“Killer Angels” – Revelation 9:13-21
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One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.
As if the last "woe" was not enough, two more are coming, each increasing in fear, pain and destructive power on the unbelieving world.
The plague of the sixth trumpet in this passage is similar to the fifth, in that both involve judgments upon the pagan world by demonic hosts (fallen angels).
The main difference is that with the fifth trumpet, judgment by the demonic powers were only allowed to torture the unsaved, or unsealed (Vs. 9:5) for five months, demonstrating God's mercy even in judgment.
During the sixth, they are allowed "to kill a third of mankind" (Vs. 9:15), again, only the unsaved, unsealed.
The method God uses to bring judgment when the sixth trumpet blows is four demonic angels leading an army of 200 million. (Vs. 9:16)
Again, is this a literal or demonic army?
Whatever this army represents, literally or symbolically, it is meant to cause terror in "those who dwell on the earth," and cause them to come to repentance.
As Christ Jesus had said:
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe..."
This He spoke at His first coming as the "Lamb of God."
This will also be true at His second coming when He returns as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah."
Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God...
"...the sixth angel sounded..."
* One of the seven arch-angels:
"...the seven angels who stand before God..." (Vs. 8:2)
"...and I heard a voice..."
* God often times speaks from inanimate objects:
"...four horns of the golden alter..."
* This is the golden altar of incense in the throne room of God where the "prayers of the saints" rise to God. (Vs. 8:3-5)
These are the saints who were slain for the Word of God and their testimony to it. They constantly cry out to God for deliverance, for vindication and the establishment of God's divine rule on the earth.
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
* This is also a picture of the Hebrew priests in the temple and tabernacle:
And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of meeting; and he shall pour the remaining blood of the bull at the base of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
And Christ's sacrificial atonement.
Hebrews 9:24-28, 13:11-13
...saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
"...Release the four angels who are bound..."
* The fact that they are bound shows that they are fallen angels (demons). God's angels are never bound. (Jude 6, 2 Pet. 2:4)
* These angels will be used by God to bring judgment on unrepentant sinners.
"...at the great river Euphrates."
* There is much Scripture concerning this river:
- The fourth river in the garden of Eden where sin entered the world, the first murder.
- It is the border of Shinar where Nimrod and the kingdom of Babel (the tower) opposed God.
- Later Terah, the father of Abram, an idol maker from Ur of the Chaldean's lived by the Euphrates River.
- It was the river of the Assyrians, Ninevites and Babylonians, all enemies of God's people.
- Modern day Iraq has it as a border, a predominately Muslim country opposed to the Jews.
- It appears that in the future, mystery Babylon, the wicked world system, will be in residence there.
The Euphrates River is the border of evil, the angels bound there will be released to bring a flood of demonic evil on the world.
So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
"...the hour and day and month and year..."
* The specific timing involved reminds us that God is sovereign, both here and in every part or time of our lives. (Ps. 139:16)
* The "angels" are to be released at a specific time, under God's control, and have no freedom to do harm except at God's sovereign command.
* Again, they are only instruments that God will use to bring wrath on the rebellious world.
"...released to kill a third of mankind."
* They did this as leaders of a demonic army of 200 million horsemen. (Vs. 9:16)
A third of mankind is a large part, but not the greatest part.
Their mission is not total destruction of mankind, but agents of divine judgment, to warn men of the terrible wrath that awaits those who won't believe in Christ Jesus and repent.
Again, this judgment is not for God's people, those sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22, Rev. 9:4), but only for the wicked.
Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
"...two hundred million..."
* "...twice ten thousand times ten thousand..." (NIV)
The size of this army of demons is almost inconceivable. They could not be counted. John "heard the number of them." He had to be told the demonic hosts are simply innumerable.
Some teach that this is the Red Chinese Army, who Mao Tse Dung bragged in 1972 that the Chinese could field an "army of 200 million" in the battle for the world.
Or that it is the army of “Magog,” led by “Gog,” “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal” at the battle of Har Megiddo. (Eze. 38, 39)
Maybe, but John will continue to describe symbolic weapons.
And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.
* Again, symbolism, how hard would it be to describe modern weapons from today, or even the future. For John said, "I saw...in the vision..."
* "...fiery red, hyacinth blue, sulfur yellow," "brimstone" is burning sulfur. Sulfur when it burns has blue flames.
"Hellfire and brimstone" come out of the mouths of these lion headed horses.
Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.
The Lord Jesus also spoke of this day:
Then He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, 'Look here!' or 'Look there!' Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. "In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise, the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife.
Again, Old Testament symbology (Isa. 5:28-29) used to describe an "indescribable" vision.
By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed--by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.
* Fire, smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed.
* Only a third! Two-thirds can still repent. God is merciful, not giving all what they deserve.
For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.
"...their power is in their mouth...
* "For the power of the horses is in their mouths." (NIV)
* The three plagues, "fire, smoke and brimstone" kill a third of mankind.
* How specifically these plagues cause death the Scripture doesn't say.
We can only assume.
"...their tails are like serpents...and with them they do harm."
* But not cause death.
* This relates to the demonic locusts of the fifth trumpet:
They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months.
The fifth trumpet judgment only allowed the demonic plague "to torment for five months" (Vs. 9:5) whereas the sixth causes both "harm" and then death.
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.
"But the rest of mankind...did not repent..."
* Even after witnessing all of the death and destruction brought by the plagues of God's righteous judgment, these survivors still won't repent!
* They seem to have missed the intent of God's merciful judgment, the offer of forgiveness and salvation during the tribulation period.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Time here is drawing to a close, the last chance to be saved, and still, they won't repent.
Despite God's invitation to repentance, the world, like Pharaoh during the plagues on Egypt, refuses to repent. (Ex. 7:22-23)
And their hearts became hard toward God and the Christ.
"...mankind...did not repent of the works of their hands...demons, and idols..."
* Both early Christians and Jews believed that idols were demonic and sacrificing to idols was worshipping demons. (1 Cor. 10:19-22)
* Even though they knew they were simply "works of their hands."
"For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands."
"...of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood...which can neither see nor hear nor walk."
Are we any different today, believers and unbelievers?
Do we not worship “the works of our hands?”
And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
This defiance of God by surviving mankind in continuing to "worship demons and idols," is reflected by their "murders," "sorceries" and "sexual immorality."
All are an abomination before God, and without repentance will lead to eternal damnation.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness...
"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
But I ask you, how different is society today?
Are we much different than society?
Is the world due for God's righteous judgment?
Introduction to Part II Chapter thirteen continues the interlude between the sounding of the seven trumpets and the outpouring of the seven bowl judgments of God's wrath on unrepentant mankind. In chapter fourteen John's vision will show us the time of the end, where...
Introduction Chapter thirteen continues the interlude between the sounding of the seven trumpets and the outpouring of the seven bowl judgments of God's wrath on unrepentant mankind. In chapter fourteen John's vision will show us the time of the end, where God pours...