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Summary: When the second trumpet sounded, what appeared to be a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast into the sea so that a third of it became blood, and a third of the creatures in the sea were killed, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

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By: Tom Lowe Date: 3-9-2016

Title: Second Trumpet: Third of Sea Creatures and Ships Destroyed

Revelation 8:8-9 (KJV)

8 And 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;

9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

Introduction

When the second trumpet sounded, what appeared to be a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast into the sea so that a third of it became blood, and a third of the creatures in the sea were killed, and a third of the ships were destroyed. This is a combination of the first Egyptian plague in which the water in the river, streams, and wells was turned to blood, so that all the fish died and no one could drink the water (Exodus 7:14-25), with an astronomical phenomenon in which a huge star that looked like a burning mountain fell into the sea

This judgment in particular, reminds us that the sin of man can and does adversely affect the rest of creation in a way that reacts disastrously upon his own life. John would have agreed with all that Paul says about the creations bondage to frustrations and decay: “ For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:20-22).

Commentary

8 And 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;

9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

“And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea.” The Bible is true in every minute detail. We say it is verbally inspired. When “the second angel” blew his trumpet (“sounded”), one-third of the “sea” was “destroyed.” The great mountain of fire “was thrown into the sea,” causing the disruption. (We are not told exactly who did the throwing.) Some say the Holy Spirit is careful to point out here that this is not a literal mountain—but “as it were” a great mountain (meaning, a fiery object that was like a great mountain). The vision looks like the picture of an incredibly powerful volcanic eruption. Destruction comes upon one-third only of the sea, one-third of “the creatures which were in the sea,” and one-third of the “ships” on the sea. Hence, at this time, the mercy of God is greater than His judgment. The general idea is that the convulsions of nature are the shadow cast by the approach of the terrible day of Christ (8:6-12). This day is a time of terror, darkness, and wrath. It is a “day of visitation” (Isaiah 10.3), a “day of the wrath of the Lord” (Ezekiel 7.19), the “great day of the Lord” (Zephaniah 1.14).

Note: these verses have been interpreted in several ways by fine Bible commentators. In the paragraphs that follow I will pass on to you those interpretations I am aware of, and then, at the end I will give you my explanation.

It has been suggested that the apostle is given a vision of an immense falling meteor or asteroid or an immense meteoric mass, surrounded by gasses that will ignite as it enters earth’s atmosphere and becomes ablaze with fire. God simply turned loose one of the giant meteors and it plunged to earth in a blaze. Upon impact in the sea, it disrupts the ecology of the sea and creates a tidal wave. There are many theories concerning this “great mountain burning with fire;” you may have one too, that’s o.k. But whatever it was, it looked like a mountain, “as it were a great mountain.” This immense meteoric mass resembled a mountain ablaze.

The sea in Scripture is a well-known symbol of “godless mankind” (Isaiah 57:20). A mountain is frequently used to symbolize a great nation. Babylon, for example, is called a destroying mountain (Jeremiah 51:25), and the Lord’s coming worldwide empire is likened to a mountain (Daniel 2:35). The mountain mentioned here in the Apocalypse is a volcano, a burning mountain. The imagery may reflect the eruption Vesuvius on the West Coast of Italy on 24 August 79, about 16 years before John writes about his vision.

Some interpreters take “the sea” to mean the Mediterranean Sea. However, this would make a relatively small impact on the world, since the Mediterranean covers only 969,100 square miles and averages just 5000 feet deep. But it is likely that all the major bodies of salt water are included in this judgment.

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