Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:02

Pt. 48 - The Sixth Trumpet

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Four Angels Euphrates 2The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.

The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:13-21)


“From The Horns of The Golden Altar”

While the 1st woe of the fifth trumpet will bring horrifying torment to the doorsteps of the unbelieving, the 2nd woe of the sixth trumpet will bring actual death and destruction. In His effort the chasten mankind in order to bring them back to Him, God will ratchet up the pressure against the rebellious by sending supernatural pursuers against them. And from this point on, sanctuary will only be found in God.

Four Horns of AltarThis is why the voice is heard coming from the horns of the altar that were located on the altar's corners, because the four horns of the altar were meant as a symbol of sanctuary against a pursuer. This is why we see Adonijah clinging to them when he was eluding Solomon; 

But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar. Then Solomon was told, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’ Solomon replied, “If he shows himself to be a worthy man, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.” (1Kings 1:50-52)

What I find very interesting in this passage is that Solomon tells Adonijah he will not be harmed if he “shows himself to be a worthy man”, and that he will die only “if evil is found in him.” It’s interesting because the same thing likely will hold true for mankind during the days of the sixth trumpet.


“Bound at the Great River Euphrates”

When we read that these four angels are “bound” at the Euphrates, it sounds like they are imprisoned there, but that is only one of two possibilities. The other is that they are legally bound there by geography, and are prohibited from crossing over the Euphrates into the lands to the West.

I believe the latter interpretation is correct, for two reasons; 1) if these angels were to be imprisoned for their actions, they would likely have been in the Abyss with the other imprisoned angels, and; 2) The word for “bound” can mean forbidden in both the Greek and Hebrew transcripts.

In Greek manuscripts, the term for “bound” is deo, which can mean to fasten or tie, but it can also mean to forbid, prohibit, or declare to be illicit. And in the Hebrew B’rit Chadashah, the root term for the word “bound” is asur, which means prohibited, or forbidden to. In other words, it is mostly like that these four angels will be prohibited by God from passing beyond the boundaries of the Euphrates.

Israel Borders FutureI used to wonder why this would be forbidden, but there seems to be a reasonable answer; It's quite possible that these destroying angels will be prohibited from passing beyond this boundary because the land West of that boundary had been promised to Abraham and his descendants; 

“On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates….”  (Genesis 15:18)

Since we know from the biblical account that each nation has a spirit Prince assigned to it, then it's only logical that these four angels are/were spirit princes assigned to territories East of the Euphrates. Since Babylon was located on and East of the Euphrates River, and the enemy of Israel in the last days is 'Babylon the Great', then this theory would seem fitting.


“To Kill a Third of Mankind”

I used to wonder why “a third” of mankind was killed during this judgment, rather than a quarter or a half, or some other measure. But the answer may be far more obvious than it would seem. If we keep in mind that Israel is the apple of God’s eye and His chosen people, then all we have to do is look at the Holocaust, where an unbelieving world allowed a third of the world Jewry, a third of God’s chosen people, to be killed. Given this statistic, would God be turning the tables on the world in the end times? I think so, based in part on these words from Jesus;

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)

The world measured out death and suffering to the Jews during the Holocaust, and the ‘final solution’ engineered by Hitler’s Germany and embraced by Islam throughout the Middle East will be returned on their heads by "the measure" that they used.


“Horses and Riders”

While there are both horses AND riders in this plague, the passage describes only the horses, or the angelic component of this tandem. This is intriguing, but we’ll see this idea again in the Revelation in the passage on 'the woman that rides the beast'. There, the woman is that part of unfaithful mankind that rejected Jesus as her groom. So they are depicted as the unfaithful woman. Similarly, it would appear that the "riders" of these horses may be that part of that same woman, that part of mankind that will embrace the lies of fallen angels during the last days. This will be expanded upon in later chapters, but for now we’ll focus on the horses.

Covenant - Death SideJust as the demonic locusts of the fifth trumpet were seen wearing symbolic "breastplates", these horses will also wear symbolic breastplates. In the former case they had breastplates of iron, signifying their angelic protection while on the earth. However these horses will have breastplates depicting the three covenant colors mentioned earlier in this series. Their “fiery red” will represent the blood covenant, while their “yellow as sulfur” will represent the salt covenant, and “dark blue” the sandal covenant.

The problem is that their covenant is not with Yeshua/Jesus, but with Satan. You may recall from an earlier post on the 'Tree of Life' that one can covenant with Yeshua on the right hand side, the LIFE side of the Tree, or one can covenant with Satan on the left side, the DEATH side of the Tree. This is shown on the adjacent illustration, and it seems to correctly portray the decision made long ago by these angelic horses.

CentaurasWe have to remember that the horse is a biblical symbol for an angel, or at least a certain kind of angel, and they are depicted this way in scripture and in other extra-biblical texts such as the book of Enoch. In fact, we even see Jesus depicted this way in the Mazzeroth as the half-human and half-horse decan ‘Centaurus’, or ’Bazah’ in Hebrew, which means despised (Isaiah 53:3).

So the symbolism is clear; these horses are angels, and they are likely the same third of angels that Satan will sweep out of the sky with his tail in chapter 12 of the Revelation. It seems that chapter was included in the narrative to provide review and some much needed context for the seven seals and the seven trumpets that preceded it. But we'll cover that in greater detail in a future post. 


“Heads of Lions”

These horses are portrayed as having heads of "lions", which seems quite appropriate if they indeed are the angels that will follow Satan. After all, Satan himself was portrayed as a prowling lion, and his beast empire will have teeth like a lion (Rev 9:8), and these 200,000,000 destroyers will have heads like lions. All of these symbols seem to point to the Babylonian Empire, which posted sculptures of lions at city gates and on wall reliefs throughout the city. And the behavior of the lion typified Babylon’s conquest of other surrounding nations.

Lion TeethIf you’ve ever watched documentaries about lions, their hunting technique is clear; they hunt in teams, seeking the weakest in the herd as a target. Once they choose their target, they brutally assault their prey and consume them, making that flesh part of their own. This is how ancient Babylon operated as well. They would identify weaker nations and lay siege to them in great numbers, and 'consume' them by assimilating them into their empire. They would generally not destroy their victims, because that would not advance the kingdom. Instead, they brought them to subservience and then demanded tribute in order to fuel the growing Babylonian empire.

Still, a lion will occasionally kill for strategic reasons other than food. They will often kill the matriarchs of Hyena packs to limit that pack's strength, and they will also kill the young of nearby leopard or cheetah prides to limit competition for prey within their territory. In the same way, the lion of Babylon also would occasionally destroy a nation rather than assimilate them, as they did to Israel. They would do this in order to eliminate a future competitor to their territory.

In all of these things we can see Satan’s fingerprints. The modus operandi of Satan and his kingdoms are the same as that of the lion; consume/assimilate weaker nations in order to fuel the kingdom, and destroy and trample those who would be competitors.


“Out of Their Mouths”

Many commentators read this passage and envision hideous beasts roaming the earth and frying victims with fire from their mouths, much as the mythical dragon would, but that is far from what this indicates. Instead, when the Revelation state that these plagues will come “out of their mouths”, God is merely symbolizing how that they will call out for these things to happen, and then watch them take place. Fire, smoke and brimstone will not literally come out of their mouths.

The symbolism behind the fire, smoke and sulfurous brimstone is fairly clear, since each of these symbols are spoken of in the Bible. "Fire" speaks of the refinement (Rev 3:18) of people throughout scripture, and at this point an unbelieving mankind will be chastened by God with intense persecution in order to refine them  and remove their spiritual dross. Since it’s God’s will that none would be lost, He will have to ratchet up the pressure on unbelieving man in order to cause them to turn back to him in repentance.

The "smoke" represents anger (Psalm 18:7-8), and these angels will be very angry after spending thousands of years imprisoned in the Abyss, or having just been kicked out of heaven by Michael and his angels. They will be looking for payback, and they will seek to take their vengeance on as many as possible.

Fire From HeavenThis vengeance will include the calling down of fire from heaven, signified by the "sulfur" or brimstone that comes out of their mouths. They will call down fire from heaven, and God will apparently send it because it will suit His purposes. While this may seem contrary to what we believe about God and His nature, it’s equally true that He often used one enemy to defeat another in the past, so why not in the future? After all, we have confirmation in Revelation 13 that He will allow the ’beast out of the earth’ to do the same; 

“And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.” (Revelation 13:13)

Think about it; fire from heaven can only come from God at that point, since Satan and his angels will have been cast out of heaven. They will not even be there to perform the counterfeit.

Even amidst all this mayhem, we need to remember that the fifth trumpet narrative stated that the demonic locusts were not allowed to harm those with "the seal of God" on them, and I believe the same will hold true for the sixth trumpet. These fallen angels will not be allowed to target God’s saints, therefore the third of mankind that will be killed will consist of the unbelieving. And since these angels will be acting in the manner of lions, we can presume that the unbelieving that are killed will be those that will not accept the mark of the beast. Satan will assimilate/devour those that will take the mark, and kill/trample those that will not (Daniel 7:7, Rev 13:15).

From this standpoint, these angelic horses will likely be part of the false christs and false prophets that Jesus warned us to avoid;

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” (Matthew 24:22-24)


“The Power of The Horses”

This account even tells us where the power of these horses lies, and the explanation squares with the ‘false christs and false prophets’ noted just above. 

Sixth Trumpet Horses 2For instance, the power “in their mouths” means they will have the power to call for plagues, and they will happen, much like the power that will be carried by the two witnesses. And the power “in their tails” is explained by Isaiah, who reveals that tails are “prophets who teach lies”;

“The elders and prominent men are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.” (Isaiah 9:15)

And not only do these tails represent false prophets, but they represent false prophets of a certain kind, since their tails were "like snakes." This is yet another reference to Satan, the serpent of old, and the author of lies. In other words, these false prophecies will come directly from Satan. The marching orders he will give to his minions will be to indoctrinate mankind into believing the lie (Isaiah 28:17, 2Thess 2:11).

The fact that these heads “inflict injury” suggests that the false doctrine that they spew will be swallowed hook, line and sinker by far too many, causing damage which could potentially cost them their salvation.


“The rest of mankind that were not killed”

Some have suggested that this verse confirms a pre-trib rapture, since it appears to infer that ALL remaining mankind will refuse to repent at that time. The idea is that if all mankind was targeted with these plagues, then Christians must not be on the earth any longer. However, this is not the case. As with all scripture, we need to examine these passages in their original language to completely understand what was said.

In the Greek manuscripts, the term "the rest" is loipos, which is defined as the rest of any number or class under consideration. It is not a sweeping or all-inclusive statement that would cover those who were there, but NOT under consideration. In other words, the text is suggesting that "the rest" of mankind that did not repent is that part of mankind that was subject to this plague to begin with. This would not include the Christians that remain on the earth, because Christians will not be under consideration for this plague.

Torah ScrollTo further confirm this point, "the rest" in Hebrew is sha’ar, which means not only to be left behind, but to be left over, be left alive, or to survive, or be spared. So once again, the idea here is that while all the wicked on the earth will be in the cross hairs during this plague, only a third of mankind will be killed, and the rest will be spared. Those spared will of course include Christians, who once again were NOT under consideration in the first place.

The fact that Christians will still be on earth but not under consideration for this plague would be consistent with what we learned in the fifth trumpet, which revealed that the demonic locust from the Abyss will not be allowed to harm those that have the seal of God (Rev 9:4). Since those with the seal of God will still be present on the earth, we should be able to agree that the rapture will not have taken place at this point. But it won't be far away.


“Nor did they repent…”

The fact that these men will continue to worship demons and idols tells us that they have clear spiritual influences and that they are part of some type of religious system or cult. And when we look around the world, we see countless religions that worship a different spirit than Almighty God. So this statement provides a rather wide sweeping blanket that seemingly covers all the alternative religions of the world.

However, while many religions worship spirits, demons and idols, there are a few things in this list that seem to point to one religion in particular. For instance, there is only one prominent faith on earth today that sanctions the "murders" of those that will not accept their brand of religion, and that is Islam. And when their Mahdi (Islamic messiah) arrives, this murder of innocents will rise to an entirely new level, as described by their own clergy;

Four Horsemen“The Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and Christians; if they accept it they will be spared, otherwise they will be killed.”  (Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini)

This is only one of many threats made against Jews and Christians in the Quran and Sunna, and the theology contained in those books makes it quite clear that a holocaust of true believers has been planned for the last days. But this theology has spilled over into our time already, since this kind of persecution is already underway in the Middle East and Asia, where Christians and Jews are already being murdered daily. Islam is known as the 'religion of the sword' for a reason, and this kind of  sanctioned murder is an echo of a prophecy made by Jesus;

“…..in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” (John 16:2-3)

Satan has completely blinded the extremists among the Muslim population, and they are so hopelessly lost in their hatred of Israel that it prevents them from seeing Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. From Moses to the prophets to Jesus himself, our blessings from God have all come through the Jewish people. But such hatred has been fanned by Satan for so many years that these people cannot see it, confirming what Jesus said in His account of The Rich Man and Lazarus;

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:29-31)

Well, someone DID rise from the dead, and his name was Yeshua/Jesus. And sadly......they were indeed not convinced.

The "magic arts" they practice can take many forms and are seen throughout the world in practices such as shaminism and witchcraft. However, in many subtle ways this type of spirituality is practiced in a number of religions. What they all have in common is that they receive their power from Moon God Sinfallen angels and evil spirits, which were the power behind the dark spirituality of ancient Babylon that has spread throughout the world. And nowhere is this more pronounced than with Islam, whose deity 'Allah' is essentially the same moon god 'Sin' that was chief of the Pantheon of tribal gods in Babylon.

These men will also not repent of their "sexual immorality", and while this statement can again refer to much of the world, it again seems to specifically target Islam due to its allowances for what we in the West would consider to be sexual deviancy. Examples include allowing a man to have four wives (polygamy), or to marry pre-teens (pedophilia), or to have a 'temporary' wife for one hour (prostitution), and to defile 'infidels' (rape).

Finally, their "thefts” also becomes an interesting identifier since we also see this idea of the Mahdi sanctioning Islamic theft in a prophecy contained in the book of Daniel, where the coming antichrist divides his plunder among his minions;

“When the riches provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers.” (Daniel 11:24)

In summation, while many peoples, nations and religions can be seen in this passage, we also have to remember that every nation that the prophets of God singled out for destruction in the end times is an Islamic nation in our day.


NEXT TIME:

In the next post the groom returns to raise the ‘dead in Christ’.

Read 7439 times Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2013 22:41

Comments   

#3 Mike 2013-12-04 12:37
Antione,

I have considered the point that the 'third' killed in this passage may be symbolic. In fact, I had formerly believed precisely that. However, it is so directly stated that I've come to understand it as literal.

Even though this is a vision, there can still be literal elements within the symbolic transmission. That was true for the visions of Daniel as well, where literal truth was occasionally mixed with the larger symbolic truths.

However, I'll continue to examine passages like this. This is all still a work in progress.

Mike
#2 Mike 2013-12-04 12:28
Antione,

Adonijah certainly was not a priest, and I would suspect he was clinging to the horns of the brazen altar in the inner court, rather than the golden altar standing in the Holy Place. He would be forbidden to enter that area.

I think the important imagery here is the meaning of the horns of the altar, which were on both altars.

Mike
#1 Antione 2013-12-04 10:41
Mike,

Was Adonijah a priest? I thought only priests were allowed to enter the Temple (where the golden altar is). Wouldn't Adonijah put to death just for trespassing?
BTW the picture is of the Brazen Altar I think.

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“To Kill a Third of Mankind”
In other similar passages you viewed death as symbolic for spiritual death. (Which I can agree with)
Why the sudden shift to the literal?

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In “The Power of The Horses” you wrote the snake tails teach lies. (agreed)
In “The rest of mankind that were not killed” you mention 'the rest are the remaining unbelievers.
Doesn't that mean there are basically 2 groups? Living believers and spiritual dead unbelievers?
In other words 100% of the unbelievers is dead. You seem to think death is literal for this trumpet but the snake tails seem more spiritual. Why would the invaders first teach the unbelievers and then slay them?
Perhaps the 1/3 of mankind killed is 1/3 of the believers converting to paganism?
"Nor did they repent"
That part seems to debunk my view. So basically I'm struck in this post. I se contradictings I can clear up.
Unless this is the keÿ:
“The Mahdi will offer the religion of Islam to the Jews and Christians; if they accept it they will be spared, otherwise they will be killed.” (Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini)

The snakes will offer conversions, if denied the person will be murdered.



"part of unfaithful mankind that rejected Jesus as her groom."
I think not everyone that rejects Jesus as a groom is unfaithful. There are 4 covenants, which I think all are for faithful people. The level of commitment differs but still they are faithful and attend as guests to the wedding. Maybe the people in the lower covenants receive so affliction during the end-times?

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BTW Mike please don't see my flood of questions as a way to attack your views. I'm just a perfectionist that sees 'problems everywhere :-)