From Days of Vengeance, by David Chilton. Pages 239-240.
The Third Trumpet (8:10-11)
- And 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 waters;
- and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
10-11 Like the preceding symbol, the vision of the Third Trumpet combines Biblical imagery from the fall of both Egypt and Babylon. The effect of this plague – the waters being made bitter – is similar to the first plague on Egypt, in which the water became bitter because of the multitude of dead and decaying fish (Ex. 7:21). The bitterness of the waters is caused by a great star that fell from heaven, burning like a torch. This parallels Isaiah’s prophecy of the fall of Babylon, spoken in terms of the original Fall from Paradise:
How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
But you said in your heart,
I will ascend to heaven,
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly,
In the recesses of the north.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.
Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit. (Isa. 14:12-15)
The name of this fallen star is Wormwood, a term used in the Law and the Prophets to warn Israel of its destruction as a punishment for apostasy (Deut. 29:18; Jer. 9:15; 23:15; Lam. 3:15, 19; Amos 5:7). Again, by combining these Old Testament allusions, St. John makes his point: Israel is apostate, and has become an Egypt; Jerusalem has become a Babylon; and the covenant-breakers will be destroyed, as surely as Egypt and Babylon were destroyed.
So many dead, because someone holy and pure became something wicked and corrupt, and was cast out of the heavens.
That road to the pit is not only followed by demons, but by those foolish humans who place lies above truth, and what they want now over what they need for eternity.
But note: for damned humanity, their destruction is not only reserved for a distant Judgement Day: much of their punishment comes even now, on this earth, as they live.
A shame, that even as wicked people (and churches, and nations, and businesses, and other groups of men) are destroyed, they still poison the land.