Amongst the various other startling images depicted in the Book of Revelation, the curious scene of a "great mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea appears to be granted a certain significance. The Apocalypse uses recapitulation as a literary device to highlight areas of especial importance. The battle of Armageddon, for example, is referred to in several different places. The bizarre scene of a mountain being cast into the sea in Rev 8:8 is recapitulated again by the angel throwing a great millstone into the sea in Rev 18:21, connecting this event with the fall of "Babylon" - the ruling world-power in the eschatological age.
The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. (Rev 8:8)
But what could this scene represent? Various preterist scholars, such as D.E Aune, and more recently Elaine Pagels in her popular 2012 book Revelations, argue that this passage contains a description of the eruption of Vesuvius, which destroyed Pompeii in 79AD. But as leading Revelation academic G.K Beale points out, this particular volcanic eruption can not be the sole point of reference, as the verse in question is clearly based on chapter 51 of the Book of Jeremiah, which describes the casting down of “a burning mountain” and the destruction of Babylon in the sea:
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, declares the LORD, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain. No stone shall be taken from you for a corner and no stone for a foundation, but you shall be a perpetual waste, declares the LORD. “Set up a standard on the earth; blow the trumpet among the nations; prepare the nations for war against her...
“How Babylon is taken, the praise of the whole earth seized! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations! The sea has come up on Babylon; she is covered with its tumultuous waves.
Chapter 51 of the Book of Jeremiah then concludes with a passage which is alluded to again later in the Book of Revelation:
And Jeremiah said to Seraiah: “When you come to Babylon, see that you read all these words, and say, ‘O LORD, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, and they shall become exhausted.’”
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more"...
The majority of scholars thus recognise that the burning mountain being cast into the sea in the Apocalypse is the exact same event which is symbolised by the angel casting a millstone into the sea to signify how the eschatological world power "Babylon" is to be destroyed. As Beale states: "the burning mountain cast into the sea refers to the judgment of a wicked kingdom. This kingdom is to be identified as 'Babylon', 'the great city' of Revelation 11-18, which holds sway over the evil world system. (Beale, G.K. The Book of Revelation p476).
So the "great mountain, burning with fire" is widely recognised by Revelation scholars as a description of a volcanic eruption.
But how could a volcano be thrown into the sea? And how would this bring about the fall of the ruling world empire at the end-time? I'll post a short extract from my book below:
On the 12th of October 2000, the BBC's flagship documentary series Horizon aired a programme that was to cause a considerable amount of controversy in the world of geophysics. Subtitled "Mega-tsunami: Wave of Destruction", the documentary elaborated how the volcano Cumbre Vieja on the Canary island of La Palma poses an enormous risk to the eastern coastline of the Americas. The documentary was based on the combined research of S.N. Ward of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the University of California and S.J. Day of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College, London, who hoped to prove that Cumbre Vieja has the potential to cause one of the greatest natural disasters ever known to human civilisation.
Ward and Day's research shows how the inside of Cumbre Vieja is honeycombed with fissures caused by the rising of molten magma heating and vaporizing water which then erodes the inside of the volcano. This phenomenon has severely weakened the internal structure of the volcano, making it extremely unstable. During its last eruption in 1949, the southern volcano caused a massive crack to appear, and the entire western portion of Cumbre Vieja slipped a few metres towards the Atlantic Ocean.
In 2001, Ward and Day put forward a scientific paper showing how that the entire western flank will eventually give way, possibly even during its next eruption; sending 500 thousand million tonnes of rock crashing into the ocean. Ward and Day's research, which took other examples of this phenomenon into account, suggested that the impact of this "lateral collapse" would generate a colossal wave – dubbed a "mega-tsunami", which could reach a local amplitude of between 650-1500 metres. This wave would then rapidly travel westwards reaching a speed of approximately 720kph. Although it would diminish in size by the time it made landfall on the eastern seaboard of America, it could still be as high as 50 metres (to give a sense of perspective, the statue of liberty is 93 metres tall), devastating everything in its wake up to 25km inland.
In comparison with this projected scenario, the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred on 26th December 2004, reached a height of only 24m at Bandeh Aceh – the region worst affected by the disaster, which was totally obliterated. If this event unfolds in the manner that Ward and Day have projected, then this "mega-tsunami" would be the greatest natural disaster in recorded history. (Unveiling the Apocalypse pp148-149)
You can read Ward and Day's full article here.
(Figure reproduced from Ward, S.N; Day, S. "Cumbre Vieja Volcano -- Potential collapse and tsunami at La Palma, Canary Islands", Geophysical Research Letters 28, pp397–400. Copyright 2001 American Geophysical Union. Reproduced/modified by permission of American Geophysical Union)
As I detail in the book, there are many other prophecies which foretell a massive flood at the end-time that would destroy a major world power, and the political vacuum left in the wake of this event could lead to the rise to power of the Antichrist. This event (which according to Ward and Day is a matter of "when" not "if"), although confined to the east Coast of the Americas, would cause the economic collapse of the USA - sending it tumbling from the status of "super-power" to financial ruin.
There would undoubtedly be various power struggles amongst the other various leading world powers to fill this political gap, and the rest of the world would be plunged into an economic depression. In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that this could create similar conditions which led to the rise to power of Hitler in 1933, when the German populace, gripped by severe economic hardship, turned to a figure they believed would offer strong leadership in a time of turmoil. Will the downfall of America precede the ascension to power of the Antichrist?
Without the protection offered by its chief ally, the state of Israel would surely become a prime target for the surrounding Arab nations, leading to a military invasion which could precipitate the battle of Armageddon...
Here's a clip taken from the BBC mega-tsunami documentary on youtube:
See also the related posts:
John Paul II: The Third Secret and a Prophecy of a Mega-tsunami
The "Fourth" Secret of Fatima
The Fall of Babylon
The Casting Down of Mountains
St Hildegard and the Flooding of the "Great Nation"
St Patrick and the End-time Flood of Ireland
Vassula Ryden and a Mega-tsunami Prophecy?
Mega-tsunami Update: Recent seismic activity in the Canary Islands - Cause for Alarm?
The Fall of Rome - A Template of End-Time Events?
The Eschatological Earthquake