We are brought back, after the interlude of chapter 7, to the opening of the seventh seal. Will it usher in the final end? All heaven is silent, as if in suspense and expectancy (cf. Mark 13:32), but there follows a new series of judgments (cf. Mark 13:7, 8).
- In 8:3-5 we see, in the heavenly sanctuary, what happens to the prayers of Christ’s people. What are we taught as to the efficacy of prayer when mingled with the incense of Christ’s intercession and fire from the altar of his sacrifice? In this case, what kind of answer is granted? Cf. 6:9, 10; Rom. 8:26; and see Note 5 below.
- Contrast the first four trumpet judgments with the fifth and sixth: (a) in the objects affected, and (b) in the severity of their character and result. What was the purpose of these trumpet judgments? See 8:13; 9:20, 21. Cf. Luke 13:1-5.
- What do we learn from these chapters concerning God’s control over all that happens? See especially 8:2; 9:1, 4, 13-15.
- 8:3, 5. Two altars are to be distinguished, the ‘golden altar’ of incense, and the altar of sacrifice. See Exod. 37:25-38:7.
- 8:6. ‘Trumpets’: indicating that these judgments were sent in warning. Cf. Amos. 3:6; Ezek. 33:1-5. The destruction brought about is therefore only partial – ‘a third’.
- 9:1. ‘The Abyss’: the abode of the powers of evil. Cf. 11:7; 17:8.
- 9:11. ‘Abaddon’ and ‘Apollyon’: both mean ‘destruction’.
- 9:13. ‘The golden altar’: indicating that the prayers of the saints were being answered.