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 the springs of water - the name of the star is Wormwood A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that 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 an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: 'Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!'" (Revelation 8.10-13)✞

Meteor or Asteroid

An AsteroidThe third angel sounds a blast on his trumpet, and "a great star blazing as a torch" falls from Heaven. This asteroid or maybe meteorite called "Wormwood," meaning "bitterness," falls on a third part of the rivers and the springs of water. A third part of the waters become bitter. Many people die because of the toxicity of the poisoned waters. The "star blazing like a torch" falls into the sea. "Asteroids," which are huge pieces of rock and ice flying through space, and "meteors," which are shooting stars burning out in the earth's atmosphere, are being constantly tracked by astronomers. In the past, an asteroid has struck the earth, so in the future, one possibly do so with equally devastating effects. In this Revelation picture of terror, John of Patmos has a vision of God using the elemental forces of nature to warn us of the final destruction to come.

Sun Moon Stars

Sun, Moon and StarsThe angel sounds a blast on his trumpet, and "a third of the sun was struck, and a third part of the moon, and a third part of the stars, so that the third part of their light was darkened, and so that a third of the day was without light, and so with the night." Generally, the pictures in this part of Revelation may find their origin in the descriptions of the ten Exodus plagues which fall on Egypt when Pharaoh refuses to allow the people of Israel to leave at God's command.

Wormwood Star

Wormwood PlantThe great Wormwood star crosses the sky, blazing like an asteroid at the trumpet call of the third angel. The name "Wormwood" is a generic name for a class of plant or herb known as "Artemisia," whose principal characteristic is "bitterness of taste." They are not poisonous in the sense of being fatal. Although they are noxious, the Israelites hate their bitterness. The above-ground plant parts and oil produce useful medicines. Wormwood helps various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. This passage in Revelation tells us that as a result of the star called "Wormwood," which is also called "Apsinthos" in the Book of Revelation, "the waters turned bitter, and many people died." Jeremiah 9.14-15 adds, "Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts, they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.' Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says, 'See, I will make these people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water." This passage informs Israel that God is to give his people bitter "wormwood" food to eat and the waters of "gall" or "the greenish, profoundly bitter-tasting fluid found in bile ducts and gall bladders, structures associated with the liver" or (bitterness) to drink. "Wormwood" also stands for the bitter judgment of God on the disobedient. According to Deuteronomy 29.17-18, "You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, silver and gold. 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 worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison." Wormwood, in terms of devotion and loyalty, is considered the fruit of idolatry.

Darkness

Total EclipseIn this John of Patmos prophecy, there also comes a darkening during the day. A recent TV documentary in a deep mine in South Africa describes how the participants turn off their helmet lights. One person says, "the utter darkness is shattering. With one light on, you can barely see the floor in front of your feet." It reminds us of the verse from 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." and the great Wormwood star falls from the sky. 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 can be felt.' So Moses stretched out his hand toward 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 in the places where they lived." One of the ten plagues in Egypt is deep darkness, which the whole of the land experiences. In this picture of terror, John of Patmos sees God using the same elemental forces of nature like the great Wormwood star to warn the people and ourselves too of the final destruction of the wicked to come!✞

"Great Star Blazing"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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