I think it is time that I share a very different understanding of the prophetic Word found in Revelation 8. Some may already hold this understanding, but the majority of the Church does not. In fact, the majority of the Church will likely think what I am about to share is borderline blasphemy. None the less, this is what I have come to understand Revelation 8. This is lengthy, but I believe it is important. I pray you will take the time to work through it.This post is the 3rd that I have written dealing with the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ. You can find the first two posts here The Beasts of Revelation 13 and here The Harlot On The Scarlet Beast.
We start with Revelation, chapter 8:
Revelation 8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets
8 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.
7 The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown 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.
8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
12 The fourth angel sounded, 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 the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
I do not propose to even attempt to address all of the symbolism in Revelation 8. However, we need to take a closer look at some of the more important symbols in this chapter. The symbolic meanings with which I wish to start are as follows:
HOW I UNDERSTAND REV 8:3-5
This angel is none other than Christ. The golden alter is the cross. The fire He scoops up is the Word of YHWH, most likely in the form of the Messiah’s Gospel. When Yeshau hurls His Gospel message to the earth, it signals a great change caused by the rapid spread of truth. This is the lightning and the earthquake, and it represents the forceful taking of YHWH’s kingdom through Yeshua’s Gospel message. For those who are disposed to reject my understanding, I ask that you consider the connection between Rev 8:3-5, my understanding of what it means, and this passage:
Luke 12:49 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Christ Divides Men
49 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!
If we remember that, in his vision, John is looking backward, at the present and forward in time. When Yeshua yearned to set fire on earth, the event in Rev 8:3-5 had not yet happened. John describes it as though it were happening either presently, or in the past from his vantage point. Either way, the picture painted in Rev 8 of the Angel casting fire to the earth seems to match perfectly with Yeshua’s words in Luke 12:49. This is just one reason I see the Angel in Rev 8 as Yeshua casting His Gospel to the earth.
As we move forward in Revelation 8, we would do well to recognize that the events in Rev 8:5 represent the impetuous for everything that follows in the rest of the chapter. In other words, Rev 8:5 is the reason the rest of the things in Revelation 8 happen. It is the cause or the force behind the remaining prophecy.
Once again, there are some important prophetic symbols we need to examine more closely, so that we can better understand the deeper message of the prophecy:
7 — Scripture sometimes uses ‘ships’ to represent Churches (either God’s or deceived by Satan, depending on the context), or financial strength/economic power (the ‘proof-text’ for this symbolism is complicated. Please feel free to email me if you have questions about this one).
11 — Scripture often uses ‘star(s)’ to represent spiritual instruction or teachers (Rev 1:20).
12 — Scripture often uses ‘sun’ to represent Yeshua’s Gospel/righteousness (Mal 4:2).
13 — Scripture uses ‘moon’ to represent both the Mosaic Law, as well as the Church, which reflects the light of the sun (Psalm 89:35-37).
OK, at this point, let’s take a pause and address something. Prophecy tells us it uses symbolic language. When it likens one thing to another, or uses an indicator word, such as ‘like,’ prophecy is telling us that a comparison is being made. What’s more, prophecy should always be considered first for the spiritual meaning that is being conveyed. This does not mean that there won’t be a material manifestation of the prophecy. In fact, there are often many parallel manifestations of a prophecy, but there is most always only one spiritual meaning. Focus on the spiritual, and do not get distracted by the material. Finally, I do not try to marry myself to any particular understanding of prophecy. Even in these posts, I am only explaining my understanding as it is now. If I find a better or clearer understanding that is consistent with the whole of Scripture, I will happily modify, or even abandon the understanding I have now. For me, it is about trying to properly understand what the Lord’s Word is trying to tell me. I cannot urge others strongly enough to adopt the same approach.
Now, with that said, let us resume my explanation of how I understand Revelation 8.
MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE FIRST FOUR TRUMPETS
I believe that the first trumpet aligns with the Angel casting the fire of the alter to the earth. To me, the symbolism in Rev 8:7 just lines up too perfectly for these two descriptions not to be the same prophetic event. After all, the first trumpet i the first warning to the world. The hail can stand for hard truth, the fire for the presence of the Lord and the blood for life. Isn’t this a depiction of the Lord’s, His Gospel, and its ability to grant life everlasting? If so, then this first trumpet signals the release of the Gospel on earth, just as in Rev 8:3-5? Whether or not others agree, this is how I understand this passage.
Rev 8:8-9 sounds a second warning to the inhabitants of earth. This time, a great mountain, or kingdom, burning with either the word of the Lord, or with trials and tribulations is cast into the sea, which represents the many peoples and nations on earth. This kingdom turns the nations to blood. In this case, this could mean death, and not life. But there is a peculiar possibility in 8:9: that the ships are not actual ships at all. This could be a symbolic way of referring to either apostate churches, or to financial or economic power — or both! In which case, Rev 8:8-9 could be telling us that this mountain that is thrown into the nations poisons or kills the life and economies within them.
It happens that I believe Rev 8:10-11 is actually a continuation of Rev 8:8-9. A third trumpet sounds a third warning to the earth, then a burning star falls from Heaven. A star often represents an angel or a spiritual teaching or teacher — or both. This star poisons a third of the rivers and their source. This star is called wormwood, which Scripture refers to as a poison that makes people bitter, which is what Rev 8:11 affirms.
Finally, a fourth trumpet sounds a fourth warning. Here again, I believe Rev 8:12 is a continuation of the same prophecy that started in Rev 8:8. It just adds additional details to the message. In this case, we’re told that a third of the sun, moon and stars are struck, and a third of their light is darkened. The prophetic meaning of the sun is a symbol of Yeshua’s righteousness. The moon is often used as a symbol for the Law of Moses or the Church — or both. And stars are either heavenly hosts, or spiritual teachers. In this case, I understand Rev 8:12 to mean that the star known as wormwood somehow darkens a third of the Gospel; the Law of Moses and the Church, combines; and a third of those who teach the Word of YHWH.
TYING REV 8:8-12 TOGETHER
What sort of teaching or tribulation has or could one day strike the nations, resulting in the death of up to a third of mankind; a darkening of one third of the Gospel; a third of the Law of Moses and light of the Church; and a third of the teachers of YHWH’s Word?
MARXISM? SECULAR HUMANISM?
This is what I believe John saw in Revelation 8. Yeshua casts the Gospel to earth to start the march of the Kingdom of God, and a fallen star (a symbol of the rebellious angels) follows after it. This fallen star strikes the nations and causes the spiritual death of many people, as well as the destruction of the wealth of these nations. It strikes the rivers (the living water of YHWH’s Word flows from the thrown in the garden as four rivers in four directions). The fountain head, or source of the rivers is YHWH, Himself. In other words, this fallen star, wormwood, teaches that there is no God, which poisons the Word, thereby causing people to become bitter and dried up. This leads to the third darkening of the Gospel and its ability to give life to those who accept its message. As people turn from the Gospel, and its light grows dim, so too does obedience to the Law of Moses and the reflected glory of God in the Church. A third of the teachers of YHWH’s Word are also dimmed or lost as a result of the teaching of the fallen star, wormwood.
This is how I understand Revelation 8. I know that others will most likely disagree. Again, you are free to disagree. I claim no special revelation or authority, so I certainly will not argue with you. However, as I have studied the Scriptures, and the prophetic language, I have come to believe that the key to understanding them properly is usually found in understanding the spiritual message they convey. In the case of revelation 8, everything seems to point to the spiritual warfare that is being waged between Yeshua and Satan as Yeshua starts to reclaim the nations from Satan’s grasp. It all seems to fit — especially when you know the rest of the story (a story we will continue to explore in coming posts).
In my next post, wI feel lead to have a little chat about Ephraim, the House of Israel.