Summary: Let’s look at the final of seven seals and the first four of seven trumpets in Revelation 8.
Let’s look at the final of seven seals and the first four of seven trumpets.
7th Seal - Silence
Revelation 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Whether or not the seals or the scroll is being revealed is unclear, so we will leave it at that and be satisfied with the mystery. Sometimes silence in the church is a good thing. This silence seems to be profound and expectant.
Revelation 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
Trumpets were blown at sacred assemblies, as a signal to move camp and as an alarm of war (Numbers 10:4-9). A whole festival was set aside specifically as a memorial of blowing of trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25).
Revelation 8:3-4 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. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
A golden vessel mixes the prayers of the saints with incense. The golden censer was part of the Temple furniture behind the veil, within the Holy of Holies (1 Kings 7:50; 2 Chronicles 4:22; Hebrews 9:1-5). It was only accessed on the Day of Atonement and so this is a very special vessel for a very special occasion. How precious must God regard the prayers of His saints sanctified by Christ’s Atonement (Psalm 141:1-2; Ephesians 5:1-2)!
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.
God’s answer to the prayers of His suffering saints is fire on earth, good news for the church, but bad news for the church’s foes.
Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
1st Trumpet - Fire & Blood
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.
Is this literal ecological disaster of great magnitude or are the trees and grass symbolic of people destroyed who persecuted the church as a final warning for them to repent? A parallel with the plagues of the Exodus is unmistakable.
2nd Trumpet - Fire Mountain
Revelation 8:8-9 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; 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.
A mountain symbolizes a human government. Israel was God’s holy mountain (Exodus 15:17) and Babylon was a destroying mountain (Jeremiah 51:25, 42). A mountain burning with fire can signify a volcanic event. Certainly an allusion to the Egyptian plagues is evident, punishing those who persecuted the church.
3rd Trumpet - Fallen Star
Revelation 8:10-11 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; 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.
This is interpreted by many wildly speculative means, but an old prophecy gives some meaning. As Jerusalem rejected the fountain of living waters, and hewed broken cisterns that could not hold water, so many have chased after modern versions of idolatry (Jeremiah 2:1-13).
4th Trumpet - Sun, Moon & Stars
Revelation 8:12-13 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. 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!
With imagery long used in ancient prophecies depicting the fall of nations and national leaders, this can apply to the fall of Jerusalem, the fall of Rome and even the fall of a yet future Beast power. Woe, woe, woe seems to imply a worsening of world events just before Christ’s Second Coming.
Let’s never forget that what we are reading pictures the victory of the church over evil in the world.