Revelation 8

The Seventh Seal

In the previous chapter, the opening of the Seven Seals was interrupted in order to shown John the 144,000 from all the Tribes of Israel and the Martyrs of the Great Tribulation. In this chapter, John is returned to the opening of the Seventh Seal, which revealed a period of silence.

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence for about half an hour in heaven. Rev. 8:1

In the Scriptures, silence is used to describe the defeat of one’s enemy by war. To defeat your enemy is to silence your enemy, as can be seen in the following passages.

“Therefore, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day, ”declares the Lord. Jer. 50:30“

In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!” Amos 8:3


As in the above examples, the silence of the Seventh Seal will signify the defeat of all of God’s enemies following the events of the Wrath of God that were shown to John in the opening of the Sixth Seal.

The Silence in Heaven completes the list of events that were revealed to John through the opening of the Seven Seals, which give a general description of the events that will take place in the Last Days. As we will see, these same events will be described in more detail through the sounding of the Seven Trumpets and the pouring out of the Seven Bowls.

Order of Events of the Last Days

1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines
(Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal)
3. The Great Tribulation
4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm (6th. Seal)
5. Silence in Heaven (7th. Seal)

The Seven Trumpets

Following the opening of the Seven Seals, John was next shown the sounding of Seven Trumpets. When we read that John was shown the events of the Seven Trumpets after he was shown the events of the Seven Seals, it does not mean that the events of the Seven Trumpets take next, but that John saw them next. Accordingly, the events of the Seven Trumpets will take place within the events of the Seven Seals.

And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. Rev. 8:2-6    

Before the Seven Trumpets were sounded, John saw the prayer of the saints going up before the Throne of God, which is another account of the Prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven, who will pray for judgment and revenge as previously revealed through the opening of the Fifth Seal.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Rev. 6:9:11

When John was shown the Prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven, before he was shown the sounding of the Seven Trumpets, it tells us that the events of the Seven Trumpets will begin following the prayer of the martyrs for judgment and revenge. This corresponds with how the Revelation is written, which uses the passing of one event to show us when the next event will start.[1] Accordingly, the events of the Seven Trumpets will start following the events of the Fifth Seal, beginning with the sounding of the First Trumpet.

The First Trumpet

When the First Trumpet was sounded, John saw hail and fire hurled down on the earth, and a third of the trees were burned up.

The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. Rev. 8:7

In the Scriptures, hail and fire represent judgment,[2] and blood represents revenge.[3] Accordingly,the description of the fire and blood that will be hurled down on the earth does not mean that literal blood and fire will fall from the sky but is another description of the prayer of the Martyrs in Heaven for judgment and revenge. In addition, when the First Trumpet is sounded, a worldwide drought will strike the earth and a third of the earth, a third of the trees, and all the green grass to be burned up.

The Second Trumpet

When the Second Trumpet was sounded, John saw something like a huge mountain that was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea turned into blood.


The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. Rev. 8:8-9

In these verses, when the word like is used to describe the mountain that is all ablaze, it means that the Scriptures are not speaking of a literal mountain but something that is like a huge mountain. Accordingly, when we search the Scriptures, we find that the word mountain is often used to describe a kingdom.

“Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the Lord. “I am against you, you destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,” declares the Lord. Jer. 51:24-25

In the Book of Daniel, the increase and eventual reign of the Kingdom of God on earth is also described as a rock that will strike the kingdoms of the world and that will grow to become a huge mountain that fills the whole earth.

While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth… “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom hat will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” Dan. 2:34-35, 44

In the above verses, the statue of iron, bronze, silver, and gold represents the consecutive kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome that followed one another. The stone that struck the statue and that grew to be a huge mountain represents the kingdom of God that will endure forever, while the previous kingdoms will be swept away. Likewise, when the Scriptures describe a stone, boulder, or mountain being hurled into the sea; it is a description of a city, nation, or kingdom being destroyed in battle.

Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. ”Rev. 18:21
 
Based on the above precedence in Scripture, we can say that when the huge mountain is hurled into the sea, it represents a huge kingdom that will be defeated in battle. The fact that the mountain is all ablaze tells us that the defeat of this kingdom will come as a result of the judgment of God. We will be given the identity of this kingdom in the events of the Third Trumpet.

In addition to the huge kingdom that is thrown into the sea, we are told that during the events of the Second Trumpet a third of the sea will turn to blood. The description of the waters being turned into blood is a literal event as can be seen by how a third of the living creatures in the sea will die and a third of the ships will be destroyed.[4]

The Third Trumpet

In the events of the Third Trumpet, we will learn the identity of the kingdom that is thrown into the sea as well as the name of a great star, which will also fall from the sky.

The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. Rev. 8:10-11

In the Revelation, stars often represent angels.

“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lamp stands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.” Rev. 1:20

According to the above passage, the description of the great star that fell from the sky, it is a description of a great angelic being falling from heaven. The fact that the great star is described as blazing like a torch is an indication that he, too, will fall to the earth as a result of God’s judgment. In a later chapter, we read how the great star will be given the key to the shaft of the Abyss, which is further evidence that the great star represents an angelic being and is not an actual star, or asteroid, etc.

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. Rev. 9:1

Based on the above precedents in Scripture, we can say that the great mountain that will be thrown into the sea at the sounding of the Second Trumpet represents the kingdom of Satan, and the great star that will fall to the earth at the sounding of the Third Trumpet represents Satan himself.[5] In conjunction with the fall of Satan to the earth, when the Third Trumpet is sounded, a third of the waters on earth will turn bitter, and those who fail to heed the warning of God and drink from the poisoned waters will die.

The First Three Trumpets: A Warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth

As mentioned earlier, the events of the First Three Trumpets are another description of the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees, which were first described in the opening of the Seven Seals and that will serve as a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth. In addition the first Three Trumpets describe the events in heaven that will accompany the plagues. As a warning to those on earth, the above plagues will not strike the Inhabitants of the Earth themselves but will harm the world around them. Rather than repenting at the sight of the above plagues, the people on earth will respond to the test of God by attacking God’s people, as described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet.

The Fourth Trumpet
 
The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. Rev. 8:12


Although, these verses do not mention Israel directly, we know that the events of the Fourth Trumpet are referring to an attack on Israel based on the description of how a third of the sun, moon, and stars will be struck. In the Scriptures, the sun, moon, and stars are often used to represent Israel. This is first seen in the story of the patriarch Joseph who had a dream in which the original family of Israel is described as the sun, the moon, and the twelve stars.

Then he (Joseph) had yet another dream, and informed his brothers of it, and said, “Behold, I have had yet another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” He also told it to his father (Jacob) as well as to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have had? Am I and your mother and your brothers actually going to come to bow down to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Gen. 37:9-11

The sun, the moon, and the twelve stars are also used to portray Israel in the Revelation itself.

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman (Israel) clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars (the Twelve Tribes of Israel) on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth… She gave birth to a son, a male child (Jesus), who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. Rev. 12:1-2, 5

In these verses, the woman, who will give birth to the Son is an obvious reference to Israel, who is again described as the sun, moon, and twelve stars.

In the events of the Fourth Trumpet, the attack against Israel is further described as a time when a third of the day and a third of the night will be without light, which is a literal account of how smoke from the burning fires will darken the sky. This is a familiar theme in the Scriptures where the darkening of the heavens is used to describe the destruction of a city or nation that comes under the judgment of God.

“Son of man, take up a lament concerning Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him… When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens. I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign Lord. …For this is what the Sovereign Lord says:“‘ The sword of the king of Babylon will come against you.”’ Ezek. 32:2, 7-8, 11

See, the day of the Lord is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. …See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Babylonians, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. Isa. 13:9-10, 17-19

In the above examples, the overthrow of Egypt by the Babylonians and the destruction of Babylon by the Medes are also described as a time when clouds blocked the light of the sun and the moon so that the skies became dark. As in these instances, when Jerusalem is attacked, smoke from the burning fires will cause a third of the day and a third of the night to be without light.

The Attack on Jerusalem

The future attack on Jerusalem is one of the pivotal events that will take place in the Last Days and is described throughout the Scriptures.Accordingly, to better understand this event, we must depart from the narrative of the Revelation to read how the Attack on Jerusalem is described in the Gospel accounts. In the Gospel of Luke, the Lord warned of the future Attack on Jerusalem by telling the people that when they saw their city being surrounded by armies, they were to flee to the mountains for safety.

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” Lk. 21:20-22

As these verses describe, when Jerusalem is attacked, the Lord will spare a Remnant from Israel, who will be saved from destruction by fleeing to the mountains. Accordingly, whenever we read about those in the country not entering the cityor those in the city fleeing to the mountains, we are reading about the Attack on Jerusalem. This can be seen in the following passages that also describe the Attack on Jerusalem.

“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” Luke 17:30-37

We know that the above verses are describing the Attack on Jerusalem based on the warning to those in the field to not enter the city, which is the same warning, given in the previous passages, concerning the time when Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies. In this case, the people who are on the house tops are told not to even go inside their homes to retrieve their possessions before fleeing to the mountains. This tells us that the Attack on Jerusalem, which is described in the sounding of the Fourth Trumpet, will come as a complete surprise to the residents of the city who will not have time to gather anything from their homes before escaping from the destruction.[6] The suddenness by which the Attack on Jerusalem will take place can also be seen in the reference to Lot who had to suddenly flee from Sodom to avoid being killed in the destruction of that sinful city. Jesus used the example of Lot’s wife, who hesitated and was destroyed, to emphasize how the people living in Judea should not attempt to save their life, in the form of gathering their possessions, before fleeing to the mountains. Also, in these verses, we are told that half of the people will be taken and the other half left, which is a reference to how half of the survivors of the attack will be taken into exile. Accordingly, whenever this phrase is used in the Scriptures, it is a reference to the Attack on Jerusalem.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. “How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Lk. 21:23-24

In these passages, we are told that the reference to being taken refers to those who will be taken into exile when Jerusalem is attacked. The Attack on Jerusalem is further described in the Gospel of Matthew, where the attack on the city is compared to the days of Noah when the people knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Matt. 24:36-41

In these verses, the Attack on Jerusalem is identified by the description of those who are taken and those who are left, which is also found in the Luke’s description of this same event. In Matthew’s account, the people of Israel are reminded how Noah escaped from the time of punishment by entering the Ark, while those who were destroyed in the flood were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage before the flood came. This is a reference to how leading up to the Attack on Jerusalem, the people will be carrying on with their daily activities and will be completely unaware of their pending destruction. Only those who act to save themselves by fleeing from the city, before the destruction begins, will be spared, just as it was in the days of Noah. (We will learn more about how this surprise attack will be accomplished, in a later chapter.)

The Great Tribulation

In Mathew’s account of the Attack on Jerusalem, we read that this event will be followed by a Great Distress that will never be equaled.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Matt. 24:15-21

The above verses are another account of the Attack on Jerusalem as can be seen by how they contain the same warning concerning fleeing to the mountains, which was used in earlier passages that described this attack. In this account, the disciples are told that the Attack on Jerusalem would be followed by a Great Distress that will never be equaled. The word that is translated as distress is the Greek word thlipsis (SEC2347), which is the same word that is translated as tribulation in the previous chapter, where it used to describe the period when the great multitude of God’s people from every nation tribe, people, and language will be killed.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. Rev. 7:9

Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation (thlipsis Strong’s 2347); they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Rev. 7:13-14

Summary: The First Four Trumpets

The events of the First Four Trumpets adds to our understanding of the events of the Seven Seals as follows:

– As we approach the end of the Last Days, the Martyrs in Heaven, who have been killed since the time of Christ, will pray for judgment and revenge as revealed through the opening of the Fifth Seal.

Following the prayers of the Martyrs in Heaven, the First Three Trumpets will be sounded, which will announce the Plagues on the Land, the Sea, and the Trees that will test the Inhabitants of the Earth.

The Inhabitants of the Earth will respond to the warnings of God by attacking Jerusalem, as announced by the sounding of the Fourth Trumpet, when a Remnant will flee to the mountains.

Following the Attack on Jerusalem, the Inhabitants of the Earth will attack the rest of God’s people in the events of the Great Distress (Tribulation), which will never be equaled.

After the full number of God’s people have been killed in the Great Tribulation, the condition given to the Martyrs in Heaven, concerning their fellow servants who would be killed, will have been met, and the Wrath of God will be poured out as described in the opening of the Sixth Seal.

The Last Three Trumpets

The Wrath of God that will follow the Great Tribulation will be announced by the sounding of the Last Three Trumpets, which will contain Three Woes that will strike the Inhabitants of the Earth. The judgments of the Last Three Trumpets will also be announced by an eagle who will cry out concerning the Three Woe’s that will accompany the Last Three Trumpet blasts.

As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” Rev. 8:13

The mention of the Three Woes that will be poured out on the Inhabitants of the Earth is in contrast to the plagues of the First Three Trumpets, which will harm the land, the sea, and the trees but will not strike those on earth. When the Last Three Trumpets are sounded, the Wrath of God will fall directly on the Inhabitants of the Earth, themselves, in order to avenge the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven.

Order of Events of the Last Days
1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal)
     – 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
     – 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s angels are cast from Heaven (2nd. Trumpet)
     – 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan is hurled to the earth (3rd. Trumpet)
     – 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
3. The Great Tribulation
4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm
(6th. Seal)
     – The Last Three Trumpets (to be announced)
5. Silence in Heaven
– The enemies of God are defeated (7th. Seal)

Footnotes:

[1] When John was shown the Martyrs in Heaven, before he was shown the sounding of the Seven Trumpets, it is similar to how John saw the Ascension of Jesus Christ before the Seven Seals were opened. In each case, who John sees in Heaven at the Throne of God tells us when the next events on earth will start.

[2] Ezek. 38:22, Is. 4:4; 66:16, Amos 7:4, Heb. 10:27, 2 Pet. 3:7


[3] Num. 35:19, Ps. 58:10, Rev. 16:6


[4] The sea that will partly turn to blood is most likely the Mediterranean Sea, which borders Israel.

[5] In the Scriptures, Satan is described as a guardian cherub (Ezek. 28:14), which would place him above the angels, and is why he is described as a great star in this passage.
[6] It is often taught that the Attack on Jerusalem, which is described in the above passages, is a past event that took place, in 70 A.D., when Rome attacked Jerusalem and destroyed the city and the temple. This teaching is based on a larger theory that suggests that the majority of events that are mentioned in the Revelation have already taken place. However, we know that the Attack on Jerusalem is a future event based on how it is described as coming as a complete surprise to the people, who will be forced to flee to the mountains without gathering any of their possessions. By contrast, the former attack on Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 A.D., was anticipated well in advance, as it followed a Jewish uprising against the Romans that occurred years earlier. During the time that it took the Romans to prepare an army to put down the rebellion, the cities in Judea set up defenses in anticipation of the inevitable invasion. When the Roman armies did begin their campaign, in 66 A.D., it was the start of a lengthy war that involved the besieging of several cities leading up to the siege of Jerusalem itself, four years later. Accordingly, the historical account of the attack that took place in 70 A.D. does not match the Attack on Jerusalem, which is described in the Revelation as a time when the people will be caught completely by surprise.

Revelation Chapter 7
Revelation Chapter 9

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