Revelation 8:7–13 (NKJV)

As the transition occurs from the period of peace to the period of judgment, John recorded the last (seventh) seal being broken and then moved on to describe the plagues or judgments that followed the trumpets sounding. The censer that was filled with fire and then thrown down out of heaven toward earth likely provided the instrument whereby the following catastrophes occurred.

First Trumpet: Vegetation Struck

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.

Revelation 8:7

After the first trumpet was sounded by the first angel, hail and fire–somehow mingled with blood (at least in appearance)–were thrown onto the earth. The result of this weapon being unleashed was that one-third of the trees and grass were burned up. The environment took a hit, but not a complete annihilation. One-third is the beginning of judgments, but not the final end. This would, however, create a meaningful amount of devastation on the earth, and would perhaps cause the oxygen supply to suffer due to the loss of vegetation.

Second Trumpet: The Seas Struck

8 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. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Revelation 8:8-9

After the sounding of the second trumpet by the second angel, something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea. This sounds like a description of a meteor, as large as a mountain. The description of it being on fire could be a result (if looking at it scientifically) of its entry into the earth’s atmosphere, at which time extremely high temperatures would be generated due to speed and friction with the thicker air as its comes near earth. However, the overarching reality is that this is an act of God to bring judgment upon the earth. The result of this meteor landing in the sea or oceans was that a third of the sea became blood. This could be a metaphor of the poisoning of the water, or it could be literal blood. Either way, one-third (recurring percentage of devastation) of the sea life died, and one-third of the ships or sea vessels were destroyed. This crippled the food supply from ocean fishing and commerce through shipping lanes. Supply was reduced significantly.

Third Trumpet: The Waters Struck

10 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. 11 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.

Revelation 8:10-11

After the third angel sounded the third trumpet, a great star fell. This star was like a burning torch in appearance. This star fell on the rivers and springs, destroying one-third of the fresh water supply. This star is named, being called Wormwood. Wormwood was a bitter herb, even poisonous. It was used to represent the results of sin in some cases. This turning of the water could be related to fresh water turning to briny, or salty, water. This occurred in Ezra 5:9, and is a similar description to this Wormwood affecting the fresh water of the earth, creating a shortage of water for those on earth after losing one-third of the supply.

Fourth Trumpet: The Heavens Struck

12 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.

Revelation 8:12

The fourth trumpet preceded an action that darkened a third of the light emanating from the sun and stars, and reflecting from the moon. The timing of the loss of light was a bit confusing, because it appears that the sun shone normally for most of the day, but there was darkness for one-third of the day, and there was complete darkness for one-third of the night. If a literal third of the sun, moon, and stars were struck, then the light would be diminished at all times but not completely blacked out. In the scenario described here, it would appear that some cosmic shift had taken place, and the sun was eclipsed for a third of the day, and the moon and stars were so for a third of the night. This shift would bring other planetary objects in the light path, causing darkness for one-third of the time the sun, moon, and stars were to normally shine. This would create a hindrance for the inhabitants of the earth, as they would need to rely on artificial light for more time that normal. Vitamin D would be less in the human body, and there would be a tangible lethargy among humanity, not to mention the climate being colder due to less sonlight.

Announcement of the Three Woes

13 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!”

Revelation 8:13

The final words during the transition from trumpet four to trumpet five are a warning to all of mankind on the earth during this second half of the Great Tribulation. An angel flew throughout the heavens bringing woe to all inhabitants of the earth. This woe would result from the sounding of the latter three trumpets, which will bring great suffering in the form of locusts and scorpions, death angels, and judgment. These trumpets to come are even greater in some ways than the first four.

Artwork from AND

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