8 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. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. ~ Revelation 8:8-9
We return to our study of the trumpet judgments upon the rebellion of mankind on the earth. As all of the trumpets are sounded, they make up the unavoidable, inevitable, and terrifying day of the Lord which is coming when the Lord takes over and establishes the Kingdom of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But before the establishing of that Kingdom is the destruction of the domain of Satan and rebellious man.
In v.8 we read, "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."
While the first trumpet judgment impacts the earth, the second trumpet judgment will impact the sea. A great blazing mountain is seen falling into the sea. Perhaps this describes a volcanic eruption. Or, perhaps, it is a meteor falling out of space into the ocean. At any rate, the sea literally becomes blood red.
Once again, this is not unknown to us. Every now and then we hear of the "red tide" which appears in the sea and turns large areas of the ocean blood red. A tiny marine organism, red in color, multiplies at such an enormous rate that it makes the water look like blood. This plague will impact a third of the sea and many of the living creatures in the sea will die and the commerce of the ocean will be, as a result, reduced by a third.
This makes sense to interpret this verse literally, but there is also a figurative meaning here. The symbol of a great mountain blazing with fire is that of a kingdom aflame with revolution. In Jeremiah 51:24-26, Babylon is described as a "blazing mountain" which is the destroyer of the earth. Most scholars believe this pictures the rise of what is popularly called "the revived Roman Empire," the coalition of ten Western Europe allied nations under the Antichrist, which conquers the other nations of the earth. As we have said before, the sea is used frequently as a picture of the Gentile nations of earth.
In v.9 we read, "And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed."
Notice the repetition of the phrase "a third." All through the series of trumpet judgments we see this phrase. Under the seal judgments the limitation was one-fourth of the earth. Four is the biblical number for human government, and under the seal judgments God uses human government to limit the onslaught of the four terrible horsemen of Revelation 6. Human government still retains some vestige of restraining power during those days. But here, even that is gone, and under the trumpet judgments only God himself restrains. Three is one of God's numbers and it announces that only God's mercy and God's grace limits these awful judgments to one-third of the earth.
Due to the fact that this blazing mountain will take some time to get to earth, everybody on the earth is going to see it on TV. All kinds of predictions are going to be made about where it will impact the earth. And when it makes impact, but it will hit the sea and immediately a third of the sea will become like blood.
According to Joel 2, the moon will become dark and the sun will look like blood. The fiery explosions that are going on, the gases around it are going to set off a smoke which blankets the sun and the moon with a reddish color that makes everything look like blood.
Then, “a third of the living creatures in the sea will die, and a third of the ships will be destroyed” because the "blazing mountain" will create a tsunami, a tidal wave like the world has never seen.
A third of the sea is going to kill a third of its population from minute organisms to the large whales. The food chain will be terribly disrupted. Whatever the poisonous effect might be, equally as dramatic is going to be this tidal wave that is going to destroy a third of the ships in the world. The mad disruption of commerce that this will cause will be striking. No fishing, no ships, no transport.
The result will be, as we see in Hosea 4:3, "Therefore the land will mourn; And everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away."
In Zephaniah 1:3 we read, “I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, and the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land, says the Lord.”
All of this is frightening. And, it will happen because man has long rejected God's definition of things. And, even though God has reached out to man with the gospel, showing His great patience with man, one day the events predicted here in Revelation will have to come to pass.
Skip Heitzig tells a story that illustrates this point. "In San Jose, California there is a house called the Winchester Mystery House. It's an odd house because there are stairways going nowhere and there are doors that lead to nothing. Heitzig tells us, "Sarah Winchester who was married to the guy who started the Winchester Rifle company, moved to San Jose, California. She was a spiritist involved in spiritism with mediums. One day she was at a séance, and it was conveyed to her that if she would build a house as long as she continued to build the house, she'd never die. Fearing death she went to work. She spent five million dollars back then when the wage was fifty cents an hour for a guy building a house and she built this huge house that has 150 rooms, 13 bathrooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows. And then when she died. She left enough materials to go for another 80 years of building."
What a picture of mankind on the earth. Man thinks this is his kingdom. And no matter how much we invest and build here, we will all leave this earth. The Lord Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away," and if all of our hope is in this earth, in this kingdom, in this house, what a sad day that will be. All of this, no doubt, was written as a warning for the people on earth to wake up and trust our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the answer that we are all looking for.