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."
The book of Revelation describes cataclysmic events that are to happen in the endtime. Part of these events are signaled by the blowing of seven trumpets by seven angels. At the sounding of the third trumpet in chapter 8, a great star called Wormwood was cast into the earth.
The world's worst ever nuclear meltdown occurred in 1986 at Chernobyl in Ukraine, at that time one of the states of the Soviet Union. Incredibly, Chernobyl is the Russian word for wormwood! It appears that the Chernobyl catastrophe was the fulfillment of the sounding of the third trumpet of Revelation 8!
At 1:22 a.m. on April 26, 1986, a Soviet reactor crew carelessly turned off the safety systems of the Chernobyl Unit 4 nuclear reactor to perform an unauthorized safety test.
Within 36 seconds the reactor surged out of control, and a steam explosion pierced the roof. Deprived of coolant, 150 tons of uranium fuel melted into lava that oozed into the basement of the reactor.
A second, hydrogen explosion ignited blocks of graphite, rocketing a hot plume of radioactive particles a mile into the sky. the explosion was so powerful that it blew the 2 million pound concrete lid of the reactor into the air. For three weeks the fire spread out of control, sprinkling iodine-131 and other nuclides as far as Scandinavia, Italy, and Britain.
In an 18-mile radius around the reactor, Geiger counters found extraordinarily high-level "gamma fields" where the fire's plume brushed the ground. Authorities evacuated 170,000 people, threw up barbed wire, and declared the area a permanent "exclusion zone."
Impact of the Disaster
The explosion in Chernobyl's reactor released an immense cloud of radiation north of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. The Chernobyl meltdown released 10 times the amount of radioactive substances as was released by the bombing of Hiroshima in World War II!
An estimated 125,000 people in Ukraine have died because of the Chernobyl disaster, and two million have been infected. Disease rates in some regions are three times higher for children than before the accident, and four to five times higher for pregnant women. One million extra cases of cancer are predicted worldwide within 70 years, Ukrainian scientists estimate. Over 200 million people have experienced excess exposure to radiation because of Chernobyl.
Dr. Alexander Rykhlya, director of the department of international scientific and technical cooperation, gave this opinion: "My view is that as time passed the medical aftermath will become worse. The peak death rate has not yet been reached. It will be reached after one or two generations."
Most severely affected was the Gomel region, hit first by the radiation: the thyroid cancer rate there is now about 80 times the world average. "The only reasonable explanation," write the Belarus officials, "is that it is a direct consequence of the accident at Chernobyl."
In the most badly affected areas, such as the Gomel area in the south, just over the border from Chernobyl, the cesium-137 surface contamination is more that 1,480 kilobecquerels per square meter, 1,000 times the norm. The normal level of radiation in the soil before the disaster was 1.48 kBq.
In these areas the forest looks as though it has been struck by lightning. Efforts are being made to bury radioactive trees, but the financial burden is too great. Only the animals remain. "There are large numbers of wild deer, elk and boar because it is a closed area," said Professor Alexander Stozharov, director of the Research Institute of Radiation Medicine. "Some are shot by the guards because they can transmit radiation to the clean zones."
More than 3 million acres of farmland-an area about the size of Connecticut-is considered lost for a century.
More than nine years after what everybody calls "the tragedy", Pripyat, the city near Chernobyl, is still dead and deadly. No one can live here-at least for long.
Weeds stand shoulder high along the wide avenues, a Ferris wheel is rusting behind the cinema. The dozens of tall apartment buildings where 49,000 people once lived still look new, but their windows are open, broken, blank. Trucks spray chemicals on decaying streets so their contaminated dust won't be spread by the breezes that rustle dead leaves of dead trees.
"This is the one place where you could understand how the world would be after a nuclear war," says Sergei Akulinin, who lived only 7 minutes from the Chernobyl power plant where he worked.
All animals and other foodstuffs that were contaminated by the radiation had to be destroyed. Several tens of thousands of rabbits raised for meat had to be destroyed. Nearly 100,000 reindeer being raised in Europe had to be killed and buried.
Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years. As a result when food containing radiation is eaten, it gets in the muscles and stays for a very long time. It eventually causes cancer.
The Waters Made Bitter
The prophecy of the third trumpet emphasizes that the star called Wormwood made the waters bitter. As the nuclear cloud produced by Chernobyl drifted over the Soviet Union and over Europe, and Extraordinary amount of rain fell. The rain brought the radiation from the nuclear cloud onto the soil, the animals, the crops, the trees, and into the rivers. The greater the rainfall, the greater was the amount of radioactivity. These heavy rains greatly increased the magnitude of this horrible disaster. Much of Europe was affected. When the prophecy said that many men died because of the waters, it explicitly described the effect of Chernobyl.
Testimonies From Chernobyl
Oleg Genrikh and Anatoly Kurguz were two of the workers on duty at Chernobyl at the time of the accident. Kruguz sat at his desk and made entries in his log. Three open doors stood between him and the reactor hall. When the nuclear reactor blew up, highly radioactive steam with nuclear fuel surged into the room where Kurguz had been sitting. He dashed through the door. Closing it, he shouted to Genrikh, "Fire! Everything's' on fire!"
Genrikh leaped up from his cot where he had been taking a nap, and dashed to open his door. He opened it a little, but beyond it was such an unbearable smell of burning that he gave up trying, and instinctively lay down on the linoleum, where it was a little cooler. He shouted to Kurguz, "Tolya! Lie down! It's cooler on the floor!"
Kurguz went in the Genrikh, and both of them lay down on the floor. "There at least we were able to breathe. I had a funny burning sensation in my lungs," Genrikh later recalled.
They waited about 3 minutes, by which time the heat had abated somewhat-as it should, since there was now no roof over their heads. Then they want out into the corridor along axes 50-52 of the building. The severely blistered skin on Kurguz's bleeding face and arms was hanging off in strips.
On the way to the control room, Genrikh and Kurguz were joined by two operators from the gas circuit, Simekonov and Simoninko. By now, Kurguz was in very poor shape: he was bleeding, and the skin under his clothes was covered with blisters. No one could do much to help him, as the slightest contact caused him intense pain. One wonders how he managed to walk the rest of the way to the medical center. Genrikh's burns were less serious, as he had been protected by the windowless room. Both of them, however, had received a dose of 600 roentgens.
Similar experiences were later recounted by most of the operators that were on duty that fateful April 26th morning. Most of the Chernobyl personnel that were working during the meltdown died extremely painful deaths within the next few weeks or months from radiation exposure.
the Third Trumpet
It is an awesome thing to contemplate the possibility that the third trumpet of Revelation 8 was sounded in 1986. Yet the evidence that this is true seems undeniable. What are the odds that the world's greatest ever nuclear accident would occur at a nuclear power plant named Wormwood-the exact name prophesied 2,000 years ago in the Bible?! The prophecy says that it was because of the waters that were made bitter that many men died. The conveyance of nuclear radiation by the water was the thing that caused so many to die.
Some have thought that the events of the seals, trumpets, and vials of Revelation must all occur during the Great Tribulation, but scripture does not say this. It can be proven that the first four seals of Revelation 6 have now been opened for some time (See chapter three of A Message for the President). It is indisputable that our generation is living in the book of Revelation right now. We are the generation spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:34 when he said: "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things by fulfilled."
As we swiftly approach the year 2,000, we also are approaching the promised second coming of Jesus Christ to this earth! Are you ready?!