“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.”
King James Version (KJV)
8:12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten - Or struck. After the emperor Theodosius died, and the empire was divided into the eastern and the western, the barbarous nations poured in as a flood. The Goths and Hunns in the years 403 and 405 fell upon Italy itself with an impetuous force; and the former, in the year 410, took Rome by storm, and plundered it without mercy. In the year 452 Attila treated the upper part of Italy in the same manner. In 455 Valentinian the Third was killed, and Genseric invited from Afric. He plundered Rome for fourteen days together. Recimer plundered it again in 472. During all these commotions, one province was lost after another, till, in the year 476, Odoacer seized upon Rome, deposed the emperor, and put an end to the empire itself. An eclipse of the sun or moon is termed by the Hebrews, a stroke. Now, as such a darkness does not come all at once, but by degrees, so likewise did the darkness which fell on the Roman, particularly the western empire; for the stroke began long before Odoacer, namely, when the barbarians first conquered the capital city. And the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so that the third part of them was darkened - As under the first, second, and third trumpets by the earth, sea, and rivers, are to be understood the men that inhabit them; so here by the sun, moon, and stars, may be understood the men that live under them, who are so overwhelmed with calamities in those days of darkness, that they can no longer enjoy the light of heaven: unless it may be thought to imply their being killed; so that the sun, moon, and stars shine to them no longer. The very same expression we find in #Ezekiel 32:8|. I will darken all the lights of heaven over them. As then the fourth seal transcends the three preceding seals, so does the fourth trumpet the three preceding trumpets. For in this not the third part of the earth, or sea, or rivers only, but of all who are under the sun, are affected. And the day shone not for a third part thereof - That is, shone with only a third part of its usual brightness. And the night likewise - The moon and stars having lost a third part of their lustre, either with regard to those who, being dead, saw them no longer, or those who saw them with no satisfaction. The three last trumpets have the time of their continuance fixed, and between each of them there is a remarkable pause: whereas between the four former there is no pause, nor is the time of their continuance mentioned; but all together these four seem to take up a little less than four hundred years.
Re 8:12 THE FOURTH TRUMPET. And the fourth angel sounded. Again the scene changes. And the third part of the sun was smitten, etc. Now it is the third part of the sun, and of the moon, and of the stars that is smitten, and darkness follows. The sun is a symbol of the supreme ruler, and the moon and stars of inferior dignities. If the Roman emperor, ruler of the world, should be cast from power, his empire overthrown, the consuls, senators, and great men who supported his power be cast to the dust, and a period of intellectual and moral darkness should follow, it would fully meet the symbolism.