The Fifth Trumpet: The Fallen Star Opens the Abyss Whence Issue
Locusts. The Sixth Trumpet. Four Angels at the Euphrates Loosed.
1. The last three trumpets of the seven are
called, from Re 8:13,
fall—rather as Greek, "fallen."
When John saw it, it was not in the act of falling, but had
fallen already. This is a connecting link of this fifth trumpet
12:8, 9, 12, "Woe to the
inhabiters of the earth, for the devil is come down,"
&c. Compare Isa 14:12,
"How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the
the bottomless pit—Greek, "the
pit of the abyss"; the orifice of the hell where Satan and his
3. upon—Greek, "unto," or
as the scorpions of the earth—as
contrasted with the "locusts" which come up from hell, and are
not "of the earth."
have power—namely, to sting.
4. not hurt the grass … neither …
green thing … neither … tree—the food on which
they ordinarily prey. Therefore, not natural and ordinary locusts.
Their natural instinct is supernaturally restrained to mark the
judgment as altogether divine.
those men which—Greek,
"the men whosoever."
in, &c.—Greek, "upon
their forehead." Thus this fifth trumpet is proved to follow the
sealing in Re 7:1-8,
under the sixth seal. None of the saints are hurt by these locusts,
which is not true of the saints in Mohammed's attack, who is supposed
by many to be meant by the locusts; for many true believers fell in the
Mohammedan invasions of Christendom.
5. they … they—The subject
changes: the first "they" is the locusts; the second is the
five months—the ordinary time in the
year during which locusts continue their ravages.
their torment—the torment of the
sufferers. This fifth verse and Re 9:6 cannot refer to an invading army. For an
army would kill, and not merely torment.
6. shall desire—Greek, "eagerly
desire"; set their mind on.
shall flee—So B, Vulgate,
Syriac, and Coptic read. But A and Aleph read,
"fleeth," namely continually. In Re 6:16, which is at a later stage of God's
judgments, the ungodly seek annihilation, not from the torment of their
suffering, but from fear of the face of the Lamb before whom they have
7. prepared unto battle—Greek,
"made ready unto war." Compare Note, see on Joe 2:4, where the resemblance of locusts to horses is
traced: the plates of a horse armed for battle are an image on a larger
scale of the outer shell of the locust.
crowns—(Na 3:17). Elliott
explains this of the turbans of Mohammedans. But how could
turbans be "like gold?" Alford
understands it of the head of the locusts actually ending in a
crown-shaped fillet which resembled gold in its material.
as the faces of men—The "as" seems to
imply the locusts here do not mean men. At the same time they
are not natural locusts, for these do not sting men (Re 9:5). They must be supernatural.
8. hair of women—long and flowing. An
Arabic proverb compares the antlers of locusts to the hair of girls.
Ewald in Alford understands the allusion to be to the hair on
the legs or bodies of the locusts: compare "rough caterpillars," Jer 51:27.
as the teeth of lions—(Joe 1:6, as to locusts).
9. as it were breastplates of iron—not
such as forms the thorax of the natural locust.
as … chariots—(Joe 2:5-7).
10. tails like unto scorpions—like unto
the tails of scorpions.
and there were stings—There is no
oldest manuscript for this reading. A, B, Aleph, Syriac, and
Coptic read, "and (they have) stings: and in their tails (is)
their power (literally, 'authority': authorized power) to hurt."
11. And—so Syriac. But A, B, and
Aleph, omit "and."
a king … which is the
angel—English Version, agreeing with A, Aleph,
reads the (Greek) article before "angel," in which reading we
must translate, "They have as king over them the angel," &c.
Satan (compare Re 9:1).
Omitting the article with B, we must translate, "They have as king
an angel," &c.: one of the chief demons under Satan: I
prefer from Re 9:1, the
Abaddon—that is, perdition or
destruction (Job 26:6; Pr 27:20). The locusts are supernatural
instruments in the hands of Satan to torment, and yet not kill, the
ungodly, under this fifth trumpet. Just as in the case of godly Job,
Satan was allowed to torment with elephantiasis, but not to touch his
life. In Re 9:20,
these two woe-trumpets are expressly called "plagues." Andreas of Cæsarea, A.D. 500, held, in his Commentary on
Revelation, that the locusts mean evil spirits again
permitted to come forth on earth and afflict men with various
12. Greek, "The one woe."
hereafter—Greek, "after these
things." I agree with Alford and De Burgh, that these locusts from the
abyss refer to judgments about to fall on the ungodly immediately
before Christ's second advent. None of the interpretations which regard
them as past, are satisfactory. Joe 1:2-7; 2:1-11, is strictly parallel and expressly
2:11) to THE DAY OF THE Lord great and very terrible: Joe 2:10 gives the portents accompanying
the day of the Lord's coming, the earth quaking, the heavens
trembling, the sun, moon, and stars, withdrawing their shining:
2:18, 31, 32, also point to
the immediately succeeding deliverance of Jerusalem: compare also, the
previous last conflict in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and the dwelling
of God thenceforth in Zion, blessing Judah. De
Burgh confines the locust judgment to the Israelite land,
even as the sealed in Re 7:1-8 are
Israelites: not that there are not others sealed as elect in the
earth; but that, the judgment being confined to Palestine,
the sealed of Israel alone needed to be expressly excepted from
the visitation. Therefore, he translates throughout, "the land" (that
is, of Israel and Judah), instead of "the earth." I incline to agree
13. a voice—literally, "one
from—Greek, "out of."
the four horns—A, Vulgate
(Amiatinus manuscript), Coptic, and Syriac omit
"four." B and Cyprian support it. The
four horns together gave forth their voice, not diverse, but
one. God's revelation (for example, the Gospel), though in its
aspects fourfold (four expressing world-wide extension:
whence four is the number of the Evangelists), still has but one
and the same voice. However, from the parallelism of this sixth trumpet
to the fifth seal (Re 6:9, 10), the martyrs' cry for the avenging of
their blood from the altar reaching its consummation under the sixth
seal and sixth trumpet, I prefer understanding this cry from the
four corners of the altar to refer to the saints' prayerful cry
from the four quarters of the world, incensed by the angel, and
ascending to God from the golden altar of incense, and bringing down in
consequence fiery judgments. Aleph omits the whole clause, "one
from the four horns."
14. in, &c.—Greek, "epi to
potamo"; "on," or "at the great river."
Euphrates—(Compare Re 16:12). The river whereat Babylon, the ancient
foe of God's people was situated. Again, whether from the literal
region of the Euphrates, or from the spiritual Babylon (the apostate
Church, especially Rome), four
angelic ministers of God's judgments shall go forth, assembling an army
of horsemen throughout the four quarters of the earth, to slay a third
of men, the brunt of the visitation shall be on Palestine.
15. were—"which had been prepared"
for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a
year—rather as Greek, "for (that is, against) THE hour, and day, and month, and year,"
namely, appointed by God. The Greek article (teen), put
once only before all the periods, implies that the hour in the day, and
the day in the month, and the month in the year, and the year itself,
had been definitely fixed by God. The article would have been omitted
had a sum-total of periods been specified, namely, three hundred
ninety-one years and one month (the period from A.D. 1281, when the Turks first conquered the
Christians, to 1672, their last conquest of them, since which last date
their empire has declined).
slay—not merely to "hurt" (Re 9:10), as in the fifth trumpet.
third part—(See on Re
of men—namely, of earthy men, Re 8:13, "inhabiters of the earth," as
distinguished from God's sealed people (of which the sealed of Israel,
7:1-8, form the nucleus).
16. Compare with these two hundred million,
68:17; Da 7:10. The hosts
here are evidently, from their numbers and their appearance (Re 9:17), not merely human hosts,
but probably infernal, though constrained to work out God's will
and I heard—A, B, Aleph, Vulgate,
Syriac, Coptic, and Cyprian omit
17. thus—as follows.
of fire—the fiery color of the
breastplates answering to the fire which issued out of
of jacinth—literally, "of hyacinth
color," the hyacinth of the ancients answering to our dark blue
iris: thus, their dark, dull-colored breastplates correspond
to the smoke out of their mouths.
answering to the brimstone or sulphur out of their
18. By these three—A, B, C, and
Aleph read (apo for kupo), "From"; implying the
direction whence the slaughter came; not direct instrumentality
as "by" implies. A, B, C, Aleph also add "plagues" after
"three." English Version reading, which omits it, is not well
by the fire—Greek, "owing
to the fire," literally, "out of."
19. their—A, B, C and Aleph read,
"the power of the horses."
in their mouth—whence issued
the fire, smoke, and brimstone (Re 9:17). Many interpreters understand the
horsemen to refer to the myriads of Turkish cavalry arrayed in
scarlet, blue, and yellow (fire, hyacinth, and
brimstone), the lion-headed horses denoting their
invincible courage, and the fire and brimstone out of
their mouths, the gunpowder and artillery introduced into Europe about
this time, and employed by the Turks; the tails, like serpents, having
a venomous sting, the false religion of Mohammed supplanting
Christianity, or, as Elliott thinks, the
Turkish pachas' horse tails, worn as a symbol of authority. (!) All
this is very doubtful. Considering the parallelism of this sixth
trumpet to the sixth seal, the likelihood is that events are intended
immediately preceding the Lord's coming. "The false prophet" (as Isa 9:15 proves), or second beast, having
the horns of a lamb, but speaking as the dragon, who supports by
lying miracles the final Antichrist, seems to me to be intended.
Mohammed, doubtless, is a forerunner of him, but not the exhaustive
fulfiller of the prophecy here: Satan will, probably, towards the end,
bring out all the powers of hell for the last conflict (see on Re 9:20, on "devils"; compare Re 9:1, 2, 17,
with them—with the serpent heads and
their venomous fangs.
20. the rest of the men—that is, the
yet—So A, Vulgate, Syriac, and
Coptic. B and Aleph read, "did not even repent
of," namely, so as to give up "the works," &c. Like Pharaoh
hardening his heart against repentance notwithstanding the plagues.
of their hands—(De 31:29). Especially the idols made by their
hands. Compare Re 13:14, 15, "the image of the beast" Re 19:20.
that they should not—So B reads. But
A, C, and Aleph read "that they shall not": implying a prophecy
of certainty that it shall be so.
devils—Greek, "demons" which
lurk beneath the idols which idolaters worship.
21. sorceries—witchcrafts by means of
drugs (so the Greek). One of the fruits of the unrenewed
flesh: the sin of the heathen: about to be repeated by apostate
Christians in the last days, Re 22:15,
"sorcerers." The heathen who shall have rejected the proffered Gospel
and clung to their fleshly lusts, and apostate Christians who shall
have relapsed into the same shall share the same terrible judgments.
The worship of images was established in the East in A.D. 842.
fornication—singular: whereas the
other sins are in the plural. Other sins are perpetrated at intervals:
those lacking purity of heart indulge in one perpetual