At the sound of the third trumpet, a star falls: Revelation Chapter 8 Verses 10-11 (NASB)


    And the THIRD ANGEL sounded, and a GREAT STAR fell from heaven, burning like a torch,
The literal view of this is that this is something entering the earth's atmosphere from outside or above the clouds. Some scholars believe this may be a nuclear missile (like a torch) and use the next verse to authenticate the nuclear warhead. Whatever this GREAT STAR is, it is burning up in the atmosphere and pieces apparently are landing in rivers and other bodies of water. It is not clear why the surrounding land is not included in this verse.

The symbolic view is that there is a "high-level" purging of demonic forces in heaven. It is possible that what is visibly shown here during the THIRD TRUMPET, is also what the rejoicing is over in Revelation 12:12 , where the down casting of the devil is in the past tense, "has come down". The fact that the devil, a fallen angel, is equated to a great star is supported by the fact that the seven angels of the seven churches are also refereed to as stars in Revelation 1:20 .

    and it fell on a THIRD of the rivers and on the SPRINGS of waters.
The literal view is that if it is a nuclear explosion, the residue radioactivity would run off in the rivers and seep into the ground water (springs). This may be what this is, however, ground seepage to cause springs to be radioactive is a longer process -- longer than the seven years of tribulation.

The symbolic view would say that fully a THIRD of the spirit side of this earth is affected. Recall that the serpent in Revelation 12:15 tries to flood out the woman (Christianity) with a great flood of water. That this is an evil tide affecting a third of the people is confirmed in Revelation 17:15 . Note that this verse does not say that the THIRD dies ... it just fell on them. The consequences would be a populace "hell bent" on evil and crime. It will not be fun to live during this period.

    and the name of the star is called WORMWOOD;
The plant, Artemisia absinthium, is known as wormwood. From it, a dark green oil, which is very bitter, is produced. It is lethal in water as the rest of the verse shows.
    a THIRD of the waters became WORMWOOD; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
There are two literal possibilities:
  • There is an "explosion" of the wormwood plant on the earth which, when the previous two trumpets judgment is completed, has been compressed or crushed to release the wormwood oil into a THIRD of the waters.
  • Second, since this is a star, the chemical composition, on impact, is such as to pollute the THIRD of waters and make them bitter. Consider that the Russian word, Chernobyl means wormwood.
The symbolic view is that if this is the devil and his followers who are being thrown from heaven, then he brings bitterness and death.

Wormwood as bitterness
Deuteronomy 29:18 Forsaking the covenant brings ....
Proverbs 5:4 What an adulteress is in the end.
Jeremiah 9:13-15 Forsaking the Law brings ...
Jeremiah 23:15 What false prophets can look forward to ...
Lamentations 3:15-19 How solitary real prophets sometimes feel!
Amos 5:7 Subverted justice
Amos 6:12-14 The fruit of righteousness is turned into ..

This trumpet is a direct judgment upon mankind because many men died from the waters; the previous two trumpets were upon the earth itself with man involved as an innocent bystander.

"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.