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The Seven Trumpets -- 4 of 7 [message #1377] Tue, 03 May 2016 19:19
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The Fourth Trumpet

A.D. 476 -- 552

"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." Revelation 8:12.


Sun, Moon, and Stars
--symbols of authority or rule.

Psalm 136:8, 9 -- "The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever."

Note: stars are more numerous than either the sun or the moon, and are a symbol of large numbers in the Scriptures. See Genesis 15:5; 22:17; 26:4.

Also, Joseph was, at least in his brothers', the 11 other patriarchs, eyes, unlikely to rule. He dreamed that "the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance" to him. Genesis 37:9. Jacob, a man of God, defined the symbols in the next verse: "What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I [the sun; the greater amount of light it shine represents that the man is the head of the house] and thy mother [the moon] and thy brethren [the 11 stars] indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?" Thus God showed that Jacob, the least, was to rule over they who had authority over him--his parents, and his brethren (his brethren had authority over him in the sense that they were able to sell him into slavery, as it is written).

Daniel and the Revelation (1909), by Uriah Smith


We understand that this trumpet symbolizes the career of Odoacer, the barbarian monarch who was so intimately connected with the downfall of Western Rome. The symbols sun, moon, and stars - for they are undoubtedly here used as symbols - evidently denote the great luminaries of the Roman government, - its emperors, senators, and consuls. Bishop Newton remarks that the last emperor of Western Rome was Romulus, who in derision was called Augustulus, or the "diminutive Augustus." Western Rome fell A.D. 476. Still, however, though the Roman sun was extinguished, its subordinate luminaries shone faintly while the senate and consuls continued. But after many civil reverses and changes of political fortune, at length, A.D. 566, the whole form of the ancient government was subverted, and Rome itself was reduced form being the empress of the world to a poor dukedom tributary to the Exarch of Ravenna. {DAR1909 487.6}

Under the heading, "Extinction of the Western Empire, A.D. 476 or A.D. 479," Elder J. Litch (Prophetic Expositon, Vol. II, pp. 156-160) quotes from Mr. Keith as follows:- {DAR1909 488.1}

"The unfortunate Augustulus was made the instrument of his own disgrace; and he signified his resignation to the senate; and that assembly, in their last act of obedience to a Roman prince, still affected the spirit of freedom and the forms of the constitution. An epistle was addressed, by their unanimous decree, to the emperor Zeno, the son-in-law and successor of Leo, who had lately been restored, after a short rebellion, to the Byzantine throne. They solemnly 'disclaim the necessity or even the wish of continuing any longer the imperial succession in Italy; since in their opinion the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pervade and to protect, at the same time, both the East and the West. In their own name, and in the name of the people, they consent that the seat of universal empire shall be transferred from Rome to Constantinople; and they basely renounce the right of choosing their master, the only vestige which yet remained of the authority which had given laws to the world.' {DAR1909 488.2}

"The power and glory of Rome as bearing rule over any nation, became extinct. The name alone remained to the queen of nations. Every token of royalty disappeared from the imperial city. She who had ruled over the nations sat in the dust, like a second Babylon, and there was no throne where the Caesars had reigned. The last act of obedience to a Roman prince which that once august assembly performed, was the acceptance of the resignation of the last emperor of the West, and the abolition of the imperial succession in Italy. The sun of Rome was smitten.... {DAR1909 488.3}

"A new conqueror of Italy, Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, speedily arose, who unscrupulously assumed the purple and reigned by right of conquest. 'The royalty of Theodoric was proclaimed by the Goths (March 5, A.D. 493), with the tardy, reluctant, ambiguous consent of the emperor of the East.' The imperial Roman power, of which either Rome or Constantinople had been jointly or singly the seat, whether in the West or the East, was no longer recognized in Italy, and the third part of the sun was smitten, till it emitted no longer the faintest rays. The power of the Caesars was unknown in Italy; and a Gothic king reigned over Rome. {DAR1909 489.1}

"But though the third part of the sun was smitten, and the Roman imperial power was at an end in the city of the Caesars, yet the moon and the stars still shone, or glimmered, for a little longer in the Western empire, even in the midst of Gothic darkness. The consulship and the senate ["the moon and the stars"] were not abolished by Theodoric. 'A Gothic historian applauds the consulship of Theodoric as the height of all temporal power and greatness;' - as the moon reigns by night after the setting of the sun. And instead of abolishing that office, Theodoric himself 'congratulates those annual favorites of fortune, who, without the cares, enjoyed the splendor of the throne.' {DAR1909 489.2}

"But in their prophetic order, the consulship and the senate of Rome met their fate, though they fall not by the hands of Vandals or of Goths. The next revolution in Italy was in subjection to Belisarius, the general of Justinian, emperor of the East. He did not spare what barbarians had hallowed. 'The Roman Consulship Extinguished by Justinian, A.D. 541,' is the title of the last paragraph of the fortieth chapter of Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome. 'The succession of the consuls finally ceased in the thirteenth year of Justinian, whose despotic temper might be gratified by the silent extinction of a title which admonished the Romans of their ancient freedom.' The third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars. In the political firmament of the ancient world, while under the reign of imperial Rome, the emperorship, the consulate, and the senate shone like the sun, the moon, and the stars. The history of their decline and fall is brought down till the two former were 'extinguished,' in reference to Rome and Italy, which so long had ranked as the first of cities and of countries; and finally, as the fourth trumpet closes, we see the 'extinction of that illustrious assembly,' the Roman senate. The city that had ruled the world, as if in mockery of human greatness, was conquered by the eunuch Narses, the successor of Belisarius. He defeated the Goths (A.D. 552), achieved 'the conquest of Rome,' and the fate of the senate was sealed." {DAR1909 489.3}

Elliott (Horae Apocalypticae, Vol. I, pp. 357-360) speaks of the fulfilment of this portion of the prophecy in the extinction of the Western empire, as follows:- {DAR1909 490.1}

"Thus was the final catastrophe preparing, by which the Western emperors and empire were to become extinct. The glory of Rome had long departed; its provinces one after another had been rent from it; the territory still attached to it became like a desert; and its maritime possessions and its fleets and commerce been annihilated. Little remained to it but the vain titles and insignia of sovereignty. And now the time was come when these too were to be withdrawn. Some twenty years or more from the death of Attila, and much less from that of Genseric (who, ere his death, had indeed visited and ravaged the eternal city in one of his maritime marauding expeditions, and thus yet more prepared the coming consummation), about this time, I say, Odoacer, chief of the Heruli, - a barbarian remnant of the host of Attila, left on the Alpine frontiers of Italy, - interposed with his command that the name and the office of Roman emperor of the West, should be abolished. The authorities bowed in submission to him. The last phantom of an emperor - one whose name, Romulus Augustus, was singularly calculated to bring in contrast before the reflective PICTURE mind the past glories of Rome and its present degradation - abdicated; and the senate sent away the imperial insignia to Constantinople, professing to the emperor of the East that one emperor was sufficient for the whole of the empire. Thus of the Roman imperial sun, that third which appertained to the Western empire was eclipsed, and shone no more. I say, That third of its orb which appertained to the Western empire; for the Apocalyptic fraction is literally accurate. In the last arrangement between the two courts, the whole of the Illyrian third had been made over to the Eastern division. Thus in the West 'the extinction of the empire' had taken place; the night had fallen. {DAR1909 490.2}

"Notwithstanding this, however, it must be borne in mind that the authority of the Roman name had not yet entirely ceased. The senate of Rome continued to assemble as usual. The consuls were appointed yearly, one by the Eastern emperor, one by Italy and Rome. Odoacer himself governed Italy under a title (that of patrician) conferred on him by the Eastern emperor. And as regarded the more distant Western provinces, or at least considerable districts in them, the tie which had united them to the Roman empire was not altogether severed. There was still a certain, though often faint, recognition of the supreme imperial authority. The moon and the stars might seem still to shine on the West with a dim reflected light. In the course of the events, however, which rapidly followed one on the other in the next half century, these, too, were extinguished. Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, on destroying the Heruli and their kingdom at Rome and Ravenna, ruled in Italy from A.D. 493 to 526 as an independent sovereign; and on Belisarius's and Narses's conquest of Italy from the Ostrogoths (a conquest preceded by wars and desolations in which Italy, and above all its seven-hilled city, were for a time almost made desert), the Roman senate was dissolved, the consulship abrogated. Moreover, as regards the barbaric princes of the Western provinces, their independence of the Roman imperial power became now more distinctly averred and understood. After above a century and a half of calamities unexampled almost, as Dr. Robertson most truly represents it, in the history of nations, the statement of Jerome, - a statement couched under the very Apocalyptic figure of the text, but prematurely pronounced on the first taking of Rome by Alaric, - might be considered as at length accomplished: 'Clarissimum terrarum lumen extinctum est,' 'The world's glorious sun has been extinguished;' and that, too, which our own poet has expressed, still under the same beautifully appropriate Apocalyptic imagery, {DAR1909 492.1}

'She saw her glories star by star expire.' till not even a single star remained, to glimmer on the vacant and dark night." {DAR1909 493.1}

The fearful ravages of these barbarian hordes, who, under their bold but cruel and desperate leaders, devastated Rome, are vividly portrayed in the following spirited lines:- {DAR1909 493.2}

"And then a deluge of wrath it came,
And the nations shook with dread;
And it swept the earth, till its fields were flame,
And piled with the mingled dead.
Kings were rolled in the wasteful flood,
With the low and crouching slave,
And together lay, in a shroud of blood,
The coward and the brave.
" {DAR1909 493.3}

Fearful as were the calamities brought upon the empire by the first incursions of these barbarians, they were comparatively light as contrasted with the calamities which were to follow. They were but as the preliminary drops of a shower before the torrent which was soon to fall upon the Roman world. The three remaining trumpets are overshadowed with a cloud of woe, as set forth in the following verses. {DAR1909 493.4}

"VERSE 13. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound." {DAR1909 493.5}

This angel is not one of the series of the seven trumpet angels, but simply one who announces that the three remaining trumpets are woe trumpets, on account of the more terrible events to transpire under their sounding. Thus the next, or fifth trumpet, is the first woe; the sixth trumpet, the second woe; and the seventh, the last one in this series of seven trumpets, is the third woe. {DAR1909 493.6}


"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." Isaiah 50:10.

[Updated on: Tue, 03 May 2016 19:41]

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