Friday, July 18, 2014


Abbreviation:  ESV = English Standard Version
Scripture quotations are from ESV.
            “With our attention fixed on a single spot on earth, and absolutely shut up to a very brief space of time, it is comparatively easy to read the symbols, and still more satisfactory to mark their perfect correspondence with facts.” (411, all page numbers in this section refer to Russell)  Russell’s interpretation of this chapter follows his approach to all Scriptures that are often interpreted as prophetic by others.  The “single spot on earth” is the land of Israel.  Any use of the Greek word “ge,” which is usually translated “earth,” he maintains, refers to Israel.  The “brief space of time” for Russell is the period from the time of Christ to AD 70, and especially the few years leading up to 70.  This time was when the Roman-Jewish conflict was heating up so that it culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.  With this understanding in mind, Russell imposes interpretations of the scenarios in Revelation in ways that reinforce his theory.  That theory has come to be called “Preterism” or “Preterist.”  Russell is the father of what I call “Evangelical Preterism.”  It differs somewhat from the Preterism of scholars whose approach is moderate or liberal.
Trumpet 5 (9:1-12):  Russell decides that the locusts who come from the Abyss cannot be a human army.  (He decides otherwise for the cavalry in Trumpet 6.)  So, he describes them as “the host of hell swarming out upon the curse-stricken land of Israel.” (411, italics in original)  The fact that the land was demon possessed, he says, was predicted by Jesus in Matthew 12:43-45.  I certainly cannot disagree with this reference.  Jesus castigates the generation in which He lived as wicked and unrepentant (Matthew 12:33ff, 12:39ff).  Then He describes how a demon goes out of a person and comes back with seven more and enters the cleaned up “house.”  The final condition of that person is worse than when he or she was possessed by a single demon.  “So it will be” for His generation, writes Russell.  The termination, of course, was the AD 70 devastation.
            Russell believes that the land was “curse-stricken” (see above), and that the people devolved into terrible immorality and injustice.  He cites Josephus to prove his point.  However, his citations are lifted out of context.  The two citations (412) in Josephus—Book 5, chapter 10 and 13—are not so much descriptions of the degradation of the people.  Rather, in each case, Josephus is describing the perfidy of the so-called leadership.  These leaders were illegitimate pretenders and horrible tyrants with no regard for the Jewish religion.  They treated their people in a terrible fashion and desecrated the Temple well before the Romans ever got to it.  In addition, the people themselves did not always behave so nobly, but this mostly was because of the desperate conditions of the siege.  (Whiston, 718-726)
            The following are details of Russell’s interpretation.  These do not differ greatly from those of other interpreters.
·         The star fallen from heaven he equates with Satan in his fall.  (412-413)
·         The cloud of locusts is a host of malignant spirits led by Satan to torment people.  (413)
·         The abyss is the abode of the demons.  (Luke 8:31) (413)
·         The torments from the locusts are consistent with the gospels, which describe demon possession as having physical effects.  (413)
·         The description of the locusts as horses is consistent with the fact that many people compare them to the appearance of horses.  (413)
·         The five month torture is consistent with the 5-months of the year locusts are typically active.  (413)
·         The previous two he regards as “minutiae” that are poetic imagery.  (413)
·         Their king is Satan himself.  (413)
·         He describes the spiritual condition of the land by using the description used of Babylon in Rev. 18:2.  (413-414)
Trumpet 6 (9:13-21):  Russell seems to get a little excited about his methodology:  “It is in these crucial instances, which defy the dexterity of the most cunning hand to pick the lock, that we prove the power of our master key.” (414)  He does not define his “master key” and he does not really apply a single interpretative method to the material.  I can only infer that the “master key” is his belief that the time frame is the period approaching and including AD 70 and that the location of all events in Israel and especially Jerusalem.  However, those assumptions by themselves do not serve to interpret the passage.  Those assumptions give him “permission” to look for any historical fact that might correspond to the material in the passage.
            Russell points to Josephus as proof that the “invading army that followed Titus to the siege and capture of Jerusalem was actually drawn in great measure from the region of the Euphrates” and that the four angels represented the four legions guarding the Euphrates. (415)  However, when one reads the passage in Josephus (Whiston, 696-699), one learns that only about 3,000 came from the Euphrates to join four legions (about 20,000) from other areas.  So, Russell’s claim is exaggerated.  He also claims that Tacitus describes the Eastern kings in the area contributing significantly to the manpower of Titus’ army.  I read from Tacitus on-line and could find no numbers given, so it is difficult to know how significant this contribution was. 
            I consider that Russell grasps at whatever he can find that is consistent with his Preterist theory.  Note that he employs two very different interpretations of the fifth and sixth trumpets.  I do not think he is inaccurate to consider the locusts to be demons.  It would seem consistent to regard the cavalry of the sixth trumpet also to represent demons.  However, Russell believes he has historical references that he can use in this case.  This methodology seems inconsistent and opportunistic. 
            Russell endeavors to explain the reference in 9:20 to idolatry.  He is well aware the Jews were not idolaters in the manner of the pagans throughout the Roman Empire.  Yet, this verse seems to refer directly to this sort of idolatry.  Russell still believes this verse refers to the Jews, and he promises to prove (in the interpretation of Revelation 17) “that in the Apocalypse the sin of idolatry is imputed to those who, though not guilty of the literal worship of idols, were the obstinate and impenitent enemies of Christ.” (416)  This strikes me as another stretch for Russell to make in order to maintain his singular theory.   The comment in 9:20 is that “rest of mankind” (who were not killed by the plagues) did not repent of idolatry.  The term “mankind” translates “anthropoi,” which usually is translated “men.”  I surveyed the use of this word in Young’s Concordance.  Is far as I can tell, “anthropoi” is not for “people” in the sense of a country or ethnic group.  The term “laos” (from which we get “lay” as in “lay people of the church”) is used for this application.  Almost always, “laos” refers to the Jewish “people,” as in Matthew 2:4:  “the chief priests and scribes of the people.”  On some occasions it refers to the people of God in the church (Titus 2:14).  In Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 10:11, etc. it refers to nations or ethnic groups.  Another term, “ochlos” is quite often used for “people,” though it is also translated “crowd” or “multitude.”  Anthropoi” can mean a particular group of men (males) or people (of both genders), such as the reference to the apostles in Acts 5:28.  It can also refer to people in general, such as Matthew 5:13 (“trampled under people’s feet).  So, the use of “anthropoi” in Revelation 9:20 is almost certainly not referring to the Jewish people, but rather to people in general (ESV:  “mankind”).  Thus, idolatry in its usual sense almost certainly is meant.  This presents as many problems for the futurist as it does for Russell (because idolatry is not, at least in the 21st century, characteristic of people in general).




            The complexity of Dispensationalism is exhibited in Pentecost’s interpretation of the seven trumpets.  In some cases his conclusions are consistent with an overall scheme of interpretation, but in other cases he takes great liberty to speculate and create scenarios for which there seems little foundation.  Keep in mind that the Tribulation period—also called the 70th Week of Daniel—is the main framework for Dispensational interpretation.  In some cases, various passages from Daniel and Ezekiel and other Old Testament Scriptures are the background for their conclusions.  One of the problems with their methodology is that they often do not show how a particular New Testament passage, for example in Revelation, is to be identified with an Old Testament passage.  For example, in Matthew 24:15, Jesus mentions the Abomination of Desolation that has its origins in Daniel.  That provides an anchor for the passage that can be helpful in interpretation.  One is warranted to consider the 70th Week of Daniel in relation to the Great Tribulation that Jesus describes in Matthew 24:21.  However, the kind of conclusions that Pentecost draws in his interpretation of chapters 8 and 9 of Revelation have no such anchors in the text, and one must ascribe his interpretation to speculation.

            The material that I shall describe is found on pages 361-363 of Pentecost.

            On these three pages Pentecost interprets each of the seven trumpets at least twice and three times in some cases.  There is a loose connection between the two or among the three interpretations, but in some cases the connection is very loose.  In most cases, Pentecost begins with a fairly constrained interpretation.  He then, in some cases, comes back and draws out from the original interpretation a more “spiritual” or allegorical interpretation.  Then, as he seeks to set his interpretation into his big picture of the events of the Tribulation, he brings out a second or third interpretation.  Below I have gathered the multiple interpretations for each trumpet.

1st Trumpet: 

a.       A judgment on the earth

b.      “Earth” probably means Palestine:  judgment on Palestine

c.       Rise of great military powers in the middle of the seven years of the Tribulation

2nd Trumpet:

a.       Judgment on the sea

b.      “Sea” probably means the “nations”:  judgment on the Gentile nations

c.       Former (established) kingdoms are overthrown by new military powers

3rd Trumpet:

a.       Judgment on the rivers and fountains of waters

b.      “Rivers and fountains” represent the source of spiritual life:  judgment upon those from whom living water has been taken away because they believed the lie (II Thessalonians 2:11)

c.       A great leader will arise, who is the Beast/Antichrist

4th Trumpet:

a.       Judgment on the sun, moon, and stars

b.      These represent governmental powers:  judgment of God upon world rulers

c.       The Beast will overthrow governments and authorities

5th Trumpet:

a.       An individual energized by hell who can let loose torment (through the locusts, who are not literal locusts)

b.      (Because the 144,000 are referred to in 9:4) the torment is inflicted on reprobate Jews

c.       The northern confederacy (of Ezekiel 38) will invade the land of Israel with a “great marching [army]”

6th Trumpet:

a.      “[A] great army turned loose to march with destructive force across the face of the earth” 

b.      An attack on the West, especially western “Christendom”

c.       “Gentiles powers will jockey for position, which causes great destruction…”

7th Trumpet:  The Second Coming of Christ


            Thus, Pentecost understands the seven trumpets to provide an outline of the Tribulation period, especially the second half of that period.  My impression of the logic of his interpretation was to approach chapters 8 and 9 of Revelation with a fairly complete scenario of what will take place during the Tribulation already in mind.  Then, he managed to make the Trumpets fit that scenario.  He based the scenario on other considerations.  For example he had already presented his reasons for believing the Ezekiel 38 invasion (see under 5th Trumpet) would take place in the middle of the 70th Week (350-355). 

            It is difficult to avoid a harsh judgment on this example of interpretation.  First, Pentecost devotes four chapters, pages 1-64, to interpretation methodology.  He insists that the allegorical or “spiritual” method of interpretation should generally be avoided.  Yet, his interpretations of the seven trumpets use an allegorical or “spiritual sense” again and again.  Second, he introduces conclusions and scenarios from his conception of events in the Tribulation period.  He imposes these scenarios upon the seven trumpets despite the fact that there is no warrant for doing so in chapters 8 and 9.  Third, he puts forward two and three different interpretations for each of the trumpets.  In some cases the multiple interpretations have some relationship to one another.  In other cases the relationship is very loose if there is any. 

            When one reads defenses of the Dispensational school, the defenders of this method are very harsh toward other methods and boast of their strictly literal methods.  Moreover, Dispensationalism has a huge following among fundamental and evangelical Christians, and one can be a somewhat intimidated to ever question Dispensational thought.  I grew up steeped in this understanding of Scripture.  Yet, as I have delved into the details of Dispensational interpretation, I have been disappointed to find that much of it is very weak.  I think the examples above illustrate this weakness.


Crossway Bibles (2009-04-09). ESV Study Bible. Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Pentecost, J. Dwight.  Things to Come.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publ. House, 1958.

Russell, J. S.  The Parousia, A Critical Inquiry into the New Testament Doctrine of Our

            Lord’s Second Coming.  (Google Internet Book)  London:  Daldy, Isbister

            & Co., 1878.

Whiston, William, translator.  The Works of Josephus.  United States:  Hendrickson Publ., 1987.


Friday, July 11, 2014


Abbreviations:  ESV = English Standard Version; ESVSB = ESV Study Bible;
 NIV = New International Version; NIVSB = NIV Study Bible
Scripture quotations are from ESV unless otherwise noted.
I discussed 9:1-6 in the previous article.  Chapter 9 describes the events that are initiated by the fifth and sixth trumpets (simply referred to as “trumpet five” or “trumpet six”).  The fifth through the sixth trumpets were introduced by verse 8:13, which described them as woeful to “those who dwell on the earth.”  Most commentators consider this expression (which might be shortened to “the earth-dwellers”) to be a technical term that refers to the general mass of human-kind, but not to the people of God. 
Verses 9:7-11 continue the description of the demonic “locusts” that are loosed from the Abyss.  The first part of the description focuses on the role of these demons, whereas the second part describes in more detail their appearance and their leader.
Verses 9:7-10—the appearance of the locusts:
Verse 9:7:  The locusts are like cavalry horses.  Joel 2 describes a plague of locusts with the same imagery.  This probably is not a far-fetched description of occasional invasions of locusts in the Middle East.  Joel is describing the behavior of the locusts, but Revelation emphasizes their appearance.  Both Rist (433) and Ladd (132) consider that John used Joel as a source in this description.  There is not much else in the description, however, that imitates Joel.  The horse/locusts have crowns.   Again, Rist (433) and Ladd (132) agree that these crowns are symbols of their conquering power.  To add to their bizarre appearance, the locusts have human-like faces.
Verse 9:8:  The horse/locusts have hair like women’s hair.  Ladd (133) suggests two possibilities for this description.  The Parthians, who relied on cavalry, wore their hair long.  Also, some ancients believed that a locust’s antennae were like long hair.  Joel described the invading locusts as having lion’s teeth, which John also uses to describe the locusts from the Abyss.
Verse 9:9:  The cavalry description continues in that the horses have breastplates of iron and they make a sound like the rolling of chariots.  The latter echoes Joel 2:5. 
Verse 9:10:  The description returns to the scorpion-like torment of the locusts of 9:5.  This verse explains that torment to be due to tails with stingers like scorpion tails.  The reader is reminded that the torment lasts five months. 
            We may summarize these bizarre creatures in the following way:
·         They look like horses with armor like cavalry horses.
·         They have human faces with long hair and crowns on their heads.
·         They have scorpion-like tails with stingers.
·         The buzzing of their wings sounds like the rumbling of chariots.
·         They, unlike locusts, do not eat vegetation, but rather sting people and torment them over a period of five months.
·         Their victims are those who have not been sealed by God.  They are the “earth-dwellers” who constitute evil society and who persecute Christians.
Verse 9:11—The king of the locusts
The locust/demons have a king.  He is the “angel of the bottomless pit [Abyss].”  Ladd (134) believes this the is the same angel of verses 9:1-2 who opens the shaft of the Abyss.  Rist (434) says that is possible but not necessarily true.  I agree with Rist for the following reasons.  The angel who opens the shaft comes from heaven.  The implication is that the king of the locusts comes from the Abyss.  The angel from heaven was given a key to open the shaft to release the locusts.  It strikes me that the king of the locusts would not simply open the door and let them out.  The idea of a “king” is one that leads, so I think the king leads his subjects out of the Abyss.  Therefore, I do not think the king is the same as the angel of verses 9:1-2.
            The name of the king is given in Hebrew as Abaddon and in Greek as Apollyon.  The Hebrew, Abaddon, means “Destruction.”  It is linked closely to Sheol in various uses in the Old Testament (Job 26:6, 28:22, 31:12, Psalms 88:11, Proverbs 15:11 and 27:20).  The Greek word Apoleia (destruction) is used by the Septuagint to translate Abaddon.  Revelation uses a closely related word, Apolluon (or Apollyon) (the participle of the verb for “destroy”).  The participle form would be translated “The One Who Destroys” or “The Destroyer.”  Though some believe this name is derived from the god Apollos (some emperors believed they were descendants of Apollos), this is probably not true.  There may be a passing allusion to Apollos and the emperor.
            The king of the locusts is the Destroyer.  However, he was not allowed to utterly destroy his victims (see verse 9:5).  There is often an implication in Revelation of the “permissive will” of God.  God lets loose all sorts of evil, but the evil is always done on God’s terms—in God’s timing, with God’s limitations.
Verse 9:12—the end of the first “woe”:
It is easy to get lost in Revelation, but we are given little helps along the way.  Verse 9:12 reminds us that in verse 8:13 we were warned of three woes.  Now, with the description of the locust/demons, we have completed the first woe.  It would be no comfort to know that two more are to come.  We will observe the end of the second woe in 11:14.  We never find the end of the third woe.  We may speculate on that in another article.
Verses 9:13-15—the sixth trumpet and the angels at the Euphrates
The narrative has been framed by the blowing of trumpets, a series of seven (see 8:2 and 6). 
Verse 9:13:  The sixth angel sounds his trumpet and there is a “disembodied” voice from the four horns of the altar before God.  The Greek specifies that it is “one” voice and four horns.  In one other place the altar speaks:  Revelation 16:7.  Revelation never ceases to amaze us with its almost surreal imagery.  (In fact, the surrealists probably would be envious.)  So, here we have the horns of the altar speaking.  The altar has been the location of the martyred saints (6:9), who pray to God for vindication, and of the prayers of the saints (8:3-4).  Thus, it is the locus of consciousness before God of the saints and their concerns, especially for justice. 
Verse 9:14-15:  The voice gives an order to the angel who blew the trumpet.  We see other instances where angels call upon other angels to do things.  In one case we even see an angel give an order to Christ (14:15).  The Biblical picture of heaven and of the community of angels and of God is a picture of harmony and affirmation.  Remember that Jesus told us to pray that the Kingdom would come.  That Kingdom He defined as where “Your [God’s] will is done on earth [just like] as it is [done] in heaven.”  The earth is a mess of envy and strife where people and demons vie for power and accumulation of things and experiences of pleasure.  In heaven, there is a focus on God’s will.  As we observe the various events in Revelation from a heavenly perspective, we have the impression that all of heaven is focused on these events.
            The order is to release four angels who are bound at the Euphrates River.  Metzger (66) reminds us that the eastern border of the Roman Empire was the Euphrates.  On the other side were the dreaded Parthians. 
The Parthians had been somewhat the nemesis of the Romans from about 60 BC.  They would continue to represent an eastern barrier until they would collapse from within in the late second century.  They were a highly organized empire with an excellent military.  The back-and-forth power struggle between the two empires never led to a decisive victory for either side.  It should be noted that the Euphrates was not a hard-and-fast border.  The territory held by the two empires varied greatly over the years.  (“Invictus”)
Rist (435) speculates that these four angels are the same as the four who are standing at the four corners of the earth in 7:1.  In fact he seems to see a relationship of all the fours—four corners, four horsemen, and four angels bound at the Euphrates.  Although “four” may have a certain resonance in Revelation, it does not seem to me productive to see any strong relationship among these various “fours.”
            The angels have been “prepared” for this particular time (down to the hour).  This is considered a reflection of the determinism in Revelation and other apocalypses (Rist, 435); although Ladd (136-137) does not consider it a “rigid” determinism.  I do not consider this evidence of determinism.  I tend to call it an example of God’s foreknowledge and future planning.  To explain my thought, I first must jump ahead in the narrative and note that these are evil angels.  The fact that they must be bound is evidence of that, and the fact that they release an enormous army of demons or demon-like horses and riders is definitive evidence of their evil.  The fact that these are demon-like creatures means that their evil would not be subject to the whims of human history.  I write that to refute that idea that this invasion represents (necessarily) an invasion by a particular political entity (such as the Parthians or the Communist Chinese or the modern-day Iranians).  Thus, we do not need to speculate that God has determined a particular geo-political scenario by binding these angels at the Euphrates River.  What we might consider is that the “mystery of lawlessness” has been unfolding for centuries (II Thessalonians 2:7).  As that evil unfolds, the time will become “ripe” for these angels to be released to do their evil.  They will, I believe, take advantage of whatever geo-political situation exists and exploit for their own evil ends.    

            The mission or, we might say, the limitation on the evil of the four angels is to kill one-third of humankind.  They will accomplish this through the release of the army at their disposal. 

Verses 9:16-19:  The horses

Verse 9:16:  The wording of this verse is a little odd.  John gives the number of the “mounted troops” as 200 million (twice ten thousand times ten thousand).  This would exceed any army that has ever been mustered, that I know of.  Some have speculated that only Communist China could raise such an army.  That may be true, but it does not necessarily mean that the Chinese are coming. 

            The oddity of the verse is that, after giving the number, John says, “I heard their number.”  It seems to me that this is a somewhat dramatic/poetic wording that adds to the somber picture.  It is as though an angel off in the distance cries out:  “Here comes this vast horde of mounted troops, two hundred million of them!”  Everyone shrinks in horror.

Verse 9:17:  The description of this “cavalry” is mostly focused on the horses rather than their riders.  The riders have tricolored breastplates or “cuirasses” (Ladd, 137).  The three colors match what comes out of the mouths of the horses—red for fire, sapphire for blue smoke, and yellow for sulfur.  The horses have heads like lions.  The picture is unnatural and, like the locusts, demonic and terror-inspiring (Rist, 435-436, and Ladd, 138). 

Verse 9:18:  The focus is on the horses because they, not their riders, are deadly (Rist, 435-436).  The material which is coming from their mouths represents three separate plagues (Ladd, 138), which altogether kill one-third of humanity. 

Verse 9:19:  The horses, like the scorpions, have tails that can cause harm, for they are like snakes with heads that can wound.  Ladd (138) points out that the fire, smoke, and sulfur kill, but the snakes only torture (or “wound”). 

            The description of this cavalry of 200 million is frightening all around.  The number is overwhelming.  The appearance of the horses is a bizarre amalgam of horse, human, and snake.  The horses are blowing deadly fire, smoke, and brimstone (sulfur) out their mouths.  The snakes are biting people.  What is happening here?  Several ways of understanding this passage come to mind.

·         The cavalry represents a real invading army that will be powerful and frightening.  The description is extremely hyperbolic to strike terror (or satisfaction for those seeking justice).

·         The cavalry is a dream of an idealist who believes God loves His saints and will vindicate the martyrs in some way.  The vision is more the hope of the author than any real future event.

·         The cavalry is a real army that will someday come (most likely at the end of the present order of existence or during the mid to late Tribulation period).  The bizarre word picture is John’s attempt to describe modern-day warfare, such as tanks and flame-throwers.

·         The cavalry is a demonic host that will come during the Tribulation period.  The word picture represents their deadly capacity and overwhelming numbers and power.  The description is not of their physical appearance, but of their spiritual reality.

I personally favor the last choice.  It is possible that the demons will also inspire a human army that will be part of their invasion (see ESVSB).

Verses 9:20-21—the call to repentance

Verse 9:20:  The death toll is large—one-third of humankind die because of the horses.  Yet, this can also be viewed as merciful (Metzger, 66, and Ladd, 138-139).  The purpose is to bring people to repentance.  Metzger (67) points out that the central sin is idolatry, especially emperor worship in John’s day.  Ladd (139) notes that idols are described in two ways:  they are lifeless images of metal and wood but also representations of demons.  See I Corinthians 10:18-22. 

Verse 9:21:  The idolatry is directly connected with other sins.  Ladd (139) says that this is the same line of thought as Paul’s description of human degradation in Romans 1:18-32:  idolatry and ungodliness results in all sorts of immorality.  This certainly is a picture of our day.  As our society grows more and more secular, we see the multiplication of every kind of evil.

            As a futurist I understand that Revelation has a component of future fulfillment—future from the standpoint of the first century.  I do not reject the idea that the situation of the church in the late first century is the “sitz im leben” (the situation in which the book was written), but I do not think it is simply a book for the church of the first century.  I believe that it is a description of “those [things] that are to take place after this.” (Revelation 1:19)  With this understanding in mind, I must ask myself:  What would idolatry look like in the twenty-first century? 

            The latest sociological study that has created a stir is a Pew Research/PBS study (see Pew Research) that has produced the result that has come to be called “the rise of the ‘nones.’”  It found that 20% of adults in the U.S. are religiously unaffiliated—up 5% in five years.  Of the adults under 30, 1/3 are unaffiliated.  Of these “nones,” 68% believe in God and 37% are spiritual but not religious.  The “nones” are not looking for a religion (88% of them are not).  They believe religious organizations are too concerned with money, power, politics, and rules. 

            I noted also that 58% of the “nones” “often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth.”  Though the “New Age” as it was framed, say, 20 years ago does not seem to have a lot of traction, it seems like the “nones” are very similar to the New Age. 

            So, I think a religious expression that had a “New Agey” feel to it and that seemed to avoid a power play might be popular in the current generation.  The other overall cultural trend that the devil can use for leverage is the cult of personality.  This has always been with us, but it seems like in recent years people have become more and more fascinated with the “rich and famous.”  When print journalism was failing, one magazine and its imitators continued to sell big time—People.  The rise of the Beast that is described in Revelation 13 is a combination of personality cult (13:3-4) and idolatrous worship (13:14-15).

            The central is not really the rise of the “nones.”  The central issue is Jesus Christ.  Whether people are affiliated with a religion or not, the central question is:  Is it true that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except by Him?  That truth is assaulted every day in every way.  The devil’s central target is Jesus and those who have His testimony (see Revelation 12). 

            The plagues that are represented by the trumpets represent God’s wrath that will be poured out on the earth-dwellers.  The primary purpose of the plagues is not to beat up on people, but to persuade them to come to repentance (9:20-21). 

            In the next article, I shall discuss the Dispensationalist and Preterist views of the fifth and sixth trumpets.  


Crossway Bibles (2009-04-09). ESV Study Bible. Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

“Invictus.” All Empires.  Online History Community.  “Rome and Parthia at War.”


Ladd, George Eldon.  A Commentary on the Revelation of John.  Grand Rapids:  William B.

            Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1972.

Metzger, Bruce M.  Breaking the Code.  Understanding the Book of Revelation.  Nashville: 

            Abingdon Press, 1993.

Pew Research.  Religion in Public Life Project.  “’Nones’ on the Rise.”


Rist, Martin.  “The Revelation of St. John the Divine” Exegesis.  The Interpreter’s Bible.  Vol. XII.

            Nolan B. Harmon, Ed.  New York:  Abingdon Press, 1957.  

Zondervan NIV Study Bible.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publ., 2002