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The first 6 Trumpet judgments

The first 6 Trumpet judgements
Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.

Revelation 8:6-13 & 9

Revelation 8:6-13

6: And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
7: The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

[8:7. The first trumpet brings literal fire and hail, and causes the destruction of most of the vegetation on the earth. Famine and a lack of oxygen production will result.]

8: And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
9: And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

[8:8,9. The second trumpet turns a third of the sea into blood, and a third of the sea creatures and ships are destroyed. This will produce a reduction of evaporation and thus a shortage of rain and fresh water on land. International commerce and distribution of food and resources will be severely hampered.]

10: And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11: And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

[8:10,11. The third trumpet makes a third of all fresh water bitter,resulting in widespread thirst and death. Wormwood (Gr. apsinthos, lit., "undrinkable") was a bitter herb (cf. Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4) that would make the water of the earth unfit for human consumption.]

12: And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

[8:12. The fourth trumpet takes away a third of the light from the heavens during both day and night. The light arriving from the sun, stars, and moon is reduced, leading probably to fear, lack of crop production, and a much lower quality of life (cf. Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25).]

13: And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

[8:13. The last three trumpets will be especially severe, as announced by the threefold repetition of Woe, woe, woe. They will be directed toward the inhabiters of the earth, that is, the unbelievers still alive on earth. Both the oldest and the majority of Greek manuscripts read "eagle" instead of angel in the first part of the verse.]

Revelation 9

1: And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
2: And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
3: And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

[9:1-3. Chapter 9 describes the first of two woes - trumpets 5 and 6. The fifth trumpet brings a five-month period of torment on the unbelievers of the earth. The star is either an angel of God (cf. 1:20; 20:1) or Satan, the one who has authority over the pit (cf. v.11; Is. 14:12; Luke 10:18). The bottomless pit is the Abyss, the abode of evil spirits or demons (cf. Luke 8:31). The key represents authority. Smoke from the "pit" indicates fires below. Locust-like creatures come out of the smoke. That they are not literal locusts is indicated by their description which follows. In the Old Testament, locusts are symbols of destruction (cf. Ex. 10:1-20; Deut. 28:42; 1 Kings 8:37; Ps. 78:46; Joel 1:2-2:11). Considering the identity of their king (v.11) and the Abyss from which they come, these locusts probably represent demons. Like scorpions, they can hurt people.]

4: And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
5: And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
6: And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

[9:4-6. They do not harm the vegetation, as ordinary locusts would, but only men who do not belong to God. They are not allowed to kill anyone at this point. They only torment unbelievers for five months. The pain will be like that of a scorpion. The "torment" will be so great that they will desire to die. But part of the judgment will be that men cannot die to escape it.]

7: And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
8: And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
9: And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
10: And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

[9:7-10. The description of the locusts indicates they are demons who are given physical forms in order to manifest their destruction and torment. Horses show their warlike character. Their crowns depict them as conquerors. Human faces show intelligence. Their feminine hair perhaps makes them seductive and attractive. The teeth...of lions shows them to be destructive and hurtful. Breastplates of iron make them indestructible. Wings symbolizes swiftness. The stings in their tails give them power to hurt. Fortunately for mankind, their period of torment is limited to five months. But the next judgment is even worse.]

11: And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
12: One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

[9:11,12. The king over these creatures is apparently Satan, who is given temporary authority over the Abyss. The name Abaddon is Hebrew for "Destruction" (cf. Job 28:22; Prov. 15:11; 27:20). Its Greek equivalent is Apollyon, meaning "Destroyer." Since the Roman emperor Domitian called himself Apollo incarnate, the mention of Satan as "Apollyon" (from the same root as Apollo) may be an intentional play on words. Two more woes are still coming. As the end approaches, the intensity and severity of the trumpet judgments increase dramatically.]

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.
15: And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

[9:13-15. The sixth trumpet results in the death of a third of the surviving unbelievers on the earth. The four bound angels are fallen angels or demons who have been temporarily bound by God. They are loosed for the purpose of killing a "third" of the population of the world. They appear to be in charge of the horde of demonic horsemen who will actually accomplish the massacre (vv. 16-19). The river Euphrates was on the northeastern boundry of both the Roman Empire and the promised kingdom of Israel (cf. Gen. 15:18; Deut. 11:24; Josh. 1:4; Is. 8:5-8).]

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.
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.

[9:16-19. John heard the number of the horsemen: 200,000,000-literally, "two myriads of myriads"-although the majority of manuscripts reads "a myriad of myriads," or 100,000,000 (cf. 5:11; Ps. 68:17; Dan. 7:10). John had no time to count such a large army. The riders (and perhaps the horses) wore breastplates. And armored calvary was always a formidable opponent. Brimstone is yellow sulphur. The heads of lions symbolize cruelty and destruction. The fire, smoke, and brimstone are three separate plagues, which together kill a third of mankind. In light of their description, and the fact that they are ruled by four fallen angels, these horses and riders are probably demons as well. The demons of the fifth trumpet do not kill, but these demon riders do kill. Their power is in their mouth, from which come the "fire," "smoke," and "brimstone." Their tails have heads like serpents, with the power to hurt people. This sixth trumpet, combined with the fourth seal (6:8), reduces the population of the earth to one-half its pre-Tribulation level.]

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.

[9:20,21. By this point in the Tribulation period, most surviving unbelievers will have permanently made up their minds concerning Christ. They will refuse to repent, even under this terrible judgment. Their religious activities will involve worship of idols and demons (devils), and sorceries or witchcraft, with the use of magic potions (Gr. pharmakon, from which English pharmacy derives). Idolatry is in fact the worship of demons (cf. 1 Cor. 10:20). Three of the four sins in verse 21 are specifically prohibited in the Ten Commandments (cf. Ex. 20:3-17). For "sorceries," compare 18:23; 21:8; 22:15; and Galatians 5:20.]

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Artwork © 1992 Pat Marvenko Smith. All Rights Reserved.
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