Chapter 8

The seventh seal will now be opened, the wrath of the Lamb will start and the fury of Almighty God will be poured out on an unbelieving world. We will see the seven angels of the previous chapters, and we will see the first four of the seven trumpet judgments. Fire, hail and blood with one fourth of the vegetation of the world being destroyed.

With this awful scene being laid out before us we can rejoice that our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, because the believer will not be on earth at this time. The Church is in Heaven with the believers of chapter seven. I believe that the Church was raptured between the end of chapter 3 and the start of chapter 4. This is the pre-millennial position.

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

The seventh seal is now broken and the scroll is fully open. I believe that this silence is like the silence before a storm. It has become very quiet and this silence is in awe of what is about to happen. We saw what was called ‘Shock and Awe’ when the war broke out in Iraq, which by the way is only 20 miles north of the old site of ‘Babylon’. This was nothing compared to what is about to happen here in this chapter. The wrath of God is about to be poured out upon an unbelieving world. 144,000 Jews have been sealed and the judgment is about to begin.

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

Revelation 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.

Revelation 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.

Revelation 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.

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

We now see the angels preparing for the judgments. We are once again introduced to the seven angels that we have seen in previous chapters. They are given seven trumpets which will sound one at a time signaling the start of each period of judgment. Keep in mind that the seventh trumpet will usher in the seven bowls of the wrath of God.

We see in verse 3 And another angel came. This is another angel of the same kind, as the Greek would render it. Some expositors have said that this angel was Jesus Christ, but this rendering will not fit the Greek meaning or the literal interpretation of the text.

This angel is given a Golden Censer and a great amount of incense. He offers it along with the prayers of all the saints upon the Golden Altar, and the smoke of the prayers and the incense ascends up to God.

The Golden Censer looks like a long rod (think of a broom handle) with a small can like thing attached to the end of the rod. The priest would dip the end into the incense and then pour it upon the Golden Altar. The coals that were burning in the altar would cause the smell of the incense to rise up into the air.

This was not a large altar as was the altar of sacrifice. This altar would have been located just before the veil to the Holy of Holies where the priest would go and offer the incense as we see below in the book of Luke. Solomon’s temple actually had two veils, one that blocked any sight of the Ark of the Covenant and another that blocked the site of the tables of shewbread and the altar of incense. It is here between the veils that we find the Golden Altar of incense.

We can see an example of this by looking at the Gospel of Luke.

Luke 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,

Luke 1:9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

Luke 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

The people that were praying outside could not see Zachariah because of the first veil and therefore would not have seen the angel that spoke to him.

We see the incense going up with the prayers, and then I believe we see the answer coming down with the seven trumpet judgments on the wicked of the earth. This answers the prayer that we saw earlier.

Revelation 6:10. “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

I believe that the answer to that prayer is right here in Revelation Chapter 8. And the answer is NOW THE JUDGMENT BEGINS!

Look at verse 5 again.

Revelation 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.

Keep in mind that this altar is not on earth, it is in Heaven. God has received the incense mingled with the prayers of the saints and now directs the events to unfold.

The angel loads the censor with fire from off the altar and throws it to the earth and there follows; voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. I once again must take this passage literally. Because of the many commentators that attempt to interpret it with symbolism, there are so many views that space will not allow them here on these pages. Suffice to say I do not believe we see the Sons of Thunder here, or the heavenly choirs singing, or any other symbolic meaning to this verse.

When the fire from off the altar hits the earth there are voices and I’ll bet they are loud. There are thunderings, ear splitting noise from the sound, and lightning that splits the sky with the bolts of light that send fear into every soul, and lastly an earthquake that causes people to fear that the very earth is going to swallow them up.

As a side note, if you have ever been in California during one of the big quakes you will understand this completely. I was there during the Sylmar earthquake of the 70’s, and yes it was frightening to say the least.

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

There is no stopping what is about to happen. All preparations have been made, the order is set, each angel is prepared to sound and bring the wrath of God to bear on a world full of unbelief. And now the first trumpet.

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.

We see in this judgment that it attacks the plant life of the earth. The grass provides food for the animals and it will be all burnt up. The trees provide protection from wind, rain and flood. They provide lumber for building and wood for heating and one third is destroyed.

We find here a difference in translations between the Received Text (King James Version) and the Westcott Hort Text (New International Version, New American Standard Version, and Revised Standard Version). The difference in the translations is the NIV, RSV and NASB all state that one third of the earth is burnt up, while the KJV does not include one third of the earth being burnt up. If we take the Westcott Hort as being correct, it means one third of the earth’s population is killed in Revelation 8:7.

Why would I have a problem with that! One fourth of the earth’s population is killed in the following verse.

Revelation 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Remember the study of Revelation Chapter 6? We saw the census was estimated to be 9.5 billion by the year 2050, and this includes the Church before the rapture. Using these figures, one fourth of the earth’s population 2.375 billion people are killed here in Revelation 6:8, leaving 7.125 billion. Looking at Revelation 8:7 in the Westcott Hort translations where one third of the earth is destroyed, that is another 2.375 billion, leaving 4.75 billion.

Now look at the following verse.

Revelation 9:15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. (mankind).

Another one third part of mankind is slain, which is another 1.58 billion, leaving 3.17 billion. Keeping in mind that the Church is included in the original census estimate of 9.5 billion, which must be deducted from the 3.17 billion and the amount of people which are killed when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, leaves very few to populate the Millennium, if any.

Now, if anyone has an alternate explanation as to why we should use the Westcott Hort Text here instead of the Received Text, which leaves an adequate amount of souls to populate the Millennium, please e-mail me, I would love to hear from you!

Now having wrestled with this ad infinitum, ad nauseam, let’s move on.

The fire mingled with blood indicates that people will be killed when this angel sounds the trumpet. This could also tie in with the following verse.

Revelation 6:10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

Therefore, fire mingled with blood could be the blood of the martyred saints. This is just the start as it gets worse from here to the last trumpet.

Having suffered the results of a forest fire with our property in north central Washington, we saw the results of a fire that moved through our acreage. When the fire came through it traveled using the grass for fuel. As the grass burned every now and then it would ignite a low hanging branch of a tree, and then the tree would burn and possibly transfer to some adjoining trees. Most all of the grass was burned but we only lost about 30 percent of the trees. So I have no trouble understanding this passage.

Revelation 8:8 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;

Revelation 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.

Notice the phrase as it were. We have symbolic language here. The great mountain is not to be taken literally as a great mountain. This could be a meteor or an asteroid. The meaning is that something huge falls from the sky that is burning with fire, and when it hits the sea the aquatic life is killed. The sea will be red with the blood of the sea creatures. One third of all the sea life dies at this time.

Now is this a particular sea or seas in general? Notice also that one third of the ships are also destroyed. This act alone will devastate the world’s economy, freighters, tankers, war ships, all destroyed. So I move the previous question, where is this sea?

Let me try to answer this with another question. Where is the greatest armada of shipping today? Is it not in the Mediterranean Sea? Possibly, it could be. Notice the wording, all three times the phrase is the sea. The definite article the is here, therefore is this the Mediterranean Sea because it is referring to a specific sea? Or is this judgment on all the seas everywhere which would seem to apply as the trumpet judgments fall on the whole world.

The point is there will be utter devastation just in this second trumpet judgment. Shipping has been reduced. Fewer ships will equal fewer commodities being transported and fewer food products. The Navy vessels will also suffer this destruction because of all the military craft that are stationed on the world’s seas. The fishing industry will be crippled because of the pollution of the sea. The fish that survive will not be healthy so once again less food for the masses which could lead to famine and the earth turning into a wasteland.

Revelation 8:10 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;

Revelation 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.

We see a great star falling from heaven and it is pictured for us as burning as it were a lamp. Once again we have the symbolic language as it were. It is not a lamp, but it is very bright giving off light as a lamp would give its light. This time the burning star falls upon a third part of the rivers and a third part of the fountain of waters.

The picture here is of the drinking water, it is now polluted and people are dying from drinking the water. It is interesting to note the term wormwood, as used here could be substituted with the word ‘gall’. Either usage of these words would have been acceptable because they both refer to ‘hemlock’ that was used as a poison. This is what was offered to and refused by Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is also used for bitterness, as in the Old Testament times.

Compare with these verses:

Deuteronomy 29:18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;

Proverbs 5:4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.

Jeremiah 9:5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.

Jeremiah 23:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.

Lamentations 3:15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.

Lamentations 3:19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.

Amos 5:7 Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,

Amos 6:12 Shall horses run upon the rock? Will one plow there with oxen? For ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock.

Matthew 27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Gall was sometimes used as a sedative. It could also be used as a poison when given in a non diluted form. This was offered to our Lord Jesus, and when He had tasted He recognized what it was and refused to drink it.

Revelation 8:12 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.

Revelation 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!

We have in scripture other references to darkness. We see in the book of Exodus when Moses stretched out his hand toward Heaven there was a thick darkness that could be felt. They could not see someone standing close to them so they remained wherever they were because they could not see, speaking of the Egyptians. However, we must also remember that God’s people, the Israelites were not in darkness, but had light in their dwellings.

Exodus 10:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

Exodus 10:22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:

Exodus 10:23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

We see in Luke that there were going to be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars and that the earth would be in distress.

Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

In Isaiah we find the prophesy of the destruction of Babylon.

Isaiah 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

And then in Ezekiel the lamentation to the Pharaoh of Egypt.

Ezekiel 32:7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.

Ezekiel 32:8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. This is one of the prophesies of the tribulation period.

Joel 3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

Now we look at this concerning the Day of the Lord.

Amos 5:20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?

These all have application to the tribulation period.

How God accomplishes the feat we are not told, only that a third part of the sun, the moon and the stars were smitten so that they were darkened. It seems to indicate that either the day and night are shortened or the numbers of days are shortened. Both views can be supported by this passge in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

The Jews indeed often speak of the shortening of days in the sense of the length of day and night as miraculously done by God. Dr. Gill reports that the Jews say “five miracles were wrought for our father Jacob, when he went from Beersheba to go to Haran. The first miracle was, that the hours of the day were shortened for him, and the sun set before its time, because his word desired to speak with him.”

Not everyone holds this view, as most believe this means the length of time is held to a minimum so that all flesh would not be destroyed. This seems to be supported by the above reference in Matthew.

Revelation 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!

This verse leads us to believe that there is destruction coming which is far worse than what we have observed to this point. Woe, woe, woe.

The Greek word ‘ouai’ is a warning cry. The King James Version renders the warning coming from an angel. The New American Standard and New International Version render the warning coming from an eagle, Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice. This is a warning of the three trumpets yet to sound. They will be more vicious and deadly than the trumpet judgments that have gone before.

Three angels are yet to sound.

May God richly bless you as you study His Word. Amen