The Third Shofar

Revelation 8:10-11
The End Times

In my last post, we explored Revelation 8:8-9 the Second Shofar.  In this post, we will explore the impact of the Third Shofar.

“The third angel sounded his shofar; and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky onto a third of the rivers and onto the springs of water. 11 The name of the star was “Bitterness,” and a third of the water became bitter, and many people died from the water that had been turned bitter. ~ Revelation 8:10-11 (CJB)

Harold L. Willmington expresses this opinion: [1]

This star could refer to a meteor containing stifling and bitter gases, which fall on the Alps or some other fresh water source. During the second trumpet, a third of the salt water was contaminated. Now a third of earth’s fresh water suffers a similar fate. Many species of wormwood grow in Palestine, all species have a strong, bitter taste.

Bitterness, literally means “wormwood or absinthe” as recorded in Jeremiah 9:15, 23:15: “I will feed this people bitter wormwood and give them poisonous water to drink.”

When speaking of this tribulation period Yeshua gave a very clear warning when He said, “there will be great earthquakes, there will be epidemics and famines in various places, and there will be fearful sights and great signs from Heaven.” ~ Luke 21:11 (CJB).  Already the fearful storm (First Shofar) has left a third of the earth burnt up; the terrifying asteroid or meteorite (Second Shofar) has crashed down to earth resulting in the corrupted sea bringing death to all marine life, interrupting commerce and destroying communications in a large area of earth.

The Third Shofar blast heralds the fall of a great star.  Following the principle of literal interpretation where it makes good sense there is no difficulty in seeing this star as a heavenly body, very possibly a comet, whose orbit has been altered by God to bring it within the gravitational range of earth.  This would explain perfectly the difference between this happening and that under the Second Shofar.  A comet drawing near to earth, reflecting the light of the sun, gets brighter and brighter, until, if it is large enough and comes near enough, it outshines the stars and the planets.  A “falling star” to an astronomer is frequently nothing more than a piece of rock the size of an acorn caught in the earth’s gravitational field and becoming white hot as it falls through the atmosphere.  This comet, however, resembles a blazing torch with its tail millions of miles long.  In the final stages of its approach just before collision with earth it would be a fearful sight.  From the result of its fall it seems that it will smash into some high plateau or on some great water-table where rivers rise and fountains abound.  This is a reasonable deduction since a third part of the water system of earth is affected by the contamination of the springs and rivers by this death-carrying comet.

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 8:10-11 [2] 

Historicist Approach:

According to most Historicists the great star was Attila the Hun.  The Romans knew little about the Huns before 440 CE.  Their emergence was as sudden as a blazing meteor.  Attila assembled an army of 800,000 on the banks of the Danube.  In the Italian Alps, they shed so much blood as to pollute the waters that have their springs there.  As many as 300,000 men lay slaughtered in the rivers.

Preterist Approach:

Preterists acknowledge that turning fresh water sources bitter and toxic may be in part due to decaying corpses.  They also refer to the experience of the Israelites during the Exodus of the bitter waters of Marah (see Exodus 15:22-28 and the passages from Jeremiah quoted above).  The star which was blazing like a torch is reminiscent of the tree cast into the water by Moses.

Futurist Approach:

Most, but not all, Futurists take the literal approach in their interpretation as outlined above.

Idealist Approach:

Idealists take a symbolic view that in apocalyptic literature stars represent angels which represent kingdoms or people groups.  The waters are symbolic of the natural resources that sustain human life.

In my next post, we will explore Revelation 8:12 the Fourth Shofar.

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[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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