Revelation Chapter 8:12-13
“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. 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!’”
There was a great response about the need to be more actively praying as children of God. Prayer, we are told, is a ‘sweet-smelling aroma’ before the Lord. Jesus prayed often and we should follow His example. The Apostle Paul prayed without ceasing. When I read that as a young man, I did not comprehend the validity of that statement. But I know now that I can be in constant communication with the Lord about everything.
“Amen” is not the end of a prayer. Most of the time I do not get to an “Amen.” I simply leave off the conversation with the Lord until I pick it up again. Often, in the meantime, verses will come to mind that help me to find answers to the prayers. I find that I spend a lot of time in confession and even more time in simple thanksgiving. We here in North America are a blessed people. Most of us have more than we can use and enough to share if we were better stewards. We need to learn that thanksgiving is even more essential when you have been blessed like we have.
As we have looked at the absolute devastation that God has poured out on the people of earth I am reminded of the passage in Romans 1: 24-25,
“Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Paul tells us here that the people of earth have and are at the current time, worshipping the creation more than the Creator. They have elevated the creation to god status. We are quite aware that God will not and does not tolerate anyone or anything sharing His glory and His place.
I just finished reading the book of Joshua; and at the end in that farewell speech, he challenges the people to choose whom they will serve. All through the journey from Egypt to Canaan, God warns them not to turn to false gods but to worship the God who brought them out of captivity.
Notice in Romans 1:25 that “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” We have been fed this tripe of man caring for the planet and that, if we do not, we are going to destroy it – we are over populating it, over using it, over fishing it, and soon it will be destroyed. We have a cult of earth worship. This is not the idea of not caring for the earth. We are to respect the earth, we are to use its resources properly, and are to appreciate the way that God designed it to sustain us. But the earth was designed to support an infinite population had man not sinned.
When one reads in the book of Exodus the encounter that Moses had with Pharaoh over the various plagues, we see that each of them had to do with the creation and God’s sovereignty over it. Water turning to blood, an abundance of frogs, the plague of lice, the swarms of locusts, hail and the other plagues had to do with the physical creation. Pharaoh pretended to be a god, but the real God showed him who God was and what God does. Pharaoh had to constantly ask to stop the plagues; he had no power to stop them himself. Man has no power over the creation, whether to destroy it or to redeem it. Only God, the Living Creator, can do that. In Psalm 104:21 we see this absolutely amazing verse:
“The young lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.”
This is a statement about God’s majesty over His creation. God feeds the lions; we see these nature shows about the majestic lions. The king of the jungle they are called, but it is God who feeds them. If He does not allow them to catch their prey, they will starve to death. This is the sovereignty of the Living God of the Bible. Psalm 19:1 declares,
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handywork.”
Creation demonstrates God’s glory. One has to deliberately deny God when looking at the Creation. Its very design makes clear that there is a Designer. What I observe in the Tribulation is that God is using the very god that the world has placed ahead of Him as their enemy. The very world that they love has become their greatest enemy. The stars fall from the sky, the various earthquakes, the poisoned water, the sea turns to blood, and the sun scorches them. The people of earth are powerless to do anything to stop the destruction. They thought that mere man could destroy the earth, but it is the earth that is destroying them. This may sound calloused; it is not. It is the reality, and sometimes reality can be quite sobering.
The Sun, Moon and Stars, Revelation 8:12
In the trumpet that we are looking at today, a third of the sun was darkened, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were darkened. Light from the sun takes about 8.5 minutes to reach us from the sun. The people would gradually see the darkness take effect. There would be a sudden and consistent temperature drop. In a matter of weeks, there would be a significant temperature drop all around the earth; the pull on electrical grids, things like photosynthesis would slow down, food production, the waters would freeze, significantly shorter days, and on and on we can go.
The world as we know it would suffer catastrophic changes. Tropical vegetation would begin to die off, and food supplies and even physical health. Vitamin D is essential for us to live, and the sun is one of the best sources of it. We do not appreciate that God built interdependent systems on the earth; we need every aspect of it to survive. So, for all those who think that global warming is the next enemy, it will actually be global cooling that is going to cause the damage.
The death toll will be great of both man and beast. Think of all the animals that survive in the heat: most of Africa and any animals in the tropics and in the Amazon regions. Imagine fish freezing in the lakes and the oceans. All too often we read these judgments, and we do not stop to think of all that is included in these judgments. The bodies of the dead will pile up, both of man and beast. There is no way that the communities can keep up with the dead. This is piling on top of the destruction that went on in the previous trumpets. Life on earth will be horrible; no one will be spared the hurt and the pain.
This is just the beginning, Revelation 8:13
There are angels that fly about Heaven and cry out “Woe, Woe, Woe” as a warning that the next three trumpets are about to sound. How bad can they be that they get a warning before they come? How can it get worse? What more damage can God bring upon these hapless people? Why have they not repented and fallen prostrate at the Lord’s feet, begging for the destruction to stop? How hardened can your heart be that you are still defying God when it is clear that He is in charge?
Just look at the story of Pharaoh; he defied God. He even questions if God was a god that he, Pharaoh, should listen to him? By the time that God had finished showing His power and majesty, Pharaoh asked the Israelites to leave, and they did. He kicked them out of Egypt with a hard hand and allowed them to keep the treasures and riches of Egypt.
But there does not seem to be a lot of repentance on the earth. We will see in a short while that people would rather die than submit to God. How many are like that today? How many have seen the hand of God and turned their backs to it?
We live in a time when people have hardened hearts to the things of God. They are not submissive or caring for the leadership of the Holy Spirit. But make no mistake; whether by the Fall beauty of the colored leaves and the nip in the air, or by the falling meteors and the darkening of the sun, the heavens declare the glory of God. God’s glory can be seen in the serenity of creation, but it can also be seen in the midst of a category 5 hurricane that is controlled by the masterful hand of its Creator.
We humans like to get a bit big in the head sometimes; we let our egos get to us. God allows us to explore and ‘discover’ a bit of the intricacies of His creation, and we go on like we made the earth. No, we just figured out what God was doing for thousands of years, and then we realize that we have not even scratched the surface of the boundless knowledge of this planet, furthermore the universe.
Do you feel small yet? I hope that you do! I hope that you feel like the infinitesimal cog in creation that you and I are. We are here for 70 or maybe 80 years as the Psalmist says. We see a few snippets of God’s creation, we understand a pinhead full of His ways, and we forget that we are preceded by billions and billions plus those that will follow after us until the Lord returns. God is BIG! He has been here for all those billions of people. He allows each new generation to learn some mind-blowing aspect of His creation, and we get all puffed up and let it go to our heads.
The angels in verse 13 remind us that we have not seen anything yet. Oh, how sad it must be to fall into the hands of an angry God! But Jesus came to take us from wrath to life, from death to peace and from being the enemies of God to being the friends of God.
Are you and God at peace? If not, then you could find yourself in the middle of this mess if you get through the first round of catastrophes. We are going to get into some very deep things in the next few chapters, and right to the end for that matter. But I do not want to miss the main point; Jesus is calling us to be saved, to repent and to avoid this judgment by trusting Him as Savior now. Read, repent and be redeemed!
John 3: 16-18 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”