Nevertheless we do not think that this is the only, or that it is even the main idea that is expressed. On the contrary, rather than saying that one-third means the smaller part over against two-thirds that are not affected, I would say that one-third signifies just a little more than the one-fourth that is always affected. You will remember that we explained the meaning of one-fourth in connection with the fourth seal. That fourth horse and its rider traverse the earth and kill one-fourth part of all men. We then said that one-fourth signifies just as many as is in harmony with the history of this dispensation; or, if you please,—to speak concretely,—one-fourth indicates the ordinary death-rate of the world. Four is the number of the world. And one-fourth is that part which is in harmony with the present existence of the world of men. And therefore, one-fourth indicates the ordinary rate in which men die. But the same is true with hail and fire, with storms and upheavals in the sea, with the poisoning of the waters, and with the cooling of the atmosphere. There is always one-fourth part of the earth affected by hail and fire. There is always one-fourth part of the earth and the trees and the grass and all the crops that is destroyed. Every year this happens again. The same is true of the sea. One-fourth of the fishes always die. That is the ordinary number of them. One-fourth of the ships always perish. That is the ordinary number of ships that are destroyed by the ordinary number of storms. There is never a year that no fish die, and there is never a year that no ships are destroyed. One-fourth part of the waters is always struck with the star which is called Wormwood. One-fourth part of them always causes epidemics, so that some die. One-fourth part of the earth is always affected by the lack of sufficient sunshine. In a word, these same things always recur, only according to the measure of this dispensation, one-fourth part of the universe being affected. But as long as this is not increased, the earth does not consider them judgments. There is nothing strange in this. We have become accustomed to this. In general, all the world figures with this part of the crop being destroyed by hail and fire and by cold weather. In general, all the world figures on just so many ships being destroyed on an average, and just so many people dying because of the poisonous waters. But now, in connection with the first four trumpets, this is increased just a little. Not much, it is true; only the next fraction is taken, instead of one-fourth, one-third. Just a little more hail and fire, just a little more cooling of the atmosphere, just a little more death to the creatures of the sea, just a few more ships destroyed, just a few more people die because of the waters, and just a little more cooling off of the sun. This is meant by the four trumpets. You know the effect of this just-a-little-more: it upsets all the calculations of men. Just a little cooler atmosphere during the summer, and the crops do not ripen. Just a little more hail and fire than usual, and another part of the crop on which men had figured is destroyed. Just a few more storms and disturbances in the sea, and the number of ships on which we depended is greatly lessened. And thus it is with the supply of fish and with the waters of the earth. In a word, by the just-a-little-more of these trumpets Christ controls all the world, and determines absolutely the relations that must ensue so as to complete His kingdom and ultimately destroy the power of the Antichrist. By these very natural causes it is Christ, blowing the trumpets through the seven angels, who determines the development of the nations and so directs all things that exactly that constellation is called into existence which He desires. It is by controlling these natural phenomena that Christ ultimately will also destroy the Antichrist and the Gog and Magog. In a word, it is Christ who in this dispensation controls the fate of the nations also through these elements of the universe, who gives victory and deals defeat, who sets up and dethrones powers and dominions, and thus controls the history of all the world with a view to the bringing of His own kingdom. 

And thus you will also clearly understand the words of our text in relation to all history. All the forces that cause these things come directly from heaven. It indicates that Christ, who holds the book of the seven seals and opens it seal after seal, also determines crops and crop failure, plenty and lack of everything, and through these all determines the coming of His kingdom. Be not afraid, therefore. These things must surely come to pass. They will come ever more forcefully and plainly. And in them all you may see the judgment that is coming upon the world and the answer to your own prayers. Be not afraid! For even though by these judgments you will undoubtedly be touched as far as your present existence and life in the world is concerned, the spiritual kingdom of Christ is invulnerable and immune from the spiritual point of view. In the midst of these times as they are pictured in the text, the people of God are sealed, and they are sealed securely, that is, spiritually they shall surely conquer. And finally they shall through all these things enter into the economy of things where God shall spread His tabernacle over them, and they shall serve Him in His temple day and night forevermore.

—H.H.