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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 8



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Verse 1

And when he opened (και οταν ηνοιχενkai hotan ēnoixen). Here modal ανan is used with οτεhote (used about the opening of the preceding six seals), but οτανhotan is not here rendered more indefinite, as is sometimes true (Mark 3:11; Revelation 4:9), but here and possibly (can be repetition) in Mark 11:19 it is a particular instance, not a general rule (Robertson, Grammar, p. 973).

There followed a silence (εγενετο σιγηegeneto sigē). Second aorist middle of γινομαιginomai “There came silence.” Dramatic effect by this profound stillness with no elder or angel speaking, no chorus of praise nor cry of adoration, no thunder from the throne (Swete), but a temporary cessation in the revelations. See Revelation 10:4.

About the space of half an hour (ως ημιωρονhōs hēmiōron). Late and rare word (ημιhēmi half, ωραhōra hour), here only in N.T. Accusative of extent of time.

Verse 2

Stand (εστηκασινhestēkasin). Perfect active of ιστημιhistēmi (intransitive). Another “hebdomad ” so frequent in the Apocalypse. The article (the seven angels) seems to point to seven well-known angels. In Enoch 20:7 the names of seven archangels are given (Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Gabriel, Remiel) and “angels of the Presence” is an idea like that in Isaiah 63:9. We do not know precisely what is John‘s idea here.

Seven trumpets (επτα σαλπιγγεςhepta salpigges). We see trumpets assigned to angels in Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 4:1, Revelation 4:4. See also the use of trumpets in Joshua 6:13; Joel 2:1. These seven trumpets are soon to break the half hour of silence. Thus the seven trumpets grow out of the opening of the seventh seal, however that fact is to be interpreted.

Verse 3

Another angel (αλλος αγγελοςallos aggelos). Not one of the seven of Revelation 8:2 and before they began to sound the trumpets. This preliminary incident of the offering of incense on the altar covers Revelation 8:3-6.

Stood (εστατηestathē). Ingressive first aorist passive of ιστημιhistēmi (intransitive), “took his place.”

Over the altar (επι του τυσιαστηριουepi tou thusiastēriou). See Revelation 6:9 for the word for the burnt-offering, here apparently the altar of incense (clearly so in Luke 1:11; possibly also Revelation 9:13), but it is not clear that in apocalyptic the distinction between the two altars of the tabernacle and temple is preserved. Aleph C Q have the genitive, while A P have the accusative επι το τυσιαστηριονepi to thusiastērion golden censer (λιβανωτον χρυσουνlibanōton chrusoun). Old word for frankincense (from λιβανοςlibanos Matthew 2:11; Revelation 18:13), but here alone in N.T. and for censer, as is plain by the use of χρυσουνchrusoun (golden) with it. Cf. 1 Kings 7:50.

Much incense (τυμιαματα πολλαthumiamata polla). See Revelation 5:8 for τυμιαμαthumiama (the aromatic substance burnt, also in Revelation 18:13), but here for the live coals on which the incense falls.

That he should add (ινα δωσειhina dōsei). Sub-final clause (subject of εδοτηedothē was given, singular because τυμιαματαthumiamata neuter plural) with ιναhina and the future active indicative of διδωμιdidōmi to give, instead of δωιdōi the second aorist subjunctive.

Unto the prayers (ταις προσευχαιςtais proseuchais). Dative case. In Revelation 5:8 the τυμιαματαthumiamata are the prayers.

Upon the golden altar (επι το τυσιαστηριον το χρυσουν τοepi to thusiastērion to chrusoun to). Accusative case here, not genitive as above, and apparently the altar of incense as indicated by the word golden (Exodus 30:1.; Leviticus 4:17). Note triple article here τοto (once before the substantive, once before the adjective, once before the adjunct “the one before the throne”).

Verse 4

The smoke (ο καπνοςho kapnos). Old word, in N.T. only Acts 2:19; Revelation 8:4; Revelation 9:2., Revelation 9:17.; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 15:8; Revelation 18:9, Revelation 18:18; Revelation 19:3. Here from the incense in the angel‘s hand.

With the prayers (ταις προσευχαιςtais proseuchais). So associative-instrumental case, but it may be dative as in Revelation 8:3 (for).

Verse 5

Taketh (ειληπενeilēphen). Vivid dramatic perfect active indicative of λαμβανωlambanō as in Revelation 5:7, “has taken.” The angel had apparently ]aid aside the censer. Hardly merely the pleonastic use of λαμβανωlambanō (John 19:23). John pictures the scene for us.

Filled (εγεμισενegemisen). He drops back to the narrative use of the first aorist active indicative of γεμιζωgemizō the fire (εκ του πυροςek tou puros), live coals from the altar (cf. Isaiah 6:6).

Cast (εβαλενebalen). Second aorist active indicative of βαλλωballō See Genesis 19:24 (Sodom); Ezekiel 10:2 and Christ‘s bold metaphor in Luke 12:49. See this use of βαλλωballō also in Revelation 8:7; Revelation 12:4, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 12:13; Revelation 14:19.

Followed (εγενοντοegenonto). Came to pass naturally after the casting of fire on the earth. Same three elements in Revelation 4:5, but in different order (lightnings, voices, thunders), lightning naturally preceding thunder as some MSS. have it here. Perhaps πωναιphōnai the voices of the storm (wind, etc.).

Verse 6

Prepared themselves (ητοιμασαν αυτουςhētoimasan hautous). First aorist active indicative of ετοιμαζωhetoimazō They knew the signal and got ready.

To sound (ινα σαλπισωσινhina salpisōsin). Sub-final (object) clause with ιναhina and the first aorist ingressive active subjunctive of σαλπιζωsalpizō The infinitive could have been used.

Verse 7

Sounded (εσαλπισενesalpisen). First aorist active indicative of σαλπιζωsalpizō repeated with each angel in turn (Revelation 8:8, Revelation 8:10, Revelation 8:12; Revelation 9:1, Revelation 9:13; Revelation 11:15).

Hail and fire mingled with blood (χαλαζα και πυρ μεμιγμενα εν αιματιchalaza kai pur memigmena en haimati). Like the plague of hail and fire in Exodus 9:24. The first four trumpets are very much like the plagues in Egypt, this one like a semitropical thunderstorm (Swete) with blood like the first plague (Exodus 7:17.; Psalm 106:35). The old feminine word χαλαζαchalaza (hail) is from the verb χαλαωchalaō to let down (Mark 2:4), in N.T. only in Revelation 8:7; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:21. The perfect passive participle μεμιγμεναmemigmena (from μιγνυμιmignumi to mix) is neuter plural because of πυρpur (fire).

Were cast (εβλητηeblēthē). First aorist passive singular because χαλαζαchalaza and πυρpur treated as neuter plural. “The storm flung itself on the earth” (Swete).

Was burnt up (κατεκαηkatekaē). Second aorist (effective) passive indicative of κατακαιωkatakaiō old verb to burn down (effective use of καταkata up, we say). Repeated here three times for dramatic effect. See Revelation 7:1-3 about the trees and Revelation 9:4 where the locusts are forbidden to injure the grass.

Verse 8

As it were (ωςhōs). “As if,” not a great mountain, but a blazing mass as large as a mountain.

Burning with fire (πυρι καιομενονpuri kaiomenon). Present middle participle of καιωkaiō Somewhat like Enoch 18:13, but perhaps with the picture of a great volcanic eruption like that of Vesuvius in a.d. 79. Strabo tells of an eruption b.c. 196 which made a new island (Palaea Kaumene).

Became blood (εγενετο αιμαegeneto haima). Like the Nile in the first plague (Exodus 7:20.). Cf. also Revelation 16:3.

Verse 9

Of the creatures (των κτισματωνtōn ktismatōn). See Revelation 5:13 for this word κτισμαktisma Even they that had life (τα εχοντα πσυχαςta echonta psuchas). Here the nominative articular participle is in apposition with the genitive κτισματωνktismatōn as often in this book. See Exodus 7:20 for the destruction of fish, and Zephaniah 1:3.

Was destroyed (διεπταρησανdiephtharēsan). Second aorist passive indicative of διαπτειρωdiaphtheirō old compound, to corrupt, to consume, to destroy (perfective use of διαdia), also Revelation 11:18. The plural πλοιονploion just before the verb makes the idea plural.

Verse 10

Burning as a torch (καιομενος ως λαμπαςkaiomenos hōs lampas). See Revelation 4:5; Matthew 2:2, perhaps a meteor, striking at the fresh-water supply (rivers ποταμωνpotamōn springs πηγαςpēgas) as in the first Egyptian plague also.

Verse 11

Wormwood (ο Απσιντοςho Apsinthos). Absinthe. Usually feminine (ηhē), but masculine here probably because αστηρastēr is masculine. Only here in N.T. and not in lxx (πικριαpikria bitterness, χοληcholē gall, etc.) except by Aquila in Proverbs 5:4; Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15. There are several varieties of the plant in Palestine.

Became wormwood (εγενετο εις απσιντονegeneto eis apsinthon). This use of ειςeis in the predicate with γινομαιginomai is common in the lxx and the N.T. (Revelation 16:19; John 16:20; Acts 5:36).

Of the waters (εκ των υδατωνek tōn hudatōn). As a result of (εκek) the use of the poisoned waters.

Were made bitter (επικραντησανepikranthēsan). First aorist passive indicative of πικραινωpikrainō Old verb (from πικροςpikros bitter), as in Revelation 10:9. In a metaphorical sense to embitter in Colossians 3:19.

Verse 12

Was smitten (επληγηeplēgē). Second aorist passive indicative of πλησσωplēssō old verb (like πληγηplēgē plague), here only in N.T.

That should be darkened (ινα σκοτιστηιhina skotisthēi). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the first aorist passive subjunctive of σκοτιζωskotizō from σκοτοςskotos (darkness) as in Matthew 24:29, but σκοτοωskotoō in Revelation 9:2.

And the day should not shine (και η ημερα μη πανηιkai hē hēmera mē phanēi). Negative purpose clause with ινα μηhina mē and the first aorist active subjunctive of παινωphainō to shed light upon, as in Revelation 18:23, not the second aorist passive subjunctive πανηιphanēi with different accent. The eclipse here is only partial and is kin to the ninth Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:21).

Verse 13

An eagle (ενος αετουhenos aetou). “One eagle,” perhaps ενοςhenos (ειςheis) used as an indefinite article (Revelation 9:13; Revelation 18:21; Revelation 19:17). See Revelation 4:7 also for the flying eagle, the strongest of birds, sometimes a symbol of vengeance (Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8).

Flying in mid-heaven (πετομενου εν μεσουρανηματιpetomenou en mesouranēmati). Like the angel in Revelation 14:6 and the birds in Revelation 19:17. ΜεσουρανημαMesouranēma (from μεσουρανεωmesouraneō to be in mid-heaven) is a late word (Plutarch, papyri) for the sun at noon, in N.T. only these three examples. This eagle is flying where all can see, and crying so that all can hear.

Woe, woe, woe (ουαι ουαι ουαιouaiουαιouaiτους κατοικουνταςouai). Triple because three trumpets yet to come. In Revelation 18:10, Revelation 18:16, Revelation 18:19 the double κατοικεωouai is merely for emphasis.

For them that dwell on the earth (εκ των λοιπων πωνωνtous katoikountas). Accusative of the articular present active participle of εκkatoikeō is unusual (Aleph Q here and also in Revelation 12:12) as in Matthew 11:21. There is even a nominative in Revelation 18:10.

By reason of the other voices (των τριων αγγελων των μελλοντων σαλπιζεινek tōn loipōn phōnōn). “As a result of (ek) the rest of the voices.” There is more and worse to come, “of the three angels who are yet to sound” (tōn triōn aggelōn tōn mellontōn salpizein).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 8:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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