The Third Trumpet:

The Name of the Star is Wormwood

8: 10-11

   DIG: Who is this third angel named Wormwood? What does he do on the earth? How much of the earth is affected? How does mankind react?

   REFLECT: How has bitterness affected your life? Others? What have you discovered as an antidote for bitterness?

    Like birth pangs, one after another, before the people can recover from the poisoning of the sea, all of the fresh waters on the earth will also be poisoned. Scientists will follow the flaming object as it hurtles toward the earth. Instead of falling to their knees in repentance, however, the people of the earth continue to harden their hearts.

    The third angel sounded his shofar, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky. Whenever the word star is used symbolically, it is always the symbol for an angel and this is the case here. Because of his deadly effects, the name of the angel is Wormwood, showing him to be a fallen one. He causes one-third of the sweet water on the earth to turn bitter. Fallen angels will be used on several occasions to render judgment on the earth, and this is one such time.253

    Wormwood translates apsinthos, a word used only here in the New Covenant. However, it is used eight times in the TaNaKh where it is the translation of the Hebrew word laanah. It is associated with bitterness, poison and death (Deuteronomy 29:18; Proverbs 5:4; Lamentations 3:19; Amos 5:7 and 6:12). In three of those uses, wormwood is connected with poisoned water. In Jeremiah 9:15 CJB, for example, ADONAI, the LORD of heavens angelic armies said to the rebellious southern kingdom of Judah: See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water (also see Jeremiah 23:15 and Lamentations 3:15).254

    A third of the rivers of waters turned bitter, and many people died. This fallen angel is named for his effect on the waters. Therefore, he will cause the fresh waters of the earth to become as bitter as the plant wormwood, with one exception. He will cause the fresh waters to become so poisonous that many people will die. The Bible doesn’t tell us how he will do it, all we know is the result.

    It will be the reversal of the miracle at Marah, where Moses threw a branch of a tree into the bitter water and it became sweet (see my commentary on Exodus Cn – Marah). Although the Bible does not say, it is reasonable to assume that many others will die from thirst. With one-third of the fresh waters tainted, most people will be unable to obtain drinkable water before extreme thirst sets in. Adults will survive without water for about three days while the sick and infants won’t last that long.255

    The world media will notice the “coincidence” that a third of the rivers and their waters were poisoned. The recurring one-third proportion, experienced through several of the phenomena already, should have given the inhabitants of the earth some clue that these calamities were not random events, but controlled by the Lord. They will fail to see the connection. Human nature is curious. When we don’t want to see something, we can look the other way. But calamity and sorrow are the natural consequences of our rebellion against God and the result will be no different during the Great Tribulation. He would continue to get their attention.


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