The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets
1When He (the Lamb) broke open the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour [in awe of God’s impending judgment]. 2Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven #In the Old Testament, trumpets announced God’s commands to congregate, move camp, and prepare for war (Num 10:1-9). Trumpets were also used to announce celebrations (Num 10:10; 29:1), royal coronations (1 Kin 1:34, 39; 2 Kin 9:13), and God’s impending wrath (Josh 6:1-8; Zeph 1:14-16). Angels will blow trumpets during the judgment and resurrection (Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16).trumpets were given to them.
3Another angel came and stood at the altar. He had a golden #I.e. a special container for burning incense.censer, and much #I.e. fragrant spices which exude perfume when burned.incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints (God’s people) on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4And the smoke and fragrant aroma of the incense, with the prayers of the saints (God’s people), ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5So the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were peals of thunder and loud rumblings and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
6Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them [initiating the judgments].
7The first [angel] sounded [his trumpet], and there was [a storm of] hail and fire, mixed with blood, and it was hurled to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
8The second angel sounded [his trumpet], and something like a great mountain blazing with fire was hurled into the sea; and a third of the sea was turned to blood; 9and a third of the living creatures that were in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10The third angel sounded [his trumpet], and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch [flashing across the sky], and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of [fresh] waters. 11The name of the star is #Gr apsinthos, cf Eng “absinthe.” This is a plant from which a bitter oil is extracted that is highly toxic to the nervous system. The name “wormwood” comes from the fact that the oil was used medicinally to kill intestinal worms.Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the waters, because they had become bitter (toxic).
12Then the fourth angel sounded [his trumpet], and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and a third of the daylight would not shine, and the night in the same way [would not shine].
13Then I looked, and I heard a solitary eagle flying in #The Greek word used here refers to the meridian or zenith, the highest point of the sun in the sky, where the sun is directly overhead.midheaven [for all to see], saying with a loud voice, “#During the first four trumpets, judgment fell on nature, but in the final three trumpet judgments (chs 9-11), unbelieving humanity will be directly punished through torment, death, and at last total destruction.Woe, woe, woe [great wrath is coming] to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpets which the three angels are about to sound [announcing ever greater judgments]!”