Saturday, 04 March 2017 00:28

55. The fourth trumpet: blocking God’s light * Revelation 8:12

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12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shined not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

 

*** The sun, the moon, and the stars ***: The first time in the Bible where the sun, the moon, and the stars are mentioned is during creation. God created them on the fourth day. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” (Genesis 1:14-19). As God said, the sun, moon and stars were put in place in order “to divide the day from the night” (Genesis 1:14). The celestial bodies were the clear demarcation between different moments of the 24-hour earthly cycle. They were “to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:15). The sun, the moon, and the stars are the source of light for our planet.

*** The third part of the sun, the moon, and the stars was darkened ***: In the Old Testament, the darkening of the sun, moon and stars is often associated with the execution of God’s judgments over His enemies (Ezekiel 32:7-8; Isaiah 13:9-11; Joel 3:15), as well as His own people (Amos 5:18; Joel 2:1-2,10). One of the first examples of this is the 9th Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:21-29), the plague of darkness. The darkness was so intense in the land of Egypt, that it could be felt (Exodus 10:21). For three days, the light did not shine in Egypt. But the darkness was not global. It was targeted and focused only on those rejecting God’s commands. One of the main points of this passage is that only those rejecting the truth stand in darkness. Exodus 10:23 tells us that the Israelites “had light in their dwellings”.

In the New Testament, we read about how Satan has blinded the non-believers in such a way, that they are unable to see the “light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Jesus is the light of the world (2 Corinthians 4:6; John 1:9; John 8:12; John 12:46; Luke 1:79). Jesus said: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19). People bring on darkness and God’s judgment upon themselves because they reject the Source of Light. When we follow Christ, we will not be left to walk in the darkness (John 8:12).

As we saw in the previous three Trumpets, the judgment that comes with the blowing of the fourth trumpet is partial and falls over one-third of the celestial bodies. As people move away from God and rejected the truth, they bury themselves deeper and deeper into darkness. Our rejection, disbelief, and disobedience block the connection between God's light and ourselves. We can no longer see His truth the way He intends His message to be presented because we are not allowing His light to flow. The day turns into darkness when our connection with God is interrupted (Micah 3:6). God respects our right to choose, even if that means rejecting Him. But He urges all of us to know the truth before coming to a final decision. He warns us against being deceived by false teachings (Matthew 24:11). There is no light in the spiritual matters being promoted if they are not based on principles and teachings contained in scripture (Isaiah 8:20).

*** A third part of the day was dark, “and the night likewise” ***: In this part of Revelation 8:12, we see an interesting consequence of the darkening of the third part of the sun, the moon, and stars. It is the darkening of the third part of the day and night. This section reminds us once again, about creation. The separation between day and night did not happen on the fourth day, when God created the sun, moon, and stars. It happened on the first day, when He created light: "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1:3-5). This text says God was the One who divided the light from the darkness. In the fourth day of creation, we read about the function of the sun and the moon: "the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night" (Genesis 1:16). In Revelation 8:12, the rulers sun and moon are partially blocked from shining. But the effects are only felt over one-third of the day and one-third of the night. The partial blocking of the light did not affect the entire day. This emphasises the fact that the judgment brought with the blowing of the fourth trumpet is not global. It affects only a portion of the people, during a limited period of time. Darkness and night in this analogy are not equivalent. According to the verse, the night was also affected by the darkening of the moon. The idea underlined here is more so on the barriers we place between ourselves and God. Those barriers interfere with our ability to receive spiritual light directly from the source.

*** Prophetic application ***: In Study 54, we saw how the third trumpet portrayed the period known as the Dark Ages. During this time of history, people had very limited access to scripture and to the Truth. As a result, apostasy and false teachings flooded the Church. A movement of Reform raised, and many people once again became interested in finding out Biblical truths. This movement took a direction that was likely not part of the vision of the original Reformers. Theological discussions turned into polemics, and about winning arguments. Religion became less and less about developing a personal relationship with Christ. This frame of mind led people to move away from faith, belief in God, and dependence on the Savior, who is the ultimate source of spiritual light. Ironically, this period following the Dark Ages and Reform was called Age of Enlightenment, which lasted from 16th to 18th centuries. People valued reason, as they completely rejected Bible truths. The rejection of religious beliefs generated a host of philosophical approaches, such as rationalism, skepticism, humanism, and liberalism. All of these ultimately led to the development of a new principle: secularism. Without going into much detail, Secularism is the concept of separation of church and state. It is the idea that government business should not be connected to religious affairs. A number of incorrect meanings have been assigned to this term over time, but this is the meaning it was intended originally and is still what it means. There is no doubt that secularism brought about many positive results to the Western Civilization, like religious liberty, art, education, medicine, and more. But it surely had a significant negative impact on Christianity. There was a shift in focus from the spiritual to the material. Human reason replaced Bible authority and faith. ‘Self’ became the center of attention, instead of God. Under this line of thought, Christ could no longer be the only path to a spiritual life.

*** Overview ***: When the Source of Light is being rejected, the lines that demarcate the truth become blurry. When we are not looking at our existence in this world through God’s light, it becomes much harder to identify what is right and what is wrong. Without the Word of God, it is very hard to remain on the path of the overcomer or to find that to begin with. Psalm 119:105 says: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." The effects of the partial blocking of the truth after the Dark Ages are still being felt today. But God is calling us out of the darkness, to arise and shine, because the glory of the Lord is risen upon us (Isaiah 60:1-3; Matthew 4:16; Colossians 1:12-14). The first four trumpets came in pairs. The first two dealt with the punishment poured on the two nations responsible for the rejection of Jesus, in a general scale. The following two trumpets deal with the judgment cast on the apostate Church, and the consequences of that rejection on a more personal level. The fourth trumpet identifies the darkness people will find themselves in when they deny God’s teachings. It happened in the past. I can still happen today. Once we understand that this is the situation we may be in, we can do something about it. We must hear what the Father has called us to be: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9).

   
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