SIXTH TRUMPET, PART 1
the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden
altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet,
“Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the
four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were
released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen
was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses
in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth
blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of
lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three
plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the
brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and
in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them
they do harm. But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did
not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and
idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear
nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their
sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:13–21
Parts of the Sixth Trumpet
sixth trumpet is an involved message having three distinct parts. Some teachers
treat the three parts as three different parts of the revelation rather than, as
they are, one complete message in three parts under the sixth trumpet. The
language John uses as he moves between these parts indicates the continuity of
thought. The three parts of this trumpet message are:
1, chapter 9:13–21, which is about an army of horsemen. While it ends at the
end of chapter 9, the first words in chapter 10 establish the continuity: “I
saw still another . . .” Obviously this is a transitional statement within the
2, chapter 10, which is about a mighty angel coming down from heaven. The angel
speaks of the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which clearly
identifies this part of the vision as under the sounding of the sixth trumpet.
Furthermore, the first words in chapter 11 are, “Then I was given a reed,”
which clearly identifies an action that follows what precedes it in chapter 10.
3 is chapter 11:1–14, which is about the two witnesses.
Opening Sounds of the Sixth Trumpet
the sixth trumpet sounds a voice speaks from the horns of the golden altar that
stands before God. We encountered this altar in the fifth seal, Revelation 6:9,
where it is the place under which those that had been slain for the word of God
were waiting for God’s judgment to fall on the earth, which we now know is the
greater apostate church. The saints under the fifth seal, the Protestant
Reformation, were told to wait and here under the sixth trumpet we hear the
voice telling this sixth angel to release the four angels bound in the River
met these angels in the sixth seal, Revelation 7, where they were holding back
the four winds of the earth until the servants of our God were sealed. These
angels are the same angels. They held back the winds until the servants of our
God were sealed and now we see what happened when they were let loose to carry
out their mission.
the sixth seal we saw the angels were at the four corners of the earth and as we
zero in on their location we see that they are actually bound at the great river
Euphrates. The Euphrates flows through the area known as Mesopotamia, and was
the principle means of defense for the city of Babylon in ancient times. You
will recall in the book of Daniel how that the Persians rerouted the River and
gained access to the city to defeat Belshazzar and the Babylonians. In the sixth
trumpet the Euphrates stands for the city of Babylon, which appears frequently
in the remainder of the Revelation. As ancient Babylon held God’s people in
bondage, the Babylon of the Revelation is a church environment that holds
God’s people in bondage.
the opening of the sixth seal and the sounding of the sixth trumpet these angels
are set loose to pour out God’s judgment against Babylon. The angels were
prepared. For over 1500 years they had been bound and trapped at the four
corners of the earth. The King James Version has a discrepancy in saying they
were prepared for an hour, day, etc.
The indefinite article an gives the
impression that their preparation occurred during the time period of an hour,
day, etc. The Greek and newer King James based versions say they were prepared
for the hour, day, etc. The definite
article the means this exact moment in
time. In fact, the Revised Standard Version makes a stronger case by adding the
definite article throughout the statement: “for the hour, the day, the month,
and the year.” The New International Version is not as strong as the Revised
Standard Version but is quite clear: the angels “had been kept ready for this
very hour and day and month and year.” All the components of time are
mentioned: hour, day, month and year indicating that the loosing of these angels
takes place exactly at the prophetic time determined by God. God had been
stirring and preparing His angels and at the exact moment in history they were
ready and let loose to do God’s work.
angels are released to kill a third of mankind. We have learned that in the
Revelation killing is not always the literal slaughter of human beings. You will
recall those under the altar in the fifth seal were told to wait until their
brethren were killed as they were. The death here is the death to sin as the
result of a clearer understanding of the gospel that was coming. The precise
moment these angels were loosed to go against Babylon came as soon as the
servants of our God were sealed and with that initial wave of people that saw
the truth of the biblical church as part of the salvation experience were
loosed, they went out as a mighty army preaching the full gospel of salvation
from sin. In the sixth seal, Revelation 7:9 they are called a great number which
no one could number. Under the sixth trumpet, verse 16 calls them two hundred
Army of Horsemen
vast numbers that were released to clarify the truth of the biblical church as
part of the experience of salvation is called an army of horsemen. Horses
represent the church built by Jesus unlike the locust horsemen of the fifth
trumpet. Remember under the first seal it was a white horse that went out
conquering and to conquer and sadly, in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th seals the horse
changed colors as it, the visible church-at-large, deepened in apostasy.
army of horsemen represents the multitudes that left the churches and
denominations of the greater visible church-at-large. While it is a movement, it
is not a single movement; it is not a single horse as represents the true church
up to this time. It is an army of horsemen.
vast number of horses does not represent vast numbers of new churches, rather,
it represents the people of Jesus’ church wherever it is: in different cities,
states, and countries around the world.
riders whom we know as the saints of our God from the sixth seal are wearing
breastplates. The Protestant Reformation was lead mostly by ministers. The
common people essentially followed the Reformation because their churches went
with the Reformation. This army under the sixth trumpet is different because it
is not an army of ministers; it is an army of individuals, ministers and lay
persons that received the revelation of the biblical church as part of the
experience of salvation.
6:14 tells us the breastplates are breastplates of righteousness, which are
necessary for people to stand in the truth and proclaim the gospel. Adam Clarke
explains the significance of this breastplate:
signifies the principle of righteousness; it signifies the practice of
righteousness, or living a holy life; it signifies God's method of justifying
sinners; and it signifies justification itself. Here it may imply a
consciousness of justification through the blood of the cross; the principle of
righteousness or true holiness implanted in the heart; and a holy life, a life
regulated according to the testimonies of God. As the breast-plate defends the
heart and lungs, and all those vital functionaries that are contained in what is
called the region of the thorax; so this righteousness, this life of God in the
soul of man, defends every thing on which the man's spiritual existence depends.
While he possesses this principle, and acts from it, his spiritual and eternal
life is secure.
is living a holy life. It is the conscious awareness of being saved from sin
that motivates people to live a holy life. In this sense righteousness is vital
not just to the Christian profession but to live a holy life that takes one to
breastplates are multicolored, each color representing some attribute of the
righteousness possessed by this army. The New King James Version is very
descriptive of these colors: fiery red, hyacinth blue and sulfur yellow. The
King James Version is less descriptive which is probably more helpful in
understanding the meaning of the colors. They are fire, jacinth, and brimstone.
color fire. Matthew 3:11 Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and
fire. Hebrews 1:7 God makes His ministers a flame of fire. Hebrews 12:29 God is
a consuming fire. In the Revelation Jesus has eyes of fire; there is gold tried
in the fire, lamps of fire and fire of the altar. These examples of fire
certainly reflect a characteristic of God but the one thing about God they point
to is the Word of God that reveals the working of God in salvation from sin.
color jacinth, a deep blue. The color blue is not mentioned in the New
Testament so we must turn to the Old Testament. The first significant mention of
blue is in Exodus 26:1 where we learn that the curtains of the tabernacle were
blue in color. Blue identifies the tabernacle which is the dwelling place of God
on earth; the presence of God. In the breastplates is the presence of God in the
lives of the saints.
color brimstone. Luke 17:29 Jesus speaks of God’s judgment on Sodom when
fire and brimstone fell on the city and destroyed it. Brimstone represents the
judgment of God.
army of horsemen is clothed with breastplates of righteousness that are the word
of God, the presence of God, and the judgments of God.
heads of the horses were like lions. We met the lion as one of the living
creatures around the throne of Christ in chapter 4. We learned that the face of
a lion is an attribute of the redeemed that is the grace to reign over sin in
this life. Fire, smoke and brimstone came out of their mouths. These are all
symbols of the word, Spirit, and judgment of God.
we see in this army is a great army of the servants of our God that launched out
with the message of the biblical church as an element of salvation. This
biblical message put judgment on the churches of men showing them that they were
not in fact the church Jesus built. The darkness of ritual that bound the Roman
and Greek Churches was exposed by the Reformation. Now, by about 1800 AD, the
churches of the Reformation were falling into the same bottomless pit as the
churches they came out of.
the ranks of Catholicism and Protestantism, many of God’s people that were
sick of ritual and division heard the message of holiness and the unity of
believers in Christ and left their churches to form congregations and
fellowships based in the atonement and person of Jesus Christ. The beautiful
thing about this worldwide movement was that it was not prompted and lead by a
group of ministers, it was a groundswell of everyday Christians that understood
the gospel and stepped out in faith to be the biblical church of God.
movement began with what has been called the Primitive Church Movement around
the beginning of the nineteenth century, about 1800. It was a scattered and
disjointed movement, some groups not knowing about the existence of other
groups. There were attempts to solidify and organize the movement, but for the
most part these failed as to God’s people it suggested denominationalism and
forming churches other than the church of God.
concept behind the movement continued strong throughout the 1800s and into the
early 1900s but by this time an unintended but inevitable attribute showed
itself. This is said in verse 19, “For their power is in their mouth and in
their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they
do harm.” Both ends of this movement had power. The mouth spoke the word and
judgment of God, but the tail had a power that did harm and ultimately defeated
the work of the head. This was foreshadowed in Isaiah 9:15, “The elder and
honorable, he is the head; The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.”
the end of the sixth seal and the finishing of the sounding of the sixth
trumpet, that great army out “Babylon-ed” the Babylon they had fought. The
standard of holiness became corrupted by either legalism or abandoned
altogether. Division and lack of cooperation infected groups mainly out of
jealousies and the desire of competing ministers for preeminence. And
organizational structures were developed mimicking the Babylon they had fought.
Organizing the work of God eventually took the work out of God’s hands.
there are congregations that remain true to the original movement, the word and
power of God, but they are few and spread far apart.
Sad State of Things
we have a situation where most of God’s true people are held captive in a
visible church-at-large that falls short of God’s glory and purpose for the
church. This sad state is said in the closing verses of chapter 9:
the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the
works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold,
silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And
they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual
immorality or their thefts.
only a limited testimony of holiness and the unity in the Spirit of God, God’s
people are discouraged and many don’t know what to do. As the message of the
sixth trumpet continues in chapter 10 we find that we need the intervention by
none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. We have no certain date for the opening
of the seventh seal and the sounding of the seventh trumpet, but Jesus assures
us that things will happen under the sounding of that trumpet.