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8 The Woes (Revelation 9)
(Vv. 1-11) We have already learned that, in the times of these judgments, God will seal as His own a great number from Israel, who will be preserved for the reign of Christ. We may surely conclude from the fact that the fifth trumpet judgment, or first woe, falls on "those men which have not the seal of God on their foreheads," that this judgment falls especially on the apostate, or unsealed portion of the nation of Israel. Rev 13:11-18. We know that he will be an apostate (Dan 11:37) and will be energised by Satan, for he speaks as a dragon, to deceive those that dwell on the earth. May we not conclude that the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments set forth the strong delusion of which the apostle Paul speaks in 2Th 2:8-12?
(Vv. 12-19) A voice from the golden altar before God calls forth the sixth angel, or second woe judgment. This again reminds us that all these judgments are directed from heaven, and that evil in its fulness is restrained until the moment for judgment is come. Rev 12:4 to set forth the sphere of the Roman Empire, which would embrace professing Christendom.
The mention of the Euphrates would indicate that this judgment comes from the East, for this river is the natural barrier between the East and the West. It would seem then that when the time of this judgment is come this barrier will be removed and some evil influence from the East will sweep over the sphere of professing Christendom. The symbol of a mighty army of horsemen would indicate some irresistible delusion of the devil. "Their power in their mouth" may indicate that this delusion will be presented with all the persuasive eloquence of speech. But behind the delusion is the power of Satan, symbolised by their tails being like unto serpents. In result the third part of men are killed, setting forth, probably not physical death but that men are led into all the misery of apostasy, or moral death to God. Have we not had foreshadowings of such a delusion sweeping over Christendom from the East in the history of the invasion of Mahomet?
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Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Revelation 9". "Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20