Bible Track
Search Bible commentaries for key words
Search for Bible Commentaries on scripture passages
This is a chronologically-ordered Bible site with commentary on each passage.
The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the December 15 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: December 15
<< Rev 3

For New King James text and comment, click here.

 

 

Revelation 4-8     Listen Podcast

 

 

 

 

 

About the study of prophecy

My first serious study of Revelation began in 1973 when I was pastor of my first church. I went to the local Christian bookstore and bought the leading book on prophecy, "Things To Come" by J. Dwight Pentecost. Written in 1958; it still remains the leader of books on the subject of prophecy. Pentecost covers nearly all the prevalent views on the subject, and he explains why one view is to be preferred over another. The purpose of these summaries on Revelation is to provide a framework for studying the book. I'll generally just give you my thoughts and views on these passages, skipping the alternate views that I have dismissed as less likely. If you want to do and in-depth study of prophecy, I suggest that you start with a copy of "Things To Come."

Revelation 4-5 Overview
Revelation 4-5 are, without question, the events that take place in Heaven. The time of these events are most likely immediately following the rapture, the event detailed only by Paul in I Corinthians 15:51-58 (see notes) and I Thessalonians 4:13-18 (see notes). Events on earth after the rapture are not revealed until Revelation 6 (see below).

It's all about Heaven (Revelation 4)

1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

The events of chapters 4 and 5 all take place in Heaven; that much is certain. I favor the position that the "trumpet" of verse 1 can probably be equated with the trumpet of I Thessalonians 4:16 (see notes), "the trump of God" and I Corinthians 15:52 (see notes), "the trumpet shall sound." With that in mind, the events of Revelation 4-5 are most likely the events immediately following the rapture in Heaven.

We find a lot of figurative language in this chapter, so let's establish a key for understanding the scenario here in heaven:

While we don't know for certain, let's list some reasons why the 24 elders likely represent the saints. These 24 elders are wearing white robes, crowns of gold and are singing a song of redemption in 5:9-10 (see below) as kings and priests, a title ascribed to Believers in Revelation 1:6 (see notes). Why 24? Here's a reasonable explanation based upon verses found in Revelation 21:12-14 (see notes) where the New Jerusalem is described, "And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Notice the 12 Old Testament Tribes along with the 12 New Testament Apostles. The math works for the Old Testament and New Testament saints to be represented here by the 24 elders.

So...if the above assumptions are correct regarding the identity of the 24 elders and the crowns, here's the future scenario: Immediately following the rapture of Believers, they will appear before God at the Judgment Seat (II Corinthians 5:10, see notes) to be judged according to their works (I Corinthians 3:11-15, see notes). The reward for their good works will be in the form of crowns which will be cast at the feet of Jesus (Revelation 4:10).

What about the "four beasts." The actual Greek word used here for "beasts" is "dzo´-on." It's a neuter-gender noun from the same root as the verb form translated "to live." It's not used in a negative connotation here, but simply should be viewed as "living things." We don't have much to go on in determining their identities, but they are participants in the events of the tribulation and appear frequently (Revelation 4:6, 7, 8, 9, 5:6, 8, 11, 14, 6:1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 7:11, 14:3, 15:7, 19:4). They are involved in the announcement of the seal openings (first four seals) in Revelation 6 (see below) and are seen around the throne in Heaven in chapter 5 along with the worshipping elders there. In 7:11 and 19:4 they are seen worshipping God along with the elders. In 15:7 one of them is seen disbursing the seven vial judgments to the seven angels there. So...we still don't know who they are, but we do know that they will be busy in Heaven as assistants during the tribulation.

We're still in Heaven (Revelation 5)

1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

A view of the judging God and the sacrificial lamb is seen in Heaven in this chapter. Life on earth during the tribulation does not start until chapter 6 (see below). All of these events of chapter 5 take place in Heaven and are a continuation of chapter 4 (see above). The same characters are found in chapter 5 as chapter 4 (see above). Verses 1-8 deal with the opening of the book of judgments that begin to unfold on earth in chapter 6 (see below).

You will notice in verse 5 that the book has seven seals. These seals each represent a particular judgment...the judgments that begin in chapter 6 where we see six of the seven seal judgments revealed. The seventh is opened in Revelation 8:1 (see below) and contains seven trumpet judgments. Six of the trumpet judgments are opened and explained in Revelation 8-9 (see below). The seventh trumpet judgment is opened in Revelation 11:15 (see notes) and contains seven vial judgments—very severe judgments. The seven vial judgments are opened and explained in Revelation 16 (see notes).

Verses 9-14 introduce a Heavenly song; it looks as though we'll be learning a new song in verses 9-10; it's a song of redemption of sinners saved by grace. While God and Jesus Christ are one, the two aspects of God as judge (on the throne) and sin payment (the lamb) are seen in this chapter. The "beasts" (aka "living creatures") are seen in these proceedings; they are involved in the worship of "the Lamb." There is no question regarding the identity of the "Lamb" here; he's Jesus himself. We see that only Jesus is worthy to open the book which contains the judgments to follow. He's described in his Messianic context as, "the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David."

Regarding the description of the "Lamb" in verse eight, to know that it is Jesus is all that can actually be known for certain based upon scripture. His description here as "having seven horns and seven eyes" is interesting, but to explain the significance would be conjecture. While a certain amount of educated speculation seems necessary at times while studying Revelation, knowing the significance of the horns and eyes described here doesn't alter the fact that it's still a description of Jesus.

Life on earth the first day after the rapture (Revelation 6:1-11)

1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

The "beast" of Revelation 13
(aka "antichrist")

John is the only writer who actually uses the word "antichrist(s)" (I John 2:18, I John 2:22, I John 4:3 and II John 1:7 - see notes). Actually, the beast of Revelation 13:1-10 (see notes), generally referred to as the "antichrist," is never really called "The Antichrist," and the usage of the title by John in these verses doesn't seem to be identifying a particular prophetic individual like that prophetic Beast. John does use the term "antichrist" in the context of those who stand against Christ. In that respect, many feel comfortable in applying that reference to the beast of Revelation 13, and you may even see that I've done so from time to time in my commentary.

This chapter contains six of the seven judgments referred to in Revelation as the "seal judgments." These judgments come from the "book" discussed in Revelation 5:1-8 (see above). I adhere to the most common position that chapter 6 contains John's revelation regarding the entire first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation, from the rapture to the entry of the "beast" of Revelation 13 (see notes) proclaiming himself to be God (Daniel 9:24, see notes); II Thessalonians 2, see notes). This first 3 1/2 years is a relatively peaceful time with the world still digesting the disappearance of the Believers who were raptured out (see chapter 4 notes). It is most commonly believed that the four horsemen span this period, and the transition of conditions on earth during the first 3 1/2 years is seen with these successive horsemen.

With that figurative scenario in mind, the four horsemen represent the following:

Keep in mind that these are conjectures regarding the symbolism of verses 2-8. These four horsemen provide a sequence of events that begin in the first half of the tribulation, but may continue throughout the seven-year period. There is an interesting parallel between these four horsemen and Jesus' sequential outlining of the events during the tribulation in Matthew 24 (see notes). Notice the comparison of passages in the table below:

Notice the parallel between the first four horseman of Revelation 6 and the events outlined by Jesus in the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24, see notes) regarding the period before the midpoint of the tribulation. This lends credibility to the notion that the understanding of the four horsemen listed above is based upon sound conjecture.
Revelation 6
Matthew 24
1st Horseman

1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

2nd Horseman 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
3rd Horseman 5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

4th Horseman

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Verses 9-11 display the words of those who were slain, presumably by the godless beast (aka "antichrist"), as it is assumed that he will garner his world-wide influence and authority over the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. This assumption is based upon our knowledge that the tribulation period is 7 years and that the midpoint (3 1/2 years) is referenced in Daniel as the time that the beast breaks a covenant he previously established with Israel, also seen in II Thessalonians 2 (see notes). Therefore, there can be no serious challenge to the notion that the beast (aka "antichrist") plays a prominent role in the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation period.

The first cataclysmic activity (Revelation 6:12-17)

12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Chapter 6 gets really interesting in verses 12-17. There's volcanic activity and an earthquake which wipes out some armies in the mountains around Jerusalem. And what causes this cataclysmic activity? Whatever it is, it darkens the appearance of the sun and moon - sounds like an asteroid strike doesn't it? That could cause havoc! (See notes on Revelation 8 for more details.) What about these armies? I favor a position conjecturing that these are the armies of Ezekiel 38-39 (see notes) from the North coming to challenge the authority of the beast (aka "antichrist") who resides in Israel. The big problem for the army of the North comes when the volcano and earthquake destroy them before they can attack Jerusalem. Additionally, it makes sense that the beast will take credit for this miraculous destruction of the attackers, and thus set him up for the abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:24-27 (see notes). At this time he will declare himself to be God and command that the regular sacrifices in the temple cease and that he be worshipped as God. This brings us to the midpoint of the tribulation (3 1/2 years have passed). More is written about this in Matthew 24:15-31 (see notes) and II Thessalonians 2 (see notes). The tribulation period turns really bad after this midpoint. For a complete overview of the discourse by Jesus on the events of the tribulation and the "abomination of desolation," click here.

Let's summarize chapter 6 and add perspective:

Matthew 24 Timeline

Count 'em - 144,000, and they're all men (Revelation 7:1-8)

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

After chapter 6, our Revelation timeline is interrupted for an identity check of these 144,000 witnesses who appear in chapter 7. Who are these people? Immediately after all Believers are raptured to Heaven (pre-tribulation rapture position), there will be a brief time when no Believers are present on the earth. After a short time (How short? No one knows.), 144,000 Jewish men will miraculously get saved and become witnesses to the world, preaching salvation in Christ.

The term "after these things" (verse 1) refers to the sequence in which John saw these "four angels," not the sequence in which it takes place within the tribulation period. The term "wind" (Greek: anemos) seems to be a metaphor for judgments poured out on the earth. There is a lull in action while these servants are sealed.

Here's what we know from scripture about the 144,000 witnesses:

Chapter 7 is not sequential in the outlining of events of the tribulation. It's a parenthetical chapter that explains events that characterize the entire seven-year period. The sequence of tribulation events resumes in chapter 8.

A great multitude - saved (Revelation 7:9-17)

9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

These are the people who get saved during the tribulation, apparently as a result of the ministry of the 144,000 witnesses of verses 1-8. The influence of these witnesses will be world wide. These are the saved who came out of "great tribulation." Jesus uses the term "great tribulation" to describe the period after the manifestation of the "abomination of desolation" in Matthew 24:21 (see notes). Thus we conclude that the "great tribulation" is a term used to differentiate the last half of the tribulation from the first half.

A popular assessment regarding the identity of these people is that they are the ones who died as Believers during the tribulation. The conditions before the throne (verse 9) seem to be a picture of conditions in Heaven rather than the millennium. However, we aren't actually told that they die during the tribulation, and there's a slight problem with that understanding. We are told in verse 14, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." These are more likely those who endure to the end of the tribulation and move on to populate the millennium. As a matter of fact, verse 15 says that they will serve "in his temple." The New Jerusalem has no temple according to Revelation 21:22 (see notes), "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." Therefore, it must be that these survive through the tribulation and are given a special place of honor in the millennium where Ezekiel's temple (Ezekiel 40, see notes) will be erected.

The seventh seal is opened (Revelation 8:1-6)

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.
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.

One of my Bible teachers contended that verse 1 proves there are no women in Heaven when it says "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." LIGHTEN UP! IT'S A JOKE - A PREACHER'S JOKE! Actually, I heard that from Professor Emerson Pent, back in 1971. He passed away years ago, so let him rest in peace. The silence is likely in anticipation of the terrible judgments immediately in store for the earth. What we do have in verse 1 is the seventh seal judgment. All of the other six seals were opened and explained in chapter 6 (see above). This seventh does not seem to have a judgment attached to it. Well, not so fast - it would appear that the seventh seal judgment contains the seven trumpet judgments introduced in verse 6. Don't get hung up on seals, trumpets, and later, vials; these are just tags to differentiate the judgments. I hold the position (it flows nicely) that this chapter marks the beginning of the second half of the seven-year tribulation period. You will recall from Daniel 9:27 (see notes) and Matthew 24:15 (see notes) that it is at the midpoint of the seven-year period when the beast (aka "antichrist") breaks his covenant with Israel. This is that point in time.

Who are these "saints" (verse 3) and what are their prayers? This is the first of two references to the "golden altar." These "saints" undoubtedly are the saved on earth during the tribulation. If you were saved during the tribulation, what would you be praying? The prayers go up and judgment, as a result, begins. So...the seven trumpet judgments follow as a result of the prayers of the tribulation saints.

The first four trumpet judgments (Revelation 8:7-12)

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 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.
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.
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.

Get the picture: The relatively calm period of the tribulation (first 3 1/2 years) comes to a close at the end of chapter 6 (see above) with a battle and an earthquake/volcano that results in the destruction of the armies in the mountains around Jerusalem. At this point (the beginning of the second half of the tribulation) the beast (aka "antichrist") takes control in the temple and insists that he be worshipped as God (Daniel 9:27, see notes, Matthew 24:15, see notes, II Thessalonians 2, see notes). Now, as for the second half of the tribulation - it's horrific! Something cataclysmic happens on earth as described by these first four trumpet judgments.

We see four of the seven trumpet judgments briefly described here:

  1. "Hail and fire mingled with blood...cast upon the earth"
    Vegetation is burned up.
  2. "A great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea"
    Something from above falls into and poisons the seas.
  3. "There fell a great star from heaven"
    Something from above falls into and poisons fresh water supplies.
  4. "The third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars"
    The light emitted by the celestial bodies are diminished by one-third. This could be related to atmospheric conditions i.e. particles in the air.

When I read verses 7-12, it reminds me of the results we are frequently warned about if one of those asteroids our government tracks actually were to collide with the earth. I think it is legitimate to guess that perhaps the earth is struck by an asteroid to bring about this level of destruction. With the particles in the air, it is reasonable to conclude that the light from the sun and moon would be diminished by one third as well. Of course the waters would be contaminated and the land scorched. Perhaps this is a follow up to the same natural phenomenon seen in Revelation 6:12-17 (see above).

The three woes aren't just rhetoric (Revelation 8:13)

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!

After chapter 8 there are still 3 trumpet judgments. They are referred to here when the angel says, "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!" These "three woes" enumerate the last three trumpet judgments. After the fifth trumpet judgment, it is said in Revelation 9:12 (see notes), "One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter." Then after the sixth trumpet judgment, it is said in Revelation 11:14 (see notes), "The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly." So, as you can see, the wording in verse 13 is quite significant; the tribulation is going to get MUCH WORSE!

Don't let it get you down; Believers will already be gone in the rapture when all of this takes place.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner