Wow! What a verse! Everywhere that fish is sold there’ll be nothing but howling. People will be filled with dismay and horror when they go to the fish rack, aisle or counter, and all they find is bare and empty shelves. Everyone in the industry will be howling and crying out in horror, because their whole livelihood is gone.
So what is this saying? It is saying that the current fish industry, as we know it today, and as it has been for thousands of years, is going to stop. Even some of Christ’s disciples fished with nets, and lived off the fishing industry. In the millennium, there is no talk of a fish industry. There will be no more seas or oceans. The great fish today will be miniature fish in the future. And the small and insignificant fish of today will be the large delicious fish of the future. Furthermore it only talks about people using a fishing line in order to catch fish.
With sin out-of-the way, the labor that is involved in producing food will no longer be a hindrance or problem. If you want some fish, you walk down to the river that comes from the Temple, toss in a hook on a line, and you have immediately a good healthy fish almost ready to eat.
There will not be a need for fish markets, fishermen, regulators, packing sheds, fish processors, freezers, shippers, canners, inspectors, buyers, auction houses, boat builders, boat suppliers, boat repair, search and rescue, etc. everyone involved in any part of the industry will simply be out of a job. On the day of God they will go about howling in despair. They will meet together to commiserate and mourn the loss of their way of life.
To make sure we understand the message, the second warning of this verse says that all the secondary industries attached to fishing, will be full of wailing. In other words, the destruction of this one industry will have wide repercussions in the world. There will be a large portion of society in every country that will be impacted by this change. This would include a large portion of the vitamin and pill industry today. It would impact the medical industry and their use of shark cartilage and fish oils and many other things that come from the oceans.
But, it is widely known that this industry is already in dire straits. Something dramatic has to happen soon to change the world’s reliance on this bounty of the sea. The fish of our day are over run with parasites, worms, Mercury poisoning, and all sorts of unusual and harmful pests. The numbers of fish have dramatically declined in recent history. Fish today are generally soft and lacking in character compared to what they once were. There has been a strong degradation and all of the fish species.
The Lord Jesus Christ is returning to this Earth with the Saints, and He’s going to put things back the way they are supposed to be. The fish industry is just one element that will be completely changed. And, it must be completely changed.
But this is only one area, because there is a whole world of change that is going to take place. And to keep us from just focusing on fish, we are reminded that all the hills will be brought down. So while there is mourning going on all over the earth over the loss of this major industry, there will also be the sound of rocks crumbling, being crashed, shattered and broken in the hills wherever they are. The only mountain in the whole earth will be mount Zion. Every crooked way, every hilly area, will be leveled. So even though the oceans, seas, and lakes that we know today will be emptied, the basins where they stand will also be filled. Instead of water basins, there will be a river that will leave the Temple of God in Jerusalem, and it will flow to the four corners of the Earth. In that river, which becomes four great mighty rivers, will be an abundant supply of healthy and easily caught fish. The fish life will also be a great joy to watch and will bring happiness and entertainment to mankind. The great dangers of the oceans, of boating accidents, of dangerous sea creatures, will be a thing of the past.
So is this great mourning, and crying out over the loss of the current world system of fishing a bad thing? Not when God is orchestrating it, and bringing about a system that is safe, secure, and not plagued with sin at every level. Instead it will be a means whereby anyone can have a healthy meal when needed, just as the days when Christ baked fish he had caught for the disciples to eat. Can you imagine a world where there are no fish markets anymore? Can you imagine a world where that pungent, sickening smell of fish is gone? Can you imagine a world where fish is free? Can you imagine a world where you don’t have to check through huge manuals and pay great fees for the privilege of sticking a hook into a stream or lake, but knowing you’ll probably go home empty-handed, and with the stack of new expenses? Can you imagine a world where only clean, healthy fish are eaten, and there is no worry about where it came from, or what is in it, who has handled it, or where it is been?
Then you are dreaming of a world without all the barriers that exist today to try to block the progress and impact of sin in disease. You’re dreaming of a world where you can run great distances very quickly and easily. You are dreaming of a world where you do not need to pack your lunch; you simply go about your duty, and know that there will be fresh fruit, and fresh fish, when you get there. You’re also dreaming of the world where it will take much less to survive and do well. Why I would say, that sounds like heaven on earth!