CHAPTER EIGHT - SEVENTH SEAL EVENTS
[Trumpet Judgments 1-4]
And when he broke (1) the seventh seal, there was (2) silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw (3) the seven angels who stand before God; and (4) seven trumpets were given to them.
1. The seventh seal = is the last of the seven seals which keeps the content of the scroll hidden.
A. Only now can the content of the scroll be known.
B. The seventh seal is of the nature of the last three seals. C. Full exposing the depth of the wrath of God.
C. The fifth seal requests the pouring out of the wrath of God. The sixth seal announces the outbreak of the wrath of God.
D. Now the seventh and final seal shows and brings the actual beginning of God’s wrath in the form of seven trumpet judgments. Commentary: A, and, and the are articles. They are used with nouns to indicate general or specific information about something. One can say, "An apple or the apple." In the Greek language, the presence of the article the can indicate several things. In the case of Revelation 8:2,the article indicates a group known to the readers. Some argue that these seven angles are archangels. However, John simply identifies these angels as those who stand before God. The Greek perfect tense (which is used with the verb to stand) suggests that these angels are special. All angels at one time or another stand before God for instructions, but these stand continually. Perhaps, these angels have a special activity for which they have waited to do since the beginning of creation.
2. Silence in heaven = Just how significant is this "Silence"? From the beginning of Creation, angelic beings have praised God, non stop, this just ended. What a sad time this must be in Heaven for God to allow His Praises to stop. Praise and Worship, everything in Heaven comes to a stop for this eschatological (last days) final series wrath of God.
3. The seven Angels (who stand before God) = is a definite group.
4. Seven trumpets were given to them = is the special activity of these seven angels. They will blow the trumpets, which will be specifically defined beginning in verse 6 below. How long they have waited for this job or what they have spent the last years doing is unknown.
Commentary: A, and, and the are articles. They are used with nouns to indicate general or specific information about something. One can say, "An apple or the apple." In the Greek language, the presence of the article the can indicate several things. In the case of Revelation 8:2,the article indicates a group known to the readers. Some argue that these seven angles are archangels. However, John simply identifies these angels as those who stand before God. The Greek perfect tense (which is used with the verb to stand) suggests that these angels are special. All angels at one time or another stand before God for instructions, but these stand continually. Perhaps, these angels have a special activity for which they have waited to do since the beginning of creation.
And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much (1) incense was given to him, (2) that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed (3) peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Many suppose that the "prayers of all the saints" refer to those left on the Earth at this point, meaning those saved during the Great Tribulation. What prayers then is the obvious question? These are the prayers of vengeance. God has said: "Vengeance is Mine", now is the time. Vengeance is here, fulfilled as we read.
1. Incense = in Israel was usually a spice that produced a pleasing order when burnt.
2. That he might add it to the prayers of all the saints = indicates the purpose of the incense or spices. The purpose of an incense offering was to please God in the hope that He would respond with favor regarding ones request or need. The adding of incense to the prayers of the saints suggest the final step in gaining God’s response.
3. Peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake = describe the first evidence of God’s wrath about to fall on the earth. Keeping in mind thunder, sounds, lightning and an earthquake occur in connection with the seventh bowl, some argue that the trumpets and bowls are synonymous. However, this is a result of ignoring the textual details and focusing on generalities. At this point, in the chronological order of Revelation, God’s wrath has not begun. Only the sign of its imminent outbreak has occurred, a taste if you will of what was to come.
Many suppose that the "prayers of all the saints" refer to those left on the Earth at this point, meaning those saved during the Great Tribulation.
What prayers then is the obvious question? These are the prayers of vengeance. God has said: "Vengeance is Mine", now is the time. Vengeance is here, fulfilled as we read.
And the seven angels who had (1) the seven trumpets (2) prepared themselves to sound them.
1. The seven trumpets = is the sound cycle of seven that appears in the book of Revelation. Like the seven seals, the trumpets can be divided into two cycles. Like the first four seals, the first four trumpets are alike in nature. Similarly, the final three trumpets are alike as were the final three seals. As the final three seals dealt with the wrath of God, the final three trumpets will deal with an intensified expression of God’s wrath (the three woes).Trumpets have a tradition in the Old Testament Scriptures. Predominantly, trumpets were used to (1) call God’s people together; (2) call to repentance; (3) announce judgment; (4) call to salvation; (5) call to the king’s coronation; and (6) announce eschatological judgment. The seven trumpets of Revelation clearly announce judgment.2. Prepared themselves to sound them = no clue, anyone who identifies how, where, why or what preparation is guessing, we are not told more than they "prepared themselves".
And the first sounded, and there came (1) hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and (2) a third of the earth (3) was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all the green grass was burnt up.
1. Hail and fire, mixed with blood = are the manifestations of the first trumpet. Because of the results stated after this announcement, fire is the primary characteristic of the first trumpet.
2. A third of the earth = is clearly a defining trait of the trumpet judgments which should not be overlooked or generalized. This point clearly distinguishes the trumpet judgments from the seals and bowls. Identifying how serious and large this destruction was.
3. Burnt up = the inhabitable part of the earth’s surface has been reduced by one-third.
And the second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and (1) a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died; and (2) a third of the ships were destroyed.
1. A third of the sea became blood = Can this be serious? Was the Nile really turned to blood in the days of Moses? Yes, if we believe any of God’s Word, then we must take it all seriously. One third of the sea became blood. We have no symbolic or literal reasoning not to take this just as written.
2. A third of the ships were destroyed = is a natural disaster resulting from the destruction of the sea.
And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on (1) a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters; and (2) the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and (3) many men died from the waters, (4) because they were made bitter.
1. A third of the rivers and on the springs of waters = indicates a progression from land, to water (salt and fresh), to the ends of the Earth.
1b. The first four trumpets share the same nature. The surface of the earth is dramatically reduced by one-third. Since a single star could not literally fall on a third of the fresh water sources of the earth, John intends the reader to understand that the star affected one-third of the rivers and springs on the earth. How? That is unknown.
2. The name of the star is called Wormwood = is a unique phrase.
A. There is no historical evidence that a star by this name existed in the ancient world.
B. Wormwood is a medicinal herb of antiquity used to dispel worms from the intestines. It is very bitter. Could it be that this "wormwood is used to end more of the "worms" left upon the earth, especially as the area of the work by these worms are the intestines?
3. Many men died from the water = is the natural result of fresh water made bitter. Wormwood is known for its bitterness, however, death is not normally associated with this herb, but death for the worms was the result.
4. Because they were made bitter = indicates the reason for the death of many people. Dehydration is not the cause of death, but drinking the water kills people. Thus, the purpose of the third trumpet is to kill men with bitter water.
And the fourth angel sounded, and (1) a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, (2) so that a third of them might be darkened and (3) the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.
1. A third of the sun…moon…and…stars were smitten = again indicates an affect on the skyward light sources. 1b. Smitten, this was not a "cover up" from ash as in the Earthquake, but in all probability destroyed.2. So that a third of them might be darkened = Unlike the sixth seal where all light sources were temporally darkened, here only a third of the stars are darkened.3. The day…and the night (might not shine) = what the exact affect of the fourth trumpet is not clear. Whether a twenty-four hour day becomes a sixteen hours day or whether three eight hour segments (day, night, and darkness) are intended cannot be dogmatically stated. At any rate, man loses a third of his light.
And I looked, and (1) I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, (2) "Woe, woe, woe, to (3) those who dwell on the earth, because of the (4) remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"
1. I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying = possible a figure of speech. One cannot hear an eagle flying, but normally one sees an eagle flying. Equally, eagles do not speak normally. It is possible that this particular eagle will speak in the same way Balaam’s ass spoke (Num 22:22-30). However, consider where midheaven is in John’s eyes, the upper sky, consider also, the jet known as the Eagle, could it be that the "Eagle" was the only name or explanation John could having no idea what a airplane was? Loud voice? Perhaps dropping pamphlets of warning? John having no idea what this was, easily one could only imagine what John saw and perhaps even confounded of the eagle. Nevertheless, we are to work with what we were given and this theory is extremely weak at best.2. Woe, woe, woe = a sign of trouble. Possibly, sadness descending from this messenger regardless of who or what it was.3. Those who dwell on the earth = this is the third occurrence of this important phrase. The eagle makes clear that the intended victims of the trumpet judgments are the earth-dwellers. These individuals are consistently portrayed throughout the Revelation as enemies of God and the objects of God’s wrath.4. Remaining blasts = there are three blasts or trumpets left to blow. These three trumpets are the three "woes." The severity of the three last trumpets is clearly emphasized.