The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, , at sacred-texts.com
rev 9:0SUMMARY.--The Fifth Trumpet. The Fallen Star. The Destroying Locusts. The Five Months of Their Power. The Sixth Trumpet. The Four Angels at the Euphrates Loosed. The Myriads of the Horsemen. The Third Part of Men Killed. The Rest of Mankind Repent Not.
I saw a star from heaven fallen. (Revision). John saw when the trumpet sounded, not a star fall, but a star fallen to the earth. A star is a symbol of a leader. A star fallen to the earth would indicate his degradation in some way.
To him was given the key of the bottomless pit. He was given power to let out hellish influences on the earth.
There arose a smoke. From that source came forth some influence, symbolized by smoke, which darkened the earth.
There came out of the smoke locusts. The destroying locusts symbolize destroying armies. See Nah 3:15; Exo 10:12. Observe that they come out of the smoke. To the smoke their origin is due.
Unto them was given power. Power to hurt is implied, since they are compared to scorpions.
They should not hurt the grass, etc. The locusts usually devour every green thing. These, however, shall seek to preserve trees and vegetation.
Only the men. Their special hurt shall be directed against men who are not sealed as God's own.
They should not kill them. This either implies that the armies symbolized by the locusts should seek not to destroy the races they attacked, or that they should not destroy the empire assailed.
Five months. Their torment should continue five months, or one hundred and fifty prophetic days. Since a day is a symbol of a year, this implies one hundred and fifty years.
Their torment was as the torment of a scorpion. Their warfare and torment shall be almost intolerable.
Shall men seek death. So terrible will be the torment that death will be desired.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared for war. The appearance of the locusts is described. They represent armies of horsemen.
Crowns like gold. There was an appearance like golden crowns. An array of men wearing yellow turbans would have such an appearance.
Faces of men. Faces covered with beard. Roman soldiers wore no beard, hence the beards would be a striking feature.
Hair as the hair of women. Wearing long, flowing hair.
Teeth as the teeth of lions. This probably signifies fierceness.
Breastplates as breastplates of iron. There was something that seemed like an army clad in iron coats of mail.
The sound of their wings. They gave a sound like the rush of chariots and horses rushing to battle.
And they had tails. They stung terribly, and left a string in their path.
They had a king over them. The real king was not the star, but the power of the bottomless pit.
Apollyon. The destroyer; either the devil or one of his angels.
The sixth angel sounded. A voice is then heard coming from the golden altar of incense (see Rev 8:3). He does not say who spoke, but declares the command uttered.
Loose the four angels which are bound at the great river Euphrates. The four angels represent four agencies which had been restrained and kept from advancing.
And the four angels were loosed. Whatever these angels represent, they are no longer restrained. It is implied that there were four agencies, or a fourfold division.
Prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. The Greek word used that for the regular solar year of 365 1/4 days, Julius CÃ&brvbr;sar having reformed the calendar. This would make 365 1/4, plus 30, plus 1, plus 1/12, equal 396 1/3 days. Or, a day being a symbol of a year, three hundred and ninety-six years and four months.
The number of the army of the horsemen. Countless armies of horsemen are signified.
Having breastplates as of fire, and of hyacinth, and brimstone. Or, bright red, blue and yellow. These are the colors observed.
The heads of the horses. Strength and fierceness are implied.
Out of their mouths proceedeth fire and smoke and brimstone. This is a destroying power. It might well describe the use of gunpowder. One looking at a distance would see the flash of fire, and the smoke, apparently coming from the horses' heads, would smell the brimstone odor, and would see the destructive effect.
By these three plagues. The fire, smoke and brimstone. These agencies slay the third part of men. We have before found that the Old Roman world was divided into three parts. One third part had been destroyed by the first four trumpet invasions. A second third part was taken by the Saracens. If now the third part was taken and destroyed by these three plagues, the symbolism would be fulfilled.
The rest . . . repented not. It is implied that these woes were sent as judgments. The Christianity of the East overthrown by the Saracens and Turks had become utterly corrupt. The rest, that is, those in other countries not conquered by Turks, continued their sins.
That they should not worship devils. The worship of dead saints is what is meant by demon worship in the Scriptures.
And the idols. Images had now been introduced into the churches everywhere and were worshiped.
They repented not of their murders. In the Crusade against the Albigenses, conducted by Rome in the thirteenth century, it is estimated that one million martyrs perished.
Sorceries. Tricks to deceive, so characteristic of the priests.
Fornication. This term may mean spiritual fornication or apostasy, and it may mean literal fornication. In either sense it is true of the religious features of the fifteenth century.
Thefts. Thefts in resorting to deceptions and impostures to extort money from the people. Tetzel's mission to Germany early in the sixteenth century is an illustration. Instead of repentance after the great judgment on the Eastern Church, the Western Church grew worse and worse.