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Milepost 20: The Third Trumpet

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Milepost 20: The Third Trumpet

Primary References: Revelation 8:10-11

 

The third angel triggers an attack on fresh waters from a great star. Between the second and third trumpets, both fresh and salt waters are imperiled. The interpretation of both the second trumpet's great mountain and the third trumpet's great star are tricky. The second trumpet suggests a meteor while the third uses the same language found in the sixth seal and suggests some form of military weapon. Through the two judgments, a third of all of the world's waters become unusable as seawaters become blood in the second and fresh waters become bitter in the third. The second and third trumpets probably also produce significant atmospheric pollution and help prepare the earth for the fourth trumpet. The third trumpet's star, wormwood, kills many men by poisoning fresh water. Wormwood is an archaic term referring to very bitter herbs. If the sixth seal refers to nuclear missiles and bombs, then, perhaps, the third trumpet refers to missiles or bombs loaded with chemical or biological weapons. Both the second and third trumpet judgments could be contributory factors to the fourth trumpet's darkening of the skies. An interesting sidebar that has fascinated students of prophecy for years is the fact that the name of the site of the nuclear meltdown in Russia, Chernobyl, means wormwood. This probably has nothing to do with the third trumpet but it has fueled a lot of speculation about Chernobyl's role in the trumpet judgments.

God's turns water into blood at least three times during the seven-year tribulation: the trumpet judgments, the vial judgments, and the work of the two witnesses. The vial judgments and the trumpet judgments differ mainly in the scope of the judgments. The vial judgments turn all water, fresh and salt, into blood while the trumpet judgments turn only a third of the seawater into blood.

The second and third trumpet judgments are also similar to the first plague God poured out on the Egyptians when all of Egypt's waters became blood for seven days:

And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. (Exodus 7:20-21)

The Egyptians were unable to use this water for the seven days it remained blood. By contrast, Revelation does not specify the trumpet judgments' duration.