CLAIM: While dispensational commentators often believe that these “stars” are actual physical objects—perhaps missiles or meteorites or something else falling from the sky to poison the waters (v.11), other commentators hold that these are simply angels. In Revelation 9:1, we read that the “star” from heaven is actually an angel.
RESPONSE: Clearly the “stars” of heaven are symbolic on some level. For example, John does not mean that Alpha Centuri travelled four light years to collide with the Earth! Therefore, interpreters need to interpret John’s language symbolically. But how should we interpret this symbol of a star?
John uses the term “star” to refer to angels on a number of occasions. Earlier in John, the “seven stars” are identified as the “seven angels” of the churches (Rev. 1:20). Later in John, the stars refer to the angels of heaven (Rev. 12:4; c.f. Rev. 9:1). Therefore, to view this wormwood star as an angel is certainly possible.
However, when we look at the immediate context, it seems that John has astronomical bodies in view—not angels. In verse 12, John says that the sun, moon, and stars were struck. Therefore, it seems that John isn’t equating any of these astronomical bodies as angels specifically. He might have something else in mind. It is speculative to consider. We offer one such speculation in our earlier article (Rev. 8:10).