Revelation 8

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

THE SEVENTH SEAL AND THE

BEGINNING OF THE TRUMPET JUDGMENTS

INTRODUCTION:

In verse 1, the opening of the seven seals resumes. The first six seals have already been opened in chapter 6, and chapter 7 forms an interlude between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals.

We see the -

I. THE OPENING OF THE SEVENTH SEAL - 8:1

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:1 And when he [i.e. the Lamb] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

Contained in the seventh seal are all the subsequent developments leading to the second coming of Christ, including the seven trumpets and the seven bowl judgments. The seventh seal includes everything that occurs from 8:1 - 19:21.

The seven trumpets are the seventh seal, and the seven bowls are the seventh trumpet.

The silence in heaven for about the space of half an hour dramatizes the important character of the seventh seal. The case of the word translated half an hour indicates that the silence lasted uninterrupted throughout this half hour.

We see -

II. THE INTRODUCTION OF THE SEVEN ANGELS - 8:2-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:2-6 - (2) And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (3) And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. (4) And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (5) And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. (6) And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

What John saw was the seven angels which stood before God.

Which stood is the ones who have stood. It is clear that they had already taken their position of standing before God when John first saw them, but we have no way of knowing how long they had been there. They have not been mentioned previously.

Before God indicates where they had stood and means in the sight of God or in the presence of God.

To them [i.e. to the seven angels] were given seven trumpets. Each one of these seven angels was given a trumpet.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Another angel is another angel of the same kind. This angel is like the other seven who had been given trumpets but is not one of the seven.

Some commentators regard this angel as the Lord Jesus Christ in His work as High Priest, but this cannot be because He would not be another angel of the same kind.

Came indicates that this angel had not been there previously but does not indicate where he had come from.

And stood at the altar. This altar has been seen previously in 6:9 under which were seen the souls of those slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they had.

Having (i.e. holding) a golden censer. It is something in which incense was burned, and it was made of gold or covered with gold.

And there was given unto him much incense is literally much incense was given to him [i.e. was given to this angel]. He would be able to burn this incense in his censer.

Incense in Old Testament worship was composed of the four spices mentioned in Exodus 30:34-38 and was regarded as so holy that the people of Israel were forbidden to use it for any common purpose.

Exodus 30:34-38 - (34) And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte [i.e. STACK-tee], and onycha [i.e. ON-ee-ka], and galbanum [i.e. GAL-bah-num]; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight [i.e. there shall be equal amounts of each]: (35) And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection [i.e. a compound] after the art of the apothecary [i.e. of the perfumer], tempered together [i.e. salted], pure and holy: (36) And thou shalt beat some of it very small [i.e. fine], and put of it [i.e. put some of it] before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation [i.e. in the tabernacle of meeting], where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. (37) And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof [i.e. according to the composition of it]: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. (38) Whosoever shall make like unto that [i.e. whoever makes any like it], to smell thereto [i.e. to smell it], shall even be cut off from his people.

The incense, which speaks of the perfections of Christ, is inseparably bound up with any ministry of intercession; and the believer's petitions are coupled with the worthiness of Christ in their presentation at the heavenly altar, testifying at once to the necessity of praying in the name of Christ and to the efficacy of such prayer when faithfully ministered on earth.

Much incense was given unto this additional angel that [i.e. in order that or for the purpose that] he [i.e. the angel] should offer it [i.e. offer the incense] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Should offer it [i.e. should offer the incense] is the word ordinarily translated give but which is occasionally translated put or place. It has been translated should offer because of its sacrificial nature.

With the prayers of all saints is with the prayers of all the saints.

The before prayers in the Greek text indicates that this is the sum total of all the prayers of the saints. None are omitted or forgotten.

The also appears before saints in the Greek text in order to indicate that this is the sum total of all the saints there are. None are left out.

Upon the golden altar which was before the throne indicates where the incense and the prayers of all the saints were to be put, placed, or offered.

Golden indicates that the altar was made of gold or covered with gold.

Which was before the throne indicates that the altar was located in front of the throne upon which God the Father was seated.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

The smoke of the incense is the smoke produced by the burning of the incense in the censer.

Which came with the prayers of the saints indicates that the prayers of the saints accompanied the smoke of the incense as it ascended. The smoke from the burning incense and the prayers of the saints were mixed together.

Ascended up before God is went up in the presence of God or went up in the sight of God and refers to God the Father Who was sitting on the throne.

Out of the angel's hand indicates that the smoke came from the censer which was held in the angel's hand.

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

And the angel took the censer, which was used as a symbol of judgment, apparently in response to the intercession and prayers of the suffering saints in the midst of the great tribulation.

And filled it with fire of the altar indicates that this angel filled the censer, which he had in his possession, out of the fire of the altar. It seems that he took whatever was burning, such as coals, out of the fire.

And cast it [i.e. threw (it)] into the earth. What he threw was the fire from the altar rather than the censer which he filled with the fire from the altar.

And there were voices [i.e. noises, sounds, or tones], thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

These are the seven angels who were given seven trumpets in verse 2.

Prepared themselves to sound is made themselves ready to sound (their trumpets).

We see -

III. THE FIRST TRUMPET JUDGMENT - 8:7

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

The first angel is the first of the seven angels mentioned in verse 2.

Sounded is sounded the trumpet.

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood is literally hail and fire mixed with blood happened (occurred or came to pass).

And they were cast upon the earth indicates that the hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown from heaven unto the earth.

The result of the casting of the hail and fire mixed with blood unto the earth is that the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. The tremendous devastation destroyed one third of the trees. The appears in the Greek text before both third and before trees, indicating that it was one third of the sum total of all trees on the earth that was burned up. In addition, all green grass was burned up.

Grass in our literature almost always refers to green grass standing in the field or meadow. All of a sudden the supply of building materials for wooden products was destroyed along with the supply of feed for livestock.

Burnt up is an intensive term which means that these trees and grass were burned down or were consumed and speaks of their total devastation. They were not just damaged by the fire.

We see -

IV. THE SECOND TRUMPET JUDGMENT - 8:8-9

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:8-9 - (8) And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; (9) And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

And the second angel sounded is the second of the seven angels mentioned in verse 2.

Sounded is sounded the trumpet.

John describes what happened next by as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea.

As it were is simply as, but its use here implies that it was not a literal mountain which was burning with fire and cast into the sea. However, whatever it was, it reminded John of something which resembled a mountain in size and general appearance. He was apparently unsure of what it really was but was left to explain it in terms familiar to him as a great mountain burning with fire. It would perhaps suggest a huge meteor which would have been on fire because of its movement through the earth's atmosphere.

Was cast into the sea is was thrown into the sea and suggests that the great mountain burning with fire landed in the ocean. Because of its devastation, it is not likely a sea such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Dead Sea, or the Sea of Galilee.

Again, the results were devastating: and the third part of the sea became blood, which likely refers to the third part of whatever sea this giant mass entered. This is another use of the language of appearance and suggests that the water became blood-red in color. To the human eye unaided by a microscopic examination or chemical analysis, it looked like blood.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

And the third part of the creatures [i.e. one third of the created beings] which were in the sea, and had life [literally the ones having lives], died.

And the third part [i.e. one third] of the ships were destroyed.

The term for ships indicates that they were large, sea-faring ships. Tidal waves and tsunamis created by this thing resembling a great mountain burning with fire having been cast into the sea would be immense.

Were destroyed suggests that these ships were damaged beyond repair. They were ruined to the point that they were no longer able to be used.

It is likely that all life and all ships are destroyed in one portion of the earth, the area nearest the impact of the great burning mountain.

We see -

V. THE THIRD TRUMPET JUDGMENT - 8:10-11

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:10-11 - (10) And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; (11) And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they [i.e. the waters] were made bitter.

And the third angel sounded is the third of the seven angels mentioned in verse 2.

Sounded is sounded the trumpet.

And there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp is literally a great star burning as a lamp fell out of heaven.

This great star burning as a lamp (or torch) appears to be a large meteor which is on fire because of its entering into the earth's atmosphere.

Fell from heaven indicates that it fell out of heaven, that the stellar heavens were its source.

And it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.

We are not told whether these rivers or streams were in a single geographical area or whether they are worldwide. The before both third and before rivers implies that it is one third of the sum total of the rivers or streams on the earth.

And upon the fountains of waters is upon the springs of waters, the headwaters of these rivers or streams. This would create havoc for water supplies for drinking or for navigation.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

And the name of the star is called Wormwood refers to the star in verse 10 which fell from heaven upon the third part of the rivers and upon the fountains of waters.

Is called suggests is named.

Wormwood reminds one of the bitter plants known as wormwood which grew in desert places. The name was given to this star because of the bitter taste of the water after this star fell upon some of the rivers and the fountains of waters.

And the third part of the waters became wormwood suggests that one third of the waters became very bitter to the taste. No matter how bitter the water, however, people need water to drink in order to live. Apparently some became so desperate for water to drink that they eventually drank this bitter water. As a result of their drinking this polluted water many men died of the waters.

Many indicates that it was a sufficient number but we have no idea how large this number was.

Men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

Died of the waters suggests that they took some of this bitter water and drank it and died as a result.

Because they [i.e. the waters] were made bitter provides the reason many men died of the waters.

Not only were the waters bitter to the taste, the waters were also unsafe to drink. Whatever it was that made the taste bitter, killed at least some, if not all, of those who drank of them.

We see -

VI. THE FOURTH TRUMPET JUDGMENT - 8:12-13

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:12-13 - (12) And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. (13) And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

And the fourth angel sounded is the fourth of the seven angels mentioned in verse 2.

Sounded is sounded the trumpet.

And the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars, but we are not told how these were smitten. In 6:12 the sun was made black as sackcloth of hair and the moon became as blood; yet, the sun and moon still existed. One can only guess what has happened here again. It is the language of appearance from one standing on the earth looking up into the atmospheric heavens.

The third part in each case is one third. The sun, the moon, and the stars were all affected in the same way.

Was smitten is was struck and is used figuratively here of blows that come to things. It is figurative because this is the language of appearance. The way in which these heavenly bodies were struck is made apparent by so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. The ability to see one third of the sun, one third of the moon, and one third of the stars was no longer there. It would seem that pollution was so bad that it affected one's ability to see into the stellar heavens from the earth's surface.

So as is translated in a way which indicates the result of the action of were struck. From man's perspective it would indeed indicate result. However, from God's standpoint it would indicate purpose or intended result. The word translated so as is ordinarily translated that in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that. It all depends on one's vantage point. From heaven's view, it was strictly purpose or intended result. From man's view, it was the result that was seen.

The third part is one third.

Of them refers to the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Was darkened means that from one's vantage point on the earth, the light from the sun, the light from the moon, and the light from the stars, was not able to be seen.

And the day shone not for a third part of it. The length of the daylight hours was shortened by one third as a result of the sunshine not being able to penetrate the polluted atmosphere.

And the night likewise suggests in the same way, so, or similarly. Just as the light from the sun was not able to penetrate the polluted atmosphere to the degree that it had previously, so the light from the moon was not able to penetrate the atmosphere to the degree that it had previously. It was reduced by one third. The available natural light during the day was affected just as the available natural light during the night. A third part of the sun, a third part of the moon, and a third part of the stars are darkened.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

And I [i.e. John] beheld and heard.

John saw an angel (i.e. one angel), but no identification is made of this one angel.

This angel was flying through the midst of heaven (i.e. flying in mid-heaven). The tense of flying indicates that its action was ongoing. This flying occurs at the same time that John beheld this angel.

Also, this one angel was saying something with a loud voice. The tense of saying indicates that its action was also ongoing and occurring at the same time that John was seeing him. What he said was said more than one time, but we do not have any idea how many times he may have said it. What the angel said was, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

Woe is alas, and its tripling is for emphasis and indicates the seriousness of the situation.

The three woes are to the inhabiters of the earth. Three more trumpets are yet to sound. The inhabiters of the earth are the ones who are dwelling upon the earth or the ones living upon the earth. They are in serious trouble.

By reason of is used in the sense of because of. It is because of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound.

The other voices is the remaining sounds.

Of the trumpet indicates the source of the sounds that are about to be heard.

Each of the three angels had his own trumpet. These three angels are three of the seven angels introduced in verse 2, particularly the three which had not yet blown their trumpets as is made clear by which are yet to sound, i.e. the ones about to sound (their) trumpets or the ones about to trumpet forth. The fifth angel will sound his trumpet in 9:1, the sixth in 9:13, and the seventh in 11:15.