Revelation 8

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

Revelation 8

The seventh seal and the golden censer
When he opened 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, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

The trumpets

6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water – 11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in mid-air call out in a loud voice: ‘Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!’


John’s vision of seven seals, trumpets and bowls sees God’s final judgement released. The sound of each trumpet announces hail, fire and blood (7), a third of the sea turning to blood (8), what appears to be an asteroid falling to the earth (10) and darkness (12).

This is starting to feel like a lot. How much more of this can we take? Well, this isn’t necessarily a sequence description of what will happen - the trumpets are a re-telling of what has happened drawing on familiar imagery to help his first readers. They would have quickly connected the seven trumpets with the plagues God brought upon Egypt in Exodus.

As a Christian who was brought up in the West, where Christianity is the official religion in my country. I’ve never experienced persecution for my faith. For many Christians, like me, where my faith isn’t threatened by the state, and where I can worship freely, my risk as a Christian is not for my life, but for falling into complacency, or being more concerned with my comfort than God’s Kingdom. For this reason, Revelation jars. It disturbs my comfort and challenges me to remain faithful. I don’t like thinking about plagues of judgement, nevertheless, these words would have likely offered enormous comfort to the suffering and persecuted Christians seeking to live out their faith in the Roman empire. I’m sure they would wish to praise God in the knowledge that God will one day silence the evil around them.

Today, Revelation continues to be a hopeful and empowering book for persecuted Christians. They long for justice and for their voice to be heard. Revelation is a picture of wrongs being righted and the Judge pronouncing his verdict.

There are Christians all over the world who are being persecuted for their faith. In 2021, more than 4600 Christians were killed for their faith in Jesus in Nigeria. By March 2022, over 900 had been killed. In many other nations, like North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan Christians are persecuted and their voices silenced.

Let’s pray for the persecuted church around the world. For Christians who know suffering and what it means to be silenced. Let us pray that they would hold firm to the hope that God will right every wrong.

Check out Open Doors important work supporting the persecuted church around the world.

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