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What do you think Revelation 8:8 refers to, a volcano or maybe a meteorite?

Rev 8:8 - The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood,

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  • it doesnt refer to either...its symbolic. One theory may be found here amazingdiscoveries.org/…!
    – Adam
    Mar 23, 2021 at 8:27
  • But it clearly states that the third part of the sea "third part of the sea became blood; 9 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."
    – APoL0
    Mar 23, 2021 at 8:36

3 Answers 3

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The best way to understand the book of Revelation is to find the precedents in the OT and elsewhere. The images in Rev 8:8 are:

  • "Mountain ablaze" is an allusion to Heb 12:18, Ex 19:18, 24:17, Deut 4:11, 5:4, 22, 23. All these are connected with the giving of the Law on Sinai.
  • "Cast into the sea" is to discard or thow something away so that (Generally) it cannot be retrieved, Ex 14:27, 28, 15:1, 4, 19, Neh 9:11, Ps 46:2, Matt 8:32, Mark 5:13, Jonah 1:5, 2:3, etc.
  • Water turning to blood is an allusion to the first plague of Egypt - a device used to punish Egypt, the enslaver of the Israelites

While this does not answer the question, it does show that the vision is highly symbolic and should be interpreted that way.

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  • Downvote cancelled +1. Agreed that we should not expect to see historical events in the visionary images but rather principles which govern the whole age from Christ's ascension to Christ's return and that comparison is essential with other prophetic utterances.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 23, 2021 at 18:24
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Edmundson suggested that this passage--and others in Revelation--may have been inspired by a volcanic eruption:

Moveover as the Seer in the island of Patmos sat brooding over and recording his visions, before his very eyes there was a spectacle which has left its traces upon his language. The volcano in the neighbouring island of Thera was in violent activity during the greater part of the first century, after which it had a long period of quiescence until 726 A.D. No one can read a number of passages in the Apocalypse without feeling that the writer must have been the witness of a volcanic eruption on a grand scale, and there are other passages which point to familiarity with such scenes. (see here)

That doesn't mean that the event being described (symbolically, as others have noted) was necessarily a volcanic eruption (but I suppose it could be), but at the very least, if John had seen one of Thera's eruptions, the imagery of so dramatic an event could have influenced the language he chose to describe the plagues after the seventh seal was opened.

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  • For what it's worth, I've also heard this passage interpreted as a nuclear bomb or a catastrophic petrochemical failure/oil spill. There may well be as many interpretations as there are imaginations. Mar 23, 2021 at 23:39
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The words translated ‘great mountain’ are preceded with the Greek ‘hōs’ which means ‘as like’ - which clearly reflects that this is a simile. So this [catastrophic] event is almost probably not a literal mountain.

As to what it may actually be, your view is going to be shaped by your [or your denominations] theological understanding of Revelation - and these differ significantly, and widely.

My own personal view is that all of the major catastrophes in Revelation are natural geographical events. And that nothing in Revelation is something that hasn’t been ‘mirrored’ elsewhere in the Bible. But interpretations vary. And, while many are adamant their view is correct, it’s, at best, often difficult to support any view exegetically.

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