Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 8:7

The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
New American Standard Version
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Hail;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Vision;   Thompson Chain Reference - Hail;   Meteorology;   Storms;   The Topic Concordance - Seals;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Grass;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Hail;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hail (Meterological);   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Moses;   Plagues of Egypt;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Blood;   Hail ;   Locust ;   Moses ;   Numbers;   Tree ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hail;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cherubim;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Grass;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Color;   Grass;   Hail (1);   Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Botany;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Hail and fire mingled with blood - This was something like the ninth plague of Egypt. See Exodus 9:18-24; : "The Lord sent thunder and hail - and fire mingled with the hail - and the fire ran along upon the ground." In the hail and fire mingled with blood, some fruitful imaginations might find gunpowder and cannon balls, and canister shot and bombs.

They were cast upon the earth - Εις την γην· Into that land; viz., Judea, thus often designated.

And the third part of trees - Before this clause the Codex Alexandrinus, thirty-five others, the Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Slavonic, Vulgate, Andreas, Arethas, and some others, have και το τριτον της γης κατεκαη· And the third part of the land was burnt up. This reading, which is undoubtedly genuine, is found also in the Complutensian Polyglot. Griesbach has received it into the text.

The land was wasted; the trees - the chiefs of the nation, were destroyed; and the grass - the common people, slain, or carried into captivity. High and low, rich and poor, were overwhelmed with one general destruction. This seems to be the meaning of these figures.

Many eminent men suppose that the irruption of the barbarous nations on the Roman empire is here intended. It is easy to find coincidences when fancy runs riot. Later writers might find here the irruption of the Austrians and British, and Prussians, Russians, and Cossacks, on the French empire!

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The first angel sounded - The first in order, and indicating the first in the series of events that were to follow.

And there followed hail - Hail is usually a symbol of the divine vengeance, as it has often been employed to accomplish the divine purposes of punishment. Thus, in Exodus 9:23, “And the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.” So in Psalm 105:32, referring to the plagues upon Egypt, it is said, “He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.” So again, Psalm 78:48, “He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.” As early as the time of Job hail was understood to be an emblem of the divine displeasure, and an instrument in inflicting punishment:

“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow,

Or hast thou seen the treasure of the hail?

Which I have reserved against the time of trouble,

Against the day of battle and war!”

Job 38:22-23.

So also the same image is used in Psalm 18:13;

“The Lord also thundered in the heaven,

And the Most High gave forth his voice,

Hailstones and coals of fire.”

Compare Haggai 2:17. The destruction of the Assyrian army, it is said, would be accomplished in the same way, Isaiah 30:30. Compare Ezekiel 13:11; Ezekiel 38:22.

And fire - Lightning. This also is an instrument and an emblem of destruction.

Mingled with blood - By blood “we must naturally understand,” says Prof. Stuart, “in this case, a shower of colored rain; that is, rain of a rubidinous aspect, an occurrence which is known sometimes to take place, and which, like falling stars, eclipses, etc., was viewed with terror by the ancients, because it was supposed to be indicative of blood that was to be shed.” The appearance, doubtless, was that of a red shower, apparently of hail or snow - for rain is not mentioned. It is not a rain-storm, it is a hail-storm that is the image here; and the image is that of a driving hail-storm, where the lightnings flashed, and where there was the intermingling of a reddish substance that resembled blood, and that was an undoubted symbol of blood that was to be shed. I do not know that there is red rain, or red hail, but red snow is not very uncommon; and the image here would be complete if we suppose that there was an intermingling of red snow in the driving tempest.

This species of snow was found by Captain Ross at Baffin‘s Bay on the 17th of August, 1819. The mountains that were dyed with the snow were about 8 miles long, and 600 feet high. The red color reached to the ground in many places 10 or 12 feet deep, and continued for a great length of time. Although red snow had not until this attracted much notice, yet it had been long before observed in Alpine countries. Saussure discovered it on Mount Bernard in 1778. Ramoud found it on the Pyrenees; and Summerfield discovered it in Norway. “In 1818 red snow fell on the Italian Alps and Apennines. In March, 1808, the whole country about Cadore, Belluno, and Feltri was covered with a red-colored snow to the depth of six and a half feet; but a white snow had fallen both before and after it, the red formed a stratum in the middle of the white. At the same time a similar fall took place in the mountains of the Valteline, Brescia, Carinthia, and Tyrol” (Edin. Encyclo. art. “Snow”). These facts show that what is referred to here in the symbol might possibly occur. Such a symbol would be properly expressive of blood and carnage.

And they were cast upon the earth - The hail, the fire, and the blood - denoting that the fulfillment of this was to be on the earth.

And the third part of trees was burnt up - By the fire that came down with the hail and the blood.

And all green grass was burnt up - Wherever this lighted on the earth. The meaning would seem to be, that wherever this tempest beat the effect was to destroy a third part - that is, a large portion of the trees, and to consume all the grass. A portion of the trees - strong and mighty - would stand against it; but what was so tender as grass is, would be consumed. The sense does not seem to be that the tempest would be confined to a third part of the world, and destroy all the trees and the grass there; but that it would be a sweeping and general tempest, and that wherever it spread it would prostrate a third part of the trees and consume all the grass. Thus understood, it would seem to mean, that in reference to those things in the world which were firm and established like trees it would not sweep them wholly away, though it would make great desolation; but in reference to those which were delicate and feeble - like grass - it would sweep them wholly away.

This would not be an inapt description of the ordinary effects of invasion in time of war. A few of those things which seem most firm and established in society - like trees in a forest - weather out the storm; while the gentle virtues, the domestic enjoyments, the arts of peace, like tender grass, are wholly destroyed. The fulfillment of this we are undoubtedly to expect to find in the terrors of invasion; the evils of war; the effusion of blood; the march of armies. So far as the language is concerned, the symbol would apply to any hostile invasion; but in pursuing the exposition on the principles on which we have thus far conducted it, we are to look for the fulfillment in one or more of those invasions of the northern hordes that preceded the downfall of the Roman empire and that contributed to it. In the Analysis of the chapter, some reasons were given why these four trumpet signals were placed together, as pertaining to a series of events of the same general character, and as distinguished from those which were to follow.

The natural place which they occupy, or the events which we should suppose, from the views taken above of the first six seals, would be represented, would be the successive invasions of the northern hordes which ultimately accomplished the overthrow of the Roman empire. There are four of these “trumpets,” and it would be a matter of inquiry whether there were four events of sufficient distinctness that would mark these invasions, or that would constitute periods or epochs in the destruction of the Roman power. At this point in writing, I looked on a chart of history, composed with no reference to this prophecy, and found a singular and unexpected prominence given to four such events extending from the first invasion of the Goths and Vandals at the beginning of the fifth century, to the fall of the Western empire, 476 a.d. The first was the invasion of Alaric, king of the Goths, 410 a.d.; the second was the invasion of Attila, king of the Huns, “scourge of God,” 447 a.d.; a third was the sack of Rome by Genseric, king of the Vandals, 455 a.d.; and the fourth, resulting in the final conquest of Rome, was that of Odoacer, king of the Heruli, who assumed the title of King of Italy, 476 a.d. We shall see, however, on a closer examination, that although two of these - Attila and Genseric - were, during a part of their career, contemporary, yet the most prominent place is due to Genseric in the events that attended the downfall of the empire, and that the second trumpet probably related to him; the third to Attila. These were, beyond doubt, four great periods or events attending the fall of the Roman empire, which synchronize with the period before us.

If, therefore, we regard the opening of the sixth seal as denoting the threatening aspect of these invading powers - the gathering of the dark cloud that hovered over the borders of the empire, and the consternation produced by that approaching storm; and if we regard the transactions in the seventh chapter - the holding of the winds in check, and the sealing of the chosen of God - as denoting the suspension of the impending judgments in order that a work might be done to save the church, and as referring to the divine interposition in behalf of the church; then the appropriate place of these four trumpets, under the seventh seal, will be when that delayed and restrained storm burst in successive blasts upon different parts of the empire - the successive invasions which were so prominent in the overthrow of that vast power. History marks four of these events - four heavy blows - four sweepings of the tempest and the storm - under Alaric, Genseric, Attila, and Odoacer, whose movements could not be better symbolized than by these successive blasts of the trumpet.

The first of these is the invasion of Alaric; and the inquiry now is, whether his invasion is such as would be properly symbolized by the first trumpet. In illustrating this, it will be proper to notice some of the movements of Alaric, and the alarm consequent on his invasion of the empire; and then to inquire how far this corresponds with the images employed in the description of the first trumpet. For these illustrations I shall be indebted mainly to Mr. Gibbon. Alaric, the Goth, was at first employed in the service of the emperor Theodosius, in his attempt to oppose the usurper Arbogastes, after the murder of Valentinian, emperor of the West. Theodosius, in order to oppose the usurper, employed, among others, numerous barbarians - Iberians, Arabs, and Goths. One of them was Alaric, who, to use the language of Mr. Gibbon (ii. 179), “acquired in the school of Theodosius the knowledge of the art of war, which he afterward so fatally exerted for the destruction of Rome,” 392-394 a.d. After the death of Theodosius (395 a.d.) the Goths revolted from the Roman power, and Alaric, who had been disappointed in his expectations of being raised to the command of the Roman armies, became their leader (Decline and Fall, ii. 213). “That renowned leader was descended from the noble race of the Balti; which yielded only to the royal dignity of the Amali; he had solicited the command of the Roman armies; and the imperial court provoked him to demonstrate the folly of their refusal, and the importance of their loss. In the midst of a divided court and a discontented people the emperor Arcadius was terrified by the aspect of the Gothic arms,” etc.

Alaric then invaded and conquered Greece, laying it waste in his progress, until he reached Athens, ii. 214,215. “The fertile fields of Phocis and Boeotia were instantly covered by a deluge of barbarians, who massacred the males of age to bear arms, and drove away the beautiful females, with the spoil and cattle of the flaming villages.” Alaric then concluded a treaty with Theodosius, the emperor of the East (ii. 216); was made master-general of Eastern Illyricum, and created a magistrate (ii. 217); soon united under his command the barbarous nations that had made the invasion, and was solemnly declared to be the king of the Visigoths, ii. 217. “Armed with this double power, seated on the verge of two empires, he alternately sold his deceitful promises to the courts of Arcadius and Honorius, until he declared and executed his purpose of invading the dominions of the West. The provinces of Europe which belonged to the Eastern empire were already exhausted; those of Asia were inaccessible; and the strength of Constantinople had resisted his attack. But he was tempted by the beauty, the wealth, and the fame of Italy, which he had twice visited; and he secretly aspired to plant the Gothic standard on the walls of Rome; and to enrich his army with the accumulated spoils of 300 triumphs,” ii. 217,218.

In describing his march to the Danube, and his progress toward Italy, having increased his army with a large number of barbarians, Mr. Gibbon uses the remarkable language expressive of the general consternation, already quoted in the description of the sixth seal. Alaric approached rapidly toward the imperial city, resolved to “conquer or die before the gates of Rome.” But he was checked by Stilicho, and compelled to make peace, and retired (Decline and Fall, ii. 222), and the threatening storm was for a time suspended. See the notes on Revelation 7:1 ff. So great was the consternation, however, that the Roman court, which then had its seat at Milan, thought it necessary to remove to a safer place, and became fixed at Ravenna, ii. 224. This calm, secured by the retreat of Alaric, was, however, of short continuance. In 408 a.d. he again invaded Italy in a more successful manner, attacked the capital, and more than once pillaged Rome. The following facts, for which I am indebted to Mr. Gibbon, will illustrate the progress of the events, and the effects of this blast of the “first trumpet” in the series that announced the destruction of the Western empire:

(a) The effect, on the destiny of the empire, of removing the Roman court to Ravenna from the dread of the Goths. As early as 303 a.d. the court of the emperor of the West was, for the most part, established at Milan. For some time before, the “sovereignty of the capital was gradually annihilated by the extent of conquest,” and the emperors were required to be long absent from Rome on the frontiers, until in the time of Diocletian and Maximian the seat of government was fixed at Milan, “whose situation at the foot of the Alps appeared far more convenient than that of Rome for the important purpose of watching the motions of the barbarians of Germany” (Gibbon, i. 213). “The life of Diocletian and Maximian was a life of action, and a considerable portion of it was spent in camps, or in their long and frequent marches; but whenever the public business allowed them any relaxation, they seem to have retired with pleasure to their favorite residences of Nicomedia and Milan. Until Diocletian, in the twentieth year of his reign, celebrated his Roman triumph, it is extremely doubtful whether he ever visited the ancient capital of the empire” (Gibbon, i. 214).

From this place the court was driven away, by the dread of the northern barbarians, to Ravenna, a safer place, which thenceforward became the seat of government, while Italy was ravaged by the northern hordes, and while Rome was besieged and pillaged. Mr. Gibbon, under date of 404 a.d., says, “The recent danger to which the person of the emperor had been exposed in the defenseless palace of Milan (from Alaric and the Goths) urged him to seek a retreat in some illaccessible fortress in Italy, where he might securely remain, while the open country was covered by a deluge of barbarians” (vol. ii. p. 224). He then proceeds to describe the situation of Ravenna, and the removal of the court thither, and then adds (p. 225), “The fears of Honorius were not without foundation, nor were his precautions without effect. While Italy rejoiced in her deliverance from the Goths, a furious tempest was excited among the nations of Germany, who yielded to the irresistible impulse that appears to have been gradually communicated from the eastern extremity of the continent of Asia.” That mighty movement of the Huns is then described, as the storm was preparing to burst upon the Roman empire, ii. 225. The agitation and the removal of the Roman government were events not inappropriate to be described by symbols relating to the fall of that mighty power.

(b) The particulars of that invasion, the consternation, the siege of Rome, and the capture and pillage of the imperial city, would confirm the propriety of this application to the symbol of the first trumpet. It would be too long to copy the account - for it extends through many pages of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Empire; but a few selected sentences may show the general character of the events, and the propriety of the symbols, on the supposition that they referred to these things. Thus, Mr. Gibbon (ii. 226,227) says, “The correspondence of nations was, in that age, so imperfect and precarious, that the revolutions of the North might escape the knowledge of the court of Ravenna, until the dark cloud which was collected along the coast of the Baltic burst in thunder upon the banks of the Upper Danube. The king of the confederate Germans passed, without resistance, the Alps, the Po, and the Apennines; leaving on the one hand the inaccessible palace of Honorius securely buried among the marshes of Ravenna; and on the other the camp of Stilicho, who had fixed his headquarters at Ticinum, or Pavia, but who seems to have avoided a decisive battle until he had assembled his distant forces. Many cities of Italy were pillaged or destroyed. The senate and people trembled at their approach within a hundred and eighty miles of Rome; and anxiously compared the danger which they had escaped with the new perils to which they were exposed,” etc.

Rome was besieged for the first time by the Goths 408 a.d. Of this siege Mr. Gibbon (ii. 252-254) has given a graphic description. Among other things, he says, “That unfortunate city gradually experienced the distress of scarcity, and at length the horrid calamities of famine.” “A dark suspicion was entertained, that some desperate wretches fed on the bodies of their fellow-creatures whom they had secretly murdered; and even mothers - such were the horrid conflicts of the two most powerful instincts implanted by nature in the human breast - even mothers are said to have tasted the flesh of their slaughtered infants. Many thousands of the inhabitants of Rome expired in their houses, or in the streets, for want of sustenance; and as the public sepulchres without the walls were in the power of the enemy, the stench which arose from so many putrid and unburied carcasses infected the air; and the miseries of famine were succeeded and aggravated by a pestilential disease.”

The first siege was raised by the payment of an enormous ransom (Gibbon, ii. 254). The second siege of Rome by the Goths occurred 409 a.d. This siege was carried on by preventing the supply of provisions, Alaric having seized upon Ostia, the Roman port, where the provisions for the capital were deposited. The Romans finally consented to receive a new emperor at the hand of Alaric, and Attalus was appointed in the place of the feeble Honorius, who was then at Ravenna, and who had abandoned the capital. Attalus, an inefficient prince, was soon publicly stripped of the robes of office, and Alaric, enraged at the conduct of the court at Ravenna toward him, turned his wrath a third time on Rome, and laid siege to the city. This occurred 410 a.d. “The king of the Goths, who no longer dissembled his appetite for plunder and revenge, appeared in arms under the walls of the capital; and the trembling senate, without any hope of relief, prepared, by a desperate effort, to delay the ruin of their country. But they were unable to guard against the conspiracy of their slaves and domestics, who, either from birth or interest, were attached to the cause of the enemy. At the hour of midnight the Salarian Gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the imperial city, which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia” (Gibbon, ii. 260).

(c) It is, perhaps, only necessary to add that the invasion of Alaric was in fact but one of the great events that led to the fall of the empire, and that, in announcing that fall, where a succession of events was to occur, it would properly be represented by the blast of one of the trumpets. The expressions employed in the symbol are, indeed, such as might be applied to any invasion of hostile armies, but they are such as would be used if the design were admitted to be to describe the invasion of the Gothic conqueror. For:

(1)that invasion, as we have seen, would be well represented by the storm of hail and lightning that was seen in vision;

(2)by the red color mingled in that storm - indicative of blood;

(3)by the fact that it consumed the trees and the grass.

This, as we saw in the exposition, would properly denote the desolation produced by war - applicable, indeed, to all war, but as applicable to the invasion of Alaric as any war that has occurred, and it is such an emblem as would be used if it were admitted that it was the design to represent his invasion. The sweeping storm, prostrating the trees of the forest, is an apt emblem of the evils of war, and, as was remarked in the exposition, no more striking illustration of the consequences of a hostile invasion could be employed than the destruction of the “green grass.” What is here represented in the symbol cannot, perhaps, be better expressed than in the language of Mr. Gibbon, when describing the invasion of the Roman empire under Alaric. Speaking of that invasion, he says - “While the peace of Germany was secured by the attachment of the Franks and the neutrality of the Alemanni, the subjects of Rome, unconscious of their approaching calamities, enjoyed the state of quiet and prosperity which had seldom blessed the frontiers of Gaul. Their flocks and herds were permitted to graze in the pastures of the barbarians; their huntsmen penetrated, without fear or danger, into the darkest recesses of the Hercynian wood. The banks of the Rhine were crowned, like those of the Tiber, with elegant houses and well-cultivated farms; and if a poet descended the river, he might express his doubt on which side was situated the territory of the Romans. This scene of peace and plenty was suddenly changed into a desert; and the prospect of the smoking ruins could alone distinguish the solitude of nature from the desolation of man.

The flourishing city of Mentz was surprised and destroyed; and many thousand Christians were inhumanly massacred in the church. Worms perished after a long and obstinate siege; Strasburg, Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, experienced the cruel oppression of the German yoke; and the consuming flames of war spread from the banks of the Rhine over the greatest part of the seventeen provinces of Gaul. That rich and extensive country, as far as the ocean, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, was delivered to the barbarians, who drove before them, in a promiscuous crowd, the bishop, the senator, and the virgin, laden with the spoils of their houses and altars,” ii. 230. In reference, also, to the invasion of Alaric, and the particular nature of thee desolation depicted under the first trumpet, a remarkable passage which Mr. Gibbon has quoted from Claudian, as describing the effects of the invasion of Alaric, may be here introduced. “The old man,” says he, speaking of Claudian, “who had passed his simple and innocent life in the neighborhood of Verona, was a stranger to the quarrels both of kings and of bishops; his pleasures, his desires, his knowledge, were confined within the little circle of his paternal farm; and a staff supported his aged steps on the same ground where he had sported in infancy. Yet even this humble and rustic felicity (which Claudian describes with so much truth and feeling) was still exposed to the undistinguishing rage of war.

Ingentem meminit parvo qui germine quercum

Aequaevumque videt consenuisse nemus.

A neighboring wood born with himself he sees

And loves his old contemporary trees.

- Cowley.

His trees, his old contemporary trees, must blaze in the conflagration of the whole country; a detachment of Gothic cavalry must sweep away his cottage and his family; and the power of Alaric could destroy this happiness which he was not able either to taste or to bestow. ‹Fame,‘ says the poet, ‹encircling with terror or gloomy wings, proclaimed the march of the barbarian army, and filled Italy with consternation,‘” ii. 218. And,

(4) as to the extent of the calamity, there is also a striking propriety in the language of the symbol as applicable to the invasion of Alaric. I do not suppose, indeed, that it is necessary, in order to find a proper fulfillment of the symbol, to be able to show that exactly one-third part of the empire was made desolate in this way; but it is a sufficient fulfillment if desolation spread over a considerable portion of the Roman world - as if a third part had been destroyed. No one who reads the account of the invasion of Alaric can doubt that it would be an apt description of the ravages of his arms to say that a third part was laid waste. That the desolations produced by Alaric were such as would be properly represented by this symbol may be fully seen by consulting the whole account of that invasion in Gibbon, ii. 213-266.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-8.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 8:7". "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

The first angel sounded,.... Or blew his trumpet:

and there followed hail and fire, mingled with blood; somewhat like one of the plagues of Egypt, Exodus 9:23; in which was hail mingled with fire, only no blood, but what was caused by its fall on man and beast. Some have thought the Arian heresy is here intended, which may well enough agree with the time; and which may be compared to "hail", for the mischief it did to the vines, the churches; and because of the violence with which it came, and the chillness of affection to Christ and his people, which it brought on professors of religion; and the barrenness which followed upon it, it making men barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ Jesus; and to "fire", because of the wrath, contentions, animosities, and divisions it occasioned among those who were called Christians: and "blood" may be brought into the account, since the like persecutions under Constantius and Valens were raised against the orthodox on account of it as were against the Christians under the Heathen emperors: and this storm fell upon "the earth"; the whole Roman empire; for even all the world was once said to be Arian, except one Athanasius; and particularly upon the carnal and earthly part of the church, who were seeking places and preferments under the Arian emperors: "and burnt up the third part of trees"; the trees of righteousness, the saints, particularly the doctors of the church, the tall cedars in Lebanon; who either seemed to be such, and were infected with this heresy, and destroyed by it, as many were; or were truly such, and were greatly oppressed, afflicted, and persecuted for not embracing it: and also "all green grass"; the common people, private Christians, weak believers, who had the truth of grace in them, and suffered much for not giving into this heresy; or who seemed to have it, but had it not, but withered away, being scorched up and destroyed with this pernicious notion: but rather this trumpet regards not the church, but the empire; and this storm of hail, fire, and blood, designs the irruption of the Goths into it, from the year 395, in which Theodosius died, to the year 408, under Radagaisus their general; with two hundred thousand of them, some say four hundred thousand, be entered and overrun all Italy, but was stopped and defeated by Stilicho; also Alaricus, king of the Goths, penetrated into Italy, came to Ravenna, and pitched his camp not far from Polentia, to whom the Emperor Honorius gave up France and Spain to make him easy, and that he might cease from his ravages and depredationsF8Cassiodor. Chronicon in Arcad. & Honor. 42. Petav. Rationar. Tempor. par. 1. l. 6. c. 10. p. 275. Hist. Eccl. Magdeburg. cent. 5. c. 16. p. 871. ; and these irruptions and devastations may be fitly expressed by hail, fire, and blood, just as the coming of the Assyrian monarch into the land of Israel is signified by a tempest of hail, and a destroying storm, Isaiah 28:2; and it is remarkable, as Mr. Daubuz observes, that Claudian the poetF9De Bello Getico, v. 174. p. 209. Ed. Barthii. , who lived at the time of Alarick's war, compares it to hail:

and they were cast upon the earth; the Roman empire, the continent more especially, as Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, which were particularly affected and distressed with these barbarous people:

and the third part of trees were burnt up; by which seem to be meant people of the higher rank, the richer sort of people, who suffered much in these calamities; see Isaiah 2:13; yea, princes, nobles, and rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical, who suffered much at this time, as JeromF11In Epitaph. Nepotian. fol. 9. I. , who was then living, testifies; and so "trees" are interpreted of kings, rulers, and governors, by the Targum on Isaiah 2:13; "the trees of the field", in Isaiah 55:12; are interpreted of kingdomsF12Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 50. 1. : the Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read before this clause, "and the third part of the earth was burnt"; that is, of the Roman empire:

and all green grass was burnt up; the common people, who may be compared to spires of "grass" for their multitude, being as it were innumerable; and to "green" grass, for their delightful, comfortable, and flourishing condition before these calamities came upon them; and for their weakness and impotency to withstand such powerful enemies; see Job 5:25; and these commonly suffer most when a country is overrun and plundered by an enemy.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(5) The first execution at the sound of the first angel, on the earth, that is, the inhabitants of the earth (by metonymy) and on all the fruits of it: as comparing this verse with the second part of (Revelation 8:9) does plainly declare.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-8.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The common feature of the first four trumpets is, the judgments under them affect natural objects, the accessories of life, the earth, trees, grass, the sea, rivers, fountains, the light of the sun, moon, and stars. The last three, the woe-trumpets (Revelation 8:13), affect men‘s life with pain, death, and hell. The language is evidently drawn from the plagues of Egypt, five or six out of the ten exactly corresponding: the hail, the fire (Exodus 9:24), the WATER turned to blood (Exodus 7:19), the darkness (Exodus 10:21), the locusts (Exodus 10:12), and perhaps the death (Revelation 9:18). Judicial retribution in kind characterizes the inflictions of the first four, those elements which had been abused punishing their abusers.

mingled with — A, B, and Vulgate read, Greek, “  …  IN blood.” So in the case of the second and third vials (Revelation 16:3, Revelation 16:4).

upon the earthGreek,unto the earth.” A, B, Vulgate, and Syriac add, “And the third of the earth was burnt up.” So under the third trumpet, the third of the rivers is affected: also, under the sixth trumpet, the third part of men are killed. In Zechariah 13:8, Zechariah 13:9 this tripartite division appears, but the proportions reversed, two parts killed, only a third preserved. Here, vice versa, two-thirds escape, one-third is smitten. The fire was the predominant element.

all green grass — no longer a third, but all is burnt up.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "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

7. The seven trumpet bearing angels are now ready on the stage of the celestial theater, prepared to sound. Pursuant to the sounding of the first trumpet, hail and fire, mingled with blood, are cast upon the earth, and terrible destruction follows.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/revelation-8.html.

People's New Testament

The first angel sounded. When the trumpet sounded there followed the wonderful scenes described. When the first trumpet is blown John beholds a mighty storm-cloud rush over the earth. From it pour hail and fire mingled with blood. They fall upon the earth and a third part is scorched and blasted. These terms indicate desolation by some kind of judgments. The scene of the desolation is "the earth," or the Roman Empire in John's use of the term. The blood indicates carnage. The scorched and blasted land indicates the devastation of destroying armies. The language implies a terrible destruction descending upon a third of the world known to John.

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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 8:7". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/revelation-8.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

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

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

Were cast (εβλητηeblēthē). First aorist passive singular because χαλαζαchalaza and πυρpur treated as neuter plural. “The storm flung itself on the earth” (Swete).

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

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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 8:7". "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

The first angel

Omit angel.

Hail and fire mingled with blood ( χάλαζα καὶ πῦρ μεμιγμένα αἵματι )

Insert ἐν inbefore αἵματι bloodInstead of “with blood” as A.V., and Rev., we should render “in blood.” The hailstones and fire-balls fell in a shower of blood. Compare the account of the plague of fire and hail in Egypt (Exodus 9:24) to which the reference is here, where the Septuagint reads and there was hail and the fire flaming in the hail. Compare Joel 2:30.

And the third part of the earth was burnt up

This is added by the best texts.

Green ( χλωρὸς )

See on pale, Revelation 6:8.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "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

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

And the first sounded — And every angel continued to sound, till all which his trumpet brought was fulfilled and till the next began. There are intervals between the three woes, but not between the four first trumpets.

And there was hail and fire mingled with blood, and there were cast upon the earth — The earth seems to mean Asia; Palestine, in particular. Quickly after the Revelation was given, the Jewish calamities under Adrian began: yea, before the reign of Trajan was ended. And here the trumpets begin. Even under Trajan, in the year114, the Jews made an insurrection with a most dreadful fury; and in the parts about Cyrene, in Egypt, and in Cyprus, destroyed four hundred and sixty thousand persons. But they were repressed by the victorious power of Trajan, and afterward slaughtered themselves in vast multitudes. The alarm spread itself also into Mesopotamia, where Lucius Quintius slew a great number of them. They rose in Judea again in the second year of Adrian; but were presently quelled. Yet in133they broke out more violently than ever, under their false messiah Barcochab; and the war continued till the year135, when almost all Judea was desolated. In the Egyptian plague also hail and fire were together. But here hail is to be taken figuratively, as also blood, for a vehement, sudden, powerful, hurtful invasion; and fire betokens the revenge of an enraged enemy, with the desolation therefrom.

And they were cast upon the earth — That is, the fire and hail and blood. But they existed before they were cast upon the earth. The storm fell, the blood flowed, and the flames raged round Cyrene, and in Egypt, and Cyprus, before they reached Mesopotamia and Judea.

And the third part of the earth was burnt up — Fifty well-fortified cities, and nine hundred and eighty-five well-inhabited towns of the Jews, were wholly destroyed in this war. Vast tracts of land were likewise left desolate and without inhabitant.

And the third part of the trees was burned up, and all the green grass was burned up — Some understand by the trees, men of eminence among the Jews; by the grass, the common people. The Romans spared many of the former: the latter were almost all destroyed. Thus vengeance began at the Jewish enemies of Christ's kingdom; though even then the Romans did not quite escape. But afterwards it came upon them more and more violently: the second trumpet affects the Roman heathens in particular; the third, the dead, unholy Christians; the fourth, the empire itself.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-8.html. 1765.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

7.] And the first blew his trumpet, and there took place hail and fire mingled in blood (i. e. the hail and the fire were mingled together (plur.) in blood, as their flux or vehicle; the stones of hail and the balls of fire (not lightning, as Ebr.) fell in a shower of blood, just as hail and fireballs commonly fall in a shower of rain. There is here manifestly an allusion to the plague of hail in Egypt, of which it is said that “the fire ran along upon the ground:” ἦν δὲ ἡ χάλαζα καὶ τὸ πῦρ φλογίζον ἐν τῇ χαλάζῃ, ref. Exod.: but with the addition of the blood. With regard to this latter, we may remark, that both here and under the vials, where the earth, seas, and rivers are again the objects of the first three judgments, blood is a feature common to all three. It appears rather to indicate a general character of the judgments, than to require any special interpretation in each particular case. In blood is life: in the shedding, or in the appearing, of blood, is implied the destruction of life, with which, as a consequence, all these judgments must be accompanied), and it was cast into the earth (towards the surface of the earth): and the third part (this expression first occurring here, it will be well once for all to enquire into its meaning in these prophecies. I may first say, that all special interpretations seem to me utterly to have failed, and of these none so signally as that of Mr. Elliott, who would understand it of a tripartite division of the Roman Empire at the time to which he assigns this judgment. It is fatal to this whole class of interpretations, that it is not said the hail, &c. were cast on a third part, but that the destruction occasioned by them extended to a third part of the earth on which they were cast. And this is most expressly declared to be so in this first case, by all green grass being also destroyed, not a third part: a fact of which Elliott takes no notice. It is this mixture of the fractional third with other designations of extent of mischief, which will lead us, I believe, to the right interpretation. We find it again under the third trumpet, where the star Wormwood is cast ἐπὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν ποταμῶν, καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς πηγὰς τε͂ ν ὑδάτων: the result being that τὸ τρίτον τῶν ὑδάτων was embittered. This lax usage would of itself lead us to suppose that we are not to look for strict definiteness in the interpretation. And if we refer to the prophecy in Zechariah 13:8 f., where the import is to announce judgment on a greater part and the escape of a remnant, we find the same tripartite division: καὶ ἔσται ἐν πάσῃ τῇ γῇ, λέγει κύριος, τὰ δύο μέρη αὐτῆς ἐξολοθρευθήσεται, καὶ ἐκλείψει, τὸ δὲ τρίτον ὑπολειφθήσεται ἐν αὐτῇ. καὶ διάξω τὸ τρίτον διὰ πυρός, κ. τ. λ. Nay, in the Apocalypse itself, we have τὸ τρίτον used where the sense can hardly but be similarly indefinite: e. g., under the sixth trumpet, ch. Revelation 9:15; Revelation 9:18, and Revelation 12:4, where it is said that the dragon’s tail σύρει τὸ τρίτον τῶν ἀστέρων τοῦ οὐρανοῦ: the use of the present shewing that it is rather a general power, than a particular event which is designated. Compare again the use of τὸ τέταρτον τῆς γῆς in ch. Revelation 6:8, and of τὸ δέκατον τῆς πόλεως in ch. Revelation 11:13. All these seem to shew, that such prophetic expressions are to be taken rather in their import as to amount, than in any strict fractional division. Here, for instance, I would take the pervading τὸ τρίτον as signifying, that though the judgment is undoubtedly, as to extent, fearful and sweeping, yet that God in inflicting it, spares more than he smites: two thirds escape in each case, while one is smitten) of the earth (i. e. plainly of the surface of the earth, and that, of the cultivated soil, which admitted of such a devastation) was burnt up (so that the fire prevails in the plague, not the hail nor the blood), and the third part of the trees (in all the earth, not in the third part) was burnt up, and all green grass (upon earth: no longer a third part: possibly because green grass would first and unavoidably every where scorch up at the approach of such a plague, whereas the hardier crops and trees might partially escape) was burnt up.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". 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 8:7". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-8.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 7. Hail and fire mingled with blood] Instead of the fire of love (saith Mr Forbes) mixed with the sweet rain of wholesome doctrine and spirit of Christian lenity, the fire of contention and frosty hailstones of destruction ruled all. Yea, so far herein were the bishops carried one against another, as it is monstrous what malice, falsehood, and cruelty they practised, especially in the time of Constans, Constantius, and Valens, the Arian emperors.

And the third part of trees] Men of mark.

And all green grass] Meaner men.

Were burnt up] Were tainted with errors and heresies, whereof this age was so fertile and full that (as Jerome speaketh) it was a witty thing to be a right believer.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 8:7. There followed hail, &c.— See the note on Revelation 8:2-5. Here is probably an allusion also to one of the plagues of Egypt, which was a destroying storm and tempest. See Exodus 9:23 <swordsearcher://bible/Ex9.23>. It is a just observation of Sir Isaac Newton, that, in the prophetic language, tempests, winds, or the motions of clouds, are put for wars; thunder; or the voice of a cloud, for the voice of a multitude; and storms of thunder and lightning, hail and overflowing rain, for a tempest of war, descending from the heavens and clouds politic. In like manner, the earth, animals, and vegetables, are put for the people of several nations and conditions: trees and green grass express the beauty and fruitfulness of a land; and, when the earth is an emblem of nations and dominions, may signify persons of higher rank, and those of common condition. Whether it was the intention of the prophetic style to be so particular, is not easy to determine; but it seems plain that it is designed to express some great calamities brought on the empire, when it is represented as a storm, destroying not only the green grass which is more easily blasted, but also a great part of the trees which are supposed more likely to withstand the violence of the storm; and it seems to point out these calamities as the effect of war and bloodshed throughout the Roman empire in the beginning of this period. Accordingly, says Bishop Newton, at the sounding of the first trumpet, the barbarous nations, like a storm of hail and fire mingled with blood, invade the Roman territories, and destroy the third part of trees, that is, the trees of the third part of the earth; and the green grass, that is, both old and young, high and low, rich and poor, together. Theododius the Great died in the year 395; and no sooner was he dead, than the Huns, Goths, and other barbarians, like hail for multitude, and breathing fire and slaughter, broke in upon the best provinces of the empire, both in the East and West, with greater success than they had ever done before. But by this trumpet were principally intended the irruptions and depredations of the Goths, under the conduct of the famous Alaric, who began his incursions in the same year 395; first ravaged Greece, then wasted Italy, besieged Rome, and was bought off at an exorbitant price; besieged it again in the year 410. Took and plundered the city, and set fire to it in several places, sparing neither religion, nor dignities, nor age, nor crying infants. "Among other calamities," says Philostorgius, (Hist. Eccles. 50. 2. 100. 7.) "dry heats, with flashes of flame and whirlwinds of fire, occasioned various and intolerable terrors; yea, and hail greater than could be held in a man's hand, fell down in several places, weighing about eight pounds." Well, therefore, might the prophet compare these incursions of the barbarians to "hail, and fire mingled with blood."

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-8.html. 1801-1803.

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

Revelation 8:7. “When the first angel sounded the trumpet, “there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth.” The plague is like that of Egypt, Exodus 9:24 sqq., only that with the hail and fire, i.e., masses of fire,(2464) there is no lightning;(2465) nor is there any thing said of a wind, as perhaps the Prester of Plin., H. N. ii. 49,(2466) but blood(2467) is to be added, with which both the hail and fire are mingled.(2468) The ἐν with αἵματι enables us to see the original meaning still more clearly, as, e.g., Revelation 6:8 : the blood appears as the mass wherein hail and fire are found.(2469) The expression μεμιγμ. ἐν αἳμ. does not give the idea of a “rain of blood.” Entirely distorted, however, is the explanation of Eichh.: “While the hail was falling, a shower also poured in the midst of flashes of lightning so rapidly following one another, that the shower itself seemed to be red with the reflected flames of the lightning.” The plague in this passage differs from that described in Exodus 9:24 sqq., also in the fact that there the devastation was wrought by the hail, but here by the fire: κατεκάη.

τὸ τριτον τῆς γῆς. De Wette properly thinks only of the surface of the earth, with that which is upon it. Yet neither the especially prominent trees,(2470) the third part of which are consumed, nor the green grass all of which is burned, are to be regarded upon only that third part of the earth; but besides the τρίτον τῆς γῆς, also ( καὶ) the third part of all the trees, and besides ( καὶ) all the grass (upon the whole earth).

To explain what is here beheld by John as in any way allegorical, and thus to bring out the assumed “meaning” of the whole, and of its individual features, is an undertaking, which, since it has no foundation in the text, can lead only to what is arbitrary. Beda, according to whom there is described in Revelation 8:7 the destruction of the godless in general, refers the entire portrayal to “the punishment of hell.” Luther, who begins in general with chs. 7 and 8. the prophecy of spiritual tribulations, i.e., of heresies, and then progresses to the Papacy, thinks here of Tatian and the Encratites. Grotius says, “The first trumpet explains the cause of the rest,” and explains χάλαζα = “the hardening of the hearts of the Jews;” πῦρ μεμ. ἐν αῖμ. = “sanguinary rage.” “Civil insurrections”(2471) and wars are suggested, not only by those who everywhere find the Romano-Judaic disturbances, but also by Beng.(2472) and Hengstenb.(2473) Vitr. refers to the plague and famine in the times of Decius and Gallus.(2474) Stem explains persecutions of the Church by the heathen, erroneous doctrines,(2475) and worldly wars in the Roman Empire. Ebrard understands the spiritual famine as it occurs in such Catholic lands as have rejected the light of the Reformation.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-8.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 8:7. πρῶτος) ἄγγελος(91) is supplied in the text of Andreas: for thus the beginning of the 8th discourse required with him. Erasmus followed that: Wolf defended it. But the Greek copies of the New Testament (all, as we may suppose) omit ἄγγελος. And this agrees with the very intimate connection which exists between ver. 6 and 7, especially urging on the first angel. In the mention of the following angels with trumpets, ἄγγελος is expressed, by reason of the longer intervals between the discourse and the events. That the event of the trumpets began a very short time after the writing of the book, is evident from this, that the sealing defended the servants of God against the plagues which followed, not under the seals, but under the trumpets, and under the very trumpet of the first angel. Add, that the sealing precedes the opening of the seventh seal. But the seals begin immediately after the giving of the Apocalypse: therefore the sealing also must proceed to come to pass presently after.

The trumpet of the first angel befittingly assails the Jews: and comprises the Jewish wars under Trajan and Adrian, on which the Hist. Annot. of S. R. Abbot Zeller on R. Abraham ben Dior Comment, rerum Rom., p. 69–79, are especially to be read. He copiously recounts the other writers, to which you may add Hottinger Hist. Eccl. N. T., sect. ii. p. 66, and of the ancients, Orosius, lib. vii. c. 12 and 13.— καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῆς κατεκάη) All authorities, or at least those which are entire, and have been thoroughly examined, and among them Andreas, exhibit this clause. But the book of Capnio was without it: and Erasmus follows the hiatus, and Wolf defends it. This clause is as readily omitted, as the following clause is by others, καὶ τὸ τρίτον τῶν δένδρων κατεκάη, namely, through the recurrence of the verb κατεκάη. Neither ought to be omitted:(92) and the former clause, respecting the burning of the earth, is to be retained; because the trumpet of the first angel especially refers to the earth (wherefore the passage, ch. Revelation 9:4, is not suitably compared with this one), and the earth comprises many other things besides trees and grass.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-8.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The first angel sounded; the first of the seven angels to whom the seven trumpets were given, Revelation 8:2, began to execute his commission; the consequents of which were

hail and fire mingled with blood, cast upon the earth: by which some understand the primitive church’s persecutions by the Jews and the heathen emperors; but these were over. Some understand God’s revenge upon the Jews; but this also was taken some hundreds of years since. Some understand unseasonable weather in many parts of the world; but we read nothing like this in history. Some understand contests happening in the church; others understand heresies. But I cannot but rather agree with the reverend Mr. Mede, who expounds it of great troubles, and blood, and slaughter which should happen; and thinks that this prophecy began to be fulfilled about the death of Theodosius, Anno 395. For in this very year (saith he) Alaricus the king of the Goths brake into Macedonia, with a great army went into Thessalia, and so into Achaia, Peloponnesus, Corinth, Argos, Sparta, burning, wasting, and ruining all places; and so went on till the year 400; then fell upon the eastern empire, and committed the same outrages in Dalmatia and Hungary; then went into Stiria and Bavaria, thence into Italy and to Venice. After this, in the year 404, these barbarous nations invaded Italy, and took divers places. In the year 406 the Vandals and Alans, with many others, invaded France, Spain, and Africa: all which he proveth from the testimony of Jerome, Ep. 3. 11. This he judgeth the effect of the first angel’s sounding, and to have been signified by the hail and fire mingled with blood, consonant to other scriptures. Isaiah, Isaiah 28:2, compareth Shalmaneser to a storm of hail; and, Isaiah 30:30, he so likeneth the ruin to come upon the Assyrians. By the

trees burnt up, are (saith he) the great and rich men to be understood, ordinarily in Scripture compared to trees, Isaiah 2:13 14:8 Zechariah 11:2; and by the

green grass, the ordinary common people. Thus he judgeth the effects of this first trumpet’s sounding to have been determined in fifteen years, viz. from the year 395 to 410.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". 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

сделались град и огонь, смешанные с кровью Возможно, это описание вулканических извержений, которые, естественно, могут быть результатом землетрясения, описанного в пятом стихе. Вырвавшиеся в небо во время извержения пар и вода могут легко сконденсироваться в град и выпасть на землю вместе с горящей лавой (ср. Исх. 9:13-25). Падающая вода, загрязненная пылью и газами, может иметь кроваво-красный цвет.

и третья часть дерев сгорела Лавинная буря приведет к сильным пожарам, которые уничтожат одну треть лесов.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-8.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hail-fire-blood; symbols of slaughter and ruin.

The third part; a definite part to denote a large part. Compare Ezekiel 5:2; Ezekiel 5:12.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-8.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

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

The first trumpet sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, mid all green grass was burnt up. I would beg, once for all, to observe, that these are all figurative expressions. The earth, means the place of action, the empire where Christ's Church is. The grass and trees therein are the people. So speaks the Prophet. The grass withereth the flower fadeth, surely the people is grass, Isaiah 40:7. Hence, by hail and fire mingled with blood, falling on the earth, or rather people, like the plagues of Egypt, Exodus 9:23-25 is implied, as then, God's judgments.

But the great point is to discover what these judgments were? Various have been the opinions of Commentators. Some supposing that the empire is intended, which; at this time, was divided into great parties. But I confess, that I, am inclined to think, that the empire was no more concerned in these judgments, than as it concerned the Church. For, however humiliating it may be to the pride of men, it is Zion, and Zion only, that is at the bottom of all God's designs in the earth. The putting down one empire, or the setting up of another, is only to bring about the Lord's purposes, concerning his Church and people. When this grand object is to be accomplished, the Lord makes what instrument be pleaseth, subservient to the work. An emperor, or a beggar, in raising, up, or throwing down, when the Church of Christ needs it, is the same.

One thing is certain, that under the era of the sounding of the first trumpet, the heresy of Arius received a deadly blow. The shower of all and fire mingled with blood, might well be said to represent the check which this awful heresy (of the denial of the threefold Persons in the Godhead, and the personal glory of Christ,) then received. And, well might such a storm be sent from the Lord. For the earth, on which the storm is said to have fallen, meaning the professing Church, was full of this awful heresy. A few only of God's hidden ones, comparatively speaking, being preserved from the taint of it. And there is somewhat very descriptive of the different parts of this storm, if we consider it in this point of view. For hail injures the vines and trees, and especially young plants, in their early budding. And heresies coming down upon a Church, cannot but induce great barrenness among it. Fire intimates the contention which is in all professing Churches, where a full, and finished salvation is not uniformly maintained. And blood, mingled with the fire, hath been known to follow the hot, and violent animosities, among men, who hold not the truth as it is in Jesus. Reader! do not dismiss your view of the dispensations under the first trumpet, until that you have gathered some sweet and precious instruction from it. It must have been a very awful time, when the Arian heresy very generally prevailed. As in nature, so in grace, hailstorms, and fire, and blood, are solemn things. What a mercy it was then, that God had a seed to serve him? Depend upon it, the same is now. Never, perhaps, a time more awful than the present. Men mingle up in societies, and smother their views of things, under the specious pretence, that if we preserve brotherly love towards each other, our views of Christ, and his great salvation; we may keep to ourselves. Hence that indifferency to divine things, and that zeal about trifles! Hence that smothering our real sentiments, in order to stand well with others. And men fancy they are doing God service, in joining the greatest enemies of Christ, who deny his Godhead, in order to promote, as they call it, the spread of the Gospel through the earth. Lord! preserve me from such delusions!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-8.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And the first sounded and there followed hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast on the land (or earth), and the third part of the land (or earth) was burnt up, and the third part of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.’

The first wind of earth has been released, specifically affecting trees (Revelation 7:1). In Exodus 9:24 there was ‘hail, and fire mingled with hail’ and plants of the earth were smitten (Exodus 9:31-32), indicating a great storm with hail and lightning and possibly thunderbolts, and the resulting fires burn up trees and vegetation. A similar thing happens here. Compare ‘hailstones and coals of fire’ (Psalms 18:13-14), similarly part of such a great storm. John would seem to have Exodus 9 in mind but replaces ‘hail’ with ‘blood’.

From where does John introduce such an idea? In Ezekiel 38:22 God says of Gog ‘I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood, and I will rain on him and on his hordes and upon the many peoples who are with him an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone’, John is thus taking these ideas and combining them with Exodus 9. This brings out that the prime significance of ‘blood’ here is death through the storms. Some have seen it as connected with Joel 2:30 which speaks of ‘blood and fire’ in connection with the future, ‘I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke’. But in context that more suggests devastation by pillaging armies. It may, however, be seen as also referring to extreme natural phenomena, and may thus have been in John’s mind for Joel 2:30 was connected by the early church with current events (Acts 2:10).

This whole picture suggests a procession of great storms, their devastating effects resulting in pestilence and death, and the mention of fire and brimstone stresses that they are to be seen as a judgment of God. Possibly, but not necessarily (it is apocalyptic language not to be taken literally) to be seen as connected with volcanic action. The mention of blood over against pestilence in Ezekiel refers to ‘death’ and includes the storm’s effects as it causes death and destruction (see also Ezekiel 14:19). Pestilence and death are closely related. The word for ‘death’ is regularly used in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) to translate the Hebrew word ‘deber’ which means destruction, plague, pestilence (1 Kings 8:37; Jeremiah 14:12).

This whole imagery may also have in mind the phenomenon of red rain which occurred in certain parts of the Mediterranean region. It may, however, be simply apocalyptic imagery suggesting widespread death. Or more probably it is the one seen with the other. There may also be the suggestion in it that they are receiving recompense for the blood of the martyrs which they have shed, their ‘blood’ being seen as poured on them in the judgments coming on them (compare Revelation 15:6).

Such great and devastating storms, and huge fires caused by lightning and thunderbolts, burning up swathes of countryside, occurred in John’s time and have occurred through history, and will continue to do so, exacting death tolls sometimes of great magnitude, although not many have reached this magnitude. Here we learn that such storms should be seen in their own way as judgments of God, as the releasing of the winds of earth, a further step towards and reminder of Christ’s Second Coming. There will no doubt be more. Every such severe catastrophe in nature is a pointer to the end. The whole message of Revelation is that however much things seem out of control, God is in control and working His purposes out.

‘And the third part of the earth (or land area) was burnt up, and the third part of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up’. This is apocalyptic language to bring out the severity of the situation and is a deliberate increase on ‘the fourth part’ in Revelation 6:8, stressing an even greater increase in death and devastation through these great fires and storms in the areas where they occur. However, it is in merciful contrast with the ‘two thirds’ of Zechariah 13:8 which applied to those who smite the shepherd and scatter the sheep, for they claimed to be God’s people and were therefore liable to greater punishment. Thus here justice is seen as tempered with mercy.

God would have been justified in destroying all, but he limits it to a third. Nature and man are both seen as controlled by God. It may be seen as occurring over time, with the devastation not all occurring at once. The mention of the destruction of trees and grass stresses that there will be resulting shortages for both man and beast. The ‘third part of the earth’, or it could equally be translated ‘of the land’, has in mind ‘the earth’ as known to John, not the whole world as we know it, and probably even means ‘of the land where the storms occur’. It indicates great devastation. But although the devastation is great, it is not necessarily worldwide. Within its sphere it is widespread and devastating. The word for ‘earth’ can also equally mean ‘land area’ (their concept of ‘the earth’ was different from ours). The mention of the fraction reminds us that God is allowing a powerful warning but has not yet determined to destroy the whole.

There have been such apocalyptic moments in history when particularly awful natural phenomena have caused devastating consequences on a huge scale, and in a lesser way such ‘natural’ phenomena as typhoons and hurricanes occur regularly. But we obtain hints of worse from ancient writings and from scientific studies. Any one of these, or all, could be in mind here. Revelation presents us with a pattern of suffering and woes which mankind must constantly face and is assuring us that they do not mean that things are out of control. They come and they go, but God’s purposes go forward and His people are not forgotten.

The Second Trumpet Sounds.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-8.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

THE SOUNDING OF THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (Chapters 8:7-9:21)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-8.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The first trumpet8:7

The scene shifts again, this time from heaven to earth. This first trumpet blast signaled the beginning of a judgment that involved hail, fire (lightning?), and blood (bloodshed? cf. Exodus 9:23-26; Ezekiel 38:22).

"Blood-red rain is not unknown in nature; in the spring of1901the daily journals contained accounts of this phenomenon, which was then being witnessed in Italy and the South of Europe, the result, it was said, of the air being full of particles of fine red sand from the Sahara." [Note: Swete, p110.]

This judgment resulted in the fiery destruction of one-third of the earth (cf. Ezekiel 5:2; Zechariah 13:8-9). Many less literal interpreters believe the fire represents judgment more generally and the one-third of the earth simply a large portion of humankind. This holocaust included a third of its trees and all of its grass. There are two explanations of how all the grass perishes here but in Revelation 9:4 we read that grass exists later. First, the grass may grow again since some time elapses between these two references. Second, it may only be the grass that is green that perishes now and what is now dormant and brown will be green when the events of Revelation 9:4 transpire. These judgments seem to be as literal as the plagues on Egypt were. There are many parallels with the Egyptian plagues.

"The OT prophets understood that the miracles of Egypt were to be repeated in the future (e.g, Isaiah 10:22-25; Isaiah 11:12-16; Isaiah 30:30; Jeremiah 16:14-15; Jeremiah 23:7-8; Ezekiel 38:22; Micah 7:15) ... At several points the prophet Amos uses God"s miraculous work of deliverance from Egypt as a reference point for the way He will deal with His people in the future (cf. Amos 2:10; Amos 4:10; Amos 8:8-9; Amos 9:5-7)." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p16.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "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 8:7. And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire mingled in blood, and it was cast upon the earth. The language used both in this and the following judgments takes us back to the Old Testament, and more particularly to the plagues of Egypt. Pharaoh, who was visited by these plagues, was always to Israel the symbol of the cruel and oppressive treatment by the world of the children of God; while the judgments of the Almighty upon Egypt, vindicating His own glory and effecting the deliverance of His people, became types of the manner in which the same great ends shall be effected in every age of the Church’s history. But the plagues of Egypt are not followed in their order, nor are they alone resorted to for the imagery of these visions. All the figures of judgment used in the Old Testament are familiar to the mind of the Apocalyptic Seer, and he uses them in the manner which he thinks best adapted to his plan. That of this verse is founded on Exodus 9:23-25, where we are told that ‘the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous; . . . and the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.’ In some respects the judgment of the first trumpet seems less terrible than that on Egypt. In other respects the terrors of the latter are increased. More particularly is this the case with the mention of ‘blood,’ for the fire and hail are not mingled ‘with’ blood. They are mingled ‘in’ blood; that is, the blood is what we see; but beneath its surface are hailstones and coals of fire. It seems unwise to attempt to connect particular judgments, such as wars or pestilences or the incursions of barbarians or the demolition of cities, with the special things mentioned as objects of terror either in this or the following visions. By no enumeration could the Seer have given symbolical expression to all the variety of ways in which the world has suffered because it has refused the revelation of Divine truth offered it in Christ Jesus, and has persecuted those by whom, at one time in word, at another in life, that truth has been received and faithfully proclaimed. Any selection from these would, therefore, have been arbitrary, or might even have misled us as to the relative importance of different Divine judgments. It is more natural to think that these objects of terror simply denote judgment in general, and that they are to be interpreted neither of classes of judgments nor of individuals of a class.—The effect of the judgments spoken of is, that the third part of the earth, that is, of the surface of the earth, and the third part of the trees, and all green grass, were burnt up.

Again, as at chap. Revelation 7:1 (see note), we are not to interpret these words in any specially metaphorical sense. The figure, as belonging to the third part of the earth, would indeed prove quite incongruous if we did, for the trees would necessarily perish when that portion of its surface was destroyed, and the statement of the next clause, that only a third part of the trees was burnt up, would be incorrect. Neither does it seem as if any particular meaning were intended by the ‘third part’ mentioned. It was necessary to fix upon some fractional part in order to leave room for the heavier judgments that are yet to come, and the ‘third’ may have been selected for no more important reason than that the numeral three plays so large a part in the general structure of the Apocalypse, or that the instruments of judgment mentioned immediately before bad been three in number.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-8.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 8:7. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood — A proper representation of great commotions and disorders, attended with much bloodshed, and the destruction of many of the several ranks and conditions of men. “A thunder-storm or tempest, that throws down all before it, is a fit metaphor to express the calamities of war, whether from civil disturbances or foreign invasion, which often, like a hurricane, lay all things waste as far as they reach. Accordingly, in the language of prophecy, this is a usual representation thereof. So the Prophet Isaiah expresses the invasion of Israel by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, Isaiah 28:2. And thus he expresses the judgments of God in general, Isaiah 29:6. And in this way Ezekiel expresses the judgments of God on the prophets who deceived the people, Ezekiel 13:13.” — Lowman. Trees here, says Mr. Waple, according to the prophetic manner of speech, signify the great ones, and grass, by the like analogy, signifies the common people. The reader will wish to see how this prophetic representation was verified in corresponding history. Let it be recollected then, as was stated in the notes on the opening of the sixth seal, Revelation 6:12-17, that the former period put an end to the persecution of heathen Rome by the empire of Constantine, about A.D. 323. Then was a time of peace and rest to the empire, as well as the church; which answers well to the time appointed for sealing the servants of God in their foreheads. But this is represented as a short time, and the angels soon prepared themselves to sound when there would be new commotions to disturb the peace of the empire and church. Constantine came to the whole power of the empire about A.D. 323, and continued possessed of that power about fifteen years, namely to A.D. 337. During all this time the empire enjoyed a state of tranquillity unknown for many years; there were no civil disorders; and though the Goths made some incursions into Mysia, the most distant parts of the Roman dominions, they were soon driven back into their own country. The profession of Christianity was greatly encouraged, and the converts to it from idolatry were innumerable; so that the face of religion was in a very short time quite changed throughout the Roman empire. Thus the providence of God, notwithstanding all opposition, brought the Christian Church into a state of great security and prosperity.

But on the death of Constantine the state of things was soon altered. He was succeeded by his three sons in different parts of his empire; by Constantine in Gaul, Constans in Italy, and Constantius in Asia and the East. Constantius in a short time sacrificed his father’s near relations to his jealousy and power; differences arose between Constantine and Constans, and the latter surprised the former and put him to death. Soon after Constans himself was put to death by Magnentius, who assumed the empire. At the same time Constantius, in the East, was hard pressed by the Persians; but apprehending greater danger from Magnentius, he marched against him; and the war between them was so fierce and bloody, that it almost ruined the empire. A little after this bloody intestine war all the Roman provinces were invaded at once, from the eastern to the western limits, by the Franks, Almans, Saxons, Quades, Sarmatians, and Persians; so that, according to Eutropius, when the barbarians had taken many towns, besieged, others, and there was everywhere a most destructive devastation, the Roman empire evidently tottered to its fall. It is a remarkable part of this history, that this storm of war fell so heavy on the great men of the empire, and in particular on the family of Constantine, though so likely to continue, seeing his own children and near relations were so many: and yet, in twenty-four years after his death these commotions put an end to his posterity, in the death of his three sons; and in three years more extinguished his family by the death of Julian in a battle against the Persians. The following reigns of Jovian, Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian, to the time when Gratian nominated Theodosius to the empire, are one continued series of trouble, by the invasion of the several provinces of the empire, and bloody battles in defence of them, for about the space of sixteen years, from the year 363 to 379. Thus Lowman, whose interpretation and application of this part of the prophecy are confirmed by Bishop Newton, save that the bishop considers this first trumpet as comprehending several events subsequent to those which Lowman includes in it. At the sounding of the first trumpet, says he, the barbarous nations, like a storm of hail and fire mingled with blood, invade the Roman territories, and destroy the third part of trees — That is, the trees of the third part of the earth; and the green grass — That is, both old and young, high and low, rich and poor together. Theodosius the Great died in the year 395; and no sooner was he dead, than the Huns, Goths, and other barbarians, like hail for multitude, and breathing fire and slaughter, broke in upon the best provinces of the empire, both in the east and west, with greater success than they had ever done before. But by this trumpet, I conceive, were principally intended the irruptions and depredations of the Goths, under the conduct of the famous Alaric, who began his incursions in the same year, 395; first ravaged Greece, then wasted Italy, besieged Rome, and was bought off at an exorbitant price; besieged it again in the year 410, took and plundered the city, and set fire to it in several places. Philostorgius, who lived and wrote of these times, saith, that “the sword of the barbarians destroyed the greatest multitude of men; and among other calamities, dry heats, with flashes of flame and whirlwinds of fire, occasioned various and intolerable terrors; yea, and hail greater than could be held in a man’s hand, fell down in several places, weighing as much as eight pounds.” Well therefore might the prophet compare these incursions of the barbarians to hail and fire mingled with blood. Claudian, in like manner, compares them to a storm of hail, in his poem on this very war. Jerome also saith, of some of these barbarians, “that they came on unexpectedly everywhere, and marching quicker than report, spared not religion, nor dignities, nor age, nor had compassion on crying infants: those were compelled to die, who had not yet begun to live.” So truly did they destroy the trees and the green grass together. These great calamities, which in so short a time befell the Roman empire after its being brought to the profession of Christianity, and in particular the family of Constantine, by whose instrumentality the great change in favour of Christianity had been effected, was a new and great trial of the faith, constancy, and patience of the church. As it became the wisdom and justice of Divine Providence to punish the wickedness of the world, which caused the disorders of those times, Christ was pleased in his goodness to forewarn the church of it, that it might learn to justify the ways of Providence, and not to faint under the chastisement which the abuse of the best religion in the world had rendered both proper and necessary: and when probably such afflictions, coming so soon after their great deliverance from the persecutions of heathen Rome, would be very unexpected, and the more discouraging.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The first Angel sounded, &c. From this place to the eleventh verse of chapter xx. the visions are differently expounded. Some interpret them, without applying them to any particular events, as general comminations, in a mystical and allegorical sense, of the many persecutions which God permits to happen to his Church. Others think that they are all predictions, which shall not happen till a little time before the end of the world, in antichrist's time, after which will follow the day of the general judgment, the punishment of the wicked, and the reward of the just. But there are others, both ancient and later writers, as in particular Alcazar, the bishop of Meaux (Bossuet,) Pere Alleman, to whom we may add among the Protestants, Dr. Hammond, whom the bishop of Meaux calls the most learned of all the English Protestants. According to the interpretations which these writers have followed, these predictions of St. John (except the last persecution, when the devil shall be let loose, Chap. xx. 7, in the time of the great antichrist) have already happened in the three first ages [centuries], during the persecutions of the heathen emperors, as I shall briefly take notice. Hail therefore, and fire, blood, falling of stars, &c. some look upon as mystical representations, to signify that a great many trials and persecutions shall happen to the good, and a great many punishments and chastisements shall fall upon the wicked; with this grand difference that the sufferings of the good shall be short and momentary, and their reward a crown of endless glory; but the wicked, if any of them escape punishments in this world, can never escape eternal torments with the devils in the next. 2. It is also a very common opinion, that all these disasters shall happen in a great measure, literally about antichrist's time, a very short time before the end of the world. 3. Others apply all these events to the judgments which God's justice exercised either upon the Jews, in the time of Trajan and Adrian, or upon the heathen Roman emperors, and upon the pagan city of Rome, for persecuting the servants of God. (Witham) --- As these Angels with their trumpets, according to Pastorini, denote the sufferings of the Church during the seven ages that it lasts, it may not be improper to point out the time, according to his opinion, when each Angel sounded the trumpet. Thus the first trumpet denotes the persecutions of the first three centuries, in which the Christians suffered death by the sword, (denoted by blood) by being stoned, (denoted by the hail) and by fire, when the third part of the trees were burnt, that is, the third part of the clergy were destroyed. (Pastorini)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-8.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

God used hail and fire against his enemies and in judgment often in the Old Testament. (Job 38:22-23; Isaiah 28:1-2; Isaiah 30:30-31) The blood may be representative of the blood of the innocent martyrs being poured back on the wicked. (Genesis 4:10; Genesis 9:6; Isaiah 26:21; Psalms 79:10) A third part of the earth is, of course, a wide area, yet limited. Thus, we see the warning nature of this trumpet.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-8.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

angel. Omit.

followed = came to be, as Revelation 8:1.

earth. Add, with all texts, "and the third part of the earth was burnt up".

third part. See App-197.

trees. As in Revelation 7:1, Revelation 7:3; Revelation 9:4.

burnt up. As Revelation 17:16; Revelation 18:8.

green. Greek. chloros. Occurs: Revelation 6:8 (pale); Revelation 9:4. Mark 6:39.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "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

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

The common feature of the first four trumpets is, the judgments affect natural objects, accessories of life-the earth, trees, grass, sea, rivers, fountains, light of the sun, moon, and stars. The last three, the woe-trumpets (Revelation 8:13), affect men with pain, death, and hell. The language is from the plagues of Egypt, five or six out of the ten exactly corresponding: the hail, fire, WATER turned to blood, darkness, locusts, perhaps the death (Exodus 7:19; Exodus 9:24; Exodus 10:12; Exodus 10:21; Revelation 9:18). Judicial retribution in kind characterizes the four first-those elements which were abused punishing their abusers.

Mingled with. A B 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, read, 'IN blood.' So in the second and third vials ( Revelation 16:3-4).

Upon the earth - `unto the earth.' A B 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, Syriac, add, 'and the third of the earth was burnt up.' So under the third trumpet, the third of the rivers is affected; also, under the sixth trumpet, the third part of men are killed. In Zechariah 13:8-9, this tripartite division appears-two parts killed, a third preserved. Here vice versa-two-thirds escape, one-third is smitten. Fire was the predominant element.

All green grass - no longer a third, but all is burnt up.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "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

(7) The first angel . . .—Better, And the first sounded, and there took place hail, and fire mingled in blood, and it was cast upon the earth; and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. The reference to the Egyptian plagues is obvious: “There was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous . . . and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field” (Exodus 9:23-25). This resemblance to the history of Israel in Egypt gives us the hint of the true meaning. It carries us back to the past, and asks us to remember the mighty works of God in old times. It reminds us that He who bade Joshua cause the trumpets to be sounded by the walls of Jericho, and who delivered His people from the tyranny of Pharaoh, is the same God, mighty to save His people, to break the fetters of ignorance, and to cast down the high walls of pride and sin. But it is needful to observe the variation as well as the resemblance. This plague differs from the Egyptian in the introduction of blood. This variation carries it out of the possibility of literal interpretations. We begin to think of the strongly figurative language of Joel: “the blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke” (Joel 2:30); and we call to mind that St. Peter announced that the fulfilment of this prophecy of Joel commenced with the Pentecostal effusion of the Holy Spirit. Then the war trumpet of deliverance had been sounded; then the process of the earth’s emancipation had begun; then commenced the series of sorrows and judgments which the obstinate love of men for darkness rather than light would bring upon themselves; and through the operation of these the kingdom of Christ would be established. The first judgment falls upon the trees and grass. Beneath its touch the grass withereth, the flower fadeth. Thus the day of the Lord is upon the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; upon every one that is proud and lofty (Isaiah 2:12-13; and 1 Peter 1:24). It matters little in what way this humbling of human pride takes place. The world is full of illustrations. The loftiness of Jerusalem was lowered when the weakness of her self-sufficient religiousness was revealed and her Pharisaic pride was exposed; the loftiness of Rome was humbled when the Gothic invaders, like a storm of hail (so they were described by Claudian), devastated the empire. These are illustrations; but the prophecy is for all time, for the day of the Lord is upon “all that are proud.” We must not press the phrase “the third part” too closely: it clearly is designed to remind us that in wrath God remembers mercy, and that while He humbles all He does not utterly destroy. (Comp. Zechariah 13:8.) Is this the baptism of fire which withers the florid, pretentious, but fruitless religions of mankind?

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
hail
16:21; Exodus 9:23-25,33; Joshua 10:11; Psalms 11:5,6; 18:12,13; 78:47,48; Psalms 105:32; Isaiah 28:2; 29:6; 30:30; 32:19; Ezekiel 13:10-15; 38:22; Matthew 7:25-27
cast
16:2
the third
9,10,12; 6:8; 9:4; Isaiah 2:12,13; 10:17,18; James 1:11; 1 Peter 1:24
Reciprocal: Isaiah 15:6 - the grass;  Isaiah 28:17 - and the hail;  Isaiah 42:15 - GeneralEzekiel 13:13 - and great;  Zechariah 13:8 - two;  Zechariah 14:3 - GeneralRevelation 7:2 - to whom;  Revelation 8:8 - the third;  Revelation 9:15 - for to;  Revelation 11:19 - and great;  Revelation 14:2 - of a;  Revelation 17:14 - shall make

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-8.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

FIRST TRUMPET.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-8.html.

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

It should be remembered through verse12that the plagues symbolized represent the reverses that came upon the Roman Empire which finally resulted in the downfall of the government. The items mentioned are figurative or symbolic, but they are worded as if literal calamities were being imposed. That is because in a book where certain facts of an immaterial character are predicted in symbols, the events have to be reported as if they were happening literally. Thus we have a hail and electrical storm that causes bloodshed and scorching of much of the vegetation.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-8.html. 1952.

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

The First Trumpet Sounds - The sounding of the first trumpet involves hail and fire mingled with blood.

The First Trumpet Interpreted as World War I- Irvin Baxter suggests this may be a reference to World War I. The "hail and fire mingled with blood" may be the description of gun battles from the eyes of a first-century writer. The burnt up trees and grass may refer to the military strategy called the "Scorched Earth Policy," in which an army destroys anything that can be used by the enemy.

Revelation 8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/revelation-8.html. 2013.

Harold Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

1. THE FIRST TRUMPET--verse7--A Third of the EARTH WAS BURNT UP.

The point is that although man"s sin brings judgment on himself God"s mercy LIMITS the destruction man has inevitably brought on himself. God LIMITS the destruction to one third because He seeks to turn men to repentance.

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

The First Trumpet

Revelation 8:7. And the first (angel) sounded. And there was a hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth. And the third part of the earth was burnt, and the third part of the trees was burnt, and all green grass was burnt. John beholds concentrated in a great and fiery hail-storm the desolations of the war, which through the course of centuries constantly bursts forth anew against the world that is at enmity with God. The prototype was the seventh plague, that fell upon Pharaoh, the malignant enemy of the people of God, whom God raised up, that he might shew his power, and have his name proclaimed throughout the earth—the first type of the world-power, on which God's avenging might manifested itself, as a prelude to all the succeeding judgments, which he should hereafter execute for the benefit of his kingdom. "And the Lord," it is said in Exodus 9, "caused it to rain hail over the land of Egypt. And there was hail and fire mingled with the hail. . . . And the hail smote all the grass of the field, and brake all the trees of the field."

The fire is here, according to Revelation 8:8-9, not the expression of the wrath of God, but the fire of wrath and war, which was certainly kindled by the anger of God.

The "mingled with blood" gives for both the hail and the fire the more specific determination—shews, that the storm of hail and the fire are emblems of war in its desolating and consuming property.[Note: Bossuet: "The desolation is vividly represented by the comparison of a beautiful and rich country, which is laid waste by hail." Bengel: "A mighty, compact, widespread, sudden irruption and calamity." Mede: "John has mingled blood contrary to nature, that he might indicate how the whole of this image points to slaughter."]Different plagues could not, as Vitringa supposes, be denoted by hail, fire, and blood. He conceives the hail to indicate famine, the fire pestilence, the blood war. In that case we should be thrown upon conjecture in the two first. Then, in the representation of the effects, it could not be simply the being burnt that would be mentioned. It is a further objection, that all the other plagues in this group bear a simple character, and that they have generally to do with war; and so, indeed, that the difference in the particular trumpets only consists in the diversity of the symbols. The same matter is represented in a series of manifold, frightful images, which should fill the mind and fancy with holy dread before the Lord, as going to manifest himself in the approaching war of the world.

This prophecy is not more definite than that of our Lord, "Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars," and "nation shall rise against nation."[Note: Vitringa was upon the right track when he remarked: "It is perhaps not improper to suppose, that this trumpet does not unfold to us some divine judgment upon the Roman empire of one period, but a certain species of divine judgment, to be expected at various periods after the times of John."]Viewed as a special prediction, it would be very defective, and would fail in its end. As it has respect to the whole earth, this shews that we are not to limit it to any single war, but that we have, so to speak, a species before us personified as an individual. All wars bear a particular character. A limitation exists only in the starting-point of the book. According to this, the scourge of war comes into consideration only in so far as it respects the opposition of the heathen world to the kingdom of Christ, with which ch. Revelation 9:20 agrees. Hence the event, to which Bengel refers this prophecy as a special prediction, the Jewish war under Trajan and Hadrian, does not at all come within it. The compass of this judgment reaches as far as the opposition of the earth to heaven, which always calls forth a reaction on the part of the latter—as far as the opposition of the heathen world to the kingdom of God. But since this in the sequel does not continue within the limits of the Roman empire, since afterwards the ten kings trod in this respect in its footsteps, and still again after the thousand years of Christ's dominion, the great party of Gog and Magog, it would be arbitrary here to confine the representation of punishment to the Roman empire. This, however, is to step beyond the circle of this group, which, like the preceding one, still knows nothing except the Roman empire.

As hail, fire, and blood, are employed to represent the judgment, the effect may be described by a single verb, which has immediate respect to the image of fire. The object of the judgment is the whole earth; but only a third part of the earth is destroyed by it, because it is still not the final judgment.

The clause: and the third part of the earth was burnt, which is wanting in Luther, is necessary on this account alone, because the third part of the earth here forms the contrast to the third part of the sea, the rivers, the sun in what follows. The threefold division of the destroyed corresponds to the threefold division of the instruments of destruction. The following context describes more exactly what on the earth was affected by the burning. The omission in a few manuscripts, and these not important, has been occasioned merely by the resemblance of the three sentences.

By the trees are denoted the high and mighty. In the Old Testament the image had become quite an established one. The grass indicates the people, according to Isaiah 40:7, "Surely the people is grass." Trees and grass occur also in ch. Revelation 9:4, as a designation of the high and low, princes and subjects. It is better to refer the predicate green to the cheerful bloom and prosperity, which was to continue till the very moment of the plague's bursting forth (comp. Job 5:25; Psalms 72:16), than to the freshness of youth. With the grass also the third part only is to be understood as being burnt. In the same way, with a limitation determined by the context, the all is frequently found in the account given of the Egyptian plagues.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-8.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Four Creational Trumpets, Revelation 8:7-12.

THE FIRST TRUMPET—The scorched earth, Revelation 8:7.

7.Hail’ fire’ blood—Based upon the hail plague, Exodus 19:18-25, with fearful variations. That was “hail, and fire mingled with hail,” “and the fire ran along the ground.” But in that, the “hail” was the main destroyer, in this, the fire. Here the fall of “hail” indicates descent from God; the fire is the token of wrath, the blood of death. The third part in each of the four mundane plagues, being the trinitarian number, indicates the divine limitation of the evil; and the proportion of one third indicates that mercy spares more than wrath destroys, even in this sin-filled world.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-8.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 8:7. Hail and fire, as in the fourth Egyptian plague, but with the added O.T. horror (see reff.) of a shower of blood instead of rain (see Chag. 12 b, where the sixth heaven is the storehouse of hail, storm, and noxious vapours, enclosed within gates of fire; and specially Sibyll. ver 377, ). For similar atmospheric phenomena, see on Revelation 6:8; Revelation 6:12. Portents of this abnormal nature are recorded for the seventh decade of the first century by Roman historians, but there is no need to see specific historical allusions in prophecy upon this grand scale. The sight of atmospheric fire always signified to the ancients the approach of various disasters, especially when stars fell. Wetstein cites Bara Mezia, 59, 1; dixit R. Eliezer, percussus est mundus, tertia nempe pars olearum, tertia pars tritici, et tertia hordei. The third is a primitive Semitic (Babylonian: Jastrow, 107 f.) division, which has its roots also in Iranian religion (Yasht, xiii. 3, Yasna, xi. 7, etc.), where the tripartite division of earth, derived originally from the threefold division of earth, atmosphere, and universe, is older than the sevenfold.— , see Schol. ( ) on Thuc. ii. 19 . Pausan. ii. 365 (cf. iv. 166 f.) mentions among the phenomena attending earthquakes heavy rain or prolonged drought, the discolouring of the sun’s disc, etc.; “springs mostly dry up. Sudden gusts sometimes sweep over the country, blowing the trees down. At times, too, the sky is shot with sheets of flame. Stars are seen of an aspect never known before, and strike consternation into all beholders.”

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-8.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

7. Hall and fire, mixed with blood. These came pouring down. Symbolic of destructive land disasters, which our Lord sends against those who persecute his church. All land disasters should be viewed in this light.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 8:7". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-8.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.