John is describing a series of judgements that will, in the future, affect each part of the world. Already, the land, the sea, and the supplies of drinking water have suffered.
Now, it becomes clear that these troubles do not only affect this world. The sun, the moon and the stars are suffering in a similar manner. For a third part of both day and night, no light whatever reaches the earth.
The Bible teaches that troubles in this world are not merely the result of natural events. There is a battle in the spirit world between good and evil forces. Godís judgement against those evil forces is certain, but it will not happen immediately.
John had already seen some very severe judgements, but this was not yet Godís final judgement. That was clear because these troubles did not destroy everything; they only affected a third part of those things.
People may seem unimportant when battles in the spirit world affect even the sun and the stars. Actually, however, people matter greatly to God; they have an extremely important place in Godís plans.
Originally, Godís plan was for people to rule over everything that he had created (Genesis 1:26). It was their decision not to obey God that gave power over this world to the devil (Genesis 3:1-16; 1 John 5:19). Still, Godís love towards people remained (John 3:16). His Son, Jesus, died so that people can again receive a right relationship with him (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10).
God has the power to defeat all his enemies immediately (Psalm 2). However, he is delaying his final act of judgement so that people can have an opportunity to turn to him (2 Peter 3:9). These battles in the spirit world will continue until God carries out that final judgement against his enemies (19:11-21; 20:11-15).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.