v13-14: Now the sixth angel sounds the sixth trumpet.
©Salem Kirban, Inc.A voice was heard from the golden altar which is before God. Again, some commentaries will try to state the altar is on the earth. This in itself would justify saying there is a third temple before the Tribulation starts. I believe there is a third temple. However, this verse clearly states the voice comes from the altar before God.
Here is a very short summary of the Temple description that explains the four horns. The golden altar stood in the holy place, between the table of show-bread and the golden candlestick. The holy place is just outside the Holiest of Holies (where the Ark of the Covenant and Ten Commandments were kept). The altar was made of shittim or acacia wood. It was ornamented at the four corners, and overlayed throughout with laminations of gold. Hence, it was called “the golden altar.” There was another altar that was for sacrifices. It was made of stone. On its four corners it had projections which are called horns (Exod. 30:2-3). This seems to have been intended mainly for ornaments. Sometimes victims were tied to the horns. This, of course, would lend itself to being the "crying and begging for mercy" altar horns.
The voice says to the sixth angel to loose four other angels that have been bound. The voice comes from either Jesus or God the Father. Since Jesus has been orchestrating this Tribulation, it is most likely He who is giving the orders. The binding would lead us to believe that these four angels may be very similar to the locusts. That is, they have been held back (bound at the Euphrates) while the locusts were in the abyss. Again, if one believes the interpretation that some items have already been completed, the four are thought to be the Arabs, the Saracens, the Tartars, or the Turks. Still others of the Roman interpretation say that Vespasian’s four generals, one in Arabia, one in Africa, one in Alexandria, and one in Palestine are the four angels. I have no problems with there being powers that have been held in check in the Persian area. Then these powers will suddenly be "let loose" to commit their slaughter. Consider the countries in the Middle East area today. They are somewhat being held in check. However, we are still worried about nuclear or chemical warfare from people that either do not understand the devastation of this can cause or simply do not care. Such is that of terrorists. They are not of the mind of our God. So, it is still very possible to happen NOW.
v15: In this verse we are looking at the four "loosed" angels. Keep in mind that the previous verse says that they were bound at (or "in" - KJV) the Euphrates. Today the Euphrates is smack through the middle of Iraq and Syria. PLEASE, I am not predicting of suggesting THIS IS IT because of our present Middle East problems. What I am trying to bring out are the headings and directions that Christians should envision. The world is moving in the direction of what prophecy has brought to light and, therefore, the Second Coming. The Second Coming is something we are all wanting and it is a thing to which we are all looking. However, before we get there, we have much to go through. However, we are going through nothing compared to what is coming.
There is a question of how these evil angels and hosts could be bound in the Euphrates for thousands of years (approx. 4000 if you believe in Creationism and a Young Earth). The Euphrates had a different routing before the flood and probably sunk somewhat leaving caverns in the earth. Does this sound far fetched? Well, when one studies the archeology and destruction of a world-wide flood, the destruction of moving water is second to not too many things. One can see the surface and subsurface of the earth are totally different. So, in summary, we can now have a place to bind the leader angels: under the surface of the earth. The archeology of the Bible is a completely different study that teaches some tremendous ideas absolutely contrary to evolving from protoplasm which allows us to justify a complete universal flood. This course cannot go into those details.
The preparation of hour, day, month, and year is an indication that God has all of this under control. He has known the time; but, it was God's time, not our time. The angels were made ready for this time. You can be assured that not only were the four angels loosed; but, their hosts or armies were also now made available. Some believe the year, month, day, and hour are literal which would be slightly over 13 months. Since the previous locusts will be five months, the total for the two would be about 18 months. It is estimated that the previous trumpets and the seals were about two years. Therefore, at this point in Revelation, we are about 3-1/2 years into the Tribulation (approximately half way).
Whether we are reading a literal 1/3 of the people of the world or a number so great as to seem like 1/3 of the world will not make any difference when the time comes. No part of the world will be exempt. It means an immense number of people will be killed.
v16: From where did these horsemen come? We appear to be looking for a very strong army on horses (a cavalry in Greek hippikos). There will be two hundred thousand thousand (KJV) or 200 million soldiers in this army. A number such as this can mean either a gigantic number that would be available from somewhere or just a gigantic number to give an indication of a large army. The original Greek for thousand murios can be translated as "myriad" which is about 10 thousand. So the KJV would be myriad of miriads. This word is sometimes used as a large but indefinite number. The inference here is John saw an immense army divided into groups. Someday we will understand the details. It appears John heard the number; he certainly did not have the capability of counting the number. There are some who believe the end is coming really near who say this kind of an army can be generated in countries like China or Russia. Maybe?
v17: "Thus" is a transition or signal word of which one reading a Bible should always be aware. This word means that what he is about to say comes after what he has just described to you. This may seem trivial at this point; however, in other scripture the thus is extremely important. There are many signal words for which to watch such as: but, however, never the less, although, yet, otherwise, etc. So it probably means that John was so awe struck by the size of the army that he just described what he saw in vision (KJV) or sight. John looks at the horse and rider as a very unusual sight.
The riders had breast plates the color of fire (red) and of jacinth (deep purple or reddish blue) and of brimstone (yellow or sulphur). The breastplate as used here refers to covering from neck to thighs on the horse. It also assumes front and back.
We now come back to the "like" and "as" words. These "horses" apparently have the body of the horse but have a head "as" or "like" a lion. Out of the "lion's" mouth comes fire, smoke, and brimstone. Sometimes even poets use the words that horses breathed smoke and fire. The generally accepted interpretation of this is to look at the horses mouths as something like cannons or any artillery with great destruction. The brimstone used in Revelation (and for Sodom and Gomorrah) are usually indications of the stifling smoke and gagging of burning sulphur (hell). One thing that is most likely true, this is not an indication of an ancient army with spears and arrows. It, therefore, can't be referring to some of the armies that some commentators want to use to show some of these events have already occurred. It most likely is referring to future events.
v18: These three things are referring to the fire, smoke, and brimstone. These items associated with guns, cannons, etc. will be the means by which the people of the world will be killed. The words mean to be consumed by the fire, asphyxiated by the smoke, and poisoned by the brimstone. These riders and "horses" will be awesome. However, after a time (probably after 13 months as explained in the verse 15 comments), the horses, which do not appear to be protected, may be killed off. The riders with their protection will be without their steeds and will again be ending their efforts.
v19: This verse describes how the riders and horses generated their overwhelming power. The real power comes from the mouth of the horse. This was described above. These horses were not only equipped with power in their mouths, they apparently had some kind of power in their tails. They were not tails like scorpions that can do damage like stinging. They were tails like snakes with a head. This is a symbol that is hard to understand. A horse does not have a power in his tail. Therefore, the symbolism must have something to do being able to hurt (not kill) with the tail as a serpent. The words seem to indicate the single tail a horse had a tail with several serpent heads on each tail. This, of course, would be an unusual and awful sight. Perhaps this is a reference to the Amphisbaena. Pliny writes of a two-headed snake. It is said of this reptile that its tail resembles a head, and that with this it throws out its poison. It really has but one head, but its tail has the appearance of a head, and it has the power of moving in either direction to a limited degree.
v20-21: As has been stated in these commentaries several times, God limits the damage done because He is still looking for repentance and new believers. This verse simply states that although God gives the rest of the people a reprieve them judgments, they simply do not convert (as a large number). One might think that if they experienced the power of God by the seals and trumpets, they would understand that God is supreme and start following God. Not so!
John makes a point of describing all the things for which the people (left after the judgments) did not repent. He lists:
1 Kings 1:50-53; 2:13-25; Exod 8:32; 10:7; 11:9; Gen 2:14; 1 Cor 10:20-21;
Eph 1:11; Luke 16:29-31; Isa 46-.5-7; Rom 1:18-32; 3:10-18
|Return to Revelation TOC||email to Bill|
|Return to BJM Master Home Page|