SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 8
Here we see the first four trumpet judgments that take place during the Great Tribulation, and they are set in motion by angels, but they come about through natural disasters and war. Nations are seen here fighting one another, the oceans, rivers and water supplies become contaminated, and the air becomes so polluted by smoke that it blocks much light from the sun and moon.
Bede’s interpretations of the 7 trumpets
trumpets. The Church, which is often presented under the number seven, is commended to the office of preaching. And here the first trumpet denotes the common destruction of the ungodly in the fire and hail; the second, the expulsion of the devil from the Church for the fiercer burning of the sea of the world; the third, the falling away of heretics from the Church, and their corruption of the streams of Holy Scripture; the fourth, the defection of false brethren in the darkening of the stars; the fifth, the greater hostility of heretics, the precursors of the time of Antichrist; the sixth, the open war of Antichrist and his own against the Church, and the destruction of the same enemy interposed by a recapitulation from the advent of the Lord; the seventh, the day of judgement, in which the Lord is to render to His own their reward, and to examinate those who have corrupted the earth.
1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
The silence is as if there is a short pause before the final battle against evil begins.
2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; 4 and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth; and there were peals of thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
As the Great Tribulation begins, the prayers of God’s people reach heaven, as well as those prayers from the saints who are already in Heaven, and they are answered according to God’s will and sent down with great power. As we see here, angels play a big part concerning our prayers.
6 Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets made ready to blow them.
In the Gospels, Jesus tells the Apostles about the terror that is going to take place at a short period of time before the end of the world. Jesus gave an overview, but here St. John goes into detail concerning the opening of the trumpets. Jesus said, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven (Lk. 21:10-11).” Notice in the trumpet judgments the “signs from heaven.”
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, which fell on the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
This is what Joel prophesied about, “And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke…. before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes (3:30-31).” These terrors could be from the hands of mankind from weapons of warfare since the Lord said, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (Lk. 21:10).”
Bede: the first trumpet denotes the common destruction of the ungodly in the fire and hail;
Andrew: Same as Bede
Oecumenius: punishment of sinners in Hell
8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea; 9 and a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
This could be a massive volcano, which could have the power if large enough.
Bede: the second, the expulsion of the devil from the Church for the fiercer burning of the sea of the world;
Andrew: Same as Bede
Oecumenius: The burning of the sea and all things in it through the cleansing of the fire burning after the resurrection
10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the water, because it was made bitter.
This could be some sort of weapon of warfare that contaminates water supplies. Wormwood simply means something harsh or embittering.
Bede: the third, the falling away of heretics from the Church, and their corruption of the streams of Holy Scripture;
Andrew: this which come upon men from the heavens, or the Devil is signified (Is. 14:12) How has Lucifer, that rose in the morning, fallen from heaven! He that sent orders to all the nations is crushed to the earth.
Oecumenius: By wormwood is the bitter grief of the sinners being punished in Hell.
12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light was darkened; a third of the day was kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
Due to all the chaos of war and natural disasters the air is filled with so much smoke and pollution that it blocks the light from the sky. This event is described by Jesus, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Lk. 21:25-28).”
Note, Bill Gates literally said that he wants to block out the sun in order to fight against Global Warming.
Bede: the fourth, the defection of false brethren in the darkening of the stars;
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice, as it flew in midheaven, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets which the three angels are about to blow!”
This eagle may be reference to one of the four living creatures (see Rev. 4:7). If so then this eagle is part of the Church, which could be some of the saints or angels that are in Heaven.