Revelation of John 8Silence in heaven--half an hour; indicating quiet for a short time, eager expectation of what was to follow, and silent aspirations to God. Seven angels; messengers prepared to do the will of God.Seven trumpets; instruments of alarm, and indications of approaching wars and desolations. Another angel; supposed by many to be the Messenger of the covenant, the High-priest of our profession, Jesus Christ, offering the petitions of this people, and making intercession for them. Heb 7:25. These petitions manifestly have reference to the impending judgments that are about to fall on the earth, and so long as they are continued the judgments are delayed, verse Re 8:1. The object of the petitions we may understand to be, as in chapter Re 6:10, the avenging of the blood of the saints.Censer; a pan, or small vessel, in which incense was burnt, and from which arose a smoke of fragrant odor. Ascended up before God; in token of the acceptance of their prayers. The prayers of saints being presented by the great interceding Angel, and perfumed with his merits, ascend with acceptance before God, and will be answered in rich and lasting blessings on his friends, and in the ruin of his foes. The censer; with which he had offered incense.Filled it with fire; a symbol of the divine wrath about to be inflicted on the wicked.Cast it into the earth; as the place where the divine judgments were to be executed.Voices--earthquake; all symbols and precursors of the coming judgments, and the commotions and overturnings connected with them. The seven trumpets; in accordance with the view that has been given above, the four trumpets of the present chapter are commonly understood as emblematic of the successive invasions by which the destruction of the western empire was completed; while the two woe-trumpets that follow in the next chapter relate to the overthrow of the eastern empire by the Saracens and Turks. Hail--fire--blood; symbols of slaughter and ruin.The third part; a definite part to denote a large part. Compare Eze 5:2,12. The third part--died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed; showing that great numbers would perish, business be suspended, and vast amounts of property be destroyed. Wormwood; indicating the bitter and fatal distresses which the presence of this star would produce upon the wicked, especially the persecutors of God's people. Continuance in sin inevitably leads to misery; and the greatness of the numbers, wealth, and power of persevering transgressors will do nothing towards diminishing the certainty, the greatness, or the perpetuity of their torment. Third part of the sun--moon--stars; for the darkening of the heavenly bodies as the symbol of the overthrow of nations, see above note to chap Re 6:12-14. By reason of the other voices; because the calamities which they would indicate would be exceedingly great and destructive. Interpreters generally apply the preceding four trumpets to the four principal invasions of the barbarians--of the Goths under Alaric, of the Vandals under Genseric, of the Huns under Attila, and of the Heruli under Odoacer, extending from about A.D. 410 to A.D. 476. The details must be sought in the history of these times, and in the more extended commentaries on the Apocalypse. However great or long continued the calamities of the wicked in this world, they are only warnings and foretastes of greater and more lasting calamities which, if they continue in sin, they will suffer in the world to come.
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