Rev. Lucas Witt, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland, joins host Rev. AJ Espinosa to study Revelation 8.
“Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth.” As fiery and devastating as chapter 8 may be, the seventh seal with its seven trumpets are an answered prayer. God has prepared us for battle like Israel’s twelve tribes, but it is God who comes to fight and defeat our enemies.
The long silence, the hailstorm, the chaos at sea, the wormwood meteorite, and the plague on the stars symbolize vindication and creation. They recall the silence before the trumpet blast at Jericho, the plagues against Egypt, and creation itself. God hovered over the silent abyss, and then brought order to the stormy waters by His strong Word. God spares His people while He creates a new era, starting with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
Thy Strong Word is a daily in-depth study of the books of the Bible with host Rev. AJ Espinosa and guest pastors from across the country. Thy Strong Word is graciously underwritten by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation and produced by the LCMS Office of National Mission.
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
8 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, 4 and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings,[a] flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
The Seven Trumpets
6 Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing 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.[b] A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.
12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
- Revelation 8:5 Or voices, or sounds
- Revelation 8:11 Wormwood is the name of a plant and of the bitter-tasting extract derived from it