Some have even quoted Revelation 8:8-9 which says, “The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.” Their assertion is that this is a fulfillment of Scripture and that this situation shows that we are in the last days. This presents a wonderful opportunity to teach about what is and is not “last days” fulfillment of prophecy.
In order for us to know what is and is not fulfilled prophecy we need to start with the understanding that Scripture is true – and it says what it says so we can understand the truth and know specifically things that are going to happen prior to Christ’s return. Too many want to loosely deal with the facts of the Word when it comes to prophetic statements. They want to be able to take any situation and make it a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. This is just not the case – and it leads to horrific exegesis of biblical prophetic passages. Let’s take a look at Revelation 8 and see what it says – and how this proves to us that the current Gulf situation is NOT a specific fulfillment of prophecy.
Revelation 8:8-9 says that “a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea.” OK . . . here’s our first problem. Did any of you hear of a burning mountain hitting the Gulf of Mexico? I sure did not. But some say that when the rig exploded it was like a big mountain of fire. But that just does not cut it when exegeting Scripture. This passage speaks of something like an asteroid (which by the way, looks like a mountain burning with fire being thrown from the sky). But this is not the only problem here. The passage also says that 1/3 of the sea became blood. Now I know that the Gulf has been stained with the oil from this blown well – and – that the coagulated oil in the water has a deep red-like look – but we have two very serious problems here. First, the entire Gulf of Mexico is no where near a third of the sea – and in fact the areas that have been polluted don’t come near to being a third of the Gulf itself. Next problem is that the ocean becomes blood in this passage – and that is NOT happening in the Gulf. Since we’re dealing with problems – we also have the problem that a third of the creatures in the sea have not died – neither have a third of the ships been destroyed either. Thus we have numerous problems with saying that the Gulf situation is fulfillment of Revelation 8.
Then what is going on in the Gulf? Is it related to the last days? Let me give you my opinion on these questions. First of all we read in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days “perilous times will come.” What I find fascinating is that these perilous conditions will exist because, “men will be lovers of self, lovers of money . . . “ Well, that certainly has something to do with this situation. We have learned that BP, the group responsible for the well, were the worst safety violators of all the oil companies working in the Gulf of Mexico. Their record was worse than all the other companies working in the Gulf combined. Sounds like a love of self and money was a huge reason this happened. We also learned that a waiver was given from the Obama administration 5 minutes after it was requested on an unsafe and dangerous well. Why would that happen? Maybe it was because the administration received very large contributions from BP? Ah, once again we see love of self and money at work. These things are not nearly as exciting as thinking Revelation 8 has been fulfilled, because . . . well, because we watch the love of self and money messing things up all the time! Yes we do – and it is a sign that we are living in those perilous times – but not that we’ve experienced a specific fulfillment of prophecy.
There is a second interesting thing we might see at work here as well. This explosion had interesting timing. On April 19th a very significant event happened in the United States concerning our foreign policy and our view of Israel. It was reported on the news that day that the Obama administration was signaling that Israel could no longer depend on the United States to use its veto power in the United Nations to protect Israel from some of the anti-Israel resolutions that come up there for a vote. This was a huge shift in our foreign policy and another sign that the United States was walking away from Israel. The reason the date of April the 19th is so important to recognize is that this was the day before the oil rig exploded on April 20th. Some may call it a coincidence – but what is fascinating is how many of these coincidences have taken place right after we have turned against Israel.
God’s Word has a promise made to Abraham and his offspring (i.e. Israel) – “And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." Genesis 12:2-3 (NASB). Once again, this is not a direct fulfillment of a prophecy in Revelation – but a fulfillment of God’s Word in that the protection for our nation continues to come down every time we turn away from Israel.
In conclusion what is going on in the Gulf? First, there is NOT a direct fulfillment of any specific prophecy made about the events surrounding the return of Christ. Second, there is the continued peril of living in a time when the selfishness and greed of fallen men. That peril has now extended to the Gulf region now being damaged by this oil leak. God is trying to get our attention by allowing the sin of men in this evil age to affect us negatively. We need to learn to turn from sin and wickedness, especially the sin of selfish, money-driven living. By the way, the only way we can be delivered from these sins is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The third thing going on in the Gulf is discipline upon our nation for continuing to turn away from Israel.
Hopefully we will learn the harder lessons from what is going on in the Gulf. These are lessons that require us to turn away from our selfishness and greed for money. Hopefully we will learn that it is not wise for us to turn from our ally Israel – even if it means standing with them alone while the rest of the world criticizes us. It is better for us to know God’s blessing and protection upon our land – than to have the approval of the very nations He will destroy in the end for opposing Him as He brings Israel to salvation through Jesus Christ.