Author’s Note: Most are afraid of the Book of Revelation. Christians are often easily frightened by the misconceptions of “Armageddon,” fabrications, or Hollywood’s portrayal of merely bad theology. Furthermore, most who attempt to read the book are easily confused. Therefore, More Than Judas will be spending the next several weeks analyzing the Book of Revelation.
Please understand this study will not attempt to expound on every minute detail in Revelation. 2 Minutes With God would quickly escalate into 2 Hours With God. However, this analysis will consider the critical aspects of each chapter, as well as their underlining purposes and application of the Scriptures. Each study will contain five critical points and one main idea. Because the text is so complicated, this will streamline the material in a “layman” reader friendly format.
For those who would like to further research this book, I suggest Warren W. Wiersbe’s, Be Victorious Study Guide on Revelation, or John MacArthur’s, Revelation-The Christian’s Ultimate Victory. Outside of scholarly publications, both accounts have been very influential to me in understanding such a difficult text.
Lastly, this daily devotional will be written for the common man- not the theologian. I seldom ever debate Eschatological perspectives. Nor do I ever plan to. I know brilliant biblical scholars on all sides that can make valid arguments for explaining their positions regarding Revelation. The most important task at hand is glorifying Jesus Christ- not to win the arguments amongst faithful Christians.
Nevertheless, for the case of this MTJ Study, everything will be considered through a Progressive Dispensationalist-Premillennial Viewpoint, a Pretribulation point of view concerning the Rapture, as well as a literal interpretation, which allows for symbolism of Scripture and Christ’s Second Coming. Please feel free to post any specific questions concerning the text in the Facebook thread.
Discussions regarding particular theological inquiries or philosophies can be had there.
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Verses: “The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water- the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died…” Revelation 8: 10-11
Here is the main idea of the passage: The shocking judgments continue. Admittedly, these seem to be over the top. While Revelation is very symbolic, we should absolutely read these events literal. Jesus stated this Himself in Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be a Great Tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”
What we are witnessing in the Book of Revelation is Divine Wrath. God the Father hates sin- period. In other words, the gut-wrenching circumstances unfolding throughout this text is The Lord’s response to a fallen world, rejection of Jesus, and disobedience. There is only One Man who can save us from ourselves and the eternal damnation soon described- that alone would be Christ Crucified.
“Biblically, wrath is the divine judgment upon sin and sinners. It does not merely mean that it is a casual response by God to ungodliness but carries the meaning of hatred, revulsion, and indignation. God is by nature love (1 John 4:16), however, in His justice He must punish sin. The punishment is called the wrath of God. It will occur on the final Day of Judgment when those who are unsaved will incur the wrath of God. It is, though, presently being released upon the ungodly (Romans 1:18-32) in the hardening of their hearts…Wrath is described as God’s anger (Numbers 32:10-13), as stored up (Romans 2:5-8), and as great (Zechariah 7:12). The believer’s deliverance from God’s wrath is through the atonement (Romans 5:8-10). ‘For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:9)” (Matt Slick, www.carm.org)
Here are the five points to the passage:
- 10- “Another celestial body, perhaps a comet in this case since it leaves a fiery trail.” (John MacArthur Study Bible)
- 10-11- “God’s wrath next reaches inland and touches the rivers and the foundations of water (wells and sources of rivers), making fresh water taste bitter like wormwood.” (Warren Wiersbe Commentary)
- 11- “The word translated ‘Wormwood gives us our English word absinthe, which is a popular liqueur in some countries of the world. The word means ‘undrinkable,’ and in the Old Testament was synonymous with sorrow and great calamity.” Warren Wiersbe Commentary)
- 11- If the waters are contaminated lives will absolutely be lost. Some suggest this part of the text could be symbolic. Eighteenth Century minister, Matthew Henry, suggests this position in his commentary. “…the springs of spiritual life, refreshment, and vigour to the souls of men, were so corrupted and embittered by a mixture of dangerous errors that the souls of men found their ruin where they sought for their refreshment.” Personally, I believe a literal reading of this text is more appropriate. However, there is no doubt there will be a drought amongst man’s spiritual lives.
- 11- “Even the star that falls from the sky in connection with the third trumpet is a messenger of God. It is easy for us to think otherwise, since C. S. Lewis gave the name ‘Wormwood’ to an agent of Satan, the nephew of the infamous Screwtape and recipient of The Screwtape Letters. But the star called Wormwood in John’s vision is no satanic messenger. Rather, it is the personification of something God threatens to do to God’s people when they allow themselves to be deceived by false prophets (see Jer 23:15, ‘I will make them eat bitter food [KJV wormwood] and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land’; compare Jer 9:15). Given the mischief of the Nicolaitans and ‘Jezebel,’ the situation in Asia Minor in John’s day was similar to the one lamented by Jeremiah.” (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series)
How is this text applicable in the 21st Century?
“As we step away from these judgments for a moment, we can’t help but follow the example of heaven and respond with silence. No natural disaster or act of war can compare to what John has already seen. Any tragedy we experience in this life can only be a foreshadowing of what’s to come upon the Earth during the Tribulation. We dare not let these troubling truths leave us unaffected; Jesus Christ revealed them to us for a purpose…” (Charles Swindoll Commentary)
Pastor Swindoll went on to describe three practical principles for this chapter: 1. “God uses physical disasters to communicate spiritual messages.” In essence, his point suggests that tragedies bring people to their knees and lights a fire to seek God 2. “God’s harsh judgments have a holy purpose.” Humbling ourselves throughout difficulties not only brings us closer to The Lord, but makes us to be more like Jesus Christ. 3. “God will not stop until His plan is accomplished.” The Father’s will for us is sanctification- to be more like His Son. In addition, God wants to “conform us to His will. Only when God’s purpose is accomplished will you receive His peace and experience reprieve.” (Charles Swindoll Commentary)
Quote: “Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without sign posts…” C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Additional Readings: Revelation 8
Prayer: Father God, forgive me. Have mercy on me when I fall short. Thank you for sending Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for my sins. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.