In this article we will look at the sixth trumpet judgment in the book of Revelation 9:20-21. If you are following our articles on Revelation, you will recall that the last three trumpet judgements are preceded by a divine warning. This is seen in the giving of three “woes”. The word woe means “grief, anguish, and affliction”. This has to do with the seriousness and the intensity of the judgments that follow these woes. We have looked at the sounding of the fifth trumpet, the first woe, and it revealed that their will be locust of a demonic nature that are unleashed from the Abyss. They will bring torment to mankind. They will have a sting that will last for five months.
As the sixth trumpet is sounded and we discover the nature of the second woe, we realize that there will be yet another wave of death that hits the planet as one third of mankind will die. We are going to examine these things in depth, but before we do, I want to remind our readers of the purpose of this book for us today. Why did John write this book to his flock and why does God want us to understand this book of Revelation? I believe there are three reasons why this book is found in the New Testament.
1. We all need correction and preparation in our lives. The New Testament over and over again calls us out to correct our behavior. Why? Because God is holy and the end of the age is coming. In other words, there is a judgment day coming. It is the mercy and love of God that calls us to correct our behavior. Even those who believe in Christ are encouraged to die to flesh, put away sin, and live for God. Any study of the end times that leaves out this important aspect is merely a waste of time. All of us need to be spiritually motivated in order to correct behavior so that we are living holy when Jesus returns.
There are many verses I could site that tell us that not everyone who says that they are Christians actually have been born again. 1 John 3:3 says, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” If you are hoping for the rapture, and heaven, and the joy of seeing Christ, you will purify your life. Another scripture warns us that not everyone who says, Lord, Lord will actually be known by Jesus. Some of the saddest words in scripture are the words of Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Another verse in Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” If you call yourself a believer and you practice these things, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.
2. We need to be pray for those who don’t know Christ. As we learn about all the horrendous things that are going to take place during the Tribulation Period, it should cause us to want to see people come to Christ so that they go in the rapture and miss these horrible events. How can anyone study these things and remain unmoved and without concern for loved ones who don’t know Jesus Christ? We must pray and witness to all that we can that judgment is coming.
3. We need to be encouraged. There is encouragement in Revelation in spite of the fact that we see horrendous things happening in the earth. It is comforting to know that God is in control. God knows what’s going on and exactly how to bring His kingdom to the earth. It encourages me to know that one day we will live with God in a New Heaven and New Earth. It encourages me that in the ages to come we will continue to experience the riches of his grace.
THE SIXTH TRUMPET JUDGMENT IS SEVERE
It is a fact that this world is headed toward the judgment of God. The Tribulation Period is God giving every conceivable chance to a sin hardened world to come to him and repent. The fifth trumpet judgment has sounded and a plague of demonic locust have been let loose on the earth. Men and women have wished that they could die. Yet we know that for those who are living during the Tribulation period, more difficult moments will come. We are going to pick up the narrative in Revelation 9:12 “The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.” I want you to remember that these woes are a warning that the judgment that follows is something that is severe.
Revelation 9:13-15 “The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.”
Let me give you some obvious observations of this passage:
- The four angels who are bound are fallen angels.
The scripture says in Revelation 9:14, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” These angels are bound. Why would God have to bind angels that are loyal to Him and willing to do His bidding? He wouldn’t. Fallen angels are another story, they are in rebellion against God. These four angels who are bound at the River Euphrates are evil fallen angels. We know that when Satan fell from heaven he took with him 1/3 of the angelic realm with him. In no other passage in all of God’s word do we find one of Gods angels being bound. It is fairly obvious that these angels are demons or fallen angels.
The one truth I think this passage reveals more than any other is that Satan and his demon like hordes do not value, love or respect humanity. In fact, they hate humanity. The reason very well could be that humanity has the potential of redemption. Nowhere in God’s word do we have any sense that any angel that sinned was redeemed. Once an angel sinned, that was it, they were cast out, and cast away. However, human beings are the recipients of God’s love and grace. That could be the reason for their hatred of humanity.
Another reason why the demonic realm hates humanity is that it is through the human race that Satan ultimately will lose control of planet earth. Passages like this teach us and show us Satan’s true colors. Satan has propagated a myth in our world that I would like to clear up. I don’t know how widely it is accepted but some people believe that lie that down Satan will sit down and have a beer with all the people in hell and it will be a party that can be enjoyed. Don’t you believe it for a minute! Satan and demonic spirits are described in God’s word as your enemy. They are the enemy of humanity. Satan hates humans, as do these four evil angels bound at the Euphrates river. I don’t know how long they have been bound there but it is obvious that they cannot wait to be let loose on humanity.
- The Euphrates River is to be taken literally.
The scripture says in Revelation 9:14 “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” I think that the Euphrates River means exactly that. It is no doubt the most prominent river in the Bible. Incredible events have happened there across history.
The Euphrates River was:
One of the boundaries for the Garden of Eden.
A boundary for Israel.
A boundary for Egypt at one time.
A boundary for the Persian Empire.
The Euphrates River is near to where:
The first sin of mankind was committed.
The first war was fought.
The tower of Babel was built in defiance against God.
Nimrod built the city of Babylon that became a source of idolatry.
If you were to look the river up on a modern-day map, you would discover that it flows through modern day Iraq. It is an ancient river with a long history. It does not surprise me that in that part of the world, there are fallen angels that God has been restraining. This definitely shows how Satan and his angels hate humanity, because the scripture says in Revelation 9:15 “And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.” Obviously, these fallen angels have been waiting for an opportunity to kill mankind for a long time. This also show us that
Even in a severe judgment like the sixth trumpet judgment we see the sovereignty of God. Revelation 9:15 says, “And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released…” The enemy of humanity is not released until God says so, showing God’s power and control in all the things of the universe. I want you to have a complete understanding of who God has revealed Himself to be. He is in control. Some people want to equate God and Satan as somehow being ying and yang, that God and Satan are two equal and opposing forces in the world. That they are the good side and the dark side and that they have equal powers. Don’t believe it for a minute! God is so high above all of these other creatures that he controls them. Satan, the angels, these four angels are all created beings. Our God has no beginning. He is the alpha and the omega. God has not lost control of the planet, He is simply allowing His perfect plan to unfold.
HOW DO THESE FOUR ANGELS INTEND TO KILL HUMANITY?
The next verse immediately begins to describe what will be released on humanity.
Revelation 9:16 says in the NIV “The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.” The NKJV says, “Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million.” Let me just mention that there are many who believe this to be a human army. Only one country would seem to have enough population to have such an army and that would be China. That is pure speculation. An army of 200 million men would be a formidable adversary for humankind. There are numerous reasons, I do not see this as a human army. I personally believe alongside men like Tim LaHaye that this is yet another demonic army that is loosed upon mankind. In modern warfare, horses are rarely if ever used so it is doubtful that these are actual horses as we would know them.
Let’s read the description and then decide. Revelation 9:17-18 “The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.” That doesn’t sound like any description of a horse I ever have seen. “ A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.”
It is obvious to me that these could not be humans and horses for neither have mouths that emit fire, smoke, and sulfur. I believe this is a literal description of unnatural demon-like creatures that come out of the abyss advancing under the leadership of the four evil angels.
Another interesting thought has to do with the three “woes” themselves. If the locust are demons, and the horsemen are demons, and we know for certain that a portion of the third woe is Satan who permanently kicked out of heaven. It kind of makes sense that all three of the woes have to do with the release of fallen angelic powers on the world.
As we approach the midpoint in the tribulation period, we know that the death toll is staggering. It is easy to read over quickly and loose the impact of it. It is assumed that because of what is written in Revelation 9:20 and the reference to the unrepentant that it is only the unrepentant that are killed by these plagues. The question is this: How many have died? Before we answer that, may I remind you that God destroyed the entire earth in a universal flood where all but just a handful of people perished. God is an unchanging God. He has judged the earth before and He will judge it again.
How many have died? Remember that with fourth horsemen 25 percent of the population would be killed. According to current population figure of almost 8 Billion, that means that 2 billion died. In this release of a demonic army another 1/3 of the population dies. That is another 2 Billion people because the population would be diminished. That is why the Bible calls this period of time the Tribulation because already approximately one half of the world’s population will be killed. In current population figures, that is 4 billion people. I personally believe that it will be many millions more due to all of the other devastating events that take place. Probably closer to five billion.
I am telling you that you do not want to be here for this period of time. Now is the time to get completely right with God. It seems as though God is ridding the earth of unrepentant and unregenerate people who will never receive him. These people cannot possibly enter the Millennial Kingdom and therefore they must be purged from the earth as surely as the generation of Noah’s day had to be purged from the earth.
DON’T ALLOW YOUR HEART TO GET HARD
The one thing I do not want to do in this series is simply rush over the Word of God. There is a special blessing given to all those who will take the words of this book to heart. I want you to take to heart very closely the next two verses. Amazingly enough God in his mercy and grace to us today gives us five sins that will keep men from repenting in those days. One could say that these are the five major sins of the Tribulation period. These same sins keep people away from God today. I want you to understand that many times it is a love for sin and a love for sinning that keeps people from coming to Jesus. Let me give you two powerful truths this morning.
First, God loves you just like you are. He will accept you if you come to him in faith and trust in him, asking for forgiveness. Secondly, He also loves you enough that he will not allow you to stay in your sin. God will help you to overcome the flesh, the world, and the devil.
Jesus is the perfect representation of who God is. Jesus is loving and merciful and yet continuously challenging men to stop sinning. We see that when he spoke to a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee.” He was the only one that day who could have picked up a stone and destroyed her because He was without sin. But because He is loving, Jesus demonstrated grace. And yet we know that Jesus also said, “Go and sin no more.”
Let me remind you that another time he healed a man, the man went out sinning and Jesus found him later and said, Stop sinning or something worse will come upon you. To be frank, I am concerned about Christianity today. I am concerned that much of the preaching and teaching today that you find in various places leaves the realm of sin alone. You cannot preach the gospel of Jesus Christ if you do not proclaim the fact that continuously choosing sin will send you to hell. No longer is it clearly preached and proclaimed that men and women must leave their lives of sin to follow Jesus. What a tragedy that since the beginning men have loved darkness rather than light. I simply am echoing the words of the Apostle Paul who said in Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
What we do know is that the sixth trumpet judgement reveals that during the Tribulation Period men will choose sin, specifically these five sins and they will refuse to repent. Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent…” You would think that with all of the events being unleashed in the world in that day, that people would run to repent. But it shows that men and women loves sin. And when the wooing of the Holy Spirit is rejected, hearts get hard. There is a deceitfulness to sin. Hebrews 3:13 says, “but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Sin deceives you, by allowing you to think that sin has no consequences and that it really isn’t important to God. Don’t be deceived, and even “Today” let me exhort you to turn to God and away from sin or your heart will get hard. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened when the plagues came to Egypt. Instead of softening toward God, and submitting, he hardened his heart in rebellion. The same effect will be seen during the tribulation but on a global scale.
The truth is, you see the hardness of men’s hearts today. People chose to live together, rather to be married as if the first institution God ever ordained wasn’t important. Today, the homosexual community and those who are involved in promiscuous lifestyles have seen their friends die of AIDS and many other diseases. A long-term family friend of my father who lived promiscuously, watched many of his friends die. But he still would not turn to God. Why? He had allowed the deceitfulness of sin to harden his heart.
So many have hard hearts today. Many man and women have lost marriages and the respect of family to affairs and adultery. Many men today are caught up in pornography and their hearts grow harder. There are men that I love who drink until they are drunk every single day. And while these are more of the baser type of sins, others are caught up in lying and gossip and many others. These things just show you the hardheartedness of man.
THE FIVE GREAT SINS OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD
Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
These five sins are already prominent in our culture. Could it be that the climate for the Antichrist is already being formed on planet earth?
- The first sin is idolatry.
“they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk.” Webster’s dictionary defines idolatry as “Excessive devotion to or reverence for some person or thing.” Idolatry is putting anything in the place where God ought to be. The scripture here links idolatry with the worship of demons. Certainly, that is true in places like India. But this article is being written from Houston, TX. Most of my neighbors do not have what we would typically call an idol in their house. But we must understand that Satan’s demonic forces are there to encourage us to put our worship and adoration on anything that puts God in the number two spot.
God is a jealous God who demands to hold the number one place of allegiance in our lives. It is good for us from time to time to ask ourselves if God is first in our life.
Jesus should come before your possessions.
Jesus is more important than your job.
Jesus should come before your family.
Jesus should come before your hobbies.
Jesus should come before sports.
Don’t let anything become a God in your life. If there is something in your life that drags you away from Jesus. It constantly pulls you away from church and wholesome activities. You may need to think that this could be an idol, and there are demonic forces behind it. The scripture says in Matthew 16:26 “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Let me get blunt today. Abortion is murder. Life begins in the womb at conception. This great nation participates in this terrible sin of murder. A few years ago, in Van Nuys California a mother had her baby in her bathroom, cut it up with a razor blade and flushed it down the toilet. Pastor Bob, that’s gruesome! The community was outraged. How could it be?
Yet if she had went to an abortion clinic just a few weeks before, the doctor could have legally done the very same thing. God help America. Abortion is murder for convenience sake. People say, “Well, it wasn’t convenient for me to have a child. Who would want to bring a child into the world and not be able to give it a proper upbringing?” Give it up for adoption. Don’t murder the child. I want to say to every Mother who conceived a child and it was not convenient for them and they went ahead and did the right thing – even it was harder. I salute you.
I for one go on record that every time a doctor takes something that God created. Life and destroys it. That we are one step closer to Antichrist. There will be a lot of doctors who will stand before an Almighty God and give account for the lives they took.
But this verse isn’t just about Abortion, this is about murder. People murder for so many reasons, jealousy, anger, money, sex. And murders will increase. There are cities like Chicago were sometimes the number of shootings and murders is just atrocious. In the Tribulation Period, life will be chaotic. Under great pressure, there will be those who will resort to violence, thinking that they are justified in what they do.
We have lost our value for human life. We teach our kids evolution and its doctrine that only the strong survive. Instead of teaching them that all life is precious, we teach them that we are not men created in the image of God, that we evolved from animals and that the survivors are the strong. If you have ever watched the ID channel with its continuous documentary about murders, you know that this is happening in our society and will continue to be a problem for humanity.
- The third sin that causes men not to repent is from is Sorcery, and the Magic Arts
The scripture says, “Nor did they repent of…their magic arts…” This is the Greek word pharmekei. You can see how close the word pharmacy is to that. It is translated sorceries of magic arts. But it comes with the understanding that sorcerers down through the centuries have used drugs and herbs to dull the senses of mankind or to give pleasure or to heighten the senses. Drug addiction and drunkenness will be widespread during the Tribulation Period.
Many use drugs to try to escape from the pain of life. How incredible that these things are prominent in our society. But that is kind of an underlying thing. There will be an increased desire to participate in the magic arts of sorcery and witchcraft. You may not know it but there has been a resurgence of interest in witchcraft, wicca, the occult, Satanism. It is everywhere in our society. From movies to television to books offered at places like Barnes and Noble.
A few years ago, I was in Barnes and Noble, in the section of books about the occult. One book in particular grabbed my attention, It was entitled “Teen Witch”. I opened it to the first page. It was written in the first person. It went something like this. “I was 13. I was Baptist. I went to church. My parents were Christians. But I will never forget the day when my cousin told me that the in church they don’t tell you the whole truth.” From there the book led the reader on how to become a witch. I am not talking of one lone book. I am talking about books of spells and witchcraft. How to become a druid. How to channel a demon. All kinds of very sick stuff. If these things are available now, think of how prominent they will be during the Tribulation.
- The fourth sin is sexual immorality.
Today, with the internet in our pocket, on our phones, on our tablets and computers. Pornography is readily available to lead both men and women into involvement in sexual immorality. Today our culture promotes a lifestyle of partying, and recreational sexuality. Dance today is overtly sexual. Children are talking about if they will be gay or straight by the time they are in the fifth grade.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, but anyone with a sense of morality in our culture will be able to see the sickening slide of our world into sexual immorality.
Stealing. Everyone of us knows somebody who has had their identity stolen. I have personally experienced theft of an auto. The church I pastor has seen numerous thefts of trailers, and riding lawn mowers. When you steal something or when you rob someone looking at them in their eyes, your heart has become hardened.
I sat and watched TV in 2020, and the riots and the looting of stores with pain. Not just for the owners of the stores, but because of what was happening inside the hearts of men, thinking that it was right to steal. This will be happening big time during the Tribulation.
So let me encourage you after considering the atrocities of the sixth trumpet judgment to keep yourself away from these five things, and give yourself fully to the Lord Jesus Christ.