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Then the fourth angel sounded his trumpet

and a third of the sun was struck and also a third of the moon and a third of the stars,

so that a third of them turned to darkness,

so that a third of the daytime had no brightness and likewise a third of the night.

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Then the fourth angel delivered his foretaste of what was to come and a limited portion of all the sources of knowledge and insight, great and small, were removed so that a portion of that knowledge was missing;

those aspects of life usually characterized by much insight and knowledge now had less knowledge, and those areas characterized by much ignorance had even more ignorance.



The night does not have much brightness (knowledge), but what little there is will become less. What sounds like repetition is a reinforcing of the imagery in order to make a point.

The Sun, Moon and Stars Were Struck

The sun, moon and stars, when used together, represent all sources of power and light, whether great or small. In this case light is emphasized, not power. Light represents knowledge and insight.

If God wants all men to repent, which He does, why would He remove some of man’s knowledge and insight? It would seem that such action would make it harder for man to repent.

In some ways more knowledge helps us understand God better and helps us draw closer to God, but in other ways knowledge can become a hindrance.

I suggest to you that the purpose behind removing some knowledge may be related to what Jesus said in Matthew 13:12 in response to the disciples’ question about why He spoke in parables: “For whoever has something, something else will be given to him, and he will have those things in excess of his needs, but whoever does not have something, even what he has will be taken from him.” Jesus spoke in parables so that people with a little bit of spiritual hunger would be given more spiritual insight, while those with spiritual indifference would not receive any spiritual insight from the parable. Those who hunger for God will be drawn closer to God and will become even more hungry for Him as they learn more about who He is and what He is like. Those who have no hunger for the things of God, even what little curiosity they have will be diminished.

Jesus’ statement pertains specifically to spiritual insight, and that is the connection to Rev 8:12. One of the tactics God will use to get people’s attention is that He will remove some of their knowledge about a variety of things. He will do so partially because man has used his accumulating knowledge to argue that God does not exist and that everything we see is a product of random chance aided by eons of time. Man thinks he knows so much that he does not need God. Modern man has become so accustomed to relying on knowledge that he does not know how to rely on faith.

Another reason for God to do this would be to put man in his place, to show man that he is not big stuff after all. Man is proud of the volume of knowledge he has accumulated. But God can easily and quickly remove some of that to show man that he is not as wise or powerful as he thinks he is. This would serve as a warning and a wake-up call to mankind.

God has many tools in His divine toolbox. He can use any of them to get our attention, draw us to him and call us to repentance. Removing knowledge is one of His tools.