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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Revelation 8



Other Authors
Verse 1

When ( ὅτε )

Read ὅταν , the indefinite particle with the indicative mood. For a similar construction, see Mark 11:19(correct reading). Alford observes that it occurs in the opening of this seal only, giving it an indefiniteness which does not belong to any of the rest.

There was ( ἐγένετο )

More literally, come to pass. Rev., there followed.

About ( ὡς )

A usual form of expression with John. See John 1:39; John 6:19; John 11:18.

Verse 2

Stood ( ἑστήκασιν )

Rev., correctly, stand.

Trumpets ( σάλπιγγες )

See on Revelation 1:10.

Verse 3

At the altar ( ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον )

The best texts read θυσιαστηρίου , which justifies the Rev., “over the altar.” For altar, see on Revelation 6:9. Interpreters differ as to whether the altar meant is the brazen altar, as in Revelation 6:9, or the altar of incense, as in Revelation 9:13. There seems to be no reason for changing the reference from the brazen altar (see on Revelation 6:9), especially as both altars are mentioned in this verse. The officiating priest in the tabernacle or temple took the fire for his censer from the brazen altar, and then offered the incense upon the golden altar.


See on Revelation 5:8.


See on Revelation 5:8.

Offer it with the prayers ( δώσῃ ταῖς προσευχαῖς )

Lit., should give it unto the prayers. Rev., add it unto the prayers. So that the prayers and the incense might ascend together. Προσευχή is always used of prayer to God.

Golden altar

The altar of incense. Exodus 30:1-6; Exodus 39:38.

Verse 4

Which came with the prayers

An awkward rendering, followed by Rev., though with the omission of the italicized which came. The construction is ἀνέβη wentup, with the dative case, to the prayers. “The ascending smoke had reference to the prayers, was designed to accompany them and render them more acceptable” (Winer).

Of the saints ( τῶν ἁγίων )

See on Acts 26:10.

Verse 5

Took ( εἴληφεν )

Lit., hath taken. So Rev., in margin.

With the fire ( ἐκ τοῦ πυρὸς )

Lit., “from or out off the fire,” i.e., the coals or hot ashes. For ἐκ outoff see on Revelation 2:7.

Cast it into the earth

See Ezekiel 10:2; Luke 12:49.

Verse 6

To sound ( ἵνα σαλπίσωσιν )

Lit., that they should blow the trumpets. Raised their trumpets to their mouths in act to blow.

Verse 7

The first angel

Omit angel.

Hail and fire mingled with blood ( χάλαζα καὶ πῦρ μεμιγμένα αἵματι )

Insert ἐν inbefore αἵματι bloodInstead of “with blood” as A.V., and Rev., we should render “in blood.” The hailstones and fire-balls fell in a shower of blood. Compare the account of the plague of fire and hail in Egypt (Exodus 9:24) to which the reference is here, where the Septuagint reads and there was hail and the fire flaming in the hail. Compare Joel 2:30.

And the third part of the earth was burnt up

This is added by the best texts.

Green ( χλωρὸς )

See on pale, Revelation 6:8.

Verse 8

As it were ( ὡς )

Not a mountain, but a fiery mass so large as to resemble one.


Reminding of the first plague in Egypt (Exodus 7:20, Exodus 7:21).

Verse 9

Life ( ψυχὰς )

See on 3 John 1:2.

Ships ( πλοίων )

See on Luke 5:2.

Verse 10

Lamp ( λαμπὰς )

Rev., torch. See on Revelation 4:5.

Verse 11

Wormwood ( ἄψινθος )

Used metaphorically in the Old Testament of the idolatry of Israel (Deuteronomy 29:18); of calamity and sorrow (Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15; Lamentations 3:15, Lamentations 3:19); of false judgment (Amos 5:7).

Verse 13

An angel ( ἑνὸς ἀγγέλου )

For angel read ἀετοῦ eagleLit., one eagle. The eagle is a symbol of vengeance in Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8.

Mid heaven ( μεσουρανήματι )

Only in Revelation, here, Revelation 14:6; Revelation 19:17. It means, properly, the meridian, the highest point in the heavens which the sun occupies at noon; not the space between heaven and earth.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 8:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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