The fourth and fifth in this last series of judgements are opposites.
First, the sun becomes extremely strong. It is so hot that it burns people’s skin, like the heat of a great fire. Then, as people swear at God because of the pain, it suddenly becomes dark. The whole country that the antichrist rules becomes dark. As the antichrist is the evil ruler of the whole world (13:7), the whole world has therefore become dark. Somehow that darkness also causes pain: perhaps the world becomes very cold because of the darkness.
These two punishments are opposite, but the people’s reaction is the same. They curse God in the heat; they curse God in the darkness. Such events should cause people to repent. In other words, they should be humble in front of God and they should turn from their sins (evil deeds). That does not happen here, however. Events that should make them humble in fact cause them to speak proud words against God. That shows clearly that they are opposing God on purpose. They hate him.
The judgement of darkness is especially against the antichrist, although all his people suffer because of it. In the Bible, darkness is often a word-picture for evil things (John 3:19-20). As the sun brought light and heat to people, so the antichrist brought that kind of darkness to people. People are often not aware of the things that really affect their lives. In these judgements, people were not aware of the sun’s power until it began to burn them. In the same way, complete darkness over the world expresses well how evil the antichrist, its ruler, is.
God created the light and the sun. Both day and night belong to him, as do land and sea, summer and winter. He made proper limits for them all (Psalm 74:16-17). When, because of people’s evil deeds, God relaxes those limits, judgements happen. People’s evil deeds cause terrible things to happen on earth.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.