REVELATION 9Revelation of Jesus | Revelation of JohnT: REVELATION 9:1-219:1,2 THE BOTTOMLESS PIT9:3, 7-9 THE LOCUST ARMY9:4-6 A REAL WARKINGS OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH9:4 PROTECTED BY THE SEALWITNESS OF THE 144,000THE RAPTURE—WHEN?9:4,5,10 FIVE MONTHS—LITERAL OR PROPHETIC TIME?9:13,14 SIXTH TRUMPET, SECOND WOE9:15-21 A THIRD OF MANKIND KILLED


9:13,14 SIXTH TRUMPET, SECOND WOE

“And 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” (Revelation 9:13,14).

The golden altar which is before God” is a reference to the altar of incense that was in the first room of the sanctuary, just in front of the veil that separated it from the Most Holy Place. Every day the fragrant smoke from this altar, mingled with prayers of intercession, drifted into the Most Holy Place where the throne and the visible presence of God were located. On the Day of Atonement the High Priest took coals from this altar in his censer into the Most Holy Place before the very presence of God. When the blood of the sacrifices was brought into the sanctuary “ the priest…put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord” (Leviticus 4:7) as a part of the forgiveness process. Thus the “golden altar” had the closest and most intimate connection with God of any part of the sanctuary outside of the Most Holy Place, and was associated with intercession, protection and forgiveness.

Ironically, from this place of intercession, covered by the blood of countless sacrifices, comes the cry to “release the four angels which are bound at the great river Euphrates, a release that results in even greater destruction than the previous five trumpets. The message may be the same as in the throwing down of the censer in chapter 8 (which took place before the same altar)—that Jesus’ intercession that has protected this world from many of the destructive consequences of sin is no longer being offered. God’s purpose in the trumpets is to allow Satan to “have his way” and cause the havoc that is the inevitable result of his malevolent nature.[1] God does this by releasing Satan in a series of stages of increasing intensity.

The first stage is introduced in Chapter seven. As the 144,000 are about to be sealed, John “saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree” (Revelation 7:1). But when the 144,000 had been sealed, the angel with the golden censer “threw it to the earth,” and the four winds were released. The very earth, sea and trees that had been protected were now destroyed in the first three trumpets.

With the fifth trumpet God makes a further release—the “star fallen from heaven to the earth…was given the key to the bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1), and the locust army came forth to torture (but not kill) men for five months. Finally, with the sixth trumpet “the four angels which are bound at the great river Euphratesare released “to slay a third of mankind.” Satan’s ulterior motive is revealed in chapters 11 and 13—to defeat the sealed 144,000. But when it becomes obvious to the whole universe that Satan’s purpose is to provoke those under his control to destroy God’s people,[2] God Himself will directly intervene. He will send “out of the temple…seven angels having the seven last plagues” (Revelation 15:6,1) which will thwart Satan’s evil plans.

Continue to next section: 9:15-21 A THIRD OF MANKIND KILLED



[1] Satan has already revealed his name or character in this chapter as Abaddon (Hebrew) or Apollyon (Greek), both of which mean "destroyer (Revelation 9:11).

[2] Chapter 11 presents the murder of the two witnesses. We will see that this is Satan’s attempt to destroy the 144,000. The same attempt is shown in chapter 13, expanding the details to show how Satan will use the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth to persecute God’s people through the image, mark and number of the beast and the death decree against “as many as would not worship the image of the beast” (Revelation 13:15).