Revelation 8:1-13 Part 1


1)    And when He loosed the seventh seal, silence was in the heaven for half an hour.

2)    Then I did see seven messengers which had stood before God; and seven trumpets were given to them.

3)    Then another messenger did come, and he was poised before the altar having the golden censer.  And much incense was given to him in order that he would present the prayers of all the holy ones before the golden altar in front of the throne.

4)    And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the holy ones arose before God out of the hand of the messenger.

5)    Then the messenger took the censer and filled it from the fire of the altar of whole burnt offering and poured into the land.  And there were thunders and sounds and lightnings and shaking.

6)    And the seven messengers having the seven trumpets prepared themselves that they might trumpet.

7)    And the first trumpeted.  And hail was, and fire having been mixed in blood and poured into the earth, and the third of the land burned up, and the third of the trees burned up, and all tender herbage burned up.

8)    Then the second messenger trumpeted.  As it were a great mountain was cast burning into the sea, and the third of the sea was blood,

9)    and the third of the creatures having life in the sea died, and the third of the vessels were utterly destroyed.

10) Then the third messenger trumpeted.  And a great star fell out of the heaven as a torch being burned and fell on the third of the rivers and on the fountains of water,

11) and the name of the star is called ‘the wormwood’, and the third of the waters was made into wormwood, and many men did die from the waters for they had been rendered bitter.

12) Then the fourth messenger trumpeted.  And the third of the sun was stricken, and the third of the moon, and the third of the stars so that the third of them would be darkened; and the third of the day would not be brought to light, nor the night.

13) Then I saw and heard one eagle winging its way in mid-heaven exclaiming in a powerful voice, ‘ouai’, ‘ouai’, ‘ouai those living on the land, from the remaining soundings of the trumpets from the three messengers about to trumpet!’


When the fifth seal was loosed by the Lamb, John was shown, from under the altar, all those whose blood had been spilled for the Word of God and the witness they had borne.  And they were praying.

And their imprecatory supplications were heard by the apostle.  They were all crying out to the holy God on His throne in the heaven to avenge their blood on those dwelling in the land.

Jesus Christ had said this to the princes and priests and scribes of Israel as recorded by Matthew in chapter 23:


32) Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.

33) You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hades?

34) Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,

35) so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah who you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

36) Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.


So, since Jesus had said it, the martyrs under the altar were all faithfully crying out for God to avenge them, to avenge their blood, to avenge the blood of all the righteous that had been shed on the earth.  They were all then dressed in white garments and told to wait a little while until others whose blood would be shed would join them.  Then He would avenge them.

Then when the Lamb loosed the sixth seal, all of these dressed in white garments were shown what was to come quickly.  In response to the imprecatory petitions of the saints and martyrs, John saw and heard Israel decreated in an awesome judgment-seat-manifestation of what was to take place quickly.

But before that historic and dreadful event was to ensue, archangel Michael arose out of dayspring to direct the host of heaven in the “marking” and “sealing” and “rescue” of those who He had come to seek and to save, for the wrath of the Lamb was not to be poured out upon His elect from the twelve tribes of (Jacob) Israel.

All of them would be persecuted; and many would die for the Word of God.  But none of them would suffer the wrath of God upon this abandoned nation, for the Anointed One had already suffered that wrath for them.

And all of the host of the heaven, and all of the ever-increasing white-robed throng lifted up their voices in seven-fold praise and thanksgiving for so great salvation. 

And then an elder-creature confirmed for John, quoting from Scripture, that everything he had seen and heard was that which was prophesied in the older Scripture.

And that’s the context, you see, that flows right into chapter eight… there’s no break.  And the last seal of the covenantal scroll that Daniel was told to “seal up” until the end was loosed by the Lamb.  And it contains the “completion”, the “fullness”, of the scroll.  The “seventh” is the “fullness” of the Revelation, “decreed” by God – the covenantal “speech” of God – sealed to the day – “loosed” by the Lamb, having been petitioned by those who had shed their blood for the Word of God.

And John sees it all and hears it all; and it is all from the perspective of God’s spoken covenantal decree.  From the One above the Throne – above the cherubim – above the expanse of the firmament of His creation, comes the Revelation of all that was sealed to the day.

And may I say this again (for it is so critical for us to hear), that this is how Almighty God has decreed it all.  And this is how He has caused it to be revealed – earlier to Daniel, and now to John.  It is His decree; and the Revelation of that decree is His language – His spoken Word.

And we must not be so arrogant as to try to “interpret” it from what we see and what we think we know.  We’re walking on holy ground here.  We weren’t there when God decreed these things; and we weren’t there when He caused them to occur.  But we have the written record of what John saw and heard, which (as Peter said) is more sure than what we see and experience around us.

And to think that we could deal with the inspired written record and revise it, and see it from our own perspective and experience, and put it in our own language and simplify it, and make it say what we think it says, is insouciant insolence. 

We must “receive” the text… not “judge” the text.  To stand above the text in order to “decide” what it says, or to “reconcile” what it says, or to “imagine” what it says, or to “hypothesize” about what it says, or to superimpose some other scenario over what it says, is an exercise in the full definition of “haughtiness”.

God caused John to see and hear exactly what John writes.  And we have to receive it as God revealed it… in the language that it was revealed.  We have no option to do anything other than receive it.  For John says, at the end, that anybody who adds to it, or takes away from it, “let him be cursed”.

So, with fear and trembling, let us proceed!

And the first thing that we must do here is to read from Daniel once again.  Here is text of the few (now familiar) verses from chapter twelve:


1)    And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

2)    And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

3)    And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

4)    But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

5)    Then I, Daniel, looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on the brink of the river on this side, and the other on the brink of the river on that side.

6)    And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?

7)    And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that lives for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

8)    8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my lord, what shall be the issue of these things?

9)    9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end.


You see, what Daniel saw and heard – and sealed up until the time of the end, is exactly what John sees and hears as the Lamb looses what has been sealed!

The “words” were shut up and sealed for a time, times and a “half”.

How long will it be until all of this is “finished”?  “It shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”

“The time of the end….”  “Finished.”

And what does our text say?  “And when He loosed the seventh seal, silence was in the heaven for half an hour”… the explicit “fullness” of the prophetic Word to Daniel.

Directly after the loosing of the seventh seal comes the “half time”; and then comes the breaking into pieces (as Daniel is told) – the crack of doom for the covenant people, the completion of the “time, times and a half”.  Now it is the “time of the end”.

The “silence” is the filling up of the “half”. 

And the silence was required in the prophetic Word.  Habakkuk chapter two is God’s Word through the prophet concerning the “end” of Israel which had loudly proclaimed its own holiness and greatness and exclusivity while committing all kinds of fornications, and bowing to every kind of graven image.

But about Israel’s self-proclaimed exclusivity Habakkuk says, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahveh, as the waters cover the sea.”

And about Israel’s loud boasting of its pre-eminence and its swaggering exhibition of immorality and hypocrisy, Habbakuk writes:  “Yahveh is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”

Silence is imposed upon all for half a time as John looks on, filling up all the Word of God in the prophets concerning Israel’s “end”, for Israel would not be silent before God and repent.  And the remainder of the Revelation is the totality of the “decree”.

And John will see and hear the decree as God speaks it and it appears in the heaven.  The martyrs whose blood was under the altar cried out for it in imprecatory prayer; and the Churches were comforted by it as John writes the decree of God as He spoke it.  And then he sends it to all the Churches that they, too, might see and hear that which God has “spoken” in the heaven.

The “words” were shut up and sealed, as Daniel was commanded to do; and now the spoken Words of God are loosed by the Lamb.  Archangel Michael arises out of Dayspring and “stands up” for His people (as prophesied); and He remains prominent throughout the decree, for He is commander-in-chief of all things in the heaven and on the earth.  As God reveals in His Own words, God the Son appears as the leader of all the creatures in the heaven, directing them all in the sealing and rescue of all of His people who He came to seek and to save.  (And He is prominent in the remainder of this chapter as well.)

Then the loosing of the seventh, and last, seal…  and the silence.

Seeing the language as it is written is such a delight.  And from it comes an understanding that’s not otherwise acquired.  This statement (here in verse one) is a classic example of that because, without attention being paid to the grammar, nobody would gain the full impact of the statement.

In an effort to make the translation smooth and readable in English, translators make what they call “justifiable changes” in the readability of the text in order to arrive at a “dynamic equivalency” (that’s what they call it).  I call it a “mis-translation”.  And a prime example of that is here in verse one of our text.

All of the popular translations render it this way: “And there was silence….”

But that’s not the way the text reads.  It reads, “silence was in the heaven….”  It must read this way because of the sentence structure and because of the word that’s used for the verb.  It’s a different word than that which is common in the parsing of verbs.  In other words, it isn’t the form of the common word “to be”.

This word means “to become”, or “to come into being” (as in “creation”).  It is not the word for “to be”, it’s another word entirely.  And it is in an emphatic position in the sentence.  Therefore the emphasis that should be placed by the reader ought to be on the word “was”, rather than just on the word “silence”.  Silence was!

Now, we’ve already seen, from the prophecy of Daniel, that this is the “half“ time that was revealed to Daniel… ”time, times, and a half” that was required before the “end”.  Then Daniel was told to shut the scroll and seal it until the time of the end.

But here in our text, the seventh seal of the scroll is loosed, and the “half” time occurs.  “Silence was….”  The text doesn’t say “there was silence….”  It says “silence was….”  It “came into being… by decree”.  It wasn’t an accident; it wasn’t just something that happened; the creatures didn’t just “keep quiet”.

The silence was created, as was revealed to Daniel… the “half” being the last period before the end.  The scroll is completely unloosed – the seventh seal being loosed by the Lamb – loosing the “completion” of all that was sealed to the end.  And God caused silence to “become” – to exist.  Silence was created – imposed, for Israel would not “keep silent” before God.  And now, the commanded silence “was”… for the seventh, and last, seal had been loosed; and “all” of the sealed scroll is now revealed, and John sees and hears all of that which has been sealed until the time of the end.  And now it IS the time of the end.

Now, before we come to the trumpeters, let me just spend a minute or two on the imposition of silence, since that’s what God required of Israel in the prophecy of Habbakuk.  That entire prophecy, by the way, is full of Israel’s impertinence before a Holy God.

From the beginning of its existence in the Sinai, Israel was forever complaining and whining.  And its adulteries and idolatries are legendary; the nation was worse than all the surrounding pagan nations, because it had the Word of God which, as the prophet said, they had “turned upside down”.

The “holy books” that were written by their priests and scribes and elders all through its history indicate that they were always haggling about what God said.  And they left the people in darkness because they took small portions of God’s Word out of context, for their own benefits, and interpreted them in their own terms, and added to it and subtracted from it at will in order to benefit themselves and make everybody else conform.

And in doing so the priests and scribes and elders led the people into a satanic “prison” of darkness, destitution and enslavement under pagan rule.  By their refusal to abide by God’s Word, they were “blind leading the blind”.

This insolent and cavalier treatment of God’s Word with its constant blasphemous and impertinent trafficking in interpretations was contemptuous.  Instead of “listening” to what God said and listening to His prophets call for Israel’s repentance, Israel had imposed its own religion over and above God’s “speech” – His Word - and had deemed themselves “holy” by inference, which is a blatantly audacious and impudent response to His covenant.  And finally God said, as recorded in Habbakuk, “be silent before ME!”

And, as recorded in Daniel, and here in the Revelation, God imposed that half time silence before the decreation of His “heaven and earth” Israel.

And then the first thing John sees is the trumpeters!  The seventh seal is loosed by the Lamb, and seven angel/messengers are stood up before the throne and given the seven trumpets.  The time, times and a half are now done.  The time of the end has come.  The trumpets are readied.  And the numerical “sevens” are evident once again as “totality” and “finality” is indicated.  So, as God’s covenantal decree is brought to pass, it will be a “complete” end (as promised in the prophets).

What I’m going to do now is give you a series of passages having to do with the trumpeting sound of God in His sanctuary.  And then we’ll see how God commanded His sound to be replicated in the ceremonial and sacrificial system, and in the very life and existence of the nation gathered around His tabernacle.

And I urge you to listen carefully to these, and remember them, for the trumpet sound of God occurs seven times in the Revelation – chapters eight here through eleven; and the “anchor” of what we see here in our text is in the older Scripture.

The first occurs in the garden when, post-adamic rebellion, God’s fearsome trumpeting sound blasts into the ears of the hiding and terrified Adam.  (That’s the way it ought to read, but the Hebrew text is incorrectly translated there in Genesis chapter three in the common English translations.)

In Exodus chapter nineteen we see the trumpeting voice of Almighty God as He comes in the heaven with the great glory cloud of creatures to Sinai.  Listen:


10) And Yahveh said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,

11) And be ready against the third day: for the third day Yahveh will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

12) And you shall set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death:

13) There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mount.

14) And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.

15) And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.

16) And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the trumpet voice exceeding loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled.

17) And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with Yahveh; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.

18) And mount Sinai was altogether in a smoke, because Yahveh descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

19) And when the trumpet voice sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and Yahveh answered him by a sound.

20) And Yahveh came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and Yahveh called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.


This is the very sound that the apostle heard as the Lord Jesus Christ appears to him in chapter one here in the Revelation, isn’t it?  Here it is:


1)    I John, your brother and co-sharer in the affliction and kingdom and steadfastness in Jesus, came to be in the island called Patmos through the Word of God and the witness of Jesus.

2)    I came to be in spirit in the Lord’s Day, and I heard a great voice as a trumpet behind me

3)    saying, “write what you see in a scroll and send to the seven Churches


And it is the same in chapter four as John is called up into the heaven.  It is the sound of God in His throne-room.  And it is the original sound, you see.  Man-made trumpets are made to sound in the likeness of the Original!

Now.  What we’re going to see next are the “like” sounds that are commanded of Israel.  (I say “like sounds”…. they are, indeed, “like” the trumpet sound of God in the heaven; but they are “more”.  They are commanded of God, and they are, in actuality, His voice as He commands the trumpets to be sounded!)

Not only are we to see the throne of God, and all His created surroundings in the heaven, in the gathering of Israel around the tabernacle, but we are to “hear” it as well; for the sights and the sounds of the heaven are created in, and around, the tabernacle and the gathering of the nation.

Listen to the instructions to Moses regarding the “trumpeting” of Israel as it replicates the voice of the Lord of Hosts.  Numbers chapter ten:


1)    And Yahveh spoke unto Moses, saying,

2)    Make two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

3)    And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

4)    And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto you.

5)    When you blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.

6)    When you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.

7)    But when the congregation is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm.

8)    And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.

9)    And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before Yahveh your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.

10) Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am Yahveh your God.


So, two trumpets, each fashioned from one quantity of silver, were vital accompaniments to the congregating of the nation, and to the movements of the nation, and to the defense of the nation, and to the ceremonial and sacrificial system of the nation. 

The trumpets, and the sounding of the trumpets, were to be a “memorial”.  In other words, when the trumpets sounded, all Israel was to remember the voice of Yahveh in the heaven!  The trumpets being sounded was the likeness of Yahveh speaking.  And, indeed, the sound was Him speaking!

In Leviticus chapter twenty-three we read this:


23) And Yahveh spoke unto Moses, saying,

24) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.


What follows there in Leviticus twenty three (much too long for us to read here) is the law of the feast days, Passover, the bringing of tithes, whole burnt offerings and peace offerings, the day of atonement (pentecost), and the eight day long Sabbath in which Israel lived in tabernacles… all commencing with the sounding of the trumpets for an entire day, and all of it prophesying and foreshadowing what John sees and hears here in our text as we look through Revelation eight.

And lastly, in addition to the silver trumpets associated with the ceremonial and sacrificial system of the tabernacle, listen to what God commanded Joshua as Israel encountered Jericho – the first city the nation of Israel engaged as it crossed over the Jordan into the land that God had promised them:


1)    Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

2)    And Yahveh said unto Joshua, See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

3)    And you shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shall you do six days.

4)    Then seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

5)    And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.


The initial engagement in God’s command for the decreation of the Canaanite nation in the Promised Land was the city of Jericho.  And the instrument used was the ram’s horn trumpet – seven of them to be sounded by seven priests on the seventh day after having circled the city seven times.  The sound of the trumpets was the very voice of the Lord of Hosts in the heaven (the original trumpeting sound).  And it was the commanding Word of God.  And the entire wall around the city fell; and the warriors of Israel entered the city straitway.

And every living thing (man, woman, child, animal), except the elect Rahab and her family, was slain by the sword; and the whole city was burned as rubble… never again to be rebuilt.

Having read all these things from the older Scripture, plus the text of Revelation eight, it is impossible to miss “the time of the end” for Jerusalem and Israel.  As was Rahab and her family, all of God’s elect from the families of Jacob’s sons are marked out and saved by “The Prince” – Archangel Michael - before the decreation of Jerusalem and all of Israel, which Scripture calls “the abomination of desolation”.

Then, at the loosing of the seventh seal, seven messengers receive seven trumpets; and they’re made ready to sound the very voice of Almighty God to the final destruction and burning of Jerusalem.  As Daniel was told, the scroll is to be loosed at the “time of the end”.

As we close, I would be remiss if I failed to give the warning once again; anybody who is so obstinate that he adds to what God has revealed here, let him be cursed.  Anybody who is so obstinate that he takes away from what God has revealed here, let him be cursed.  (I didn’t say that – God said it.)

You and I as creatures have no right to do anything with it other than receive it!  Should you do anything else with it, then the only right you have is to receive the curse!  So take the consequences like the arrogant man that you are!

Nobody has a right to some other opinion of it…God has an opinion of what He’s done, and you have no right to another one.

You have no right to some other interpretation of it… God has His Own interpretation of His covenantal decree, and you have no right to another one.

You have no right to dispute it because it doesn’t match up to what you see going on around you… disputing with God gets you nowhere except being cursed.

You have no right to place a foreign system of eschatology over this letter to the Churches (which has little to do with eschatology) and then reinterpret the words according to that system….  God has decreed His Own eschatology, and He just doesn’t need yours.

Read it; study it carefully; receive it.  Then fear God and obey Him and glorify Him and give Him thanks for so great salvation.  That’s what being faithful means.