Three Woes Announced

Revelation 8:13
The End Times

In my last post, we explored Revelation 8:12 the Fourth Shofar.  In this post, we will explore the Three Woes Announced before the blowing of the Fifth Shofar.

“Then I looked, and I heard a lone eagle give a loud cry, as it flew in mid-heaven, “Woe! Woe! Woe to the people living on earth, because of the remaining blasts from the three angels who have yet to sound their shofars!” ~ Revelation 8:13 (CJB)

Before the last three trumpets are blown there is an interlude that allows Yochanan a short respite in the unfolding drama of divine revelation. The interlude serves a second purpose: it permits a threefold sob of woe to be heard from a flying eagle heralding even more terrible judgments to come.

Most Bible scholars agree that the true reading is eagle (aetos) and not angel (angelos) as in the King James or New King James Versions.  Young’s Literal translation renders it as messenger.  Harold L. Willmington explains about the symbolism of the eagle:

An eagle is sometimes pictured as God’s method of judgment (Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1). Thus, even the brute creation will be used by God during the tribulation. This marks the last of three occasions on which a creature speaks in the Bible. (For the other two see Genesis 3:1-5 ~ a serpent; and Numbers 22:28-30 ~ a donkey). [1]

The three woes are placed approximately midway through the tribulation period.  Theologians have a difficult time placing exactly where the first three and one-half years end and the last three and one-half years begin. However, it is safe to say that the transition from the one-time period to the next is in the process of happening at this time in Scripture.

The remaining shofar judgments are directed not at nature but at the people living on earth (the pagan world hostile to God) to get them to repent (see Revelation 9:20-21), while the sealed are spared (see Revelation 9:4; 7:1-8). These three woes are announced by the remaining shofar blasts, and are described at 9:1-12, 9:13-11:14 and 11:15-18:24 respectively.  Just as the Seventh Seal included the Seven Shofar Judgments, so the Seventh Shofar blast includes the Seven Bowl Judgments, which begin at 16:1.

Revelation 8:13 serves as a warning that the worst is yet to come.

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 8:13 [2]

Historicist Approach:

Historicists believe that the Western Roman Empire has been destroyed in the Gothic period described in the first four shofar blasts and the final three will lead to the destruction of the Eastern Roman Empire.  After that, the prophecy will turn back to the West where Rome will be seen again in a new form ~ the papacy.

Preterist Approach:

Preterists understand the three woes to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem.  The first for the seditions among the Jews themselves.  The second the besieging of the Jerusalem by the Romans.  The third by the talking and sacking the city and burning the Temple.

Futurist Approach:

Futurists understand that as devastating as the first four judgments were, they were only warnings and the last three will be much worse.

Idealist Approach:

The Idealists point out that the first four seals were also set off from the last three as is here.  (Gee, that was profound.)

In my next post, we will explore Revelation 9:1-6 the Fifth Shofar.

 Click here for PDF version.

[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones

[2] Material in this section is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg

One thought on “Three Woes Announced

  1. You know what the eagle could be? It could be a special angel, a Seraphim who does have a face of an eagle. That’s one possibility or a reference to the angel’s swiftness in getting the message of God out to the people on the earth.

    Liked by 2 people

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