven, as Hofmann thinks, we leave undecided.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms.

Joseph Seiss' Lectures on Leviticus and Revelation

; Revelation 9:1-12

Lecture 19.
(Revelation 8:13; Revelation 9:1-12)


Revelation 8:13; Revelation 9:1-12. (Revised Text.)-And I beheld, and heard one eagle flying in mid-heaven, saying with a great voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the dwellers on the earth, by reason of the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are yet to sound.

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star out of the heaven fallen into the earth; and to him was given the key of the well-pit of the abyss; and he opened the well-pit of the abyss; and there came out of the well-pit smoke, as smoke of a great furnace; and the sun was darkened, and the air, from the smoke of the well-pit. And out of the smoke came forth locusts into the earth; and to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they shall not injure the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads. And it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they shall be tormented five months; and their torment [is] as the torment of a scorpion when he hath struck a man. And in those days the men shall seek death, and they shall not find it; and they shall fervently desire to die, and death fleeth from them.

And the forms of the locusts [are] like unto horses prepared for war; and on their heads as it were crowns like unto gold, and their faces as it were faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as of lions. And they had breastplates, as breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings, as the sound of chariots of many horses running into battle. And they have tails like unto scorpions and stings; and in their tails their power to injure the men five months. They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss, his name in Hebrew, Abaddon, and in the Greek he hath name Apollyon.

The one woe is past; behold, there cometh yet two woes after these things.

Four trumpets have been considered. The three most distinguished ones yet remain. They have a special preface, consisting of a heavenly proclamation of woe, woe, woe to the dwellers on the earth. It is a pre-announcement of the general character of what is to come, and a merciful forewarning of the judgments which these remaining trumpets are to bring. It is from this that they have the name of woe-trumpets. Let us then look:



I. Our English version describes this proclamation as made by an angel. This is admitted to be an erroneous reading. It is not sustained by the best and oldest manuscripts. The Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Alexandrinus, and the Codex Vaticanus, the very best and most reliable authorities on the true reading of the New Testament, have ἀετος, eagle, instead of ἀγγελος, angel. The Syriac has eagle. Griesbach, Scholz, Lachman, Van Ess, Hengstenberg, Stuart, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Wordsworth, Ewald, Alford, and the best critics in general, accept eagle as the proper and original reading. Bengel, a century and a half ago, wrote "the Italian version, and other most ancient authorities, widely separated from each other in age and clime, and in very great numbers, clearly vindicate the reading of ἀετου, eagle, from all suspicion of gloss." As this agent is in heaven and speaks intelligent words, it is easily to be seen how interpreters and transcribers, on the ground of congruity, might be tempted to read angel instead of eagle; but, on the supposition that the original was angel, it is impossible to explain how the best, and the vast majority of ancient copies, came to have it eagle. I, therefore, take the true reading, and the only one critically defensible, to be eagle.

Are there, then, rapacious birds in heaven? No; nothing of the kind.

There are other eagles besides birds. The Saviour himself has spoken of them in more than one place. Speaking of the day of His future coming, He said to His disciples: "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where [whither], Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." (Luke 17:34-37)

Here, then, those ready and watching saints, who are to be mysteriously conveyed away from the earth upon the first manifestation of the day of the Lord, are called eagles. We find them spoken of also in the Saviour"s great prophetic discourse in Matthew 24:26-28, where He admonishes His people not to trouble or disturb themselves to find Him in the day of His coming, and not to heed those who shall say, Behold, He is here, or there; "for," says He, "as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be; for wheresoever the carcass [slain body] is, there will the eagles be gathered together." Here, as Hilary observes, "He calls His saints eagles, soaring, as it were, to Him, the body, by a spiritual flight."

There are some who take these eagles to mean the Roman armies, which bore the eagle on their standards; and consider the carcass to be the corrupt Jewish population and state which the Romans destroyed. But the whole face and intent of the passage, and the common voice of antiquity, and of the great reformers, unite in referring the description to Christ and His people, at the time of the second Advent. We are naturally repelled from the idea that Christ should be represented as a dead body, or that His meek followers should be likened to birds of prey. But when more carefully considered, there appears eminent propriety in the figure.

Jesus is the Saviour, most of all by His death. It is by His fall that we rise, and by His death that we live. "He that was dead" is one of His particular titles, though He is alive for evermore. He gave His flesh for the life of the world. His own word is: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day: for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." (John 6:53-55.)

He has also instituted a holy sacrament, concerning which He says: "Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you. Drink; this is my blood which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins." He is the Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world." He is, therefore, the true slain body on which all saints feed, to whom they are gathered in spirit, faith, and loving sympathy now, and to whom they shall be gathered in person hereafter, to see Him as He is, and to be with Him forever. And as saints have their life from the slain Christ, they are rightfully likened to the eagles which live on fallen bodies. They are eagles of faith. They feed on the body and blood of their Saviour, broken and shed for them.(62)

As additional authorities on the same subject, we name Ambrose, Theophylact, Euthemius, Calvin, Brentius, Bullinger, Bucer, Gaulter, Beza, Pellican, Flacius, Musculus, Parus, Piscater, Cocceius, Jansenius, Quesnel, Du Veil, Calovius, Suicer, Ravanell, Poole, Trapp, Cartwright, Pearce, Leigh, Andrewes, Wordsworth, etc.

But not all Christians are to the same extent, and so preeminently, the eagles. The eagle is a royal bird. It stands at the head of the feathered tribes, as the lion among beasts. There are also different orders and classes of saintship, as there are degrees of sanctity and spiritual attainment. When the Saviour first comes, according to His own word, He will take some and leave others--honour some servants, and cut off some other servants. And those who are "taken" while others are "left," are particularly and emphatically "the eagles." They are the heirs of royalty and dominion. They are to have crowns. They are to share in the official honours of eternity, as none but themselves ever will. And the qualities of these are eminently the qualities of eagles.

Eagles are great watchers. They have a quick, clear, penetrating, and far-reaching vision. In this respect they excel all birds. It is almost impossible to surprise or deceive them. Audubon once placed himself in ambush to watch an eagle"s nest. The parent birds were absent when he took his position. When the female returned, "ere she alighted she glanced her quick and piercing eye around, and instantly perceived her haunt had been discovered, and, dropping her prey, with a loud shriek communicated the alarm to her mate." And the eagle saints are those who are not taken unawares when the day of the Lord comes. That day is to come as a thief, with stealth, unobserved by the common world; but it cannot surprise them. They are on the lookout for it. They have a clear and keen vision for all signs of its nearness, and they exercise that vision. They are ever on the watch, as commanded by the Lord. Whatever the duties in which they are engaged, both in their going out and in their coming in, they are never unmindful of what may at any time occur. They know their danger and they know their safety, and exercise a corresponding circumspection.

Eagles have elevated aspirations and instincts. They prefer the heights, both when they soar and when they rest. They make their homes among the most inaccessible crags, and excel all birds in their sublime ascensions. So eagle saints have their citizenship in heaven. They live in the world, but all their feelings, aims, affections, and desires are above it. Their greatest impulses are upward, ever upward. They love the higher atmosphere and the sublimer sunlight above the clouds and malarious mists and dangers of earthiness. They build their nests in the mountains of God, and prefer and long to be where they are never more annoyed with the vexations and dangers of this sordid world.

Eagles are stronger of wing than other birds. Their swiftness and power are astonishing. So the eagle saints are distinguished by their vigour of faith and hope. They are particularly strong in those truths and promises which lift heavenward, anticipate the dawn of a sublimer economy, and sit "in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Isaiah referred, in his day, to saints of these eminent qualities, and likens them to eagles, where he says: "They who wait for Jehovah, gain fresh strength, lift up their wings as eagles, run and are not weary, go forward and do not faint." (Isaiah 40:30-31; Delitzsch"s Translation.) And in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 32:11-12), Jehovah is likened to a parent eagle, and His elect to young eagles, whom He feeds, and upbears, and teaches to fly and rise to himself.(63)

(63) "This image, used in Exodus 19:4, is fully verified in Him who is called the Great Eagle (Revelation 12:14), and who bears His Church on eagle"s wings through the wilderness of this world, and who ascended up into heaven with His young ones on His wings, and to whom, as their Parent, and their Life, and their Food, all true eagles of the Gospel, as His children, are gathered now on earth and will be gathered forever hereafter in heaven."--Wordsworth in loc.

"The comparison of Himself to the hen was adapted to the time of His first advent in humility. This latter reference to the eagle has relation to the time of His second advent in glory when the eagles of the Gospel will be gathered together where the body is."--Wordsworth in loc., on 2 Thessalonians 2:1.

We thus identify a class of eagles, other than the rapacious birds denoted by this name;--eagles that have voices, intelligence, and place in heaven.

These eagles are also in heaven before the judgments occur to which these trumpets refer. The Saviour himself, in Matthew 24:1-51, puts their gathering together where the body is, in advance of the sending forth of His angels with the great trumpet-sounding. When the sun is darkened, and the moon is obscured, and the stars fall, and the powers of the heavens are shaken, and the sign of the Son of Man appears, and all the tribes of the earth mourn; these eagles are already where the Lord, on whom they live, is. John saw them there, among other images, under that of "a flying eagle," before the Lamb took the book or ever a seal was broken; where also he heard them sing unto the Lamb: "Thou art worthy; for Thou wert slain, and redeemedst us to God by Thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and Thou madest us unto our God, kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 4:5-10; Revelation 5:8-10.) And from among these was He whom John here beheld and heard flying in mid-heaven, saying with a great voice, "Woe, woe, woe, to the dwellers on the earth, by reason of the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are yet to sound."

The manner in which this eagle is spoken of, implies that there are others of the same class. The seer says: "I beheld and heard one eagle" thus flying and saying. This "one eagle" presupposes more eagles; as "one scribe," in Matthew 8:19, presupposes more scribes; as "one voice from the horns of the golden altar" (Matthew 9:13) presupposes more voices; as "one mighty angel" (Matthew 19:21) presupposes more angels.

The Church of the first born is to have a part in the administrations of the judgment upon the guilty world. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Corinthians 4:2.) Hence, when the first seals were broken, the voice of power was heard from the living ones. "Go!" And so here, "one eagle" has a mission which he executes between the sounding of the fourth and fifth trumpets, as the prelude to what the last three trumpets are to produce. Verily, we know not, and cannot half conceive what ministries and agencies of heavenly sublimity await us, if only we are faithful. We shall fly, like eagles, in mid-heaven, and mingle our voices with the trumpets of judgment, and fill offices of honour and celestial dignity among the transactions of archangels, as they go forth to close up the history of a rebellious world!

The precise manner in which this proclamation of the eagle is to reach men, is not stated. That it is to be heard on earth, I am quite sure. We can discern no reason why heaven should be thus specifically notified that the succeeding trumpets are woe-trumpets; nor yet for the introduction of such a special agency to inform John that they were to be woe-trumpets. The results of the blowing of them would necessarily make this sufficiently manifest to him. The intention of the proclamation itself is evidently merciful. I take it as a heavenly signal, given in the midst of the ongoing of the scenes of the day of judgment, to apprise men of the terrible plagues next to be enacted, that those then living, who have not become utterly blind and deaf to sacred things, may take warning and seek refuge against the oncoming calamities. It is one of the principles of the Divine administrations, that mercy is remembered in the midst of wrath; and, as long as there is any possibility of bringing men to a right mind, the opportunity for it is given. These three woe trumpets are to conclude the history of this world and to end forever this present economy. Hence, on the very eve of the end, and when the last awful visitations are about to fall upon the ungodly, still a mighty voice of warning goes forth from mid-heaven, that such as will heed it may prepare themselves, and cry for mercy before mercy is clean gone forever. God gives up the world to perdition with great reluctance. He has always said that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; and we thus behold Him true to His word up to the last.

II. We come, then, to the first of these eagle-announced woes. The fifth trumpet brings it. It is quite different in character from the four preceding trumpets. All are blasts of judgment, and all belong to the great day of the Lord; but no two of them are alike except in this, that they all bring calamity and suffering to the wicked dwellers upon the earth.

Thus far the trumpets have blown only the objects of physical nature, and wrought their effects through disturbances in the material world. The first trumpet smote the land, the trees, and the grass. The second smote the waters of the sea, the fishes, and the ships. The third smote the fountains, wells, and rivers. And the fourth obscured and darkened the sources of light and heat to the world. From these several successive blasts great suffering and mortality result to the children of men. But the trumpet now before us goes beyond the physical world and calls into action quite other agencies. The doors of separation between the earth and the prison of evil spirits are opened, and mysterious and malignant tenants of the underworld are permitted to overrun the globe, and to inflict torture and woe upon its unsanctified inhabitants.

John hears the fifth angel sound, and beholds a fallen star in the earth. This is not a meteor like that which he beheld on the sounding of the third angel. He does not see the falling, but recognizes the star as a fallen one-fallen, he does not say when or how. This star is an intelligent agent, for things are distinctly ascribed to "him" which could not be said except of a living being. A key is given him. He takes that key. He uses it for the unlocking of a door, and he lets forth from their prison some of the tenants of the abyss. All this argues active and intelligent agency, and furnishes the Divine intimation that we are not to consider this star to be of the same kind as the star under the third trumpet. It is not a material but a spiritual star, and a fallen one-one fallen out of the heaven. We know of such spiritual and celestial stars. When the capstone of the grand pyramid of creation was laid, the Almighty himself hath declared that "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." (Job 38:4-7.) These were angelic beings. We know, also, that there are "angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation." (Jude 1:6.) We read of "the angels that sinned," whom God did not spare. (2 Peter 2:4.) These are of various orders and degrees, "principalities and powers." (Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 2:15.) Among them is one of preeminent dignity, the leader and prince of all the rest-"the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan." (Revelation 12:9.) Hence, we read of "the Devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41.) Here, then, are fallen stars of a spiritual soft, and one of particular distinction and magnitude, answering to the description of the text. For the present they have possession of the aerial or heavenly spaces. (Ephesians 6:12.) Satan is particularly described as "the prince of the power of the air." (Ephesians 2:2.)(64) He is fallen morally, and fallen from the proper heaven of glory, and is eventually to be entirely ejected from the heavenly places now occupied by him and his angels, previous to the great binding which is to shut him up in the abyss. The Saviour refers prophetically to this, where He says: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18.) This ejectment, in its final completeness, is described by John in the twelfth chapter, where he speaks of "war in the heaven," and the ejection of "Satan and his angels" by Michael and his hosts. After that, these impure spirits have no more place in heaven forever. But, even after this precipitation from the aerial regions, their work on earth is continued for a time with augmented fierceness and wrath. There may also be a preliminary precipitation of Satan into the earth, previous to the great battle between him and Michael, to which the fall spoken of in the text may refer. It may be the result of a Divine force, or it may be a voluntary casting of himself into the earth for augmented mischief. At any rate, Satan is a fallen spiritual star, and John beholds him fallen into the earth with particular malignity, and bent on letting loose against men all the evil powers which he can command. He also stands related to the inhabitants of the abyss as their chief lord, in a way which renders it congruous and fitting with all that we know of him, that we should see him in this "star out of the heaven fallen into the earth." Whatever the fall, whether moral or local, voluntary, or the result of force, it includes a will for mischief, and overflowing with malignity toward the children of men.

And because of the wickedness of the world, special powers are granted him. As people prefer the service of the devil, God allows them a full experience of his administrations. It has always been so. Because the nations before Christ, when they knew God, glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and changed the truth of God into a lie; He dropped the reins to them and gave them up to uncleanness, vile affections, and a reprobate mind, to be filled with all unrighteousness, and to receive in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:19-32.) Because men receive not the truth and dislike it, God gives them what they love, and sends them strong delusions, that they may believe lies, and reap the reward of their perverse choice in its own line. And because men reject the Lordship of Christ for the lordship of Satan, God in judgment enlarges the powers of the lord of their preference that they may have the full benefit of the malignant will of their own chosen.

John beholds and describes how this is done. To this fallen star, he says "was given the key of the well-pit of the abyss." It was "given" to him, as all that Job had was given to the same fallen one, to do with it as he might list. Though Satan has great power, he is under bonds and limitations, beyond which he cannot go without permission. He is now allowed to employ his demons, but not to bring forth all the evil agencies who would fain serve him in his work of malignity. But, in the great day of judgment, and in augmentation of the punishments of the ungodly, he will be allowed to call into his service multitudes of evil beings now restrained and imprisoned in the underworld. Nor will he fail to use this power any more than he failed to exert his full liberty against Job. With the key to the well-pit of the abyss, he opens it, breaks down in part the wall of severance between earth and hell, and evokes a plague, such as the world has never before experienced.

Jehovah once said to Job: "Have the gates of Sheol been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?" (Job 17:13.) There are worlds of being and of darkness upon which man has never looked. There is a tenanted abyss of which the demons know, and concerning which they besought the Saviour that He would not send them into it.(65) It is a dark and horrible prison, in which many, many strange and evil things are shut up. Satan knows of that world, and would fain bring forth its malignant inhabitants into the earth if he only dared. At last, however, he receives permission to bring them, and the fifth trumpet gives the result.

As soon as the mouth of the pit is opened, a thick blackness issues from it like the black smoke of a great furnace--a blackness which fills the air and obscures the sun; and out of the smoky blackness proceed living things, horrible in shape, malignant in disposition, and armed with power to afflict and torment men"s bodies. John calls them locusts; but they are supernatural, infernal, not earthly locusts. They neither consume nor injure any of the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree. They do not appear to eat at all, though they have teeth like the teeth of lions. They are winged creatures, and their flight is noisy, sounding like chariots and horses rushing into battle. They seem to dwell mostly in the air and in the smoke and darkness. Neither is there any indication that they are capable of being caught or killed.

The forms of these creatures are particularly described. They are a sort of infernal cherubim--antipodes of the Living ones conjoined with the heavenly throne. The horse, the man, the lion, the scorpion, are combined in them. Their general appearance is like horses caparisoned for battle. Their heads are surmounted by the semblance of crowns seemingly of gold. They have faces resembling the faces of men. They are hairy, with hair like women"s hair. Their backs and breasts are encased as if with iron plates, after the manner of a Roman soldier, and they have tails of the size and shape of a scorpion. Their dimensions are not given. Scorpions vary in size; some kinds are six inches in length. Figuring to ourselves then, an outline of body, the tail of which would correspond to the size and make of a large scorpion, we reach quite formidable proportions.

These horrible creatures have a certain degree of intelligence. Commands are addressed to them. They are able to distinguish between those who have the seal of the living God upon their foreheads and other people. They have a king whom they obey. Earthly locusts have no king (Proverbs 30:27); but these have a king over them. This king is not Satan himself. Satan is, indeed, chief of all the powers of darkness, but he has archons and princes under him, with their own particular commands. It is Satan who opens the door for the egress of these hosts from the pit; but their immediate king is one of Satan"s angels-"the angel of the abyss."

This king has a descriptive name. It is given in Hebrew and in Greek, showing that this administration has to do with Jews and Gentiles. Christ is named Jesus because He is the Saviour. This king is named Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in Greek, because he is a destroyer--the opposite of saviour.

But the destructive power of these locusts is limited. As Satan was not allowed to touch Job"s life, so these creatures are forbidden to kill men, and the sealed ones they are not permitted to touch at all. The extent of their power is to horrify and torment "the men who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads." They inflict their torment by means of stings, like the stings of scorpions. These stings are in their tails, which tails resemble scorpions. They have power "as the scorpions of the earth have power." They are not "of the earth," as scorpions are "of the earth." They are supernatural beings, but they have the capacity to injure and torture men which natural scorpions have.

The pain from the sting of a scorpion, though not generally fatal, is, perhaps, the intensest that any animal can inflict upon the human body. The insect itself is the most irascible and malignant that lives, and its poison is like itself. Of a boy stung in the foot by a scorpion, Laborde relates that, although of a race which bears everything with remarkable patience, he rolled on the ground, grinding his teeth, and foaming at the mouth. It was a long time before his complainings moderated, and even then he could make no use of his foot, which was greatly inflamed. And such is the nature of the torment which these locusts from the pit inflict. They are also difficult to be guarded against, if they can be warded off at all, because they fly where they please, dart through the air, and dwell in darkness.

The duration of this extraordinary plague is "five months." No single generation of earthly locusts ever lasts so long. Twice is the period mentioned, as if the Holy Ghost would call special attention to it as marking the great severity of the plague. To be subjected to such intense anguish, and to have it endure for "five months," fills out a length and breadth of woe which only they who feel can fully know. Death itself would be preferable to such an existence. Willingly, also, would the sufferers of this torment resign life in preference to the continuance of it in such torture, if there were no interference to prevent death. But there is such interference. Not only are the locusts forbidden to kill, but the people afflicted by them are hindered from dying. The statement is, that they shall "fervently desire to die," and "shall seek death; "but the woeful peculiarity of "those days" is, that they cannot find death, and are obliged to live, whatever efforts they may make to escape from life. Perhaps these locusts themselves keep men from killing themselves. This trumpet accordingly introduces the very torments of hell upon the theatre of this present world.

Many, indeed, consider it mere fancy-work, fiction, and symbol, referring to events in the past history of the race and intended to describe quite other things than are thus literally depicted. But the account is given as an account of realities. There is no difficulty involved in the language employed. The grammatical sense is plain and obvious. Neither is there any intimation whatever of any other sense. And if any other sense was intended, there lives not a man who can tell, with any degree of certainty, what that other sense is. Many and great minds have laboured to make out an allegorical and historical interpretation of these locusts from the pit, but thus far, as Alford has justly remarked, only "an endless Babel" has been the result. Alford gives it up. Stuart gives it up. Hengstenberg gives it up. Vaughan gives it up. Others have given it up. And every candid man must give it up, on any scheme that will consistently interpret the Apocalypse as a whole, or preserve to the sacred records the credit and value which this book claims for its contents. Observe the facts.

These locusts cannot mean the zealots who spread slaughter and devastation through Judea about the time of the fall of Jerusalem, as some have supposed, because those marauders killed people, whereas the locusts are forbidden to kill anyone. Those zealots had no king; these locusts have a king. They were natural men; these locusts come up out of the abyss. They had neither wings nor stings; these locusts have both.

Neither do these locusts symbolize those nations of the North which ravaged Italy during the one hundred and fifty years from the invasion under Alaric to the capture of Rome by Totila, as others have supposed. Those invaders were not led by a single chief; these locusts were. They killed men; these locusts kill no one. They did not distinguish in their doings between any sealed or unsealed ones; these locusts do thus distinguish. They did not refrain from harming the trees, grass, and products of the earth; these locusts do thus refrain.

Nor yet do these locusts represent the adherents and propagators of false doctrines, as many have taught. Heresy is killing; but these locusts are forbidden to kill. There never has been any system of error, whose abettors have run their course within "five months," by any method of computation yet devised; or so stung and tormented the ungodly as to make them seek death for relief; or so discriminated between God"s sealed ones and the wicked, as to assail only the latter. Arius and his heresies have been named, also Popery and its falsities, also Mohammedanism and its abominations; but, instead of being confined to "five months," or one hundred and fifty years, these have wrought for more than a thousand years, still work, and have never ceased to hurt and kill people of all classes, both literally and spiritually.

Neither does the description answer to Luther and the Lutherans, as Bellarmine and other Romish interpreters affirm. If Luther was the fallen star, who was the king over the Lutherans? The locusts were to continue "five months," but the Lutherans have wrought now for more than three hundred and fifty years, and still are the particular grief of Papists, who, on this showing, have not the seal of God! The locusts have stings to torment men; the Lutherans have never been tormentors nor persecutors. They have done great things to release mankind from the tortures and inflictions of the papacy, but no people have ever so suffered from the Lutherans or their doctrines, as to seek death in order to escape their torments, without ability to find it. All the Protestant nations, and even many Romanists themselves, refer to the Lutheran Reformation with joy and thanksgiving, as one of the happiest enfranchisements of modern times. It was heaven-wide from this locust plague.(66)

Nor yet will this vision apply, except in a very dim and imperfect way, to the mighty Saracenic invasion, in which so many moderns locate its fulfilment. If Mahomet was this star, it is impossible to show wherein he experienced the fall ascribed to this star. If he was the star, he was also the king of the powers he set in motion; but the record plainly shows that the star and the king of the locusts are two distinct personages. If the cave of Hera was the mouth of the pit, the followers of Mahomet did not come out of that cave, as the locusts are said to come out of the abyss. If his flight from Mecca was his fall, then the pit was open and the smoke had begun to issue and breed locusts before the star"s fall, which is again contrary to the record. If the smoke was Mahomet"s false doctrines, then neither smoke nor locusts existed before the pit was opened, for the Arabians were not Mohammedans before Mahomet, but the vision represents the locusts as dwelling in the pit and in the smoke long ere the pit was opened or the smoke issued. It was after the smoke had already gone forth, and followers had been won, that Mahomet professed to have received the key from God; he had therefore opened the pit before he got the key with which to open it; neither was it ever pretended that this key of his was the key of hell. But this is not all.

The locusts were forbidden to touch any one upon whose forehead the seal of God was impressed; but the wrath and fury of the Mohammedan hordes were directed mainly and above all against Christians and Christendom. The locusts were to torment all who had not the seal of God upon them; but the Saracen invasion struck a very small part of the world outside of Christendom. The locusts were not allowed to take men"s lives; it was the work of Mohammedanism to kill both body and soul--the bodies of those who refused to accept it, and the souls of those who embraced it. It was the command of Mahomet to all his devotees, and delivered in the name of his god: "When ye encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads, until ye have made a great slaughter among them.... As for the infidels, let them perish." (Koran 47.) So they slew 50,000 in one battle, and 150,000 in another, and spread death and slaughter whithersoever they went. Does this look like the absence of power to kill?(67) The locusts were to do no injury to trees, crops, and vegetation. The Mohammedans destroyed with fire and sword the countries they invaded.(68) The locusts were so to torment men that they would seek to destroy their own lives, and yet should not be able to do it; but neither of these things occurred under the Mohammedans. Men loved to live then as now, and fought to defend themselves, and paid tribute to be permitted to live, and could easily find death if they wished. The locusts were in shape like horses prepared for war; Mohammedans had this appearance no more than any other armed hosts. The locusts wore seeming golden crowns; but "turbans of linen" very poorly meet the description, whilst, if the creatures are symbolical, the crowns are symbolical also. What, then, is the prophetic import of a turban? The locusts had breastplates, which are said to be symbols of invulnerability; but the Mohammedans were not invulnerable; they never went into battle without losing some of their number, and they were more than once defeated with great slaughter. The locusts have wings, and tails, and stings in their tails, and poison in their stings like the poison of scorpions; but, in no respect was this true of the Mohammedans, any more than of any other conquering hordes. The locusts have power to operate only for the space of "five months"--on the year-day theory, one hundred and fifty years--but the warlike expeditions of the Saracens ranged through more than four hundred years, and their power is not yet taken away. The king of the locusts is named Abaddon and Apollyon, but neither of these was the name of the Moslem prophet, nor do they describe him any more than many others who have acted a like part in the world. Smoke may very well represent false doctrine, but what was the sun and air obscured by Mohammedanism, when those who see only Mohammedanism in this vision are obliged to consider the Christianity and churches which the Saracens overrun, as even worse than Islamism itself? Besides, if Arabia, whence the Saracens came, is the well-pit of the abyss, as some seem to affirm, then it is into Arabia that the Devil is to be cast, and shut up, and sealed in, for the thousand years, if not also the place into which all the finally lost are to be consigned!

But apart from all this, God himself has named this book the book of "The Apocalypse--the coming--of Jesus Christ." John accordingly, also tells us that what he describes he saw in the day of the Lord-among the scenes and transactions of the great day of judgment as they were made to pass before him in vision. It is impossible, therefore, that this trumpet should refer to the past, unless the day of the Lord is passed and the judgment is over, and the Apocalypse of Jesus has already taken place.

We have seen that the seven Churches span the whole period, from the time of the apostle to the commencement of the day of Judgment. We have also had the declaration of the Saviour himself, that what else John saw and wrote in this book relates to a period of time after the Church period has passed. The seven trumpets come in under the breaking of the seventh seal, and the Church period is ended before any of the seals are broken. The Saracenic invasion occurred in the midst of the Church period. Hence, the locust-plague of the fifth trumpet cannot possibly be the Arabic irruption under Mahomet, unless an event can be both in the middle and at the end of the same period, at one and the same time. Judgments, indeed, prefigure each other, and every feature of the great consummation has its forerunners and prelibations. And so there may have been a dim and inchoate likeness of this trumpet in the Saracenic scourge. But the height and fulness of it, and its only proper fulfilment, remains to be accomplished in the great day to come-the Day of the Lord-the period of Christ"s unveiling-when it will be literally realized in all its horrible details.

Nay, more, it is clearly in evidence from the record itself, that all the occurrences under the sixth seal, and all that comes after the sixth seal, up to the events under the fifth trumpet, do really transpire within the natural earthly lifetime of the same persons. When these locusts issue from the pit, they find living among men certain people "who have the seal of God upon their foreheads," and whom they are not allowed to touch, because of that seal. It will not answer to jump at the conclusion that these were God"s children in general, because it is specifically told us in a preceding chapter who they are. There is a definite number of them-144,000-and every one of them of Jewish blood. Their sealing occurs under the sixth seal. And here, under the fifth trumpet, they are yet on earth, among men, and as liable to the torture of the locusts as any others, but for the seal of the living God impressed upon their foreheads. They are not successors to the 144,000 sealed ones, for the work of sealing was finished before a single trumpet was blown, and the idea of succession is specifically excluded, first, by the definiteness of their number, and second, by the declaration that "they are virgins."

We thus find the same men living under the fifth trumpet, who were already living under the sixth seal. The "five months" must accordingly mean five months, and not 150 years, and the locusts from the pit cannot be the Saracens, or anything else than what they are literally described to be. They are extraordinary and infernal agents, whom Satan is permitted to let loose upon the guilty world, as a part of the judgment of the great day. All the seals, trumpets, and vials of this book relate to that day. It is a day of miracle throughout--a day of wonders--a day of fierce and tormenting wrath. It is everywhere so described in the Scriptures. And we do greatly mistreat the records which God has given for our learning, if we allow the sceptical rationalizing of our own darkened hearts to persuade us that such supernatural things are impossible, and therefore must not be literally understood. On the same ground the whole doctrine of the judgment may be explained away and, every article of the distinctive Christian faith, until we have nothing left but a book of preeminent pretensions and equally preeminent obscurity, uncertainty, and emptiness.

It appears, then, that hell and hell-torments are not the mere fictions which some have pronounced them. Neither are they as remote from this present world as men often dream. There is a fiery abyss, with myriads of evil beings in it, malignant and horrible, and there is but a door between this world and that.(69) Heaven is just as near; but heaven is above, and hell is beneath. Mortal man and his world lie between two mighty, opposite, spiritual spheres, both touching directly upon him, each operative to conform him to itself, and he predestined, as he yields to one or the other, to be conjoined eventually to the society on high, or to companionship with devils and all evil beings beneath. To doubt this, is to mistake concerning the most momentous things of our existence, and to have all our senses closed to the most startling realities of our lives. As we are heavenly in our inclinations and efforts, and open and yielding to things Divine, heaven opens to us, and spirits of heaven become our helpers, comforters, protectors, and guides; and as we are devilish in our temper, unbelieving, defiant of God, and self-sufficient, the doors of separation between us and hell gradually yield, and the smoke of the pit gathers over us, and the spirits of perdition come forth to move among us and to do us mischief. And at the last, as the saints of God are taken up out of the world on the one side, the angels of hell with their malignity and torments are let in on the other.

People are prone to persuade themselves that this world of sense and time is all that we need be concerned about, and hence have no fears of an unseen world of evil, and no decided or active desire for the blessings of an unseen world of good. They live only for earth, not dreaming that this brief life is only the vestibule to worlds of mightier and eternal moment. Their houses are built by the very margin of hell, and yet they rest and feast in them without a feeling of insecurity or of danger. The flames of perdition clamour after them beneath the pavements on which they walk, but they have no sense of fear or serious apprehension. God and angels are ever busy to win their attention to the ways of safety, but they turn a deaf ear and drift along as they list, crying, Peace! Peace! And so will the wicked and the unbelieving go on, until ignored and offended Omnipotence gives over the power to Satan to let loose upon them these horrid beings from the abyss, under whose torment they will wish they never had lived at all, and vainly attempt to make their escape from what they once considered their chief and only good.

Friends and Brethren: The judgments of God are coming--they are coming. The agents for them are ready and at hand. They are to alight with awful severity upon all the rebellious and ungodly. They will not be delayed either till this life is over. They are coming in this present world. Men shall feel them while yet they stand upon their feet, and go on with their unbelief and earthiness. Hell is to be let in upon the living earth, and no human hand can stay its torments. And as the generations of the rebellious and the unsanctified complete their five months of horror and writhing under the scorpion stings of these infernal tormentors, the first woe will be fulfilled, whilst yet two other and more horrible ones follow.

God Almighty, in His mercy, save us from the evils of those days! Amen.

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Bibliographical Information
Seiss, Joseph A. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". Seiss' Lecutres on Leviticus and Revelation.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.Annunciation of the three woe trumpets—The four creational are succeeded by the three spiritual trumpets.

An angel—The reading now adopted by all scholars is an eagle. Alford rejects Ewald’s idea that the eagle is a bird of ill-omen, as also Hengstenberg’s idea that it is the contrast to the dove, (John 1:32;) and holds it to be “the symbol of judgment rushing to its prey, as in Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8. We see not why all these Scripture uses do not blend together to characterize the eagle as a symbol. He is here certainly a bird of evil omen, the reverse of the dove, and an announcer of judgment; yet all this does not impute to the present announcer an evil or demoniac character, for a good messenger, a prophet, may be the divine announcer of woe. Hence we venture to suggest that an eagle messenger is not here a strange thing, as the fourth living being (Revelation 4:7) was like a flying eagle, the very phrase here used; and as this living being represents not, like an angel, the celestial, but the earthly, so he announces that even the three spiritual trumpets are to bring woes to the inhabitants of the earth.

Midst of heaven—A single Greek compound for which the English compound mid-heaven is an exact equivalent. To an English reader the natural idea suggested by the word would be mid-air, the space conceptually half way between sky and earth. But Wetstein shows by copious examples that it means in classic Greek the middle or highest point of the sun’s course in the sky, the zenith. But the same word in Revelation 19:17, clearly means the heavens where all the birds fly. The angel in that passage stands in the zenith, and the birds fly in the mid-air below. And in Revelation 14:6, it is the region where an angel flies so low as to be supposed to be heard from the earth. It is in these three places alone of the Greek Testament that the word occurs, and we hold it to be unquestionable that St. John uses it in a sense of his own, and not the classic, meaning the mid-space between earth and the apparent sky.

Inhabiters of the earth—An adverse descriptive phrase. The earthy announcer utters a menace against earthy men. The woes are for the evil and profane, “who have not the seal of God,” Revelation 9:4. The third woe trumpet will be terrible to such, but ultimately glorious for the sealed. The three woes are, 1. The infernal locust demons of Revelation 9:1-11; Revelation 2. The war-horse demons of Revelation 9:12-21; Revelation, 3. The antichristic dragon of Revelation 12:1-12; entailing as consequences the war between Christ and antichrist, resulting in the eternal triumph of the former.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 8:13. An ominous introduction to the last three trumpets. An eagle, here as in Apoc. Bar. lxxvii. 17–22, lxxxvii. 1 (cf. Rest of Words of Bar. 7.) a messenger and herald of catastrophe (its associations are punitive and bodeful, Deuteronomy 28:49, Hosea 8:1, Habakkuk 1:8, Eurip. Rhes. 528–536) flies in the zenith, i.e., swooping exactly over the heads of men. For the eagle (Simurgh in Zoroastrianism) as the servant of Deity in ancient (Syrian) mythology, see E. Bi. “Cherub,” § 8, and Acts of Thomas (Hymn of Soul, 51).—“Woe ’ for the rest of the trumpet voices.” The first woe finishes at Revelation 9:12, the second (after the interlude of Revelation 10:1 to Revelation 11:13) at Revelation 11:14, the third apparently at Revelation 12:12—though as usual one series of phenomena melts irregularly at the close into another.




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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

13. I heard an eagle. Four angels have blown. Now there is a short intermission. The eagle is a bird of prey (symbolic of violence and destruction). The next three Trumpets will be more horrible than the first four!

The fifth and sixth Trumpets are brought by Satan, net God. Yet God can use even the Devil’s work to punish and to warn the wicked.




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Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:13". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.