ACCOUNTS OF APOCALYPTIC EVENTS IN EGYPT,
THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND OTHER SOURCES.

 

Apocalyptic events are concentrated in three parts of the Book of Revelation: Rev. 8:6-Rev. 11:19, Rev. 15:6-16:24 and Rev. 18:1-Rev. 19:4. They take many forms: from earthquakes to fire from the sky to plagues and starvation.

Remarkably, when the various types of events are considered as a whole, they point to a single source: a massive, cataclysmic volcanic eruption. Such an eruption occurred during Egypt's 2nd Intermediate Period (1640-1532 BCE) and its effects were felt along practically all of the eastern Mediterranean, including the Nile Delta.

Events which have parallels in Egyptian religious and secular texts and which are mentioned in Revelation are listed below:

 
 

- A high mountain is involved, as in Rev. 18:5
- Fire, smoke, lightning, noise and an earthquake (as in Rev. 8:5,8; Rev. 9:2; Rev. 16:18-19)
- Hail of Death from the sky (Rev. 8:7; Rev. 9:2-11; Rev. 16:10,11,21)
- Water is poisoned, becomes unfit to drink (Rev. 8:9-11; Rev. 16:3,4,13)
- A view from afar is emphasized (Rev. 18)
- Unusual darkness covers the land (Rev. 16:10)
- Great noise and earthquakes (as in Rev. 16:18)
-Tsunamis related to islands or parts of islands sinking into the sea (Rev. 18:21)
- Many fish die (Rev. 16:3)

- Widespread death (Rev. 18:24)

 
 

The following annotated extract from the Revised Standard Version of the Book of Revelation demonstrates how a passage in the Book of Revelation can readily be interpreted as referring to events associated with a volcanic eruption. This example refers to events very close to an eruption of an island volcano.

 
 
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Rev. 8:4-13
.... and the smoke [from the eruption] ... rose [into the sky] .... and there were peals of thunder [noise from the eruption and the lightning produced in the volcanic plume], voices [noises], flashes of lightning, and an earthquake [normal phenomena during eruptions]

... and there followed hail [of lava bombs and rocks] and fire [flaming, red-hot lava bombs], mixed with blood [red-colored, red-hot ash and red dust from the volcano?], which fell on the earth [from the volcanic plume];

and a third of the earth [in the affected area near the eruption] was burnt up [by the heat, lava bombs flaming through the air, hot ash, pumice and dust], and a third of the trees were burnt up [by the heat, lava bombs, hot ash, pumice and dust], and all green grass [in the area] was burnt up [by the heat from the hot debris].

... and something like a great mountain [the volcano’s towering dome], burning with fire [from the eruption], was thrown into the sea [i.e., much of the volcanic dome is normally ejected into the sky and falls into the sea while parts of the island simply collapse and slide down the slopes into it];

and a third of the sea became [the color of] blood [from the red, Santorini ash which fell into it], a third of the living creatures in the sea died [from boiling hot water or the toxicity of dust and sub-sea gasses in the vicinity of the volcano], and a third of the ships were destroyed [from the fiery blast of heat and toxicity of the dust and gases from the eruption].

... and a great star [an extremely large portion of the mountain?] fell from heaven, blazing like a torch [on fire], and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of water [in the vicinity of the eruption]. ... A third of the waters became wormwood [undrinkable], and many men died of the water, because it was made bitter [poisonous].

... and a third of the [light of the] sun was struck [obliterated from view], and a third of the [light of the] moon, and a third of the [light of the] stars, so that a third of their light was darkened; a third of the [light of] day was kept from shining, and likewise a third of the [brightness of the moon and stars at] night.

... “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth [within the far-reaching range of the effects of the eruption, which, in the case of extremely large eruptions, atmospheric effects may extend around the entire globe]."


 
 

Additional references to a volcanic eruption, including effects felt some distance away can be found in the following passages:

Rev. 6:12-15  ---  effects experienced on a nearby island
Rev. 9:2-18    ---  effects experienced possibly on the volcanic island
Rev. 16:3-21  ---  environmental upheaval; islands sinking
Rev. 18:4-24  ---  description of eruption as seen from a distance;
                     ---  pre-eruption description of the volcanic island


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