Saturday, 22 April 2017 09:17

62. The sixth trumpet: death by what comes out of the mouth * Revelation 9:13-21 - Part 2 of 3

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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: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

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.

 

Part 2 - Revelation 9:16-18

 

*** John heard a number and saw the vision ***: Once again, John hears a number. He had previously heard the number of God’s army, in Revelation 7:4: 144,000. Please see the study #47 for details on the 144,000. In Revelation 9:16, he hears the number of the enemy army: two hundred million. The original expression was “two myriads of myriads”, or twenty thousand times ten thousand. The same idea is seen in Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands upon thousands; The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the sanctuary.” (ASV). Now we can picture both sides of the battle. They are prepared to engage in the world’s final battle.

 

God’s army: Enemy army:
- 144,000 (Revelation 7:4) - 200,000,000 (Revelation 9:16)
- Preaches the truth (Revelation 14:12; Revelation 14:5) - Preaches false teachings (Revelation 9:18-19 [kills and hurts with what comes out the mouth]; Revelation 12:9Revelation 16:13)
- Worships God (Revelation 14:3) - Worships the dragon, his beast, the image of the beast, demons and idols (Revelation 13:4,8,15; Revelation 9:20)
- They have the seal of God (Revelation 7:3) - They have the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9-19)

 

*** The horses ***: The horses in this vision were very similar to the battle horses described in the fifth trumpet. John started verse 17 mentioning the horses, then briefly mentioned the horsemen on the horses. After that, he turned his attention back to the horses and went on to give us more details about them. The horse from the fifth trumpet and the one from the sixth have three main things in common:

 

Fifth trumpet horses and horsemen: Sixth trumpet horses and horsemen:
- Breastplates (Revelation 9:9) - Breastplates (Revelation 9:17)
- Their power is in their tail (Revelation 9:10) - Their power is in their tail (Revelation 9:19)
- Teeth like lion (Revelation 9:8) - Heads like the lion’s head (Revelation 9:17)

 

In the fifth trumpet (see studies #57-60), the horse-like locusts come out of the pit (Revelation 9:2-3), while in the sixth trumpet they come out of the enemy border: the Euphrates River (Revelation 9:14). We saw in previous studies that the “bottomless pit” and the “Euphrates river” are both used symbolically. In the fifth trumpet, the demonic forces come out of confinement to initiate a terrible attack on the people who have not chosen to follow God. In the sixth trumpet, they are already doing their killing. The army of horses from the fifth and the sixth trumpets seem to be the same one but pictured in a different moment in time.

*** Fire, smoke and brimstone ***: Fire, smoke, and brimstone (or sulfur) are always associated with judgment falling over the rebellious people. The first example that comes to mind is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24,28; Luke 17:29). We see this combination of elements in other parts of the Bible as well, and they are used to punish the evildoers (Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 34:9-10; Ezekiel 38:22). The breastplates in the fifth trumpet were made of iron, while here in the sixth trumpet they are made of fire, jacinth, and brimstone. The material of the breastplate gives emphasis to the symbolic nature of the scene and seem to parallel the weapons that come out of the horses' mouths: fire, smoke, and brimstone (Revelation 9:18). The text suggests that the breastplates and the destruction they inflict on people are made of the same material. What protects and covers the enemy’s deceiving philosophies is also what kills people. It is interesting to note that these three components, fire, smoke, and brimstone, are also found in the lake of fire, where the false prophet, the beast, grave and death, the evil angels, and Satan himself will be destroyed (Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 21:8). They will ultimately be consumed by the very same thing they use to spiritually torment and kill people (Revelation 9:17,18). The enemy army goes out to kill one-third of mankind (see study #52 for a detailed explanation about the term ‘one-third’). Their weapons are the lies that come out of their mouth. This gives us a whole new level to what Jesus said to His disciples: “Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:11,18,19).

*** Overview ***: In the vision talking about the Seals, John described God’s army: they were prepared with the Truth of God and sealed with God’s name on their foreheads. The enemy army described in Revelation 9:16 is numerically a much larger group: 200 million. John did not spend much time stressing the importance of this big number. He spent no time at all discussing that difference. The main idea is not to establish a numerical comparison. What these armies do and what they stand for seem to be of a much greater importance. The very lies spread by the enemy army is what kill their own followers (Revelation 9:18). God wants to save people. He presents them the truth and tells them they can only truly live when they choose to remain under His Truth and His love. The enemy army wants to destroy anyone and everyone. Because God’s people are sealed and protected from their lies, only the ones following false teachings will be affected by the destruction those doctrines can inflict. Let’s not be deceived. We are fighting a spiritual war, and so we need spiritual gear to help us on the journey to Heaven:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17, King James 2000).

   
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