Revelation - Chapter 8
The Seventh Seal: 8:1-6.
When the seventh seal is opened there is silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. In heaven angels are engaged in the worship of God always (Psalms 22:3; Rev 4, 5). And the silence of half an hour shows the calm before the storm of severe judgment. Angels see the horror of the intensity of the coming wrath of God. God always warns people before judgment so that they may repent. God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). John is given the vision of the seven angels who are standing before God. The seven trumpets are instruments of proclamation. These are special angels to execute judgment over the world. The sounding of the trumpets are always followed by proclamations. It seems the seven trumpets are the judgment of the seventh seal and the seven bowls are the judgment of the seventh trumpet. The increasing severity of judgments shows that the latter half of tribulation period is much more destructive than the first half. Before the first trumpet sounded another angel appears before the alter with a golden censer and with much incense (Rev 8:3-50). This angel is often understood to be Jesus Christ as our High priest. The prayers of all the saints ascend up to God from the alter. The incense is symbolic of the finished work of Christ. What makes the prayers of the tribulation saints acceptable to God is the intercessory ministry of Christ. The angel filled the incense in the golden censer and with fire from the alter threw it down upon the earth. Once prayer ascends judgment descends. It results in thunder, lightning and earthquake. These seven trumpets judgments will affect nature and people. The entire section is similar to the Old Testament Exodus story, in which God poured out his judgment on the nation of Egypt.
The First Trumpet: 8:7.
When the first trumpet is blown there is hail and fire mixed with blood thrown upon the earth. Thus one-third of the plant life will be burnt and destroyed. Scholars suggest that this will cause ecological disaster and imbalance in the nature. This resembles to some of the plagues that fell on Egypt (Ex 9-12).
The second Trumpet: 8:8-9.
When the second trumpet is sounded a flaming mountain is thrown into the sea. One-third of the water in the sea becomes blood. This destroys one-third of ships and kill one-third of marine life. This may happen because of radioactivity and chemical reaction due to atomic explosion. It is similar to the plague on Egypt (Ex 7:19-21).
The Third Trumpet: 8:10, 11.
As the third trumpet sounded a great flaming star fell from the sky and destroys another third of the spring water supply. The water supply will be become deadly poison and many will die. The name of the star is wormwood or bitterness.
The Fourth Trumpet: 8:12, 13.
As the fourth trumpet is blown, one third of the sun, moon and star become dark. The light will be reduced by one third. It resembles the darkness happened in Egypt. This will affect the farming and the availability of food. John heard a single eagle crying loudly “woe, woe, woe” as to those who dwell on the earth”. This will happen when the last three trumpets blown. The severity of judgment is becoming noticeably greater. Eagle is symbolic of God’s judgment (Deuteronomy 28:49). We see a progression and severity of judgment as the trumpets are blown. Just as God rescued His people in the Old Testament period of the Exodus from Egypt, He will deliver His people at the end of history. God wants people to repent of their sin and turn to Him. Yet people will harden their heart and suffer eternal damnation.