Today, Wednesday May 04
The Demonic Army from the East
Revelation 9:13-19 “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.”
Each of the first four trumpet judgments in chapter 8 affect the physical universe in some way, but with the sounding of the fifth trumpet the focus will shift from the physical to the spiritual realm. We believe that when the fifth trumpet is sounded, it marks the middle of the Seven-year Tribulation and the beginning of the last three and half years. It is also the first of three woes (v. 12), that describe how terrible this time is, as demons are let lose from hell under the authority of a demon king named Abaddon in the Hebrew or Apollyon in the Greek. Both names mean “the destroyer”.
Now in Revelation 9:13-22 the sixth trumpet sounds and reveals the vision of the second woe. It was at the golden altar of incense that the angel offered the prayers of the saints (Rev. 8:3-5); now from this same altar a voice speaks, commanding that four angels be loosed. These angels are apparently wicked, because no holy angel would be bound. Each angel is in charge of part of the vast army that follows them at their liberation, an army of 200 million beings! The army is released at a precise time, for a special purpose: to kill (not just torment) a third of the world's population. Since a fourth of mankind has already been killed (Rev. 6:8), this means that half of the world's population will be dead by the time the sixth trumpet judgment is completed.
Are we to identify this as a literal army of men, moving in conquest across the globe? Probably not. For one thing, the emphasis in this paragraph is not on the riders, but on the horses. The description cannot fit war-horses as we know them or, for that matter, modern warfare equipment, such as tanks. To assert that this is a literal army, and to point to some nation (such as China) that claims to have 200 million soldiers, is to miss the message John is seeking to convey.
The deadly power of these horses is in their mouths and tails, not in their legs. Fire, smoke, and brimstone issue from their mouths, and their tails are like biting serpents. They can attack men from the front as well as from the rear.
I believe that this is another demonic army, headed by four fallen angels; and that all of them are today bound by the Lord, unable to act until God gives them permission. Why they are bound at the Euphrates River is not explained, though that area is the cradle of civilization (Gen. 2:14), not to mention one of the boundaries for Israel (Gen. 15:18).
One would think that the combination of five months of torment and then death (from fire, smoke, and brimstone) would bring men and women to their knees in repentance; but such is not the case. These judgments are not remedial but retributive: God is upholding His holy Law and vindicating His suffering people (Rev. 6:9-11).
We are also reminded that God is in control and has his timetable. (Rev. 9:15) We might think it is bad now in our world with what is going on in Ukraine and the Coronavirus, but it pales in comparison to what is going to happen in the Tribulation with the blast of these two trumpets and their woes. The torment of the stings so bad that men seek to die and can’t. Then one third of mankind is killed by this army of 200 million demons!
We are told in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Please put your faith and trust in Christ today!