Revelation is the only book that says we are blessed to read, hear and keep the things that are written, for the time is near. Hence, let us not be like hypocrites without discerning times and seasons. Here we will look into Revelation 8 and understand what it says.
(Rev 1:3) Blessed [is] he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time [is] near.
(Luke 12:56) “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how [is it] you do not discern this time?
Prayers of Saints
(Rev 8:1-6) When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw [it] to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
(Num 16:46) So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense [on it,] and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.”
Aaron took a censer, put fire in it from the altar, put incense and made atonement for the congregation when the wrath of God had gone out from the Lord and the plague had begun. Similarly, the angel took the golden censer and put the smoke of incense which are the prayers of saints, filled fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. The angel did exactly what Aaron did to stop the plague, for the plagues on earth are about to begin.
The seven priests bearing seven trumpets before the ark of covenant during the battle of Jericho is similar to how seven angels sound the seven trumpets. God gave Jericho into the hands of Israelite people during the time of Joshua. Here, God Himself conquers the whole world.
(Josh 6:4) “And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
(Rev 11:15) Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become [the kingdoms] of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Seven Last Tumpets and Plagues
It is important to understand Revelation 8 and Revelation 16 are same events.
(Rev 8:2) And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
(Rev 15:1) Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.
As we dig deeper into the Scripture, we will understand the events of blowing the seven trumpets and the seven plagues are related and connected. We can understand this not only based on the timeline but also based on the plagues themselves.
Hail and Fire
(Rev 8:7) The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
The first plague is similar to the plague of hail by Moses on Egyptians except this time, it is for the whole world.
(Exod 9:23-25) And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy that there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that [was] in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.
As green grass symbolizes luxury, this plague will destroy the luxury of men.
(Isa 15:6-7) For the waters of Nimrim will be desolate, For the green grass has withered away; The grass fails, there is nothing green. Therefore the abundance they have gained, And what they have laid up, They will carry away to the Brook of the Willow
This is the first plague of hail and fire in revelation which immediately follows sores on man as in Exodus.
(Exod 9:9) “And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.”
(Rev 16:2) So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
The Burning Mountain
(Rev 8:8-9) Then 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. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
Water becoming blood is one of the plagues of Moses on Egyptians. It also symbolizes bloodshed.
(Exod 7:20-21) And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that [were] in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that [were] in the river were turned to blood. The fish that [were] in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
(2Kgs 3:22-23) Then they rose up early in the morning, and the sun was shining on the water; and the Moabites saw the water on the other side [as] red as blood. And they said, “This is blood; the kings have surely struck swords and have killed one another; now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!”
Mountain symbolizes a kingdom as we saw in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.
(Dan 2:35,44) “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. … And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
A kingdom burning with fire and thrown into the sea represents a destruction of a great kingdom in end times. This is the second plague of sea becoming blood .
(Rev 16:3) Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead [man;] and every living creature in the sea died.
The only difference is, Revelation 8 gives more detail about a third, while Revelation 16 simply says sea becomes blood.
(Rev 8:10-11) Then 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 water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.
Stars are referred to children of Israel as in Joseph’s dream and prophecy to Abraham. Star also represents angels as we see in Revelation 1.
(Gen 37:9-10) Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” So he told [it] to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What [is] this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?”
(Gen 15:5) Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
It means, a great preacher or an angel deceiving a third of the people into sin causing bitterness and death.
This is the third plague on spring and rivers.
(Rev 16:4-7) Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] Your judgments.
Revelation 8 describes the plague as third of rivers and springs of water becoming ‘bitter’. These being deceived have killed the saints and prophets. Therefore, God had killed them as explained in Revelation 16.
Third of Sun, Moon and Stars
(Rev 8:12-13) Then the fourth angel sounded: 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 were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
The Sun, Moon and stars are not the literal celestial bodies. As explained in the other blog, There is no darkening of Sun, blood Moon or falling of stars while this world and this heaven exists according to what God said in His heart, it will not cease.
(Gen 8:22) “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”
Without going into scientific technicalities, with Sun’s only 2/3 brightness, seedtime and harvest will cease. Hence, undoubtedly, the Sun, Moon and stars referred here are not the literal celestial bodies.
As explained in the earlier blog, Sun represents God the Father Himself shining His righteousness on the world through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ so that the world can see and come to the light. Sun darkening represents lack of God and His righteousness in this world, just like the days of Noah. A third of the people departed from righteousness. Moon which represents Jerusalem, giving no light represents no righteousness in it and a third of the city is without righteousness. A third of stars representing preachers of God turned away from the truth. Instead of turning many to righteousness, they themselves turned into unrighteousness.
This is the fourth plague on Sun, Moon and stars.
(Rev 16:8-9) Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.
This plague is referring to a third of people becoming unrighteous and the rich fading away from righteousness in their pursuits.
(Jas 1:11) For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
We will revisit these plagues once again when we study Revelation chapter 16.