Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
1: And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2: And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
[8:1,2. Chapter 8 begins where chapter 6 ended. The seventh seal probably contains the seven trumpets. The silence indicates the beginning of a further series of judgments.]
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.
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.
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.
6: And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
[8:3-6.Incense is often an illustration of prayer (cf. 5:8). The trumpet judgments may be God's response to the prayers of the saints in 6:10 - a cry for revenge against the enemies of Christ (cf. Ps. 94:1; Rom. 12:19). The throwing of the censer to the earth represents the coming judgment of the earth. Christ will use angels to administer the trumpets. The blast of each "trumpet" symbolizes the execution of God's judgment.]
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.
[8:7. The first trumpet brings literal fire and hail, and causes the destruction of most of the vegetation on the earth. Famine and a lack of oxygen production will result.]
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;
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.
[8:8,9. The second trumpet turns a third of the sea into blood, and a third of the sea creatures and ships are destroyed. This will produce a reduction of evaporation and thus a shortage of rain and fresh water on land. International commerce and distribution of food and resources will be severely hampered.]
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;
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.
[8:10,11. The third trumpet makes a third of all fresh water bitter,resulting in widespread thirst and death. Wormwood (Gr. apsinthos, lit., "undrinkable") was a bitter herb (cf. Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4) that would make the water of the earth unfit for human consumption.]
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.
[8:12. The fourth trumpet takes away a third of the light from the heavens during both day and night. The light arriving from the sun, stars, and moon is reduced, leading probably to fear, lack of crop production, and a much lower quality of life (cf. Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25).]
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!
[8:13. The last three trumpets will be especially severe, as announced by the threefold repetition of Woe, woe, woe. They will be directed toward the inhabiters of the earth, that is, the unbelievers still alive on earth. Both the oldest and the majority of Greek manuscripts read "eagle" instead of angel in the first part of the verse.]