First Trumpet and Bowl in Revelation

Chapter 9 – Land in Revelation and Science

As global warming heats up the earth, fires across countries and continents increase in frequency, intensity, range, and destructiveness. They are one of a dozen vicious feedback cycles in the global system that is tearing down the earth; global warming increases fires–fires decrease forests (carbon sinks) and give off carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (carbon sources)–decreasing forests increases global warming–increasing fires.

A third of the earth will be burned up.

NASA Satellite: Earth Is Burning

Burning earth includes fires, droughts, deforestation, and pests destroying massive forests decreasing carbon sinks and increasing carbon sources.

Rev 8:7            [Part A] The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and  [Part B] a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Rev 16:2 [Part A] The first angel went and poured out his bowl in the earth; and [Part B] it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

NOTE: Part A is mostly symbolic (except the angel(s) is real). Hail, fire, and blood, as well as, pouring out the bowl on earth represent the tremendous power of God coming down from heaven onto the earth to execute His judgment (Rev 14:7). Part B is literal. Please look at NASA’s yearly “Wildfires from Space” showing satellite photos from space taken by MODIS revealing massive fires all over the earth.[1]

The word for “burned” in Revelation 8:7 is used three times, but the word “fire” is not there. Some may assume that the land, trees, and grass burn only from fire. However, vegetation can be “burned” by heat waves, droughts, pests, even “ice burns” as in the tundra due to warming, as well as literal conflagrations.

            Global temperature rise is generating heat waves and droughts, desiccating soils and vegetation, augmenting ferocity and frequency of fires. The increasing numbers of forest fires are in direct proportion to earth’s rising temperatures.[2] Since atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)and global temperatures are steadily increasing, it is no surprise that most of earth’s warming has taken place in the last 35 years, with the six warmest years on record since 2014–every year to 2020 (as I write).[3] The USDA reported that around the world, fire seasons are an average of 78 days longer than they were in 1970, and the number of acres scorched each year has doubled since 1980. The hotter it gets, the worse the fires. Forests cool lands, store water, and release water vapor necessary for rain. The fewer forests, the less water, the worse the fires, (the more greenhouse gases go into the atmosphere), the worse the heat; a dearth of forests creates hotter weather. Hotter weather ignites hotter fires.

            “By most accounts, deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads” (transportation is 14% and deforestation is 15%).[4] By August 2019, the Brazilian Amazon had 75,336 fires since January. This number exceeded the previous year by 85%. Brazil’s space research agency (INPE) said that humans were primarily to blame due to slash and burn. NASA’s Earth Observatory released images showing the smoke was so bad that it darkened the skies above São Paulo at midday.[5] Twenty percent of the Amazon has already burned down. At the current rate of burning, the Amazon will be savannah or desert by 2100.

            This is one of the feedback cycles fueling global warming. According to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), half the world’s forests have been cleared by deforestation. In 2017, humanity destroyed an expanse of tropical forest nearly the size of England.[6] According to researchers from the University of Maryland, a third of that area (14,000 sq. mi.) was primary rainforest. In 2015, massive forests burned in Indonesian islands presenting serious health threats to millions of people across Southeast Asia.[7]

            Global warming is already igniting unprecedented mega-fires and extending fire seasons in the U.S. “Between 1950 and 2000 the number of major fires on the American continent increased from two per decade to fifty per decade.”[8] Randy Anderson, a twenty-four-year head wilderness firefighter pointed out that in 1987, the biggest fire in the western U.S. was the Dude Fire burning 20,000 acres, shocking everyone. “Today, we’re seeing 400,000 acre fires.”[9] The U.S. Forest Service reports that “each year, an average of more than 73,000 wildfires burn about 7 million acres of private, state and federal land and more than 2,600 structures.”[10]

            In the California fires of 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2015, an average of a million acres were burned in each of those years.[11] The governor of California stated, “There’s no more fire season, we have wildfires year around.”[12] Over the last 10 years, an average of 745,000 acres burned per year in that one state. According to Harvard University scientists, the area burned by wildfires in the American West is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2050 due to rising heat and drought; the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies by 175 percent.[13] By 2018, the biggest fires in California’s history raged across the country. “In California, 15 of the 20 largest fires in state history have burned since 2000.”[14]

            It is no surprise that the most damaging fires are on the West Coast where droughts and heat are pounding the land. The East Coast has the least amount of fire damage, a fact that is correlated to the projection of increasing the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes with more Category 4s and 5s, as well as greater rainfall rates in hurricanes. So the West will be hotter and dryer, especially in spring and summer (augmenting fires), while the East will be warmer and wetter, especially in fall, winter, and spring (suppressing fires).[15]

            Tom Swetnam, professor at the University of Arizona, is a world expert on tree rings and has samples going back 3,000 years. He concludes that over the last hundred years the climate impact on forests has been hotter and dryer increasing the number of fires, the length of fire seasons, and the intensity of fires making them six times more destructive as they cover six times more area than they did between 1970 to 1986. Forest fires have become so hot, that they “burn through the soil, so that the soil erodes, and it can take trees up to a thousand years to grow back.”[16] Because of global warming, the wildfire season is now averaging 78 days longer than it did just 30 years ago.[17]

            Due to the warming climate, the bark beetle has doubled its reproductive cycle and expanded its territory from lower California, across the Rockies, far into Canada and Alaska unleashing a plague that has killed 45 million acres of pines devastating entire forests into a tinder box of dead trees just waiting for one match or one lightning strike.[18] Diana Six, professor of Forest Entomology and Pathology at the University of Montana, who has been studying this pest for sixteen years, stated, “The death of all the trees from beetles and fires is setting off a vicious cycle. All the carbon released by the dead trees will speed up the rate of climate change which will only lead to higher temperature, more beetles, and more fires.”[19] This is a positive feedback loop. A few decades ago, Canada and Alaska were cold enough to kill the beetles and keep their numbers small allowing forests to survive. Today, the beetles are so comfortable with the rising temperatures that they have reached plague-of-locust proportions, killing tens of millions of acres of forests, preparing them for the fire, and moving on. “All the trees  . . . shall the (insects) consume.”[20]

            During the 2003 European heat wave, 71,000 people died from the heat while goliath forest fires scorched dry terrain equal to the size of Luxembourg, consuming orchards, houses, and eighteen lives. Such wildfires will become increasingly common in Spain, southern France, Turkey, and the Balkans, as the subtropical arid belt moves northward spreading Sahara-like weather into southern Europe.

            Warming climate will turn extensive boreal forests (found in a continuous belt across northern Alaska, Canada, and Eurasia) into a carbon-and-methane time bomb.[21] The boreal area is also called the taiga, a Russian word for a swampy, damp forest. The boreal forest is the largest forest ecosystem on the planet comprising 11 percent of earth’s terrestrial surface. Unlike most temperate and tropical forests where carbon is predominantly stored in living trees, 80 percent of the carbon in boreal forests is in the soil.[22] About 231 billion metric tons of carbon is stored in boreal soils, while 58 billion tons of carbon is stored in live vegetation.[23] The world’s boreal forests–plants and soils–contain more than one-third of the planet’s terrestrial stores of carbon, which if released would have a disastrous effect pushing the climate past tipping points into run away global warming.[24]

            CBS News reported on the morning of June 21, 2020 that the hottest temperature ever has been recorded for the Arctic at the town of Verkhoyansk (67.5°) at 100.7°F, which is 32 degrees above normal and almost unheard of. Usually this town is one of the coldest spots on Earth. As a result of hot-dry conditions, numerous fires rage nearby and smoke is visible for thousands of miles on Satellite images. Parts of Siberia have been toasting for weeks remarkably above normal since January. Above the Arctic Circle, Khatanga hit 78°F (46 degrees above normal and shattered the previous record by an astounding 22 degrees). The average heat across Russia from January to May 2020 is so shocking because these temperatures were projected for 2100. Last summer, Markusvinsa in Sweden in the Arctic Circle hit 94.6°F. With the warming and drying, unprecedented Arctic fires made summer 2019 the very worst fire season on record.[25]  Imagine how those temperatures are thawing the “perma”frost and releasing the methane all across northern Russia!

            In 2016, there were over 30,000 fires burning 3 million acres in the U.S. In 2015, wildfires burned more than 10 million acres. “Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate that by 2050, the total amount of acreage burned annually will be at least twice as high as it is today” due to global warming.[26] During the same time, Canada was evacuating 88,000 people. (“One of the largest evacuations in North America,” said Bill Stewart, the co-director of the University of California’s Center for Fire Research at UC Berkeley). They lost 1,600 structures in the Fort McMurray fires that burned over 1,000 sq. km. (about 386 sq. mi.).

            In the summer of 2019, Europe suffered another scorching heat wave that headed into Greenland melting the top of the mile-deep ice sheet (which is usually the coldest place and never melts). At the same time in northern Russia and Siberia, more than 100 “intense and long-lived wildfires” broke records for over two months cloaking more than 4.5 million sq. km. (almost 2 million sq. mi. remembering that the U.S. is 3.5 million sq. mi.) in smoke visible from space. Satellite photos over the North Pole showed over half the land mass in flames from boreal and Arctic wildfires breaking records in scale and duration. Ice in the Arctic and Greenland is melting at record-breaking levels.[27] In the summer of 2019, 700,000 acres burned in Canada, and 230 fires raged across Alaska pouring carbon dioxide (CO2), and even worse methane (CH4), into the skies.

            In 2020, California and Oregon broke all records for wildfire destruction and smoke pollution turning skies a dark orange. In Oregon on September 11th, hundreds of thousands were evacuating on top of a half million (more than 10% of the 4.2 million people in the state) because of uncontrolled wildfires. Gov. Kate Brown said that over 900,000 acres (larger than Rhode Island) had burned in the last 3 days. That was almost double the land burned in a typical year. [31]

            The orange darkened skies blotting out the sun are blanketing the state with air pollution so bad that it threatens the health of everyone. “What’s notable is that it’s everywhere,” said Anthony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center at UC David. “So no matter which way the wind blows you’re getting hit by smoke and ash. It’s pretty brutal.” The health effect of wildfire smoke over the state include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, asthma attacks, and increase risk of heart attacks and stroke. Wildfire smoke increases the smog-forming pollutants in the air. The levels are in the danger zone. [34]

            At the same time in 2020, California began September having already broken previous records with 3 million acres of scorched earth. Fires have become so numerous and vast that they actually join up in what is referred to as “complexes”–“the scope of which the state has never seen.” Last Thursday (9/10/20), the August complex, which was produced by 37 fires merging in and around Tehama County, became the largest recorded in California at 471,000 acres. [32] Daniel Berlant, an assistant deputy director at Cal Fire, stated, “We are hitting the record books in ways that we never would have imagined, and definitely not records that we like breaking.” California’s wildfires are growing bigger and moving faster leaving less time for warnings and evacuations. “We have seen multiple fires expand by tens of thousands of acres in a matter of hours, and 30 years or more ago that just wasn’t fire behavior that we saw,” said Jacob Bendix, a professor of geography and the environment with expertise in wildfires at Syracuse University. Ever warming temperatures and years of drought related to global warming are prime factors for this trend. US Forest Service forester Steve Lohr observed, “When you have a fire run 15 miles in one day, in one afternoon, there’s no model that can predict that. the fires are behaving in such a way that we’ve not seen.” [33]

            There is no doubt in any scientist’s mind that increasing trend in fire days, fire zones consumed, and intensity of fires is the product of global warming. Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist professor of Earth System Science at Standfor University has documented just how much worse California’s fires have become as the planet has warmed. His studies showed, “The frequency of extreme wildfire weather during the autumn season in California has doubled in the last four decades.” Now, the fire season is essentially year-round. [35]

            Earth has always had fires, but those humanity saw were smaller, cooler, less frequent, less deadly. With rising global warming, the fires are hotter, longer, cover more area, destroy more forests, kill too many people, and decrease a major carbon sink (a sink absorbs CO2 out of the air) while becoming a carbon and methane source. The first trumpet sounded and “a third of the earth was burned up.”[28]

            The first bowl was poured and “a loathsome and malignant sore” appeared on the people who worshipped the beast of Revelation.[29] The beast has not yet appeared, neither has this disease. However, as previously noted with the pine park beetle and mosquitoes in Alaska, warming climate change does expand the territories of agents and vectors and the diseases they carry, including all tick-borne diseases (Lyme), all mosquito-borne diseases (malaria), and other protozoan diseases (dysenteric amoeba). In the U.S., I was rarely ill. When I moved to Africa near the equator (hot and humid), sicknesses rocketed in our family including frequent malaria and intestinal and skin parasites. As a family, we went from visiting the doctor once a year in the U.S. to every month or more in Africa. Everything from bacteria to worms grows better in warm, moist environments.

            Both the trumpet and the bowl are linked to the land. With warming weather, the land burns, crops and herds decrease the food supply, pests and parasites against crops and man increase . . . the human body weakens and is more susceptible to disease. However, how Revelation’s malignant sore disease is linked to both the land and the mark (666) is still a mystery.

            As NASA has said, “Something on earth is always burning. Satellite photos reveal the shocking extent.

            As Revelation says, “A third of the earth (will) burn.”

            Revelation is happening now.

               [1] or “NASA – Wildfires: A Symptom of Climate Change.”

                [2] Al Gore, The Future (New York: Random House, 2013) 337.

                [3] Years of Living Dangerously, “The Scariest Climate Change Facts,” p. 3. 

                [4] “Deforestation and Its Extreme Effect on Global Warming,” Scientific American, 2016. . . . . Between 2000 and 2009, 32 million acres of tropical rainforests were cut down each year.

                [5] Retrieved from on August 22, 2019.  The article sites Reuter’s, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, NASA, INPE, Global Forest Watch in World Resources Institute, and Huff Post.

                [6] Retrieved from                

                [7] Ibid.

                [8] Compiled from data from the U.S. National Interagency Fire Center, 2010; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report,  2005. Emmott, 164-165.

                [9] Documentary: “Years of Living Dangerously,” episode 2, “End of Woods.” Miniseries by Roaring Fork Film Production, created by Joel Back and David Gelber, 2014. 

                [10] U.S. Forest Service, “Fire,”

                [11] “List of California wildfires,” October 23, 2016.

                [12] Ibid., comment stated by former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who oversaw many of the fires.

                [13] “Years of Living Dangerously,” episode 2, “End of Woods.” 

                [14] Tim Wallace, “Three of California’s Biggest Fires Ever Are Burning Right Now,” August 10, 2018. Retrieved from

                [15] EPA, “Future of Climate Change,” The article is citing Jerry Melilo et al., Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, USGCRP, 2014. C.f. The U.S. National Climate Assessment, 2014. C.f. IPCC (2013), Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science Basis. From the Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY: Cambridge University Press) 2013.

                [16] “Years of Living Dangerously,” episode 2, “End of Woods.” 

                [17] Years of Living Dangerously, “The Scariest Climate Change Facts,” p. 10. 

                [18] National Research Council of the National Academies, Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2013) 21.

                [19] “Years of Living Dangerously,” episode 2.

                [20] KJV, Deut 28:42. The specific insect mentioned in this verse is the whirring locust. NASB and ESV translate this a “cricket,” the KJB as “locust,” the NEV as “whirring locust,” the CJB as “bugs,” the GNV as “grasshopper,” the NJB and NLT as “insects.” Sometimes the Bible gives one common specific example to portray a general principle that applies across many examples. This is why some translations use more general terms that would be better understood across continents. USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), “Bark Beetles, 2014. The U.S. Forest Service (fs) cited “unprecedented bark beetle mortality (41.7 million acres across multiple ownerships) in 2011.” 800-832-1355.

                [21] Lakehead University, Canada. 

                [22] Elizabeth Nelson, et al., Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, “Combating Climate Change Through Boreal Forest Conservation: Resistance, Adaptation, and Mitigation,” June 2007. . . . .

                [23] Earth Observatory, NASA, “How Boreal Fires Impact Global Climate,”

                [24] Andrew Freedman, “Arctic’s Boreal Forests Burning At ‘Unprecedented’ Rate,” July 22, 2013. . . . .  

               [25] Jeff Berardeli, “Arctic records its hottest temperature ever,” CBS News. Retrieved on June 21, 2020.

                [26] Andrew C. Revkin, “Burning Economic Issues Behind America’s Wildfire Problem,” August 1, 2016. Retrieved from

                [27] Rafael Cereda. Retrieved from thought-for-the-Arctic-circle-this-year.

                [28] Rev 8:7.

                [29] Rev 16:3.

                [30] NASA satellite photo of South American and African Fires. NASA satellite photo of Amazon Fire burning for weeks. NASA photo “Wildfire 1.” “Forest Fire, River, and Deer” by Wikilmages from “Bark Beetle Found in Ponderosa Pine” on Wikimedia Commons. “Bark Beetle – Destruction of Forest” by Akveniam on Wikimedia under Creative Commons CCO 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. “Trees are cut down in Drei Annen Hohn (Harz -Germany) because of destruction due to bark beetles.”

            [31] Gillian Flaccus and Andrew Selsky, the Associated Press, September 11, 2020; 

            [32] Anita Chabria, Paige St. John, Luke Money, et al. for the Los Angeles Times at

            [33] Megan Diskin for USA TODAY at

            [34] Ibid.

            [35] Retrieved on Sept 11, 2020 at

            [36] Wikimedia Commons images of wildfires from various places.

             [37] Wikimedia Commons images of high smoke pollution from various places.