How can a falling star make a third of the water bitter?

During the Tribulation, there are several disasters which happen, all with increasing intensity. One of these disasters is described as a meteor or comet which hits earth and makes the water of the earth bitter. I've always wondered about how this might be translated into reality. I was quite interested to find a video which may explain how this part of prophecy could come true, and decided to share it with you.

Revelation 8:10-11

"When the third angel blew his trumpet, a great star fell from heaven. It was burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on a third of the springs of water. The name of the star was Bitter, and a third of the water turned bitter. Many people died because the water was so bitter."

How could it happen?

So I always wondered several things about this passage. First, how can a "star" fall on a third of all rivers, and not affect anything else? Second, a third of the rivers on Earth would be a very large area to be affected by just one "star". Third, how could people die from "bitter" water? I never quite understood this, until I was watching Youtube one day and found a video which may explain how this is possible. The video can be found here [1], or you can watch it below. The most interesting part of the video starts around 5:55 where it analyzes the effects of an asteroid impact on Earth. Note that the asteroid "Apophis" as described in the video has had a course update, and it no longer comes as close to Earth [2]. As well, even though the title of the video may be misleading, the content seems legitimate (History Channel).

In this video, although most of it talks about generic asteroids and such, they analyze the possible effects from an asteroid hitting Earth. Although their theoretical asteroid is probably a much larger asteroid than the one described in Revelation, perhaps the effects of the one in Revelation would be similar but on a smaller scale. At approximately 7:55, the video describes how the debris in the atmosphere from the impact would burn up, creating sulphuric ash which would then land in the oceans and change it's pH to be like "battery acid". PH is a way of measuring how acidic a substance is, and a comparison of the pH levels of various substances can be found here [3]. The further away from water you are, the more harmful the substance is to exposed flesh. So you can see how battery acid is near the extreme ends of the scale, and if you were to drink water which was contaminated with high levels of sulphuric acid it could definitely kill people. It is interesting that the description uses the word "bitter", because usually acids are associated with a "sour" taste (i.e lemon juice), while bases (high pH - i.e bleach) are associated with a "bitter" taste. But perhaps when John wrote Revelation, they did not have this level of scientific knowledge yet, or perhaps it was just the way it was translated from Greek to English.

Another different possibility is if the asteroid contained some sulphur, which may burn up in the Earth's atmosphere and be converted to acid rain [4]. This rain would then collect in rivers, streams, and the ocean. Possibly, if the asteroid was smaller and vaporized over say 1/3 of the Earth, then 1/3 of the rivers could potentially be affected by the acid rain. Perhaps this is supported by how Revelation says "the name of the star was Bitter", so perhaps it will be created out of something with a high sulphur content. Otherwise I can't really imagine scientists naming an asteroid "Bitter" if it's only made of rock. But I don't know for sure, so it's interesting to think about. However, when you consider the other effects of an asteroid impact, perhaps these indicate it will be an asteroid which does hit Earth and not just vaporize in the atmosphere. This is discussed in the next paragraph.

Other Interesting Effects

In this video, they describe a few other effects of an asteroid hitting Earth, which I found may match with the descriptions immediately before and after Revelation 8:10-11. In Revelation 8:8-9, it describes "something like a great fiery mountain was thrown into the sea" and kills a third of sea creatures and ships. An asteroid as it burns up in the atmosphere would certainly match that description. Also, in Revelation 8:12, it describes how a third of the light from the sun, moon, and stars is reduced: "a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck. They each lost a third of their light. So during a third of the day there was no light, and a third of the night was also without light.". Another effect of the asteroid impact described in the video would be the ash in the atmosphere, which would reduce the light through the Earth's atmosphere. Although the video claims the dust could completely block out the sun, if the asteroid were smaller it would make less dust. Maybe this dust would dim out dawn and dusk to make them as night time, and it would be like the sun only shines for 2/3 of the normal time. This is all just my own hypothesis, but it's certainly interesting to think about.

These effects, when combined all close together (the fiery mountain, the bitter water, and the reduced light from sun/moon) all seem to be effects from an asteroid hitting Earth. So perhaps instead of three different events to cause these effects separately, Revelation instead describes three different effects from one asteroid impact. I can't say for sure, but it is certainly interesting how the near-2000-year-old descriptions in Revelation may match up with modern science.


I was quite excited to finally discover how one of the passages in Revelation which I found confusing can finally be interpreted using modern science! Not only does it show that the Bible and science are compatible, but it's even more amazing considering that when the Bible was written they did not have this level of scientific knowledge. It shows that the Bible must have been revealed directly from God, so we can be confident that it is true. And although it is interesting to speculate over exactly how it will happen, it could be that the above analysis is wrong. We'll just have to wait and see. Although, if you don't want to be around when all these disasters in Revelation are happening, you may want to consider becoming a Christian, as the Christians will be removed from Earth and taken to Heaven by Jesus himself before it gets real nasty on Earth.


[1] "End of the World Asteroid Apophis 2036 & Plant Nibiru 2012" - Youtube Video
[2] NASA Refines Asteroid Apophis' Path Toward Earth
[3] Ph Scale -
[4] ScienceDirect: Impact-induced perturbations of atmospheric sulfur