“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; 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” (Rev. 8:8,9).
The blast of the second trumpet sends an object hurling out of the heavens that will destroy a third part of marine life, as well as a third part of the ships at sea. The Holy Spirit is careful to add that this heavenly body was “as it were a great mountain.” In other words, it was not a mountain as such, but had characteristics like a mountain—it was immense and had the appearance of solid rock. This could well be a description of an asteroid, which has many of the same features.
An asteroid can range from a few feet in diameter to hundreds of miles across and everything in between. There are tens of thousands of them, orbiting the sun in what’s called a band asteroid belt. It is well known that asteroids frequently pass by the earth, normally at great distances. Here it seems apparent that the finger of God will supernaturally alter the course of one of these heavenly objects. If a large asteroid were to pass through our atmosphere, we would probably describe it the same way that John did, as a mountain burning with fire.
The Apostle John then observed that this massive missile was cast into the sea. In all probability, this is the Mediterranean Sea since the second bowl judgment of Revelation 16 will be far more extensive and destructive to the oceans of the world. It has been said, “The steps of God from mercy to judgment are always slow, reluctant, and measured.” At this stage of the trumpets, God’s judgments will still be tempered with mercy so as to give men an opportunity one last time to repent and turn to Him in faith; the full scope of His fury will be unleashed later, in the bowl judgments. The surface area of the Mediterranean Sea is roughly nine hundred sixty-five thousand, three hundred (965,300) square miles, a third of which would be three hundred twenty-one thousand, seven hundred sixty-seven (321,767) square miles. Once again, to give you some idea as to the extent of this second judgment, the area of the Mediterranean affected would be greater than the State of Texas.
An asteroid, or whatever this enormous object is, falling into the Mediterranean Sea will be catastrophic. John is very careful to point out that before the death of marine life, “the third part of the sea became blood,” reminiscent of Egypt again, when God supernaturally turned the water into blood (Ex. 7:20). Multiply that miraculous event a hundredfold, and you have some idea of the severity of this judgment. Men will undoubtedly look on in horror as the sea turns to crimson.
The apostle then adds, “And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died.” The death of marine life will not cause the bloody sea; to the contrary, the bloody sea will kill the marine life. Creatures of the sea such as fish, dolphins, and turtles will be unable to survive in these conditions. The result will be death on a grand scale! If you’ve ever gone fishing, you know that one dead fish on the water’s edge is enough to drive you to another fishing spot. Imagine millions of fish floating on the surface of the water; the stench will be unbearable, as it was in Egypt (Ex. 7:21).
“And the third part of the ships were destroyed.” An asteroid a mile wide, hitting the earth at 30,000 miles per hour would produce 10 to 50 million times the energy of the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. It would “flatten everything for 100 to 200 miles out from ground zero.” The carnage will be incomprehensible as many shipyards will be totally wrecked. Those ships at sea within the range of this blast will capsize and be swept away by the ensuing tidal waves. The aftermath of this judgment will devastate the fishing industry and hamper world shipping and trade on an unprecedented scale. It will be a financial disaster for hundreds of ports of call that rely on tourism.
As we are already witnessing, the Lord will be like a mighty man of war in the day of battle, with a military strategy that will make the warmongers of this world tremble (Isa. 42:13). With just two blasts of the trumpets, He will decimate trade and commerce on both land and sea.
This article is an excerpt from Volume 2 of Pastor Paul Sadler’s commentary on the book of Revelation.
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