The book of Revelations is a very enigmatic record of what Jesus Christ revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos. It is also the only book in the bible with a promised blessing to anyone who reads it or hears it being read.
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Rev. 1:3)
Chapter eight of Revelations is particularly difficult to understand with lots of spiritual images mingled with literal outcomes. In chapter eight we read about hail and fire mixed with blood, trumpet-blowing angels, a star called wormwood, and spiritual darkness.
In verse one and two we read:
“1And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.”
In the previous chapter, we read where the angels had sealed the 144,000 and the beast was about to wage war on the saints. Heaven is silent, but earth is in turmoil as the beast rises to power. John implied as much when he wrote about the angel sending fire towards the earth after the prayers of the saints had ascended up to God.
“3And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
It’s as if the saints were in terrible danger and urgent prayers were flowing to God from everywhere on earth, pleading for help. When the prayers reached God, the angel blasted the earth with fire from the gold alter.
“5And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. 6And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
Apparently, the intense prayers of the saints trigger the seven trumpets; which exemplifies so perfectly the power of urgent prayer.
And so it begins…
“7The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;”
In the first chapter, Jesus revealed that much of Revelation is spiritual imagery.
“20The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
For this reason, we view Revelation in the same way. Therefore, according to John, a third of the world will somehow catch fire and burn up. The hail and brimstone sounds very much like meteorites. There was no word for meteorites in John’s time.
Then again, there are some who believe a more literal interpretation and believe it’s actual fire and ice raining from the sky.
” 8And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.”
The word “sea” often represents a vast number of people. The mountain in this verse seems to represent anger and hatred hurling down on a sinful people. Reading these verses in a literal sense, the mountain could be an asteroid. Asteroids are called “mountains in space” and the effects of a large asteroid plunging into the ocean would cause the kind of catastrophic scenario John described.
“10And 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; 11And 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.”
The imagery in these verses describes intense hatred and bitterness. When scripture mentions stars, it’s usually associated with angels. The terms “rivers and streams” usually refer to people and populations. Therefore, the star or angel Wormwood falls upon certain populations turning them cold and bitter towards each other.
However, there are some who believe Wormwood is a nuclear weapon that literally contaminates fresh water supplies.
“12And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 13And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!”
These last two verses in chapter eight are filled with spiritual imagery. Darkness and light are commonly associated throughout the bible with spirit. God is light. Those who have God live in the light while those without God live in spiritual darkness. Therefore, these verses describe spiritual darkness falling upon a third of the world’s population due to the Antichrist’s violent reign.
The “woes” announced by the angel are described in chapter nine and apparently, the worst is yet to come.
The eighth chapter of Revelation is only a fraction of John’s prophecy. In these last days, the prophecies in Revelations are unfolding rapidly right before our eyes. Everybody should be studying it.
Since the Jews became a nation in 1948, there have been a number of fulfilled prophecies. In the book of Daniel it was written that knowledge would be increased and people would be running to and fro in search of answers.
Jesus said we wouldn’t know the exact time of the End, but that we would be able to recognize the season (signs) of its approach. He described the events, which would lead up to the great tribulation, the Antichrist, and His return.
We who are watching these things, as commanded by the Savior Himself, are well aware of the things that are taking place and most of us know what to look for. But what about our families and other loved ones? If something were to happen to us, would they know what’s happening?
Do our children know what the mark of the beast is and not to take it no matter what? Do they even know who God is? Do they know that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation?
Knowing about the things, which will surely come to pass as the End Time draws near, is all well and good. However, as the apostle Paul says, “We all have knowledge but love is what matters.” God is love.
Therefore, we must talk to our loved ones about what’s coming upon the whole world while we’re still here to instruct them. The scripture say there is going to come a time when no one can work- a time of terrible darkness. Work now while there is light.