With the opening of the seals, the first trumpet sounds, accompanied by fire, hail mingled with blood, burned trees burned, and scorched grass. It is overwhelming, terrifying.
The first angel sounded, and there fell 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. (Rev. 8:7)
Let’s identify six earlier types from OT and NT that illustrate where Rev. 8:7 draws its material for the archetypical application. Revelation is an accumulation of types similar to Saul, David, Solomon and the beasts of Rev. 13 being the diverse beast and the Pharisees and Sadducees. Understanding the early types leads to an understanding of the global apocalypse. So here are the types highlighted, from above:
• “Hail”: — Hail is explained in Isa. 28:2 where we are told, “hail shall sweep away a refuge of lies”. The hail shall brush aside and turn off the deception taught until the book is opened.
• “Fire mingled with blood”: — Regarding fire, Jeremiah explains when writing about God’s judgments upon the Jews for perverseness: “And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them. Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and the people wood, and it shall devour them” (Jer. 5:14). False scriptural interpretations are to be incinerated by words of fire out of the mouth. Same as saying they will be swept away.
• “mingled with blood”: — In highly graphic language, this means the word blood from haima, for “juice of grapes” or “atoning blood of lamb.” Examples of fire mingled with blood are, “This is my blood of the testament” (Heb. 9:20) and also Paul’s statement, “This cup is the new testament in my blood” (1 Cor. 11:25). In the final apocalypse, there is conflagration between those interpreting the ancients’ message and those opposing it. Revelation draws on Paul’s NT types to depict the final apocalypse.
Remember, these words are from the first trumpet’s quiet sounding. These phrases are the first signs of restoration. It awakens everyone with its reverberating sound. A complete renewal is necessary before the culminating reformation. But what is to happen? Will it be greeted with open arms? Hail and fire mingled with blood in this picture are cast upon the earth. The word earth is symbolic for “ground” where the “sower went forth to sow.” And a third part of the trees was burnt up, but they were not literal trees of the forest.
• “The third part of”: — refers to Jerusalem in Ezekiel 5:1–2 in the OT. It is called the judgment of Jerusalem. In Revelation, the same destruction comes to the church, which is latter-day Jerusalem in Christendom. Hair is used as a type to distinguish between people. The judgment is of Jerusalem for their indolence and upstart appearance of superiority. “Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them” (Ezek. 5:2). In this OT quote “third part” is mentioned three times. Revelation is drawing on the many “third part” mentions in the OT construction.
• “And a third part of the trees was burnt up”: — Because Jerusalem was full of lassitude and worshipped the work of their own hands, these trees personify the “proud and lofty.” They are persons who have affronted the ancients’ unity of all things, concentrating on the trends of the time and not the wider panorama. “The lofty looks of man … shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11-17). Humankind’s willful error of interpreting becomes the most telling mistake of all time. The “proud and lofty” are destroyed as the new dawn sweeps in, and a new song is to be sung. These arrogant “burnt up” trees are not akin to the trees of righteousness — ayîl meaning “strong,” “a chief (politically) with the strength of an oak.” The gallant fighters of the Maccabees were an example of the trees of righteousness.
• “And all green grass was burnt up”: — Green in Greek is chlōrŏs, which means “verdant, inexperienced, naïve.” Grass is from chŏrtŏs, meaning “vegetation, those of an unthinking cranium, all burnt up.” Even today, if a person be immature in judgment, it is common practice to say, “He is green.” We have all been green for far too long, accepting the tradition as proffered. However, an even older paler tradition will come into its own at the end of our delusion.
Jerusalem of old, caretakers of the oracles of God — the third part — constantly regressed into lethargy and were dominated by mercantile. The true wise prophets reviled against this erosion and inevitable captivity. It is written that Israel was a rebellious nation, “for they are impudent children and stiffhearted” (Ezek. 2:4). Jerusalem, “their land is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands” (Isa. 2:8). “And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces … and all idols thereof will I lay desolate” (Mic. 1:7). The ancient scribes pined and yearned to be forearmed against the ravages of negativity. Life was transitory, too short for worshipping alleged truths and wanton historicism.
Jerusalem of the new covenant, which is above (Gal. 4:26), is a symbol of elevation, an abstract city, poetry in motion, acknowledging the inherited oneness of corporeal and incorporeal. The Jews, those claiming allegiance to their Maker, had a circumcised heart (Rom. 2:29). The church (ĕkklēsia) is made up of those called out by their still, small voice, not a church as such. They are the true church. “Now ye are the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27), “one body” (Eph. 4:4). Paul’s teachings were always directed to the body of our inheritance, from time immemorial. “As Christ (righteousness and peace), is the head” (Eph. 5:23), he is “the spiritual Rock” (1 Cor. 10:4) – a replication of Judas Maccabees who set up the “everlasting” kingdom centuries earlier.
Obsessive adulation of selective religious doctrines have completely dulled and mummified the Christian dispensation with delirious spells of hysterical nonsense, hypocrisy, literalization and ingenious institutions of childish propaganda. The messianic construction during the period of Herod the Great and his concluding Massacre of the Innocence was a rebellion against the brutal rule of the Pharisees and Sadducees. But John perceived that their community was absolutely defeated. John perceived institutions would develop doctrines and this is recorded in the later Gospels “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7). “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16). “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). Endless repetition ad nauseam is a deplorable abominable transgression still carried on in western society and very much the antithesis of the Ancient scribal writings.
The faithful were promised there would always be, “a light before me in Jerusalem” (1 Kings 11:36). Let’s await the next midrashic trumpet, which resonates a little louder for just a verse.