12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. 13 And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” ~ Revelation 8:12-13
We return to the Trumpet judgments of God. Having already considered the first three trumpets which impacted the land, the salt water, the fresh water, today, we consider the fourth trumpet.
In v.12 of our text we read, "Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night."
The fourth trumpet produces a partial eclipse that strikes the sun, the moon and the stars. With the sounding of this trumpet, attention will be directed away from the earth. We can only imagine the panic on earth as people are in ecological seminars all over the globe trying to figure out how to deal with these catastrophes. And, in the process of all of this, before they can even address the problem, another calamity hits.
In Luke 21:25-26 we read, "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken."
This clearly is a reference to this same event under the fourth trumpet. And, not only is it literal: the sun and the moon and the stars are darkened and fail to give their light, the catastrophe has symbolism. The sun, moon and stars are used in various places in Scripture to typify earthly authorities. The highest, of course, is the king or president. He would be portrayed as the sun, and those under him would be as the moon and the stars. They symbolize a hierarchy of authority. And, this trumpet pictures light being withdrawn from the authorities of earth. Yet, by the grace of God, this darkening is still limited to one-third.
In v.13, we read, "And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"
An angel declares that there are three great disasters remaining, and these "woe" judgments are to fall upon the "inhabitants of the earth." A better translation of this phrase is "those who make their home on earth." These judgments will fall upon those who live for the earth and its advantages, those who are merely concerned for this life and care nothing about the life to come. They believe this world is the totality of reality.
We have considered four trumpets that have sounded. Now, we get deeper insight in the last three trumpet judgments. We will have the same division of four and three with the Bowl judgments that are to follow in Revelation 16.
These series seem to reflect the three common degrees of comparison. There are three ways to indicate increasing value or meaning. There is "big," "bigger," and "biggest." With reference to evil, there is "bad," "worse," and "worst." This is what we have in these series: a climaxing of judgment, a crescendo that ends with the pouring out of the bowls of the wrath of God, the worst of all.
The judgment of God arouses fear in us. And, because it terrifies us, judgment also sobers us. C.S. Lewis once said, "God's judgment is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world." As a result, God's judgment strips away our illusions. It restores us to reality. We begin to think accurately, clearly, as He thinks.
God's judgment is an expression of His grace. In Psalm 103:8 we read, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy." It is the love of God that makes Him judge! God must judge in order to eliminate evil once for all from this world that He created and Satan tainted.
Having trusted in the Lord Jesus as our Savior, how wonderful is it that God has spared us, protected us and watched over us. He judged His Son so that we wouldn't have to be. The Lord Jesus embraced the disgusting part of us and God judged it in His body as He hung on the cross. Is this the place where you found hope for a blessed future? I trust you have!