The Seven Trumpets
Chapter 8:2-11:19

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Chapter Eight


Revelation 8:2-13 Class Discussions 4/14/2000

Judgments of the seven trumpets

Verses 2-6: Preparation

8:2 And I saw the seven heavenly messengers (angels)who before God stood and were given to them seven trumpets.
The seven angels could have been the leaders of the heavenly band of angels probably the prominent mediators of divine messages. (Gabriel, Dan 8:16; Raphael, Tob. 12:15; Michael, Dan 10:13, Rev. 12:7; Uriel, Jeremiel, Sariel, Raguel, Enoch 20:1-7.) They were previously refered to as the seven spirits before the throne of God (cf 1:4)
The sound of the trumpet in the OT preceeded the appearance of God. (Exod. 19:16, 19) and will also introduce the end time events of the return of Christ (Mat. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thes. 4:16-17)
8:3 And another heavenly messenger (angel) went and stood at the altar, having a golden censer and there was given to him much incense that he will give (it) with the prayers of the saints all at the altar the golden (thing) before the throne.
Beasley: The mingling of incense with prayers is a symbolic representation of a sacrificial accompanyment of the prayers, that they may be acceptable to God in virtue of the sacrifice of Christ.

Roloff: The incense, rising to Gods throne symbolizes the prayers of the saints, that is, of the church on earth (cf 5:8).

8:4 And ascended the smoke of the incenses with the prayers of the saints out of (the) hand of the heavenly messenger (angel) before God.
Roloff: The idea of the angels acting as mediators by presenting prayers of the saints before God is mentioned in Tob. 12:12.
8:5 And received the heavenly messenger the censer and filled it (them) out of the fire of the altar and he threw (it) to the earth, and there came thunders and sounds and lighting and (an) earthquake.
Beasley: This potrays an action expressive of judgment in responce to the prayers of the saints (cf 6:10)

Roloff: Refers to Ezek. 10:2 where an angel takes a burning coal from the altar of incense offering and scaters them over the guilt-ridden Jerusalem.
Pouring out of fire is a symbol of the outbreak of devine wrath (Matt. 3:10-11; 2 Thes. 1:7-8)

8:6 The seven heavenly messengers, the ones having the seven trumpets, prepared them that they might trumpet.
Beasley: The blowing of the trumpets was a signal of the imminent demonstration of God's anger.
- The seven angels could refer to the seven archangels mentioned in 8:2, of whom Michael was one. Also refered to as the seven angels who stand before God)
1 Enoch 20 gives their names and the duties assigned to each of them.
8:7 And the first one trumpeted and there came hail and fire having been mixed in blood and (it) was thrown into the earth and the third of the earth was burned and the third of the trees was burned and all green grass was burned.
Beasley: This corresponds to the seventh Egyptian plague (Exod. 9:23ff) which destroys the land and vegetation. In the Egyptian plague, there is no mention of blood mixed with hail and fire.
Possibly Joel 2:30 was influential to John, fire shall rain on mortal men from the fields of heaven, fire and blood, water, meteor, darkness, heavens night, ...That a third of the earth, not the whole, was burned shows that these judgments had still left opportunity for repentance.
8:8 And the second heavenly being trumpeted, and as a great mountain with fire burning was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood
8:9 and died the third part of the creatures in the sea, the ones having life, and the third of the ships were destroyed.
Beasley: This echoes the first Egyptian plague, (Exod. 7:20ff). Like in the case of the Nile, a third of the sea turns blood killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ship.
Could it recall Jer. 51:25?

Roloff: At the end of heaven Enoch sees seven stars like great burning mountains and discovered they had something to do with chained angels (1 Enoch 18:13-14)

8:10 And the third heavenly messenger trumpeted, and fell out of heaven a great star blazing as a touch (lamp) and it fell upon the third of the rivers and upon the fountains of the waters
8:11 and the name of the star is being said (is) the wormwood, and it happened the third of the waters into (became) bitter and all of the humans died from the waters because they had been made bitter.
Beasley: This time the destruction affects the domain of rivers and springs on the mainland. The name of the star (wormwood) intimates its destructive effect. Wormwood is an extremely bitter herb which, due to its bitterness, frequently appears in the OT as a symbol of bitter suffering, a result of defection from God Deut 29:17; Lam. 3:15; Jer. 9:14,23:15). Many men died of the water. Why not one third of men? It not until the fifth and sixth trumpet that a third of mankind is killed (9:18).
8:12 And the fourth heavenly messenger trumpeted. And was struck the third of the sun and the third of the moon and the third of the stars, in order that the third of them might be darkened and the day could not appear for the third of it and the night likewise.
The fourth trumpet judgment recalls the ninth Egyptian plague (Exod 10:21ff). Unlike the total darkness of Egypt for three days, here it is only a third of the sun and a third of the moon resulting in a third of the day and a third of the night darkened (cf. Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:31).
8:13 And I saw, and I heard one eagle flying in mid-heaven saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe woe to the one dwelling upon the earth out of the remaining voices (sounds) of the trumpet of the three heavenly messengers being about to trumpet.
Beasley: The threefold woe corresponds to the three trumpets yet to sound (cf. 9:12; 11:14 and 11:15-19). Why the eagle?

Beasley: Among Jews the eagle is considered an unclean bird yet here is used as God's messenger. In apocalyptic literature, the eagle appears only as a symbol of the Roman Empire (4: 11: 1; 12:11; 14:17). Instead of eagle (Gk. aetos), several ancient manuscripts read angel (Gk. aggelos). The eagle here is not used as a messenger but simply has the function of announcing an imminent dissaster (Cf. also, Hos. 8:1). Set the trumpet on your lips, for a vulture is over the house of the Lord .

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Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten

Revelation 10:1-11 Class Discussions 4/17/2000
(Translation: JEA/DH)
10:1 And I saw another powerful angel descending out of the heaven having been clothed with respect to a cloud, and the rainbow upon his (its?) head and his (its?) face [was] as the sun and the feet of him (it?) [were] as pillars of fire 2 and having in the hand of him (it?) a little scroll having been opened. And he (it?) placed his (its?) right foot upon the sea, and the left one upon the earth,

3 and he (it?) cried out (wailed) by means of a great voice as though a lion roars (bellows). And when he (it?) cried the seven thunders spoke their own voices.

4 And when the seven thunders spoke I was about to write and I heard a voice out of the heaven saying, "Seal what things the seven thunders spoke and do not write them!"

5 And the angel, whom I saw having stood upon the sea and upon the earth, raised (lifted) his (its?) right hand into heaven

6 and he swore an oath in the living One into the ages of the ages, who created the heaven and the things in it and the earth and the things in it (her?) and the sea and the things in it (her?), because time (Gr. "chronos" duration) no longer will be.

7 But in those days of the voice of the seventh angel when he (it?) is about to trumpet, and the mystery of God has been realized (consummated, completed) as he (it?) gospelled (proclaimed) his (its?) own slaves the prophets.

8 And the voice which I heard out of the heaven again speaking with me and saying, "Go down, take the book, the one having been opened in the hand of the angel, the one having stood upon the sea and upon the earth."

9 And I went away toward the angel saying to him (it?)"to give to me the little scroll." And he (it?) says to me, "Take and eat it heartily! It will make bitter your stomach , but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey."

10 And I took the little scroll out of the hand of the angel and I ate it heartily and it was in my mouth as sweet honey and when I ate it my stomach was made bitter.

11 And they (pl.?) say to me, "It is necessary for you again to prophesy upon peoples and nations and tongues and many kings.
Chapter 10-11:14 is an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpet blast. Roloff's analysis names Chapter 10 as a "vision of commissioning" similar to 1:9-20 (122). The angel should not be confused with Christ and the small scroll "is a general symbol for the prophetic charge" (122). The prophecy is "to the seven churches that announces what moment is now at hand" (123). His charge is to "proclaim to the community of salvation the secret of God's will that had been disclosed to them" (125). The Word of God is both a bitter and sweet experience as it is incorporated into the lives of God's messengers. The prophecy is for the whole world.

Ellul understands the structure of Revelation as being centered around "the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (11); around this is organized in the central part (the third) the dramas of the separation of the creation from the Creator (8 and 9) and the proclamation of the gospel (10); then the Incarnation (12) and the fury of the powers as a consequence of the work of Jesus Christ (13)" (50). Chapters 8-13 make up the cornerstone of Ellul's comprehension of Revelation. The rest of the structure includes: Chapters 2-4 The Church which correspond with Chapters 21-22:5 New Creation and Chapters 5-7 The Revelation of History which corresponds with Chapters 14:6-20:15 The Judgment and destruction of evil. The breaking of the seventh seal (8:1) is the beginning, since the scroll can not be read until the seventh seal is broken. The first five trumpets announce the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. This is the overturning of creation because God has "blended with creation" (73). God's renouncing of God's power brings to life a countercreation until the new creation in Jesus Christ. Immanuel is the beginning of the new creation and starts from the Chaos that prevails (9:1-12).

Chapter 10 represents the proclamation of the Gospel on the earth. The little scroll is an open book which is accessible to all. However, the message contained in the thunder is just the opposite and must not be revealed. This contrast is to remind us that "All of God is not revealed in the Gospel" (78). The Incarnation is the fulfillment of that which has been realized (v.7). The prophet is to take the Gospel and fully appropriate it (v. 8-11). The sweetness of the message in "receiving the testimony (in this Gospel) of the immensity of the love of God" (78). The bitterness represents "the difficulty of leading the life which the ‘little scroll' involve us" (78). The prophet is to immediately prophesy, proclaiming who Christ is and his mystery.

Sweet: contends that the angel of chapter 10 is Gabriel (the strong man of God), linked according to the meaning of his name. Beasley agrees with this analysis.

Beale: contends that the angel IS Christ, based on the theophanic description and metaphors that only refer to God.

Further research suggestion: Look elsewhere in Scripture for references to descending /ascending metaphors and theophanic metaphors, especially in Johanine writings.

Mounce: notes that the "mystery of God" referred to in verse 7 connects with Col 2:2, relating to Christ and the consummation/fulfillment through him.

Yarbro-Collins: notes that verse 11 refers to the fulfillment of the first commission, and John now being given a new commission.

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Chapter Eleven

Revelation 11:1-19 Class Discussions 4/24/2000
11:1 And [a] reed was given to me like [a] rod saying, "Rise and measure the temple of the God and the sacrifice place and the ones worshiping in it."

11:2 And the courtyard, the outside [of] the temple, throw out from outside and do not measure it, because it was given to the nations and the holy city they will walk forty two months.

Caird: - John is told to measure the temple in order to protect it; not to measure any part of it is to leave it exposed.
- The temple represents the Church, the house of God not made with hands, but built of living stones (Rev. 3:12; I Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:20; I Peter 2:5)
- The outer courtyard is left unmeasured (unprotected) and contains all the members of the Church who have compromised with the world (Nicolaitans, followers of Jezebel, etc.)
- The holy city is symbolic of martyrdom (the heathen will trample the holy city underfoot)
- These three symbolize the Church in its existence. Those who remain holy (those within the inner courtyard) are protected; those who conspire with the world (those outside of the inner courtyard) are not.

Talbert also relates the temple here with Rev. 3:12, due to similar use of words.

11:3 And I will give to the two witnesses of me and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days having thrown around themselves sack cloths.
Caird: - That there are two witnesses is a result of the law of witnesses; every truth must be verified by at least two witnesses (Matt 18:16)
- Their clothing indicates that the two are preachers of sorrow and repentance

11:4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps the ones standing before the Master of the earth.

11:5 And if some [of] them want to do unright (injustice) [to them], fire travels out from their mouth and eats up the hostile of them. And if some might want to do unright [to] them thusly it is necessary [for] him to be killed.

11:6 These ones have the authority to close the heaven, in order that it may not rain a rain for the extent of [the] time of their prophecy, and the have authority on the waters to turn them into blood and to hit the earth in all blow as often as if they might want.
Caird:- These witness resemble both Moses (who turned water to blood) and Elijah (who caused drought)
- God would send a new Moses (Deut. 18:15; John 1:21; 6:14; 7:40, 52) and a new Elijah (Mark 1:2; 9:11-13; Matt 11:14; Luke 1:17) to prepare a penitent people before the Day of Judgment.

Class comment: Why a "new Moses and Elijah", why not use the tie-in to Moses and Elijah as typological?

Ford: provides a list of the various early authors who tried to explain the identity of these two witnesses.

Mounce: sees this a proof that God's servants in "the new dispensation" have as much power as Moses and Elijah.

11:7 And when they might complete the testimony of them, the beast the one coming up from the abyss will make with them war and will conquer them and will kill them.
Caird: - The four beasts of Daniel's first vision were seen to rise out of the great sea, which is another name for the abyss (Dan. 7:1ff); and they symbolized the four empires to which Jerusalem had been successively made subject. The biblical history of the beast, then, begins in the original Babylon and ends in the latter-day Babylon, which is Rome.
- The beast (Rome) reappears from the abyss within human history when rulers lay claim to cruel power, refusing to acknowledge that they are responsible to God for the use to which they put it.
- The beast is a myth. It is a critique of the abuse of political power.
- Like the beast, John is saying that the imperial power of Rome is a myth and will eventually disappear.

Class Comments/Discussion - What was it about Rome that was a problem? The traditional focus has been on the political, rather than the theological. If we can focus on the theological, we can make it more relevant. On the basis of the diction, the words used, we are continuing to be tied back to other biblical passages, as opposed to talking about socio-political givens. Modern day interpreters have a post-enlightenment perspective that looks elsewise. Revelation and other biblical apocalyptic writers do not see a cyclical view of history. They see history moving forward toward a culmination. Thus, as we are looking at secondary sources, such as the commentaries we utilize, we must become aware of the starting point of that source and where that will lead. The traditional ideas of this apocalyptic genre of being "encrypted writing to stay safe" is being eroded.
Look at the timing of the writing of the Revelation - at that point there was beginning to be a split between the synagogue and the early Christian church. Who do we actually see as the intended audience? (See chapters 2-3.)

11:8 And their corpse on the wide place of the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where also the Lord of them was crucified.

11:9 And they see from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations their corpse for three and a half days and their corpses they did not allow to be set in to [the] grave.

11:10 And the ones residing on the earth rejoice over them and are merry and gifts they will send to one another, because these two prophets tormented the ones residing on the earth.

11:11 And after the three and a half days [the] spirit of life from the God went into in them, and they stood on the feet of them, and great fear fell on the ones watching them.

11:12 And they heard [a] great voice from the heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up into the heaven in the cloud and the hostile of them watched.

11:13 And in that hour became a great earthquake and the tenth of the city fell and were killed in the quake names of seven thousand people and the remaining became in fear and they gave glory to the God of the heaven.
- The earthquake was a familiar OT symbol, representing the overthrow of an idolatrous and ungodly political order (Hebrews 12:27; Isaiah 2:12-17)

11:14 The second woe went away; behold the third woe comes quickly.

11:15 And the seventh messenger trumpeted and great voices became in the heaven saying, "Became the kingdom of the world of the Lord of us and the Christ of him. And he will be king into the ages of the ages."

11:16 And the twenty four elders, the ones before God [who are] sitting on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God

11:17 saying, "We give good favor to you Lord the God the all-strength the one being and the one who was, because you have received the your great power and you were king

11:18 and the nations were angry and your anger went and season of the dead to be judged and to give the wage to the slaves of you the prophets and the holy ones and the ones fearing your name, the small and the great ones, and to corrupt thoroughly the ones corrupting thoroughly the earth.

11:19 And the temple of God was opened, the one in the heaven, and the ark of his covenant was seen in his temple, and lightning and sounds and thunders and earthquake the great hail happened.
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