The four angels released, the Sixth Trumpet, Revelation Chapter 9 Verses 13-21 (NASB)

    And the sixth angel sounded,
The second WOE is commensing with the blast of the SIXTH TRUMPET.
    and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
John is not specific here as to the owner of 'a voice'. He is clear, though, that it comes from the four horns of the altar. Now the four horns on the altar of fragrant incense (Revelation 8:4) were touched by the blood of the bull sacrifice in the atonement of sin -- Leviticus 4:1-12.

One could argue that this voice is from Jesus whose blood is being avenged; others believe it is God Himself since Christ is making intercession with/for the prayers of the saints -- Hebrews 7:25 and 1 John 2:1. Perhaps, this is why John is not precise as to whose voice this is.

In the Old Testament, the horns were a safe haven from judgment as in 1 Kings 1:49-53. By hanging on to the horns, one could claim mercy. So, too, today, by accepting Christ's redemption blood, we find mercy. Anyone NOT hanging on will find judgment. Also note that this judgment is carried out in full view of God (not that He doesn't see everything) but meaning He fully commands it.

    one saying to the sixth angel who had the TRUMPET,
The sound (speaker) was one of the incense altar horns (see previous verse) to the sixth angel. Some commentator think this is Christ Himself speaking, but it could be one of the four living creatures.
    "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
These are four major angels working for the devil; this is almost like the devil always tries to do one better than the Triune God. It is time for the 'judgment of the great day' (Jude 6) for these angels. Looking at the map, one sees that there are four present day countries through which the Euphrates flows: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Kuwait. Perhaps these FOUR angels are symbolic of these four countries. None of these countries are Israel's "friends".

The Euphrates River is prominent throughout the Bible. It was one of the Garden of Eden rivers, Genesis 2:10-14. Its source is not from rain but some undergound aquafer, Genesis 2:5-6. At Noah's time, the Euphrates source may have been one of the fountains of the great deep, Genesis 7:11.

At the Euphrates River, all of sin is first manifested. The apple is eaten; there is hatred; the first murder is committed; and the first martyr is listed. This place is demon possessed. As a curious sidelight, the King James Version states these angels are bound IN the river, while this version says AT the river.

'IN the river' makes more sense, when one thinks of the demoniac who was cured in Luke 8:26-39. The demons begged not to be sent to the abyss but rather into the swine. When the swine drown, the demons were left in the water. It is interesting from a spiritual viewpoint how God uses the physical world, the devils playground, as a spiritual container. And only at the granted permission can these demons work on apostate Jews and non-believer Gentiles. God could have used the mighty archangels Gabriel or Michael to do the job, but it is more appropriate this way for the devil and his angels to do the murdering of 1/3 of mankind as seen in the next verse.

Note that not all water contains demons. Christ says He is the Living Water. There is a River of water of LIFE in Revelation 22:1. Praise the LIVING WATER!

    And the four angels who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year,
God always is prepared even when He will use Satan's henchmen to come upon the earth. He prepared 
And he is precise. The time is exact down to the hour. Or this can be interpreted as the period of time to accomplish the killing. He knows the plan forever - Acts 15:18.
    WERE RELEASED, so that they might kill a THIRD of MANKIND.
Death goes out again just where it started -- the Euphrates River -- Cain killed Abel, Genesis 4:1-8. This time, however, 1/3 of mankind are killed (militarily?, see next verse). The sixth TRUMPET kills people; the fifth TRUMPET only harmed men (verse 5).
    And the number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million;
Most scholars believe this isn't a literal human army. Logistically, to field this size army would cause much societal and political upheaval. Maximun mobilization in World War II was about 70 million men. On the other hand, if the petroleum fields are cut off or destroyed, much of the rest of the world will come looking for the oil. This also explains the use of horses.

By looking at the rest of this chapter, the descriptions indicate these forces are demonic "armies". And amazingly, the translation rendered here is "the number of the armies" was 200,000,000. Actual demon count may be higher! Remember, we fight against the WORLD FORCES OF THE DARKNESS (demons and their 4 leaders from the Euphrates River), against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12-13).

    I heard the number of them.
What John sees in this SIXTH TRUMPET is so incredible that the voice of the altar reinforces the number by verbally SAYING it to him. John goes on in the rest of the chapter to try to describe through spiritual eyes these demonic forces, and how they will operate.

    And this is how I saw in the vision the HORSES and THOSE who sat on them:

    John is saying, "I'll try as best I can to describe what I saw". Even as I type this, he must be watching from heaven and saying, "No, that's not it, not that ... there, that is what I saw." We are not capable of describing things beyond our experience unless it is a vision, and we translate the vision into earthly things which match most of our human experiences. Most of us have seen a horse with a rider.
  1. the RIDERS had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and

  2. This part John knew for sure. The RIDERS had colorful protective gear of reds, yellows, and blues. What is never described in Revelation is the smells of these visions other than the incense (prayers, Revelation 8:4). And even this is left to our imagination.

    Fire and brimestone => God's Judgment

    Sodom and Gomorrah Genesis 19:24
    Idol-worshipping country Deuteronomy 29:23
    Bareness or lack of plenty Job 18:5-15-21
    "Portion of wicked's cup" Psalm 11:4-6-7
    Breath of the Lord Isaiah 30:27-33
    Judgment Isaiah 34:1-9-15
    Prophesy against Gog Ezekiel 38:17-22-23

    Hyacinth may be the color of the "smoke" of the horses kicking up "dust" as they stomp through mankind and kill them. See that "SMOKE" is inserted between fire and brimestone in the next verse

  3. the HEADS of the HORSES are like the heads of lions; and

  4. This now is symbolic since the word 'like' is used. Not only are these horsemen protected by breastplates, but they are fearless and powerful like lions. Some scholars who are looking at a physical interpretation indicate this may be a special kind of military tank. However, this probably is the devil prancing around (1 Peter 5:8) trying to imitate the real LION (Revelation 5:5).
  5. out of their MOUTHS proceed FIRE and SMOKE and BRIMSTONE.

  6. The FIRE and SMOKE and BRIMSTONE is proceeding out of the MOUTHS of the riders. These are three awful destructors or testers.

    Fire has always been used to test a man's work. Otherwise, why would we have "fire departments" to try to save our earthly belongings.

    Smoke is a spirit/demon activity. It is used both to describe evil spirit activity and the strength activity of God. Brimstone lays waste. It is like lava; a third of mankind is melted down.
    A THIRD of MANKIND was KILLED by these three plagues,
If the present world population is around 5.2 billion, then with 1/4 of the population being killed by the fourth horseman of Apocalypse (Revelation 6:8), that would leave about 3.9 billion for this trumpet. A third of the remaining population would then be around 1.3 billion people in 13 months (verse 15). This computes to a 4 people (mankind) per horse (200,000,000 in verse 16) kill ratio. This may imply that the average family size of 4 people is attacked by one horseman (demon). It is not a mere coicidence that we in America are finding a crumbling of family values and related moral decay. We are seeing a foretaste of this in this trumpet.

The use of the term MANKIND implies that this is worldwide and not limited to Israel or the near East. What makes this such a contrast is that this KILLING trumpet follows on the heels of the "NO DEATHS" trumpet (verse 5). This may be a partial fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:30-38.

It is interesting how "plagues" is used to denote fire, smoke, and brimstone.

  • by the fire and - scorched or tested to death
  • the smoke and - suffocated to death
  • the brimstone(sulphur), - poisoned to death.
    which proceeded out of their mouths.
Maybe these demons or demon-possessed people are "sweet talkers". Most killer diseases are through talking someone else into participating, e.g. AIDS, smoking (mouth use), improper eating, etc. One could consider that the mouth convinces to commit a visible act (fire), a covert act (smoke), or terrorist act (brimstone). All will be used to KILL.

    For the POWER of the HORSES is in their MOUTHS and in their TAILS;

These are special "HORSES" because they don't obey the command given to Noah (Genesis 9:1-2-7) to have dominance over every beast, bird, etc. Certainly, the will to live has the people remaining during this sixth trumpet trying to find ways to stop these HORSES, but can't.

    for their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them THEY DO HARM.

This maybe an extreme view, but this looks like homosexual encounters gone rampant.

If this truly is a creature, then it is awesome because just the time you think its leaving, the tail bites you and kills you (or HARMS you). How horrible can things get? This is bad but look at Deuteronomy 28:49-68. Is this what disobedience is worth?

A sidelight: The clear physical cannabalistic nature of mankind will be revealed during this time. If one believes that the redeemed are taken up by this time, then love has been removed from this earth. All that is left is to look out for NUMBER ONE! Then it is entirely possible that no one is going to come to the aid of another or try to control the HORSES.

    And the REST of MANKIND, who were not killed by these plagues,
With over 2 billion people dying after the fourth seal is broken and the sixth trumpet is blown, how will the remaining bury all the dead? Not only will this be a major health concern but the loss of this consumer power will reek havoc on the world's economies.
    DID NOT REPENT of the works of their HANDS,
It is very interesting that the convincing done by MOUTH by the demons in verse 18 is translated in to real action in this verse. So convincing is the New Age fatalism, 'In me, I trust' or 'I can find my own God inside me, because I made myself the moralistic judge of my activities' that THE REST of MANKIND do not repent.

Under the seals, the people left recognized that they had suffered the judgment of God (Revelation 6:16-17). Here, there is not even recognition of God's judgment. They are so into self and idol worship as we shall see!

    so as not to WORSHIP
  • demons, and

  • This is especially abominal to God. Demons are created beings (by God) who have fallen (Romans 1:24-25). Don't worship the created; SERVE the CREATOR!

    Note what the Bible says 

    Satan worship and demon reverence is ever growing. At this time, it is so prevalent, that it is the norm to do so. How else will the AntiChrist be worshipped in such complete subjection, and taking the 666 a matter of fact?

  • the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood,
Paul in Athens argues the difference between God and the idols listed above in Acts 17:22-29-31. Check out this list again:

Gold rule or authority
Silver medium of exchange (30 pieces of silver)
Bronze transportation (Revelation 1:15)
Stone strength or foundation (Matthew 16:18 and Mark 12:10-11)
Wood consumed sacrifices or human endeavors (1 Corinthians 3:10-12-15)

Even though all these things are either a poor imitation or outright fake, these people still believed these idols had some powers. This partially fulfills the prophesy in Zephaniah 1:14-18.
    which can neither see nor hear nor walk;
Note this list leaves out speaking because idols do speak later in Revelation13:15 as the image of the beast. However, speaking and additional attributes are given to idols in Psalm 115:1-8.

Attribute References
See Jeremiah 5:18-21-31; Ezekiel 12:8-16
Hear Jeremiah 5:18-21-31; Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:29; 3:6; 3:13; and 3:22
Walk Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:5-10; Ephesians 4:1-6; Colossians 1:9-10-14; 1 John 1:5-7-10; 1 John 2:4-6-11.

Idols know better than to move when they are in darkness!
    and they DID NOT REPENT of their
It is no coicidence that we return to one of the major themes of the Bible here as the sixth trumpet is sounded. This short list of four acts pretty much sums up what we see in the news day after day. The difference here is that the earth has seen a plague wipe out over a billion people and STILL people will not repent. Their hearts are hardened like Pharoah's in Moses' time (Exodus 7 - 11:10). Remember, though, that God is permitting this as Romans 1:24-32 says. This hardness is a result of excluding God, Ephesians 4:17-24. God exposes this list of sins (John 3:20) and the people remaining don't like the exposure but are hardened so much as to not repent.
  • MURDERS nor of their

  • Ever since the rider of the red horse took peace from the earth (Revelation 6:4 - 2nd seal), man wants to murder each other. Respect for life is gone.

  • SORCERIES nor of their

  • This is the root word for drugs. Drug use will run rampant. Even the world's merchants will think nothing of drug trafficking. And Revelation 18:23 points out that all nations will be deceived.

  • IMMORALITY nor of their

  • Sex will be a commodity to be exchanged for drugs, "power", and just plain pleasure. It follows from the plagues and STILL does not stop.


  • To feed the drug habits, thieves will be hard at work. Possibly the worst theft of all is the one where Satan steals the soul (Revelation 18:3). Occults are trading in this commodity already ... what will it be like during the 6th trumpet????
Those of us who are believers know that we have One who will repay (Hebrews 10:30); it still requires REPENTENCE.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only