Friday in the Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 9:12-19

The Sixth Trumpet and Second Woe

It only gets worse.  As long as unrepentant men bent on idolatry, sexual immorality, sorcery, and murder, makeup the majority of mankind, matters will only get worse—especially before the end.  Today, we take up the sixth trumpet blast and “second woe,” and the result is just as horrifying as the previous woe.

When the angel sounds the sixth trumpet, a voice from the golden altar—the one where the incense and prayers of the saints were offered—commands that same angel to “release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”  That these four angels are “bound” indicates that they are Satan’s minions, but destined by the Almighty for the exact moment they are to enact His will against wicked men—thus, proving again that even the devil does God’s will whether the former wills to or not.  Once more, we are confronted with grotesque-looking and obviously demonic creatures.  These creatures differ from those of the fifth trumpet in that they actually kill people—a third of mankind!  This presents an unimaginable slaughter which would number over two billion today.  The number of this army, “twice ten thousand times ten thousand,” is John’s way of saying, “innumerable”; but, even if one is counting, 200,000,000, is an unheard-of army of men.

But perhaps not of demons.  And that must be what we are looking at here.  The first woe seems to be a demonic horde that strikes at men psychologically, that is, at their sinful souls causing distress, fear, anxiety, and mental torture.  This woe poses a demonic horde aimed at men’s bodies, suggesting physical devastation: war, famine, disease, and death.  We might picture a world where hate and suspicion reign and treachery is commonplace.  Civil disruption, murder, and violence spread like cancer.  We see a world very much like the one God destroyed by flood so long ago (Genesis 6:5), and all demonically-inspired.  Through God’s common grace, civil government, law, and conscience restrain men’s worst instincts.  With these removed and a demonic horde driving men’s sinful passions, earth rivals hell.  The prayers of the saints under the altar are answered by simply allowing men to behave like men, for this is exactly who we are when left to ourselves.  Men craved their sin, their beastly desires, their carnal nature—and God let them have it all—the worst punishment any sinner can endure.

And yet even with all this hell, they still would not repent.  Never forget: This is a picture of ourselves had not the Holy Spirit worked a miracle in our lives.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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