"Third Trumpet" Page 1 of 2 (series: Lessons on Revelations)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Commentary on the Book of Revelation

By: Tom Lowe Date: 3-27-2016


Lesson: III.C.4: Third Trumpet: Third of Rivers and Springs Become Bitter, Many Die (Revelation 8:10-11)


Revelation 8:10-11 (KJV)

10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.


Introduction

At the blowing of the third trumpet, a star with the name Wornwood falls from the sky and lands on a third of the rivers and springs, making a third of the water toxic. The plant with the same name as the star, Wormwood, is a bitter plant often used as a metaphor for something bitter to the taste, though it is not usually considered a poison.


Commentary

10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven.” This occurred when a great flaming star fell out of the sky. Some Bible commentators believe that this may be a comet. If this is taken literally, a third ecological disaster is depicted. The trees, the grass, the sea have all been devastated; now the rivers and fountains of waters are spoiled. But a disaster affecting the water supply of mankind hardly seems a sufficient explanation of what happens under this trumpet. The events described must probably be taken symbolically, even though interpreters have varied widely in seeking to identify the fallen star. Simon Magus; Attila, “the scourge of God;” Muhammad; and even the Jewish historian Josephus have been suggested. Some have identified the fallen star with the AntiChrist. Others identify the star as Satan. Since the star that falls at the sounding of the fifth trumpet (9:1) is an angelic being, it is possible that Wormwood is also an angel. But no star or fallen angel named Wormwood can be found in any other source.

The clue to the interpretation is in Revelation 12:12, where we read, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” The earlier part of the chapter tells how, in his original fall, the devil, the great red dragon, cast a third part of the stars (i.e., his angels) out of heaven. With Satan’s fall from heaven, recorded incidentally in Revelation 13, a new woe is to be added to the horrors taking place on earth. Michael warns mankind that Satan’s expulsion from heaven causes woe on earth. It is significant that

the last three trumpets are specifically called “woe” trumpets. Revelation 13 lends strong support to the view that the fallen star is Satan himself. He is given the symbolic name of Wormwood, and he poisons the third part of “the waters,” which become bitter and result in the death of many men. The symbolism of the waters is explained in Revelation 17:15: “the waters . . . are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” In other words, Satan’s fall to earth results in the immediate poisoning of human life and society. The peoples of the earth take on the character of the evil one and become “wormwood” too. Satan is bitter because he has been cast out of heaven. Men become bitter, and many people die.

When God’s Son descended from heaven to earth at the incarnation, God put a new star in the sky. It is possible that, when Satan is cast down from heaven to earth, his fall will be heralded by the fall of a giant comet. The fall of Satan adds a new dimension to the disasters which now overtake the globe. The beast will already be here, benign as yet; and now Satan arrives, knowing that his time is short. It will take only a step or two for Satan’s plans for the planet to mature.

“Burning as it were a lamp.” Here John uses a lamp to illustrate the tremendous burning light that fell from the sky, just as he used the mountain to illustrate the burning mass under the second trumpet. No doubt this will be another heavenly body—a meteor or something like that—that God turns lose; and as it falls it will assume the form of a giant torch, in its blazing path down through the heavens as its speeds toward earth at an unknown rate of speed. When the gaseous vapors are scattered throughout the atmosphere, and these vapors explode, they will be absorbed by the waters—and a third of the Rivers and fountains of water will be poisoned by the gases from this burning torch.

There is another theory that is very similar to the “burning torch” theory and it has been explained in this way. It is likely that this fallen star is molten and that, as it nears the earth, it begins to disintegrate and fall into the various bodies of water. If a star actually struck the earth, our globe would be destroyed; so this star must “come apart” as it enters the atmosphere. Of course, this event is a divinely controlled judgment; therefore, we must not try to limit it by the known laws of science.

We should not think it strange that a great burning star could communicate a poisonous bitterness to the waters upon which it fell. On March 21, 1823, a volcanic explosion in the Aleutian Islands caused the water to become so bitter that it was unfit for use. God will use that which He created to affect His ends. He put the stars in their places (Genesis 1:14-16); He knows how many there are (Psalm 147:4); and He has called each one by name (Job 9:9-10).

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to John Lowe Sermons.

The Preaching Ezine

Click Here!

Subscribe to my free newsletter for monthly sermons and get a free book right now. Just follow the link above and get the details!


Ministry Leads

Click Here!

Anybody else want more leads and prospects for your Church, Ministry, or School, as well as, a means to follow up and communicate automatically?
Just follow the link above and get the details!


YOUR PAGES:


Your Web Page:
Want your own sermon web page? You can have one!
Your Outlines:
Share YOUR skeleton outlines.
Your Illustrations:
Share YOUR Illustrations.
YOUR SERMONS:
Encourage other ministers
by sharing
YOUR great sermons!
YOUR POEMS:
Encourage us all
by sharing
YOUR great poems!