People's New Testament
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
9:1 The Woe Trumpets
SUMMARY OF REVELATION 9:
The Fifth Trumpet. The Fallen Star. The Destroying Locusts. The Five Months of Their Power. The Sixth Trumpet. The Four Angels at the Euphrates Loosed. The Myriads of the Horsemen. The Third Part of Men Killed. The Rest of Mankind Repent Not.
THE FIFTH TRUMPET.
I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth. I saw a star from heaven fallen to the earth (Revised Version). John saw when the trumpet sounded, not a star fall, but a star fallen to the earth. A star is a symbol of a leader. A star fallen to the earth would indicate his degradation in some way.
To him was given the key of the bottomless pit. He was given power to let out hellish influences on the earth.
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
9:2 There arose a smoke out of the pit. From that source came forth some influence, symbolized by smoke, which darkened the earth.
And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
9:3 There came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth. The destroying locusts symbolize destroying armies. See Na 3:15 Ex 10:12. Observe that they come out of the smoke. To the smoke their origin is due.
Unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. Power to hurt is implied, since they are compared to scorpions.
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
9:4 It was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass, etc. The locusts usually devour every green thing. These, however, shall seek to preserve trees and vegetation.
Only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. Their special hurt shall be directed against men who are not sealed as God's own.
And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them. This either implies that the armies symbolized by the locusts should seek not to destroy the races they attacked, or that they should not destroy the empire assailed.
But that they should be tormented five months. Their torment should continue five months, or 150 prophetic days. Since a day is a symbol of a year, this implies 150 years.
And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion. Their warfare and torment shall be almost intolerable.
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it. So terrible will be the torment that death will be desired.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle. The appearance of the locusts is described. They represent armies of horsemen.
And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold. There was an appearance like golden crowns. An array of men wearing yellow turbans would have such an appearance.
And their faces were as the faces of men. Faces covered with beard. Roman soldiers wore no beard, hence the beards would be a striking feature.
And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women. Wearing long, flowing hair.
And their teeth were as the teeth of lions. This probably signifies fierceness.
And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
9:9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron. There was something that seemed like an army clad in iron coats of mail.
And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots. They gave a sound like the rush of chariots and horses rushing to battle.
And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions. They stung terribly, and left a string in their path.
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
9:11 They had a king over them. The real king was not the star, but the power of the bottomless pit.
Apollyon. The destroyer; either the devil or one of his angels.
One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
9:13 THE SIXTH TRUMPET.
I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar. A voice is then heard coming from the golden altar of incense. See Re 8:3. He does not say who spoke, but declares the command uttered.
Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
9:14 Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. At the great river (Revised Version). The four angels represent four agencies which had been restrained and kept from advancing.
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.
9:15 And the four angels were loosed. Whatever these angels represent, they are no longer restrained. It is implied that there were four agencies, or a fourfold division.
Which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. The Greek word eniautos used that for the regular solar year of 365-1/4 days, Julius Caesar having reformed the calendar. This would make 365-1/4, plus 30, plus 1, plus 1/12, equal 396-1/3 days. Or, a day being a symbol of a year, 396 years and four months.
And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
9:16 The number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand. Countless armies of horsemen are signified.
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.
9:17 Having breastplates as of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone. Or, bright red, blue and yellow. These are the colors observed.
The heads of the horses were as the heads of lions. Strength and fierceness are implied.
And out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. This is a destroying power. It might well describe the use of gunpowder. One looking at a distance would see the flash of fire, and the smoke, apparently coming from the horses' heads, would smell the brimstone odor, and would see the destructive effect.
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.
9:18 By these three. By these three plagues (Revised Version). The fire, smoke and brimstone. These agencies slay
the third part of men. We have before found that the Old Roman world was divided into three parts. One third part had been destroyed by the first four trumpet invasions. A second third part was taken by the Saracens. If now the third part was taken and destroyed by these three plagues, the symbolism would be fulfilled.
For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
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:
9:20 The rest... repented not of the works of their hands. It is implied that these woes were sent as judgments. The Christianity of the East overthrown by the Saracens and Turks had become utterly corrupt. The rest, that is, those in other countries not conquered by Turks, continued their sins.
That they should not worship devils. The worship of dead saints is what is meant by demon worship in the Scriptures.
And idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood. Images had now been introduced into the churches everywhere and were worshiped.
Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
9:21 Neither repented they of their murders. In the Crusade against the Albigenses, conducted by Rome in the thirteenth century, it is estimated that one million martyrs perished.
Nor of their sorceries. Tricks to deceive, so characteristic of the priests.
Nor of their fornications. This term may mean spiritual fornication or apostasy, and it may mean literal fornication. In either sense it is true of the religious features of the fifteenth century.
Nor of their thefts. Thefts in resorting to deceptions and impostures to extort money from the people. Tetzel's mission to Germany early in the sixteenth century is an illustration. Instead of repentance after the great judgment on the Eastern Church, the Western Church grew worse and worse.