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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
Revelation 9

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CH. 9–11.] The last three, or woe-trumpets. These, as well as the first four, have a character of their own, corresponding in some measure to that of the visions at the opening of the three last seals. The particulars related under them are separate and detailed, not symmetrical and correspondent. And as in the seals, so here, the seventh forms rather the solemn conclusion to the whole, than a distinct judgment of itself. Here also, as there, it is introduced by two episodical passages, having reference to the visions which are to follow, and which take up the thread of prophecy again at a period previous to things detailed before.


Verses 1-12

1–12.] The fifth, or first Woe trumpet. And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen (not, as E. V. fall, which gives an entirely wrong view of the transactions of the vision. The star had fallen before, and is first seen as thus fallen) out of heaven to the earth (the reader will at once think on Isaiah 14:12, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” And on Luke 10:18, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” And, doubtless, as the personal import of this star is made clear in the following words, such is the reference here. We may also notice that this expression forms a connecting link to another place, ch. Revelation 12:9, in this book, where Satan is represented as cast out of heaven to the earth: see notes there. It is hardly possible with Andr(104), Ribera, Bengel, and De W., to understand a good angel by this fallen star. His description, as well as his work, corresponds only to an agent of evil. Andreas is obliged to distort words to bring in this view: ἐπὶ γῆν δὲ καταβάντα, τοῦτο γὰρ τὸ πεπτωκέναι σημαίνει, is enough to condemn any interpretation), and there was given to him ( ἐδόθη, as usual, for the purpose of the part which he is to bear in the vision) the key of the pit of the abyss (viz. of hell, which in the vision is a vast profundity opening by a pit or shaft upon the surface of the earth, imagined as shut down by a cover, and locked. This abyss is in the Apocalypse the habitation of the devil and his angels: cf. Revelation 9:11, ch. Revelation 20:1; Revelation 20:3; see also ch. Revelation 11:7, Revelation 17:8), and he opened the pit of the abyss, and there went up smoke from the pit as smoke of a great furnace (see ref. Gen.), and the sun was darkened and the air (not, as Bengel, a hendiadys, “aer, quatenus per solem illuminatur:” for the sun may be obscured, as by a cloud, without the air being darkened) by reason of the smoke of the pit. And out of the smoke (which therefore was their vehicle or envelope) came forth locusts into (towards, over, so as to spread over: εἰς gives more the sense of distribution than ἐπί would) the earth, and there was given to them power as the scorpions of the earth ( τῆς γῆς, not as noting any distinction between land-scorpions and water-scorpions, as Ewald, but because the scorpions are natural and of the earth, whereas these locusts are infernal and not of nature) have power (viz. to sting, as below explained): and it was commanded them that they shall not hurt (for construction, see reff.) the grass of the earth, nor yet every (i. e. any) green thing, nor yet every (any) tree (the usual objects on which locusts prey: cf. Exodus 10:13; Exodus 10:15), but only (lit. except: the former sentence being regarded as if it had run, “that they should hurt nothing,”—and then “except” follows naturally) the men, the which ( οἵτινες designates the class or kind: see reff.) have not the seal of God upon their foreheads (this, as before noticed, fixes this fifth trumpet to the time following the sealing in ch. 7. It denotes a plague which falls on the unbelieving inhabitants of the earth after the servants of God have been marked out among them, and of which the saints are not partakers. Either then it denotes something purely spiritual, some misery from which those are exempt who have peace with God,—which can hardly be, consistently with Revelation 9:5-6,—or it takes place in a state totally different from this present one, in which the wheat and tares are mingled together. One or other of these considerations will at once dismiss by far the greater number of interpretations.

That of Elliott, the fact of Mahomet’s mission being avowedly against corrupt Christianity as idolatry, does not in the remotest degree answer the conditions. In the very midst of this corrupt Christianity were at that time God’s elect scattered up and down: and it is surely too much to say that every such person escaped scathless from the Turkish sword). And it was given to them (allotted to them by God as the limit of their appointed work and office: here the ἐδόθη expresses rather the limitation than the extension of the grant) that they should not kill them (the unsealed), but that they (the unsealed: the subject is changed) shall be (fut. aft. ἵνα, see above, Revelation 9:4) tormented five months (the reason seems to be correct, which several Commentators have given for this number being chosen: viz., that five months is the ordinary time in the year during which locusts commit their ravages: so Calov., Vitr., Eich., Ewald, De W., Düsterd., al. At all events we are thus in some measure delivered from the endless perplexities of capricious fancy in which the historical interpreters involve us): and their torment (i. e. that of the sufferers: against Düsterd.) is as the torment of (arising from: notice the same construction in two senses) a scorpion, when it has smitten ( παίσῃ, the regular futurus exactus: “whenever it shall have …” παίω and πατάσσω (Jonah 4:7. Achill. Tat. ii. 7, ἡ μέλιττα ἐπάταξε τὴν χεῖρα), as in the Latin ictus (Pliny, H. N. vi. 28), are used of the bite or sting of an animal) a man. And in those days men shall seek death (observe the transition of the style from the descriptive to the prophetic. For the first time the Apostle ceases to be the exponent of what he saw, and becomes the direct organ of the Spirit), and shall not (the οὐ μή, with a subjunctive (its ordinary construction), is a more certain and definite negation than even the future itself. The latter expresses fact; whereas the former states that the fact cannot be otherwise: οὐ μή with the future, as in text, seems to be a later and lax way of expressing the same) find it: and they shall vehemently desire (desire alone is not strong enough: ἐπιθυμέω, - ία, express the direction of the θῦμος (itself from θύω, ferveo— ἀπὸ τῆς θύσεως καὶ ζέσεως τῆς ψυχῆς, Plato, Cratyl. 419 E) upon an object. As desire is too strong for θέλω, so is it too weak for ἐπιθυμέω) to die (notice what Düsterd. well calls “ein schreckliches Gegenstuck,” to the Apostle’s saying in Philippians 1:23, ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων εἰς τὸ ἀναλῦσαι καὶ σὺν χριστῷ εἶναι), and death fleeth (the pres., of the habitual avoidance in those days) from them (the longing to die arises from the excruciating pain of the sting. Cf. Jeremiah 8:3.

I cannot forbear noticing as we pass, the caprice of historical interpreters. On the command not to kill the men, &c., in Revelation 9:5, Elliott says, “i. e. not to annihilate them as a political Christian body.” If then the same rule of interpretation is to hold, the present verse must mean that the “political Christian body” will be so sorely beset by these Mahometan locusts, that it will vehemently desire to be annihilated, and not find any way. For it surely cannot be allowed that the killing of men should be said of their annihilation as a political body in one verse, and their desiring to die in the next should be said of something totally different, and applicable to their individual misery. Is it in consequence óf foreseeing this difficulty, that Mr. Elliott has, as in the case of many important details in other places, omitted all consideration of this verse?).


Verse 7

7.] The Apostle now returns to the description of the locusts themselves. And the shapes (so E. V., rightly: not, the likenesses. ὁμοίωμα is the product of ὁμοιόω: the finished form of any thing which is made like ( ὅμοιον) to any pattern. See Winer, edn. 6, § 16. A. 2, α) of the locusts (were) like horses made ready for war (this resemblance,—cf. ref. Joel, ἡ ὅρασις αὐτ ῶν ὡς ὅρασις ἵππων,—has been noticed by travellers. Winer, Realw. art. Heuschrecken, refers to Niebuhr, Beschreibung, 173. Ewald gives other references, and says, “refert omnino animal equini corporis quædam similia, unde nostris etiam Heupferd dici notum est.” And especially does it hold good when the horse is equipped for war; the plates of the horse’s armour being represented by the hard laminæ of the outer shell of the locust: see below, Revelation 9:9), and on their heads as it were crowns like unto gold (it is not easy to say what this part of the description imports. Elliott tries to apply it to the turban: but granting some latitude to στέφανοι, the ὅμοιοι χρυσῷ will hardly bear this. The appearance of a turban, even when ornamented with gold, is hardly golden. I should understand the words, of the head actually ending in a crown-shaped fillet which resembled gold in its material, just as the wings of some of the beetle tribe might be said to blaze with gold and gems. So we have below εἶχον θώρακας ὡς θ. σιδηροῦς: the material not being metallic, but only quasi-metallic. Eichhorn and Heinr. understand these crowns of soldiers’ helmets: but this is quite arbitrary and gratuitous): and their faces (were) as the faces of men (Düsterdieck well observes, that we must not suppose them actually to have had human faces, but that the face of the locust, which under ordinary circumstances has a distant resemblance to the human countenance, bore this resemblance even more notably in the case of these supernatural locusts. It is not τὰ πρ. αὐτῶν πρόσωπα ἀνθρ. but ὡς πρόσωπα ἀνθρ. Nor again can we agree with Mr. Elliott’s idea that ἀνθρώπων is here used to designate the male sex: an interpretation recommended to him by his wish to introduce the moustache of the Arabs. Wherever the general term ἄνθρωπος is used for the particular sex, it must, as in the case of our “man,” be necessarily so interpreted by the context, as is the case in every one of the passages cited by Mr. E. in support of his view, viz. Matthew 19:3; Matthew 19:5; Matthew 19:10; 1 Corinthians 7:1; Genesis 2:18; Exodus 13:2; Leviticus 20:10; Esther 4:10 ( ἄνθρωπος ἢ γυνή); Ecclesiastes 7:28; Isaiah 4:1. But here there is no such necessity in the context: nay, it is much more natural to take ἀνθρώπων as the general term, their faces were like human faces, and then comes the limitation, not in the face, but in another particular), and they had hair as the hair of women (i. e. long and flowing, 1 Corinthians 11:14 f. De Wette quotes from Niebuhr an Arabic proverb in which the antlers of locusts are compared to the hair of girls. But perhaps we must regard the comparison as rather belonging to the supernatural portion of our description. Ewald would understand the hair on the legs, or on the bodies, of the locusts, to be meant, referring to יֶלֶק סָמָר, rough locusts, Jeremiah 51:27, where the LXX have merely ἀκρίδων, and the E. V. “rough caterpillars.”

To infer, from this feature, licentiousness as a characteristic in the interpretation, is entirely beside the purpose): and their teeth were as the teeth of lions (so also of the locust in Joel 1:6, οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτοῦ ὀδόντες λέοντος. Ewald rightly designates as very doubtful a fancied resemblance to a lion in the under jaw. We may observe that this, as some other features in the description, is purely graphic, and does not in any way apply to the plague to be inflicted by these mystic locusts), and they had breastplates as iron breastplates (the plate which forms the thorax of the natural locust, was in their case as if of iron), and the sound of their wings (was) as a sound of chariots of many horses (by the two genitives the sound of both, the chariots and the horses, is included. The chariots are regarded as an appendage to the horses) as they run to war. And they have tails like to scorpions (i. e. to the tails of scorpions: the construction called the comparatio compendiaria: see reff.), and stings (viz. in their tails: this is the particular especially in which the comparison finds its aptitude): and in their tails is their power to hurt men five months (see above on Revelation 9:5). They have as king over them (or, “they have a king over them, viz.”.… the two accusatives being in apposition. It favours this last alternative, that in this particular, of having a king, they are distinguished from natural locusts: for Proverbs 30:27, ἀβασίλευτόν ἐστιν ἡ ἀκρίς) the angel of the abyss (we can hardly with Luther, render “an angel from the abyss:” ἄγγελος, though anarthrous, is necessarily defined by the genitive τῆς ἀβύσσου); his name is in Hebrew Abaddon ( אֲבַדּוֹן, perdition, from אָבַד, periit, is used in the O. T. for the place of perdition, Orcus, in Job 26:6; Proverbs 27:20 (Keri: Chetib has אֲבֵדָה), in both of which places it is joined with שְׁאֹל,—Psalms 88:12; Job 28:22. In all these places the LXX express it by ἀπώλεια. So that this is the local name personified: or rather perhaps that abstract name personified, from which the local import itself is derived), and in the Greek (scil. γλώσσῃ) he has for his name Apollyon (the name ἀπολλύων seems chosen from the LXX ἀπώλεια, see above.

It is a question, who this angel of the abyss is. Perhaps, for accurate distinction’s sake, we must not identify him with Satan himself,—cf. ch. Revelation 12:3; Revelation 12:9,—but must regard him as one of the principal of the bad angels). The one (first) woe hath passed: behold, there cometh (singular, the verb applying simply to that which is future, without reference as yet to its plurality) two woes after these things.

There is an endless Babel of allegorical and historical interpretation of these locusts from the pit. The most that we can say of their import is, that they belong to a series of judgments on the ungodly which will immediately precede the second advent of our Lord: that the various and mysterious particulars of the vision will no doubt clear themselves up to the church of God, when the time of its fulfilment arrives: but that no such clearing up has yet taken place, a very few hours of research among histories of apocalyptic interpretation will serve to convince any reader who is not himself the servant of a preconceived system.


Verses 13-21

13–21.] The sixth Trumpet. And the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a (it is doubtful, in the uncertain authenticity of τεσσάρων, whether any stress is to be laid on this μίαν or not. Vitringa gives it the emphasis,—“quatuor hæc cornua simul edidisse vocem, non diversam, sed unam eandemque:” and so Hengstb. The allegorical interpreters give it various imports—the agreement of the four Gospels (Zeger, Calov., al.),—that of the prayers of exiled Jews (Grot.), &c.) voice out of the [four] horns of the golden altar which was before God (the same altar as that previously mentioned in ch. Revelation 8:3 and Revelation 6:9, where see notes. From ch. Revelation 16:7 it would appear that the voice probably proceeded from the altar itself, represented as uttering the cry of vengeance for the blood shed on it; cf. ch. Revelation 6:9, with which cry of the martyred saints the whole series of retributive judgments is connected. The reading in the Codex Sinaiticus (see digest) is very remarkable, and may represent the original text. To suppose, as Elliott, that the cry from the altar is indicative of an altar having been the scene of some special sin on the part of the men of Roman Christendom, and so to apply it to the perversions of Christian rites in the Romish Church, is surely to confuse the whole imagery of the vision. For it is not of any altar in the abstract that we are reading, but of the golden altar which was before God, where the prayers of the saints had been offered by the angel, ch. Revelation 8:3; Revelation 8:5; and the voice is the result of those prayers, in accordance with which those judgments are inflicted.

The horns again, representing the enceinte of the altar, not any special rites with which the horns of an altar were concerned, cannot be pressed into the service of the above-noticed interpretation, but simply belong to the propriety of that heard and seen. The voice proceeded from the surface of the altar, on which the prayers had been offered: and that surface was bounded by the κέρατα) saying (the noun to which the participle, in this broken construction, is to be referred, may be either φωνήν, which is most probable, or κεράτων, in which latter case an emphasis would naturally fall on the foregoing μίαν, or, if λέγοντος be read, θυσιαστηρίου) to the sixth angel, who had (construction, see reff. It is far better to take ὁ ἔχων as the appositional nom., so common in this book, than, as Tregelles, to understand it as vocative. It is natural that the word ἕκτῳ should be further specified by adding the class to which the angel belonged, ὁ ἔχων τὴν σάλπιγγα: but hardly, that he should be singled out by the address, “Thou that hast the trumpet,” from the whole seven who had trumpets) the trumpet ( τήν, as being that one now before us,—belonging to the present vision), Loose (it is too much to say that the angel himself is made the active minister of this loosing: we do not read καὶ πορευθεὶς ἔλυσεν following, but simply καὶ ἐλύθησαν. We must therefore believe that the command is given to him only in so far as he is the representative and herald of all that takes place under his trumpet-blowing) the four angels which are bound (so E. V. rightly: “are bound” is the true perfect passive, not “have been bound”) on (not “in,” as E. V.: ἐπί with the dat. denotes close adherence or juxtaposition: so our Lord sat ἐπὶ τῇ πηγῇ, John 4:6) the great river Euphrates (the whole imagery here has been a crux interpretum: as to who these angels are, and what is indicated by the locality here described. I will only venture to point out, amidst the surging tumult of controversy, one or two points of apparent refuge to which we must not betake ourselves. First, we must not yield to the temptation, so attractive at first sight, of identifying these four angels with the four angels standing on the four corners of the earth and holding in the four winds, in ch. Revelation 7:1 ff. For the mission of these angels is totally distinct from theirs, as the locality is also. There is not a syllable of winds here, nor any hurting of earth, sea, or trees. Secondly, the question need not perplex us here, whether these are good or bad angels: for it does not enter in any way into consideration. They simply appear, as in other parts of this book, as ministers of the divine purposes, and pass out of view as soon as mentioned. Here, it would almost seem as if the angelic persons were little more than personifications; for they are immediately resolved into the host of cavalry. Thirdly, that there is nothing in the text to prevent “the great river Euphrates” from being meant literally. Düsterd. maintains, that because the rest of the vision has a mystical meaning, therefore this local designation must have one also: and that if we are to take the Euphrates literally and the rest mystically, endless confusion would be introduced. But this is quite a mistake, as the slightest consideration will shew. It is a common feature of Scripture allegory to intermingle with its mystic language literal designations of time and place. Take for instance the allegory in Psalms 80:8; Psalms 80:11, “Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt.… she sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river:” where, though the vine and her boughs and branches are mystical, Egypt, the sea, and the river, are all literal. See some good remarks on this in Mr. Elliott’s 1st vol., p. 331 ff., where the above example is cited among others). And the four angels were loosed, which had been prepared (the perf. part. in conjunction with an aor. verb is necessarily pluperf. in sense) for (in the ordinary sense of εἰς after ἑτοιμάζω and its kindred words—viz. “in reference to,” “in reservation for,” “with a view to:” see Revelation 9:7; 2 Timothy 2:21; and πρός, 1 Peter 3:15) the hour and day and month and year (viz. which had been appointed by God: the appointed hour occurring in the appointed day, and that in the appointed month, and that in the appointed year. The art., prefixed, and not repeated, seems to make this meaning imperative. Had the art. been repeated before each, the ideas of the appointed hour, day, month, and year would have been separated, not, as now, united: had there been no art., we might have understood that the four were to be added together to make up the time, though even thus the εἰς occurring once only would have made some difficulty. The natural way of expressing this latter meaning would be, εἰς ὥραν κ. εἰς ἡμέραν κ. εἰς μῆνα κ. εἰς ἐνιαυτόν. The only way in which it can be extracted from the words as they now stand, is by understanding the τήν to designate some previously well-known period, “for the (well-known) hour and day and month and year.” But as no such notoriety of the period named can be recognized, we must I conceive adhere to the sense above given), that ( ἵνα belongs to ἡτοιμασμένοι more naturally than to ἐλύθησαν) they should kill the third part of men (on τὸ τρίτον, see above, ch. Revelation 8:7. It seems necessary, that in τῶν ἀνθρώπων we are to include only the κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς of ch. Revelation 8:13, not any of the servants of God): and the number of the armies of the cavalry was twice myriads of myriads (i. e. 20,000 × 10,000: = 200,000,000, two hundred millions. The number seems to be founded on those in the reff.);—I heard the number of them. And after this manner (i. e. according to the following description) saw I the horses in my vision (Düsterd. suggests, and it seems likely enough, that this express reference to sight is inserted on account of the ἤκουσα which preceded) and those who sat upon them, having ( ἔχοντας most naturally refers to both horses and riders, not to riders only. The armour of both was uniform) breastplates fiery-red (the three epithets express the colours of the breastplates, and are to be separated, as belonging each to one portion of the host, and corresponding to the fire, smoke, and brimstone which proceeded out of the horses’ months below) and fuliginous (answering to καπνός below. ὑακίνθινος is used for any dark dull colour; Homer calls dark hair ὑακινθίνῳ ἄνθει ὁμοίας, Od. ζ. 231, ψ. 158. The hyacinth of the Greeks is supposed to have been our dark blue iris: see Palm and Rost, sub voce) and sulphureous (light yellow: such a colour as would be produced by the settling fumes of brimstone): and the heads of the horses ( τῶν ἵππων takes up the horses again, both horses and riders having been treated of in the preceding sentence) (were) as heads of lions, and out of their months goeth forth fire and smoke and brimstone (i. e. separately, one of these out of the mouths of each division of the host. It is remarkable, that these divisions are three, though the angels were four). From ( ἀπό indicates not directly the instrumentality, but the direction from which the result comes) these three plagues were killed the third part of men, by ( ἐκ, the source out of which the result springs) the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which went forth (the participle agrees with the last noun only, but applies to all) out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths (principally; seeing that by what proceeded from their mouths their mission, to slay the third part of men, was accomplished) and in their tails: for their tails were like serpents, having heads, and with ( ἐν is the prep. of investiture, used of that in which clad or armed a man does any thing) them they hurt (i. e. inflict pain: viz. with the bites of the serpent heads in which they terminate.

I cannot but mention, in no unfriendly spirit, but because, both being friends, Truth is the dearer, that which may be designated the culminating instance of incongruous interpretation in Mr. Elliott’s historical exposition of these prophecies. These tails are, according to him, the horsetails, borne as symbols of authority by the Turkish Pachas. Well may Mr. Barker say (Friendly Strictures, p. 32), “an interpretation so wild, if it refutes not itself, seems scarcely capable of refutation.” Happily, it does refute itself. For it is convicted, by altogether leaving out of view the power in the mouths, which is the principal feature in the original vision: by making no reference to the serpent-like character of these tails, but being wholly inconsistent with it: by distorting the canon of symmetrical interpretation in making the heads attached to the tails to mean that the tails are symbols of authority: and by being compelled to render ἀδικοῦσι “they commit injustice,” a meaning which, in this reference, it surely will not bear. When it is said of fire- and smoke- and brimstone-breathing horses which kill the third part of men, that besides having power in their mouths they have it in their tails, which are like serpents, ending in heads, it would be a strange anti-climax to end, “and with these they do injustice.” I will venture to say, that a more self-condemnatory interpretation was never broached than this of the horsetails of the Pachas). And the rest of men (this specification which follows clearly shews what sort of men are meant; viz. the ungodly alone) who were not killed in (the course of: the ἐν again of that in which, as its vehicle or investiture, their death would come, if it had come) these plagues, did not even (the force of οὐδέ, which on the whole seems likely to have been the original reading) repent of ( ἐκ, so as to come out from: see reff.) the works of their hands (i. e. as the context here necessitates, not, the whole course of their lives, but the idols which their hands had made. This will at once appear on comparing our passage with Deuteronomy 4:28, λατρεύσετε ἐκεῖ θεοῖς ἑτέροις, ἔργοις χειρῶν ἀνθρώπων, ξύλοις καὶ λίθοις, οἳ οὐκ ὄψονται, κ. τ. λ., and Ps. 134:15, τὰ εἴδωλα τῶν ἐθνῶν ἀργύριον κ. χρυσίον, ἔργα χειρῶν ἀνθρώπων· στόμα ἔχουσι καὶ οὐ λαλήλουσιν, κ. τ. λ. See also Acts 7:41) that they should not (in order not to: the final purpose, explaining the οὐ μετεν. ἐκ preceding: cf. Winer, edn. 6, § 53. 6) worship (for ἵνα with indic. fut. see above, ch. Revelation 3:9 reff.) devils (see reff, 1 Cor.; 1 Tim., and notes there. The objects of worship of the heathen, and of semi-heathen Christians, are in fact devils, by whatever name they may be called), and images of gold (lit. the images which are, &c. But this we idiomatically express as above) and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk: and they did not repent of their murders nor of their witchcrafts (lit. their drugs: concrete in sense of abstract, as in all the places in the canonical LXX in reff. On the sense, see note on Galatians 5:20) nor of their fornication (Bengel remarks on πορνείας being in the sing., whereas the rest are plural, “Alia scelera ab hominibus per intervalla patrantur: una perpetua πορνεία est apud eos qui munditie cordis carent.” But perhaps this is too refined) nor of their thefts. The character of these sins points out very plainly who are the sufferers by this sixth, or second woe trumpet, and the survivors who do not repent. We are taught by St. Paul that the heathen are without excuse for degrading the majesty of God into an image made like unto corruptible things, and for degenerating into gross immoralities in spite of God’s testimony given through the natural conscience. And even thus will the heathen world continue in the main until the second advent of our Lord, of which these judgments are to be the immediate precursors. Nor will these terrible inflictions themselves bring those to repentance, who shall ultimately reject the Gospel which shall be preached among all nations. Whether, or how far, those Christians who have fallen back into these sins of the heathen, are here included, is a question not easy to decide. That they are not formally in the Apostle’s view, seems clear. We are not yet dealing with the apostasy and fornication within the church herself. But that they, having become as the κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, even so far as to inherit their character of persecutors of the saints, may by the very nature of the case, be individually included in the suffering of these plagues,—just as we believe and trust that many individually belonging to Babylon may be found among God’s elect,—it is of course impossible to deny.

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 9:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-9.html. 1863-1878.

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