Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

Revelations Ch.8 / 22 Ch.s


* The seventh seal is opened and seven angels appear with seven
trumpets, ready to proclaim the purposes of God. (1,2) Another
angel casts fire on the earth, which produces terrible storms of
vengeance. (3-5) The seven angels prepare to sound their
trumpets. (6) Four sound them. (7-12) Another angel denounces
greater woes to come. (13)

#1-6 The seventh seal is opened. There was profound silence in
heaven for a space; all was quiet in the church, for whenever
the church on earth cries through oppression, that cry reaches
up to heaven; or it is a silence of expectation. Trumpets were
given to the angels, who were to sound them. The Lord Jesus is
the High Priest of the church, having a golden censer, and much
incense, fulness of merit in his own glorious person. Would that
men studied to know the fulness that is in Christ, and
endeavoured to be acquainted with his excellency. Would that
they were truly persuaded that Christ has such an office as that
of Intercessor, which he now performs with deep sympathy. No
prayers, thus recommended, was ever denied hearing and
acceptance. These prayers, thus accepted in heaven, produced
great changes upon earth. The Christian worship and religion,
pure and heavenly in its origin and nature, when sent down to
earth and conflicting with the passions and worldly projects of
sinful men, produced remarkable tumults, here set forth in
prophetical language, as our Lord himself declared, #Lu 12:49|.

#7-13 The first angel sounded the first trumpet, and there
followed hail and fire mingled with blood. A storm of heresies,
a mixture of dreadful errors falling on the church, or a tempest
of destruction. The second angel sounded, and a great mountain,
burning with fire, was cast into the sea; and the third part of
the sea became blood. By this mountain some understand leaders
of the persecutions; others, Rome sacked by the Goths and
Vandals, with great slaughter and cruelty. The third angel
sounded, and there fell a star from heaven. Some take this to be
an eminent governor; others take it to be some person in power
who corrupted the churches of Christ. The doctrines of the
gospel, the springs of spiritual life, comfort, and vigour, to
the souls of men, are corrupted and made bitter by the mixture
of dangerous errors, so that the souls of men find ruin where
they sought refreshment. The fourth angel sounded, and darkness
fell upon the great lights of heaven, that give light to the
world, the sun, and the moon, and the stars. The guides and
governors are placed higher than the people, and are to dispense
light, and kind influences to them. Where the gospel comes to a
people, and has not proper effects on their hearts and lives, it
is followed with dreadful judgments. God gives alarm by the
written word, by ministers, by men's own consciences, and by the
signs of the times; so that if people are surprised, it is their
own fault. The anger of God makes all comforts bitter, and even
life itself burdensome. But God, in this world, sets bounds to
the most terrible judgments. Corruption of doctrine and worship
in the church are great judgments, and also are the usual causes
and tokens of other judgments coming on a people. Before the
other three trumpets were sounded, there was solemn warning how
terrible the calamities would be that should follow. If lesser
judgments do not take effect the church and the world must
expect greater; and when God comes to punish the world, the
inhabitants shall tremble before him. Let sinners take warning
to flee from the wrath to come; let believers learn to value and
to be thankful for their privileges; and let them patiently
continue in well doing.