1 When the Lamb [Yeshua the Son, visible] broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour [very unusual since worship goes on continuously; the most likely cause is that the wrath of God is soon to be poured out. If the Seals and Trumpets judgments are parallel, this would correspond with Yeshua’s return at the 7th trumpet. Note that “time” exists in Heaven, at least for creatures].
2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God [Yahweh the Father, invisible], and seven trumpets were given to them [the 7 Trumpets are within the 7th Seal].
3, 4 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer [the gold incense holder is only used at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement]; and much incense [prayers of the “saints” (hagios); used interchangeably with ekklesia or “church” throughout the N.T.] was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints [i.e., of all time] on the golden altar which was before the throne [our prayers go directly before God]. 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 [our prayers bring about action in Heaven that affects Earth]; and there followed peals of thunder [results of prayer can be heard] and sounds and flashes of lightning [results of prayer can be seen] and an earthquake [results of prayer can be felt].
6, 7 And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them [evidently there is a connection between our prayers and the angel’s blowing of the trumpets] . The first sounded, and there came hail [7th plague against Pharaoh in Exo 9] and fire [fire from heaven consumed the prophets of Baal’s altar on Mt. Carmel, 1 Ki 18], mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth [same “threw it to the earth” Greek phrase as in verse 5; this judgment is also connected to the Saints’ prayers]; and a third of the earth [probably 1/3 of the Roman Empire, the expansive civilization during John’s time; “earth” indicates ‘solid’ & ‘stable’ culture/humanity; Isa 1:2] was burned up, and a third of the trees [disciples; those who abide, who are rooted; Psm 1:1-3] were burned up, and all the green grass [the common masses of men, society; Isa 40:7, Mt 1:38 ] was burned up.
8 The second angel sounded [blew his trumpet], and something like a great mountain burning with fire [Mt. Sinai burned with fire just before the Law was given to Moses; the great burning mountain represents God’s judgment] was thrown into the sea [the unstable, storm-tossed portion of humanity, Isa 57:20]; and a third of the sea became blood [full of warfare and bloodshed]
9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died [corresponds with the 1/3 of the sea becoming blood; a great holocaust will occur in unstable, lost portions of humanity. Most sea creatures are ‘unclean’ per OT law and are ‘detestable’ per Lev 11:10]; and a third of the ships were destroyed [perhaps the same “ships at sea” as Rev 18:19, those who grew rich off of Islamic oil].
10 The third angel sounded [blew his trumpet], and a great star fell from heaven [Satan, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning…” Isa 14:12], burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters [the sources of life & growth, the Word of God].
11 The name of the star is called Wormwood [αψίνθιον (apsinthion), a bitter flavoring, a bitter spirit can cause one to turn to false gods, Duet 29:18]; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter [a bitter heart doesn’t trust God and defiles many, Heb 12:15].
12 The fourth angel sounded [blew his trumpet], and a third of the sun [spiritual light; God] and a third of the moon [reflectors of spiritual light; the ekklesia] and a third of the stars [spiritual beings; angels] 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 [Satan’s partial and temporary success in dimming God’s light].
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle [symbol of authority and strength] 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!” [the last 3 Trumpets are more severe than the first four, deserving “woes”]