The Fourth Shofar

Revelation 8:12
The End Times

In my last post, we explored Revelation 8:10-11 the Third Shofar.  In this post, we will explore the impact of the Fourth Shofar.

“The fourth angel sounded his shofar; and a third of the sun was struck, also a third of the moon and a third of the stars; so that a third of them were darkened, the day had a third less light, and the night likewise.” ~ Revelation 8:12 (CJB)

The ecological and environmental disasters that have happened on earth from the first three Shofars will, doubtless, be the subject of endless debate.  Scientists, astronomers, philosophers and theologians will seek to explain the catastrophes that have come upon the earth.  With a variety of theories, they will seek to show that these events are natural and are not the evidence of divine intervention.

Men of course will be only too anxious to have their fears put to rest.  However, as the Fourth Shofar is sounded all such theories will be confounded and unbelief challenged in unmistakable fashion.  God touches the sky.  To men the heavenly bodies have appeared untouchable, unembeddable in their paths through an ordered universe; now they are affected.  The sun, the moon and the stars feel the touch of omnipotence and to men there is nothing so terrifying.

A collapsing government, an overthrown kingdom or an apostate religious leader is greeted with casual interest, if not total indifference, by all the people immediately involved.  But, let there be the possibility of erratic movement in a heavenly body and attention is instant.  Therefore, the terrible storm, the blazing forest, the bloodied sea and the poisoned rivers are preparing for the moment when God will touch the heavens.  God does this under the Fourth Shofar.

A review of these first four shofar judgments indicates how rapidly God can change the environment in which men had thought themselves independent and secure.  Roy B. Hilton expounds: [1]

Some would have this to refer to apostasy and false teachings bringing spiritual darkness to the earth. But again, why should this not be a literal cosmic disturbance that is to occur in the last days?  See Luke 21:25; Isaiah 13:9; Matthew 24:29; Ezekiel 32:7-8.  Thus, the first four trumpets judgments are directed toward man and nature, the sea, the fresh water supply, and the cosmic heavens.  To me this is the most logical interpretation of these trumpet judgments.

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 8:12 [2]

Historicist Approach:

For Historicists, the sun, moon and stars represent “the political firmament of Rome.”  The conquest of Rome and the end of its imperial rule were accomplished in 476 CE.

Preterist Approach:

Preterists assign these events to the times of the Jewish War.

Futurist Approach:

The diminishing of the heavenly lights in this judgment is interpreted by Ironside as a reduction of light of perception in the Tribulation, a binding of those who rejected the all-too-adequate light of the Gospel.  Walvoord continues to hold out for a more literal application, considering that what we see here is “an eclipse that extends to a third part of the day and a third part of the night.”  Ryrie similarly suggests that the twenty-four-hour cycle will be shortened to sixteen-hour cycle.  Lindsey and Morris postulate that the reduction in light might result from air pollution.

Idealist Approach:

Most Idealists apply the calamity applying to God’s dealings with any nation at any given time.  Since there is only partial damage, the shofar is sounding not doom, but a warning.

In my next post, we will explore Revelation 8:13 the Three Woes.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones

[2] Material in this section is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg

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