What does Revelation 8:7 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: 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.
NASB: The first sounded, and there was hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled 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.
CSB: 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.
NLT: 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.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
Verse Commentary:
Some interpreters speculate that "earth" refers to the land of Israel as the object of God's judgment. Along those lines, they interpret "trees" to mean Israel's apostate leaders and "grass" to mean Israel as a spiritual weak nation. They base these interpretations on Isaiah 2:13, which compares proud leaders to cedars and oaks, and on Isaiah 40:6–7 that compares all flesh to grass that withers.

However, these horrific results also resemble what happened literally to Egypt under the seventh plague. Exodus 9:18–26 describes thunder, fire, and hail raining down on Egypt. The hail struck down every plant and broke every tree. So, there is good reason to interpret what happens in the first trumpet judgment as literal.

What specific mechanism this judgment takes—perhaps a volcanic catastrophe or meteor strike—the effects will be horrific. The target seems to be plant life, and possibly crops in particular. This level of destruction would not only cripple world food supplies, it would also disrupt economics and destabilize society. Losing a substantial portion of "grasses" might also restrict food available for livestock, further straining earth's ability to feed hungry people.
Verse Context:
Revelation 8:6–13 follows a lengthy hush in heaven, after which seven angels receive seven trumpets and another angel mixes the prayers of the saints with incense. After emptying the censer of incense, he fills it with fire and casts it down to the earth. Thunder, rumblings, lighting, and an earthquake ensue. Now four of the seven angels blow their trumpets with disastrous effects on earth.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 8 tells us John saw seven angels receive seven trumpets. Another angel brought incense and the prayers of the saints at the golden altar, then filled the container with fire and cast it down to the earth. Next, four angels blew their trumpets in succession. The consequences were devastating: hail and fire mixed with blood; a third of the earth and trees were burned up; all green grass was consumed; a third of the sea became blood; a third of sea life died; a third of the ships were destroyed; the water supply became bitter, and many people died. Further, a third of the sun, moon, and stars experienced some kind of blackout, and darkness extended for a third of the day and night.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 7, an interlude occurs between the opening of the sixth seal and the seventh seal. In the interlude an angel seals 144,000 saved Jews as God's servants. Chapter 8 introduces the second series of judgments, the trumpet judgments. They begin when Jesus the Lamb opens the seventh seal. The trumpet judgments seem to follow the seal judgments without overlapping them. They are more severe than the seal judgments, resulting in catastrophic damage to plant life, salt waters, fresh waters, and light. Even so, this passage warns that the remaining judgments are even worse.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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