The Second Shofar

Revelation 8:8-9
The End Times

In my last post, we explored Revelation 8:7 the First Shofar.  In this post, we will explore the impact of the Second Shofar.

“The second angel sounded his shofar, and what looked like an enormous blazing mountain was hurled into the sea.  A third of the sea turned to blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” ~ Revelation 8:8-9 (CJB)

In describing this catastrophic event Finis Dake says: [1]

This mountain is evidently a large meteor ablaze with fire which falls into the sea. To John, it looked ‘as it were’ a mountain. The sea mentioned here is perhaps the Mediterranean, as the events of the seals and the plagues of the trumpets and vials will be especially poured out upon the then known world—the Roman Empire—bordering, upon that sea. Only one-third of the sea will become blood, and one-third of the living creatures in the sea and on the sea in ships will be destroyed. Business on the sea will be crippled and men will begin to realize these judgments are of God. This will be the same in nature as the first Egyptian plague, Exod. 9:14-21; Psa. 78:44; 105:29.

There is a tendency to become pessimistic in the process of reading about all the judgments coming to pass on the earth; however, notice that in each shofar judgment, only one-third of the earth is involved.  The mercy of God is still greater than the judgment!

From my perspective, what Yochanan describes is an extra-terrestrial body, like a great mountain hurtling towards the earth.  The white heat results from the friction of the earth’s atmosphere, and the igniting of the combustible materials leaves a blazing trail across the sky.  A giant meteorite or a wandering asteroid caught by the earth’s gravitational field would fit the picture exactly.  The collision with the sea would have the impact of a nuclear bomb, the poisoned waters appearing as blood, lending terror to the scene as all the ships within the area are smashed and sink.  Whether the “blood” is the result of a reaction between the chemicals carried by the invading body and the organisms in the water, or whether the water is stained with literal blood can be a matter of debate.  It should be pointed out that “red tides” have been known in various places around the world as the result of millions of dead micro-organisms; these do have the appearance of blood.  The same problem relates to the first plague in Egypt when the Nile was smitten and the water became “blood”.  There is little doubt that Scripture, as is common practice in normal conversation, uses the language of appearance to describe the visual.

In recent years, there have been several occasions when an asteroid has come uncomfortably close to earth, and occasions when a comet has passed through the earth’s orbit, giving rise to fears of terrible catastrophes. Very likely the approaching meteor or asteroid will be visible for days spreading terror around the world, and while its impact point will have been calculated and evacuation procedures initiated, many people must die in the destruction of the shipping.

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 8:8-9 [2]

Historicist Approach:

According to Historicists this blazing mountain is the Vandals (428-468 CE) under their king Genseric, to whom historians refer as “the Tyrant of the Sea.”  [Seriously???]

Preterist Approach:

Preterists view the blazing mountain as the Roman Empire that destroyed Israel and Jerusalem in the Jewish War of 66- 70 CE.  The sea is frequently used in prophecy as a symbol of the Gentile nations, in contrast to the land signifying Israel.

Futurist Approach:

Here to Futurists are not agreed as to whether to take the language of the passage figuratively or literally or both.  Stedman opines that the blazing mountain could symbolically represent “the revived Roman Empire.” 

Others do take a literal approach as I have described above.

Idealist Approach:

Idealists concur with the Historicists, Preterists and some Futurists that a mountain in prophetic writings usually represents a kingdom and that fire is a common, generic emblem of judgment.  A common view is that this is mystery Babylon.

In my next post, we will explore Revelation 8:10-11 the Third Shofar.

Click here for PDF version.

 

[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

 

[2] Material in this section is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg

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