Revelation 8:5-6     Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.  Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

There are many different interpretations of the specific meaning of the visions that were given to the Apostle John at the close of the first century AD.  Nevertheless, it is important that, in trying to form an opinion among  them, we don’t miss the ‘big picture’.

John was instructed by the risen Lord Jesus Christ from his present throne in heaven to write down what he saw (21:5).  Christ’s Church at the time was suffering severe and perplexing persecution from a hostile world as it waited for the promised return of its reigning Lord in power.  He wanted to assure his faithful people that, regardless of what seemed to be happening from their limited perspective, He was in full control of all events in their world and in their lives.  We see that clearly in today’s verses.

The censer that the angel took was ‘filled with fire from the altar’ and was closely connected with ‘the prayers of the saints’ (3).  The angel’s ‘hurling it on the earth’ is what would cause the widespread destruction and loss of life.  In other words, whatever happens in our world is initiated from the reigning Lord, and must be interpreted as merciful ‘warning shots’ to rebellious mankind of what awaits all those who refuse to turn to him in repentance-and-faith and take shelter in his saving grace.

W.B.Collyer expresses it all well for us in his hymn: “Great God, what do I see and hear: the end of things created!  The Judge of all the earth comes near on clouds of glory seated; the trumpet sounds, the graves restore the dead which they contained before – prepare, my soul, to meet him! … … But sinners, filled with guilty fears, shall see his wrath prevailing; for they shall rise, and find their tears and sighs are unavailing!  The Day of Grace is past and gone; they, trembling, stand before the throne all unprepared to meet him!  Great God, what do I see and hear: the end of things created!  The Judge of all the earth comes near on clouds of glory seated; and at his cross I view the Day when heaven and earth shall pass away, and thus, prepare to meet him!”  Let u not be among those who fail to heed God’s merciful warnings.
– Bruce Christian