In Revelations Chapter 8, the seventh seal opens with a period of silence in the heavens, after which "the angel took the censer [of the saints of the Lord], and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." Rev. 8:5. Then there are angels with trumpets. When the first sounds, "there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up." Rev. 8:7. Following that, there is a great mountain "burning with fire" that is cast into the sea and killed much of the life in the seas; after which a star called "Wormwood" falls from heaven and poisons much of the fresh water on the Earth. Rev. 8:8-11. Then the sun and moon are "smitten" to reduce the light (presumably because of smoke, dust, and ash). Rev. 8:12.
With the 5th Trumpet, there is yet another "star" that falls from heaven, opening a deep pit out of which issued smoke. Rev. 9:1-2. John was then shown two groups of foes: locust that were able to make men sick for 5 months, and armored horses that breathed fire. Rev. 9:3-10 and 17-19. Later, after the two witnesses are killed and taken up to heaven, we are told that " the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." Rev. 11:19.
In Chapter 16 of the Revelation, we read:
1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.And when Babylon is destroyed, the merchants that traded with her "saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!" Rev. 18:18.
Zechariah describes in more detail the events of the when the Lord will appear to the Jews in Jerusalem after it has been captured by the Anti-Christ. After succoring the Jews, the Lord releases a horrible plague that will destroy many of the wicked, and the others will turn on each other. "And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth." Zech. 14:12. And throughout the scriptures, we read of hail and storms and thunder and lightening sweeping away the wicked in the last days.
In short, what we have describes are several instances of great heat and light from the sun, fire coming from the heavens, fire and burning on the earth, earthquakes and, possibly, volcanoes, and high winds marked by large hail stones.
My mistake is in assuming that that these disasters were, for the most part, of a terrestrial origin, whether of geological origin such as a massive plate shift with coinciding earthquakes and tsunami, a rapid series of volcanic eruptions or the eruption of a super-volcano, or even effects from nuclear or biological weapons. Then, recently, I read the following from Isaiah 30:26:
Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.And it reminded me of a short story by Larry Niven called "Inconstant Moon." The premise of the story is that the protagonist of the story is out one evening and he and others notice that the moon is extremely bright compared to normal. The protagonist, watching the beauty of the spectacle, suddenly realizes that the cause would have to be from a massive solar flare--one that has likely destroyed the other half of the surface of the globe and will cause a massive tidal wave.
With that short story in mind, I delved into this issue a bit deeper. It is well known that solar activity has been increasing since the late 1800s (and, while not widely acknowledged, is the cause of the so-called "global warming"), but the last solar cycle has been quiet, and we are going into a new solar cycle that is quiet. Thus, I now wonder if, when Revelation 7 it states that the heavens will be quiet for 30 min. (some 20+ years using the 1000:1 ratio of earth years to years to God), it may pertain mean an unusually quiet sun. However, even if that is not correct, the disasters described as what we would expect from a massive solar flare: something whole magnitudes stronger than the Carrington Event, with the earth's magnetic field pushed back and compressed, and perhaps plasma reaching in some areas to the surface of the earth. Of course, the ozone layer will be destroyed, and people that are unprotected will be exposed to significant radiation. Scientists have also noted correlations between certain space weather (flares or CME events) and earthquakes. While correlation is not causation, every school child knows that pushing on a magnetic field with another can make the first magnet move; similarly, something pushing on the Earth's field probably can cause a physical disturbance of the underlying magnet (i.e., the Earth). It is likely that such strong flares and/or CMEs and resultant geomagnetic storms may result in strong geological activity, such as earthquakes and volcanic activity. Weather would also be impacted both by rapid heating of the atmosphere and large plasma and electrical events in the atmosphere, such as to produce strong winds and hail. In sum, what they ancient prophets may be describing is the consequences of one or more super-flares from the Sun.