Reading the Word
Revelation 8:1–13 (ESV)
1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. 6 Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. 7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. 8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter. 12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night. 13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
Understanding and Applying the Word
In a response to the prayers of his people, God unleashes a series of judgments on the earth. Each begins with the sound of a trumpet. In this passage, we read of four of these judgments: hail and fire, the water being turned to blood, water made bitter, and darkness. It is interesting to note that these resemble the plagues that God used to judge Egypt during the Exodus. We see a picture of God once again delivering his people from evil and oppression.
God’s people are dear to him. Throughout Scripture we see his hand leading and protecting them. It is no different in Revelation as he responds to prayer and delivers his people by judging evil. As believers, we look for the day when sin and evil are judged once and for all and our deliverance is eternal. That is what we read about at the end of the Book of Revelation as God creates a new heaven and a new earth where his people dwell with him forever.
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