on Revelation 8 :10
There fell a great star from heaven - This has given rise to various conjectures. Some say the star means Attila and his Huns, others, Genseric with his Vandals falling on the city of Rome; others, Eleazer, the son of Annus, spurning the emperor's victims, and exciting the fury of the Zealots; others, Arius; infecting the pure Christian doctrine with his heresy, etc., etc. It certainly cannot mean all these; and probably none of them. Let the reader judge.
on Revelation 8 :10
And the third angel sounded - Indicating, according to the interpretation above proposed, some important event in the downfall of the Roman empire.
And there fell a great star from heaven - A star is a natural emblem of a prince, of a ruler, of one distinguished by rank or by talent. Compare the notes on Revelation 2:28. See Numbers 24:17, and the notes on Isaiah 14:12. A star falling from heaven would be a natural symbol of one who had left a higher station, or of one whose character and course would be like a meteor shooting through the sky.
Burning as it were a lamp - Or, as a torch. The language here is such as would describe a meteor blazing through the air; and the reference in the symbol is to something that would have a resemblance to such a meteor. It is not a lurid meteor (livid, pale, ghastly) that is here referred to, but a bright, intense, blazing star - emblem of fiery energy; of rapidity of movement and execution; of splendor of appearance - such as a chieftain of high endowments, of impetuousness of character, and of richness of apparel, would be. In all languages, probably, a star has been an emblem of a prince whose virtues have shone brightly, and who has exerted a beneficial influence on mankind. In all languages also, probably, a meteor flaming through the sky has been an emblem of some splendid genius causing or threatening desolation and ruin; of a warrior who has moved along in a brilliant but destructive path over the world; and who has been regarded as sent to execute the vengeance of heaven. This usage occurs because a meteor is so bright; because it appears so suddenly; because its course cannot be determined by any known laws; and because, in the apprehensions of people, it is either sent as a proof of the divine displeasure, or is adapted to excite consternation and alarm. In the application of this part of the symbol, therefore, we naturally look for some prince or warrior of brilliant talents, who appears suddenly and sweeps rapidly over the world; who excites consternation and alarm; whose path is marked by desolation, and who is regarded as sent from heaven to execute the divine purposes - who comes not to bless the world by brilliant talents well directed, but to execute vengeance on mankind.
And it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters - On the phrase, "the third part," see the notes on Revelation 8:7. This reference to the "rivers" and to the "fountains of waters" seems, in part, to be for the purpose of saying that everything would be affected by this series of judgments. In the previous visions the trees and the green grass, the sea and the ships, had been referred to. The rivers and the fountains of waters are not less important than the trees, the grass, and the commerce of the world, and hence this judgment is mentioned as particularly bearing on them. At the same time, as in the case of the other trumpets, there is a propriety in supposing that there would be something in the event referred to by the symbol which would make it more appropriate to use this symbol in this case than in the others. It is natural, therefore, to look for some desolations that would particularly affect the portions of the world where rivers abound, or where they take their rise; or, if it be understood as having a more metaphorical sense, to regard it as affecting those things which resemble rivers and fountains - the sources of influence; the morals, the religion of a people, the institutions of a country, which are often so appropriately compared with running fountains or flowing streams.
on Revelation 8 :10
8:10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great star, and it fell on the third part of the rivers - It seems Afric is meant by the rivers; (with which this burning part of the world abounds in an especial manner;) Egypt in particular, which the Nile overflows every year far and wide. ln the whole African history, between the irruption of the barbarous nations into the Roman empire, and the ruin of the western empire, after the death of Valentinian the Third, there is nothing more momentous than the Arian calamity, which sprung up in the year 315. It is not possible to tell how many persons, particularly at Alexandria, in all Egypt, and in the neighbouring countries, were destroyed by the rage of the Arians. Yet Afric fared better than other parts of the empire, with regard to the barbarous nations, till the governor of it, whose wife was a zealous Arian, and aunt to Genseric, king of the Vandals, was, under that pretence, unjustly accused before the empress Placidia. He was then prevailed upon to invite the Vandals into Afric; who under Genseric, in the year 428, founded there a kingdom of their own, which continued till the year 533. Under these Vandal kings the true believers endured all manner of afflictions and persecutions. And thus Arianism was the inlet to all heresies and calamities, and at length to Mahometanism itself. This great star was not an angel, (angels are not the agents in the two preceding or the following trumpet,) but a teacher of the church, one of the stars in the right hand of Christ. Such was Arius. He fell from on high, as it were from heaven, into the most pernicious doctrines, and made in his fall a gazing on all sides, being great, and now burning as a torch. He fell on the third part of the rivers - His doctrine spread far and wide, particularly in Egypt. And on the fountains of water - wherewith Afric abounds.