One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. Revelation 9:12-15
It’s been a while since we have released a blog due to pressing demands elsewhere. But the incredible destruction that plagues the earth requires the attention of all who live on this precious, albeit fragile, globe. The clear and present dangers we all face has persuaded us to add our voices, concerning the growing menace, which threatens us all. The matrix for our thoughts will be the “Three Woes” prophesied by the Apostle John.
Like millions of people all over the world we watched in horror as calamity, after calamity crushed towns and cities across our nation. Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria, which very nearly swept Puerto Rico into the sea. This was followed by Hurricane Irma. Fire, wind and tornadoes followed hard on the heels of these tragedies, while starvation threatens thousands. California was devastated by 17 forest fires and the destruction of 7500 homes.
As the first four trumpets sounded, one after another, cosmic conflagration followed cosmic conflagration in an unrelenting stream. These terrible judgments all came from above – from the heavens and therefore, from the very Throne of God Himself. At the sounding of the Fifth Trumpet the depths replied to the heights and the terrors of the supernatural were unleashed. Now, at the blowing of the Sixth Trumpet, all these forces seem to combine to produce the final crises of the series.
This is the only vision in which the Trumpet Angel becomes an actor in the drama that unfolds after the sounding of the trumpet. He is commanded to loose the Four Angels, and they are immediately set free. Just how this is accomplished, and just exactly who the Four Angels are, is not revealed by the Prophet.
The majority of the expositors take these angels to be evil in nature, and consider their attitude to be malignant and their goal nothing less than the “complete ruin” of mankind. Hal Lindsey, in spite of the specific language of the text, believes them to be Demons, the “tremendously powerful emissaries of Satan.” J. A. Seiss agreed with this assessment, at least in part, and considered them to be especially “distinguished from others in the kingdom of evil.” Seiss goes on to identify these Four Angels with the “bound” angels referred to by Peter and Jude.
The First Woe is the terrible flight of the Locust and encompassed the entire Fifth Trumpet Judgment. The Second Woe begins with the Sixth Trumpet and ends with a terrible earthquake in Jerusalem that accompanies the ascension of the Two Witnesses. So far, so good. But the Third Woe does not dominate the Seventh Trumpet as the preceding Woes dominated the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets. John uses the Seventh Trumpet to introduce all the visions that are to follow. Therefore, the Final Woe will, of necessity, only comprise a part of the Final Trumpet Judgment. It only remains for us to establish which part. Fortunately, we are not without clues.
The first clue is found in the angel’s final prediction concerning the Third Woe – “Behold! The Third Woe is coming quickly.” This indicates that it is to follow hard upon the others.
The second clue is found in the nature of the Woes themselves, to wit, that they all contain supernatural events involving the Forces of Evil. The First Woe was the terrible flight of the Locust. The Second Woe began with the loosing of the four angels of the Euphrates and ends with the battle of the Two Witnesses against the Beast, their death and their ascension, and the great earthquake that immediately follows these events.
The third and final clue is that these Woes originate from an unearthly source. The Locust came from the Abyss, as does the Beast, and the great River Euphrates, from which the four angels are loosed, is also an unearthly source. Given these clues the exact nature of the Third Woe becomes obvious. It is found in the vision that immediately follows the Seventh Trumpet, its principal characteristic is an evil super-naturalism, and it originates from a non-earthly source.
The fact that the Angels of Euphrates arise at this time should give us pause, for the Euphrates Valley is exactly where the forces of unleash their evil powers.