v.8-9 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
This second trumpet blast causes an event that seemingly mystifies John because “Something,” he writes, “like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea.” As a result, one third of the ocean becomes blood, one third of the ocean’s living creatures die, and one third of the ships sailing across the ocean perish.
v.10-11 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water; and the name of the star is Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.
This blast of the third trumpet causes another fiery object to fall from the sky. But this time John identifies it as a “great star” named Wormwood (Gr.apsinthos, “bitter”), and by it, one third of the earth’s fresh water supply is poisoned. “And many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.”
v.12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened; and a third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night.
This fourth trumpet blast causes horrific air pollution, probably the result of the first three judgments. A blanket of smoke and soot and ash so thick that it causes the sun to appear one third less bright by day, and the moon and stars to appear one third less bright by night.
v.13 And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe , woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
This three-fold “woe” proclaimed so loudly through the corridors of heaven by this flying angel is the same word generally used in the Bible in conjunction with the condition of one’s present pitiful state, as an exclamation of grief. Jesus, for instance, used the word eight times in one discourse against the scribes and Pharisees in matters concerning their spiritual blindness and hypocrisy (see—Matt.23:1-36), and in another place to underscore the deplorable state in which a pregnant or nursing woman will find herself if caught in the Tribulation (Matt.25:19).
It’s also interesting that the word “midst of heaven” through which the angel is flying means mid-heaven, a word used only in Revelation. It signifies, not merely the space between heaven and earth, but the highest point in the heavens occupied by the sun at noon. In other words, the image is not that of an angel in random flight throughout the sky, but one in a purposeful location directly above the earth.
Cling on to your Bibles, dear ones, for the worst is yet to come. Whereas, the first four judgments provoked judgment upon the physical world, and man only indirectly, the next three evoke judgment upon man directly. A sequence of judgments so fueled by God’s fury that none of all the inhabitants of the earth, except for the hundred and forty-four thousand sealed earlier by God, escape without injury.