First six trumpet judgements
(REV. 8:6-13 and REV. 9)
Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992
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Chapters 8 & 9
A Bible Study
Rev 8:1-6 - And when He broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.Note: Zeph. 1:7 - Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests. Meaning: Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God. (Literally, "Hush," in awe "from the face of God.") In the presence of God, even the righteous say from their inmost heart, "I am vile, what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth" (Job 40:4). "Now mine eye seeth Thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 43:5-6). "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified" (Ps. 143:2). How much more must the "man without the wedding garment be speechless" (Matt. 22:11-12), and every false plea, with which he deceived himself, melt away before the Face of God! The voice of God's Judgment echoes in every heart, "we indeed justly" (Luke 23:41).  And also: Zech 2:13 - "Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for He is aroused from His holy habitation." The long-awaited, long-anticipated time for God's judgment on the earth and the return of His Son is finally at hand. This is the "calm before the storm."
Rev 8:2-7 - And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them.All the accumulated prayers of the saints concerning what is about to take place, including undoubtedly the cries for vindication of the martyrs revealed by the breaking of the 5th Seal, are involved here. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." - Matt. 6:10 "The trumpets sound a note of warning. The judgments, though severe, are not total. They are intended to bring men to their senses."  Trumpets in the Old Testament were used as (1) musical instruments, (2) a call to the people of Israel to worship signifying the presence of God in their midst, and (3) a call to His people to enter into battle. But here in Rev. 8 the trumpets signal the beginning of divine conquest, and the day of the Lord. (Before the day of the Lord there will be (1) cosmic disturbances (6th Seal), (2) the coming of Elijah - Malachi 4:5-6, (3) apostasy and the appearance of the "man of sin" - 2 Thess. 2:3, (4) the sealing of the 144,000, (5) the "last trumpet" - 1 Cor. 15:51, and (6) the rapture.) "Essentially, the Trumpets are a different order of judgments than the Seals. They result from a release of satanic viciousness, as compared with the Seals which result from man's disobedience and just recompense. The Seals are judgments due to 'the flesh' seeking its own way; the Trumpets, due to 'the devil' being given his own way." 
And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.
And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.
Rev 8:7-12 - And the first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.(Note Joel 1:15; 2:1-2,10-11; Isa. 2:10-22) The first four judgments are not against man directly, but the environment for the most part. Also, they are limited in their scope so as to constitute a final warning and give mankind a last opportunity for repentence. First trumpet - 1/3 of the trees and grass are destroyed. One commentator asks regarding the blood that is mingled with the hail and fire, "Is God taking the blood of the martyrs (of the 5th Seal) and throwing it down on earth?"  Second trumpet - 1/3 of the sea becomes blood and 1/3 of the creatures in it die, and 1/3 of the ships are destroyed. Third trumpet - it seems that "fallen stars" in Revelation always refer to the fallen angels in Satan's camp, so there is no reason to regard this one differently, especially since it bears a name - "Wormwood." But here many men die from bitter water caused by the fallen "star." Fourth Trumpet - 1/3 of the sun, moon and stars darkened.
And the second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the creatures, which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.
And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.
Rev 8:13 - And I looked, and I heard an eagle 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!"There were two kinds of prophetic statements in Old Testament times that were called "oracles.": (1) Woe and (2) Weal. The former were God's curse or judgment, the latter were His blessing or redemption. The normal way of prefacing a "Weal" would be to introduce it with a "blessed..." (cf. Matt. 5:3-11). Conversely when a prophet would give an oracle of judgment, he would preface it with a "Woe." (e.g. - Jesus' rebuke of the Pharisees in Matt 23: 13-36) This seems to be the only case in the Bible where a prophetic oracle of doom and judgement is introduced by a threefold use of "Woe," so it is of great significance. Note the Hebraic literary device of repetition. If a Jew wanted to emphasize something he was saying or writing, he normally used the device of repetition, and the normal method of emphasis was by twofold repetition. (e.g. - John 3:11) Emphasis has been raised here to the ultimate degree by use of the threefold repetition. 
Rev 9:1-11 - And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.Note Joel 2:1-11. Is this Satan? (Luke 10:18) These verses describe purely demonic forces of hell, not an army of men as some commentators would allege. This "army" is not permitted to kill - it "torments." Heaven is decreeing that the very gates of hell be opened and its destructive forces be unleashed. Obviously God is removing the restraints He held over the forces of hell in keeping them from creating chaos and destroying the world. His grace has in effect been removed in this area. The locust in the time John wrote this was seen as an irresistable force by the Hebrews that suddenly comes and devours everything in its path. So a swarm of locusts became a symbol for a mighty, vast, well-equipped mobile army that achieves victory leaving utter destruction in its wake. The Mediterranean scorpion has a poison that is not fatal to man. It attacks the nervous system and causes excruciating pain that lasts several hours - evidently one of the most painful experiences a human can endure. This is an explosion of God's wrath against those who have refused to submit to His Son. Long hair suggests "barbaric, unrestrained, wild, savage." Teeth like lions suggests "gross brutality." "Breastplates of iron" suggests impenetrable defenses. 
And he opened the bottomless pit; and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.
And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.
And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them.
And the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
And they had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions.
And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.
And they have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.
They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.
Rev 9:12-21 - The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.Again, this is literally an army of demons. God is not using an an army of men as some say. And this time they do not just torment - they kill. Perhaps providing some sort of "relief" to those those who previously sought death yet could not "find it." (Rev. 9:6) A third of mankind is killed. The mention of the Euphrates brings to mind Babylon - the orgin of false religion (presently manifested under the "New Age" label).
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they might kill a third of mankind.
And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm.
Rev 9:20-21 - And the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.It seems, like Pharoah, mankind has come to the end of their rope. Foolishly and arrogantly, they also just become more hardhearted and rebellious. But there is a very strong warning here also for those who call themselves "believers" in Christ and look forward to His return - to shun anything of the occult, even amulets. Otherwise they will open themselves to the demonic forces of hell that are behind them.
 from Barnes' Notes
 Eerdman's Concise Bible Handbook - p. 381
 Jack Hayford - Living Way Ministries
 R. C. Sproul - Ligonier Ministries