"Third Trumpet" Page 2 of 2 (series: Lessons on Revelations)
by John Lowe
“And it fell upon the third part of the rivers.” The National Geographic Society lists about 100 principle Rivers in the world, ranging in length from the Amazon (4,000 miles long) to the Rio de la Plata (150 miles long). The U. S. Geographical Survey, report’s thirty large rivers in the United States, beginning with the mighty Mississippi (3710 miles long). One third of these Rivers, and their sources, will become so bitterly polluted that drinking their water could produce death.
“And upon the fountains of waters.” One-third of the world’s fresh water springs are polluted.
“And the name of the star is called Wormwood.” The star is named “Wormwood,” (meaning; bitterness, undrinkable) which is the name of a plant with a very bitter taste (see Proverbs 5:3-4; Jeremiah 9:15; 23:15; Limitations 3:15, 19; Amos 5:7). This pictures the bitterness of sorrow, great calamities, and death. “Wormwood” is a general name for the class of plants known as artemisia. The rendering “Wormwood” derives from its association with medicinal use to kill intestinal worms. It is a perennial herb, extremely bitter, used in the manufacture of absinthe, which is used in France as a beverage, and it is much more intoxicating and destructive to the human body than ordinary liquors known in America. It is not really poisonous in the sense of being fatal, although they are harmful, but the Israelites dreaded their bitterness.
“And the third part of the waters became wormwood.” In Exodus, when Moses lifted up his rod and smote the waters, the waters of the Nile turned to blood and the fish in the river died (Exodus 7:20, 21). In Zephaniah’s picture of the Day of the Lord the threat of God is: “I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea” (Zechariah 1:3). Wormwood was the fruit of idolatry—“And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:) Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood” (Deuteronomy 29:17, 18). It was the threat of God through Jeremiah that God would give His people wormwood to eat and the waters of gall to drink (Jeremiah 9:14, 15; 23:15). The prophet Amos wrote “those who turn justice into wormwood” (Amos 5:7). Wormwood always stood for the bitterness of the judgment of God on the disobedient.
Dear reader, we are living in a world today where a great deal is being said about pollution, and it is a real problem. Man seems to have gotten a head start on the star in polluting all the waters. Personally, I think that man is going to be forced to clean up the water of the world if he is going to be able to exist at all. Self-preservation is considered to be the first law of nature, and man wants to hang on to this little earth; so he is going to do something about it. In the Great Tribulation, the fresh water is polluted, and the drinking water for mankind is contaminated, that is one-third of it is.
There is no parallel for the picture of the fall of the flaming star, but there are many parallels of the idea of waters turning to wormwood. This judgment affects one-third of all the fresh water on the earth—horrible, but still not total and final judgment.
“And many men died of the waters, because they were
made bitter.” One-third of the living things in the sea died as a result of the second trumpet. When the “third angel” blew his trumpet, the results affected one-third of all the inland waters—one-third of the rivers, the wells, and the springs of water. The waters will be made very bitter. “Many men” shall die from drinking the poisoned water. In one of the paragraphs above, I had stated that “It (wormwood) is not really poisonous in the sense of being fatal,” according to today’s text books, but the Lord did something to make this particular heavenly wormwood extremely poisonous, “and many men died” from drinking it.
This reversed the miracle that God had performed for His people in the wilderness at Marah—turning the bitter water sweet so that it would be drinkable (Exodus 15:22-25). Here, sweet water was turned bitter, making it undrinkable and causing many people to die. As yet, there is no mention of harm, coming to the believing community or even to humanity in general. Rather, in systematic fashion, first the things of the earth are affected, then the things of the sea, followed by the things of the fresh waters, and finally the things of the heavens.
When our Lord hung upon the cross, His enemies “Gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall” (Matthew 27:34). But at the sounding of the third trumpet, many wicked men will die from water made bitter by the Divine Judge. How wonderful that in this day of grace God makes available to men the soul-satisfying water of life! “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39).
This time of judgment is foretold by the prophet, Jeremiah: “Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people (the people Israel), with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink” (Jeremiah 9:15). Thank God I will not be here . . . You do not have to be here . . . You can be saved if you are not saved now; and if you are born again now you have nothing to fear or dread, for you will not be here. The born again will be seated at the marriage supper in the sky when these terrible judgments occur—“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:7-10).