In Isaiah’s prophecy judgment against Israel by the invasion of the Assyrians is depicted apocalyptically as storms, floods and hail.
Isa. 28:1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. 3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:
And Ezekiel of Gog’s attack on Israel:
Ezek. 38: 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him…9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
Jeremiah describes Babylon’s invasions of other countries as being a destroying and burning mountain.
Jer. 51: 24 And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the Lord. 25 Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.
So much for literalism.
Thus to the exposition:
Rev. 8:1 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.
The first verse seems to suggest that the time period of half an hour in heaven may not apply to the day-year principle. But if it does Newton seems to have a solution for it. Half an hour on the day year principle is seven days:
A prophetic day is a literal year. Giving us the 1 prophetic day / 360 literal days ratio.
This gives us the prophetic equation of prophetic time x * 360 = literal fulfillment.
Thus, a prophetic hour would be 1 * 360 = 360 literal hours. 360 hours is literally 15 days.
Thus, a prophetic half hour would be literally seven days.
The entire symbology of Revelation 8 comes from the rites of the High Priest during the day of atonement.
According to the Tract Yomah (Day Of Atonement). Chapter I.
“MISHNA: Seven days before the Day of Atonement the high-priest is to be removed from his house to the Palhedrin Chamber (παρεδρων), and another high-priest is appointed to substitute him in case he become unfit for the service by becoming unclean. R. Jedudah says another wife is to be appointed for him also, in case his own wife dies, whereas it is said [Lev. xvii. 11], “and shall make atonement for himself and for his house”; “his house”–that is, his wife. But it was objected that in this manner there will be no end to the matter. (The other wife may die too.)”
This removal for seven days was for the purpose of study and preparation for the solemn Day of Atonement. The language of verses 3-4 with the incense and the prayers is also indicative of the priestly rites of the Day of Atonement.
Lev. 16: 12 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: 13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not:
Luke tells us that the burning of incense was always accompanied by the prayers of the people:
Luke 1: 9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
This silence in heaven or preparation time picks up off of Chapter 7 which states that the continuing judgment would be abated for a while for the elect to come to faith in Rome and establish themselves. The prayers of the true believers rising up to Elohim to stay the heresy of the Catholic Religion he answers them with judgment. And thus with the death of the great Theodosius, 395 A.D., Rome is now ripe for judgment. 395 A.D. was also the year Alaric came to power and also Augustine was ordained. This is a tremendous year in Human History.
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.
Thus, the angel goes back after lighting the incense to gather a more ominous fire from the altar prepared for judgment on the Primitive Catholic Roman Empire. And what better indications of the divine wrath than symbols of thunder, lightning and earthquake, probably signifying the death of Theodosius.
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.
(395 A.D. – 410 A.D.)
Thus, following the historic progression, the chronological, geographic and hermeneutic of the interpretation has already been established as the Roman Empire from the Pax Romana to its Fall, these prophecies being symbols of literal historical events, pace Daniel. The timeline up to this point is the death of Theodosius and the rise of the Goths with Alaric and Radagaisus primarily Alaric in 395. Yet we have even further qualifications mentioned. We see in verse 7b that a third of the Empire is targeted. Thus, we are to understand by this prophecy judgment on the Western Roman Empire; the African and Eastern provinces will be largely left out of this trumpet judgment.
Edward Gibbon states in his History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Chapter XXX: Revolt Of The Goths.—Part I.
“If the subjects of Rome could be ignorant of their obligations to the great Theodosius, they were too soon convinced, how painfully the spirit and abilities of their deceased emperor had supported the frail and mouldering edifice of the republic. He died in the month of January; and before the end of the winter of the same year, the Gothic nation was in arms.”
Sir Isaac Newton states,
“Theodosius died A.C. 395; and then the Visigoths, under the conduct of Alaric the successor of Fridigern, rose from their seats in Thrace and wasted Macedon, Thessaly, Achaia, Peloponnesus, and Epirus, with fire and sword for five years together; when turning westward, they invaded Dalmatia, Illyricum and Pannonia; and from thence went into Italy A.C. 402; and the next year were so beaten at Pollentia and Verona, by Stilico the commander of the forces of the Western Empire, that Claudian calls the remainder of the forces of Alaric, tanta ex gente reliquias breves[among all the nation of the short remnant of the], and Prudentius, Gentem deletam[People had to be destroyed]. Thereupon Alaric made peace with the Emperor, being so far humbled, that Orosius saith, he did, pro pace optima & quibuscunque sedibus suppliciter & simpliciter orare.[ For peace and whatever the best seats and simply pray earnestly]”
Alaric would later lead a complete sack of Rome in 410.
He would soon die later that year.
During this time Vigilantius is standing up to the Catholic Church and its idolatry earning the indignation of Jerome who wrote his Contra Vigilantium.
And yet, the Romanists refused to repent. Again from Chapter XXX Gibbon states,
“Fame,” says the poet, “encircling with terror her gloomy wings, proclaimed the march of the Barbarian army, and filled Italy with consternation:” the apprehensions of each individual were increased in just proportion to the measure of his fortune: and the most timid, who had already embarked their valuable effects, meditated their escape to the Island of Sicily, or the African coast. The public distress was aggravated by the fears and reproaches of superstition. 32 Every hour produced some horrid tale of strange and portentous accidents; the Pagans deplored the neglect of omens, and the interruption of sacrifices; but the Christians still derived some comfort from the powerful intercession of the saints and martyrs. 33”
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.
(429 – 468 A.D. )
Thus, we see symbology of the Naval attack of Mediterranean Rome by Genseric King of the Vandals, beginning in 429, he sacked Rome in 455, and dominated the Western Mediterranean until his death in 477. Gibbon states in his History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Chapter XXXIII: Conquest Of Africa By The Vandals.—Part I.,
“The experience of navigation, and perhaps the prospect of Africa, encouraged the Vandals to accept the invitation which they received from Count Boniface; and the death of Gonderic served only to forward and animate the bold enterprise. In the room of a prince not conspicuous for any superior powers of the mind or body, they acquired his bastard brother, the terrible Genseric; 13 a name, which, in the destruction of the Roman empire, has deserved an equal rank with the names of Alaric and Attila.”
See also Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part I.: Sack Of Rome By Genseric, King Of The Vandals.—His Naval Depredations.
Ridpath depicts his invasion of Northern Africa:
Ridpath’s Universal History, Volume 12, pg. 428
Genseric also conquered the island provinces of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Malta. Gibbon records Genseric himself in a prophetic moment:
“In the spring of each year, they equipped a formidable navy in the port of Carthage; and Genseric himself, though in a very advanced age, still commanded in person the most important expeditions. His designs were concealed with impenetrable secrecy, till the moment that he hoisted sail. When he was asked, by his pilot, what course he should steer, “Leave the determination to the winds, (replied the Barbarian, with pious arrogance;) they will transport us to the guilty coast, whose inhabitants have provoked the divine justice;” but if Genseric himself deigned to issue more precise orders, he judged the most wealthy to be the most criminal. The Vandals repeatedly visited the coasts of Spain, Liguria, Tuscany, Campania, Lucania, Bruttium, Apulia, Calabria, Venetia, Dalmatia, Epirus, Greece, and Sicily: they were tempted to subdue the Island of Sardinia, so advantageously placed in the centre of the Mediterranean; and their arms spread desolation, or terror, from the columns of Hercules to the mouth of the Nile.”
Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part III.
And then with the Battle of Cap Bon (468) the prophecy was fulfilled when the Roman fleet was devastated by the Vandal fire-ships.
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.
This prophecy is no doubt Attila the Hun who came to power just 5 years after Genseric launched his Naval campaigns and began his invasion of the river-lands of Gaul in 450-451 and then Italy in 452. He would die the next year in 453.
Gibbon, Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part II.
“After this entertainment, they travelled about one hundred miles from Sardica to Naissus. That flourishing city, which has given birth to the great Constantine, was levelled with the ground: the inhabitants were destroyed or dispersed; and the appearance of some sick persons, who were still permitted to exist among the ruins of the churches, served only to increase the horror of the prospect. The surface of the country was covered with the bones of the slain; and the ambassadors, who directed their course to the north-west, were obliged to pass the hills of modern Servia, before they descended into the flat and marshy grounds which are terminated by the Danube. The Huns were masters of the great river: their navigation was performed in large canoes, hollowed out of the trunk of a single tree; the ministers of Theodosius were safely landed on the opposite bank; and their Barbarian associates immediately hastened to the camp of Attila, which was equally prepared for the amusements of hunting or of war. ”
Gibbon gives an indication of a breakout of disease at the later period of Attila’s campaigns:
History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part III.
“The shepherds of the North, whose ordinary food consisted of milk and raw flesh, indulged themselves too freely in the use of bread, of wine, and of meat, prepared and seasoned by the arts of cookery; and the progress of disease revenged in some measure the injuries of the Italians. 64 When Attila declared his resolution of carrying his victorious arms to the gates of Rome, he was admonished by his friends, as well as by his enemies, that Alaric had not long survived the conquest of the eternal city.
[FN] [ Si statim infesto agmine urbem petiissent, grande discrimen esset: sed in Venetia quo fere tractu Italia mollissima est, ipsa soli coelique clementia robur elanquit. Ad hoc panis usu carnisque coctae, et dulcedine vini mitigatos, &c. This passage of Florus (iii. 3) is still more applicable to the Huns than to the Cimbri, and it may serve as a commentary on the celestial plague, with which Idatius and Isidore have afflicted the troops of Attila.]”
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.
Thus, came the end of the Roman Empire with Odoacer deposing Romulus in 476 A.D. and reigning until 493 A.D. He would be succeeded by Theodoric.
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!
Thus, the prophet warns us of the trumpets that are left to blast which I reserve for a future consideration.