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Read Introduction to Revelation

 

“One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 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. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 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. 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. 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. 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. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their theft“
 
9:12
 
One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.
 
We come to the sixth trumpet. This is the second of three “woes” (8:13). A “woe” is a great calamity. “One woe is past” refers to the fifth trumpet.
 
9:13
Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
The four horns of the golden altar in the Old Testament were located on the four corners of the altar (Exodus 27:2; 30:2f). We saw the altar of incense in the previous chapter. Saints offered their prayers upon that altar. This is another answer to that prayer. This unleashing of judgment is a specific answer to prayer.
9:14
saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
The sixth angel releases four angels bound by the river Euphrates. These angels are fallen angels – demons. Demons can only act with God’s permission, even to the very precise hour of a given day. Nothing can change God’s timing.
9:15
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 four fallen angels kill one third of the world’s population by an invading force (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21). The extent of death here is almost incredible.
9:16
Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
Two million mounted troops come on the scene. This is an overwhelming armed force. This would be the world’s largest army in its history.
9:17
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.
John describes this vast army by symbols. This description of 200 million horses is something other than literal horses. This is a mechanized army.
9:18
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.
The description of fire, smoke and brimstone coming out of the mouths of these horses appear to describe modern weapons of warfare such as flame-throwers.
9:19
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.
Modern weapons have firepower both in front of the vehicle and in the rear such as helicopters.
9:20
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.
People of the future will be unabashedly religious. Yet, with all the destruction these judgments bring, most people will remain negative toward God and immune from the influence of His judgment. They will worship demons and go into the occult. This explains why they will not repent. They are under “strong delusion.”
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
People deluded by religion are “works” oriented. They cannot give up the idea that salvation depends on them rather than Jesus.
9:21
And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts
These people hung to their sexual immorality and thievery even in the face of one- third of the population of the world being killed. This immorality will probably interface with religion.
The word “sorceries” comes from the Greek word pharmakia from which we get the English word “pharmacy.” This is the word for drugs. People in the first century used drugs for occult practices. Vast numbers of people in the future will be drug addicts. There will be more drug addicts than in any other time in history.
Principle:
People involved in demonism cannot respond to God.
Application:
This judgment produced fear but not repentance. People under demonic possession cannot respond to God. There is a close connection between idolatry and demon worship. Superstitious submission to strange supernatural forces will be a characteristic of people in the Tribulation. That people do not change even under great duress from God is a clear indication of demonic influence.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” (1 Timothy 4:1).
When people enter demonism, they are no longer able to believe because their hearts are so hardened that they cannot listen to God’s voice. The goodness of God should lead us to repentance but so often it does not (Romans 2:4). God spared you from judgment yet you will not embrace His Son as your Savior. Just think of what you have done yet God is still patient with you. Why has He spared you?
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