The Second Trumpet Call
Revelation 8:8, 9

The second angel burning mountain

   "And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed." (Rev. 8:8, 9)

What do we know about the burning mountain?
   We first think of a volcano. But the evil burning mountain reminds us of the holy mountain:
   "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God. . . . And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. . . .
   "And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Ex. 19:16-20; 20:1-4) The other nine commandments follow."

Image © Corel
   So why a burning mountain? Babylon is here trying to take the place of Sinai. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:" (Isa. 14:12, 13).
   Satan, as the dragon, gave his authority to the beast of Revelation 13, 1302, who here pretends to have the authority to make laws that came from the true burning mountain.

   "Babylon is suddenly fallen. . . . Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD . . . and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain. . . . The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof." (Jer. 51:8, 25, 41).

Bloody waters
   "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. . . . . And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." (Rev. 17:21-24). For more about the woman see 1318e.
   The second trumpet warning points to the sea turning to blood during the second plague, 1603. We continue with the activity under the second trumpet, looking at verse 9.

Death in the sea

   "And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed." (Rev. 8:8, 9)

Why is the sea involved?
   "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." (Isa. 57:20, 21)
   In chapter 13, under a different set of symbols, the beast (wild animal) comes up in the sea, 1301b. He doesn't come out on the shore, as I see it, but rises above the water surface as a tyrant from among the masses of people 1715 of the sea. Here Babylon is thrown into the sea, as Satan's rebel empire in heaven was cast down to earth. The beast from the sea received power, throne, and great authority from Satan, the dragon, 1301c. The burning mountain is seen in Revelation 13 as the beast with its kingdom in the sea.

Part of the living die
   We may read a phrase from our passage literally as "A third of the creatures in the sea died, those having souls." The salvation of many of the people was affected by the rebellion. But the third is taken from only part of those in the sea. What about those who did not have souls? To answer, we need to ask the meaning of "souls" in this setting.
   In Ezekiel we see souls referred to as individuals (see Ezek. 18:20, 21). "Behold, all souls are mine [the Lord God's]; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour's wife. . . . Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezek. 18:4-6, 9).
   Did you notice that eating on the mountains was sinful? These were special pagan worship sites built by those claiming to follow the true God.
   Returning to our passage, we may assume that some souls in the sea were already spiritually dead. Then a portion of the living ones were destroyed, too.

   Judgment does not make people bad or good, it simply reveals their character choices. In our text, it shows who dies from the burning mountain and who doesn't. Because some souls are already lost they do not need to be judged. The following words of Jesus help us understand how that could be.
   "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:17, 18)
   So the cases of some of the dead will be considered in the preadvent judgment and some will not. Those who have boldly and permanently rejected Christ, the way of righteousness, are already condemned or judged. (The Greek word for condemn is also the word for judge.) Part of those judged are found to be righteous, and part (the "third") will be found wicked.
   Returning to the destruction by the burning mountain, those accepting the false doctrines of the mountain or beast power, will lose their souls in the apostasy.
   We found four classes of people in the judgment, the righteous, dead and living, and the wicked, dead and living 0601b.

Ships destroyed
   We can understand blood and souls dying, but what might it mean for a third of the ships to be destroyed? In searching the Bible we discover the ships of Tarshish. They seem to fit the picture. At first we are a little surprised because our faithful hero, Jehoshaphat, is involved. You recall that we saw how God defended His people against three enemies. This happened as He depended on God and the prophets. The story shows how God will work to save His end-time righteous from destruction by the wicked. Then Jehoshaphat turned away from the Lord.
   "And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish." (2 Chron. 20:35-37)
   Tarshish was probably in Spain. Jehoshaphat made ships to go to Ophir for gold but God destroyed them (1 Kings 22:48). So how do you think this could relate to the apostasy of the burning mountain?
   The church Christ established quickly began to become corrupt (Acts 20:29; Rev. 2:5). After a few centuries they wanted to be popular and began to adopt the pagan practices, giving them Christian names and rationale. They even pretended to change two of the commandments. They were like Jehoshaphat who compromised with the wicked king Ahaziah, and God broke their ships built for selfish reasons.

   Compromise is easy. Let's stay close to the Lord Jesus and become more and more like Him.

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