the main Central Park Church of Christ page.

Revelation 8

The Seventh Seal
     (Just the chapter title sounds ominous.)

Produced by TheMediaDesk, ©2021 and 2020
Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The study Index page.

     Again. This study is verse by verse, IMAGE by Image, IDEA by Idea, and concept by concept. Which means it is a Marathon.
     We are using sources that John the Apostle and those mentioned as the recipients of the letter, the Seven Churches and other First Century Christians, the majority of which were Jews, would / should / could have been familiar with. We will also reference newer translations and versions of the book, beginning with the 1560 Geneva Bible (the bulk source for the 1611 KJV, which we also use) all the way up to much more current publications, and examinations of the text from various scholars, as well as beginning the analysis of the text from the Greek.
     It should be said here, as we are beginning with the Greek, we are going in remembering that John was writing in an 'apocalyptic' style. It seems many translations have forgotten that and 'moderated' the language.
“By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.”
- Erasmus (1466 - 1536)

1 and 2
     When the seventh seal is opened there is “sige” (silence) in Heaven for “hos hemiorion” (about half an hour).
     Then John sees seven angels stand before God, and they were each given a “salpinges” (trumpet), it doesn't say who had a box of trumpets handy. It also does not specify whether these are the ancient Jewish “ram's horn” trumpets, the shofar, or the long metal instrument seen images of Roman ceremonies “La tuba romaine", or the curved instrument used by the legions in the field, which Cesar is reported to have used to relay orders to his commanders. Just as bugle calls were used later.

     Another angel arrives who already has a “libanoton” (censer) with him. He is given “thymiamata” (incense) “polla” (much) ...

Incense Tangent
     We've already mentioned the Altar during chapter 6, now we'll smell the incense. As we saw there, incense was used in the Tabranacle in Exodus 30 and Leviticus 16, and later in the temple. The recipe for the incense is first seen in Exodus 30 : 34 and following and includes some well known items, such as “frankincense” from which we get the name “incense”, as well as some that their identification today is more questionable.
     One of those is “stacte”. This is the only place in the entire Bible or Apocrypha where that word is used, so the actual substance being described is somewhat mysterious. It appears to have been derived from myrrh, which, like 'frank' is the collected resin from a tree. In this case, a couple of species of thorn trees. It is worth mentioning that both of these trees grow in some of the most inhospitable regions of the Middle East and Africa, and the substance probably had to be traded for. The same is true for galbanum, which is a cousin to fennel and comes from the mountains of northern Iran.
     Those who claim that onycha was part of a snail don't know their Bible or their Jews. Snails are unclean and cannot be 'made clean'. So while we do not know for sure what it was, we can be certain of what it WASN'T.
     When Temple worship was restored after everything there was defiled, incense was one of the ways the building and its furnishings were reconsecrated to the Lord as described in 1 Maccabees 4 beginning at verse 38.
     The incense outlined in Exodus 30 was consecrated to the Lord and was not to be used for any other purpose. We do not know if this is the incense mentioned in Revelation 8, but it could be.
End tangent

... The angel will “dosei” (offer it) with the “proseuchais” (spoken prayers) of the “hagion” (saints) upon the “thysiasterion” (Altar of sacrifice).

     It specifies that it is the “kapnos” (smoke) that comes up with the prayers before God out of the angel's hand.

     (1611) “And the Angel tooke the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voyces, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake”
     That's pretty close to the Greek. The voyces is “phonai” in the Greek, which we saw before in chapter 4, and basically means vocal tones.

6 and 7
     The angles with the trumpets “hetoimasan” (prepare) to “salpisosin” (sound, 'a blast' from a trumpet) as versus some form of “mousike” (music). It isn't like they are going to play 'the call to posts' of horse-racing fame.
     The first angel “esalpisen” (sounds) his trumpet. It is the same root as the word in 6. It isn't a song, it is a tone. However, in the Greek, it just says the first trumpet sounded, “protos esalpisen”, the 'angel' is impled. The terms in the English: hail, fire and blood, are in the Greek, as is where it goes. There IS a difference from there out.
     1611: “and the third part of trees was burnt vp, and all greene grasse was burnt vp.”
     In the original, a third of the Earth was “katekae” (entirely consumed 'by fire'), as well as a third of the trees and all the grass.

8 and 9
     There is no pause. “Deuteros angelos esalpisen” (second angel sounds trumpet), then “hos” (something like) “oros mega pyri kaiomenon” (mountain great with fire burning) “eblethe” (was cast) into “thalassan” (the sea). And a third of the sea became “haima” (blood). Then a third of the creatures in the sea 'and had life', died. And then an odd note, and a third of the “haima diephtharesan” (ships/boats were destroyed or ruined).
     The description is obviously what today would be called a meteor impact of the “dinosaur exterminator” category. This one is a solid mass of matter which is burning as it falls, the next one is something else.

10 and 11
     The “tritos angelos” (third angel) sounds and “epesen ek tou ouranou” (fell out of heaven) a “aster megas” (star 'mega') “kaiomenos” (burning) like a “lampas”. Apparently this 'star' is not an 'angel' as it fell into a third of the rivers and springs of water. 1611: “And the name of the starre is called Wormewood....”

“Apsinthos” tangent
     The word itself is one of those terms that almost everybody is familiar with, even if they have never read Revelation and have no particular interest in religion: Wormwood. The Greek term means something along the lines of 'extreme misfortune or calamity' but Not specifically 'death'. And this verse in The Apocalypse is the only place it is used in Scripture including the Apocrypha. The term was used in a work by CS Lewis as the name of a young demon in 'The Screwtape Letters' for precisely this reason.
     The same root word brings us the name of a mildly toxic decorative plant “Artemisia absinthium” with a very bitter taste, the alcoholic beverage that it flavors- Absinthe, of song and story, and the Greek goddess Artemis, who oversaw the hunt and protected children. As one of the uses of the plant so named is to treat intestinal parasites, especially in children, it is appropriate. And it is quite likely that the dual reference to the plant and its properties and the reference to the goddess, one of whose largest and best known temples was at Ephesus. The temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
     Some have linked the wormwood in Revelation to 'gall' such as what was mixed with wine at the crucifixion from Matthew 27. However, Mark 15 clearly states that it was mixed with myrrh (Hebrew “mererah”, and Greek “smurna”) instead of wormwood. In his gospel, John simply said it was 'sour wine'. The Romans clearly knew of the herb and its medicinal properties, and one variety is even named for them and is used in Vermouth, but in that case, they didn't seem to have used it.
     There are many 'bitter herbs' in the Bible, such as what are used during the Passover Meal. This might be one of them, or it might not.
End bitter herb tangent.

     “... and the third part of the waters became wormewood, and many men dyed of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

Impactful focus
     As the impact in verses 8 and 9 were a solid mass such as an asteroid impact, this one isn't solid. Instead, as it specifies that this is a 'star', it could well be a Coronal Mass Ejection that strikes the Earth. That is when a bit of the Sun's surface, actual solar material, which is a type of highly energized matter called plasma, is blown into space. These sorts of storms happen on a fairly regular basis and can disrupt electric grids and cause other weather phenomenon, see links below for more. A storm of the size and effect of the one described in the verses we're looking at has not been recorded by modern science. However, there are historical reports of events during the Medieval Warm Period that coincide with the increase of solar activity at the time which may have been a large CME.
     Also something to consider is the tendency of NASA to ignore history, or theoretical predictions, until something happens to prove NASA's ideas wrong, such as radio emissions from Jupiter and the surface temperature of Venus. Such predictions were made by Immanuel Velikovsky and ignored by mainstream science, until they came true. See below. So while they claim there is no evidence that the Sun could do it in the near future, there is no reason to believe that it can't. Especially under the influence of the One Who Made It, as is the case in The Apocalypse.
     A large amount of solar plasma raining down onto the Earth would introduce a tremendous amount of hard radiation into the environment, as well as stir up all sorts of stuff from in the ocean. Not to mention what would happen to the water quality when 'a third' of everything alive in it has died in it.
end focus
     And then in the next verse, we see the after effects on the Sun and the rest of the Solar System from the massive CME.

     Fourth trumpet: A third of the Sun is “eplege” (stricken or smitten) as is a third of the “selenes” (moon) and “asteron” (stars) were “skotisthe” (obscured).
     The next statement is a bit odd. It seems to mean that the sky was dark for a third of the day, and night. Which implies the normal sunlight and night sky was hidden by the dust and debris from the CME.

     We have the first confirmed break in the action since the trumpets started blasting.
     There's a 1560, 1611 and following KJV mistranslation in this one. What is flying in the 'midst of heaven' wasn't an “angel”. The word in Greek was “aetou” and not “angelos”. Other translations correctly identify what is flying through the 'middle of the sky' crying “ouai” (alas or woe) to the “katoikountas” (residents) of the Earth because of the three trumpets yet to come? “It's not a plane, or an angel, It's An Eagle!”
     It is interesting to think that after everything that has happened, the last three notes of the brass section are singled out as "Ouai" which is rendered as "woes". And that is the right word to use.

End 8

Selected Sources for this chapter:
Origins and History of precious Incense

A look at some of the ingredients: Twelve Oils Of Ancient Scripture: Onycha, Spikenard & Rose Of Sharon

[NOTE: This site is proof that the willfully uninformed, who do not do their own research, write web page content, their conclusion is nonsense. -the editor]
Victorie Inc - Unveiling Ancient Aromatic Secrets. Biblical Incense Resins & Herbs: “Onycha is the door membrane of a snail-like mollusk found in the Red Sea.”

Some background on the CS Lewis work:


“Could a solar flare or CME be large enough to cause a nation-wide or planet-wide cataclysm? It is, of course, impossible to give a definitive answer to this question, but no such event is known to have occurred in the past and there is no evidence that the Sun could initiate such an event.”

The massive 1770 geomagnetic storm

Astronomical observations in the Song dynasty:

“Don't be afraid to face the facts, and never lose your ability to ask the questions: Why? and How?”
- Immanuel Velikovsky (1895 - 1979)

Sources used throughout entire study:
Bible Hub Interlinear pages:

the Geneva Bible downloadable

the 1611 KJV

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

With the assistance and cooperation of The Media Desk.

The study Index page.