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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 9 - Verse 14

Verse 14. Saying to the sixth angel, which had the trumpet. See Barnes "Re 8:2".

 

Loose, etc. This power, it would seem, was given to the sixth angel in addition to his office of blowing the trumpet. All this, of course, was in vision, and cannot be literally interpreted. The meaning is, that the effect of his blowing the trumpet would be the same as if angels that had been bound should be suddenly loosed and suffered to go forth over the earth: that is, some event would occur which would be properly symbolized by such an act.

The four angels. Compare See Barnes "Re 8:2".

It was customary to represent important events as occurring under the ministry of angels. The general meaning here is, that, in the vicinity of the river Euphrates, there were mighty powers which had been bound or held in check, which were now to be let loose upon the world. What we are to look for in the fulfilment is evidently this—some power that seemed to be kept back by an invisible influence as if by angels, now suddenly let loose and suffered to accomplish the purpose of desolation mentioned in the subsequent verses. It is not necessary to suppose that angels were actually employed in these restraints, though no one can demonstrate that their agency was not concerned in the transactions here referred to. Compare See Barnes "Da 10:12-13".

It has been made a question why the number four is specified, and whether the forces were in any sense made up of four divisions, nations, or people. While nothing certain can be determined in regard to that, and while the number four may be used merely to denote a great and strong force, yet it must be admitted that the most obvious interpretation would be to refer it to some combination of forces, or to some union of powers, that was to accomplish what is here said. If it had been a single nation, it would have been more in accordance with the usual method in prophecy to have represented them as restrained by an angel, or by angels in general, without specifying any number.

Which are bound. That is, they seemed to be bound. There was something which held them, and the forces under them, in check, until they were thus commanded to go forth. In the fulfilment of this, it will be necessary to look for something of the nature of a check or restraint on these forces, until they were commissioned to go forth to accomplish the work of destruction.

In the great river Euphrates. The well-known river of that name, commonly called, in the Scriptures, "the great river," and, by way of eminence, "the river," Ex 23:31; Isa 8:7. This river was on the east of Palestine; and the language here used naturally denotes that the power referred to under the sixth trumpet would spring up in the East, and that it would have its origin in the vicinity of that river. Those interpreters, therefore, who apply this to the invasion of Judaea by the Romans have great difficulty in explaining this—as the forces employed in the destruction of Jerusalem came from the West, and not from the East. The fair interpretation is, that there were forces in the vicinity of the Euphrates which were, up to this period, bound or restrained, but which were now suffered to spread woe and sorrow over a considerable portion of the world.

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