Great Star Blazing
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38. Great Star Blazing
Revelation 8.10-13

"The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and water springs - the star's name is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the bitter waters. The fourth angel sounded his trumpet. And a third of the sun, moon, and stars were struck, so a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. As I watched, I heard a midair eagle flying call out loudly, 'Woe! Woe! Woe to the earth's inhabitants, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!'" (Revelation 8.10-13)✞


AsteroidThe third angel sounds a trumpet blast, and "a great star blazing as a torch" falls from heaven. This asteroid, or maybe a meteorite by the name "Wormwood," meaning "bitterness," falls on a third of the rivers and water springs. A third of the waters become bitter. Many people die because of the poisoned waters' toxicity. The "star blazing like a torch" called "Wormwood" falls into the sea. In the Hebrew Bible, "wormwood" is mentioned seven times, meaning a "curse" or a "bitter substance." The word "wormwood" may also refer either to a famous person or to a celestial event. Possibly it was an "asteroid," an enormous rock and ice flying through space. "Meteors" are shooting stars that astronomers track continuously and generally burn out in the earth's atmosphere. Asteroids have struck the world in the past. Therefore one can do so with devastating effects in the future. In this Revelation picture, John of Patmos has a terrifying vision of God using nature's elemental forces to warn us of the final destruction.

Sun, Moon, and Stars

Sun, Moon and StarsA trumpet blast sounds from an angel. "God struck a third of the sun, moon, and stars, darkened their light, and the day was without light, and the night." Generally, these Revelation pictures of nature's elemental forces find parallels in the ten Exodus plagues, which came on Egypt when Pharaoh refused to allow Israel's people to leave.

Wormwood Bitterness

Wormwood PlantThe Wormwood star crosses the sky, blazing like an asteroid at the third angel's trumpet call. The name "Wormwood" is a plant or herb's name for "Artemisia," whose principal characteristic is a "bitter taste." These herbs are not poisonous or fatal. Although they are noxious, the Israelis hated their bitterness. Certain parts of the plant produce oil and valuable medicines. Wormwood also helps with various digestive problems such as appetite loss, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Revelation tells us that the star called "Wormwood," or in the Greek "Apsinthos," "turned the waters bitter, and many people died." Jeremiah 9.14-15 comments, "They have followed their hearts' stubbornness, they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.' Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says. 'See, I will make these people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water." God will give his people "wormwood" food to eat and "gall" waters to drink. Gall is "the greenish fluid in bile ducts, gall bladders, and structures associated with the liver." "Wormwood" also represents God's bitter judgment on the disobedient. Deuteronomy 29.17-18 warns, "You saw among them their detestable wooden and stone images, silver and gold idols. Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worships those nations' gods; make sure there is no root among you producing such bitter poison." Wormwood is considered the fruit of idol worship.

Absolute Darkness

Total EclipseIn this John of Patmos prophecy, there is also a daytime darkening. A recent TV documentary from a deep South African mine describes how visitors turn off their helmet lights. One person responded, "the utter darkness is shattering! With one light on, you can barely see the floor in front of your feet." Darkness in a cave reminds us of Psalm 119.105, "Your lamp is a light unto my feet and a light unto my path." Revelation 8.12b adds, "A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night." In Exodus 10.21-23, the Lord says to Moses, "'Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt - darkness that you can feel.' So Moses stretched out his hand to the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light where they lived." One of Egypt's ten plagues was deep darkness, which the whole land experienced except for the Jewish settlements. In this terror picture, John of Patmos sees God using elemental natural forces like the Wormwood star to warn the people and ourselves today of the wicked' final punishment and destruction to come!✞

"Great Star Blazing"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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