The first angel sounded, and there followed 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.
All Commentaries on Revelation 8:7 Go To Revelation 8
George Leo Haydock
The first Angel sounded From this place to the eleventh verse of chapter xx. the visions are differently expounded. Some interpret them, without applying them to any particular events, as general comminations, in a mystical and allegorical sense of the many persecutions which God permits to happen to his Church. Others think that they are all predictions, which shall not happen till a little time before the end of the world, in antichrist's time, after which will follow the day of the general judgment, the punishment of the wicked, and the reward of the just. But there are others, both ancient and later writers, as in particular Alcazar, the bishop of Meaux (Bossuet,) Pere Alleman, to whom we may add among the Protestants, Dr. Hammond, whom the bishop of Meaux calls the most learned of all the English Protestants. According to the interpretations which these writers have followed, these predictions of St. John (except the last persecution, when the devil shall be let loose, Chap. xx. 7, in the time of the great antichrist) have already happened in the three first ages, during the persecutions of the heathen emperors, as I shall briefly take notice. Hail therefore, and fire, blood, falling of stars some look upon as mystical representations, to signify that a great many trials and persecutions shall happen to the good, and a great many punishments and chastisements shall fall upon the wicked; with this grand difference, that the sufferings of the good shall be short and momentary, and their reward a crown of endless glory; but the wicked, if any of them escape punishments in this world, can never escape eternal torments with the devils in the next. 2. It is also a very common opinion, that all these disasters shall happen in a great measure, literally about antichrist's time, a very short time before the end of the world. 3. Others apply all these events to the judgments which God's justice exercised either upon the Jews, in the time of Trajan and Adrian, or upon the heathen Roman emperors, and upon the pagan city of Rome, for persecuting the servants of God. (Witham)
As these Angels with their trumpets, according to Pastorini, denote the sufferings of the Church during the seven ages that it lasts, it may not be improper to point out the time, according to his opinion, when each Angel sounded the trumpet. Thus the first trumpet denotes the persecutions of the first three centuries, in which the Christians suffered death by the sword, (denoted by blood) by being stoned, (denoted by the hail) and by fire, when the third part of the trees were burnt, that is, the third part of the clergy were destroyed. (Pastorini)