Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 8:5

Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Censer;   Lightning;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Vision;   The Topic Concordance - Seals;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Censers;   Earthquakes;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Earthquake;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Censer;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Incense;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Censer;   Earthquake;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Moses;   Plagues of Egypt;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels (2);   Censer;   Earthquake ;   Fire;   Lightning;   Moses ;   Thunder ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - The Brazen Altar;   Censer;   Earthquake;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cherubim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Censer;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fire;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Lightning;   Revelation of John:;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Cast it into the earth - That is, upon the land of Judea; intimating the judgments and desolations which were now coming upon it, and which appear to be farther opened in the sounding of the seven trumpets.

There were voices - All these seem to point out the confusion, commotions, distresses, and miseries, which were coming upon these people in the wars which were at hand.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the angel took the censer - Revelation 8:3. This is a new symbol, designed to furnish a new representation of future events. By the former it had been shown that there would be much prayer offered; by this it is designed to show that, notwithstanding the prayer that would be offered, great and fearful calamities would come upon the earth. This is symbolized by casting the censer upon the earth, as if the prayers were not heard any longer, or as if prayer were now in vain.

And filled it with fire of the altar - An image similar to this occurs in Ezekiel 10:2, where the man clothed in linen is commanded to go between the wheels under the cherub, and fill his hands with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and to scatter them over the city as a symbol of its destruction. Here the coals are taken, evidently, from the altar of sacrifice. Compare the notes on Isaiah 6:1. On these coals no incense was placed, but they were thrown at once to the earth. The new emblem, therefore, is the taking of coals, and scattering them abroad as a symbol of the destruction that was about to ensue.

And cast it into the earth - Margin, upon. The margin expresses undoubtedly the meaning. The symbol, therefore, properly denoted that fearful calamities were about to come upon the earth. Even the prayers of saints did not prevail to turn them away, and now the symbol of the scattered coals indicated that terrible judgments were about to come upon the world.

And there were voices - Sounds, noises. See the notes on Revelation 4:5. The order is not the same here as there, but lightnings, thunderings, and voices are mentioned in both.

And an earthquake - Revelation 6:12. This is a symbol of commotion. It is not necessary to look for a literal fulfillment of it, anymore than it is for literal “voices,” “lightnings,” or “thunderings.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-8.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 8:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-8.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the angel took the censer,.... The golden one before mentioned, the use of which was to take and carry in it burning coals of fire:

and filled it with fire of the altar; of burnt offering, for upon that, and not upon the altar of incense, fire was; the allusion is to the priest

"that was worthy to use a censerF5Misn. Tamid. c. 5. sect. 5. ; who took a silver censer, and went to the top of the altar (of burnt offering), and having removed the coals there, and there took them in his censer, and went down and emptied them into a golden one, and there was scattered from it about a kab of coals;'

for the golden one held a kab less than the silver oneF6Vid. Misn. Yoma, c. 4. sect. 4. ;

and cast it into the earth: the Roman empire: by "fire" some understand the Spirit of God, and his gifts and graces, which sat upon the apostles as cloven tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost; and which they suppose were now plentifully bestowed on the ministers of the word, to enlighten them, inspire them with zeal, and abundantly fit them for the work of the ministry, in consequence of Christ's mediation and intercession: and others think the Gospel is intended, which is sometimes compared to fire, Jeremiah 20:9, or else those contentions and quarrels which, through the corruptions of men, arise on account of the Gospel, Luke 12:49; though rather by fire here are meant the judgments of God, and his wrath and fury poured forth like fire upon the Roman empire, now become Christian; and so was an emblem of those calamities coming upon it at the sounding of the trumpets; and shows that as Christ prays and intercedes for his, own people, for their comfort and safety, so he will bring down, his judgments upon his and their enemies; see Ezekiel 10:2; and the Targum on it:

and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake; which may be understood either of the nature, use, and effects of the Gospel, speaking to the hearts of men by the sons of thunder, enlightening their minds, and shaking their consciences; the like were at the giving of the law, Exodus 19:16; or rather of those terrors, distresses, and commotions in the world, because of God's righteous judgments, and which particularly will be at the sound of the seventh trumpet, and the pouring out of the seventh vial, Revelation 11:15; the allusion is to the sounds that were heard at the time of the daily sacrifice; for besides the blowing of the trumpets by the priests, and the singing of the Levites, of which See Gill on Revelation 8:2; there was a musical instrument called מגרפה, "magrephah"F7Misn. Tamid. c. 5. sect. 6. & 3. 8. , which being sounded, a man could not hear another speak in Jerusalem: yea, they say it was heard as far as Jericho.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-8.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

cast it into the earth — that is, unto the earth: the hot coals off the altar cast on the earth, symbolize God‘s fiery judgments about to descend on the Church‘s foes in answer to the saints‘ incense-perfumed prayers which have just ascended before God, and those of the martyrs. How marvelous the power of the saints‘ prayers!

there were — “there took place,” or “ensued.”

voices, and thunderings, and lightnings — B places the “voices” after “thunderings.” A places it after “lightnings.”

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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 8:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-8.html. 1871-8.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

5. Thunders, voices, and earthquakes all vividly symbolize the mighty agencies employed by Omnipotent Jehovah in the execution of these terrible castigatory judgments.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/revelation-8.html.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

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

Filled (εγεμισενegemisen). He drops back to the narrative use of the first aorist active indicative of γεμιζωgemizō the fire (εκ του πυροςek tou puros), live coals from the altar (cf. Isaiah 6:6).

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

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

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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 8:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-8.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Took ( εἴληφεν )

Lit., hath taken. So Rev., in margin.

With the fire ( ἐκ τοῦ πυρὸς )

Lit., “from or out off the fire,” i.e., the coals or hot ashes. For ἐκ outoff see on Revelation 2:7.

Cast it into the earth

See Ezekiel 10:2; Luke 12:49.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-8.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

And there were thunderings, and lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake — These, especially when attended with fire, are emblems of God's dreadful judgments, which are immediately to follow.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-8.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

5.] And the angel took (it is quite impossible to maintain a perfect sense: an aorist ( ἐγέμισεν) is indeed coupled to εἴληφεν) the censer (after having used it as above, i. e. shaken from it the incense on the altar) and filled it (while the smoke was ascending) from the fire of the altar (i. e. from the ashes which were on the altar), and cast it (i. e. the fire with which the censer was filled: the hot ashes) towards the earth (to signify that the answer to the prayers was about to descend in the fire of God’s vengeance: see below, and compare Ezekiel in ref.): and there took place thunders and voices and lightnings and an earthquake (“per orationes sanctorum,” says Corn.-a-lap., “… precantium vindictam de impiis suisque persecutoribus, ignis vindictæ, i. e. tonitrua, fulgura et plagæ sequentes vii. angelorum et tubarum in impios sunt demissa.” All these immediate consequences of the casting down of the hot ashes on the earth are the symbolic precursors of the divine judgments about to be inflicted).

One point must here be noticed: the intimate connexion between the act of this incense-offering angel and the seven trumpets which follow. It belongs to them all: it takes place when now the seven angels have had their trumpets given them, and this series of visions is introduced. So that every interpretation must take this into account: remembering that the judgments which follow are answers to the prayers of the saints, and are inflicted on the enemies of the church.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-8.html. 1863-1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angel

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 8:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-8.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Ver. 5. And filled it with the fire of the altar] Fire, in token of fierce indignation, and from the altar; for Christ came to send fire on the earth, Luke 12:49; fire and sword, Matthew 12:34; through men’s singular corruption and obstinace in not stooping to the sceptre of this kingdom. Hence fire and brimstone, storm and tempest, a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries, Hebrews 10:27. From the same altar, Christ, prayers go up, vengeance comes down.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-8.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I doubt not but by fire here, is to be understood the wrath of God, often in holy writ compared to fire, poured out upon the Roman empire, or the visible church. Upon which followed great judgments, and confusions, and tumults, expressed here, or ushered in, as before, Revelation 6:1, with

thunderings; which being here more generally mentioned, are by and by more particularly expressed.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-8.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

и громы, и молнии и землетрясение См. пояснение к 4:5. Несомненно, такой же или большей силы, чем то, которое описано в 6-й печати (см. пояснение к 6:12).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-8.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The censer; with which he had offered incense.

Filled it with fire; a symbol of the divine wrath about to be inflicted on the wicked.

Cast it into the earth; as the place where the divine judgments were to be executed.

Voices-earthquake; all symbols and precursors of the coming judgments, and the commotions and overturnings connected with them.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-8.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Then the angel took coals from the altar, placed them in his censer, and threw them out onto the earth. These coals of fire, symbolic of judgment, produced symbols of catastrophe: thunder, lightning, and earthquake (cf. Ezekiel 10:2-7). The censer thus became a symbolic instrument of judgment in response to prayer.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-8.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 8:5. The angel filled the censer with the fire of the altar, and cast it upon the earth. For the thought of ‘filling’ comp. John 2:7; John 19:29; John 21:11. For the Nemesis so characteristic of St. John, observe that the sufferings which had been spoken of, endured at the hands of the ‘earth,’ return in judgment upon the ‘earth’ (comp. chap. Revelation 6:4-8). The peculiar tense of the verb hath taken is in all probability employed in order to bring out the fact that the censer had never been laid aside by the angel from the moment when he first took it into his hand (comp. on chap. Revelation 7:14). The thunders and voices and lightnings and earthquake which are next spoken of are the appropriate accompaniments of judgment.

Before passing from these verses, one important question connected with them ought to be noticed, from its bearing on the general character of the Apocalypse. Of what nature are the prayers referred to? They have been sometimes described as prayers for the salvation of the world, at other times as prayers for mercy to such as will receive mercy, for judgment on the impenitent and hardened. Both views are out of keeping with the context. Let us compare the fact, noticed in Revelation 8:5, that the angel took the golden censer and filled it with fire of the altar and cast it into the earth, with the two facts mentioned in Revelation 8:3, that the golden censer there spoken of is the one out of which the angel had just caused the smoke to go up with the prayers of all the saints before God, and that the fire is taken from the golden altar upon which these prayers had just been offered, and we shall feel that it is impossible to accept either interpretation. There is no thought of mercy for the world. The prayers are for judgment only. They are prayers that God will vindicate His own cause, and they are answered by Him who, when His people cry to Him, will arise to judgment. To a similar effect is the cry of the souls under the altar in chap. Revelation 6:10; and, when judgments are poured out, all the hosts of heaven behold in them the brightest manifestation of God’s glory (chap. Revelation 19:1-2; comp. chap. Revelation 11:17-18). Yet it would be a grievous mistake to see in passages such as these any desire for personal vengeance on the part of the righteous, any want of that compassion which longs for the salvation of the whole world. They express only that longing for the reign of perfect truth and holiness which is one of the most essential constituents of love, whether in God or man.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-8.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

And. The seven "ands" give an instance of Figure of speech Polysyndeton. App-6.

filled. Greek. gemizo. Here and Revelation 15:8.

into. App-104.

earth. App-129.

earthquake. See Revelation 6:12. Here apparently a convulsion of earth alone.

Revelation chapters 6 and 7 present the six seals, the sixth carrying on to the end. The seventh seal contains a new series of judgments under the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:7, Revelation 8:11, Revelation 8:14) and the seven vials (Revelation 16:1, Revelation 16:18, Revelation 16:21). The seventh seal thus embraces the period of both trumpets and vials (Revelation 8:7, Revelation 8:18, Revelation 8:24), and is immediately followed by the Apocalypse (Unveiling of "The Word of God": see App-197), the Son of Adam (App-99). The first six trumpets relate to the earth, the seventh to heaven (Revelation 11:15). The seven are divided into four and three, the last three being woe trumpets. The judgments and woes now to be set forth are just as real, as literal, as the judgments predicted and fulfilled in the past history of Israel; Exodus 34:10. Deuteronomy 28:10. Isaiah 11:15, Isaiah 11:16. Micah 7:13-15.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Cast it into (unto) the earth. The hot coals off the altar cast on the earth, symbolize God's fiery judgments about to descend on the Church's foes in answer to the saints' incense-perfumed prayers, which just ascended before God (cf. Revelation 6:10). How marvelous the power of prayers!

There were - `ensued.'

Voices, and thunderings ... 'Aleph (') B place "voices" after "thunderings;" A places it after "lightnings."

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-8.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) And the angel . . .—Translate, And the angel has taken (or, took) the censer, and he filled it from the fire of the altar, and cast it (i.e., the fire or hot ashes which filled the censer) upon the earth. The prayers have gone up, and the sprinkling of the ashes earthward is the symbol of the answer descending from heaven. We may recall the similar action of Moses before Pharaoh, when he took ashes of the furnace and sprinkled it towards heaven, but it descended towards earth, as a symbol of the plague about to fall upon the land (Exodus 9:8-10). The hot ashes are the tokens of the coming judgments. As in the parallel vision in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 10:2), when the man clothed with linen is bidden to “go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill his hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the doomed city;” so here the ashes fall—the judgments are at hand

And there were voices . . .—Or, And there took place thunders, and voices, and lightnings, and an earthquake. There is some variety among the MSS. in the order of the words here used. Some place “lightnings” before “voices.” These signs and sounds herald the approach of judgments. God has arisen in answer to the cry of His people. “The earth shook and trembled. There went up a smoke and a fire: coals were kindled at it. At the brightness that was before Him His thick clouds passed, hailstones and coals of fire. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. Yea, He sent out His arrows, and scattered them: He shot out lightnings and discomfited them . . . He delivered me from my strong enemy” (Psalms 18:4-19). It is a solemn thought that we may send up prayers, and the answer may come down a judgment; for often it is only through judgment that true loving-kindness can make her way.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
and filled
16:1-21; Isaiah 66:6,14-16; Jeremiah 51:11; Ezekiel 10:2-7; Luke 12:49
into
or, upon. and there.
4:5; 11:19; 16:18; 2 Samuel 22:7-9; Psalms 18:13; Isaiah 30:30; Hebrews 12:18,19
an
11:13,19; 1 Kings 19:11; Isaiah 29:6; Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:7; 27:52-54; Acts 4:31; Acts 16:26
Reciprocal: Exodus 19:16 - thunders;  Psalm 29:3 - thundereth;  Haggai 2:6 - and I;  John 12:29 - thundered;  Revelation 6:12 - there;  Revelation 10:3 - seven;  Revelation 19:6 - and as the voice of mighty

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-8.html.

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

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

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-8.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 8:5

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

After Christ had offered his incense, with the prayers of the saints, he filled his

censer with fire of the altar

that Isaiah, the wrath and indignation of God, who is a consuming, fire. { Hebrews 12:28-29}

And cast it unto the earth

that is poured down upon the inhabitants of the earth. { Revelation 8:13; Revelation 12:12}

And there were voices, and thunderings, and lighting, and an earthquake.

Now the silence in heaven is interrupted: And there were voices; that Isaiah, different opinions among the Christians; and then followed thunderings and lighting, which signify the judgements of God against the Inhabitants of the Earth. { Isaiah 29:6} These dispensations of God's fiery indignation, caused an earthquake; that Isaiah, great divisions, and renderings, and troubles between the eastern and western churches; and also in the whole empire, as all historians do testify.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-8.html.

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

Revelation 8:5. And the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar, and poured it out upon the earth. And there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and earthquakes. Bengel: "Frankincense and prayer draw a great deal after it: it is acceptable, it will be heard; God then causes his righteous judgments to go forth, for a terror to the world, for the discomfiture of his enemies, and for the advancement of his kingdom." The angel exercises the function of a days-man, מליץ, Job 33:23. In Revelation 8:3-4 he represented the church, and brought its petitions before God. Here he fulfils the second part of his office. He is the medium of communication in respect to God's answer to the requests of the church. In fulfilment of his commission, he throws God's fire down upon the earth. According to John 1:52, "From henceforth ye shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man" (comp. Genesis 28:12), the angels first ascend up from Christ in his state of humiliation, and hence also from his militant church, bringing their petitions and prayers before the throne of God; and then they descend down and bring the answer and the help and the vengeance on the enemies.

The internal connection between the fiery prayer, and the fiery indignation which is to consume the adversaries (Hebrews 10:27), is shadowed forth by the circumstance, that of the same fire of the altar, with which the frankincense was kindled, there was taken and thrown upon the earth. By the first use of the fire in kindling the frankincense, it was in a manner consecrated for the second. Fire is here, as usually in the Apocalypse (comp. on Revelation 4:5), the symbol of the holy wrath and judgment of God.[Note: Ezekiel 10:2, ss., is not, with Vitringa, to be compared. The fire, which the man clothed in linen there takes out of the midst of the wheels of the Cherubim, is not, us here, a symbolical representation of the wrath of God, but it is the elementary fire. For the setting on tire and burning of the city must there be indicated. The wheels of the Cherubim denote the powers of nature, primarily the wind (comp. ch. 10:13), but then also the fire. The Cherub supplies the fire: the earth presents heaven with the material for its judgments.]

The fire, the voices, &c., have here only a typical, a prophetical character. The fulfilment of the prophecy begins with the first trumpet and closes with the last; comp. ch. Revelation 11:19. In ch. Revelation 4:5 the voices, lightnings, and thunders are likewise, not the judgment itself, but the matter-of-fact or symbolical announcement of it. The seven seals are the realization of that announcement. See what is said there respecting the voices, lightnings, and thunders. Here the earthquake is besides named, as the pre-intimation of great approaching revolutions—comp. on ch. Revelation 6:12.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-8.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.The censer has now been emptied of its incense. The angel then fills it with altar-fire, and flings the fire upon the earth, and terrible detonations arise. A most striking symbol. But we do not agree with Hengstenberg and Alford, that these vengeful voices and the judgments that follow are consequences of the prayers of all the saints. No. Save the martyrs’ cry for justice, the ascending prayer of the universal Church is for the world’s conversion, reformation, salvation. But on the contrary there is the terrible fire—the reverse of the incense—the ordinary Scripture symbol of divine wrath. And this emblem of wrath, fire, will, as will soon appear, be found in three if not in all four of the judgments of the four creational trumpets. In each appears, as it were, a coal from the angel’s censer. Yet this fire is more deeply the symbol of divine purity, indicating on the one side its purifying power in the believer, and on the other side its condemnatory and consuming power upon the profane. The earth, in its now fallen state, is, as it were, impregnated with sin, and when the fire of divine purity is cast upon it, then, as when two opposite chemical elements come together, a terrible explosion results. The incense of saintly prayer goes up to heaven; the fire of divine wrath is cast down upon the earth.

Voices’ earthquake—The creational four in something of climax. These are but monitions of judgments soon to be realized.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-8.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 8:5. The censer, having offered incense to heaven, is now used to hurl fire upon the earth (adopted from Ezekiel 10:2-7; cf.Leviticus 16:12). As at the close of the trumpets (Revelation 11:19) and the bowls (Revelation 16:18), physical disturbances here accompany the manifestation of God’s wrath and judgment. In answer to the prayers and longings of the saints (Renan, 393), God at last visits the impenitent pagan world with a series of catastrophes (Revelation 8:8-9., cf.Revelation 9:4), which herald the end and also give (though in vain, Revelation 9:20-21) an opportunity for repentance.

Note on Revelation 8:3-5. This episode (in dumb show) of angel and incense, though apparently isolated, is an overture for the series of judgments, of which the successive trumpet-blasts are precursors. The prayers of all the saints, which, like those of the martyrs in Revelation 6:10, crave punishment upon God’s enemies throughout the earth, are supported and reinforced by the ministry of this angel, and answered at once by the succession of incidents beginning with Revelation 8:5. This object of Christian prayers, i.e., the final crisis, when Christ returns to crush his enemies and inaugurate his reign, pervaded early Christianity as a whole. At special periods of intolerable persecution, it assumed under the stress of antagonism as here a more sensuous and plastic form than the ordinary consciousness of the church would have been usually disposed to cherish; yet the common prayer of the church in any case was for the speedy end of the world ( Did. x.). In Apoc. Mos. (tr. Conybeare, Jewish Quart. Rev., 1895, 216–235) 33, when the angels intercede for Adam at his ascension to heaven, they take golden censers and offer incense; whereupon smoke overshadows the very firmament. The intercession of angels on behalf of the saints, a result of their function as guardians, goes back to post-exilic Judaism with its inarticulated conception of the angels as helpful to mankind (Job 5:1; Job 33:23; Zechariah 1:12); subsequently the idea developed into a belief that the prayers of the pious won special efficacy as they were presented to God by angels such as Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, or the seven archangels (cf. Tobit, loc. cit.; Slav. En. vii. 5; En. ix. 2–11, xv. 2, xl. 6, xlvii. 2, xcix. 3, 16, civ. 1). In Christianity this rôle was naturally absorbed by Christ, who alone ratified and inspired his people’s supplications. But the old belief evidently lingered in pious circles of Jewish Christianity (cf. Test. Leviticus 3, 5), side by side with a complete acceptance of Christ’s heavenly function. The latter did not immediately or universally wither up such survivals of the older faith; popular religion tended then as now to be wider at several points than its theoretical principles (as in Origen, Cels.Revelation 8:4; and Tertull. de Orat. xii.). Plato, in Sympos. 202 E., makes the present men’s prayers and offerings to the gods, and mediate the latter’s commands and recompence to men (cf. Philo, de Somniis, i. 22, and on i. 1). See further Revelation 17:1, Revelation 21:9, for a similar state of matters in primitive Christianity with regard to the corresponding function of Jewish angels as intermediaries of revelation.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-8.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

5. And threw it on the earth. God has heard the prayers, and the judgments to come are his answer to them. Peals of thunder, etc. This is to show that this is God’s decree.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-8.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.