Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.CHAPTER 8
The silence in heaven when the seventh seal is opened is indicative of the solemn things which are now to come. The scroll is now fully opened and there is an ominous hush as the seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets of judgment. John beholds these seven angels, but before they begin to sound “another angel” is seen standing at the altar. This angel is not a creature, but like the angel of Jehovah in the Old Testament, is our Lord Himself. He is seen as the Priest in behalf of the praying, suffering saints on earth. No angel can offer the prayers of the saints, but He, who is the one intercessor, alone can do that. And for what do they pray on earth? For mercy for those who persecute the remnant of Israel? No! They pray for divine intervention, for the fire of judgment as Elijah did.
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.CHAPTERS 8:6-11:18
The Sounding of the Seven Trumpets
1. The first trumpet (Revelation 8:6-7) 2. The second trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9) 3. The third trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11) 4. The fourth trumpet (Revelation 8:12-13) 5. The fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12) 6. The sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21) 7. Parenthesis: The angel and the little book (Revelation 10:1-11) 8. The temple (Revelation 11:1-2) 9. The two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12) 10. The earthquake and the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:13-18)
2. The second trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9)
3. The third trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11)
4. The fourth trumpet (Revelation 8:12-13)
5. The fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12)
6. The sixth trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21)
7. Parenthesis: The angel and the little book (Revelation 10:1-11)
8. The temple (Revelation 11:1-2)
9. The two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12)
10. The earthquake and the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:13-18)
The judgments which follow can hardly be fully interpreted at this time. It would be folly to dogmatize about them. The historical application we reject, because the scope of the book makes it clear that these judgments have not yet taken place. What many of these things mean may perhaps never be fully understood till they are actually in fulfillment. The first four trumpet judgments evidently stand by themselves. The fire the Lord cast down is doing its work. The first trumpet manifests the same evidences of divine wrath as came upon Egypt, when Israel suffered there, under the seventh plague (Exodus 9:23). Hail (heat withdrawn), fire and blood are all symbols of divine wrath. The trees and the green grass were burned up. The green things are symbols of agricultural and commercial prosperity.
That this is not a literal mountain is obvious. A mountain in Scripture language represents a kingdom (Isaiah 2:2; Zechariah 4:7; Psalm 46:2; and especially Jeremiah 51:25). The sea is typical of nations. Some kingdom, internally on fire, signifying probably revolution, will be precipitated into the restless sea of nations, and the result will be a still greater destruction of life and commerce, which is represented by the ships.
In the preceding trumpet judgments things were cast upon the earth, but here is a star which falls. It is some person who claimed authority and who becomes an apostate, whose fall produces the awful results given here. It may be the final Antichrist who first may have claimed to be for Israel a great teacher with divine authority and then takes the awful plunge. Wormwood is his name and the waters became wormwood and bitter.
The sun, the moon and the stars are now affected. The sun is the symbol of the highest authority; the moon, who has not her own light, is symbolical of derived authority; and the stars are symbolical of subordinate authority. The symbolical meaning of this trumpet judgment is that all authority within the revived Roman empire will be smitten by the hand of one above and as a result there will be the most awful moral darkness. These four trumpet judgments tell of prosperity taken first from the earth; a great power burning with the fires of revolution affecting the nations; a great leader will fall and become wormwood; and authority disowned and smitten will fill the territory of the Roman empire (Europe) with the densest darkness.