The intercalation on “The Servants Of God” having ended, the numerical sequence of the seals picks up from the end of chapter 6 as the Lamb opens the seventh and last seal.
II. Scripture Text And Examination.
A. The seventh seal 0pened (Rev 8:1-6).
1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 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. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 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.
6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.
a. 8:1. “broke the seventh seal.” With the breaking of the 7th seal comes the second series of judgments – the seven trumpets. Apparently the judgments announced by the trumpets follow chronologically those of the other seals.
b. 8.4. The “prayers” likely petition God to judge evil and to inaugurate His kingdom quickly. A token judgment follows (v 5).
B. First Trumpet: the earth smitten (Rev 8:7).
The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
Though the implications are staggering, there is no reason not to understand this and the other judgments plainly.
C. Second Trumpet: the sea smitten (Rev 8:8-9).
8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.
8:8-9. The impact of this judgment on the world economy is beyond imagination.
D. Third trumpet: the waters smitten (Rev 8:10-11).
10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
8:11. “Wormwood.” Many species of wormwood (a woody herb) grow in the land of Israel, and all have a strong, bitter (but not poisonous) taste, which causes the plant to be used as a symbol of bitterness, sorrow, and calamity. This plague will make a third part of the fresh water supply of the earth unfit for human contamination.
E. Fourth trumpet. the heavens smitten (Rev 8:12-13).
12 The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
8:12. This could mean that the 24-hour cycle day and night will be shortened to sixteen hours, or that the power of the sun, moon, and stars will be reduced by one-third.
III. Personal Commentary.
A. Revelation 8:1. Notice that this seventh seal is broken by “The Lamb,” who is none other than “the ascended Christ, Jesus.” The judgments of the tribulation come on the earth, and all who dwell on the earth, through Christ and angels, and not through any actions of Satan, or “mother nature.” The anti-Christ is used through the tribulation as a tool of God’s judgment on earth.
B. Revelation 8:4. Notice that the Kingdom has not yet been established, but will be established upon the return of Christ, with His angels and raptured saints, at the end of the tribulation (Zech 14:5; Matt 24:29-31; Rev 19:11-14; Rev 19:15-20:4).
C. Revelation 8:11. The term “wormwood” has taken on many unfounded and unscriptural prophetic meanings. The following article provides a scriptural analysis of “wormwood.” It will show that the judgments of Revelation will not take place until after the rapture of the church takes place, and after the tribulation begins, neither of which has happened yet. See the following discussion.
IV. Wormwood Discussion.
What is the meaning of wormwood in Revelation?
“Wormwood” is the name of a star in Rev 8:10-11: “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.” This is the third of the “trumpet judgments” described in Revelation. The seven trumpets are the judgments of the seventh seal (Rev 8:1-5). The first trumpet causes hail and fire that destroy much of the plant life in the world (Rev 8:7). The second trumpet brings about what seems to be a meteor, comet, or other heavenly body hitting the oceans and causing the death of one-third of the world’s sea life (Rev 8:8-9). The third trumpet is similar to the second, except it affects the world’s lakes and rivers instead of the oceans (Rev 8:10-11). It will cause a third part of all fresh water on earth to turn bitter and many people will die from drinking it.
The word “wormwood” is mentioned only here in the New Testament, but it appears eight times in the Old Testament, each time associated with bitterness, poison and death. The Revelation passage may not be saying that the star falling to the earth will actually be called Wormwood by the inhabitants of the earth. Rather, wormwood was a well-known bitter herb in the Bible times, so by naming the star Wormwood, we are told that its effect will be to embitter the waters of the earth, so much so that the water is undrinkable. It won’t be a matter of simply a bitter taste to the water; it will literally be poisonous. If drinking water is unavailable to one third of the earth’s population, it’s easy to see how chaos and terror will result. Humans can only survive a couple of days without water, and the inhabitants of the affected areas will be so desperate as to actually drink the poisoned water, causing the death of thousands, if not millions of people.
This is a prophecy that is yet to come in the last seven years of this age, also known as the 70th week of Daniel. This is only one of the natural disasters in the seven trumpets that will usher in the rise of the Antichrist to world power very quickly (see Revelation, chapter 13). Since one-third of the earth is destroyed by these trumpet judgments, this is only a partial judgment from God. His full wrath is yet to be unleashed.
V. Article References.
A. Paragraph I. Robert L. Thomas, Th. D., Ph. D., Revelation Commentary, 1992, Moody Publishers.
B. Paragraph II. Charles C. Ryrie, Th. D., Ph. D., Ryrie Study Bible, 1986,1995, Moody Publishers.
C. Paragraph III. Comments are those of this writer.
D. Paragraph IV. Got Questions. https://www.gotquestions.org/wormwood.html
E. Scriptures come from New American Standard Bible 1995, as is provided by Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/
VI. Bucket List.
A. Study Tools. I have found great value in the following products, and encourage any serious student of God’s Word to purchase them.
1. Ryrie Study Bible.
2. Scofield Study Bible.
3. Things To Come, J. Dwight Pentecost.
4. The Coming Kingdom, Andrew M. Woods.
5. Revelation Commentary, Two Volume Set, Robert L. Thomas.
6. Commentaries, John F. Walvoord: Daniel, Matthew, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, Every Prophecy Of The Bible.
7. The Moody Bible Commentary.
8. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Two Volume Set.
9. Thompson Chain-Reference Bible.
10. Merrill F. Unger’s Commentary On The Gospels, and Unger’s Bible Dictionary.
11. Key Word Study Bible, Hebrew-Greek.
12. Basic Theology, Charles C. Ryrie.
13. Systematic Theology, Norman L. Geisler.
B. Bible Translators and Translations. I have spent many hours watching videos of translators who have discussed the processes of putting the words of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into the many languages of the world. I am amazed at the expertise and sincerity of the translators, as they have explained their attempt to make each Bible translation understandable, and true to the manuscripts from which they have been given such a task. I have learned of the value of the following Bibles translations, which come from the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. I have a good report for each of the translation teams of: 1. Christian Standard Bible. 2. English Standard Version. 3. Holman Christian Standard Bible. 4. New American Standard Bible. 5. New English Translation. 6. New Living Translation. 7. New International Version. 8. Updated American Standard Version.
C. My Favorite Translators, all Ph. D.: Kenneth L. Barker, Kenneth Boa, Darrell Bock, Charles L. Feinberg, Gene A. Getz, Harold Hoehner, Walter C. Kaiser, Michael Kruger, Eugene H. Merrill, William Mounce, Charles Ryrie, Robert L. Thomas, Michael V. Vanlaningham, Daniel Wallace, Donald Wilkins. There are other translators, Th. D., and Th. M., for whom I also have great respect.
VII. Other References.
VIII. My Websites to follow.
https://untotheleastofthese.home.blog/ Equipping The Saints Web Site
https://success2693.wordpress.com/ Israel, History And Prophecy