“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” ~ Revelation 8:10-11
It you will recall from the first chapter in Revelation, that Jesus told us that a star represents a ministry.
This scripture speaks of a fallen wormwood star/ministry turning the third part of the waters bitter and people spiritually dying in that bitterness. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit in an individual is as living water that others can drink of. Living waters make you sweet, not bitter. But a corrupt ministry, one who operates with a hidden agenda of seeking rewards from men, not God, is a wormwood ministry. They are bitter because they have lost their relationship with God, and they make others bitter who would drink of their dead and bitter message. (Note: Although this can happen at any time, it especially represents the Pergamos church age, during the dark reign of Roman Catholicism. This is the Baalam age when a ministry seeks after earthly favor from earthly kings.)
“And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.” (Jeremiah 9:13-15)
Baalim represents a corrupt ministry. A ministry that seeks for their own gain from earthly rulers and kings. That means they will buy and sell in gospel teachings; in whatever way that the highest bidder desires. Consequently, it is a bitter thing for the less rich and influential because they always get cheated of the true riches, while others continue to glory in their selfish agenda’s.
But this spirit has always existed, so there have been times even before the middle ages when there was a true ministry who sounded the gospel trumpet against the corrupt wormwood spirit. In Acts we have a record of when Peter did, when he spoke to Simon the sorcerer. Simon was seeking to purchase his way into the church, so that he might be able to use some of the spiritual powers of the gospel for his own gain.
“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” ~ Acts 8:20-23
James also sounded out the gospel against this bitter self-seeking type of ministry in his epistle.
“Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is , there is confusion and every evil work.” ~ James 3:11-16
A ministry that buys and sells the gospel work for gain is bitter. They are especially bitter because their manipulative use of the Word has no connection to God at all. So they barley minister any true Word at all, and produce a spiritual famine: a famine from the lack of spiritual food from God. And everyone feels the starvation effect! This condition is also exposed in the opening of the third seal of Revelation.
And so God in his mercy has promised them that even their own bitterness would be a reprove to themselves. The only way they see themselves is by feeling the pain for their own abuse.
“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.” (Jeremiah 2:19-20)
The spiritual harlotry of an unfaithful to Christ ministry, is a bitter way to live! Because for a harlot, there is no connection to real sincere love in their life. And the same is true for one who claims to be a Christian, but yet they are unfaithful to Christ.
So what water have we been drinking? Have we become bitter against the things of God because of being under the influence of a wormwood minister? One who ministered to you a gospel that worked for their own personal gain? Then you are drinking from the Revelation vial of God’s wrath on the blood-guilty bitterness of hypocrisy. If so, are you going to continue the rest of your life in bitterness? Or will you let the true and faithful living waters of God’s Holy Spirit be your healing? They are hard to find, but there still are true ministers of living water. You can find them if you pray and allow God to lead you.
Spiritually, there are still true waters of the Holy Spirit’s love, that can heal the water that flows from you!
“Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.” ~ Ezekiel 47:8-9
Are we part of the pure living water of life that flows from Jesus Christ? Or have we been filled with bitterness from a false ministry that abuses their power in the gospel? Regardless of what other ministers have done to us, we have the choice through Jesus Christ about what kind of spiritual waters flow from our heart.
What choice shall we make: living waters, or bitter waters?
Note: this diagram below shows where this third trumpet message is within the full Revelation message. To better understand a high level view of Revelation, you can also see the “Roadmap of Revelation.”