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Revelation 8:2-11:19 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

And I saw that the seven angels who stood before God were given seven trumpets.

The Gold Censer. Another angel came and stood at the altar,[a] holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with burning coals from the altar, and hurled it down to the earth. There were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

The First Four Trumpets. The seven angels who were holding the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

When the first one blew his trumpet, there came hail and fire mixed with blood, which was hurled down to the earth. A third of the land was burned up, along with a third of the trees and all green grass.[b]

[c]When the second angel blew his trumpet, something like a large burning mountain was hurled into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood, a third of the creatures living in the sea[d] died, and a third of the ships were wrecked.

10 When the third angel blew his trumpet, a large star burning like a torch fell from the sky. It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The star was called “Wormwood,”[e] and a third of all the water turned to wormwood. Many people died from this water, because it was made bitter.

12 When the fourth angel blew his trumpet, a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them became dark. The day lost its light for a third of the time, as did the night.

13 Then I looked again and heard an eagle flying high overhead cry out in a loud voice, “Woe! Woe! Woe[f] to the inhabitants of the earth from the rest of the trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to blow!”

Chapter 9

The Fifth Trumpet.[g] Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star[h] that had fallen from the sky to the earth. It was given the key for the passage to the abyss. It opened the passage to the abyss, and smoke came up out of the passage like smoke from a huge furnace. The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the passage. Locusts came out of the smoke onto the land, and they were given the same power as scorpions[i] of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or any tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torment them for five months;[j] the torment they inflicted was like that of a scorpion when it stings a person. During that time these people will seek death but will not find it, and they will long to die but death will escape them.

[k]The appearance of the locusts was like that of horses ready for battle. On their heads they wore what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, and they had hair like women’s hair. Their teeth were like lions’ teeth, and they had chests like iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was like the sound of many horse-drawn chariots racing into battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions, with stingers; with their tails they had power to harm people for five months. 11 They had as their king the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon[l] and in Greek Apollyon.

12 The first woe has passed, but there are two more to come.

The Sixth Trumpet.[m] 13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the [four][n] horns of the gold altar before God, 14 telling the sixth angel who held the trumpet, “Release the four angels[o] who are bound at the banks of the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels were released, who were prepared for this hour, day, month, and year to kill a third of the human race. 16 The number of cavalry troops was two hundred million; I heard their number. 17 Now in my vision this is how I saw the horses and their riders. They wore red, blue, and yellow breastplates,[p] and the horses’ heads were like heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur. 18 By these three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that came out of their mouths a third of the human race was killed. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like snakes, with heads that inflict harm.

20 The rest of the human race, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands,[q] to give up the worship of demons and idols made from gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic potions, their unchastity, or their robberies.

Chapter 10

The Angel with the Small Scroll. [r]Then I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven wrapped in a cloud, with a halo around his head; his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire. In his hand he held a small scroll that had been opened. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,[s] and then he cried out in a loud voice as a lion roars. When he cried out, the seven thunders[t] raised their voices, too. When the seven thunders had spoken, I was about to write it down; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have spoken, but do not write it down.” Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and earth and sea[u] and all that is in them, “There shall be no more delay. At the time when you hear the seventh angel blow his trumpet, the mysterious plan of God[v] shall be fulfilled, as he promised to his servants the prophets.”

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet[w] as honey.” 10 I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it. In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then someone said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”[x]

Chapter 11

The Two Witnesses. [y]Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and I was told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count those who are worshiping in it. But exclude the outer court[z] of the temple; do not measure it, for it has been handed over to the Gentiles, who will trample the holy city for forty-two months. I will commission my two witnesses[aa] to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands[ab] that stand before the Lord of the earth. [ac]If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish.

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss[ad] will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city,[ae] which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt,” where indeed their Lord was crucified. [af]Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days, and they will not allow their corpses to be buried. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and be glad and exchange gifts because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on. 13 At that moment there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell in ruins. Seven thousand people[ag] were killed during the earthquake; the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed, but the third is coming soon.

The Seventh Trumpet.[ah] 15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet. There were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world now belongs to our Lord and to his Anointed, and he will reign forever and ever.” 16 The twenty-four elders who sat on their thrones before God prostrated themselves and worshiped God 17 and said:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God almighty,
    who are and who were.
For you have assumed your great power
    and have established your reign.
18 The nations raged,
    but your wrath has come,
    and the time for the dead to be judged,
and to recompense your servants, the prophets,
    and the holy ones and those who fear your name,
    the small and the great alike,
and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.

Footnotes:

  1. 8:3 Altar: there seems to be only one altar in the heavenly temple, corresponding to the altar of holocausts in Rev 6:9, and here to the altar of incense in Jerusalem; cf. also Rev 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7.
  2. 8:7 This woe resembles the seventh plague of Egypt (Ex 9:23–24); cf. Jl 3:3.
  3. 8:8–11 The background of these two woes is the first plague of Egypt (Ex 7:20–21).
  4. 8:9 Creatures living in the sea: literally, “creatures in the sea that had souls.”
  5. 8:11 Wormwood: an extremely bitter and malignant plant symbolizing the punishment God inflicts on the ungodly; cf. Jer 9:12–14; 23:15.
  6. 8:13 Woe! Woe! Woe: each of the three woes pronounced by the angel represents a separate disaster; cf. Rev 9:12; 11:14. The final woe, released by the seventh trumpet blast, includes the plagues of Rev 16.
  7. 9:1–12 The fifth trumpet heralds a woe containing elements from the eighth and ninth plagues of Egypt (Ex 10:12–15, 21–23) but specifically reminiscent of the invasion of locusts in Jl 1:4–2:10.
  8. 9:1 A star: late Judaism represented fallen powers as stars (Is 14:12–15; Lk 10:18; Jude 13), but a comparison with Rev 1:20 and Rev 20:1 suggests that here it means an angel. The passage to the abyss: referring to Sheol, the netherworld, where Satan and the fallen angels are kept for a thousand years, to be cast afterwards into the pool of fire; cf. Rev 20:7–10. The abyss was conceived of as a vast subterranean cavern full of fire. Its only link with the earth was a kind of passage or mine shaft, which was kept locked.
  9. 9:3 Scorpions: their poisonous sting was proverbial; Ez 2:6; Lk 11:12.
  10. 9:5 For five months: more or less corresponding to the life-span of locusts.
  11. 9:7–10 Eight characteristics are listed to show the eschatological and diabolical nature of these locusts.
  12. 9:11 Abaddon: Hebrew (more precisely, Aramaic) for destruction or ruin. Apollyon: Greek for the “Destroyer.”
  13. 9:13–21 The sixth trumpet heralds a woe representing another diabolical attack symbolized by an invasion by the Parthians living east of the Euphrates; see note on Rev 6:2. At the appointed time (Rev 9:15), the frightful horses act as God’s agents of judgment. The imaginative details are not to be taken literally; see Introduction and the note on Rev 6:12–14.
  14. 9:13 [Four]: many Greek manuscripts and versions omit the word. The horns were situated at the four corners of the altar (Ex 27:2; 30:2–3); see note on Rev 8:3.
  15. 9:14–15 The four angels: they are symbolic of the destructive activity that will be extended throughout the universe.
  16. 9:17 Blue: literally, “hyacinth-colored.” Yellow: literally, “sulfurous.”
  17. 9:20 The works of their hands: i.e., the gods their hands had made.
  18. 10:1–11:14 An interlude in two scenes (Rev 10:1–11 and Rev 11:1–14) precedes the sounding of the seventh trumpet; cf. Rev 7:1–17. The first vision describes an angel astride sea and land like a colossus, with a small scroll open, the contents of which indicate that the end is imminent (Rev 10). The second vision is of the measuring of the temple and of two witnesses, whose martyrdom means that the kingdom of God is about to be inaugurated.
  19. 10:2 He placed…on the land: this symbolizes the universality of the angel’s message, as does the figure of the small scroll open to be read.
  20. 10:3 The seven thunders: God’s voice announcing judgment and doom; cf. Ps 29:3–9, where thunder, as the voice of Yahweh, is praised seven times.
  21. 10:6 Heaven and earth and sea: the three parts of the universe. No more delay: cf. Dn 12:7; Hb 2:3.
  22. 10:7 The mysterious plan of God: literally, “the mystery of God,” the end of the present age when the forces of evil will be put down (Rev 17:1–19:4, 11–21; 20:7–10; cf. 2 Thes 2:6–12; Rom 16:25–26), and the establishment of the reign of God when all creation will be made new (Rev 21:1–22:5).
  23. 10:9–10 The small scroll was sweet because it predicted the final victory of God’s people; it was sour because it also announced their sufferings. Cf. Ez 3:1–3.
  24. 10:11 This further prophecy is contained in chaps. 12–22.
  25. 11:1 The temple and altar symbolize the new Israel; see note on Rev 7:4–9. The worshipers represent Christians. The measuring of the temple (cf. Ez 40:3–42:20; 47:1–12; Zec 2:5–6) suggests that God will preserve the faithful remnant (cf. Is 4:2–3) who remain true to Christ (Rev 14:1–5).
  26. 11:2 The outer court: the Court of the Gentiles. Trample…forty-two months: the duration of the vicious persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dn 7:25; 12:7); this persecution of three and a half years (half of seven, counted as 1260 days in Rev 11:3; 12:6) became the prototype of periods of trial for God’s people; cf. Lk 4:25; Jas 5:17. The reference here is to the persecution by the Romans; cf. Introduction.
  27. 11:3 The two witnesses, wearing sackcloth symbolizing lamentation and repentance, cannot readily be identified. Do they represent Moses and Elijah, or the Law and the Prophets, or Peter and Paul? Most probably they refer to the universal church, especially the Christian martyrs, fulfilling the office of witness (two because of Dt 19:15; cf. Mk 6:7; Jn 8:17).
  28. 11:4 The two olive trees and the two lampstands: the martyrs who stand in the presence of the Lord; the imagery is taken from Zec 4:8–14, where the olive trees refer to Zerubbabel and Joshua.
  29. 11:5–6 These details are derived from stories of Moses, who turned water into blood (Ex 7:17–20), and of Elijah, who called down fire from heaven (1 Kgs 18:36–40; 2 Kgs 1:10) and closed up the sky for three years (1 Kgs 17:1; cf. 18:1).
  30. 11:7 The beast…from the abyss: the Roman emperor Nero, who symbolizes the forces of evil, or the antichrist (Rev 13:1, 8; 17:8); cf. Dn 7:2–8, 11–12, 19–22 and Introduction.
  31. 11:8 The great city: this expression is used constantly in Revelation for Babylon, i.e., Rome; cf. Rev 14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:2, 10, 21. “Sodom” and “Egypt”: symbols of immorality (cf. Is 1:10) and oppression of God’s people (cf. Ex 1:11–14). Where indeed their Lord was crucified: not the geographical but the symbolic Jerusalem that rejects God and his witnesses, i.e., Rome, called Babylon in Rev 16–18; see note on Rev 17:9 and Introduction.
  32. 11:9–12 Over the martyrdom (Rev 11:7) of the two witnesses, now called prophets, the ungodly rejoice for three and a half days, a symbolic period of time; see note on Rev 11:2. Afterwards they go in triumph to heaven, as did Elijah (2 Kgs 2:11).
  33. 11:13 Seven thousand people: a symbolic sum to represent all social classes (seven) and large numbers (thousands); cf. Introduction.
  34. 11:15–19 The seventh trumpet proclaims the coming of God’s reign after the victory over diabolical powers; see note on Rev 10:7.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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