Friday, 07 September 2012 03:20

Pt. 42 - The Fourth Trumpet

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Fourth_TrumpetThe fourth angel sounded his trumpet, 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 turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night. As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”  (Revelation 8:12-13)

The sounding of this trumpet once again introduces us to some rather intense uses of symbolism, since the sun, moon and stars are “struck” and turn dark to varying degrees. While most commentaries will describe this as a literal physical phenomena, I think that misses the point of the vision.  Instead, this is most likely a reference to the forces of darkness described in the Bible, who stand in direct contrast to those “of the light”.

Once again, we have to remember that John saw these things in a vision, and visions in the Bible were always cloaked in symbolism and strange imagery. And while portions of these symbols are explained within this passage itself, let’s see if we can squeeze a little more out of them, based on what the Bible has revealed elsewhere.

“A Third of The Sun”

The sun is often used in the Bible as a symbol for God, or a synonym for the Gospel of Jesus. However, to a lesser extent it can also reflect faith, and specifically faith in that very Gospel message. In this way, we can see a representation of God and the Gospel message in the following passage from the prophet Malachi;

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty." (Malachi 4:1-3)

Sun3When we couple this analogy with the passage just above, we can see how the “the sun” (Jesus/Gospel) of righteousness will “rise” to provide healing in the last days for those who believe in Jesus as Messiah. However, at the same time it will set “on fire“ those who reject Him. In this way, we can see the correlation to Jesus and the Gospel message, because those who have faith in Him will experience "healing" and be saved, while those who rebel against Him will become “ashes” and be lost. So the sun and Jesus (Gospel) can be used interchangeably in this passage.

The general analogy goes something like this; in a physical sense, the sun is the source of all physical light on the earth, and this light is the very thing that makes life possible. And in a spiritual sense, the Jesus and His Gospel are the source of all spiritual light on the earth, and this light is the very thing that saves us from death and makes eternal life possible. So the rising or the setting of this Gospel “sun” is the thing that is in play here.

Gospel-CrossSo when John tells us that a third of the sun was struck and turned dark, and that a third of the day was then without light, we should be able to understand that a third of the Gospel will be struck by the antichrist in those days, which will increase the darkness of disbelief on the earth by a third. Light will be exchanged for darkness, or in other words, righteousness will be exchanged for rebelliousness. In other words, a third of the influence of righteousness will be lost on the earth in those days. 

This will be the precise time when the man of lawlessness will begin to perform miraculous signs, thereby creating the “powerful delusion” that will delude those that are falling into darkness;

“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2Thessalonians 2:9-12)

As mentioned in earlier posts in this series, this antichrist will bring forth his own false gospel message, which he will use to fool those who “refused to love the truth”. He will convince them that he instead is God, which is precisely what the term ’antichrist’ means. Quite literally, in the Greek and Hebrew languages, this term rendered as ‘anti’ means ’instead-of’. It will be the ultimate replacement theology coming to bear, complete with miracles, signs, and wonders.

And sadly, much of the world will fall for it. But at this point in the Revelation, the effect will not yet be at its full extent. For the time being, this growing darkness will cover only a third of the earth.

“A Third of The Moon”

In the creation account we found that the earth has two sources of light. It has the “greater light” of the sun to govern the day, and the “lesser light” of the moon to govern the night. However, we know that the moon has no light of it’s own, so to be the “lesser light” it must reflect the light of the sun back to the earth.

Moon2Using this information in our celestial analogy, it’s fairly easy to see how the moon and it’s “lesser light” would be symbolic of the Law of Moses, which required ‘works’. Consider the following.

The Law (moon) itself had no light of its own, just as the Law had no saving power of it's own. Theoretically, if one could keep the Law in its entirety, righteousness would be imputed on the believer and he would be saved. However, God knew from the beginning that no one could keep the Law. However, He nevertheless established the Law in order to demonstrate to mankind our need for a savior. In other words, no one could use the "lesser light" of the Law to earn their way to heaven. That right would have to come from the "greater light" of the Gospel of Jesus. 

So when we read that a third of the moon was struck and turned dark, we can infer that a third of the Law on earth was struck and turned dark. And since this word for "Law" is actually 'Torah' in Hebrew, this means that a third of the world would become "Torah-less". This of course makes perfect sense in light of what we know about this coming time of chaos, since the “man of lawlessness” (torah-lessness) that Paul spoke of will now be on the earth; 

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2Thessalonians 2:1-4)

And when this man of torah-lessness is revealed, he will seek to replace the Law (Torah) with a different law, in his effort to change the set times and Law of the Bible;

“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25)

As stated in a prior post, the Islamic 'Mahdi' will arrive on the scene with a replacement Torah in hand, which he will obtain from a mountain in Syria, near Damascus;

“Ad-Dani said that he is called the Mahdi because he will be guided to a mountain in Syria from which he will bring forth the volumes of the Torah with which to argue against the Jews and at his hands a group of them will become Muslim.”  Izzat and Arif

And this moment in time is also reflected in the book of Daniel, where the antichrist is seen corrupting those Jews that would abandon their covenant with God and His Torah;

"With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him." (Daniel 11:32)

“A Third of The Stars”

StarsJust as the great star of the third trumpet was symbolic of a great angel (Satan), the “stars” in this instance are also associated with angels. So when we read that a third of these turned dark, it would follow that a third of the angels in the heavenly realm will have chosen the darkness of Satan instead of the light of God, and so a third of them will symbolically turn dark.

We find confirmation of this in Revelation chapter 12, which contains the recap of the seven trumpets that describe this scene. The first four trumpets are illustrated in the following portion of that passage, with my emphasis in parentheses;

“And there was war in heaven (1st TRUMPET). Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back . But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven (2nd TRUMPET). The great dragon was hurled down (3rd TRUMPET)—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (4th TRUMPET).” (Revelation 12:7-9)

Once these angels choose to follow Satan, they will never be allowed to return to heaven and their former fellowship with God. Their fate in hell will be sealed for eternity. Because of this, they know they have but one remaining choice, and that is to oppose Jesus upon his return. They will attempt to oppose and defeat Him in order to maintain possession of the earth. But as we know, they will not succeed.

"Without Light"

Day__NightWhen we read that a third of “the day” and a third of “the night” will be without light, we can refer to the comment Jesus himself made that used these same symbolic terms;

As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5)

Jesus himself was the light that would shine during the “day”, and as long as He was “in the world”, it would be daytime. But His Spirit still remains in the world to this day through his saints, since we have the Holy Spirit residing within us. As Paul taught, we are “sons of the light” and “of the day”;

“But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” (1Thessalonians 5:4-6)

But notice that John 9:4-5 also states that “night” would be coming “when no one can work.” This refers to the coming of the antichrist and the time when the earth will be given over to him for 3½ years (Revelation 13:5). This will truly be a time of spiritual darkness or “night” in this symbolic sense.

From these two passages we can then draw a few more conclusions relative to Revelation 8:12, as indicated in the following list;

1) “The day” means the time when those “of the light” can work (evangelize).
2) “The night” means the time when those “of the light" will NOT be able to work.
3) “Of the light” refers to those who have the Holy Spirit within them.
4) “Of the darkness” refers to those who follow or have a demonic spirit.

So when we read that a third of the day was without light, we have to presume that a third of the evangelical efforts of Christians will be hindered or impeded somehow at that time, even in areas of the world where "day" is still allowed to prevail. In today's world this would largely be limited to the western hemisphere, but there are individual nations around the globe where "the day" will likely still prevail.

But Satan and his angels will quickly attempt to subvert the Gospel of God in those days, and this includes nations in the western hemisphere. Given all of the counterfeit miracles and signs and wonders that Satan will perform in those days, a third of those living within the ‘daylight’ influence of Christianity will still fall prey to this ruse.

Additionally, when we read that a third of the night was also without light, that seems to infer that at the beginning of the reign of antichrist, a third of those “of the light“ that live in parts of the world that are NOT under Christian influence will also not be able to work or evangelize. Again, this is the same dynamic that was described just above, where many people will fall prey to Satan’s claim to be God.

"Woe, Woe, Woe"

The symbolic use of an eagle makes quite a bit of sense when we consider what it represented elsewhere in scripture. It was symbolic of either a supernatural assist to Israel, or a supernatural curse. And in this instance it will serve as a curse. Consider the following warning that God gave to Israel while He was describing the curses for disobedience contained in the Law that was given at Sinai;

Eagle_2“The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.” (Deuteronomy 28:49-50)

Here an eagle is likened to an attacking nation, and it’s quite interesting that at this point in the book of Revelation, Israel will come under severe attack. So it would seem quite appropriate that we have an eagle giving this particular warning. And the prophet Hosea also alludes to this event, and further describes WHY God will be bringing this curse upon Israel;

“Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the LORD because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law. Israel cries out to me, ‘O our God, we acknowledge you!’ But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him.” (Hosea 8:1-3)

Here, this attacking eagle is brought over the house of Israel because they have broken God’s covenant and have become lawless, or Torah-less. In essence, this also means that they have violated the conditions of Christ's ketubah, or wedding contract. So the penalties contained in the Ketubah, which are found in the Torah, will now be invoked. This was explained in greater detail in an earlier post in this series on 'The Ketubah', which can be found in the archives.

‘Nesher’

This notion of an eagle representing an enemy in the above passage is well founded, based on the Hebrew word for eagle, which is ‘nesher’, and which looks like this in today’s modern Hebrew letters;

NesherIn Hebrew, Nesher is spelled ‘Nun-Shin-Resh’, reading from right to left as always, and the Paleo-Hebrew pictographs associated with those letters provide a telling clue about the role of this eagle in this drama. Consider the spelling of the word 'Nesher' from this Paleo-Hebrew perspective;

NunThe Nun is a seed, and it can mean a seed, or other potential meanings are continue or heir or son. Specifically, it often refers to Jesus and/or Israel as the heir to the earth.

ShinThe Shin is a picture of two front teeth, and it can mean simply teeth, or it can mean sharp, press, eat, or two. Other related meanings would potentially be to destroy, or consume.

ReshThe Resh is a picture of a human head, and it can mean head or man, but it often means either first, top or beginning.

In light of the fact that the eagle is a bird of prey, and that it is warning the earth of the supernatural ‘woes’ that are about descend upon it, it would seem quite natural that one of the meanings provided by these letters is the following;

“The Heir Destroys Men”

This interpretation makes perfect sense in light of the fact that the Heir, Jesus Christ, will indeed begin to destroy men at this point in the Revelation. This point in time will mark the beginning of the 3½ years of the beast, where the antichrist will be empowered to reign over the earth. And Jesus will use him as the rod of his anger in order to chasten and destroy the lawless on the earth in those days. We know that the lawless will be the target of this anger, since the eagle is seen warning those “of the earth” and NOT those of the light.

Those of us that are of the light will be on an entirely different path that we'll discuss in the next several posts. 

NEXT TIME:

In the next post we’ll begin to examine the supernatural “three woes” of the Revelation, and we'll also begin to set the stage for the coming rapture of the Church.

Read 19249 times Last modified on Sunday, 09 September 2012 03:05

Comments   

#5 toddott 2014-11-16 18:33
The Woman clothed with the Sun (the righteousness of God) with the Moon under her feet (the commandments of God) and a crown of twelve stars... the Church.
Could it be this darkening represent the apostasy, the falling away that happens because of the famine of the word, the persecutions, the cares of life? Could it be the foolish virgins, the one taken while the other is left? If the fifth Seal is martyrdom and persecution of the saints, the the sixth may represent many turning from the faith.
Like a fig tree that drops its early figs when shaken by a wind, God will "once again" shake the heavens and earth until all that remains are those things that cannot be shaken, those with faith like gold purified in the fire.
#4 Mike 2013-12-04 12:07
Antione,

Yes, that's the idea.

Mike
#3 Antione 2013-12-03 12:59
Mike, me again :-)

A third of the day and the night are without light.
Isn't this just a summary of the previous verses? Less sunlight (faith/gospel/g lory) during the day and less moonlight (more lawlessness) during the night.

Just a thought. Keep up the good work!
#2 mike 2012-10-05 16:06
Hi Laurence,

I've been incredibly busy the past few weeks, so these posts have been delayed. Sorry about that. But I've got the fifth trumpet half written right now, and will probably have it posted this weekend some time, if all goes according to plan. But even if not this weekend, it should be up within the next week.

I hope it will be worth the wait.

Mike
#1 Laurence Henry Bosma 2012-10-05 08:11
OK it's taking awhile for the 3 woes and the 5th trumpet so I'm falling off the edge of my seat waiting!!! You'll probably say the star fallen to the earth is Satan and the locusts are the fallen angels held in chains in Tarterus until the judgement and doom of the great day, the great day being the day/year of the LORD, with each trumpet being blown on the new moon being 7 months and 5 months of torment equals the year of the LORD's vengeance, with the 6th trumpet being blown on Elul 1 and although it is the 4o days of teshuva the rest of humanity still did not repent, then Jesus comes with the little scroll at the last trump, the 7th trumpet on the day know one knows the day or hour of, Tishri 1 at midnight and the jews look upon whom they have pierced and cry out blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! As the mount of Olives splits in half so Jesus left foot is in the sea and his right foot is on the mount of Olives. Or something like that???