A third of the waters became wormwood. Revelation 8:10, 11.

We made it through the seal judgments and we have migrated in our study of the Revelation to chapter 8, where Israel and the nations are coming under the trumpet judgments.

Revelation 8:10-11 NASB (10) The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. (11) The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

Didn’t we just read about a major astronomical catastrophe, in that something like a mountain was thrown into the sea?

Revelation 8:8-9 NASB The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, (9) and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

We have evidence of asteroid impacts.

These asteroids may have been the size of a Volkswagen beetle, if you can remember those, when they struck the earth. And yet it gets worse.

  • a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.”

Mounce’s Concise Greek-English Dictionary tells us that the Greek word astēr, which is defined by most translators as a star, can be defined as a luminous body that looks like a star. You see, it’s a matter of perspective as stars, from our point of view, are mere specks of light.

Stars are exponentially larger. Our Sun is a star. Google tells us that “the smallest known star right now is OGLE-TR-122b, a red dwarf star that’s part of a binary stellar system. This red dwarf the smallest star to ever have its radius accurately measured; 0.12 solar radii. This works out to be 167,000 km. That’s only 20% larger than Jupiter.”

End of page one.

If it were a star that struck the earth, it would consume the earth on impact, simply by its size, so we can rule out the idea that a star will strike the planet.

Notice how, in Revelation 8:8-9, that one third of the shipping is destroyed. If an asteroid the size of a small car impacted the ocean, the resulting tidal wave, which would immediately be traveling outbound in all directions, would be massive.

Now consider that this shinning object, which will be on fire as it enters the earth’s atmosphere, takes out a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. It poisons a third of ALL water supplies.

Since the United States is one of the major purveyors of fresh water, where do we get the majority of our water from?

The website: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/where-does-most-of-the-drinking-water-in-the-us-come-from.html gives us this information.

Surface Water Sources

The country has over 100,000 lakes and more than 250,000 rivers as well as hundreds of reservoirs which are primary sources of freshwater in the cities they are located in. Before the water is dispatched into households, it must meet federal and municipal standards of purity. Some cities rely 100% on rivers and lakes for their freshwater needs such as Chicago (Lake Michigan), Detroit (Detroit River), Washington, D.C. (Potomac River), New Orleans (Mississippi River), St Louis on (Mississippi/Missouri River), Cleveland (Lake Erie), and Seattle (Cedar River/South Fork Tolt River Watershed).

Among the reasons why reservoirs are constructed include water storage for subsequent supply to households. The cities of Boston and San Francisco get 100% of their drinking water from Quabbin Reservoir and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir respectively. Less than 50% of Baltimore’s drinking water is sourced from the Liberty Reservoir. Other cities get a percentage of their drinking water from rivers and lakes including Las Vegas from Lake Mead (90%); Phoenix from Salt River-Verde River (50%); Los Angeles from Owens River/Mono River (50%); San Diego from Northern California/Colorado River; Atlanta from Chattahoochee River (70%); Philadelphia from Delaware River (60%).

Underground Water Sources

Underground water is used to supply US households alongside surface water sources. The Biscayne aquifer fulfills less than 50% of Miami’s drinking water needs. New York depends on the Catskill/Delaware Aqueduct for 90% of its drinking water.

If this “star” were to strike the lakes across the East coast, that would do the damage this is calling for, but there is problem as these water sources are global, and many are underground. The obvious assessment is that this, in some way, seems to be representative of man-made damage, like a nuclear war.

To further cloud the issue, I give you the words of Isaiah.

Isaiah 14:7-12 NASB “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; They break forth into shouts of joy. (8) “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’ (9) “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. (10) “They will all respond and say to you, ‘Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us. (11) ‘Your pomp and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you And worms are your covering.’ (12) “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!

End of page two.

I give you the entirety of the passage to settle the idea that Satan/Lucifer was looked upon as a star. If we can apply this type of thinking to Revelation 8, then perhaps we can comprehend that this star falling upon the earth is a fallen angel; an entity other than Satan.

Revelation 8:11 NASB The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

  • The name of the star is called Wormwood;

Revelation 8:11 is the only place in the New Testament we find this word apsinthos.

The Word Study Dictionary defines Wormwood as “the emblem of poisonous bitterness (Rev_8:11; where as the name of the star, it is the masc. ho Ápsinthos). In the Septuagint (Pro_5:4) it is the word cholḗ (G5521), and means gall or bile. The figure of waters converted into bitter poison in this way is perhaps drawn from Jer_9:15Jer_23:15Lam_3:15Lam_3:19 (cf. Exo_15:23Deu_29:18Heb_12:15).

It strikes me odd this single usage, but I suppose it should not, as God always has a prophetic pattern; so, when we look at Jeremiah 9:13-15 we can see that pattern clearly.

Jeremiah 9:13-15 NASB The LORD said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice nor walked according to it, (14) but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them,” (15) therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink.

Notice how verse eleven explains that a third of the waters became wormwood. If, a “star” called wormwood, which can be seen an emblem of poisonous bitterness can turn the waters, across the globe into wormwood, then it is easy to perceive that the waters now represent God’s anger toward Israel and the nations. 

This idea is enforced by Jeremiah 23:15.

Jeremiah 23:15-16 NASB “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets, ‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood And make them drink poisonous water, For from the prophets of Jerusalem Pollution has gone forth into all the land.'” (16) Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD.

Jeremiah practically explains his own words when he says,

for from the prophets of Jerusalem pollution has gone forth into all the land.”

Pollution has come to be seen as trash on the streets or garbage in the ocean waters: however, if you look up the word pollution you find the Hebrew word anuppāh: It is a feminine noun meaning filthiness, pollution, profaneness, or godlessness.

Keep in mind that this godlessness is coming from the false prophets.

Deuteronomy 29:16-18 NASB (16) (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; (17) moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them); (18) so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of those nationsthat there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.

End of page three.

Israel lived in Egypt as Egyptians. They followed after their gods. To prove my point, I turn to Stephen in Acts 7.


Moloch was an Egyptian god.

Jeremiah continues speaking from the Lord, as he says,

Do not listen to the words of the prophets… they are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, and not from the LORD.”

Futility is the Hebrew word hāḇal: It is a verb indicating “to fill with false hopes, to become vain, empty, void.” Are we being led into futility today? Absolutely.

Romans 1:21 NASB For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Ask yourself, to what people group is the “they” referring?

It could easily be Israel, but an honest answer requires that you understand the context. Earlier in Romans chapter one, Paul said, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians.” There is, however, a shift in the conversation as states in verse 16, “ For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Doesn’t this move the conversation toward the Jews?

I think it does. We already saw how Stephen pointed out to the Jewish council that Israel had given themselves over to idolatry, and the Moloch incident proves that; but this could also be speaking to Gentiles because we have seen portions (Rev 1:18) in action – “men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” At every turn, the truth, as Jesus pointed out, is truth, and truth is being suppressed.

Again, we are confronted by a word that forces us to make a determination, who is this “they” to which the passage refers?

2 Timothy 4:3-4 NASB “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, (4) and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

The word, and therefore the answer could apply to both the Jewish converts or the Gentile believer.

2 Timothy 2:24 NASB The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,

This is fascinating, but I am not so sure we Gentile converts can understand the bond-servant relationship from 2 Timothy alone, which, by the way, is one in which you have NO say in the direction your path is meant to go on. 2 Timothy chapter three speaks toward those whom, while holding to a form of godliness, captivate weak women and are always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Paul then compares this long description, which I have shortened, to Jannes and Jambres who opposed Moses.

End of page four.

2 Timothy 3:8-9 NASB “Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. (9) But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.”

Now, how would I, a Gentile, have had any knowledge of Jannes and Jambres? I would not and would have needed an explanation. Perhaps the education which brings the Gentiles into the conversation happened in the background or as part of any teaching which Paul delivered.

These next two verses seem to say it all.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 NASB “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, (15) and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Note how it says “continue in the things you have learned … from childhood you have known the sacred writings which were able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Effectively no one had the scriptures as it was too expensive, time consuming, and considered sacred – worthy of protecting; therefore, the only places you would have found the scriptures was in their memories and the synagogues.

In short, John’s retelling of the Revelation is directed primarily, at the Jewish believers. We Gentiles use that understanding to assist us in grasping the imagery of the Revelation, and we do it by looking at comparative segments of the Old Testament.

Everything we are seeing in Revelation chapter eight is focused on God’s wrath and judgment against the Jews, for their abandonment of God’s ways and their pollution of Israel with their idol worship. It is also a judgment of the nations. Some would say, how can God judge the nations as they did not know Him? Ah, but scripture tells us that the laws of God are written upon every heart, and that includes all those your bleeding hearts try to protect merely because they don’t have a written Bible. If you consider that the Jewish leadership has the Law and Prophets (the Old Testament) and they are comfortable enough to direct the congregants to ignore chapters like Isaiah 53 and all of Daniel, perhaps then all whining about whether God has the right to do as He wishes should cease.

In light that last statement, I need you to know that Christ Jesus is coming back, and sooner than you ever thought possible. There is nothing left, prophetically, that holds Him back as He comes for His bride, the Church.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures(1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASB)

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