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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 43

Darkening of the Heavenly Bodies

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 43
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Welcome to this lesson! Let’s pray together:
Our Father,

As we study the seven trumpets, we realize that their messages contain not only prophecies, but also valuable teachings.

Please guide us by Your Holy Spirit during this lesson, and show us the errors men made in the past, so that we may not imitate them, but always remain faithful to You.

In the precious name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.
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Revelation 8:10,11 Comments
And the third angel sounded.

And there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell on the third part of the rivers, and on the fountains of waters.

And the name of the star is called Wormwood.
In our last lesson, we have seen that the bright star fallen from heaven symbolizes Satan, the angel of light who rebelled against God.

Decisively driven out of heaven when Jesus, by His death and His resurrection, obtained victory over death and sin, Satan was cast down to the earth.

Full of bitterness, and eager to poison men with his lies leading to death and loss, he is compared to wormwood.
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Revelation 8:11 Comments
The name of the star is called Wormwood.

And the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
Satan managed to poison the fountains of water by bringing the Church to make many doctrinal compromises with paganism, in order to establish its supremacy over Europe.

These compromises began as soon as the fourth century, as the waning Western Roman Empire progressively gave more and more of its authority over to the Church, whose power grew rapidly.
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Revelation 8:12 Comments
And the fourth angel sounded.

And the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
What happened next? The fourth trumpet announces the following events, once again in a symbolic language.

A careful and thorough study of the Word of God will explain the meaning of this prophecy, and allow us to understand the events it describes.
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John 8:12 Comments
Then spoke Jesus again to [the scribes and Pharisees], saying,

«I am the Light of the world. He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.»
The fourth trumpet reports a darkening of the heavenly bodies.

To find out the meaning of this fading light, we must first discover the source of light.

And the Bible gives a very clear anwser: Jesus is the Light.
John 12:46
[Jesus said,]

«I am come a Light into the world, that whoever believes on Me should not abide in darkness.»
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Many times, the Bible testifies that Jesus is the Light of the world:
«I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.» (John 9:4,5)

«In [the Word] was life; and the life was the Light of men. And the Light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (...) That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.» (John 1:4,5,9)

«I the Lord have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will keep You, and give You for a covenant of the people, for a Light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.» (Isaiah 42:6,7)
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2 Corinthians 4:5,6 Comments
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
During His life here on earth, Jesus, the Light of the world, dispersed the darkness prevailing over the earth, and clearly revealed, as never before, the perfect character of God and His love for each one of us.
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When we choose to follow Jesus, we turn from darkness to light:
«I send you to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.» (Acts 26:17,18)

«But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.» (1 Peter 2:9)

«The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, on them has the light shined. (...) For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given: and the government shall be on His shoulder.» (Isaiah 9:2,6)

«Who is among you (...) that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay on his God.» (Isaiah 50:10)
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Ephesians 6:11,12 Comments
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Whereas light is linked with Jesus and the salvation He offers us, darkness is linked with Satan and his angels.
2 Peter 2:4
God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness.
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Picture 10 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 43
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2 Corinthians 4:3,4 Comments
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them. Satan, the ruler of darkness, has only one purpose: to prevent men from reaching the light, the way to salvation in Jesus Christ.

And to manage it, his best strategy is to spread false teachings, leading people to believe that they don’t need Jesus to be saved.
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Satan is always trying to darken the truth which leads to salvation:
«This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you from now on walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.» (Ephesians 4:17,18)

«To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look to the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.» (Isaiah 8:20-22)
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2 Peter 1:19 Comments
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. Since we are talking about light and darkness, let’s remember that the prophetic word, which is the subject of this set of lessons, is also a reliable lamp!

Now, let’s come back to the fourth trumpet, in order to discover which events it describes.
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Revelation 8:12 Comments
And the fourth angel sounded.

And the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
The third trumpet announced that the fountains of living waters would be poisoned, and this is what happened when the Church, from the fourth century onward, mixed foreign and pagan doctrines with the Christian faith.

The way was then prepared for the fourth trumpet, which announces a period of darkness.
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John 12:35 Comments
Then Jesus said to [the people],

«Yet a little while is the Light with you. Walk while you have the Light, lest darkness come on you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes.»
Jesus knew that, after His departure for heaven, a period of darkness would follow.
John 9:4
[Jesus said,]

«I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day. The night comes, when no man can work.»
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Revelation 2:18,20 Comments
To the angel of the church in Thyatira write,

«These things said the Son of God, who has His eyes like to a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass: (...)

“I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.”»
In the book of Revelation, Jesus, blazing with light, announces once again this period of spiritual darkness and generalized apostasy, in the letter to the fourth church, Thyatira, which is parallel to the fourth trumpet.
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Revelation 2:21,22 Comments
And I gave [Jezebel] space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
The letter to the fourth church, Thyatira, had the same purpose as the fourth trumpet: calling to repentance the Church which, since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, was plunging deeper and deeper into apostasy.

But unfortunately, during all the Middle Ages, it refused to repent.
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Isaiah 59:9,10,13 Comments
We wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. (...)

[We are] transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
As a result of its apostasy, the Church of the Middle Ages was plunged into deep spiritual darkness, just as foretold by the fourth trumpet.
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God has often warned men that apostasy plunges into darkness...
«But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command you this day, that (...) the Lord shall smite you with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind gropes in darkness.» (Deuteronomy 28:15,28,29)

«Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, “I have no pleasure in them;” while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened.» (Ecclesiastes 12:1,2)

«Give glory to the Lord your God, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.» (Jeremiah 13:16)
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... but, in spite of everything, men have preferred apostasy and darkness!
«Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.» (John 3:19,20)

«[They] have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. (...) To [these] the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.» (2 Peter 2:15,17)

«Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are (...) wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.» (Jude verses 11-13)

«Thus said the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, “Peace;” and he that puts not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him: “Therefore night shall be to you, that you shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark to you, that you shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.”» (Micah 3:5,6)
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Revelation 2:24 Comments
But to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put on you none other burden. Fortunately, some faithful believers escaped from the spiritual darkness of the Middle Ages, as foretold by the fourth letter and the fourth trumpet.

That’s why only «the third» of the heavenly bodies are darkened.
Revelation 8:12
The third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened.
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Revelation 8:12 Comments
The third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened. Only a third of the heavenly bodies are darkened, meaning that some people escaped from the darkness. Who are they?

We can find the answer to this question by drawing a striking parallel between these two verses.
Revelation 12:1
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
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Revelation 12:1,5 Comments
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (...)

And she brought forth a Man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.
As we will study in a future lesson, the pure woman of Revelation represents the Church faithful to God, from which Jesus came to the earth.

Pure and loyal, she is portrayed as being surrounded with the same heavenly bodies as those listed in the fourth trumpet.

But here, the heavenly bodies are not darkened, thus making this woman glorious and radiant.
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Revelation 12:5,6 Comments
And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.
This prophecy foretells that, after the departure of Jesus for heaven, God’s pure and faithful Church would experience difficult times for 1260 days.

In our lesson «The Four Mythical Beasts», we saw that these 1260 days represent the period of 1260 years during which a persecuting power attacked the people of God, from A.D. 538 to 1798.
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Daniel 8:10,12 Comments
[The little horn] waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped on them. (...)

It cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.
In the book of Daniel, this persecuting power is represented as a little horn.

«Casting down some of the stars to the ground», and thus darkening truth, this little horn accurately confirms the message of the fourth trumpet.

The identity of this little horn is now obvious: it is the apostate Church of the Middle Ages.
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Daniel 7:25 Comments
[He] shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws.

And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
As the apostate Church was sinking into darkness, many believers chose to remain faithful to God.

So they had to face the persecution of the apostate Church, during the 1260 years (3½ times) of its reign.

[For more details about the calculation of the 1260 years, please review the lesson «The Four Mythical Beasts».]
Revelation 12:6
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.
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Daniel 7:21 Comments
I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. History reports that, during the 1260 years of its reign, the apostate Church killed about 50 million believers who refused to obey it.

The message of the fourth trumpet is thus directly intended for the apostate Church, as a major persecutor of God’s people, and invites it to repentance.
Isaiah 58:1
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
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Exodus 10:22,23,27 Comments
And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.

They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days.

But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (...)

And [Pharaoh] would not let them go.
Like the first trumpet, the fourth trumpet calls to mind one of the plagues of Egypt.

The parallel is interesting, because, in both cases, darkness did not affect God’s people.

And unfortunately, also in both cases, the persecuting power did not repent following this curse.
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Revelation 8:13 Comments
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the middle of heaven, saying with a loud voice,

«Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!»
Refusing to repent, to come back to light, the apostate Church will now be struck by the other trumpets, the subject of our next lessons.
Isaiah 5:20
Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness!
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As for us, let’s never abandon the light to choose darkness!
«Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has he that believes with an infidel?» (2 Corinthians 6:14,15)

«For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord. Walk as children of light: for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.» (Ephesians 5:8,9)

«The path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.» (Proverbs 4:18,19)

«The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.» (Romans 13:12)
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Let’s close this lesson with a prayer:
Our Father,

David sang, «You will light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.» (Psalm 18:28).

This song could also have been sung by the Church of the Middle Ages, but unfortunately, it preferred darkness to light, apostasy to Your truth.

May we never follow this example, and always remain faithful to You.

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 43 - Test The test of Lesson 43 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: In: «Photo Gallery 25,000» by Media Graphics International, CD #2, 020_147.JPG. Screen 2: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.137. Screen 3: First picture: «Pluto, god of hell, holding the keys.» In: WHITE, Ellen G., «The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy», Laymen for Religious Liberty Inc., 1990, p.288-34. Second picture: «The keys of the pope». In: WHITE, Ellen G., «The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy», Laymen for Religious Liberty Inc., 1990, p.288-34. Screen 4: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.138. Screen 5: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias. «The Resurrection of Christ» (1510-1515). Unterlinden Museum, Colmar. In: «The Bible in Art» (WRIGHT, Susan), Todtri Productions Limited, New York, 1996, p.107. Screen 6: KNOX, John. In: «Ministry» magazine (June-July 2000), Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, p.6. Screen 7: DORÉ, Gustave. In: «La Bible de Gustave Doré», Lausanne, Edita, 1994, p.281. Screen 8: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «The Bible Story, volume 10» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.140. Used by permission. Copyright ©1957, 1985 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 9: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 1» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.322. Screen 10: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 1, 1994), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.16,17. Screen 11: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (April 15, 1998), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.16. Screen 12: Photo by P. BLEECKX. In: «Le Moniteur», Pacific Press Publishing Association, First Quarter, 1999, front cover. Screen 13: Picture collection «ClickArt 65,000» by Broderbund, CD #4, NATOT217.JPG. Screen 14: In: «Egermeier’s Bible Story Book» (EGERMEIER, Elsie E.), The Warner Press, 1963, p.443. Screen 15: PROVONSHA, Clyde. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C. Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.88. Screen 16: STEEL, John. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 1» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.116. Screen 17: DI BANCO, Nanni. Orsanmichele, Florence. In: «La Peinture de la Renaissance Italienne» (BECK, James H.), Editions Könemann, 1999, p.40. Screen 18: In: «The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes» (TAYLOR, Kenneth N.), Moody Press, Chicago, 1956, p.33. Screen 19: CONVERSE, James. In: «God Cares, volume 1» (MAXWELL, C.Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1981, p.87. Screen 20: PROVONSHA, Clyde. In: «Votre Bible et vous» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.37. Used by permission. Copyright ©1959, 1987 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 21: HARLAN, Russell. In: «Revelation 12-13: The Church and its Foes», G.C. Ministerial Association, 1976, p.1. Screen 22: BISHOP, Tom. «Woman of Revelation 12». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #40. Screen 23: ANDERSON, Harry. In: «Bible Readings for the Home», p.262. Used by permission. Copyright ©1980 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 24: Unknown source. Screen 25: STEEL, John. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 1» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.174. Screen 26: «Scenes of the Waldensian Persecution», Museum at La Torre, Italy. In: WHITE, Ellen G., «The (New, Illustrated) Great Controversy», Laymen for Religious Liberty Inc., 1990. Screen 27: MUELLER, Carl. In: «The Living Bible Encyclopedia in Story and Pictures, volume 10», New York, H.S. Stuttman Co. Inc., 1968, p.1308-d. Screen 28: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM256.BMP. Screen 29: TANK, Darrel. In: «Ministry» magazine (June-July 2000), Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, p.51. Screen 30: Photo in: «Master Clips 500,000» by IMSI, CD #17, SSGP1919.JPG.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 43 - Test The test of Lesson 43 is waiting for you!