What does Revelation 8:9 mean?
ESV: A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
NIV: a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
NASB: and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.
CSB: a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
NLT: one-third of all things living in the sea died, and one-third of all the ships on the sea were destroyed.
KJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
Even without reading the terrible events of Revelation, we can understand the danger of polluting earth's waters. Environmentalists and marine biologists often warn about pollution and its hazards to aquatic life. It is estimated that every year, billions of pounds of plastic end up in the ocean. Seals are caught in discarded fishing gear and die trying to free themselves. Dolphins mistake plastic bags for their next meal and die eating them. Fish ingest deflated balloons and choke to death. What's described in Revelation is something worse—something beyond man's ability or capacity.

Given such clear, current examples, it is not hard to imagine the devasting consequences that result from the second trumpet judgment. When the object like a burning mountain crashes into the sea, a third of the sea's marine life dies. Perhaps the phenomenon of the water turning to blood—which may be a poetic description of some chemical or mineral effect—destroys the oxygen that the fish need. Further, the event destroys a third of the ships. This suggests a physical or weather-related consequence. Perhaps the weight of the falling object the size of a mountain sucks many ships into the water's depth or the object causes tidal waves to capsize the ships. At any rate, the impact of the fishing and shipping industries will be catastrophic.
Verse Context:
Revelation 8:6–13 follows a lengthy hush in heaven, after which seven angels receive seven trumpets and another angel mixes the prayers of the saints with incense. After emptying the censer of incense, he fills it with fire and casts it down to the earth. Thunder, rumblings, lighting, and an earthquake ensue. Now four of the seven angels blow their trumpets with disastrous effects on earth.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 8 tells us John saw seven angels receive seven trumpets. Another angel brought incense and the prayers of the saints at the golden altar, then filled the container with fire and cast it down to the earth. Next, four angels blew their trumpets in succession. The consequences were devastating: hail and fire mixed with blood; a third of the earth and trees were burned up; all green grass was consumed; a third of the sea became blood; a third of sea life died; a third of the ships were destroyed; the water supply became bitter, and many people died. Further, a third of the sun, moon, and stars experienced some kind of blackout, and darkness extended for a third of the day and night.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 7, an interlude occurs between the opening of the sixth seal and the seventh seal. In the interlude an angel seals 144,000 saved Jews as God's servants. Chapter 8 introduces the second series of judgments, the trumpet judgments. They begin when Jesus the Lamb opens the seventh seal. The trumpet judgments seem to follow the seal judgments without overlapping them. They are more severe than the seal judgments, resulting in catastrophic damage to plant life, salt waters, fresh waters, and light. Even so, this passage warns that the remaining judgments are even worse.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
Accessed 4/22/2024 3:43:40 PM
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