And 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 the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. (Rev. 8:9–11)
John, constantly referring to the old pattern for authenticity, is quoting the likes of Isaiah 14:12. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” John is struggling to understand how the message of scripture (metaphoric emblematic portrayal) has been lost. He knew the book had been closed in his illiterate world. He foresaw deception (darkness) of those espousing a literal orthodoxy. The layers of the book had been opened just a few times during Hezekiah’s reign, Daniel’s time, and then at Paul’s epiphany. Paul and John of Patmos foresaw the literalizing of the words – virgin, increase (Joseph), bitterness (Marah), Immanuel – God with us in the Emmanuel portrayal, the ten laws as ten commandments and all of the Synoptic books (a personification of the fight against the two-horned beast of the Pharisees and Sadducees). He foresaw that the ancient Jewish philosophy of life (three score and ten – 70 weeks – 490 years would be obliterated by fathers of the dark ages. Paganism engulfed (7 churches of Asia – examples) and an institutional church arose espousing a unique truth at the turn of the century. This blasphemy denigrated God and the eternal priesthood for creeds and doctrines. It abnegated the creativeness in the ascent of mankind.
Now to the metaphors.
Son of the morning from Hebrew shâchar infers morning light. How art thou “cut down” from gada infers fallen. This personification, the fall of Lucifer, is long forgotten being overwhelmed by our selective interpretation. John was highlighting prescriptions that inevitably would take hold in the age of Christendom.
In Revelation, burning “as it were” a lamp, this one-time “great star” was a counterfeit, a ploy, a décor, of absolute distraction. Yes, Wormwood came with lies and weakened the nations. These peoples and nations are ecclesiastical or pastoral in the kernel of the Patmos fugitive’s dissertation — the so-called insiders, proclaiming a false gospel message.
Weaken in Isaiah 14:12, from châlash, means “overthrow” or “cause decay.” Nations, from gôwy and root gệvâh, means massing. Figuratively speaking, it described the formation of warmongering warriors likened to a troop of animals or a flight of destroying locusts. Hence, the word gôwy is referring to how the diligent nations were constantly threatened by Gentile, heathen people, described from the word gôwy. Wormwood represents those who had little to no regard for others. They failed to appreciate the merit of any constructive advancement by a pedagogical type, antitype and archetype instructive, as recurring ensamples for admonition and societal progression.
Yes, the fallen angel, Wormwood, made many souls bitter, even the “fountains of water,” the source of “life,” the preachers, became bitter. And many men died of their bitter waters. “Many men died.” They died from apo or apothnēskē, meaning, “separated or departed from the true church.” These are the ones we see locked into a frail version.
Oh, my people! Jeremiah wrote God will arise. “They be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men … They proceed from evil to evil … They will deceive every one … and will not speak the truth … Shall I not visit them for these things?” (Jer. 9:2–9). Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall” (Jer. 23:15). Every sprouting idea gravitates to becoming a burden. It is tempting to abandon virtue; “they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver” (Hos. 13:2). These idols are “nought,” good for nothing, worthless, born of conceit, and judgmental showpieces. This is the trumpet’s version of “a famine in the land.”
It’s time to move to the next trumpet. Let’s hope Louis is ready to play, “What a Wonderful World” and maybe we will see the best of times.
But the fourth trumpet brings complete darkness.