8:1 And 1 when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
8:2 2 And I saw the seven angels which a stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
(1) He returns to the history of the seals of the book, which the Lamb opens. The seventh seal is the next sign, a precise commandment for the execution of the most severe judgment of God on this wicked world, and being understood by the seal, all things in heaven are silent, and in horror through admiration, until the command to act is given by God to the ministers of his wrath. So he moves to the third part which I spoke of before in ( Revelation 6:1 ) which is the enacting of those evils with which God most justly determined to afflict the world.
8:3 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
(2) Now follows the third branch of the common history, as even now I said: which is the execution of the judgments of God on the world. This is first generally prepared, down to ( Revelation 8:3-6 ). The administers of the execution are seven angels: their instruments, trumpets, by which they sound the alarm at the commandment of God. They are seven in number, because it did not please God to deliver all his wrath on the rebellious world at once, but at various times, in segments, and in slow order, and as if unwilling to exercise his judgments on his creatures, so long called on both by word and signs, if perhaps they should decide to repent.
(a) Who appear before him as his ministers.
8:4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, b ascended up before God out of the angels hand.
(3) This is the great emperor, the Lord Jesus Christ, our King and Saviour, who both makes intercession to God the Father for the saints, filling the heavenly sanctuary with most sweet odour, and offering up their prayers, as the calves and burnt sacrifices of their lips, in this verse: in such manner as every one of them (so powerful is that sweet savour of Christ, and the reliability of his sacrifice) are reconciled with God and made most acceptable to him, ( Revelation 8:4 ). Then also out of his treasury and from the same sanctuary, the fire of his wrath descends on the world, adding also divine signs to it: and by that means (as of old the heralds of Rome did) he proclaims war against the rebellious world.
(b) Our prayers are worth nothing, unless the true and sweet savour of that only sacrifice be especially and before all things with them, that is to say, unless we are first of all justified through faith in his Son, acceptable to him. 8:6 4 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
8:7 5 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
(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 ( Revelation 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.
8:8 6 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
(5) The first execution at the sound of the first angel, on the earth, that is, the inhabitants of the earth (by metonymy) and on all the fruits of it: as comparing this verse with the second part of ( Revelation 8:9 ) does plainly declare.
8:10 7 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
(6) The second execution on the sea, in this verse and all things that are in ( Revelation 8:9 ).
(7) The third execution on the floods and fountains, that is, on all fresh water, in this verse: the effect of which is, that many are destroyed by the bitterness of the water, in the verse following. 8:11 And the name of the star is called 8 Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
(8) This is spoken by metaphor of a commonly known bitter herb: unless perhaps a man following those that note the derivation of words would rather explain it as an adjective for that which cannot be drunk because of its bitterness, causing the liquid it is made into to be more bitter than any man can drink. 8:12 9 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
(9) The fourth execution on the lights of heaven, which give light to this world. 8:13 10 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
(10) A lamentable prediction or foretelling of those parts of the divine execution which yet are behind: which also is a passage to the argument of the next chapter. Of all these things in a manner Christ himself expressly foretold in ( Luke 21:24 ) and they are common plagues generally denounced, without particular note of time.