(Read Part 34)
The old adage, “If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say that, I would be a rich person,” certainly applies to the many times friends and family members have stated to me that the lack of sunlight for a long stretch of dark and gloomy weather makes them feel lethargic—and even depressed.
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. (Rev. 8:12)
Implications of the Judgment
David Levy states,
This judgment will greatly affect agricultural production, animal life, and mankind’s physical, psychological, and social health.
Not only will people experience a significant reduction in the amount of natural light when outdoors, or through a window, the environmental impact will also be significant when this judgment occurs during the future seven-year tribulation period.
The website for the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests, in an article titled “Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study,” that there is a direct correlation between the lack of sunlight and depression. Science does not prove the truth of the Bible. However, God’s inerrant Word (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21) reveals truths that science supports.
In addition, secular research concludes that a lack of sunlight will impact its disinfectant ability on mold, mildew, viruses and the reduction on flu viruses. The sun also enables photosynthesis, which is needed for all plants to produce crops. The fourth trumpet judgment, therefore, mandates increased sickness and a further reduction in agricultural production.
Interpretive Challenge of the Judgment
The renowned dispensational scholar, Charles Ryrie, states that the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars has two potential functional possibilities. First, “the twenty-four-hour cycle is reduced to sixteen hours.” Secondly, this could refer specifically to the reduction in the output of the sun, moon and stars by one-third. Ryrie further suggests the diminished output of light will result in a drop in the earth’s temperature, which naturally leads to the speculation of the additional loss of crops and food for those enduring the catastrophic judgments of the tribulation. The Apostle John recorded earlier in the third seal judgment that a very severe famine will already be in effect before this fourth trumpet judgment sounds (Rev. 6:5-6). Jesus Himself accentuated the severity of the judgments when He personally stated:
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matt. 24:22)
This statement by Jesus has its own interpretive challenge, especially in light of the fourth trumpet judgment. John Walvoord contends that the proper interpretation of Matthew 24:22 is, “If He [Jesus] did not stop the period by His second coming, there would be no human beings left on earth (Matt. 24:22).” Simply stated, Walvoord’s position is that the 24-hour days will not have their hours shortened to 16 hours, a reduction of one-third, but that God will confine the tribulation period to a short, literal, seven-year period, divided into two literal three-and-a-half-year periods (Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5).
Introspective Challenge of the Judgment
The six seal judgments (Rev. 6) and the first four trumpet judgments (Rev. 8:1-12) will wreak havoc on the heavens and the earth in the future tribulation period. The Apostle John has yet to reveal the most horrific judgments that God will impose on those refusing to repent of their sin and turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the next article, we will examine the three woes pronounced upon the Earth and its inhabitants. These piercing facts must force each of us to examine ourselves and ask, “Am I in a right relationship with Jesus Christ?” Have you ever accepted God’s free gift of salvation through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Eph. 2:8-9: Tit. 3:5-6)? If yes, are you living a life that exemplifies your love for the soon returning Jesus Christ at the rapture of the church age saints (Eph. 2:10; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)?
Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.
(Read Part 36)
Dr. Richard Schmidt is a church ministries representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry and the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Shia T. Kent, Leslie A. McClure, William L. Crosson, Donna K. Arnett, Virginia G. Wadley and Nalini Sathiakumar, “Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study,” United States Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Environ Health. 2009; 8: 34. Published online 28 July 2009; <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728098/>; Internet; accessed 23 May 2017.
 “Sunlight, Photosyntesis & Vitamin D” [sic], Agriculture Defense Coalition, <http://www.agriculturedefensecoalition.org/content/sunlight-photosyntesis-vitamin-d>; Internet; accessed 23 May 2017.