In this chapter we have an account of the sounding of the fifth and
sixth trumpets, the appearances that attended them, and the events that
were to follow; the fifth trumpet
The Seven Trumpets.
A. D. 95.
1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from
heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the
2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out
of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the
air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and
unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have
4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass
of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only
those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but
that they should be tormented five months: and their torment
was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find
it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses
prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns
like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were
as the teeth of lions.
9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron;
and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of
many horses running to battle.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were
stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five
11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the
bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but
in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more
Upon the sounding of this trumpet, the things to be observed are,
1. A star falling from heaven to the earth. Some think this
star represents some eminent bishop in the Christian church, some angel
of the church; for, in the same way of speaking by which pastors are
called stars, the church is called heaven; but who this is expositors
do not agree. Some understand it of Boniface the third bishop of Rome,
who assumed the title of universal bishop, by the favour of the emperor
Phocas, who, being a usurper and tyrant in the state, allowed Boniface
to be so in the church, as the reward of his flattery.
2. To this fallen star was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Having now ceased to be a minister of Christ, he becomes the
antichrist, the minister of the devil; and by the permission of Christ,
who had taken from him the keys of the church, he becomes the devil's
turnkey, to let loose the powers of hell against the churches of
3. Upon the opening of the bottomless pit there arose a great
smoke, which darkened the sun and the air. The devils are the
powers of darkness; hell is the place of darkness. The devil carries on
his designs by blinding the eyes of men, by extinguishing light and
knowledge, and promoting ignorance and error. He first deceives men,
and then destroys them; wretched souls follow him in the dark, or they
durst not follow him.
4. Out of this dark smoke there came a swarm of locusts, one of the
plagues of Egypt, the devil's emissaries headed by the antichrist, all
the rout and rabble of antichristian orders, to promote superstition,
idolatry, error, and cruelty; and these had, by the just permission of
God, power to hurt those who had not the mark of God in their
5. The hurt they were to do them was not a bodily, but a spiritual
hurt. They should not in a military way destroy all by fire and sword;
the trees and the grass should be untouched, and those they hurt should
not be slain; it should not be a persecution, but a secret poison and
infection in their souls, which should rob them of their purity, and
afterwards of their peace. Heresy is a poison in the soul, working
slowly and secretly, but will be bitterness in the end.
6. They had no power so much as to hurt those who had the seal of God
in their foreheads. God's electing, effectual, distinguishing grace
will preserve his people from total and final apostasy.
7. The power given to these factors for hell is limited in point of
time: five months, a certain season, and but a short season,
though how short we cannot tell. Gospel-seasons have their limits, and
times of seduction are limited too.
8. Though it would be short, it would be very sharp, insomuch that
those who were made to feel the malignity of this poison in their
consciences would be weary of their lives,
A wounded spirit who can bear?
9. These locusts were of a monstrous size and shape,
&c. They were equipped for their work like horses prepared to battle.
(1.) They pretended to great authority, and seemed to be assured of
victory: They had crowns like gold on their heads; it was not a
true, but a counterfeit authority.
(2.) They had the show of wisdom and sagacity, the faces of men,
though the spirit of devils.
(3.) They had all the allurements of seeming beauty, to ensnare and
defile the minds of men--hair like women; their way of worship
was very gaudy and ornamental.
(4.) Though they appeared with the tenderness of women, they had the
teeth of lions, were really cruel creatures.
(5.) They had the defence and protection of earthly
powers--breastplates of iron.
(6.) They made a mighty noise in the world; they flew about from one
country to another, and the noise of their motion was like that of an
army with chariots and horses.
(7.) Though at first they soothed and flattered men with a fair
appearance, there was a sting in their tails; the cup of their
abominations contained that which, though luscious at first, would at
length bite like a serpent and sting like an adder.
(8.) The king and commander of this hellish squadron is here described,
[1.] As an angel; so he was by nature, an angel, once one of the angels
[2.] The angel of the bottomless pit; an angel still, but a
fallen angel, fallen into the bottomless pit, vastly large, and out of
which there is no recovery.
[3.] In these infernal regions he is a sort of prince and governor, and
has the powers of darkness under his rule and command.
[4.] His true name is Abaddon, Apollyon--a destroyer, for that
is his business, his design, and employment, to which he diligently
attends, in which he is very successful, and takes a horrid hellish
pleasure; it is about this destroying work that he sends out his
emissaries and armies to destroy the souls of men. And now here we have
the end of one woe; and where one ends another begins.
The Seventh Trumpet.
A. D. 95.
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the
four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the
four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an
hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third
part of men.
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two
hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat
on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and
brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of
lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the
fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of
19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for
their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with
them they do hurt.
20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these
plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they
should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and
brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear,
21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their
sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Here let us consider the preface to this vision, and then the vision
I. The preface to this vision: A voice was heard from the horns of
the golden altar,
1. The power of the church's enemies is restrained till God gives the
word to have them turned loose.
2. When nations are ripe for punishment, those instruments of God's
anger that were before restrained are let loose upon them,
3. The instruments that God makes use of to punish a people may
sometimes lie at a great distance from them, so that no danger may be
apprehended from them. These four messengers of divine judgment lay
bound in the river Euphrates, a great way from the European nations.
Here the Turkish power had its rise, which seems to be the story of
II. The vision itself: And the four angels that had been bound in
the great river Euphrates were now loosed,
And here observe,
1. The time of their military operations and executions is limited to
an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. Prophetic
characters of time are hardly to be understood by us; but in general
the time is fixed to an hour, when it shall begin and when it shall
end; and how far the execution shall prevail, even to a third part of
the inhabitants of the earth. God will make the wrath of man praise
him, and the remainder of wrath he will restrain.
2. The army that was to execute this great commission is mustered, and
the number found to be of horsemen two hundred thousand
thousand; but we are left to guess what the infantry must be. In
general, it tells us, the armies of the Mahomedan empire should be
vastly great; and so it is certain they were.
3. Their formidable equipage and appearance,
As the horses were fierce, like lions, and eager to rush into the
battle, so those who sat upon them were clad in bright and costly
armour, with all the ensigns of martial courage, zeal, and resolution.
4. The vast havoc and desolation that they made in the Roman empire,
which had now become antichristian: A third part of them were killed;
they went as far as their commission suffered them, and they could go
5. Their artillery, by which they made such slaughter, described by
fire, smoke, and brimstone, issuing out of the mouths of their
horses, and the stings that were in their tails. It is Mr. Mede's
opinion that this is a prediction of great guns, those instruments of
cruelty which make such destruction: he observes, These were first used
by the Turks at the siege of Constantinople, and, being new and
strange, were very terrible, and did great execution. However, here
seems to be an allusion to what is mentioned in the former vision,
that, as antichrist had his forces of a spiritual nature, like
scorpions poisoning the minds of men with error and idolatry, so the
Turks, who were raised up to punish the antichristian apostasy, had
their scorpions and their stings too, to hurt and kill the bodies of
those who had been the murderers of so many souls.
6. Observe the impenitency of the antichristian generation under these
the rest of the men who were not killed repented not, they still
persisted in those sins for which God was so severely punishing them,
(1.) Their idolatry; they would not cast away their images, though they
could do them no good, could not see, nor hear, nor walk.
(2.) Their murders
which they had committed upon the saints and servants of Christ. Popery
is a bloody religion, and seems resolved to continue such.
(3.) Their sorceries; they have their charms, and magic arts, and rites
in exorcism and other things.
(4.) Their fornication; they allow both spiritual and carnal impurity,
and promote it in themselves and others.
(5.) Their thefts; they have by unjust means heaped together a vast
deal of wealth, to the injury and impoverishing of families, cities,
princes, and nations. These are the flagrant crimes of antichrist and
his agents; and, though God has revealed his wrath from heaven against
them, they are obstinate, hardened, and impenitent, and judicially so,
for they must be destroyed.
III. From this sixth trumpet we learn,
1. God can make one enemy of the church to be a scourge and plague to
2. He who is the Lord of hosts has vast armies at his command, to serve
his own purposes.
3. The most formidable powers have limits set them, which they cannot
4. When God's judgments are in the earth, he expects the inhabitants
thereof should repent of sin, and learn righteousness.
5. Impenitency under divine judgments is an iniquity that will be the
ruin of sinners; for where God judges he will overcome.
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Revelation' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".