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Daniel and Revelation
Revelation 9 - The Three Woes
Revelation 8:13 I saw, and I heard an eagle, flying in mid heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe! Woe! Woe for those who dwell on the earth, because of the other voices of the trumpets of the three angels, who are yet to sound!"
All three woes are against those who dwell on the earth. The fifth trumpet is the first woe. The sixth trumpet is the second woe. And the seventh trumpet leads us right up to the "night," which is the third woe. For this first woe, a fallen angel (demon) is allowed to release a bunch of demons (locusts) to torment sinful men. For the second woe, there are four angels who have been bound and are then released. So, these four angels are also probably fallen angels, or demons. They are released and allowed to start a big war, a war that kills a third of the population of mankind. For the third woe, Satan himself is thrown down to the earth (Revelation 12:12), having great wrath. So, the fifth and sixth trumpets, which are the first and second woes, are a warning of the greatest tribulation of all time, the third woe, the worldwide rule by Satan and the antichrist.
The fifth trumpet is the woe of demons. In Revelation 9:1, a star falls from the heaven to the earth. This would be an angel, probably a fallen angel. Stars are symbolic of angels (Revelation 1:20). A fallen angel is a demon. This fallen angel (demon) is given the key to the Abyss, which is the bottomless pit. In the Greek and in the KJV it's the bottomless pit. In other translations it's the Abyss. In Revelation 11:7 and 17:8, the beast (antichrist) comes from the Abyss. In Revelation 20:1-3, another angel locks up Satan in the Abyss for a thousand years.
The fallen angel (demon) is allowed to open up the Abyss and let out of bunch of demons. These demons are seen as locusts in John's vision. The angel opens the bottomless pit (Abyss) and fire and smoke rise from it like smoke from a gigantic furnace. There is enough smoke to darken the sun and the sky. This sounds very much like volcanic activity. Smoke from a volcano can darken the sun and the sky. The Greek word used here for pit means a hole in the ground. A volcano is a hole in the ground that leads all the way to the center of the earth. From that perspective, it's bottomless. If you could survive at the center of the earth, you would be weightless. There would be no "down." So, a volcano can be thought of as a bottomless pit. And the center of the earth is full of melted lava, which can be thought of as fire.
The seven trumpets are a wake-up call for the Bride. The Church must overcome sin. But most people will continue to rebel against God by continuing in unrepentant sin. So, God allows demons to torment those who have not been sealed with the seal of God on their foreheads. The 144,000 are sealed at the start of the seven-year period. They are sealed before any of the trumpets (Revelation 7:3). The first four trumpets are unmistakable. Hopefully many Christians will see them and repent and overcome sin by faith in Jesus. But all over the world, those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads are tormented by these demons for five months. They are not killed. But verse 6 tells us that many will seek death over this torment. The Church must learn that those who continue to sin do not know Christ, (1 John 3:4-10, 5:18-19) and thus are subject to God's wrath.
The sixth trumpet is the woe of war. Four angels have been bound at the great river Euphrates. Four is symbolic of the whole world. This woe of war is World War III. A third of mankind is killed. The four angels are probably fallen angels because they are bound until this time. They go out and deceive men to bring war.
The armies of this war are numbered at two hundred million. I would assume that this is a total number of all the armies involved. Still, for there to be two hundred million solders, China and most of the Far East would seem to be involved. The great river Euphrates separates the Far East from the Middle East and the West. The four angels are bound at the Euphrates. It would seem that they go out to the east, west, north and south to bring the East, Middle East, and the West against each other in war.
The vision of the sixth trumpet includes horses. This is not an army on horseback. The horses are symbolic. The first four seals have four horses, and they are symbolic. Refer back to the comments on the four horses of Revelation 6. The four horses of the seals represent the United States (west - white horse), China (east - fiery red horse), the USSR or Russia (north - black horse), and the United Nations (south - pale horse). So, four angels, probably fallen angels, are released from the Euphrates to go out to the east, west, north, and south, and to bring about World War III. Those who sit on the horses in World War III have breastplates of fiery red. (The breastplates were also hyacinth blue and sulfur yellow.) In the seals, the fiery red horse represents China, which is east of the Euphrates.
This war seems to be primarily between the United States and China, but probably includes other nations as well. Out of their mouths come fire, smoke, and brimstone. Their mouths represent their command of the machinery of war. The fire, smoke, and brimstone (sulfur) are the firepower of modern weapons of war. The Greek word used here for brimstone means sulfur. Sulfur is used to make gunpowder. A third of the people in the world are killed with these weapons. Today, a third of the world's population is two billion people. That's more people than in China and in the United States combined.
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:24). These two cities were destroyed because of sin. The trumpets are a wake-up call to the Bride. The end-time generation, which is the baby-boom generation, was born right after World War II. World War III is the last wake-up call that's given to this end-time generation. But World War III is not Armageddon. World War III is only a wake-up call. Armageddon happens after the resurrection and the rapture. But many in the world will probably perceive this war as being Armageddon. The world believes that after Armageddon is the reign of peace. This could lead them to think the antichrist is a messiah.
Genesis 19:24-28 Then Yahweh
rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of the sky.
(25) He overthrew those cities, all the plain,
all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew on the ground.
(26) But his wife looked back from behind him,
and she became a pillar of salt. (27) Abraham
got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before Yahweh.
(28) He looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and
toward all the land of the plain, and looked, and saw that the smoke of the land
went up as the smoke of a furnace.
Revelation 9:17-18 ESV And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. (18) By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths.
Does China put together an army of two hundred million? Or does this number consist of the armies of many nations, including China? With the "heads of lions" symbolism, a symbol of the United States, in verse 17, I would say the two hundred million include people who are from many nations. Also, four angels are released. The number four is symbolic of the world and the nations of the world. (Four beasts, four horses, four winds, the first four days of the Creation, etc.) I think this army of two hundred million is from many nations. If two hundred million soldiers kill two billion people, it would average ten people being killed for every soldier.
This war at the sixth trumpet is towards the end of the 1260-day prophecy of the two witnesses. Perhaps this war, where a third of mankind is killed, is the war that pushes the world into accepting a one-world government. "While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape" (NIV 1 Thessalonians 5:3). After World War III, the world will want a one-world government. They will be crying, "Peace and safety." But the sudden destruction that will come are the bowls of wrath and Armageddon. Soon after World War III the antichrist gains global control. But the antichrist will not maintain everlasting peace.
The sixth trumpet is the final warning to repent. These plagues in the sixth trumpet are the three plagues of fire, smoke, and brimstone (sulfur). But Revelation 9:20-21 says that the rest of mankind, who are not killed by these plagues, do not repent. This is right before the abomination of desolation, toward the end of the 1260-day prophecy of the two witnesses. During the 42-month reign of the antichrist, I think no one will be able to come into the vine of Christ. Satan will have complete authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation (Revelation 13:5-7). This is the time of the night, when no one can work (John 9:4). No harvest of believers is possible during the "night," so the sixth trumpet is the last warning. But the people who have gone through the first five trumpets without repenting will apparently not repent after the plague of World War III.
Revelation 9:20-21 The rest of mankind, who were not killed with these plagues, didn't repent of the works of their hands, that they wouldn't worship demons, and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk. (21) They didn't repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their sexual immorality, nor of their thefts.
Verse 20 says they do not repent from worshiping the works of their hands. This is the love of money, which is the root of all evil (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13, 1 Timothy 6:10, Hebrews 13:5). This verse also says the people worship idols of "gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood." The worship of money, and the things it can buy, is the idol worship of today. This is symbolized as the worship of "gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood." In Daniel 2, the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream had the head of Babylon. The whole statue is prophetic Babylon. In Daniel 5:23, Daniel tells Belshazzar that he worships the "gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone." I think this is close enough that it's not a coincidence. The world worships idols in both ancient Babylon and in modern-day times. The world is following the West in culture, in economics, and in sinful living.