CHOOSE YOUR BIBLE VERSION

Revelation chapter 8

New International Version

1 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. 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 midair 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!'
English Standard Version

1 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, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. 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. 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!”
King James Version

1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
New American Standard Bible

1 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!'
New Living Translation

1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. 2 I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God's people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God's holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. 5 Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake. 6 Then the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to blow their mighty blasts. 7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire mixed with blood were thrown down on the earth. One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned. 8 Then the second angel blew his trumpet, and a great mountain of fire was thrown into the sea. One-third of the water in the sea became blood, 9 one-third of all things living in the sea died, and one-third of all the ships on the sea were destroyed. 10 Then the third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch. It fell on one-third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star was Bitterness. It made one-third of the water bitter, and many people died from drinking the bitter water. 12 Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and one-third of the sun was struck, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. And one-third of the day was dark, and also one-third of the night. 13 Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, 'Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets.'
Christian Standard Bible

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. 3 Another angel, with a golden incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel's hand. 5 The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. 6 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. 7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and hail and fire, mixed with blood, were hurled to the earth. So 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 blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain ablaze with fire was hurled into the sea. So 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, blazing like a torch, fell from heaven. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood. So, many of the people died from the waters, because they had been made bitter. 12 The fourth angel blew 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 were darkened. A third of the day was without light and also a third of the night. 13 I looked and heard an eagle flying high overhead, crying out in a loud voice, "Woe! Woe! Woe to those who live on the earth, because of the remaining trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to sound!"

What does Revelation chapter 8 mean?

To this point in Revelation, John has witnessed Jesus open six of the seven seals of judgment seen on the scroll in heaven (Revelation 5:1–5). After the opening of the sixth seal and its consequences, John described the sealing of 144,000 Jewish believers, listed by their tribe. This was followed by a vision of an enormous crowd of people, of every possible race and language, worshipping God (Revelation 7).

Chapter 8 begins with the opening of the seventh seal, immediately followed by a brief period of silence. The judgments which follow are associated with seven trumpets, given to seven angels, and these seven trumpets are themselves part of the seventh seal judgment. Prior to the sounding of these trumpets, an angel is seen with a censer—a metal container used to burn incense. In Scripture, incense is used as a physical symbol of prayers, which ascend towards heaven much like smoke. This same container is then filled with fire, again symbolizing judgment, and thrown down onto the earth (Revelation 8:1–5).

The first trumpet judgment is described as a rain of hail, fire, and blood. The result is a loss of one third of earth's trees and, it seems, all its grass. The primary effect may be a loss of crops and food supplies, including any livestock depending on those for survival. Based on the description of the other trumpet judgments, some have speculated this might be a type of meteor shower, preceding an especially devastating impact in the second trumpet (Revelation 8:6–7).

The second trumpet also results in something fiery falling from the sky, this time described "like a great mountain." In context with the first and third trumpets, some suggest this might be an especially large meteor or comet, which lands in the ocean, destroying ships and polluting the water. Others suggest that the imagery of a "mountain of fire" may describe the effect of nuclear weapons. In any event, the impact of this judgment is on the salt waters of earth: the seas and oceans. Loss of shipping craft, food supplies, and other effects would be catastrophic and felt worldwide (Revelation 8:8–9).

The third trumpet once again involves something falling to earth from the sky. Where the second trumpet judgment affected the seas and oceans, this judgment targets fresh waters: lakes, rivers, springs and streams. These not only serve to provide food and transport, they are vital for providing drinking water. Polluted waters result in sickness and death (Revelation 8:10–11).

The fourth trumpet also involves something "above" earth, though in this case the primary effect is a loss of light. This might be a caused by after-effects of the first three trumpet judgments, or from some completely unique and unrelated event. Whether blocked by pollution, clouds, or some other means, earth loses a third of the light normally received from the sun, moon, and stars. Again, this would result in drastic changes to weather, energy use, agriculture, and animal life (Revelation 8:12).

As catastrophic as these events might seem, this era of God's judgment can—and will—become even worse. John describes a bird calling out "woe" to those who are about to experience the other three trumpet judgments. The Greek word used for "eagle" here is aetos, which might also refer to carrion birds such as vultures. The horror of the remaining trumpet judgments, beginning in chapter 9, is somehow direr than what's been seen so far (Revelation 8:13).