Fourth Trumpet - Cosmic Darkness

OVERVIEW - The fourth trumpet blast caused a partial darkening of the sun, moon, and the stars - Revelation 8:12

Eclipse - Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash
The picture of the darkening of the light emitted by the sun, moon, and stars is based on the ninth plague of Egypt, when the darkness covered the land for three days. It also draws imagery from the judicial pronouncement against Pharaoh in the 
book of Ezekiel, a judgment that was carried out by the ancient empire of Babylon. Now, darkness consumes the kingdom of end-time “Babylon” - [Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash].
  • (Revelation 8:12) – “And the fourth angel sounded; and the third of the sun was smitten, and the third of the moon, and the third of the stars, in order that the third of them might be darkened, and the day might not shine for the third of it, and the night, in like manner.”
  • (Ezekiel 32:7-11) - “Take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt…When I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and set darkness upon your land, declares Yahweh…For thus declares Yahweh, The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you.”
The fourth trumpet impacted the same portions of the created order as did the fourth “bowl of wrath,” although not as severely:
  • It was poured out upon the sun to scorch men with fire; and men were scorched with great heat and blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues” - (Revelation 16:8).
The Greek term rendered “strike” is the verb plésso. It is related to the noun plégé or “plague.” The usage is deliberate; it reminds the reader of the connection to the plagues of Egypt - (Revelation 9:18 – “By these three plagues was the third part of men killed”).

The image of the darkened sun, moon and stars also borrows from the book of Isaiah, another judgment pronouncement against Babylon:
  1. The burden of Babylon that Isaiah saw…Wail, for the day of Yahweh is at hand…Behold, the day of Yahweh is coming, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine” - (Isaiah 13:1-13).
The plague imagery draws heavily from the judgments of Yahweh against Ancient Egypt for refusing to free Israel. But Revelation also weaves in allusions from the books of JeremiahEzekiel, and Isaiah, passages about judicial pronouncements against the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Here, they anticipate the sentences pronounced against end-time “Babylon” in chapter 18 of the book of Revelation.

The application of pronouncements against Ancient Babylon is paradoxical. The “plagues” of the first four trumpets targeted the unrepentant “inhabitants of the earth,” but the unexpected agent of judgment was Babylon itself, the “burning mountain” that was cast into the sea, and the “burning star” that fell on rivers and springs. To punish them, God used the very institution on which the “inhabitants of the earth” depended for economic security - (Revelation 8:59:20-21).

To this point, it was not human beings that were destroyed, but a third of the things connected to their economic activity - Agriculture, transportation (ships), water, and light; the very things that are connected to the economic dominance of “Mystery Babylon.” So far, men only died when they chose to drink the “bitter waters” of Babylon.


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