Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The First Trumpet

"Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up." (Revelation 8:6,7 - New International Version)

It is important in taking a literal view of Revelation to understand the terms used and to seek a reasonable meaning for what is said. The English translation of verse seven has resulted in many strange interpretations.

Two terms in particular are important to understand. The Greek word translated hail has as its basic meaning, that which is let loose. It can refer to any object which falls out of the sky. Of course, hail is one such object but, by no means, the only object to which this word could apply. The Greek word translated blood can refer to any blood red liquid.

In the context of the intense earthquake activity which has just occurred and what we are told in the last part of verse seven, a reasonable interpretation of this verse can be reached.
Earthquakes are caused by movement in the earth's tectonic plates. These plates make up the surface of the earth and form a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. These plates are in constant movement. The forces and pressures caused by their rubbing against one another results in earthquakes. This movement also cause other natural events.

In the book Planet Earth by Jonathan Weiner (Bantom Books, 1986, page 29), the author writes of the interaction between the Pacific Plate and the Asian Plate which meet near Japan. He writes:

Because the sea floor is made mostly of basalt, which is much denser than the continental rock, the Asian Plates rides over the Pacific Plate, and the Pacific sea floor sinks back into the interior of the Earth. Japan is on the edge of a precipice more than 6000 meters deep, known as the Japan Trench. At this trench, the Pacific Plate begins its long slide into the bowels of the earth. . . . The rude burial of so much rock releases a great deal of energy, and as the edge of the plate slides downward, friction causes frequent earthquakes. In addition, though just how it happens is still debated, friction and pressure apparently melt some of the rock, which rises back to the surface in long, hot plumes, and causes volcanic eruptions. Thus, for its burial, the sea floor takes a double revenge – first in earthquakes, then in volcanoes.

From this specific example, we see the close relationship between earthquakes and volcanoes. The cause of one is the case of the other. With the amount of intense earthquake activity occurring at this point in the Tribulation, we would expect an equally violent increase in volcanic activity.

If we connect this volcanic activity to the first trumpet, its meaning falls into place. The hail is not ice but large rocks thrown into the atmosphere to fall back to the earth when these volcanoes blow their tops. The fire mixed with blood is lava flowing after these eruptions.

The destruction of the trees and grass is caused by the volcanic ash which will cover the surface of the earth. Those trees covered with a thick layer of ash will die, about a third of all trees. Most trees will survive because of their deep roots.

However, all grass will die because with their shallower roots, they will not have the means to withstand the effect of the ash. This destruction will not occur over night but over a period of weeks and months as the ash thrown into the atmosphere slowly descends upon the face of the earth.


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