Revelation 8:6
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
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(6) And the seven angels . . .—Translate, And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves that they might sound. The angels raised their trumpets to their mouths, ready to blow. The sounding of the trumpets introduced the series of startling events (or providences, as we sometimes call them) which serve to arrest men’s attention, and remind them that there is a kingdom which cannot be shaken. Such events are landing-stages in the great advancing progress of Christ’s kingdom. It may be well to remind those who are desirous of actual and limited historical fulfilments which correspond with the features of the several visions, that the aim of the visions seems to be to give the seer, and through him the Church at large, some idea of the general kind of events which ever mark the decay of the kingdom of wrong and the growth of the kingdom of our Lord. It is to this consummation the visions of the trumpets lead us. We are to see the destruction of those who destroy the earth, and the establishment of the kingdom of Him who will reign in righteousness (Revelation 11:15-18). This great consummation is to be achieved by slow and painful steps. “Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom?” is the question answered by the seals. “How wilt thou restore the kingdom?” is the question answered by the trumpets. In both cases the answer is similar. These great results are not and cannot be attained in the quick ways human impatience would suggest. The history of the world is not to be folded up in a hurry, for that history is a development and a discipline; it is not only the consummation which is to be desired: the steps to that end are salutary, though painful. The chastisement which is not joyous but grievous may be the best means of bringing to the world the peaceable fruits of righteousness;—

“And man, unfriended, faltering on the way,

Must learn to weep before he learns to pray.”

And this wholesome lesson of tears must be taught the world, in the slow and bitter progress of a human history marked not by one judgment but by many. The fulfilment, then, of these prophetic visions is not exhausted in one event, however nearly its features may correspond with the character of the vision.

8:1-6 The seventh seal is opened. There was profound silence in heaven for a space; all was quiet in the church, for whenever the church on earth cries through oppression, that cry reaches up to heaven; or it is a silence of expectation. Trumpets were given to the angels, who were to sound them. The Lord Jesus is the High Priest of the church, having a golden censer, and much incense, fulness of merit in his own glorious person. Would that men studied to know the fulness that is in Christ, and endeavoured to be acquainted with his excellency. Would that they were truly persuaded that Christ has such an office as that of Intercessor, which he now performs with deep sympathy. No prayers, thus recommended, was ever denied hearing and acceptance. These prayers, thus accepted in heaven, produced great changes upon earth. The Christian worship and religion, pure and heavenly in its origin and nature, when sent down to earth and conflicting with the passions and worldly projects of sinful men, produced remarkable tumults, here set forth in prophetical language, as our Lord himself declared, Lu 12:49.And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound - Revelation 8:7. Evidently in succession, perhaps by arranging themselves in the order in which they were to sound. The way is now prepared for the sounding of the trumpets, and for the fearful commotions and changes which would be indicated by that. The last seal is opened; heaven stands in suspense to know what is to be disclosed; the saints, filled with solicitude, have offered their prayers; the censer of coals has been cast to the earth, as if these judgments could be no longer stayed by prayer; and the angels prepare to sound the trumpets indicative of what is to occur. 6. sound—blow the trumpets. The angels are God’s ministers, by which he bringeth his counsels to pass in the world: they hearing the thunderings and voices, knew the time was come when they were to begin the execution of God’s judgments upon the earth; the execution of which was intrusted to them, and they are therefore set out (though they be always ready) after the manner of men, preparing themselves to execute what God had intrusted them with the execution of.

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets,.... Given them, Revelation 8:2;

prepared themselves to sound; they stood up, took their trumpets in their hands, and put them to their mouths; this was giving notice of what was coming upon the earth, and a kind of warning to men, and a call upon them to repentance, and to prepare to meet God in the way of his judgments. The time when these trumpets began to blow was after the opening of the seventh seal, and so after the destruction of the empire as Pagan, which was under the sixth seal; and after that peace and rest from persecution in Constantine's time, signified by the half hour's silence in heaven; and after the prayers of the saints for vengeance, because of their blood shed in the time of Rome Pagan, were offered up, heard, taken notice of, and accepted; and therefore cannot regard, nor have any concern with the state of the church before Constantine's time, as some have thought the three first trumpets had; the first introducing the contradictions and blasphemies of the Jews, and their persecutions of the Christians, and the effusion of their blood by them; the second the ten persecutions under the Heathen emperors; and the third, the errors and heresies which pestered the churches of those times: nor indeed do they concern the state of the church at all; though it seems much more likely that the first four trumpets should bring in; as others have thought, the several heresies of Arius, Macedonius, Pelagius, and Eutyches, which sprung up before the rise of Mahomet, who appears under the fifth trumpet. But all the six trumpets have to do with the empire as Christian; for as the six seals are so many steps towards the destruction of the empire as Pagan, and the vials bring on the ruin of Rome Papal; so the six trumpets are so many gradual advances to the ruin of the empire, now Christian: and it must be observed, that the Emperor Theodosius, at his death, left the empire divided between his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius, the eastern part of it, which had Constantinople for its seat, to the former, and the western part of it, which had Rome for its seat, to the latter; now the first four trumpets bring in a barbarous people out of the north, the Goths, Huns, and Vandals, into the western part, who, by various incursions and wars, at last utterly destroy it; and the fifth and sixth trumpets bring in the Saracens under Mahomet, and the Turks into the eastern part, who took possession of that, and have kept it unto this day. (This was published in 1747, Ed.) A preparation being made, the angels begin to sound their trumpets.

{4} And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

(4) This is the work of the administers. The angels, the administers of Christ, by sounding trumpet and voice (for they are heralds) effectually call forth the instruments of the wrath of God, through his power. Until now, things have been general. Now the narration of specific things follows, which the angels fix in number wrought in their order, set out in Re 8:7 and is concluded with the declaration of the event which followed these things done in the world, and in chapters ten and eleven.

Revelation 8:6. The half-hour silence in heaven is now at an end; after the fire, whose meaning also becomes manifest by the threatening signs immediately following (Revelation 8:5), has been cast upon the earth, the seven angels (Revelation 8:2) prepare to sound their trumpets.

ἡτοίμασαν ἐαυτ. This includes the grasping of the trumpets in such a way that they could bring them to their mouths.[2457]

[2457] Cf. C. a Lap., Beng.

Revelation 8:6-12. The first four trumpets.

Verse 6. - And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. This verse takes up and continues the narrative of ver. 2; the intervening passage serves to indicate the immediate cause of the judgments now about to descend, viz. the "prayers of the saints" (ver. 4). (On the number seven, as signifying a complete number, see Revelation 1:4; Revelation 5:1, etc.) Cf. the sounding of the trumpets at Jericho, and the other passages quoted in the comment on ver. 2. Revelation 8:6To sound (ἵνα σαλπίσωσιν)

Lit., that they should blow the trumpets. Raised their trumpets to their mouths in act to blow.

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