Bible Subjects

Revelation 8:12.13. Fourth Trumpet

Rev 8:12.13. Fourth Trumpet

Rev 8:12. 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.

When interpreting the sun, moon and stars symbolically, one can do so individually or grouped together. In this text I will interpret them grouped together, because the result is a third of the day did not shine and likewise the night. If the sun, moon and stars were interpreted individually then it would give another meaning in prophecy. For example: the sun represents Christ and his righteousness, Malachi 4:2. The moon represents the enemies of Christ and the Church, Rev 12:1-17. The stars represent angels, Rev 1:20.

A short word study on “sun, moon and stars,” as a group, and related to the darkening of a day.

Eccles 12:1.2. Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them:” While the sun and the light, the moon and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds do not return after the rain. (This text refers to a man in his old age and when he dies Verse 5.7.)

Is 13:9.10. Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their 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. (The darkening of the sun, moon and stars are related to the day of the Lord with the land becoming desolate, followed by death and destruction upon sinners. This primarily refers to the destruction of Babylon Is 13:1.)

Joel 2:10.11. The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible. (Judging by the context, this verse refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Joel 2:1.2. Blow the trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong – – -. Verse 3. A fire devours before them.)

Joel 3:15. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. (Judging by the context it refers to God judging all nations for their wickedness. Joel 3:12.13. Let the nations be wakened and come to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow- for their wickedness is great.)

Mark 13:24-26. But in those days, after that tribulation, (Refers to the Middle Ages), the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. (This text is referring to the Second Coming of Christ where two events will take place for mankind. Firstly, the elect or true Christians will be gathered Mk 13:27. Secondly, the wicked sinners over the whole earth will mourn Matt 24:30.)

Rev 6:12-17. I looked when he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake: and the sun became black as sackcloth; and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth – – -. Verse 17. For the great day of his wrath has come and who is able to stand. (Refers to the Second Coming of Christ and a judgment day for all sinners.)


“Sun, moon and stars,” as a group, and related to the darkening of a day are related to the following: refers to a man in his old age and when he dies; it is related to the day of the Lord with the land becoming desolate, followed by death and destruction upon sinners; it refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.; it refers to God judging all nations for their wickedness; it refers to the Second Coming of Christ where two events will take place for mankind. Firstly, the elect or true Christians will be gathered Mk 13:27. Secondly, the wicked sinners over the whole earth will mourn Matt 24:30. It finally refers to the Second Coming of Christ and a judgment day for all sinners.

Ellen G. White comments on the darkening of the sun, moon and stars.

After the signs in nature taking place like the darkening of the sun and moon on the 19th May, 1780 in the heavens in New England. “Absorbed in worldliness and pleasure seeking, the professed people of God were blinded to the Saviour’s instructions concerning the signs of His appearing.

The condition of the Church at this time is pointed out in the Saviour’s words in Revelation: ´Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Loving the paths of unrighteousness – to these the day of the Lord is ´darkness, and not light, even very dark, and no brightness in it.´ Amos 5:20.

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm. Zeph 1:15.16. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, . . . to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.´ Is 13:9.

“In the view of that great day the Word of God, in the most solemn and impressive language, calls upon His people to arouse from their spiritual lethargy and to seek His face with repentance and humiliation: `Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.´

To prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished. God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and His mercy He was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make ready for the coming of the Lord.”[1]

 A short word study on “darkness.”

Job 38:1.2. Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

Psalm 35:6.8. (Refers to the enemies of God´s people). Let their way be dark and slippery – – -. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly.

Ezek 30:18.19. At Tehaphnehes the day shall also be darkened, when I break the yokes of Egypt there – – -. Thus, I will execute judgments on Egypt.

Ezek 32:7. (Gods message to Pharaoh of Egypt). When I put out your light, I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. (This text refers to the destruction of Pharaoh by the king of Babylon Verses 9-11).

Is 13:10.11. For the stars of heaven and their 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. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity – – -.

Is 29:15. Woe to those seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord, and their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and “Who knows us?”

Amos 8:9-11. “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord God, “that I will make the sun go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight; I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist, and baldness on every head; I will make it like mourning for an only son, and its end like a bitter day. Behold the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” (The context from Amos 8:2 reveals that the end has come for God´s people Israel and they will be taken into captivity by the Assyrians).

Micah 3:6. (The Lord accusing the false prophets). Therefore, you shall have night without vision, and you shall have darkness without divination; The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them. (The result is no communication from God).

Rom 1:21. (Paul referring to the ungodliness and unrighteousness in men). Because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (This text is referring to spiritual blindness).

Rom 11:10. Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always. (Refers to Israel verse 7. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. This is referring to spiritual blindness and their understanding was dark).

Ephes 4:17.18. This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. (Spiritual blindness due to not knowing God).


Darkness is related to the following: God´s counsel without knowledge, destruction, judgments of God, destruction of Pharaoh, evil and iniquity, a famine of hearing the words of the Lord, no communication from God, spiritual blindness results in dark understanding.

Explanation of the Rev 8:12 in the light of the above understanding.

A third of the sun, moon and stars were darkened means the Day of the Lord is at hand referring to the destruction of Israel and Judah in the Old testament. It also refers to the famine of hearing Gods word from the Bible, resulting in sinners in Jerusalem turning away from God to worship idols. As a last resort God sent the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and Judah in 586 B.C. and deport the people to Babylon.

The same understanding is referring to the Christian Church during the Middle Ages. When the Christians elected a Pope to rule the church in AD 538, this was because of the sins of the people,  the turning away from God and hearing his word from the Bible. As a result, their spiritual understanding became dark and this period became known as the Dark Ages from AD 538 – 1798.

Ellen G. White comments on the Dark Ages

“In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire Church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon (Satan) had given to the beast ´his power, and his seat, and authority´. Rev 13:2 (See Appendix.) And now began the 1,260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Dan 7:25. Rev 13:5-7.”[2]

“This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of the ´man of sin´ (2 Thess 2:1-4. Referring to the papacy in the Roman Catholic Church system) foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan´s power, – – – a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will.”[3]

“At every assault, Christ presented the shield of eternal truth, saying, ´it is written.´ To every suggestion of the adversary, He opposed the wisdom and power of the world. In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men, and establish the authority of the papal usurper, he must keep them in ignorance of the scriptures. The Bible will exalt God and place finite men in their true position; therefore, its sacred truths must be concealed and suppressed.

This logic was adopted by the Roman Church. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it or have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus, the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with authority over Church and State.”[4]

“Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the faggot, or the headman´s axe. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: Ýe shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name´s sake. Luke 21:16.17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years the Church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus says the prophet: ´The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.´ Revelation 12:6.

The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority.”[5]

“Notwithstanding that vice prevailed, even among the leaders of the Roman Church, her influence seemed steadily to increase. About the close of the eighth century, papists put forth the claim that in the first ages of the Church the bishops of Rome had possessed the same spiritual power which they now assumed. To establish this claim, some means must be employed to give it a show of authority; and this was readily suggested by the father of lies. Ancient writings were forged by monks. Decrees of councils before unheard of were discovered, establishing the universal supremacy of the pope from the earliest times. And a Church that had rejected the truth greedily accepted these deceptions. (See Appendix).”[6]

“Another step in papal assumption was taken, when, in the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII proclaimed the perfection of the Roman Church. Among the propositions which he put forth was one declaring that the Church had never erred, nor would it ever err, according to the Scriptures. But the Scripture proofs did not accompany the assertion. The proud pontiff also claimed the power to depose emperors, and declared that no sentence which he pronounced could be reversed by anyone, but that it his prerogative to reverse the decisions of all others. (See Appendix).”[7]

“The advancing centuries witnessed a constant increase of error in the doctrines put forth by Rome. – – – Prominent among these was the belief in man´s natural immortality and his consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From this, sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith.”[8]

“Then the way was prepared for the introduction of still another invention of paganism, which Rome named purgatory, and employed to terrify the credulous and superstitious multitudes. By this heresy is affirmed the existence of a place of torment, in which the souls of such as have not merited eternal damnation are to suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven. (See Appendix).”[9]

“Still another fabrication was needed to enable Rome to profit by the fears and the vices of her adherents. This was supplied by the doctrine of indulgences. Full remission of sins, past, present, and future, and release from all the pains and penalties incurred, were promised to all who would enlist in the pontiff´s wars to extend his temporal dominion, to punish his enemies, or to exterminate those who dared deny his spiritual supremacy.

The people were also taught that by payment of money to the Church they might free themselves from sin, and also release the souls of their deceased friends who were confined in the tormenting flames. By such means did Rome fill her coffers and sustain the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the pretended representatives of Him who had not where to lay His head. (See Appendix).”[10]

“The scriptural ordinance of the Lord´s Supper had been supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass. Papal priests pretended, by their senseless mummery, to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual ´body and the blood of Christ´. – Cardinal Wiseman, The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, Proved from Scripture, lecture 8, sec. 3, par. 26. With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed the power of creating God, the Creator of all things. Christians were required, on pain of death, to avow their faith in this horrible, Heaven-insulting heresy. Multitudes who refused were given to the flames. (See Appendix).”[11]

“In the thirteenth century it was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy–the inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret council Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. ´Babylon the great,‘ was ´drunken with the blood of the saints.´ The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.”[12]

“Popery had become the world´s despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honoured and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.”[13]

Rev 8:13. And I looked, and I heard an angel (eagle in the NV and M text) 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!”

The inhabitants of the earth is a place on earth were God´s people live despite the catastrophes that have happened to the Church during the four trumpets that have sounded. So, we are talking about places like Europe, Asia and North Africa where Christians lived during the Middle Ages.

What does the word woe mean?

The Greek word is ουαί. It is an exclamation of speech to speak suddenly or cry out denoting pain or displeasure.

 A short word study from the New testament on the word woe.

Matt 11:21.22. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. (In verse 23 it infers that Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida will end up in Hades on the day of judgment).

Matt 23:13-36. Is referring to the woes Jesus pronounced upon the scribes and Pharisees. Fx:

Verse 13. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those entering to go in. (The scribes and Pharisees prevented men in entering heaven. This resulted in themselves in not entering into heaven).

Verse 14. Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widow´s houses, and for pretense make long prayers. Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation. (Greater condemnation is the opposite to eternal life).

Verse 15. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Hell is a place for the lost eternally).

Verse 23. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (Jesus calls them blind guides in verse 24 and therefore are lost eternally).

Verses 25.26. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside maybe clean also. (Refers to blind Pharisees who are lost eternally).

Verse 27. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men´s bones and all uncleanliness. (Refers to men who are spiritually dead).

Verses 29.31.33. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Therefore, you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? (Refers to Hell being lost).

Matt 24:19. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who nursing babies in those days.  (In its context this verse is referring to the abomination of desolation in verse 15 surrounding Jerusalem before its destruction in A.D. 70. In addition, it refers to the papal system of forgiveness of sins ritual, substituting the forgiveness of sins in the heavenly sanctuary by Christ. Woe refers to women and persons being lost in these verse).

Matt 26:24. Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. (Refers to the disciple Judas who betrayed his Lord and lost his life eternally).

Luk 6:24-26. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger. Woe to you laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Verse 25. Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

Verse 26. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Luk 26:24-26 is related to Luk 26:20-23 which is an antecedent and in opposition to what Christ had said. Fx. In verse 20. Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God as apposed to verse 24, but woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. It is not wrong to be rich, but it is how you use your wealth that determines the outcome of your life. In this case the rich use their wealth to console themselves. Instead of helping the poor. This results in a woe of condemnation leading to judgment and eternal death.

Luk 17:1.2. It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they did come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. (Woe is related to the judgment of God to the offender resulting in a millstone hung around the neck and thrown into the sea).

Luk 21:20-23. But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its destruction is near. (This occurred in the year AD 70).

Luk 21:22. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written maybe fulfilled.

Luk 21:23. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. (In the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 a few million Jews perished along with those who were pregnant or mothers with babies).

Luk 22:22. But woe to that man by whom He is betrayed. (This verse is related to the previous verse in 21: but behold the hand of my betrayer is with me on the table. This verse refers to Judas who betrayed Jesus and ended up with the judgment of God and condemnation for his sin).

1 Cor 9:16. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. (This is Paul´s resolution, if he does not preach the gospel he would rather die in verse 15).

Jude 11. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, having run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. (Balaam and Korah are amongst those who rebelled against God and will be lost in the judgment).


The word woe is related to the following: Day of Judgment, cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, cannot obtain eternal life, hell, blind men who are lost spiritually, blind guides, dead men spiritually lost, rich men who console themselves in their wealth, men who are eternally lost, a millstone hung around the neck and thrown into the sea, destruction, judgment if one does not preach the gospel, and perish.

In Rev 8:13 states that there are three woes and not just one woe that will be confronting the Church during the following period of the remaining three trumpets. Emphasis on three woes highlights the danger of these woes trying to penetrate the Church. Those in the Church who practice these woes will be lost eternally.

[1] Ellen G. White, Confrontation (Grantham, Lincolnshire: The Stanborough Press, 1978), 309-311.

[2] Ibid., 54.

[3] Ibid., 50.

[4] Ibid., 51.

[5] Ibid., 54.55.

[6] Ibid., 56.

[7] Ibid., 57.

[8] Ibid., 58.

[9] Ibid., 58.59.

[10] Ibid., 59.

[11] Ibid., 59.

[12] Ibid., 59.60.

[13] Ibid., 60.

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