ANGELS AT THE
1. The last three trumpets of the seven are called, from
fall--rather as Greek, "fallen." When John saw it, it was
not in the act of falling, but had fallen already. This
is a connecting link of this fifth trumpet with
Re 12:8, 9, 12,
"Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, for the devil is
come down," &c. Compare
"How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning!"
the bottomless pit--Greek, "the pit of the abyss";
the orifice of the hell where Satan and his demons dwell.
3. upon--Greek, "unto," or "into."
as the scorpions of the earth--as contrasted with the "locusts"
which come up from hell, and are not "of the earth."
have power--namely, to sting.
4. not hurt the grass . . . neither . . . green
thing . . . neither . . . tree--the food on
which they ordinarily prey. Therefore, not natural and ordinary
locusts. Their natural instinct is supernaturally restrained to mark
the judgment as altogether divine.
those men which--Greek, "the men whosoever."
in, &c.--Greek, "upon their forehead." Thus this
fifth trumpet is proved to follow the sealing in
under the sixth seal. None of the saints are hurt by these locusts,
which is not true of the saints in Mohammed's attack, who is supposed
by many to be meant by the locusts; for many true believers fell in the
Mohammedan invasions of Christendom.
5. they . . . they--The subject changes: the first
"they" is the locusts; the second is the unsealed.
five months--the ordinary time in the year during which locusts
continue their ravages.
their torment--the torment of the sufferers. This fifth
cannot refer to an invading army. For an army would kill, and
not merely torment.
6. shall desire--Greek, "eagerly desire"; set their mind
shall flee--So B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic
read. But A and Aleph read, "fleeth," namely continually. In
which is at a later stage of God's judgments, the ungodly seek
annihilation, not from the torment of their suffering, but from fear of
the face of the Lamb before whom they have to stand.
7. prepared unto battle--Greek, "made ready unto war."
Compare Note, see on
where the resemblance of locusts to horses is traced: the plates of a
horse armed for battle are an image on a larger scale of the outer
shell of the locust.
ELLIOTT explains this of the turbans of
Mohammedans. But how could turbans be "like gold?"
ALFORD understands it of the head of the locusts
actually ending in a crown-shaped fillet which resembled gold in its
as the faces of men--The "as" seems to imply the locusts here do
not mean men. At the same time they are not natural locusts, for
these do not sting men
They must be supernatural.
8. hair of women--long and flowing. An Arabic proverb compares
the antlers of locusts to the hair of girls. EWALD
in ALFORD understands the allusion to be to the
hair on the legs or bodies of the locusts: compare "rough
as the teeth of lions--
as to locusts).
9. as it were breastplates of iron--not such as forms the thorax
of the natural locust.
as . . . chariots--
10. tails like unto scorpions--like unto the tails of
and there were stings--There is no oldest manuscript for this
reading. A, B, Aleph, Syriac, and Coptic read, "and
(they have) stings: and in their tails (is) their power (literally,
'authority': authorized power) to hurt."
11. And--so Syriac. But A, B, and Aleph, omit
a king . . . which is the angel--English
Version, agreeing with A, Aleph, reads the (Greek)
article before "angel," in which reading we must translate, "They have
as king over them the angel," &c. Satan (compare
Omitting the article with B, we must translate, "They have as king
an angel," &c.: one of the chief demons under Satan: I prefer
bottomless pit--Greek, "abyss."
Abaddon--that is, perdition or destruction
The locusts are supernatural instruments in the hands of Satan to
torment, and yet not kill, the ungodly, under this fifth trumpet. Just
as in the case of godly Job, Satan was allowed to torment with
elephantiasis, but not to touch his life. In
these two woe-trumpets are expressly called "plagues." ANDREAS OF CÆSAREA,
A.D. 500, held, in his Commentary on
Revelation, that the locusts mean evil spirits again
permitted to come forth on earth and afflict men with various
12. Greek, "The one woe."
hereafter--Greek, "after these things." I agree with
ALFORD and DE
BURGH, that these locusts from the abyss
refer to judgments about to fall on the ungodly immediately before
Christ's second advent. None of the interpretations which regard them
as past, are satisfactory.
Joe 1:2-7; 2:1-11,
is strictly parallel and expressly refers
to THE DAY OF THE LORD GREAT AND
gives the portents accompanying the day of the Lord's coming, the
earth quaking, the heavens trembling, the sun, moon, and stars,
withdrawing their shining:
Joe 2:18, 31, 32,
also point to the immediately succeeding deliverance of Jerusalem:
compare also, the previous last conflict in the valley of Jehoshaphat,
and the dwelling of God thenceforth in Zion, blessing Judah. DE BURGH confines the locust
judgment to the Israelite land, even as the sealed in
are Israelites: not that there are not others sealed as elect in the
earth; but that, the judgment being confined to Palestine,
the sealed of Israel alone needed to be expressly excepted from
the visitation. Therefore, he translates throughout, "the land" (that
is, of Israel and Judah), instead of "the earth." I incline to agree
13. a voice--literally, "one voice."
from--Greek, "out of."
the four horns--A, Vulgate (Amiatinus manuscript),
Coptic, and Syriac omit "four." B and
CYPRIAN support it. The four horns together
gave forth their voice, not diverse, but one. God's revelation
(for example, the Gospel), though in its aspects fourfold (four
expressing world-wide extension: whence four is the
number of the Evangelists), still has but one and the same voice.
However, from the parallelism of this sixth trumpet to the fifth seal
(Re 6:9, 10),
the martyrs' cry for the avenging of their blood from the altar
reaching its consummation under the sixth seal and sixth trumpet, I
prefer understanding this cry from the four corners of the altar
to refer to the saints' prayerful cry from the four quarters of the
world, incensed by the angel, and ascending to God from the
golden altar of incense, and bringing down in consequence fiery
judgments. Aleph omits the whole clause, "one from the four
14. in, &c.--Greek, "epi to potamo"; "on," or "at
the great river."
The river whereat Babylon, the ancient foe of God's people was
situated. Again, whether from the literal region of the Euphrates, or
from the spiritual Babylon (the apostate Church, especially
ROME), four angelic ministers of God's judgments
shall go forth, assembling an army of horsemen throughout the four
quarters of the earth, to slay a third of men, the brunt of the
visitation shall be on Palestine.
15. were--"which had been prepared"
for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year--rather as
Greek, "for (that is, against) THE hour,
and day, and month, and year," namely, appointed by God. The
Greek article (teen), put once only before all the
periods, implies that the hour in the day, and the day in the month,
and the month in the year, and the year itself, had been definitely
fixed by God. The article would have been omitted had a sum-total of
periods been specified, namely, three hundred ninety-one years and one
month (the period from A.D. 1281, when the Turks
first conquered the Christians, to 1672, their last conquest of them,
since which last date their empire has declined).
slay--not merely to "hurt"
as in the fifth trumpet.
third part--(See on
of men--namely, of earthy men,
"inhabiters of the earth," as distinguished from God's sealed people
(of which the sealed of Israel,
form the nucleus).
16. Compare with these two hundred million,
The hosts here are evidently, from their numbers and their appearance
not merely human hosts, but probably infernal, though
constrained to work out God's will (compare
Re 9:1, 2).
and I heard--A, B, Aleph, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and
CYPRIAN omit "and."
17. thus--as follows.
of fire--the fiery color of the breastplates answering to
the fire which issued out of their mouths.
of jacinth--literally, "of hyacinth color," the hyacinth of the
ancients answering to our dark blue iris: thus, their dark,
dull-colored breastplates correspond to the smoke out of
brimstone--sulphur-colored: answering to the
brimstone or sulphur out of their mouths.
18. By these three--A, B, C, and Aleph read (apo
for kupo), "From"; implying the direction whence the
slaughter came; not direct instrumentality as "by" implies. A, B, C,
Aleph also add "plagues" after "three." English Version
reading, which omits it, is not well supported.
by the fire--Greek, "owing to the fire,"
literally, "out of."
19. their--A, B, C and Aleph read, "the power of the
in their mouth--whence issued the fire, smoke, and
Many interpreters understand the horsemen to refer to the
myriads of Turkish cavalry arrayed in scarlet, blue, and yellow
(fire, hyacinth, and brimstone), the lion-headed
horses denoting their invincible courage, and the fire and
brimstone out of their mouths, the gunpowder and artillery
introduced into Europe about this time, and employed by the Turks; the
tails, like serpents, having a venomous sting, the false religion of
Mohammed supplanting Christianity, or, as ELLIOTT
thinks, the Turkish pachas' horse tails, worn as a symbol of authority.
(!) All this is very doubtful. Considering the parallelism of this
sixth trumpet to the sixth seal, the likelihood is that events are