7The first angel blew his trumpet, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were hurled to the earth, and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
Following are a number of back-translations of Revelation 8:7:
Uma: “The first angel blew his trumpet, suddenly there fell from the sky to the earth hail [lit., fruit rain] and fire mixed with blood. One third of the world burned up, even including [lit., until arriving at] one third of the forest and all the green grass.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
Yakan: “Then one angel blew (the thing) like a tabuli’ that had been given to him. When he blew it, immediately lots of ice and fire mixed with blood fell on the earth. One part of the earth was burnt by that fire including one part of the trees and the weeds were burnt. Two parts were not burnt.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
Western Bukidnon Manobo: “The first of the angels blew his trumpet. Then hail and fire mixed with blood fell on the earth. One third of the earth was burned, and because of this one third of all the trees and all of the grass there were burned up.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
Kankanaey: “The first angel blew-his-horn, and after-that it rained hail and fire that was mixed with blood. And a third of the earth was burned-up, along-with a third of the trees and all the grass/weeds.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
Tagbanwa: “When the first angel blew his horn, it rained, but what fell was ice which was hard like rock and fire which included blood. The third part of the world was burned up, and the third part of the forest and all the grass/weeds.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
Tenango Otomi: “The first angel blew the trumpet. There was hail. There was fire mixed with blood. All came down on the earth. One part of the land burned, but it didn’t come to half that burned. There on the land that burned, the trees burned, the green grass burned.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
The angels take some action—perhaps bringing the trumpets to their lips—that signals to John that they are getting ready to blow their trumpets (verse 6). Who had the seven trumpets: in some languages it will be more natural to say “holding the seven trumpets.”
And there followed: after the trumpet blast the following things happened. Revised Standard Version is a bit awkward (and there followed); it is better to imitate Good News Translation, with a full stop and a new sentence, or to translate “and the following things happened at once.”
Hail and fire, mixed with blood: for hail and fire see the plague described in Exo 9.23-25 (see also Psa 18.12). Hail is frozen rain drops; in some languages a hailstorm is called a rain of rocks or stones. The fire may represent lightning (as lightning was part of the plague). The blood may be an allusion to the first plague (Exo 7.20). Ezek 38.22 speaks of hail, fire, and bloodshed.
Fell on the earth: in Greek the text says “was thrown (or, hurled) to the earth” (so New Revised Standard Version “and they were hurled to the earth”). The same verb occurs in verse 8. This seems to imply that God or an angel threw them down on the earth. In such a case a translator may render this whole clause as “And the angels hurled frozen rocks (or, hail) and fire mixed with blood down upon the earth.” This may be a vivid way of saying “fell suddenly” (also in verse 8).
The destruction caused by this disaster affected one third of the earth’s surface: one third of the trees was destroyed by fire, that is, the trees that grew in that one third part of the earth’s surface. All green grass is probably a way of saying “all plants,” “all vegetation” (since it would be hard to envision only the grass as such being destroyed, but not the smaller plants and shrubs). The text seems to say all the vegetation on earth was burned up, but it is quite certain that in this context the meaning is all the vegetation that grew on that same one third section of the earth’s surface was destroyed. In certain languages the passive expression was burnt up may be avoided by saying something like “suffer burn completely.”
An alternative translation model for the latter part of this verse is:
• The fire burned up a third part of the earth, destroying all the trees and vegetation on that part.
Quoted with permission from Bratcher, Robert G. and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on The Revelation to John. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1993. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .