Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
February 23, 1998
Last Updated :
March 8, 2012
Comet Hale-Bopp And The SLO, The Vatican And Wormwood, The Chernobyl Disaster, A Deadly Comet?, Spiritual Beings And Stars, The Fall Of Satan, The Salt Of The Earth, The Lord's Footstool, A Flood Of Lies, Bitter And Sweet Waters, Cup Of The Lord's Wrath, The Destruction Of Babylon And Armageddon
If my interpretation is correct, then perhaps we can expand our understanding of the Wormwood prophecy by finding a symbolic meaning for the waters which are poisoned by this deadly "star". Nine chapters later, we find the following verse which clearly reveals one of the meanings of the word "waters" in the Book of Revelation:
"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
Revelation 17:15, KJV
Here we see that "waters" can actually represent the peoples and nations of the world. To refresh your memory, let's take another look at the key verses upon which this current study is based:
"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 upon the fountains of waters; And the name of 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."
Revelation 8:10-11, KJV
At first glance, it does not appear to make sense that the word "waters" represents people in this verse. After all, if "waters" represents the peoples and nations of the world, how can people die from drinking these waters? The answer is quite simple. While the word "waters" represents people in certain places in the Bible, in other verses it is also symbolic of the words which are spoken by people or by spiritual beings. In fact, in his discourse concerning the dangers of the tongue, the Apostle James explained that there are both sweet waters and bitter waters:
"But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?"
James 3:8-11, KJV
In this context, "sweet water" can represent the Truth as spoken by God or one of His agents, be they spiritual or human; while "bitter water" can represent the lies, blasphemy and false accusations of Satan and his followers. From Jesus' own words, we know that Satan is indeed the father of lies:
". . . He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44b, KJV
In the Book of Revelation, the angel also specifically referred to Satan as the Accuser of the Saints:
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Revelation 12:10, KJV
We find an example of Satan in action in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. In the following verse, he is represented by an evil serpent which is casting out a flood of bitter water, or lies, in order to try to deceive the woman:
"And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."
Revelation 12:15-16, KJV
Notice exactly what is occurring in these verses. Even though Satan is persecuting the Lord's children, they do not fall victim to his treacherous lies and false accusations. Instead, we are told that the Earth opens her mouth to swallow this flood of evil propaganda. In this particular case, I believe that the Earth represents the unbelieving world which is deceived by the Father of Lies. It is in the very next chapter that we are told that the Earth, or those people who have foolishly swallowed, or drunk, Satan's lies, will produce a second Beast known as the False Prophet. The fact that he is referred to as the False Prophet is a clear indication that whatever this person espouses will be viewed as truth in the eyes of the world, while it is in fact nothing but satanic lies:
"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."
Revelation 13:11, KJV
You will recall that James compared uttering blessings to sweet water, and uttering curses to bitter water. Just prior to this description of the Second Beast, John describes the First Beast which arises out of the sea. This vile Beast is filled with bitterness against God and blasphemes, or curses, His name continually:
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."
Revelation 13:5-6, KJV
Once the Lord begins to pour out His judgments against the Beast, the False Prophet and their followers, we are told that, rather than repent of their evil deeds, these wicked people will follow suit and blaspheme and curse God as well, all because they have been filled with and deceived by the bitter poison of Satan's lies:
"And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds . . . And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great."
Revelation 16:10-11, 21, KJV
As we have already seen, in contrast to "bitter water", or the blasphemous lies of Satan which can destroy men both physically and spiritually, the word "waters" can also represent "sweet water", that is, The Truth of God's Word which brings Eternal Life to those who believe it, who receive it, or who drink it and take it into themselves. This is evident by the message Jesus gave to the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter four, as well as by things He said in later discourses:
"Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water . . . Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
John 4:10, 13-14, KJV
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
In the previous verses, the word "drinketh" is derived from the Greek word "pino", pronounced pee'-no, which means "to drink". Of course, Jesus is not speaking literally here, but rather figuratively. He is speaking of faith and belief in His words. In this regard, this word "drinketh" is actually synonymous with the word "believeth", which is derived from the Greek word "pisteuo". This word means to believe in something, to be committed to it, or to trust in it. We find this Greek word "pisteuo" used in one of the most popular Salvation verses quoted around the world:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
Through our new understanding of the word "waters" as it is sometimes used in the Scriptures, it is easy to see that the poisoning of the waters by the star Wormwood may possibly be symbolic of the spiritual corruption of humankind during the Endtime by demonic forces. This corruption of the waters -- the people -- by the waters -- the lies of Satan -- is being accomplished through such vehicles as the global commercial system with its sexually-oriented advertising media, through false religious systems which have cast The Truth to the ground, through ungodly educational systems which teach evolution and other Satanic lies, and through human rights organizations which support abortion, gay rights and other unscriptural beliefs and practices. All of these represent a powerful negative force which is currently poisoning the hearts, minds and spirits of men so that they become bitter against God and reject The Truth of His Word. I am reminded of the words spoken by King David in the second of his Psalms:
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
Psalms 2:1-3, KJV
As I explain in another article, a close reading of this Psalm will reveal that it is actually a Millennial prophecy of the Endtime when the Lord will return to the Earth to subdue His enemies with a rod of iron once and for all. Because of their rejection of The Truth, or the "sweet waters" which give Life, these people are currently drinking the bitter poisonous waters of Satan's lies; and thus will suffer spiritual death, the Second Death, in the Lake of Fire, unless they repent of their wickedness and their unbelief:
"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 20:13-15, KJV
This is the same exact place where the Beast and the False Prophet will end up for having led the world astray through their lies and blasphemous accusations against the Lord:
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Revelation 19:20, KJV
The deeper spiritual significance of Wormwood, and the sharp contrast between the bitter and the sweet, is further exemplified in Revelation chapter ten where we are shown that The Truth of God's Word can either bring sweetness to one's mouth if he receives it, or else it can bring bitterness to his belly if he rejects it. Regardless of how people react to the words of the Lord, it is still our obligation as Christians to deliver the message which God has given us through the mouths of His Angelic Messengers and Holy Prophets:
"And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."
Revelation 10:8-11, KJV
While John cherished every prophetic word that he received from the angel, it appears that the Lord was telling him that once he began publishing the apocalyptic message he had been given, it would not be well-received by the world at large; in fact, it would be bitterness in their bellies. In our current times, this is truly the case as anyone who is a faithful witness for the Lord can testify. Each day we are met with more resistance to The Truth as people deny the Precious Promises found in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, after Moses had led the Children of Israel for forty years, just prior to entering the Promised Land, while still in the land of Moab -- modern Jordan -- he reminded them of all of the wonders the Lord had done to bring them that far on their journey. After that, he appended the Covenant given to them at Horeb by issuing a strong warning concerning the dangers of allowing unbelief and bitterness to take root in their hearts. In that warning, Moses compared these sins to gall and wormwood:
"Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven."
Deuteronomy 29:18-20, KJV
Thus we see that allowing Satan to plant a root of bitterness and unbelief in our hearts is indeed dangerous business. Up to this point, I have emphasized that Satan and his evil minions are responsible for the Apostasy, or the falling away from The Truth, and for the bitterness against God which currently characterizes this present generation; however, we need to remember that these things are happening as a result of personal choice. Furthermore, we need to realize that, as I have shown in other articles, even Satan and the rebellious angels are ultimately under God's control, and are simply being used as His instruments of wrath to punish a wicked world. This not only ties in directly with our discussion of Wormwood, but it also blends in perfectly with another topic discussed in the Book of Revelation.
In the beginning of this study, I explained that wormwood is actually an aromatic plant of the genus Artemisia. The bitter extract from this plant is used in the making of absinthe, as well as in flavoring certain wines. It just so happens that wine is also used as a form of symbolism in the Book of Revelation. In one example, it is used to represent the sins of the mysterious Babylon the Great Whore:
"And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
Revelation 14:8, KJV
"For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."
Revelation 18:3, KJV
As I explain in the article "Revelation's Babylon The Great", I believe that Babylon represents the spiritual and physical center of the world from where Satan has expanded his evil control over the Earth. Thus, those nations and people who have knowingly or unknowingly become a part of his Dark Kingdom by partaking of the Earthly pleasures he offers, have symbolically drunk of the wine of Babylon's fornication. However, in the Lord's time, He is going to mete out His righteous judgments; and as He did in the Old Testament, those judgments will be equal to the sin. Just as the nations have become drunk with the "sweet" wine of Babylon the Great, He is going to force them to drink of the bitter wine of His wrath:
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:"
Revelation 14:9-10, KJV
"And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."
Revelation 16:19, KJV
In the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, we also find some interesting verses which show how the Lord was going to force the rebellious people and false prophets of ancient Israel to partake of bitter wormwood:
"Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink."
Jeremiah 9:15, KJV
"Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land."
Jeremiah 23:15, KJV
In the very next book, Jeremiah again uses the symbolism of wormwood to describe the bitter suffering brought on by the chastisements of the Lord meted out through the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar:
"He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall."
Lamentations 3:15-19, KJV
Returning to Babylon the Great Whore, in the Book of Proverbs, I discovered some very interesting verses which may be a cryptic link to the destruction of the mysterious queen which reigns over the kings and merchants of the Earth in the final pages of the Bible. The following verses not only prophesy her bitter destruction, but they also make a direct link to wormwood:
"For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword."
Proverbs 5:3-4, KJV
Notice that the strange woman's bitter destruction also comes by a two-edged sword. In the Book of Revelation, we discover that the culmination of God's Wrath will be felt when He causes the wicked armies of the kings of the world who fornicate with Babylon, to be drawn together for the Battle of Armageddon. This great war will be fought in the plains of northern Israel. As I explain in "From Armageddon to the New Earth", this battle is going to be so great, that when the Lord pours out the final cup of the wine of His indignation, a river of blood may possibly flow southward from Megiddo along the full two hundred miles of the Jordan River Valley!:
"And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
Revelation 14:18-20, KJV
Just as Babylon, the strange woman of Proverbs, will meet her bitter end by a two-edged sword, the Book of Revelation also tells us that the Hosts of Heaven who fight at the Battle of Armageddon, will be led by One who has a sword proceeding out of His Mouth. That Sword, of course, is the Word of Truth which will destroy the bitter lying words of Satan, the spiritual "star" Wormwood which fell from Heaven:
"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Revelation 19:15, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
This prophecy from the Book of Revelation concerning the Battle of Armageddon appears to be a mirror image of a similar prophecy uttered by the Prophet Isaiah some eight hundred years before. The fact that it uses the same symbolism of a winepress and the grapes of wrath should not be dismissed as a mere coincidence:
"Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."
Isaiah 63:1-6, KJV
As I stated at the beginning of this article, trying to separate that which should be interpreted symbolically from that which should be understood in a literal sense is no easy task. In this article I have presented both sides of the issue for your consideration. While the possibility of an actual meteor, asteroid or cometary tail wreaking havoc on the Earth's water supply sometime in the near future still exists, given the many amazing Scriptural connections I have made between wormwood, stars, spiritual beings, sweet and bitter water and wine, Babylon the Great, Armageddon, etc., I tend to believe that a spiritual interpretation may be more appropriate in this case. However, I must also candidly and humbly admit that I honestly do not know with one hundred per cent certainty. Time will certainly tell which is the proper interpretation.
To add a final degree of balance to this article, allow me to add the following: While a large part of the Book of Revelation is written in a symbolic context, it is also a reflection of actual events which will transpire on the Earth prior to the Lord's Arrival. It is my belief that some of these events will be political and/or military in nature, others will be of an economic nature, and still others will be of a religious nature. However, some of these events may also affect the Earth physically such as through unusual changes in our weather patterns, through astronomical occurrences, etc. Thus we should not rule out a physical fulfillment of Wormwood. While some may consider such movies as "Asteroid", "Meteor", etc., as mere money-makers for Hollywood and the American cinematographic industry, perhaps they are also a warning of things to come. As the Patriarch Job said during the time he was tested by Satan:
"For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me."
Job 3:25, KJV
Considering that the Bible has been amazingly accurate in its prediction of certain world events, we should not doubt for a moment that Wormwood will also occur in one form or another in God's chosen time. If it turns out to be an actual astronomical body which threatens the Earth, the question arises as to whether or not we will be warned of the impending disaster. While in the movie "Asteroid", F.E.M.A. -- Federal Emergency Management Agency -- was depicted as the heroes of the United States Government, the truth of the matter is that we probably won't receive any kind of a warning. As proof of this, consider the final message which flashed on the television screen as the movie came to its conclusion:
In March of 1996, an asteroid did in fact come within hundreds of thousands of miles of the Earth. In astronomical terms, that was extremely close; yet we were not informed until after the fact! It's possible that it was so small that it didn't present a major threat to populated areas. It is also possible that the government didn't want to cause undue panic by announcing something which they were not sure was going to be a direct hit. However, another possibility is that they realized that issuing a warning would have made no difference in the world. While the city in the "Asteroid" movie was evacuated in a forty-eight-hour period, in reality, it would be virtually impossible to evacuate any large American city, or any large city around the world in that same time frame; if a warning was even given! Some people might not even receive the warning until it was too late. The unprecedented panic would also quickly result in sprawling traffic jams which would bring things to a virtual standstill.
In conclusion, it seems to me that regardless of what the right interpretation might be concerning the Wormwood prophecy, the safest place to be is in the Will of God. As I have explained in other articles, God's highest will for all of us is that we accept the Sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. If you have become one of the Lord's children through spiritual rebirth, then He will certainly take care of you no matter where you are if you are pleasing Him. There are many wonderful promises in the Bible regarding God's protection of His Children. One of my favorites is the following:
"The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Psalm 34:7, KJV
Truly, the Lord is our best defense and protection against any disaster, whether it be manmade, natural or otherwise; so please stay close to Him and to His Word, and don't listen to the sweet lies of Satan which turn bitter in your stomach and cause you to turn away from the Lord! Whether Wormwood manifests itself or not as a physical visitor from the stars, the truth of the matter is that the spiritual affects of Wormwood have already been occurring for years as the spiritual crisis on our planet deepens! What will you do to help fight against this wave of unbelief? The choice is up to you. I trust that this article has been instructive, and an inspiration and a blessing to many.