When we extend this topographical analogy, we also note that the Bible often uses 'hills'
to refer to small nations or large cities. In the same way, 'dust'
is used to refer to scattered people groups, and the 'islands'
can also refer to nations within the greater 'sea'
of restless society. All of these symbols and more can be seen in passages such as Isaiah chapter 41, but let’s review just the portion of this passage that refers to the “mountains”
in order to see where this particular portion of the Revelation is taking us;“Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.”
In proper context, when Israel is told by God that they will “thresh the mountains and crush them”
, they are being told that they will be given power to thresh the kingdoms of the world and crush them during the coming millennial age. And after all, that is indeed the promise that God has made to His saints;“To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations--‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father.”
In essence, we have precisely the same symbolism in play in both verses. In the latter instance the bride of Jesus will "dash"
the nations to pieces, and in the former instance the bride will "thresh the mountains"
or nations/empires of the world. And since this particular mountain in the second trumpet is a “huge mountain”
, this tells us that it’s going to be a very dominant kingdom at the time of this fulfillment. More on that in a moment.“All Ablaze”
The fact that this mountain is “all ablaze”
is a very interesting aspect of this study, since this suggest that this mountain or kingdom is afflicted
somehow. In previous studies we demonstrated that fire is analogous to refinement and/or consumption, so this kingdom is obviously either being refined, or it is on it’s way to destruction.
Either way, we know that the mountain was already on fire when it was cast down from heaven, so it is plain to see that it had been afflicted there
before being cast down. And I think the reason for this is that this mountain is spiritual Babylon, the kingdom of Satan as it exists in the spirit world. Follow me here for a moment;
We know from scripture that Satan always seeks to counterfeit everything that is God. It is his desire to ascend to the heights and be like God himself (Isaiah 14:13), so he generally adopts many of God‘s ways in order to be perceived as God by his minions. And that is where we find the
reason for the existence of spiritual Babylon, or the Babylon the Great
that we read about in the Revelation.
God built Jerusalem to be his earthly residence, and we know from the Bible that it was/is merely a semblance of the New Jerusalem
in the 3rd heaven that God will bring down one day to be his eternal residence. Naturally, if Satan desires to be like God, he must then do the same.
So in contrast to God's Jerusalem on earth and New Jerusalem in heaven, Satan apparently established his kingdom of Babylon here on earth as a semblance of his kingdom of Babylon the Great in the 2nd heaven, or “the air“
as it is sometimes called in scripture. This is why one of Satan’s names in the Bible is “the ruler of the kingdom of the air”
(Ephesian 2:2), because he literally has a kingdom in "the air" of the 2nd heaven. And at this point in the Revelation narrative, this kingdom is all ablaze in it's affliction and pending destruction.“Thrown Into The Sea”
There is nothing contained in the Revelation that doesn’t have a precedent or parallel prophecy in the Old Testament. While many claim that the Revelation is virtually incomprehensible with it’s strange symbolism, all we have to do is find similar prior uses of that symbolism as presented in the Bible, and we can know the intended meaning. And in this instance we can find that parallel in the book of Jeremiah, where I believe we read of this same event in history future; “Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the LORD. “I am against you, O destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,” declares the LORD. “I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain."
There are several reasons why I believe this prophecy and the prophecy of the second trumpet are parallel accounts. Consider the following;1)
This “destroying mountain”
in Jeremiah is obviously ablaze just like mountain in the second trumpet, because God states that he will cause it to be a “burned out”
mountain. Simple logic dictates that to become burned out, it must have been ablaze to begin with. 2)
This destroying mountain is extinguished by being rolled “off the cliffs”
, which sounds remarkably similar to the free-fall that the mountain in the second trumpet will experience when it is cast down out of heaven. 3)
When this destroying mountain is rolled off the cliffs in order to be extinguished, it must have a quenching agent that puts out the flame. In the second trumpet it’s “the sea”
that puts out the flames, and there is no reason to believe it‘s any different with Jeremiah 51. 4)
Finally, Jeremiah describes how this mountain is "Babylon"
and further defines the mountain as containing “all who live in Babylonia.”
This earthly Babylon is clearly related to Revelation's ‘Babylon the Great’
, which is the foil that we read about throughout the book. In essence, I believe that Jeremiah and John were both identifying Satan's center of influence in these respective realms.The Symbolism of “The Sea”
Before we go any further, we have to talk about the symbolism behind this term ‘the sea’
, because it has a highly spiritual element that is typically lost in this analysis. Bear with me for a moment and you’ll see the connection.
First, we are all familiar with the biblical symbolism behind the ‘living water’
of God, which is the working of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine or Truth that comes from the Holy Spirit is the symbolic sweet
water that we can drink that sustains us and ultimately leads to eternal life. We can see this simple truth in the following passage from the Gospel of John;On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
On the other hand, water from ‘the sea’
is a briny
mix of doctrine that comes from a different spirit, and the doctrine from this spirit cannot be consumed or it will kill you, just as sea water can kill you if consumed in large amounts. Ultimately, this is the kind of water that leads to death.
So there is the contrast; we have the living water
of the Holy Spirit which leads to life, or we have the sea water
of a lying spirit that leads to death. Our choice is which doctrine will we choose to drink from. If we drink from the living water, he will guide us into all truth, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ;“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
Sadly, most of the world has chosen the false doctrine of a lying spirit, which quite ironically is also symbolized by the fact that sea water covers over 70% of the globe. And this lying spirit will lead to their destruction, because this lying spirit will be intent on delivering a DIFFERENT gospel from the one delivered by the Apostles, just as it was done in Corinth in the time of Paul;“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”
Sadly, the Bible tells us that the world will indeed receive this "different spirit"
and receive a "different gospel"
all too easy in the last days, when the antichrist enters the scene performing great counterfeit miracles, and claiming to be God. The Sea of People
We can now extend this symbolism a little further, because ‘the sea’
refers not only to the lying spirit that promotes a false doctrine, but it also alludes to the living creatures in the sea, or the sea of people in the restless societies of the world that adopt that doctrine. This stands in contrast to the people in ‘the land‘
that are generally at rest, but whose foundations are occasionally shaken (symbolized by an earthquake).
So when we read that this “huge mountain”
or spiritual kingdom of Babylon is cast from heaven and “thrown into the sea”
, it would appear that it was cast from heaven directly into the hands of a system of false doctrine that was created by a lying spirit. And the people in this false system are restless people groups that are easily tossed about by spirits, just as waves are easily tossed about by the wind. Specifically, I believe this ‘sea’ is primarily representative of the Middle East, and of Islam in particular. In large part, this is very likely “the sea”
that Jesus referred to in Luke 21:25;“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.”
Here, the “roaring and tossing”
sea signifies the unrest that this part of the world will experience in those days when they are spiritually activated and deceived into raging across the world. We have to remember that other religions of the world, such as Islam, are also awaiting a messiah figure, and when this counterfeit messiah finally appears (is cast down), those parts of the world will indeed roar and toss like the sea.
The truth is, we can already see this momentum building after watching the Arab Spring unfold in North Africa, and this will only increase in the months ahead. “A Third of The Sea Turned into Blood”
Since we’re already on the topic of the sea, let’s examine why this spiritual kingdom of Babylon would be cast down into “the sea”
, rather than on “the land”
First, please keep in mind that this term ‘the sea’
is symbolic of restless people that are easily tossed by spirits, just as waves are easily tossed by the wind. This is one of those interesting and symbolic word plays in the Bible, since ‘wind’
are both ‘ruach’
in Hebrew. But the point is that God has them cast down into this sea because he is going to symbolically quench this mountain’s fire in this sea of people by removing it’s affliction in their midst. In fact, not only is it‘s affliction removed, but the kingdom will be empowered and given 42 months to reign over the earth;“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.”
Years ago I wondered why God would allow this kind of evil to reign, but the answer seems abundantly clear. This same sea of people rejected Jesus, the good shepherd
, so now they will be given the “worthless shepherd”
(Zechariah 11) to rule them instead. And the worthless shepherd is Satan, who is the real ‘king of Babylon’, who will ultimately be destroyed along with them. We read of his destruction in Isaiah 14;…..you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended! The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers, which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression………The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—all those who were leaders in the world…….All your pomp has been brought down to the grave…….How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
But before he is destroyed by God, he will be cast down to earth to reign for 3½ years. So when his spiritual kingdom of Babylon the Great causes a third of this sea to turn into blood, this represents the guilt
that is associated with it’s shedding of blood. In a symbolic sense, blood equals guilt, and these people will have the guilt of innocent blood on their hands. In fact, we find this confirmation a little later in the seven bowls;Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”
In this bowl judgment, when the water is turned to blood the guilty have only blood to drink. But in that instance, that bowl was poured out on the rivers and springs, which have an entirely different symbolic meaning than the sea. More on that in the next post.“A Third of the Living Creatures”
Since we’ve already discussed how the sea is symbolic of the body of people that are easily tossed by the wind/spirits (‘ruach’), we can now use this analogy to equate the living "creatures”
in the sea to the people themselves. So when we read that a third of these living creatures die, is this a literal fulfillment, or once again a symbol for something else?
To answer that, we can not that in the scriptures the Lord used the term ‘the dead’
many times to signify the spiritual condition of those that were lost. One such scripture is found in Matthew chapter 8, where Jesus used the term to represent the lost in Israel;But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Jesus was saying 'let those that are spiritually dead' bury their dead family members. But this term is also used later in the Revelation to describe those who will be spiritually dead on the earth who will be perishing during the 3½ years of the beast. They will have missed the rapture due to their lack of belief in the one true God, but even then they will be given one last chance at redemption, as described in the following passage;Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Although they will be spirutally “dead”
to Him in those days, it’s equally obvious from this passage that they will eventually turn to Jesus and “die in the Lord”
and so be saved. However, it may require their martyrdom, as the beast will be running amok over the earth, seeking to destroy any remnant of faith in God.
With all that being said, when we examine the Hebrew word ’nephesh’
, used here for "creatures
", it generally refers to literal creatures of all types. In fact, it’s the same term used in Genesis chapter 1 to describe the living creatures
created on Day 5;And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
When we break this word down in the paleo-Hebrew pictographs, we have a Nun
followed by a Pey
, and finally a Shin
. When applying the potential meanings of each letter, as we have done many times in the posts in this series, the resulting meaning is simply this;“Seed with a mouth and teeth”
In other words, the term ‘nephesh’
can seemingly refer to anything that reproduces that has a mouth and teeth. So while this word is generally intended to represent animals, it would be symbolically appropriate to use it to represent mankind in this instance. And since this portion of the Revelation tells us that a third of these creatures or people “die”,
then we can logically presume that they will spiritually die to the Lord, as described by Paul;"If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."
This will apparently be one of the unfortunate affects that the antichrist will have on mankind. It would seem that a third of those who were otherwise considered living
by the Lord will die to him spiritually by believing in "the lie" created by Satan.“A Third of the Ships”
When this narrative tells us that a third of the ships in the sea will be destroyed, once again we can assign a symbolic meaning, and we can presume that these “ships”
are something other than literal boats. Instead, they are evangelists, or any other person that brings the word of God from one place to another, just as ships bring merchandise from one place to another.
If you don’t believe this is so, please consider how this term “ships”
is used in some of the symbolic passages of the Bible, such as this one in Proverbs, where Solomon is speaking of the faithful and noble wife; “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.”
When we examine the symbolism behind this Proverb, it’s quite clear that this "noble wife"
is a type
for God’s intended bride, the Church. And the fact that this noble wife is described as “bringing her food from afar”
is no coincidence. I firmly believe that this is an allusion to the evangelism that the church has brought to the world “from afar”
for the past two millennia now. The “food”
that she has been bringing has been the word of God, and just as the “water”
of the Spirit sustains mankind, the “food”
of the word of God is what man uses for his spiritual growth.
If this analogy is correct, then we can presume that the fact that a third of the ships in the restless sea of people are destroyed can only mean that a third of the evangelistic works of the church will be eliminated in those days. Naturally, this is one of the goals of Satan in those days. But we‘ll cover that in greater detail when we get to chapter 12 of the Revelation.
To wrap up this post, there is another piece of support for this theory that is found in the underlying meaning of the Hebrew word for “ships”.
This term in Hebrew is ’aniyoth’
, which is spelled the following way, again reading from right to left; = 'Aniyoth'
As we've done many times in this series, we'll now examine the original Paleo-Hebrew pictographic letters to see if they reveal any additional underlying meanings to this word;
The first letter is an Aleph
, which is the head of an ox. This letter typically means strong, power
, or leader
due to the ox's natural strength and power.
The second letter is a Nun
, which is a seed. This letter typically means continue, heir,
, since those are things related to man's seed.
The third letter is a Yud
, which is an arm and hand. It typically means work, throw,
since that is what we do with our arms and hands.
The fourth letter is a Vav
, which is a tent peg, and would generally mean add, secure
, or hook
, because those are all related functions of a peg.
The fifth letter is a Tav
, which is a cross, or crossed sticks. This would generally mean mark, sign, signal
, or monument,
just as the cross was a sign of God's love for mankind.
When we apply the most probable meanings to each letter, in the proper context of this passage, then the message is unmistakable, and this word ‘aniyoth‘
means;“Leaders who continue worship by securing the cross”
And after all, isn’t that what evangelists do, and isn't that what the prospective wife (ship) of Jesus should be doing until He returns?NEXT TIME:
In the next post we’ll examine the third trumpet, which represents the casting down of Satan.