We have been working our way through the book of Revelation. In chapter 6, we began a study on the tribulation period. The seven-year tribulation will be the worst period of human history. It will literally be hell on earth.
Last week, when the fifth angel sounded, the "bottomless pit" was unlocked and hell came to meet earth. The angel of the bottomless pit" led locust-like demons which have power "as" scorpions to torment the people on earth without the seal of God on their foreheads. Imagine even death running away from people who wanted to die. Despite these sufferings many did not turn to the living God.
Today we shall look at the result of the sounding of the sixth trumpet.
1) The Release of the Four Angels. Vs 13-15
And 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 which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
Vs. 13: at the sound of the sixth Angel, a voice came from the four horns of the golden alter which is before God. This can be in response to the prayers of the saints.
Vs. 14: speak of four angels that are bound at the Euphrates River and then released to kill one-third of mankind. The Euphrates is mentioned twice in Revelation, here and in 16:12.
The entire length is 1,780 miles, and it is by far the longest and most important river of western Asia.
It was where the Garden of Eden was located; it was where the first sin was committed; it was where the first lie was told; it was where the first murder was committed; and it was where the first grave was dug. It was in this region where God saw that the wickedness of man was great and so He sent the flood. It was where men attempted to build a tower that would reach into the heavens, so that God confounded the languages. Nimrod built the tower of Babel. It was this region where ancient Israel's most oppressive enemies came from ?the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Medes, and the Persians.
Vs. 15: These angels were ready for a specific assignment at a specific hour in history. This specificity highlights the preciseness of God's divine plan. His purposes will be accomplished, perfectly and on schedule (Isa 46:9-11). The task of these angels was to put one-third of those who dwell on the earth to death (8:13). This figure accounts for more than the accumulated deaths of all the wars of the 20th century put together. In today's numbers, this accounts for over two billion dead. One-fourth died under the fourth seal judgment (Rev 6:7-8), and many more died as martyrs and for other reasons (Dan 12:1; Matt 24:21-22). However, it is only the earth-dwellers; those in rebellion against God, who suffer death as a result of this woe (Rev 9:20).
2) The Army of Two Hundred Million. Vs 16- 19
And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like to serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt
Vs. 16: The numbers of the army was two hundred millions (200,000,000). This immense host is a number too vast for human conception. The mind gets bewildered in the effort to comprehend such an army which for number surpasses anything ever seen on earth. The unseen chariots of God are similarly numbered (Psa. 68:17)
Verses 17-19: describe the army and its tactics or method of warfare. Quite clearly these are not ordinary horsemen or horses. It can probably be taken as symbolical of modern mechanical warfare. John has never seen tanks or armoured vehicles, so he was given a vision of horsemen, as in his day?yet the vision went beyond his day and portrayed modern warfare. The fire, smoke, and brimstone could refer to any number of devices of modern warfare. Again in verse 18 it is mentioned that one-third of mankind will be killed.
3) Rebelliously Unrepentant Men Vs 20-21
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
One would think by this time men would be crying out for mercy from God in deep repentance, especially since the world will know that these are judgments from God (6:14-17). But no, by now the rest of mankind has become confirmed in their rebellion and depraved ways through the hardening effect of continued negative volition to God.
Significantly, the things they will refuse to repent of are "the works of their own hands." This demonstrates the extreme humanistic nature of man that has always been evident, but especially in these last days. Men, as we see today, reject the works of God both in creation and in salvation. Man seeks to handle life by what he can do apart from God. But wasn't this precisely the heart and nature of Satan's temptation to Eve in Genesis 3?
Contributor: Alex Alajiki