And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
Revelation 8:1 closes the series of seven seals. Then in verse 2 John sees a group of seven angels preparing to play seven trumpets. Before that happens, however, the prophet is again led to contemplate the heavenly sanctuary, this time focusing on the altar of incense. To understand the description in Revelation 8:3-6 it is necessary to remember what happened in the typical ritual of the earthly sanctuary. It sets the tone for the events described by the sounding of the seven trumpets between chapters 8 and 9.
The end of daily activities in the sanctuary was announced by the sound of trumpets. The lamb of the continual sacrifice was placed on the grate, its blood sprinkled at the base of the altar. The appointed priest stood before the golden altar in the holy place to offer incense. In the heavenly sanctuary, Christ, our High Priest, having made His eternal sacrifice for our salvation (Heb 7:27), intercedes for us. Our prayers rise like incense before the throne (Rev. 5: 8; 8:4).
As you pray, know that there is a living God in heaven who hears your prayers and stops to listen to you.
Clacir Virmes Jr.
New Testament Teacher
Latin American Adventist Theology Seminary