8:1 And 1 when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
(1) He returns to the history of the seals of the
book, which the Lamb opens. The seventh seal is the next sign, a precise
commandment for the execution of the most severe judgment of God on this
wicked world, and being understood by the seal, all things in heaven are
silent, and in horror through admiration, until the command to act is given by
God to the ministers of his wrath. So he moves to the third part which I spoke
of before in (Revelation
6:1) which is the enacting of those evils with which God most justly
determined to afflict the world.
8:2 2 And I
saw the seven angels which a stood
before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
(2) Now follows the third branch of the common
history, as even now I said: which is the execution of the judgments of God on
the world. This is first generally prepared, down to (Revelation
8:3-6). The administers of the execution are seven angels: their
instruments, trumpets, by which they sound the alarm at the commandment of
God. They are seven in number, because it did not please God to deliver all
his wrath on the rebellious world at once, but at various times, in segments,
and in slow order, and as if unwilling to exercise his judgments on his
creatures, so long called on both by word and signs, if perhaps they should
decide to repent.
(a) Who appear before him as his ministers.
8:3 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.
(3) This is the great emperor, the Lord Jesus
Christ, our King and Saviour, who both makes intercession to God the Father
for the saints, filling the heavenly sanctuary with most sweet odour, and
offering up their prayers, as the calves and burnt sacrifices of their lips,
in this verse: in such manner as every one of them (so powerful is that sweet
savour of Christ, and the reliability of his sacrifice) are reconciled with
God and made most acceptable to him, (Revelation
8:4). Then also out of his treasury and from the same sanctuary, the fire
of his wrath descends on the world, adding also divine signs to it: and by
that means (as of old the heralds of Rome did) he proclaims war against the
8:4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with
the prayers of the saints, b ascended up
before God out of the angel's hand.
(b) Our prayers are worth nothing, unless the
true and sweet savour of that only sacrifice be especially and before all
things with them, that is to say, unless we are first of all justified through
faith in his Son, acceptable to him.
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
(4) This is the work of the administers. The
angels, the administers of Christ, by sounding trumpet and voice (for they are
heralds) effectually call forth the instruments of the wrath of God, through
his power. Until now, things have been general. Now the narration of specific
things follows, which the angels fix in number wrought in their order, set out
8:7) and is concluded with the declaration of the event which followed
these things done in the world, and in chapters ten and eleven.
8:7 5 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.
(5) The first execution at the sound of the first
angel, on the earth, that is, the inhabitants of the earth (by metonymy) and
on all the fruits of it: as comparing this verse with the second part of (Revelation
8:9) does plainly declare.
8:8 6 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;
(6) The second execution on the sea, in this
verse and all things that are in (Revelation
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;
(7) The third execution on the floods and
fountains, that is, on all fresh water, in this verse: the effect of which is,
that many are destroyed by the bitterness of the water, in the verse
8:11 And the name of the star is called 8
Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of
the waters, because they were made bitter.
(8) This is spoken by metaphor of a commonly
known bitter herb: unless perhaps a man following those that note the
derivation of words would rather explain it as an adjective for that which
cannot be drunk because of its bitterness, causing the liquid it is made into
to be more bitter than any man can drink.
8:12 9 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
(9) The fourth execution on the lights of heaven,
which give light to this world.
8:13 10 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!
(10) A lamentable prediction or foretelling of
those parts of the divine execution which yet are behind: which also is a
passage to the argument of the next chapter. Of all these things in a manner
Christ himself expressly foretold in (Luke
21:24) and they are common plagues generally denounced, without particular
note of time.