As you read through this chapter, it would be helpful to get a Bible and follow along with what is being said. We will cover most of three chapters (Revelation 8, 9, & 10), and we will be adding very little to what is actually written in the Bible.

Most of the text from the King James Version of The Revelation appears at the end of this chapter. However, we have changed a word or two here and there (e.g. from "striketh" to "strikes") and have occasionally left out a few words to make the text fit the space available. There are serious warnings about tampering with the words of prophecy. (See Revelation 22:18-19.) This is because there is always a temptation to bend things to make them fit our imperfect interpretations. When we do that, we could upset an important part of the code, which will only become clear in time. This is the problem with modern translations, and one reason why we prefer the King James Version. (It is more "literal" than other translations, with less effort made to smooth out the rough spots.)

But having said that, you may be just as qualified as anyone else in guessing what it is that John was describing, given his limited First Century understanding of modern day technology. Some of what he describes may, as yet, be foreign to us as well. Just don't get too cocky about your own interpretation of what he was saying. It should become clearer as we move closer to the actual fulfilment.

We earlier noted that the first four seals (i.e. the four horsemen) of the sixth chapter of The Revelation were inter-related. In the same way, the first four trumpets of the eighth chapter seem to herald four aspects of the same catastrophe.

The second and third trumpets sound like almost identical catastrophes. In one "as it were a great mountain burning with fire" is "cast into the sea". In the other "a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp" fell on "the fountains of waters" and on a third of the rivers. The waters became "bitter" as a result, killing many people.

Note: Watch for the phrase "as it were". It means John is not being literal. He is just trying to find some comparison from his limited knowledge to describe what he actually saw.

We are told in Revelation 8:11 that the star's name is "Wormwood". Apparently the word "Chernobyl" (the Russian city near where the world's worst nuclear accident occurred in 1986) is Russian for Wormwood! It may be just a coincidence. Or it could be a clue that the star's real threat to earth will be that it is radioactive.

The prophecy says that Wormwood will fall on "the fountains of waters". The Chernobyl disaster contaminated ground water over a huge area; but it spread even farther in the atmosphere. The source of most rivers is in the sky, where rain is formed. High levels of atmospheric radioactivity could affect water vapour in the clouds, bringing a deadly cocktail of "acid rain" down on the earth.

The movie Armageddon is based on the theory that these first four trumpets are predicting a collision between earth and a comet or meteor. This does appear to be what will happen.

We are told that one-third of the life in the oceans and one-third of the ships at sea will be destroyed by the "burning mountain" that crashes into the sea. Such devastation would be consistent with such a violent collision and the unprecedented tidal waves that would circle the globe.

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, the Hebrew prophet tells of God punishing the earth before he establishes his rule over all the world. The description Isaiah gives uses several phrases which seem to suggest that the earth's orbit will be affected when this happens, causing the earth to wobble "like a drunkard". Isaiah says, "Behold, the Lord will make the earth empty, and make it waste, and turn it upside down, and scatter abroad the inhabitants of it… The windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down. The earth is clean dissolved. The earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard." (Isaiah 24:1, 18-20)

It may be that, along with the radiation will come actual fires from a massive meteorite storm. This may explain the destruction associated with the first and fourth trumpets: "The first angel sounded and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth. The third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up…

"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 that the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise." (Revelation 8:7, 12)

The "fiery hail" of the first trumpet may be a storm of meteorites, but it could also be describing a great number of weapons launched (possibly by accident) from satellites circling the earth. Whatever it is, it apparently results in fires over much of the planet. The smoke of so much burning would certainly blot out much of the light from the sun, moon, and stars. Such widespread burning might also create weather conditions that would result in what we normally think of when we talk of hailstones. The hot air from so many fires would force rain far up into the atmosphere, where it would freeze. If this happened repeatedly, the hail might well become so big by the time it finally fell to earth that it could kill people.

The next two trumpets (numbers five and six) announce two quite different disasters. In one a different sort of "star" falls to earth after the fifth trumpet sounds. This "star" is a person, most likely the Devil himself, and he lets loose a great swarm of stinging insects which appear to originate from hell. The grass, which has grown back from the earlier fires, is protected from these "locusts like scorpions". The twelve tribes who have the "seal of God" on their foreheads are also protected; but these insects bring torment to the rest of the world for five months.

The insects are described in detail. They could be mutations, viruses, or some kind of military weapon. It is anyone's guess.

Then the sixth trumpet sounds, and four angels are let loose. They appear to control an army of two hundred million "horsemen". The description of the horses, however, suggests some modern-day military machine "for their power is in their mouth, and in their tails." In just over thirteen months, one-third of the earth's population is destroyed "by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone which issued out of their mouths." (Revelation 9:15, 18-19)

The death and destruction caused by this army appears to be even worse than that which occurs during the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the Wrath. There are various theories about what these descriptions represent; but the bottom line is that some incredible disasters lie ahead, which will result in more than a billion deaths. And more significant is the prediction that, for all of the suffering that the world will go through at that time, people will still, on the whole, not repent and turn to God. (Revelation 9:20-21)

Finally, the seventh trumpet sounds. A special angel appears. John hears thundering voices, but he is not allowed to write what he hears. Then the angel, with a "little book" in his hand, lifts his hands up to heaven and swears "that there should be time no longer".

The Bible says that, at this point, "the mystery of God shall be finished, as he has declared to his servants the prophets". (Revelation 10:1-7)

There is always an element of mystery with regard to prophecy, up until the point at which it is finally fulfilled. So there will always be flaws in our theories about what it means. However, today we have more reason to believe these prophecies than people did hundreds of years ago. Things which sounded impossible at the time they were written are becoming far more believable now.

We will shortly discuss a New Testament prophecy which rivals that of Daniel's Seventy Weeks for being irrefutable, as we see it taking shape before our eyes.

One final comment, regarding the phrase "time shall be no more". It is similar to another phrase which is often used in reference to prophecy, which is "the end of the world". There are different levels of "end". It would appear that the world itself does not cease to exist at the sound of the seventh trumpet, but rather Christ returns and takes his true followers away with him before the really violent stuff begins. At this point, God seems to be saying, "Time's up!" No further opportunity exists for people to repent (if, indeed, they would even consider it at this stage). God's wrath is about to be meted out on a rebellious planet, and it will culminate in the Battle of Armageddon. Time as we know it continues after this for yet another thousand years at least.

*For more information related to this chapter, please check out the following video: Bro Dave Ch. #15 - God's Final Warning About The Mark of the Beast

Appendix, Chapter 15

Revelation 8:7-12. "The 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. 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. 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 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. The name of the star is Wormwood. The third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 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."

Revelation 9:1-10. "The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven to earth. To him was given the key of the bottomless pit. He opened the bottomless pit… and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. There came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth. To them was given power as the scorpions of the earth have power. It was commanded that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads. It was given to them that they should not kill people, but that they should be tormented five months. Their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days will people seek death and not find it… The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. They had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. They had breastplates as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of many horses running to battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails …"

Revelation 9:13-21. "The sixth angel sounded and I heard a voice… saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, "Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates." And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour and a day and a month and a year, to slay the third part of men. The number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand, and I heard the number of them. Thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire and of jacinth and brimstone. The heads of the horses were as the heads of lions, and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire and by the smoke and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths; for their power is in their mouth and in their tails, for their tails were like serpents and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the people which were not killed by these plagues yet did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils and idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and of wood, which neither can see nor hear nor walk. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."

Revelation 10:1-7. "I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was upon his head. His face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. He had in his hand a little book open. He set his right foot upon the sea and his left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. When the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write, and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered and write them not." The angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven and swore by him that lives for ever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, and the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be time no longer. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he has declared to his servants the prophets."