The Revelation of John; Chapter 9 – the Sixth Trumpet

7 Jul

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet

Revelation 9: 13-21

 Verse 13-14

…I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying…“Loose the four angels which are bound in the bottomless pit.”

Note for a moment that the JST changes the river Euphrates to the Bottomless Pit in verse 14. This change makes it clear that the four angels are not from God, but are evil spirits, loosed from hell, that will spread destruction among men. The significant part is that it is by God’s decree that they are able to act, showing that God is truly in control of all things.

 

Verse 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.

I have found no commentary from the leaders of the church as to the meaning of the time given, and most of the speculations of those outside the church I find too ridiculous to credit. However, in all this reading I have concluded that it is not a length of time. Rather we are being told that there is an appointed hour on an appointed day, in an appointed month, in an appointed year when this will occur. i.e. 10 pm, the 9th of November, 1938 (the Night of Broken Glass). I give this date not to say that this is when it stated, but as an example of what John was meaning. I find that this also shows that God is in full control of what happens.

In addition to this, verse 15 also says that one third of all the men will die. Now, we have to understand that this is referring to the entire human race, not just the adult males. One third of the human population will be destroyed in the violence and war that is poured out. The population is currently about 7.3 billion. One third of that is 2.43 billion people, or almost the entire population of China and India combined.

 

Verse 16

And the number of the army of the horsemen two hundred thousand thousand: and I saw the number of them.

Now, whether this number is literal or figurative is not known, though I rather think it is literal. In the KJV it says the John heard the number, but the JST tells us he saw it. To me this would indicate that he saw the actual army that was marching forth, that is two hundred million. If we consider that over three billion people are of an age to bear arms (between 15 and 45 years of age) it is not that much of a stretch to see less than 10% of them as part of this army.

 

Verse 17-19

These verses describe the horses, as John calls them, which make up this great army. The symbols used are worth noting.

Breastplates of Fire, Jacinth, and Brimstone (v17) Unlike the locusts, the very armor of this army will be deadly.
Heads of Lions (v17) A symbol of great power (not just the teeth, but the whole head).
Fire, Smoke, and Brimstone from their mouths (v17) I keep picturing the great canons of tanks. As they spew forth fire comes from the barrel, and when the missile strikes the explosion is like smoke and brimstone
Power in mouth and tail (v19) Again, a tank’s power is in its mouth, or canon; as well as in the machine guns that mount the rear, or tail.
Tails like serpents with heads (v19) Considering the tails to be machine guns, the image of a serpent seems appropriate.

With this I would also say that I do not believe this army is going to consist of two hundred million tanks. However, I do think that John was seeing and describing modern war machines.

In the first woe there were locusts, or flying machines, which would engage in a five month war. Now we have the ground troops, whose greatest strength is in the tanks. This massive army will march through the earth to destroy it. This is the army of Armageddon, which is mentioned in many prophecies. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zachariah, Joel, and others have all spoken of this army and the Great War that it will fight against the Jews. However, I believe that what John is seeing here is the beginning of the war, when the army is conquering the rest of the world. The actual battle of Armageddon has not yet come.

 

Verses 20-21

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: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

It is interesting to note the extreme hardness of the human race. Even after all these destructions and wars they still refuse to repent. They seem very much like the Nephites at the end, who were so hardened that the Spirit of God had completely abandoned them. (Mormon 1: 14 and Moroni 8: 28; 9: 4)

Also note the sins that they are refusing to repent of. The greatest one is Idolatry. Do we not see this today? Elder David R. Stone of the Seventy taught that one of the greatest forms of Idolatry is seeking to adopt the attitudes and tastes of the prevailing culture. This has become so common that even the member have begun to deny the scriptures and the revelations in favor of cultural trends. We can only hope that we are not among those who are to hardened to return to God when these tribulations occur.

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