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Analysis of Revelation 8:1-13: The Seventh Seal & the Censer

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, a baptist church in Jessup, MD. B.A. in Bible, B.S. English Ed., M.S. in Educational Leadership.

The Seven Trumpets and the Angels with a Censer. From the Bamberger Apokalyse, Folio 19 verso

The Seven Trumpets and the Angels with a Censer. From the Bamberger Apokalyse, Folio 19 verso

The Seventh Seal (Revelation 8:1-5)

In the sixth chapter of Revelation, the Lord Jesus Christ (the Lamb) began to open the seals that were on the scroll of judgment (Revelation 5:1). There were a total of seven seals. Every time a seal was opened, some horrible event unfolded on Earth.

Here, in chapter 8, the Lord opens the seventh seal. When he opens the seventh seal, there is silence in Heaven for about half an hour. The multitude in white robes are no longer worshiping and praising God aloud, but they are keeping silent while they wait to see what will happen next.

So what happened next? Seven angels that were standing before God received a trumpet each of them. These trumpets were most likely made from rams' horns, the kind of trumpets that were used in Jewish religious ceremonies.

Then, another angel was given much incense, and he offered it at the altar (most likely, an altar of incense like the one in Exodus 30:1-10). This incense was meant to accompany the prayers of the saints to make their prayers pleasant and acceptable before God.

After offering the incense, the angel filled the censer with fire from the altar, and then he threw the fire on the Earth. This caused thunder, lightning, and an earthquake.

Thus, what is about to take place appears to take place in answer to the prayers of God's saints. All of the saints' prayers for justice are about to be answered.

Comparing the Trumpets With the Previous Seals and the Exodus Plagues

Some have suggested that the seven trumpets in Revelation are a repetition of the seven seals. Those who hold this view do so because this is a common structure for apocalyptic books like Revelation.

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Nevertheless, there are good reasons for us not to follow this view:

  1. the seven trumpets are the judgments brought about by the opening of the seventh seal,
  2. the events of the seven trumpets do not correspond to the events of the seven seals, and
  3. the trumpets are played by angels, but it is the Lord who opens the seven seals.

Seven Seals

  • Seal 1: a conquest
  • Seal 2: world war
  • Seal 3: inflation of basic grains
  • Seal 4: death from war, hunger, and pestilence
  • Seal 5: the martyrs pray for justice
  • Seal 6: cataclysm – earthquake, stars fall, moon turns to blood, sun turns black, sky is blocked
  • Seal 7: silence followed by seven trumpets

Seven Trumpets

  • Trumpet 1: earth, grass, and trees burned by hail mixed with fire and blood. (Compare to hail in Exodus 9:13-35, plague 7).
  • Trumpet 2: mountain in fire falls into the sea, and a third of the waters are turned to blood, a third of sea creatures die, and a third of the ships re destroyed. (Compare to water being turned to blood in Exodus 7:14-25, plague 1)
  • Trumpet 3: a star falls into the sea, and a third of the rivers and the springs of water become wormwood.
  • Trumpet 4: a third of the sun, moon, and stars are struck to keep one third of the night and one third of the day in darkness. (Compare to darkness in Exodus 10:21-29, plague 9).
  • Trumpet 5: Locusts (Compare to locusts in Exodus 20:1-20, plague 8).
  • Trumpet 6: four angels released (Compare to the destroyer in Exodus 12:23).
  • Trumpet 7: praises and worship resumes; the temple in Heaven becomes open.

We see then that the events brought about by the trumpets are different events to the ones brought about by the opening of the seals.

Moreover, some of the events brought about by the trumpets are similar to the Exodus plagues, which God sent over Egypt; but they are not exactly the same.

Introduction to the Three Woes

The chapter concludes when an eagle flies across the sky and calls out "Woe, woe, woe" over the inhabitants of the Earth because the three trumpets that have yet to sound will bring even more terrible events on the Earth.

We see, then, that the seventh seal was not the last judgment over the Earth, but the beginning of an entirely new strain of judgments.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Marcelo Carcach

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