Revelation commentary: chapter 8 - last seal opened 4 trumpets sound

by Don Koenig

 

1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

After the parenthetical chapter of what will happen in the ministry of the 144,000 in the great tribulation, the sequence of the book continues. Jesus has just opened the final seal of the seven-sealed scroll. After it is opened, there is silence in heaven about the space of a half hour. No one really knows how long this time period is on earth or how long after the sealing the silence in heaven endures. This could be similar to the silence that you hear in a courtroom just prior to the judgment being announced. It is the silence before the storm. There also could be silence in heaven because God's two prophets have now begun their testimony on earth and everyone in heaven is listening to the message God gave the prophets to say (chapter 11).

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.

The seven angels that are now standing before God may be the same seven angels that were in the right hand of Jesus that had oversight over the seven churches on earth. These seven angels of the churches may be given the power to carry out the wrath of the Lamb on those that persecuted the Church on earth (spoken of at the fifth seal). The prayers of the saints are about to be answered and Jesus will judge those on earth who persecute and kill His saints.

The wrath of the Lamb does not come without reason. It comes in answer to a specific time of persecution of saints on the earth. When each angel blows the trumpet given to him, a specific judgment will fall upon the earth. These judgments do not come as a result of the warfare of man as did the horsemen of the seals. These judgments come because Jesus is angry and He answers the prayers from the saints for justice. Before the judgments come, the passage indicates that the prayers of the saints ascended up before God. An angel then took the censer containing the prayers of the saints, filled it with fire and cast it upon the earth. The voices, thunderings, lightnings and the earthquake indicate that judgment has been summoned from the throne and angelic forces are being told to prepare for action. 

Some prophecy writers make all the judgments in Revelation come as a result of man's own weapons and a result of his own wars, but this chapter makes it pretty clear that what is coming is pay back time to those who dwell on earth who have the blood of the saints on their hands. The first five trumpet judgments have nothing at all to do with any war caused by man.

 

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.

This is the first of seven trumpet judgments. The last three trumpets are also called woes with the last woe containing the seven vials of wrath from God. This first trumpet sounds and fire and brimstone are cast onto the earth. One third of the trees on earth are burned up and all green grass.

This is not nuclear warfare as some have suggested. I believe what will take place from a natural point of view in these judgments is the result of a great comet that is advancing on the earth after it travels around the sun. I think angels at times use what appears as natural events to the world to fulfill the supernatural will of God. A decade or so ago we saw a multi-headed comet hit Jupiter over a period of days. If it had hit the earth, its effects would have been just as catastrophic as what we will see in these judgments. Some of these events will be very similar to what was experienced in the plagues of Egypt but now it will be over one third of the earth's surface. As the great comet approaches the earth, the earth is first impacted by the tail and great flaming balls of fire rain upon the earth and cause this disaster by fire.

 

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.

After the second angel sounds, a very large segment of this comet crashes into the sea. A third of the sea becomes as blood due to the red dust from the explosion of the metallic body. All life in the sea over this portion of the earth will die and all ships on it will be destroyed. This could mean a third of one sea but I think it actually means one third of all the ocean surface on earth since the next judgment is on one third of the land surface on the earth.

 

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 were made bitter.

When the third angel sounds another large part of this comet hits the northern hemisphere* on the land surface of the earth and all the rivers and springs on this third of the earth are poisoned by the material the comet contains or by the material it kicks up into the atmosphere and then rains down on the earth.

Many men died because they only had water poisoned by the dust to drink. The fact that many people died would indicate that the waters would stay poisoned for some length of time. The passage also makes it clear that this body came from the heavens because the passage says it falls from heaven as a burning lamp. The passage even gives this body a name. The star that hits the earth is called Wormwood (wormwood was a Hebrew word that meant bitterness and the word is also used by the Greeks to describe a drink as being bitter and undrinkable). Today certain religious mystics are looking through telescopes expecting Wormwood to appear at any time. When a comet fitting their expectations does appear the watchers certainly will make sure the media calls the body by its appropriate name.

*(The third of the earth this refers to is probably two thirds of the northern hemisphere. For a comet to hit the earth and spread debris over a third of the earth it most likely will hit on the hemisphere where most of the land is. The northern hemisphere is 50 percent land mass and the southern hemisphere is only 25 percent landmass. A comet or meteorite would not spread debris over a third of the land surface of earth unless the debris was caught in two prevailing wind patterns. The Westerlies and Easterlies in the northern hemisphere fill the bill because these two wind patterns cover most of the northern hemisphere and about 1/3 of the landmass of the earth if you exclude the landmass in the northern hemisphere that occupies the Doldrums. The northern hemisphere is also where most of the persecution of God's saints took place, so it would be the appropriate place to receive the judgments from the wrath of the Lamb.)

 

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.

After Wormwood hits the earth it will throw up huge amounts of debris and smoke into the atmosphere so that the sun, moon and sky become darkened on this third of the earth.

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!

Before the fifth angel blows the trumpet, John sees an angel flying in the atmosphere telling those on earth that there are three woes yet to come. These will be announced by the last three trumpet blasts.

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