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 Revelation Chapter 8

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 8   Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:46 pm


The Seventh Seal: Silence in Heaven

Verses 1-2: Chapter 8 begins where chapter 6 ended for chronology of events. The “seventh seal” then the book contains the “seven trumpets”. The “silence” indicates the beginning of a further series of judgments. In this verse the seven seals are resumed after a break between the sixth and seventh seal caused by the parenthetical passage on the two companies of redeemed, Rev. 7:1-17 as an explanation of further events. This seventh seal is a unique conclusion of the terrible things of the first six seals and is a fitting interlude between them and terrible events of the coming seven trumpets.

"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour" (Rev. 8:1).

This “silence in heaven” needs no fanciful interpretation, for it is just as literal as the contents of the other seals and as language can express. We certainly can conceive a half hour of silence on the planet heaven. This is clear from the verb “was” which means “come to be” and shows that when the seventh seal is opened, and all the contents of the first six seals are completed, there will be silence “in heaven” and not elsewhere. “The Seventh Seal”: This seal includes not only an earthquake, but then comes in order the 7 trumpet judgments (8:2-6, 21; 11:15), and then the 7 vial judgments (16:1-21), with the vial judgments flowing out after the seventh trumpet and coming in rapid succession just before Christ’s return.

“Silence in heaven”: The silence of awe and anticipation at the grim reality of the judgments, God is about to unleash.

The significance of this silence is twofold:

(1) It is entirely opposite the usual sound pattern of heaven, and
(2) It is the result of the revelation by Jesus Christ to the angelic hosts concerning what is about to fall on the earth.
The opening of the seventh seal introduces the 7 trumpet judgments, which are all judgments of God sent on the earth. In these judgments, God is exclusively the sender and people are exclusively receivers. These judgments are so terrible that the angels stand breathless in wonder.
Do you think those who reject Jesus Christ so easily today would remain "silent" if they knew the horrible doom of judgment that is coming upon this earth and upon them because they are rejecting God's Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ?
In the prior verses of Revelation, heaven is seen to be a joyous and worshipful place, with choruses singing, Trumpets blaring, celestial beings crying out, but suddenly there comes this ominous silence of the seventh seal of God in heaven then!


As horrible as the seal judgments were, the trumpet judgments will be worse.

The Seven Trumpet Angels and the Priestly Angel
(Parenthetical, Rev. 8:2-6)

"And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets." (Rev. 8:2)

This passage must be considered the second parenthetical message because it is an insertion of explanatory matter pertaining to the scene of preparation for the sounding of the seven trumpets after the seventh seal in finished. The time of its fulfillment is just as is given here, before the seven trumpets begin.
The seven angels here seem to be special ones who stand continually before God. To them are given seven trumpets. By whom they are given is not revealed. Perhaps it is one of the living creatures, Rev. 15:7. An apocryphal book called Enoch (chapter twenty) gives the names of six archangels: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sarakiel and Gabriel and in Chapter Fifty-four gives another, named Phanuel. In another apocryphal book, Tobiah, 12:15, Raphael is mentioned as being one of the seven angels who present prayers of saints before God. Whether these things be true or not we do know that those seen by John are trusted angels; whether of an official or higher order than common angels is not known. The seven trumpets which will be blown by seven angels in the order as given by God and after the seven seals and before the seven vials. When each is blown, certain judgments and events will transpire on earth. They are to blown successively, and each after the preceding one has been completed. The first will be blown soon after the seventh seal and the last one in the middle of the Week. Thus we have the seven seals and seven trumpets as fourteen consecutive events from the beginning to the middle of the Week.

“Seven trumpets”: The trumpets are of greater intensity than the seals, but not as destructive as the final vial or bowl judgments will be (compare 16:1-21). They the vials occur during the final 3-1/2 years, but the time of each is indefinite, except the effects of the fifth trumpet judgment, which will last 5 months (9:10). The first 4 announce the divine destruction of earth’s ecology (verses 6-12), while the final 3 involve demonic devastation of earth’s inhabitants (9:1-21; 11:15).

These "angels" are prepared to carry out God's orders. These "seven trumpets" were to sound the alarm. Trumpets are loud and send out a clear note. There will be no question of the message. The trumpet throughout the Bible is used for two specific purposes:

1: To assemble the people for worship.
2: To assemble the people for war. At any rate, this is to alarm and prepare.

This encourages the Christians and means judgment to the apostate and worldly. The Wrath of God is here.
In the first period of the Tribulation the earth has known the wrath of the Antichrist; now it will begin to feel the wrath of God Almighty.

Verses 3-6: “Incense” is often an illustration of prayer (compare 5:Cool. The trumpet judgments may be God’s response to the “prayers of the saints” (in 6:10), a cry for revenge against the enemies of Christ (compare Psalm 94:1; Rom. 12:19). The throwing of the “censer” to the “earth” represents the coming judgment of the earth. Christ will use “angels” to administer the “trumpets”. The blast of each “trumpet” symbolizes the execution of God’s judgment.

"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" (Rev. 8:3).

Following the vision of the seven angels and their reception of the seven trumpets “another” angel came to the golden alter to minister, as clearly stated in the above quotation, which with Heb. 4:14-16; 6:20-7:28; 13:15 seems to indicate that this angel is Christ in His present ministry as our High Priest. The “censer” is always mentioned in connection with the High Priest, Lev. 16:12; Heb. 9:4. This angel offers up prayers of the saints as do the living creatures and elders in Rev. 5:8-10, which shows that those who offer prayers of saints are not necessarily redeemed.
After this ministry of Christ at the alter, the seven angels prepare to sound. They take their turn in blowing their trumpets which further shows that they are not a part of the seals or contained in them.

“Golden censer”: A golden pan, suspended on a rope or chain, that was used to transport fiery coals from the brazen altar to the altar of incense, in order to ignite the incense, symbolizing the prayers of the people (5:8; Exodus 27:3; Luke 1:8-9). This occurred twice daily at the time of the morning and evening sacrifices.

Verse 3 tells us this mighty angel stands before the heavenly golden altar of incense, which is before the Throne of the Almighty God. The prayers of all the believers are mingled with heavenly incense and offered up to God. These prayers contain the martyrs' and the suffering saints' cries for relief and justice. The answer to these prayers is the Seven Trumpets and then the Seven Golden Vials in their respective order in events as God has established.
We must realize that the tabernacle in the wilderness (with its Holy place and most Holy Place), was a miniature of the arrangement in heaven. The altar constructed by Moses for Israel's Tabernacle was copied from this one.
When Jesus died on the cross, His blood had to be carried to the mercy seat in heaven, just as the lamb in the temple had its blood sprinkled on the mercy seat in the most Holy place.
The very throne of God is the most holy place in heaven. Jesus is our High Priest forever, who intercedes for us at the throne of God.
This vessel had to be made of gold to be in the close proximity of God. Just as everything in the most Holy place in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness had to be pure gold, or pure gold overlay.
Some of the writers believe the word "censer" here should be frankincense. That is not a terribly important point. The "incense" (in verse 3), probably does indicate frankincense.
Notice that the prayers of the saints with their offering is upon the golden altar at the throne of God. Sometimes we feel our prayers go nowhere, but here we see them at the throne of God.
The golden altar as well, was in the very presence of God and thus had to be made of gold.
We were not praying to the angel. The angel's only job was to transport them and keep them safe until they were received. We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. We must never pray to an angel to a person or an image.
The important thing, to see here, is that our prayers go to the throne of God, to the most Holy place.

"And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand" (Rev. 8:4).

The Bible speaks of this as a sweet smelling savor (Ezra 6:10).
Ezra 6:10 That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.

"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" (Rev. 8:5).

“Thunderings … lightnings”: The thunderclaps, lightnings, and earthquake are the result of the fire from the altar, indicating that the action of heaven initiates a responsive action on earth. As the prayers for the saints for vengeance are taken from the altar, there are frightening sounds, flashes of light, and an earthquake on the earth, introducing the fact that the seven angels are about to sound their trumpets.
Fire from the altar of burnt offering means that God accepted the prayers of the saints. This "fire taken from the altar and cast to the earth", is the fury of God. Our God is a consuming fire. God is angered, and He has decided it is time to punish those on the earth who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Just as God finally destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah when they would not repent, there is a time when the fire of God will descend upon this earth in punishment.
“An earthquake”: Surely of equal or greater intensity than the one described in the sixth seal.
Throughout the Bible, all of these natural disasters mentioned (here in verse 5): "thunderings, lightnings, earthquake", are God dealing with mankind. This is no different, and I believe these are literal. A terrible storm takes place above ground and a terrible shaking beneath takes place, as well. The Wrath of God has begun as the world enters into the Great Tribulation the last half of the Week.

"And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound" (Rev. 8:6).

And now to the literalness of the events of the trumpets, they are to be just as real as the description can make them, and as literal as the contents of the seals will be as seen in the previous chapters. Why should we spiritualize and explain away plain literal events? They are just as literal as the judgments predicted and fulfilled in the past history of Israel and show what will happen again, Ex. 34:10; Deut. 28:10, 59; 30:1-10; Isa. 11:15,16; Mic. 7:13-15; Jer. 23:7,8.The plagues of Egypt were literal. The same trying conditions will be upon Israel in the tribulation as those were in Egypt.
Five of the plagues of Egypt are repeated in the book of Revelation. No one suggests that what happened in Egypt was not literal in its form of judgment on the rebellious Egyptians. Thus, we can conclude that the same thing applies during the Tribulation period and that the trumpet judgments introduce physical judgment on the earth. The only exceptions are those trumpets that introduce events beyond human understanding, and even they affect human beings physically.
We read here (as in verse 2), of the seven angels that had been waiting orders to move.
Evidently in succession, perhaps by arranging themselves in the order in which they were to sound. The way is now prepared for the sounding of the trumpets, and for the fearful commotions and changes which would be indicated by that. The last seal is opened; heaven stands in suspense to know what is to be disclosed. The saints, filled with solicitude, have offered their prayers. The censer of coals has been cast to the earth, as if these judgments could be no longer stayed by prayer. And the angels prepare to sound the trumpets indicative of what is to occur, parenthetical explanation ends.

The First Trumpet: Hail, Fire, and Blood

"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" (Rev. 8:7).

The “first” trumpet brings literal fire and hail, and causes the destruction of most of the vegetation on the earth not just a specific village or city like Sodom and Gomorrah. Famine and a lack of oxygen production will result, this is similar to the seventh plague upon Egypt, and will be just as literal, Ex. 9:22-26. The only difference here is the addition of blood and the exception of animate life. This plague will only affect vegetation on one-third of the earth, while in Egypt it affected vegetation, men, and beasts. The trees are literal here as in Rev. 7:1, 3; 9:4, and will be burned up as in Rev. 17:16; 18:8. During this plague agricultural progress will be impossible.
To make matters even worse, John also adds that "blood" arrives with the hail and fire, as the prophet Joel had predicted:
Joel 2:30 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke". And this is only the first trumpet!
They now are released and told to do these things. Some religions will tell you that God never punishes, but this is not true. This is punishment from God. The devil is not doing this. It is done on orders from God. Another place where this strange phenomenon of fire and hail mixed together falling is in Exodus.
Exodus 9:24 "So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation."
Both were punishments from God. The difference is that this one in Exodus was localized. The one in Revelation is wide spread. One thing very important to remember is that the wrath of God falls on them of unbelief.
Ezekiel 38:22 "And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone."
It is the same God in Ezekiel that we see in Revelation.
We see in all of this, and the next few trumpets probably, the revealing of God's judgment which may be of nature in the form of catastrophic forms of nature.

Verses 8-9: The “second” trumpet turns a “third” of the “sea” into “blood”, and a third of the sea “creatures” and “ships” are “destroyed”. This will produce a reduction of evaporation and thus a shortage of rain and fresh water on land. International commerce and distribution of food and resources will be severely hampered.

The Second Trumpet: A Burning Mountain

"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;" (Rev. 8:Cool.

“As it were a great mountain”: Probably a huge meteor or asteroid surrounded by gases that will ignite as it enters earth’s atmosphere. Its impact will create a tidal wave in the Mediterranean Sea, the events of the seals and the plagues of the trumpets and vials will be especially poured out upon the then known world—the Roman Empire—bordering upon that sea.
Only one-third of the sea will become blood, and one-third of the living creatures in the sea and on the sea in ships will be destroyed. Business on the sea will be crippled and men will begin to realize these judgments are of God. This will be the same in nature as the first Egyptian plague.

"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" (Rev. 8:9).

The effect was as if one-third of all the fish in the sea were cut off. It is designed to describe an effect, pertaining to the maritime portion of the world, as a third portion of all that was in the sea should perish. The natural interpretation would be to apply it to a calamity pertaining to the sea, to the islands, to the maritime regions, or to commerce. The whole description pertains to the Old Roman empire of the day, then this should be supposed to have particular reference to something that would have a bearing on the maritime parts of that empire.
“And the third part of the ships were destroyed”: This also pertains to the same general calamity, affecting the commerce of the empire. The destruction of the "ships" was produced, in some way, by casting the mountain into the sea, either by their being consumed by the contact with the burning mass, or by being sunk by the agitation of the waters. The essential idea is, that the calamity would be of such a nature as would produce the destruction of vessels at sea, either naval armaments, or ships of commerce.

Verses 10-11: The “third” trumpet makes a “third” of all fresh “water bitter”, resulting in widespread thirst and death. “Wormwood (Greek apsinthos, literally “undrinkable”), was a bitter herb (compare Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4), that would make the water of the earth unfit for human consumption.

The Third Trumpet: The Star Wormwood

"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;" (Rev. 8:10).

The Third Trumpet: A Star Called Wormwood. When the third angel blows his trumpet, another meteorite crashes to earth, "burning like a torch." It does not fall on the sea but on a third of the earth's rivers and springs, turning them "bitter" and poisonous. As a result of this plague, "many men" die.
"Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth." (Zech. 14:12).
Man's most basic problem has never been a lack of intelligence or education, but a nature that is fallen and morally corrupted. Unless man experiences a new birth, in which he receives a miraculous birth of a new spiritual nature through which God communicates with him, he is doomed to the destructive influence of his fallen nature.
All of this is speaking of terrible things associated with such an upheaval in the earth that it is beyond our comprehension.

"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" (Rev. 8:11).

“Wormwood”: A bitter, poisonous substance, derived from a root, that causes drunkenness and eventually death (Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 9:15; Lam. 3:15).
One interesting thing from the physical standpoint: Chernobyl means wormwood.
This accident that occurred in Russia affected mostly communist countries (those who deny God). This had a terrible immediate effect of fallout in many of the neighboring countries. Meat was not edible and milk from animals could not be drunk. Literally thousands of people were filled with cancer causing fallout.
Many years from now they will still be seeing the results from this terrible accident. In some places the radiation was 1000's of times the normal amount. "Wormwood" means bad water, and I guess if you checked the water now on this planet, you probably would find that a large percentage of it is bad.

The Fourth Trumpet: The Sun, Moon, and Stars Affected

"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" (Rev. 8:12).

This verse is plain as to what will happen under the fourth trumpet. These events are similar to what happened under the sixth seal and what will happen under the fifth vial to come. The length of time this darkness is to last is not known but it cannot be long, for in the very next trumpet the sun is darkened again by the smoke of the abyss. This is further proof that the seals, trumpets, and vials are a succession of events, each of which is completed before the other begins. This judgment corresponds to the ninth Egyptian plague of darkness which lasted for three days.
“A third part of the sun … smitten”: God will supernaturally reduce the intensity of the celestial bodies by one-third. The loss of solar heat will cause a radical drop in temperature, producing severe changes in meteorological, botanical and biological cycles (Luke 21:25; compare Exodus 10:21-23). But this is temporary (compare 16:8-9).
The Fourth Trumpet: Darkness Descends. All life on this earth depends on the sun: If it were to explode, the earth would incinerate; if it were to go cold, the earth would freeze solid. Neither of those extremes is in view with the 4th trumpet judgment, but in some way God does reduce by a third the amount of radiant energy reaching earth from the sun and all other celestial bodies. John writes, "A third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened; a third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night." The first four trumpets affected the material creation.

The Announcement

(Parenthetical, Rev. 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!" (Rev. 8:13).

The last three will affect the moral creation.

This verse is the third parenthetical message and it is an insertion of explanatory matter concerning the announcement of the three woes under the fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpets which hold such terrors that an angel will fly in the midst of heaven announcing three woes because “of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” The three woes of the last three trumpets are:

1. The plague of demon locusts out of the abyss, Rev. 9:1-12.
2. The plague of demon horseman out of the abyss, Rev. 9:13-21.
3. The casting out of Satan to the earth, Rev. 11:14-13:18.

The last three trumpets will be especially severe, as announced by the threefold repetition of Woe, woe, woe. They will be directed toward the inhibitors of the earth, that is, the unbelievers still alive on earth. Both the oldest and the majority of Greek manuscripts read "eagle" instead of angel in the first part of the verse.
“Woe, woe, woe”: One for each remaining trumpet blast. Although the first 4 trumpets are unimaginable, they will be nothing like the three to come (9:1-21; 11:15).
Thank God Christians will be spared the Wrath.
From the "woes", the wrath is about to come.
Even the problems we have already heard about are terrible, but they get even worse. Here again, notice the mid-time separation of this, four angels have sounded, and three more are about to sound. Third parenthetical message ends.
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