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was as the sound of chariots of many
horses running to battle. Or, "rushing
to war." "We should also point so that the
clause "as the sound of chariots," and the
clause "of many horses," etc., may read as
appositional, thus, "as the sound of chariots,
of many horses, rushing to war." They were
" prepared for war," and for war upon "men."
They rush abroad, therefore, as seen in the
vision, like an army of fierce soldiery, eager
to destroy, while the roar of their demon
wings is like the thunder of innumerable
chariots of war hurrying on to the fight.
How graphically does this describe the fury
with which Satanic agencies of every kind
seem to assault the human race, in a time when
"iniquity abounds! "

10. And they had tails like unto scor-
pions, and there were stings in their
tails ; and their power was to hurt men,
five months. This repeats, in substance,
what is already said in ver. 5.

Looking back, now, over the description as
a whole, we find Ellicott' s summary of its
several features evidently just. The seer, he
tells us, while keeping in view general char-
acteristics of the locust plague, partly drawn
from the early prophets, makes "some origi-
nal additions. They are locusts, but they
have the malice of scorpions ; they advance
like horse soldiers to battle; they wear
crowns ; they bear a resemblance to men ;
there is something woman-like also in their



130



REVELATION.



[CH. IX.



ang

tongue

name Apollyon.



the name 'Apollyon.



a Kphn. 2 : S 6 ver. 1. 1 That ii, Datroyer.



appearance, and in their voracity they are as
lions. The exigencies of the symbolism are
quite beyond the features of the ordinary
locust; the sacred writer shows us a plague
in which devastation, malice, king-like au-
thority, intelligence, seductiveness, fierceness,
trength, meet together under one directing
spirit, to torment men." And it is true that
those agencies of instigation and all evil im-
pulse by which men are in some periods
hurried on to deeds of surpassing wickedness,
take all these various forms. When we come
to apply the symbolism, historically, we are
allowed to recognize the counterpart of what
is thus described in more than one of those
forms which the wrongs and miseries that
men inflict on each other under this species
of instigation, and the miseries they suffer in
themselves, while goaded by the scorpion-
sting of evil passions, assume. "We see, as
Carpenter in Ellicott says, "a great symboli-
cal army, multitudinous as locusts, malicious
as scorpions, ruling as kings, intelligent as
men, wily as womanhood, bold and fierce
as lions, resistless as those clad in armor."
Those centuries during which the whole
world, East and West, was one wild scene of
ravage, under the wars waged against each
other by the rival kingdoms into which the
old empire broke up, and in the fierce and
murderous struggles of the crusades, when
every worst passion of which human nature
seems capable raged with a fury nothing less
than Satanic, together with all that grew out
of the usurpations of the Papacy, and the
deeds of treachery and slaughter by which
that usurpation was maintained all these
things which history records merely give us
glimpses of a world whose spiritual darkness
might well be represented under the symbol
of belching smoke out of the pit, and whose
disorder and misery were such as Satanic in-
fluences alone could instigate or cause. More
than once, as we know, the state of the world
was such that the conviction prevailed that
the end of all things, and the awful day of
judgment, must be at hand. It is this state
of things in general, which we understand to
be represented in the vision seen as the fifth



trumpet sounds. Through this ordeal, among
many, the kingdom of God had to pass
the ordeal, pre-eminently of its conflict " with
spiritual wickedness in high places," and in
low.

11. And they had a king over them.
We read in Proverbs (30:27), that "the locusts
have no king ; yet go they forth all of them
by bands." These locusts seen in the vision
have a king, and much more do they "go
forth in bands" go forth, that is, under the
direction of a malicious intelligence, which
marshals them for their work of wide-wasting
mischief, and sets them on. Which is the
angel of the bottomless pit. Following
the Greek exactly, and in the reading of
the oldest manuscripts, we should translate,
" They have over them as king, the angel of
the abyss." Some writers appear to under-
stand an allusion to some being, not otherwise
indicated, who rules the inhabitants of the
abyss, and is their king. In the vision, ac-
cordingly, they would see him coming forth
at the head of all, and leading their onset.
It is, perhaps, better to find this "king" in
some personage already pointed at in the de-
scription ; and in that case he can well be no
other than "the fallen star." The designa-
tion of him as "angel of the abyss," seems to
be an allusion to his first appearance in the
vision as having the key of the abyss. The
word "angel of the abyss" is thus in har-
mony with the general method in this book,
where supernatural beings, or forms, charged
with the control of certain agencies, whether
of good or evil, or made the heralds of changes
in the scenery of the various visions as they
occur, are so often styled "angels"; as the
angels with trumpets, the angels with the
vials, the angels holding the four winds ; and
in ver. 14 of this chapter, the four angels
bound at the river Euphrates. "The angel
of the bottomless pit," or of "the abyss,"
seems, consistently with this usage, to be the
angel having "the key of the bottomless
pit," or abyss; in other words, the being
indicated by the fallen star. That is to say,
we identify both the one and the other with
Satan, "the prince of the power of the air."



CH. IX.]



REVELATION.



131



12 0ne woe is past; and, behold, there come two
woes more hereafter.

13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice
from the four horns of the golden altar which is before
God,

14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet,
Loose the four angels which are bound * in the great
river Euphrates.



12 The first Woe is past: behold, there come yet two
Woes hereafter.

13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard > a voice
from the horns of the golden altar which is before

14 God, one saying to the sixth angel, who had the
trumpet, Loose the four angels who are bound at the



a oh. 8 : IS. . . .6 ob. 16 : 12. 1 Or. one voice.



Whose name in the Hebrew tongne is
Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath
his name Apollyon. We have noticed
above the meaning of the names. To no
being could they so fitly be given as to him,
who, as the author of evil, is the Destroyer,
by bad pre-eminence, and in whose person-
ality all the elements of Perdition are summed
and expressed.

12. One woe is past; and, behold,
there come two woes more hereafter. If
we realize, in any considerable degree, the
nature of this which has now come before us
under the fifth trumpet, we shall appreciate
the warning of the eagle flying in the midst
of heaven with his thrice-uttered " woe to the
inhabitants of the earth." There was, in that
warning, an implication that the evils to
come upon men under the three following
trumpets were especially to be dreaded. In
the case of that just described, we cannot but
feel that the warning was appropriate. This
woe is now, in the movement of the vision,
"past," and two others are yet to "come."
This does not imply, we must notice, that
the events indicated under the sixth trumpet,
especially, are sequent to those under the
fifth. We understand by it, simply, that as
represented in vision it is " past."

13-21. THE SIXTH TRUMPET SOUNDS.

13. The sixth angel sounded, and I
heard a voice from the four horns of the
golden altar which is before God. The
Sinaitic manuscript reads, "from the golden
altar," omitting the words "four horns."
The Alexandrine reads "from the horns of
the golden altar," omitting simply the word
"four." The revised version adopts the
latter, and translates, accordingly, "I heard
a voice from the horns of the golden altar
which is before God." The sense will not be
materially affected, whichever of the read-
ings be preferred. It is the general locality
of the voice that is significant. The golden
altar in the vision is that on which the in-
cense given to the prayers of the saints was



burned. It was thence that these prayers,
made acceptable by the much incense, "as-
cended up before God." That which, under
this sixth trumpet, is about to occur, seems
thus to be put in relation with "the prayers
of the saints." In other words, we are again
to witness the unfolding of divine dispensa-
tions and procedures, which come in answer
to prayer. There is nothing to indicate by
whom the words of direction that follow
are spoken. It is more in keeping with the
spirit of the description as we have it, to
understand this only that it is "a voice."

14. Saying to the sixth angel which had
the trumpet. This command is given to
him, Alford thinks, "only in so far as he is
the representative and herald of all that takes
place under his trumpet-blowing." Loose
the four angels which are bound in the
great river Euphrates. The revisers trans-
late "at the river Euphrates," which makes
the sense much clearer, while grammatically
more exact. The Greek preposition used
here (em), when it governs the dative of place,
is not translated "in," but either "upon," or
"at." The latter is plainly the word here.
The river Euphrates, must be treated as sym-
bolical, in the same way as "Babylon," "the
holy city," "the new Jerusalem." To treat
these as thus symbolical, and that as literal,
would be against all rule, not only, but all
propriety in the interpretation of imagery oc-
curring in the same general connection.
When we turn to seek the exposition of the
symbol, difficulties present themselves. Yet
these, if we gain the right point of view in
our study, will mainly disappear. For that
point of view we go back to the history of
God's ancient people. In the times of Israel's
apostasy and idolatry, the punishment with
which God visited them with a view to reclaim
and restore, came chiefly in the form of inva-
sion by heathen nations. And these nations,
almost invariably all the most formidable
of them came from the direction of the
Euphrates, Assyria, Babylon, Damascus



132



REVELATION.



[On. IX.



16 And the four angels were loosed, which were pre-
pared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year,
for to slay the third part ot men.



15 great river Euphrates. And the four angels wero
loosed, who had been prepared for the hour and day
and month and year, that they should kill the third



these were the instruments, for the most part,
of judgment and punishment, through which
God chastised his people in the times of their
backslidings. If, now, we still bear in mind
that in all the series of visions found in this
part of the book we are studying (chs. iv.-xi. ),
the church of the New Dispensation is viewed
as the substance of that type which was fur-
nished in the Israel of the Old Dispensation,
we shall readily perceive, that the symbolical
Euphrates must stand in a relation with the
symbolical Israel, like that which the literal
Euphrates bore to the literal Israel. That is
to say, it denotes in general the direction and
source of the judgments with which an apos-
tate church is about to be visited. This apos-
tasy has been very strikingly set forth under
the third, fourth, and fifth trumpets ; the dark-
ness descending on the earth from a firma-
ment where the ordained lights had failed
to shine, and ascending out of the pit in a
deeper "blackness of darkness" still; the in-
road of evil through the failure of that Chris-
tian instrumentality and influence by which
it should have been stayed ; and in general a
condition of the Christian world not unlike
that of the land of Israel in the times when
"the Assyrian came down, like a wolf on the
fold," or when Babylon made of Judea and
Jerusalem a threshing-floor. That such is the
nature of the allusion seems clearly to be in-
ferred from what appears, by verses 20, 21, of
our chapter, to be the purpose of "the plagues"
sent forth under this trumpet. We are there
told that "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 ; neither
repented they of their murders, nor of their
sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their
thefts." This description applies alone to that
period of the Christian Dispensation which
we understand to be indicated by the third,
fourth, and fifth trumpets, and to the condi-
tion of the Christian world as it was when the
great apostasy was at its height. The papal
religion was an idolatry, a worship of pictures
and images, of saints ("demons" departed
spirits) and angels, above all in its form of



Mariolatry a perversion of the religious in-
stinct in man, and of every revelation of him-
self which God had made, with a view to
inspire and guide the love and the worship of
his creatures, as flagrant and as ruinous to the
souls of men, as any worst form of Paganism.
The judgments under this sixth trumpet come
as the punishment of that idolatry, and of
the crimes prevailing in connection with it.
As God visited apostate Israel under the Old
Dispensation, so now he visits apostate Israel
under the New. To indicate the source and
the nature of the visitation, a symbolism is
employed consistent with this parallelism.
"The four angels" bound "in [at] the great
river Euphrates," are the instruments of the
' punishment. Four great powers, lying con-
tiguous to the river Euphrates, are mentioned
in Scripture as having important relations
with Israel. Three of these we have already
mentioned Assyria, Babylon, Damascus.
The fourth is Persia not conspicuous, in-
deed, as an oppressor of the people of God ;
in some instances quite the contrary, as when
Cyrus permitted the captive Jews to return,
or when Darius Hytaspes authorized the re-
building of the temple. Still, it was a
heathen power, willing, as in the case of
Xerxes, the Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther,
to oppress the Jews, and even to slaughter
them by wholesale ; while his son, Artaxerxes
Longimanus, exhibited active hostility in for-
bidding the temple rebuilding which the Jews
after their return had commenced. It would,
perhaps, be an arbitrary and strained view of
the symbolism in our present passage, to treat
the "four angels" as alluding to these four
heathen powers Assyria, Babylon, Persia,
Damascus throned by the Euphrates, and so
largely used in God's providential dealing
with his ancient people. And still, there may
be reasons in favor of such a view, not un-
worthy of consideration. At all events, we
can scarcely go amiss in saying that the sym-
bolical Euphrates, in this vision, calls our
attention to the source, and in some sense the
nature, of the visitation under this sixth
trumpet.

15. And the four angels were loosed,
which were prepared for an hour, and a
day, and a month, and a year. We



CH. IX.]



REVELATION.



133



16 And "the number of the army of the horsemen
were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard
the number of them.

17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them
that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of
jacinth, and brimstone; "ami the heads of the horses
were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths
issued fire and smoke and brimstone.



16 part of men. And the number of the armies of the
horsemen was twice ten thousand times ten thousand :

17 I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the
horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, hav-
ing breastplates as of fire and of hyacinth and of
brimstone: and the heads of the horses are as the
heads of lions ; and out of their mouths proceedeth



o P. 68:17; Dmn. 7 : 10....6 Exek. 38: 4....C eb. T: 4....<j 1 Chron. 12:8: In. 5: 28, 29.



should translate, "the hour, and day, and
month, and year." The common version is
misleading, here, as implying that the words
designate a precise period during which the
visitation to be described should last. Such
is not the meaning ; but that a certain hour,
day, month, year, is appointed that is, a
certain fixed moment of time, when what is
to be described should occur. So it had been
"prepared" in the divine purpose and plan.
For to slay the third part of men.
"That they should kill the third part of
men"; that is to say, "they," the four angels,
as instruments of the divine purpose. The
special mission here assigned indicates a
significant point of difference between what
occurs under the sixth trumpet, and that
which took place under the fifth. The locusts
were especially charged that they should not
kill, but torment. Here the command is to
kill. This, then, is war, of which we are
about to read ; not war of infernal hosts out
of the pit, which "torment," but do not
"kill," but war as history records it, only in
this case peculiarly destructive. In it "a
third part of men" will perish: the words
not indicating in this case, more than in those
before noticed, any exact proportion, but
simply how large a number, though a num-
ber having in the divine purpose its exact
limitation, will be the victims of this war, or
succession of wars.

16. And the number of the army of the
horsemen. He had just spoken of the four
angels. Now he proceeds at once to describe
the hosts which go forth under their leader-
ship, or at their command. It seems to be
taken for granted that the mission of the four
angels "to slay the third part of men" will
be at once understood as the marshaling of
great armies in destructive wars. Were two
hundred thousand thousand. " Two myr-
iads of myriads," Ellicott translates. "Twice
ten thousand times ten thousand," is the
translation by the revisers. Two hundred
millions would be the number so represented,



Clearly, the number is symbolical, and to be
viewed purely as a feature of the vision.
And I heard the number of them. "The
number of them" as they appear in vision;
and as thus representing the fact that in the
wars so pictured the hosts assembled in the
contending armies will be vast beyond the
power of literal expression.

17. And thus I saw the horses in the
vision, and them that sat on them. The
writer now describes the figures seen in the
vision both the horses and their riders.
Having breastplates of fire, and of
jacinth and brimstone. The meaning is
that the breastplates had the appearance of
fire, of jacinth, and of brimstone. "The
jacinth color," says Ellicott, "seems to be
the dark purple or blue so often seen in
smoke. And the heads of the horses
were as the heads of lions. Symbolical
of the fierce and destructive nature of the
wars in which these hosts are marching forth.
And out of their mouths issued fire
and smoke and brimstone. All these
features are intended to make the symbolical
forms in the vision more accurately and
vividly representative of that which the
vision itself symbolizes. These armies are
innumerable, signifying how general, as re-
spects the inhabited world, this marshaling
of armies will be, and what mighty hosts will
come in collision on the various battle-fields.
The very horses which the soldiers ride are fero-
cious in aspect ; they have the heads of lions-
fiercest of all beasts of prey and out of their
mouths go forth fire and smoke and brim-
stone, indicative of the infernal nature of the
spirit by which these wars shall be instigated.
It is as if, of that spirit, the very horses which
bear the combatants, partake. The riders are
in a like manner terrible in appearance.
They wear flaming breastplates the purple
hue of smoke mingling with the fire, and a
color of brimstone, as if suggesting that the
armor and the weapons of the fierce soldiery
are furnished out of the pit itself. It is



134



REVELATION.



[Cn. IX.



18 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.

19 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.

20 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:

21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of
their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their
thefts.



18 fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three
:ues was the third part of men killed, by the fire



and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded

19 out of their mouths- For the power of the horses is
in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails are
like unto serpents, and have heads, and with them

20 they do hurt. And the rest of mankind, who were not
killed with these plagues, repented not of the works
of their hands, that they should not worship demons,
and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and

21 of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor
hear, nor walk: and they repented not of their
murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornica-
tion, nor of their thefts.



ola. 9: 15 & Deut. 31: 29.... c Lev. IT: 7; Deut. 32: 17; Ps. 106:87; 1 Cor. 10: 20.... (IPs. 115:4; 135:15; Dan. 5:23 1 oh. 22:15.



straining the imagery far too much, to sup-
pose any reference here to the invention of
gunpowder, and the changes thus introduced
in means of human destruction. The descrip-
tion throughout is simply the costume, if we
may so speak, of the vision, and representative,
purely, of the general fact, that the wars thus
foreshadowed were to be in a surpassing
degree, inhuman, fiendish in spirit, and de-
structive in effect. This is more specifically
set forth in what follows.

18. By these three was the third part
of men killed, by the fire, and by the
smoke, and by the brimstone. This must
be understood simply as imagery, symboliz-
ing destruction, wasting and terrible.

19. 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. There would
seem to be in the imagery here, something
like an identification of the horse with his
rider. The horse partakes of the rider's fierce
and destructive spirit, and shares in the mur-
derous fight. And, indeed, in the tumult
and fury of the fray, the horse and rider do
seem alike terrible, especially in battles as
waged in the olden time, when the fight was
hand to hand, and was a mere trial of brute
strength and ferocity. The description here
implies, in the wars as symbolized in the
imagery used, more than human ferocity and
destructiveness, and more than that of the
fiercest brutes. The picture becomes infernal
in aspect as we study it. Out of the horses'
mouths sulphurous flames pour, while their
tails become serpents, armed with ferocious
stings. The imagery suggests the idea of
wars and battles waged in a spirit more fiend-
ish than is even usually the case; in which
this spirit shall be indicated in a manner ex-
press and terrible. In the "General Com-



ments" we shall dwell more at length upon
what may, as it seems to us, be viewed as the
historical realization of this prophetic sym-
bolism. It must suffice, here, to say that
during the general period whose various as-
pects are brought to view under these four
trumpets the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth
especially the later portion of this period,
exactly such a prevalence of destructive wars
is upon record ; wars, in many instances
charged with a spirit not less ferocious than
the imagery here imports.

20, 21. 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; neither re-
pented they of their murders, nor of
their sorceries, nor of their fornication,
nor of their thefts. We have made some
mention, above, of what is imported by these
words. It is now to be observed that the
apostate church of the period under con-



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