The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets
3 Another angel came and stood at the altar. He had a golden [b]censer, and much [c]incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints (God’s people) on the golden altar in front of the throne.(B) 4 And the smoke and fragrant aroma of the incense, with the prayers of the saints (God’s people), ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 So the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were peals of thunder and loud rumblings and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.(C)
6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them [initiating the judgments].
7 The first [angel] sounded [his trumpet], and there was [a storm of] hail and fire, mixed with blood, and it was hurled to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.(D)
8 The second angel sounded [his trumpet], and something like a great mountain blazing with fire was hurled into the sea; and a third of the sea was turned to blood;(E) 9 and a third of the living creatures that were in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded [his trumpet], and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch [flashing across the sky], and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of [fresh] waters. 11 The name of the star is [d]Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the waters, because they had become bitter (toxic).
12 Then the fourth angel sounded [his trumpet], and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and a third of the daylight would not shine, and the night in the same way [would not shine].(F)
13 Then I looked, and I heard a solitary eagle flying in [e]midheaven [for all to see], saying with a loud voice, “[f]Woe, woe, woe [great wrath is coming] to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpets which the three angels are about to sound [announcing ever greater judgments]!”
- Revelation 8:2 In the Old Testament, trumpets announced God’s commands to congregate, move camp, and prepare for war (Num 10:1-9). Trumpets were also used to announce celebrations (Num 10:10; 29:1), royal coronations (1 Kin 1:34, 39; 2 Kin 9:13), and God’s impending wrath (Josh 6:1-8; Zeph 1:14-16). Angels will blow trumpets during the judgment and resurrection (Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16).
- Revelation 8:3 I.e. a special container for burning incense.
- Revelation 8:3 I.e. fragrant spices which exude perfume when burned.
- Revelation 8:11 Gr apsinthos, cf Eng “absinthe.” This is a plant from which a bitter oil is extracted that is highly toxic to the nervous system. The name “wormwood” comes from the fact that the oil was used medicinally to kill intestinal worms.
- Revelation 8:13 The Greek word used here refers to the meridian or zenith, the highest point of the sun in the sky, where the sun is directly overhead.
- Revelation 8:13 During the first four trumpets, judgment fell on nature, but in the final three trumpet judgments (chs 9-11), unbelieving humanity will be directly punished through torment, death, and at last total destruction.
- Revelation 8:1 : Zeph 1:7
- Revelation 8:3 : Ps 141:2
- Revelation 8:5 : Lev 16:12; Ezek 10:2
- Revelation 8:7 : Ex 9:13-35
- Revelation 8:8 : Jer 51:25
- Revelation 8:12 : Ex 10:21-23