Revelation of John 9By reason of the other voices; because the calamities which they would indicate would be exceedingly great and destructive. Interpreters generally apply the preceding four trumpets to the four principal invasions of the barbarians--of the Goths under Alaric, of the Vandals under Genseric, of the Huns under Attila, and of the Heruli under Odoacer, extending from about A.D. 410 to A.D. 476. The details must be sought in the history of these times, and in the more extended commentaries on the Apocalypse. However great or long continued the calamities of the wicked in this world, they are only warnings and foretastes of greater and more lasting calamities which, if they continue in sin, they will suffer in the world to come. A smoke out of the pit; the smoke arising out of the bottomless pit and darkening the sun and the air may be taken as an apt emblem of the Mohammedan delusion. Out of this smoke come the swarms of locusts which well represent the hosts of the Saracens; for these fierce invaders had their origin in this satanic delusion, and were thoroughly animated by its spirit. The star fallen from heaven that opens the bottomless pit will then be Mohammed, the introducer of this pestilent superstition, with all who aided and abetted him in it. The description of the star as fallen from heaven, is thought by many to symbolize the fact that Mohammedism had its occasion in the deep corruption of Christianity that preceded it. As the scorpions of the earth have power; see notes to verse Re 9:5,10. Infernal spirits are ever ready, when permitted, to increase the ignorance, wickedness, cruelty, and wretchedness of men. But they are under divine control, and can proceed no further than God, for wise and good reasons, sees fit to suffer them. Not hurt the grass--any tree; contrary to the nature of natural locusts, showing that these locusts represent cruel enemies sent by God to scourge those men which have not the seal of God; such as are not true Christians, and have rejected divine truth. Five months; the period of the duration of natural locusts. It here denotes a time appointed and limited by God; according to some, 150 years--a day being taken for a year--which was about the period during which the Saracens extended their conquests, though their empire lasted much longer.As the torment of a scorpion; compare verse Re 9:10. The Saracens were cruel and bigoted conquerors, compelling all to receive their pestilent superstition under the penalty of death or tribute. This seems to be especially the torment of their stings. Wherever they went they left behind them the poison of their false religion. Seek death; as a relief from the calamities brought upon them by these cruel invaders. When wicked men here suffer a part only of the evils which their sins deserve, life itself often becomes a burden, and they seek for death to relieve them. But there is effectual and permanent relief only in forsaking their sins and turning heartily to the Lord, who will then abundantly pardon. 7-9.Like unto horses--hair--teeth--breastplates--wings; compare the description of locusts in Joe 2:4,5. The Arabs wore their hair long, with turbans of gay colors, which seems to be enigmatically set forth by their having "crowns like gold," and "hair as the hair of women." That a part of the characters given should be intended to identify them from their personal appearance, while another part represents their qualities as warriors, is not unnatural in such a symbolic description as the present. A king over them; representing the succession of their caliphs.Abaddon--Apollyon; that is, Destroyer, as both names signify. In corrupting and ruining men, the wicked on earth and in hell unite under one great leader; showing that they belong to the same company, are engaged in the same work, and are preparing for the same torment. One woe is past; one of the three woes foretold in chapter Re 8:13.Two woes more hereafter; an intimation of their separation from each other by noticeable intervals of time, while the woes of the first four trumpets came in immediate succession and were partly blended with each other. The golden altar; the altar of incense, which stood in the outer sanctuary immediately before the ark of the covenant where God dwelt between the cherubim, and from which it was separated by the inner veil. Loose the four angels; representing desolating powers which in the course of providence had been restrained, but were to be suffered for a time to scourge, desolate, and destroy a great portion of the earth. The number four may be here, as in chap Re 7:1, a symbol of universality.In the great river Euphrates; a symbol of the region whence these four angels should come. The Turks or Othmans, to whom this woe-trumpet seems to refer, came from the vicinity of the Euphrates. An hour--a day--a month--a year; that is, 391 days, and the twelfth part of a day--interpreted by many of so many prophetic years during which they should extend their conquests, which ended with the fall of Constantinople, A.D. 1453. God's messengers of vengeance are often for a season restrained; but when restraint is removed, they commence their work of desolation. Two hundred thousand; a definite, for a very large indefinite number. Fire--jacinth, and brimstone; of red, purple, and yellow color. Supposed by many to be an enigmatical description of the Othman cavalry, with whom these were favorite colors. Fire--smoke--brimstone; symbols of their awfully destructive powers. In their tails; like the locusts that preceded them they do injury with their tails, taking up and propagating by force the same pestilent superstition. The rest of the men; men in the countries which were overrun by those destroyers who were not killed.Repented not; this and the preceding judgment had no influence to bring them to repent of their worship of demons and idols. Murders--sorceries--fornication--thefts; by continuing to commit these various crimes, they were ripening for still further manifestations of divine wrath. No judgments of heaven which men endure will, without the grace of God, lead them to repentance, make them holy, or fit them for heaven.
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