Jesus Christ breaks the seventh seal of the book. There is an ominous silence. Then angels blow trumpets. They trigger devastating planet-wide catastrophes.
the seventh seal. This picks up from chapter six, where the first six seals were opened.
silence in heaven. This is the calm before the storm.
seven angels. These seven angels make their first appearance in the Book of Revelation.
The number “seven” shows up a lot in the Book of Revelation:
- seven churches: Revelation 1:4
- sevenfold Spirit of God: Revelation 1:4
- seven golden vessels: Revelation 1:12
- seven stars: Revelation 1:16
- seven gold lights: Revelation 2:1
- seven lights of fire: Revelation 4:5
- seven seals: Revelation 5:1
- seven horns of the Lamb: Revelation 5:6
- seven eyes of the Lamb: Revelation 5:6
- seven trumpets: Revelation 8:2
seven trumpets. Not only is this the seventh seal, but it consists of seven trumpets. The ministry of the seven angels with their seven trumpets begin in verse 7 below.
The LORD commanded Joshua to use seven trumpets to conquer the city of Jericho:
Joshua 6:4. Seven priests shall bear seven shofars of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day, you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the shofars.
VERSE 3. Another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.
a golden censer. In the Old Testament era, a censer was made of copper.
It was probably very heavy. It was used to carry coals from the brazen altar outside the tabernacle to the altar of incense inside.
the prayers of all the saints. The golden censer with incense is symbolic of the prayers of the saints.
VERSE 4. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.
with the prayers of the saints. This is a time of great prayerfulness. Perhaps the urgency of the events is motivating people to pray.
VERSE 5. The angel took the censer, and he filled it with the fire of the altar, then threw it on the earth. Thunders, sounds, lightnings, and an earthquake followed.
he filled it with the fire of the altar. What is this fire?
We wish it is something wonderful, such as the fire of the Holy Spirit.
However, this verse suggests it is destructive. It precipitates thunder and lightning and an earthquake.
The seven angels. They were mentioned in verse 2, above.
prepared themselves to sound. Something ominous is about to happen.
VERSE 7. The first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. One third of the earth was burned up, and one third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
One third of the earth was burned up. This is a devastating judgment, annihilating one third of the land mass of the planet.
VERSE 8. The second angel sounded, and something like a great burning mountain was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood,
something like a great burning mountain. There are several movies about giant asteroids that crash into the earth and cause “Armageddon.”
One third of the sea. This is another devastating judgment, annihilating one third of the oceans of the planet.
became blood. This alludes to the LORD’s judgment against Pharaoh:
Exodus 7:20. Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
VERSE 9. and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died. One third of the ships were destroyed.
VERSE 10. The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell on one third of the rivers, and on the springs of the waters.
one third of the rivers. This is another devastating judgment, annihilating one third of the rivers of the planet.
VERSE 11. The name of the star is called “Wormwood.” One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
Wormwood. Wormwood is a bitter desert plant. It is mentioned seven times in the Old Testament. It represents sorrow and bitter judgment.
Deuteronomy 29:18. lest there should be among you man, woman, family, or tribe whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that produces bitter poison;
Proverbs 5:4. but in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, and as sharp as a two-edged sword.
Jeremiah 9:15. Therefore the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says, “Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.
Jeremiah 23:15. Therefore the LORD of Hosts says concerning the prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land.”
Lamentations 3:15. He has filled me with bitterness. He has stuffed me with wormwood.
Lamentations 3:19. Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the bitterness.
Amos 5:7. You who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth
Revelation 8:11. The name of the star is called “Wormwood.” One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
VERSE 12. The fourth angel sounded, and one third of the sun was struck, and one third of the moon, and one third of the stars; so that one third of them would be darkened, and the day wouldn’t shine for one third of it, and the night in the same way.
one third of the sun was struck. This is another devastating judgment, occluding one third of the light needed by the planet.
VERSE 13. I saw, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe! Woe! Woe for those who dwell on the earth, because of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, who are yet to sound!”
the trumpets of the three angels. In this chapter we saw four trumpets sounded. They triggered devastating planet-wide catastrophes. Three trumpets remain. They are worse.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.