Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000

CHAPTER NINE:
THREE LAST WOES

[“Locusts and then Horses”]
Key Word: Harm
Theme Verse: 7

Revelation 8:13-9:4 – Trumpet 5: Harm to Unsealed

RV8:13 And I saw and heard443 an eagle flying in the atmosphere,444 saying to those dwelling on the earth:445 “WOE! WOE! WOE!446 because of the remaining 3 Trumpets who are about to trumpet.”
443 I saw and heard: Here John sees and hears something at the same time.
444 An eagle flying in the atmosphere: Or, mid-heaven. Where birds fly. (Genesis 1:20)
445 Those dwelling on the earth: The earth’s inhabitants are to hear this.
446 WOE: This is all very sequential and though what has preceded is bad, what is to follow is filled with woe. These “woes” may be identified at Revelation 9:1-11; 9:12-21; 11:14-13:18.
RV9:1 And the Fifth Angel trumpeted. I saw a Star fallen from Heaven to the earth.447 [Isaiah 14:12] The key of the pit of the Abyss448 was given to him.
447 A Star fallen from Heaven to the earth: It is a “him” and he has “fallen” as opposed to “descended.” It has all the sense of Satan. The only parallel in this language is regarding Lucifer at Isaiah 14:12.
448 Abyss: The word occurs first in the LXX at Genesis 1:2 and 7 times in the Apocalypse. (Revelation 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3)
RV9:2 The Star opened the pit of the Abyss. Smoke ascended out of the Pit as the smoke of a great furnace. [Genesis 18:28] The sun was darkened449 [Joel 2:10] by the smoke of the Pit.
449 The sun was darkened: A further lowering of the light over Revelation 8:12?
RV9:3 Out of the smoke came locusts into the earth.450 [Exodus 10:12, 14] The locusts were given authority as scorpions451 [Ezekiel 2:6] on earth.
450 Out of the smoke came locusts into the earth: Locusts are part of the plagues on Egypt. [Exodus 10:12, 14] There is much imagery from Joel chapters 1-3. In Joel the locusts are Babylonian soldiers.
451 The locusts were given authority as scorpions: These creatures are seldom mentioned in the Bible. [Ezekiel 2:6]
RV9:4 The locusts were told not to harm452 the vegetation of the earth, nor any green thing or any tree,453 but only those humans not having the Seal of The God in their foreheads.454 [Ezekiel 9:4]
452 The locusts were told not to harm: These locusts can be commanded. Note what is and is not harmed. The 144,000 cannot be harmed because they have been sealed. Compare Revelation 7:1, 2. Note these locusts are told to do what is not natural for them, because vegetation is what locusts devour.
453 The vegetation of the earth, nor any green thing or any tree: Compare Revelation 7:1, 2. This is different from the 4 Winds.
454 Only those humans not having the Seal of The God in their foreheads: There are only two categories: the harmed and unharmed; the sealed and the non-sealed. The 144,000 are all sealed in fulfillment of Revelation 7:1, 2. There are Saints on earth throughout this misery and before 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Revelation 7:14 take place.

Revelation 9:5-6 – 5 Months of Torment

RV9:5 The locusts were authorized not to kill these men but to torment them for 5 months.455 Their torment is like the torment of a scorpion’s bite.
455 To torment them for 5 months: There is a period before the actual execution of God’s enemies as Revelation 9:15 mentions. The only other mention of this period is Luke 1:24.
RV9:6 And during those 5 months men will seek death but not find it.456 [Job 3:21] They will long for death but it flees from them.
456 Men will seek death but not find it: Compare Job 3:21. Suicide is not possible and the meaning may be that such tormented persons wished the illness end with death.

Revelation 9:7-11 – Locusts Described

RV9:7 The likeness of the locusts is that of horses [Joel 2:4] prepared for battle.457 On their heads were crowns of gold.
457 The likeness of the locusts is that of horses prepared for battle: An ancient martial animal. The subject is very much like “war.” The description which follows has various interpretations and many are the fantasies which develop. Each of the individual symbolic elements may be given a Biblical interpretation by searching these key words and drawing conclusions: horses, crowns, faces, hair, women, lion, teeth, breastplates, iron, wings, chariots, scorpion, etc. On war or battle compare Joel 1:6; 2:4, 5.
RV9:8 They have the faces of men and long hair like women. They have the teeth of lions [Joel 2:6] RV9:9 and breastplates of iron. The sound of their wings is like the sound of chariots galloping into battle. [Joel 2:5] RV9:10 They have tails like scorpions that sting. In their tails is their authority to harm humans for 5 months. RV9:11 They have a king over them,458 the Angel of the Abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon.459
458 They have a king over them: Some see Christ, others Satan. This demonstrates the wide diversity of opinions.
459 His name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon: The Hebrew and Greek mean “destruction.”

Revelation 9:12 – 2 More Woes!

RV9:12 The first Woe is over. Look! 2 Woes460 are coming next!
460 2 Woes: Two of the final three trumpets. Who speaks these words is not clear. It is possible it is the eagle of Revelation 8:13.

#242. Between the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets there is a brief pause when an eagle announces from mid-heaven, or the skies where birds fly: ‘The First Woe is over. Look! two woes are coming!’ Thus, with Revelation 9:13 the Sixth Angelic Trumpet begins and continues until Revelation 11:13. The Sixth Trumpet ends with the Rapture of the 144,000-Saints.

Revelation 9:13-15 – Trumpet 6: Angels Released

RV9:13 And the Sixth Angel trumpeted. I heard a voice out of the horns of the golden Altar461 [Exodus 40:5] in the sight of The God, saying:
461 The golden Altar: From Exodus 40:5. Compare also Exodus 40:26; Numbers 4:11; 2 Chronicles 4:19.
RV9:14 “Loosen the 4 angels who are bound462 at the great Euphrates River.”463 [Genesis 15:18]
462 Loosen the 4 angels who are bound: We are told a little more regarding Revelation 7:1, 2. The 4 Angels are held in restraint and the location of this is the Euphrates. This river’s name associates all of this with Babylon. Compare Jeremiah 46:6, 10; 51:63, 64; Zechariah 9:10. The river occurs again at Revelation 16:12 as a prelude to Armageddon.
463 Euphrates River: Upon which Babylon sat.
RV9:15 And the 4 angels were loosened, those who have been prepared464 for the hour, day, month, and year,465 to kill one-third of humankind.466
464 Those who have been prepared: Those angels of Revelation 7:1 have been restrained and are now released for the coming cataclysm.
465 The hour, day, month, and year: There is an exact “appointed time” for all of this.
466 One-third of humankind: Note it is limited to one-third and not all humankind. “Nations” will survive to no longer be misled by the Devil during the Thousand Years. (Revelation 20:1-3; Zechariah 14:16)

Revelation 9:16-19 – Horses Bring Plagues

RV9:16 The armies of horsemen numbered 200,000,000. I heard their number.467 And this is how I saw the horses in the vision:468 those sitting on them wore breastplates that were fiery-red, hyacinth-blue, and sulfur-yellow.469
467 I heard their number: Note, like Revelation 7:4, 9, John first “hears” a number and then goes on to “see” the whole matter.
468 I saw the horses in the vision: John gives his own description and there may not be a symbol in every turn of phrase. However, using a concordance many of the search words can be compared and opinions drawn.
469 Those sitting on them wore breastplates that were fiery-red, hyacinth-blue, and sulfur-yellow: Red, blue, and yellow are primary colors.
RV9:17 The heads of the horses were like lion’s heads.470 Out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur.
470 Lion’s heads: Possibly referring to great manes.
RV9:18 One third of humankind was killed by these three plagues:471 the fire, the smoke, and the sulphur472 [Genesis 19:24, 28] spitting from the horse’s mouths.
471 One third of humankind was killed by these three plagues: The instruments of death to one-third of humanity. This leaves two-thirds unaffected. The “men left over” are survivors. Compare Zechariah 14:16 with Revelation 21:24 [KJV].
472 The fire, the smoke, and the sulphur: The Great City is also called Sodom and the first occurrence of these three words are in the context of Sodom. [Genesis 19:24, 28; Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 34:9; Ezekiel 38:22]
RV9:19 The authority of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails. For their tails are like serpents’ heads. With these they harm humankind.

Revelation 9:20-21 – The Unrepentant

RV9:20 And humankind who survived and were not killed by these plagues did not repent of the works of their hands.473 [Isaiah 17:8] So that they might not worship demons474 and the idols made of gold, silver, copper, stone, and wood.475 Neither are their idols able to see, or hear, or walk. [Psalm 135:15-17]
473 Did not repent of the works of their hands: Despite all of this the survivors do not repent, much like the plagues of chapter 16 and after the manner of the plagues on Egypt. We are not told here what happens to these unrepentant ones at this moment.
474 That they might not worship demons: The critical matter is worship and morality. On the worship of demons compare notes on Acts 17:22 and 1 Corinthians 10:20. In subtle ways the “teachings of demons” have crept into the Christian Church. [1 Timothy 4:1-3] As Judaism was Babylonized so was Christianity.
475 The idols made of gold, silver, copper, stone, and wood: Compare Psalm 135:15-17.
RV9:21 These survivors476 did not repent of their murders, drugs, fornication, or theft.477
476 Survivors: Or, men left over. Survivors to this point at least. Compare Revelation 21:8, 27; 22:15.
477 Did not repent of their murders, drugs, fornication, or theft: The same persons are mentioned “outside” of the Holy City at Revelation 22:15.

#243. Revelation 9:15 takes us back within the Sixth Seal (Revelation 7:1) when the four angels were restrained so the 144,000-Saints could be sealed. That work is finished at the latest in the midst of the Fifth Trumpet. (Revelation 9:4)

THE FIFTH ANGELIC TRUMPET: The First Woe---Locusts!

#244. The Fifth Trumpet reveals a “star” having “fallen” from heaven. This portion involving the Fifth Trumpet is the longest among all the trumpet blasts. (Revelation 9:1-11) This star, a king, falls from heaven and opens the Abyss, releasing the hurtful locusts. This covers a period of five months during which the sealed 144,000-Saints are still on earth. The End-time Saints remain unharmed by this plague. There are only two categories of “men” on earth at this time: those harmed and those not harmed; the sealed and the non-sealed.

#245. This “star” does not descend as angels are seen doing in Revelation10:1 and Revelation 18:1. This star has “fallen.” This, and the later association of harmful locusts from the Abyss and Death suggest it is Satan. The Nazarene may have had a preview of this when he said, ‘I beheld Satan fallen from heaven like lightning!’ (Luke 10:18) These words bear a similarity to those in Isaiah 14:12,478 ‘O how you have fallen from heaven, Lucifer! How you are cut down to the ground!’
478 ISAIAH 14:12. Note how these words regarding Lucifer follow near the earlier contexts of a “sign” and celestial darkness in Isaiah chapters 11 and 13.

#246. The 144,000-Saints are still on earth when Satan is ousted from heaven at the beginning of the three and a half years as Revelation 12:17 shows. It is likely this “woe” for the earth which brings about the abrupt beginning of the Great Oppression.

#247. These locusts are released from the Abyss. The smoke rising from this Abyss creates an even greater darkening affect to add to that previously. These locusts are given commands similar to that given to the angels in Revelation 7:1-4, not to harm the vegetation of the earth any further. The imagery of the locusts is very much drawn from its source in the Book of Joel chapters 1 to 3. In Joel these picture the Babylonian soldiers. The period of harm is for five months and precedes the actual execution of God’s enemies as Revelation 9:15 describes.

#248. John writes down his own comparison in his description of the locusts and their “likeness.” Many have been the interpretations of all of this, including a comparison of them to helicopters. The imagination can take great flights of fancy here and it will be left to the actual fulfillment to identify the many apocalyptic metaphors occurring in this portion. However, “war” seems to be the thrust of matters against those who do not have the seal. (See Joel 1:6; 2:4, 5)

#249. Like ancient Job (Job 3:21) men seek death but cannot find it even by suicide. In great catastrophes of the past, including the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE as well as Masada in 73 CE, people sought death and found it so they would not have to experience the rigors of these plagues. No one is going to escape the judgment of God by suicide. This is the First Woe during the Fifth Trumpet.

#250. It is interesting in John’s description here that, like in the case of the 144,000 and the Large Crowd, he first hears something, “the number 200,000,000,” and then afterward “sees” what he had only heard before.

#251. Revelation 9:15 does not say this killing of one-third of mankind occurs here, but only that these angels are released. They are “prepared.” Revelation 9:16-19 may describe these four angels which may picture the executionary forces of the Lamb mentioned in Revelation19:14. This seems inferred by the immediate mention of the number of the horsemen after the Four Angels are released. Note that one-third are killed leaving two-thirds unrepentant mankind alive. This two-thirds of mankind are described as murderers, druggers, fornicators, and thieves. This is language similar to Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15 where these are shown to be “outside the City” of New Jerusalem.

#252. It is precisely stated in Revelation 9:15 there is an appointed time of an hour, day, month and year for the actual execution of the Four Angels with their Four Winds (Revelation 7:1) upon ‘earth, sea or any tree.’ God’s time, after so many millennium, has arrived. (Revelation 6:17) In the prophetic context of events we would find ourselves between verses 30 and 31 of Matthew chapter 24 and the end of Luke 21:28. Now, before matters are carried on to a conclusion, two things will happen in the Apocalypse: a) there will be a brief pause for John’s benefit; and, b) three chapters of Revelation will cover details of the three and a half years of the Great Oppression. So, there will be a replay as it were, rewinding the apocalyptic clock back to the beginning of the Great Oppression. This subject will be approached from three different views or perspectives: Two Witnesses and the New Jerusalem; the Dragon and a Woman; and, the wild Sea Beast and the Saints. Each will center around this period of three and a half years of Daniel 7:18-22. First, the prophetic pause.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved