The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE SIXTH TRUMPET
- You will recall there are seven seal judgments, seven
trumpet judgments, and seven vial (some prefer to use the word "bowl")
- The seven trumpets are included in the seventh seal,
and then the seven vials are included in the seventh
- Contained in the seventh seal are all the subsequent
judgments leading up to the second coming of Christ, including the seven
trumpets and the seven vials.
- In a previous message I quoted W. Graham Scroggie, who
said it is "incorrect to speak of the Trumpets as following the Seals. They do
not follow, but are the Seventh Seal."
- In like manner the vials constitute the seventh
trumpet. Again I will quote Scroggie: "Therefore the Bowls do not
double back over the Seal and Trumpet Judgments; neither is it correct
to say that they follow the Trumpet visitations. They do not follow because
THEY ARE THE SEVENTH TRUMPET CONTENTS" (cited by Walvoord, The Revelation
of Jesus Christ).
- Last week we looked at the fifth trumpet
(9:1-12). Tonight we will look at
the sixth trumpet (9:13-21).
- Revelation 11:15 refers to the seventh trumpet. Then comes the seven vials
THE FOUR ANGELS ARE
- With the
sounding of the sixth trumpet, John hears a voice described as coming from the
four horns of the golden altar before God.
- This golden
altar is in the temple of God in heaven. In Revelation 8:3, this altar is the
scene of the offering of incense with the prayers of saints.
- John Walvoord
thinks, "The inference is that this judgment like those preceding is partially
an answer to the prayers of the persecuted saints on earth and a token of divine
response and preparation for their deliverance" (The Revelation of Jesus
- The voice
instructed the sixth angel to loose the four angels declared to be bound in the
great river Euphrates (9:14).
apparently are not the same four angels mentioned in 7:1, who have authority
over the winds of the earth.
- The four angels
in chapter 7, holding the four winds of the earth, are told not to inflict their
punishment until the 144,000 witnesses are sealed and protected.
- These angels in
Revelation 7:1 will be instruments of God’s divine wrath upon the world.
- These four
angels here in chapter 9, however, are of a different character. They are
described as "bound" in the great river Euphrates (9:14).
- In the Bible,
we do not see any instances where holy angels are bound. However, we read in Jude 6 that some of
the wicked angels are bound in everlasting chains under darkness unto the
judgment of the great day.
- And during the millennial kingdom, Satan will be bound
for one thousand years and cast into the bottomless pit (Rev.
- Therefore, we can conclude that these angels are fallen
angels, i.e., devils or demons.
- These four angels bound in the Euphrates River will be
loosed at the sounding of the sixth trumpet in order to execute the judgment of
- There are 21 references to the Euphrates River in
- In Genesis 2:10 we are told that a river went out of the
Garden of Eden to water the garden; "and from thence it was parted, and became
into four heads."
- One of those four rivers is the great Euphrates River
- This fascinating prophecy in Revelation 9 describes an
invasion from the Far East.
The Euphrates River is 1,780 miles long and is a natural boundary between
the Middle East and the Far East.
- Since the battle of Armageddon will take place in
Israel, a way will be prepared for the huge Chinese army to invade
- Revelation 16:12 says, "And the sixth angel poured out
his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried
up, that the way of the kings of the east might be
- An article in the July 13, 2009 New York Times:
Jubaish, Iraq — "Throughout the marshes, the reed gatherers, standing on land
they once floated over, cry out to visitors in a passing boat. 'Maaku mai!' they
shout, holding up their rusty sickles. 'There is no water!' The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by
the water policies of Iraq’s neighbors, Turkey and Syria; a two-year drought;
and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller
than it was just a few years ago. Some officials worry that it could soon be
half of what it is now. The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to
the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up
as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, has left
fishermen impoverished and has depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the
cities looking for work."
- Note the word "prepared" (9:15, cf. 9:7; 16:12). God has everything prepared. Walvoord says, "They all are prepared
for their hour of activity much as the whale was prepared to swallow Jonah."
- It is declared that the angels’ function is to slay the
third part of men and that they had been prepared to fulfill this purpose
at the given hour (9:15).
- The expression “an hour, and a day, and a month, and a
year” emphasizes that this judgment comes exactly at the hour of God’s
- Worldly men worry and fret that some dictator will start
a nuclear war, and that this will lead to the Battle of Armageddon. That is not what the Bible
- Second Peter 3:7 says, "But the heavens and the earth,
which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire
against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly
the word "reserved." This world will blow up but not until God says
- God has His own schedule; His “hour, and day, and month,
- It is God's appointed hour. God uses sinful men and
demons to accomplish His purposes, but it is God's
- Though the agency of men is used to accomplish the
purpose of God, the time schedule is determined by God, not
- Even angels (whether the elect angels or fallen angels)
execute God’s will in God’s time.
- God is right on schedule.
- The first five trumpets will be terrible (8:7--9:12),
but the sixth trumpet will be even more devastating.
- One third of the world's population will be killed
(9:15, 18). Earlier in the fourth seal, a fourth of the earth’s population is
killed. Here an additional third is marked out for slaughter.
- The world
population is expected to
reach 7 billion this year. If the
rapture were to take place this year, and the tribulation were to immediately
follow, that means approximately 1,750,000 people would be wiped out when the
fourth seal is opened (Rev. 6:8).
- This would
reduce the world population to 5,250,000.
Then when the sixth angel sounds his trumpet, another third of the
earth's population will be killed (9:15, 18).
- This means the
world population will be reduced to about three and a half billion people! Half of the human race will be
destroyed within a few short years!
- Walvoord says, "Never since Noah has such a substantial
proportion of the earth’s population come under God’s righteous judgment."
THE ADVANCING ARMY
- Because of the
incredible number of horsemen -- "two hundred thousand thousand" (200 million)
-- many Bible teachers and Bible
readers do not take this literally (9:16).
expositors could not fathom such a large number of soldiers. For example, H.B.
Swete wrote, “These vast numbers forbid us to seek a literal
- John Walvoord
said, "Swete, if living today, would no doubt be astounded to read in Time
(May 21, 1965, p. 35) that Red China alone claims to have a man-and-woman
militia of 200,000,000, exactly the figure of Revelation
- If taken
literally, this would represent the largest armed force ever known to man.
Considering the multiplied millions of people in the Far East, the literal
interpretation is realistic.
- China has been
cutting the size of its military, but it still has a huge army, as does North
service is compulsory, so it would not be difficult for Red China to organize a
large army with volunteers from its large population.
16:12 says, "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river
Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of
the east might be prepared."
- These "kings of
the east" are not identified, but this probably refers to Red China, perhaps in
an alliance with North Korea and other communist countries such as Vietnam.
- The sixth
trumpet and the sixth vial are possibly two different phases of the same
judgment. "Chronologically the trumpets involved closely succeed one another and
their judgments seem to fall like trip-hammer blows as the great tribulation
comes to its close" (Walvoord).
- We are also given a graphic description of the horses as
well as of the horsemen who sit upon them. They are declared to have
breastplates of fire and of jacinth and brimstone
- Strong Concordance says "jacinth"
" is "of a red color bordering on black." In Scripture, brimstone always
represents the judgment of God. The
first reference is Genesis 19:24, "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon
Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out
- The last reference is Revelation 21:8, "But the fearful,
and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and
sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which
burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the
- This prophecy could be describing modern warfare. The
heads of the horses are compared to heads of lions out of whose mouths fire,
smoke, and brimstone issue. Certainly these are not ordinary
- It does sound very much like a description of modern
mechanical warfare -- tanks, helicopters, rocket launchers, missiles, flame
throwers, napalm, nuclear weapons, etc.
- Revelation 9:19 says that "their power is in their
mouth, and in their tails." Their
tails are compared to serpents, and even the tails have heads with which they
can seriously hurt men.
- This sounds like John's description of modern
warfare. It is an awesome picture
of a powerful military force destroying all that opposes it.
- Many Bible teachers think John is describing modern
warfare. Ray Stedman says, "What
can this be? Let us remember that we are reading an ancient book in which are
described events that are still future to us. What we have here is modern
warfare described in military terms of John's day. 'Breastplates' of various
colors suggest armored chariots -- i.e. tanks, missile launchers, and other
vehicles of war, that are camouflaged with various colors (or perhaps are
identified by national colors, since this is a conglomeration of armies coming
together). 'Lion's mouths' that are spouting fire and belching smoke suggest
cannons and mortars -- even nuclear missiles -- killing with fire, radiation,
and poisonous gases. Tails like snakes that do injury perhaps describe modern
helicopters, gunships, which have a rotor at the tail where also machine-guns
and missile launchers are located. This may even depict weapons not yet
invented. I recognize it is difficult to say precisely what all this means, but
it is obvious that here we have a great military campaign, which results in
monstrous slaughter of enormous scope" (All Hell Breaks
- The horses will have "the heads of lions" (9:17). Verse 18 says fire, smoke, and brimstone
will come out of their mouths.
- Verse 19 says, "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."
- The horses will have "the heads of lions" (9:17). Verse 8 says the demon locusts have
teeth like lions.
- All of this indicates these are not ordinary horses, but
rather a description of modern warfare.
- John Walvoord says, "This indicates that though there
may be a disarmament in the early phases of the time period between the rapture
and the second coming, by this time, namely toward the close of the tribulation,
modern means of war are once again being fully used. The world that longs for
peace and seeks to attain it by the worship of the beast of Revelation 13 will
learn the sad lesson that there can be no peace until the Prince of Peace
SINNERS STUBBORN & IMPENITENT
- In spite of the
dramatic judgment inflicted by this invading military force, those who survive
will still refuse to repent (9:20, 21; cf. 16:8-12).
- We have seven
marks of the unsaved during the tribulation (could apply today as
- impenitent --
"yet repented not" (9:20); "Neither repented" (9:21).
- devil worship
- sorcery (9:21;
- Such is the
hardness of the human heart that even though sinners are faced by worldwide
destruction and the divine judgment from God, they will still refuse to
- Men will still
be religious (cf. Rev. 17 & 18), but will refuse to acknowledge the true
- Walvoord says,
"Though the power of satanic false religion is evident in the world, it does not
have the transforming, purifying, redeeming quality found only in the power and
grace of God."
Spurgeon: "How terrible to await the dread advance of a
hurricane—such as occurs, sometimes, in the tropics—to wait in terrible
apprehension till the wind shall rush forth in fury, tearing up trees from their
roots, forcing rocks from their pedestals, and hurling down all the
dwelling-places of man! And yet, sinner, this is your present position. No hot
drops have as yet fallen, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl
around you, but God's tempest is gathering its dread artillery. As yet the
water-floods are dammed up by mercy, but the flood-gates shall soon be opened:
the thunderbolts of God are yet in His storehouse, but lo! the tempest hastens,
and how awful shall that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march
forth in fury! Where, where, where, O sinner, wilt thou hide thy head, or
whither wilt thou flee? O that the hand of mercy may now lead you to Christ! He
is freely set before you in the gospel: His riven side is the rock of shelter.
Thou knowest thy need of Him; believe in Him, cast thyself upon Him, and then
the fury shall be overpast for ever" (Morning and