What does Revelation 8:12 mean?
ESV: The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
NIV: The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, 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 turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
NASB: The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.
CSB: The fourth angel blew his trumpet, 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 was without light and also a third of the night.
NLT: Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and one-third of the sun was struck, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. And one-third of the day was dark, and also one-third of the night.
KJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
To this point, three angels have sounded their trumpets, each resulting in horrible calamity on earth. Most of these seem to be focused on environmental issues: raining hail and fire, destruction of the sea, and poisoning of fresh waters. When the fourth angel blew his trumpet, stellar catastrophes occurred. A darkness covered a third of the sun, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars. A third of the naturally-occurring light was plunged into darkness.

As was the case during the Exodus, these phenomena show God is in control of nature. The events described here would drastically affect crop growth, solar power, global climate, and energy use. Jesus predicted in Luke 21:25–26 that "there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken." Even earth's most renowned scientists will not be able to explain, and panic will seize earth's population.

However, this darkness might also provide a covering for righteous Jews to escape to the mountains when the false prophet sets up an image in the holy place, as described in other prophetic passages (Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15–16; Revelation 13:1–15).
Verse Context:
Revelation 8:6–13 follows a lengthy hush in heaven, after which seven angels receive seven trumpets and another angel mixes the prayers of the saints with incense. After emptying the censer of incense, he fills it with fire and casts it down to the earth. Thunder, rumblings, lighting, and an earthquake ensue. Now four of the seven angels blow their trumpets with disastrous effects on earth.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 8 tells us John saw seven angels receive seven trumpets. Another angel brought incense and the prayers of the saints at the golden altar, then filled the container with fire and cast it down to the earth. Next, four angels blew their trumpets in succession. The consequences were devastating: hail and fire mixed with blood; a third of the earth and trees were burned up; all green grass was consumed; a third of the sea became blood; a third of sea life died; a third of the ships were destroyed; the water supply became bitter, and many people died. Further, a third of the sun, moon, and stars experienced some kind of blackout, and darkness extended for a third of the day and night.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 7, an interlude occurs between the opening of the sixth seal and the seventh seal. In the interlude an angel seals 144,000 saved Jews as God's servants. Chapter 8 introduces the second series of judgments, the trumpet judgments. They begin when Jesus the Lamb opens the seventh seal. The trumpet judgments seem to follow the seal judgments without overlapping them. They are more severe than the seal judgments, resulting in catastrophic damage to plant life, salt waters, fresh waters, and light. Even so, this passage warns that the remaining judgments are even worse.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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