John saw a bird that was flying high in the sky. In fact, it was so high that it seemed to be between earth and heaven. It could see what was happening both in heaven and on the earth.
The bird was of the kind called an eagle, or perhaps a vulture. Both eagles and vultures are large birds that fly to a great height. They can remain there for long periods of time. Their sight is very good, and they watch constantly for food. When they see it, they descend very quickly to the ground to eat it. Eagles catch living animals for their food. They are impressive and strong birds. Vultures, on the other hand, eat the bodies of dead animals, or even dead people. For that reason, they would want to watch these great troubles on the earth. When many people died, there would be a great meal for them (19:17-18). That passage shows that this bird in Revelation 8:13 was probably a vulture. People usually consider vultures to be nasty and ugly birds.
The bird that John saw was declaring an awful message. It could see that three more of Godís special servants, the angels, were preparing to sound their trumpets (loud musical instruments). Unlike the inhabitants of heaven, this bird was not declaring the good news that Christís rule on earth would soon begin (11:15). Instead, it declared only the bad news that, first, the inhabitants of earth must suffer greatly.
Godís good news becomes bad news for those people who refuse to serve him. It brings no comfort to evil people that God will end their evil activities. People who serve the devil do not want Christ to begin his rule on earth. However, they cannot prevent it. These judgements must happen so that the devil and his servants will lose all their power over this earth. Then, at last, Christ will rule.
Next part: The devil opens the abyss (Revelation 9:1-2)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.