Revelation 8:13
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the middle of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
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(13) And I beheld . . .—Better, And I saw, and I heard a single eagle (not “angel,” as in English version) flying in mid-heaven, saying with a mighty voice, Woe, woe, woe, to those that dwell upon the earth by reason of the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound! The best MS. authority is against the reading “angel,” and in favour of eagle. It is, then, an eagle, a solitary eagle, that moves across the heaven, and utters the warning Woe! It flies through the meridian sky, and is thus visible to the very horizon. It was an appropriate emblem: high-soaring as the spirit of the seer, the eagle-glance scanned the borders of the earth, and caught sight of the coming troubles, and gave warning; swift and strong as the judgments of God, its very form gave emphasis to the warnings of its voice (Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; and Matthew 24:28). And yet the emblem must bring to the minds of God’s children the care of Him who led Israel, instructed him, and kept him as the apple of His eye, and cherished him as “an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, and beareth them on her wings” (Deuteronomy 32:11). Is it not also a precursor of those eagle-like judgments which fall upon the carcase of dead nations or a dead society?

Revelation 8:13. And I beheld an angel flying through the midst of heaven — Between the trumpets of the fourth and fifth angels; saying with a loud voice — That is, proclaiming for the information of all, Wo, wo, wo, to the inhabitants of the earth — All, without exception: heavy calamities were coming on all; by reason of the other voices of the trumpet, &c. — As if he had said, Though the judgments signified by the four trumpets which have already sounded are very great and dreadful, yet greater judgments still remain to be inflicted on the earth, in the events that are to follow upon sounding the three remaining trumpets. Several interpreters suppose this part of the vision to be a representation of some faithful witnesses against the superstition, idolatry, and growing corruptions of those times; and that the dreadfulness of the woes of the three remaining trumpets is proclaimed to the corrupt members of the church, because as they were endued, by the divine revelation, with more knowledge than before, being all Christians by name, they therefore deserved to suffer more for their crimes than plain heathen, such as were chiefly concerned in the former judgments. Be this as it may, whether this angel was designed to represent any such faithful witnesses against these corruptions, and to signify that such should arise, or not, it must at least be allowed, as Bishop Newton observes, that the design of this messenger, in conformity with the design of the angels that sounded the preceding trumpets, was to raise men’s attention especially to the three following trumpets, predicting events of a more calamitous nature, or more terrible plagues, than any of the preceding, and therefore distinguished from them by the name of woes. And they are not woes of a light or common nature, but such in the extreme; for the Hebrews, having no superlative degree, in the manner of other languages, express their superlative by repeating the positive three times, as in this place. The foregoing calamities relate chiefly to the downfall of the western empire, the two following to the downfall of the eastern empire. The foregoing are described more succinctly, and contain a less compass of time; the following are set forth with more particular circumstances, and are of longer duration, as well as larger description. 8:7-13 The first angel sounded the first trumpet, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood. A storm of heresies, a mixture of dreadful errors falling on the church, or a tempest of destruction. The second angel sounded, and a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast into the sea; and the third part of the sea became blood. By this mountain some understand leaders of the persecutions; others, Rome sacked by the Goths and Vandals, with great slaughter and cruelty. The third angel sounded, and there fell a star from heaven. Some take this to be an eminent governor; others take it to be some person in power who corrupted the churches of Christ. The doctrines of the gospel, the springs of spiritual life, comfort, and vigour, to the souls of men, are corrupted and made bitter by the mixture of dangerous errors, so that the souls of men find ruin where they sought refreshment. The fourth angel sounded, and darkness fell upon the great lights of heaven, that give light to the world, the sun, and the moon, and the stars. The guides and governors are placed higher than the people, and are to dispense light, and kind influences to them. Where the gospel comes to a people, and has not proper effects on their hearts and lives, it is followed with dreadful judgments. God gives alarm by the written word, by ministers, by men's own consciences, and by the signs of the times; so that if people are surprised, it is their own fault. The anger of God makes all comforts bitter, and even life itself burdensome. But God, in this world, sets bounds to the most terrible judgments. Corruption of doctrine and worship in the church are great judgments, and also are the usual causes and tokens of other judgments coming on a people. Before the other three trumpets were sounded, there was solemn warning how terrible the calamities would be that should follow. If lesser judgments do not take effect the church and the world must expect greater; and when God comes to punish the world, the inhabitants shall tremble before him. Let sinners take warning to flee from the wrath to come; let believers learn to value and to be thankful for their privileges; and let them patiently continue in well doing.And I beheld - My attention was attracted by a new vision.

And heard an angel flying, ... - I heard the voice of an angel making this proclamation.

Woe, woe, woe - That is, there will be great woe. The repetition of the word is intensive, and the idea is, that the sounding of the three remaining trumpets would indicate great and fearful calamities. These three are grouped together as if they pertained to a similar series of events, as the first four had been. The two classes are separated from each other by this interval and by this proclamation - implying that the first series had been completed, and that there would be some interval, either of space or time, before the other series would come upon the world. All that is fairly implied here would be fulfilled by the supposition that the former referred to the West, and that the latter pertained to the East, and were to follow when those should have been completed.

13. an angel—A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read for "angel," which is supported by none of the oldest manuscripts, "an eagle": the symbol of judgment descending fatally from on high; the king of birds pouncing on the prey. Compare this fourth trumpet and the flying eagle with the fourth seal introduced by the fourth living creature, "like a flying eagle," Re 4:7; 6:7, 8: the aspect of Jesus as presented by the fourth Evangelist. John is compared in the cherubim (according to the primitive interpretation) to a flying eagle: Christ's divine majesty in this similitude is set forth in the Gospel according to John, His judicial visitations in the Revelation of John. Contrast "another angel," or messenger, with "the everlasting Gospel," Re 14:6.

through the midst of heaven—Greek, "in the mid-heaven," that is, in the part of the sky where the sun reaches the meridian: in such a position as that the eagle is an object conspicuous to all.

the inhabiters of the earth—the ungodly, the "men of the world," whose "portion is in this life," upon whom the martyrs had prayed that their blood might be avenged (Re 6:10). Not that they sought personal revenge, but their zeal was for the honor of God against the foes of God and His Church.

the other—Greek, "the remaining voices."

This verse is but an introduction to the other three angels sounding, declaring that the times which were to follow would be much more full of miseries and woes

to the inhabitants of the earth; by which I understand all those countries which lately were subject to the Roman empire. Others understand the more earthy, unsound, hypocritical part of the church. The

woe is thrice repeated, either to show the greatness of the calamities, or rather correspondently to the number of the angels yet to sound. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven,.... The Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, instead of "an angel", read "an eagle"; and to "fly" agrees with either of them, and the sense is the same let it be read either way; and this angel may design either Christ, or a created angel, or a minister of the Gospel, as in Revelation 14:6; did the next trumpet introduce Popery, as some have supposed, Gregory bishop of Rome might be thought, as he is by some, to be the angel here intended, since he gave notice and warning of antichrist being at hand:

saying with a loud voice; that all might hear, and as having something of importance to say, and delivering it with great fervour and affection:

woe, woe, woe; three times, answerable to the three trumpets yet to be blown; and which are therefore called the woe trumpets: and these woes are denounced

to the inhabiters of the earth; the Roman empire, particularly the eastern part of it, which the fifth and sixth trumpets relate unto; and even the whole world, with which the seventh trumpet is concerned:

by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound! the design of this loud cry of the angel is to show, that though the distresses and ruin which the barbarous nations had brought upon the western empire were very great; yet those which would come upon the eastern empire by the Saracens and Turks, under the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets, would be much more grievous; and especially the judgments which the seventh trumpet would bring upon the whole world, when all the nations of the earth will be judged. From the sounding of the fourth trumpet, to the sounding of the fifth, was a space of a hundred and thirty five years, that is, from the deposition of Augustulus, A. D. 476, to the public preaching of Mahomet, A. D. 612.

{10} 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!

(10) A lamentable prediction or foretelling of those parts of the divine execution which yet are behind: which also is a passage to the argument of the next chapter. Of all these things in a manner Christ himself expressly foretold in Lu 21:24 and they are common plagues generally denounced, without particular note of time.

Revelation 8:13. An eagle flying in the zenith proclaims, by a threefold annunciation of woe, the three trumpets still remaining.[2506]

εἱδον καὶ ἤκουσα. Cf. Revelation 5:11, Revelation 6:1.

ἑνὸς ἀετοῦ. Concerning the indefinite meaning of the είς,[2507] cf. “Winer, p. 111. An eagle is mentioned, not an angel in the form of an eagle.[2508] That it is an eagle which appears as the harbinger of the still impending woe, has its foundation, not in the “prophecy” of Christ, Matthew 24:28,—for that passage contains no prophecy at all, but a proverbial assertion of the moral law upon which the threatening prophecies of the Lord depend,—nor is it to be regarded as an antithesis to the dove, John 1:32;[2509] nor does the eagle come into consideration as a bird of omen,[2510] for, apart even from the unchristian character of the idea, the evil omen does not lie in the eagle as such. But it is in the same way appropriate that the far-sounding, menacing cry of the mighty, dreadful eagle be raised, in which the irruption of devastating enemies is compared with the flight of the eagle to its plunder.[2511]

πετομένου-g0- ἐν-g0- μεσουρανήματι-g0-. Cf. Revelation 14:6, Revelation 19:17. Μεσουρανεῖν designates the sun’s position in its meridian altitude; hence μεσουράνημα is first of all the astronomical relation which is occasioned by the sun’s standing in the zenith.[2512] According to this, the expression may designate the ΜΈΣΟΝ ΟὔΡΑΝΟΝ[2513] as the place for the ΜΕΣΟΥΡΑΝΕῖΝ of the sun, but not the space between the vault of heaven and the earth.[2514] The eagle flies to the meridian altitude of heaven, because the idea is thus given, that it can be seen and heard of all to whom its message pertains.

ΤΟῖς ΚΑΤΟΙΚΟῦΣΙΝ ἘΠῚ Τῆς Γῆς, as Revelation 6:10.

ἘΚ Τ. ΛΟΙΠ. ΦΩΝ. The ἘΚ, for the same reason as Revelation 8:11.[2515]

τῆς σάλπιγγος. The sing, is not distributive,[2516] but by its close connection with τῶν φωνῶν shows itself to be one conception.

[2506] Cf. Revelation 9:12, Revelation 11:14.

[2507] Revelation 19:17.

[2508] Eich., Ew., Stern, De Wette, Bleek, etc. Cf. Critical Notes.

[2509] Hengstenb.: “The eagle is sent to those who do not want the dove to descend upon them.”

[2510] Ewald.

[2511] Deuteronomy 28:29; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8. Cf. Hengstenb.

[2512] Eustathius, on Il., ix. 68: αἴξησις ἡμέρας λέγεται

τὸ ἀπὸ πρωίας μἐχρις ἡλιακοῦ μεσουρανήματος. In Wetst.

[2513] De Wette.

[2514] Ew. i.

[2515] Cf. Matthew 18:7 : ἀπό.

[2516] Beng.

Who or what the eagle properly is, cannot be properly decided here, as in Matthew 24:28. Yet even here allegorical explanations are found. Beda: “The voice of this eagle daily penetrates the Church through the mouths of eminent teachers.” C. a Lap.:[2517] “Some prophet or other to be expected at the end of the world.” According to Joachim, the eagle is Gregory the Great; according to N. de Lyra, John himself; according to Zeger, the Apostle Paul. Herder, etc, also Böhmer and Volkm., propose the eagle of the Roman legions.

[2517] Cf. Rib.Revelation 8:13. An ominous introduction to the last three trumpets. An eagle, here as in Apoc. Bar. lxxvii. 17–22, lxxxvii. 1 (cf. Rest of Words of Bar. 7.) a messenger and herald of catastrophe (its associations are punitive and bodeful, Deuteronomy 28:49, Hosea 8:1, Habakkuk 1:8, Eurip. Rhes. 528–536) flies in the zenith, i.e., swooping exactly over the heads of men. For the eagle (Simurgh in Zoroastrianism) as the servant of Deity in ancient (Syrian) mythology, see E. Bi. “Cherub,” § 8, and Acts of Thomas (Hymn of Soul, 51).—“Woe … for the rest of the trumpet voices.” The first woe finishes at Revelation 9:12, the second (after the interlude of Revelation 10:1 to Revelation 11:13) at Revelation 11:14, the third apparently at Revelation 12:12—though as usual one series of phenomena melts irregularly at the close into another.13. an angel] Read, an eagle: or more literally one eagle. But apparently there was a tendency in late Hebrew for the numeral to sink, as in modern languages, into a mere indefinite article; and here, and perhaps in one or two other places, we seem to have it so used in the N. T.: e.g. Matthew 8:19; Matthew 26:69, and probably Revelation 9:18.

through the midst of heaven] Rather, in mid-heaven: it is a single compound word. It occurs again in Revelation 14:6, Revelation 19:17, and nowhere else in the N. T.: but in the later classical Greek it is not uncommon for the position of the sun at noonday. Yet the last of the places cited from this book, where all natural birds are said to fly “in mid-heaven,” seems rather as if St John used it of the air, the space between earth and sky.

Woe, woe, woe] We see by Revelation 9:12, Revelation 11:14 that three distinct woes are meant, one for each of the three trumpets.Revelation 8:13. Ἀετοῦ) Others, ἀγγέλου.[94] But see App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. The Italian Version, and other most ancient authorities, widely apart from each other in age and clime, and in very great numbers, clearly vindicate the reading ἀετοῦ from all suspicion of a gloss. Another angel flying in the midst of heaven, ch. Revelation 14:6, altogether refers to the present passage: but the reading ἀετοῦ does not destroy this reference. The very appellation, an eagle, and not an angel, in this former passage, shows that it is not an angel, in the proper sense’ of the expression, who is meant; and the reference in the other passage to this former one teaches, that by the word another angel is denoted, an illustrious herald belonging to the human race, as distinguished interpreters acknowledge.—μεσουρανήματι) Μεσουράνημα is a verbal, derived from the verb ΜΕΣΟΥΡΑΝΕῖΝ, which is said respecting a star which has risen three signs of the zodiac before the sun, and thus possesses the meridian, as Tzetzes demonstrates in his Exegesis of Hesiod, on the passage,

[94] AB Vulg. Memph. Syr. support ἀετοῦ. Rec. Text, without good authority, ἀγγέλου.—E.


ἔργ. 607, 608.—οὐαὶ οὐαὶ οὐαὶ, woe, woe, woe) About the end of the fifth century there were not wanting presages of future calamities. The second woe is more disastrous than the first; the third than the second.—ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, upon the earth) D. Lange says: Bengel not only refers to past times the three woes, which refer to the vengeance yet to come upon the beast and the whore, but he also recalls the beginning of the papacy itself to the third woe, and so declares that the third woe has come a thousand years ago, and more than this. But when it is said of the second woe, Revelation 11:14, “The second woe is past; behold the third woe cometh quickly:” and immediately after the seventh trumpet follows, which refers to the completion of the judgments, and the enlargement of the kingdom of Christ, it can easily be imagined that the third woe cannot be thrown back so far.—Epicr. p. 406. I reply: The three woes have reference to the inhabiters of the earth; and I have shown that they have come long ago, and that the third woe has come, not indeed a thousand years ago, but yet almost eight hundred. The trumpet of the seventh angel, after the second woe is past, first sets forth things which are most desirable: then it describes the third woe; and when that is exhausted, a completion of the judgments is made and an enlargement of the kingdom of Christ. The interpretation of the Divine of Halle changes this order; and, without any cause, restricts the three woes denounced against the inhabiters of earth to the last times of the enemies; and accounts as the second woe the rage of the beast, which is really in the third woe. By which method the well-arranged order of the text is violently disjointed.—τῆς σάλπιγγος, of the trumpet) The singular number, put distributively for the plural, of the trumpets.Verse 13. - And I beheld, and heard an angel. "An eagle" (Revised Version) is read in א, A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, etc., while "angel" is found in P, 1, 16, 34, 47, etc. One manuscript (13) has ἀγγέλου ὡς ἀετοῦ. St. John sees one eagle, the symbol of what is swift and unerring in swooping upon its prey. Thus Job 9:26, "The eagle that hasteth to the prey" (see also Habakkuk 1:8; 2 Samuel 1:23). This is the meaning of the appearance of the eagle, which announces the swiftness and certainty of the coming woes. De Wette and others unnecessarily understand "an angel in the form of an eagle." De Lyra interprets it as St. John himself. Wordsworth, relying chiefly on the force of εϊς, believes that Christ is signified; but it is extremely doubtful whether the force of the numeral can be pressed so far. Others see a reference to the Roman legions, etc. The figure may have been suggested by Matthew 24:28. Flying through the midst of heaven; flying in mid heaven (Revised Version). Not "midway between earth and heaven," but "in the direct line of the sun." The word is found only here and in Revelation 14:6 and Revelation 19:17. In the former it is rendered as in this place, in the latter it is translated "in the sun." The eagle is thus plainly visible to all. Saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth! "Woe" is followed by "inhabiters" in the accusative case, according to א, B; though the dative is read in A, P, and some cursives. "The inhabiters of the earth" are the ungodly, the worldly, those on whom God's wrath had been invoked by the saints at rest (Revelation 6:10), whose prayer is now answered The triple denunciation renders the threatened judgments more emphatic and terrible. By reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound; Greek, out of the other voices (denoting front whence the woe proceeds) who are yet to sound. "Trumpet," in the singular, because taken distributively - "of each trumpet." The three woes are described in

(1) Revelation 9:1-11;

(2) Revelation 9:12-21;

(3) Revelation 11:15-19.

They perhaps refer to spiritual troubles. instead of being concerned (as in the case of the first four trumpets) with temporal judgments.

An angel (ἑνὸς ἀγγέλου)

For angel read ἀετοῦ eagle. Lit., one eagle. The eagle is a symbol of vengeance in Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8.

Mid heaven (μεσουρανήματι)

Only in Revelation, here, Revelation 14:6; Revelation 19:17. It means, properly, the meridian, the highest point in the heavens which the sun occupies at noon; not the space between heaven and earth.

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