Revelation 9

The three woes in 8:13, find meaning in the next three (5th, 6th & 7th) Trumpets. 9:12 & 11:14.

5th Trumpet, The Judgment of God upon the Empire’s Cultural values/ethics. The fallen star, v1, alludes to a ruler over locusts. Satan is a type of ‘god’, 2nd Corinthians 4:4. The locusts are an apt description of the sin of immorality and it’s painful consequences.

“from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace…Then from the smoke came locusts” v2-3, Abraham set eyes on a scene something like this from Genesis 19:28 after Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed. Of course Satan would rule over immorality and it’s deadly consequences, Rev. 9:11. How would you like to face multiple outbreaks of diseases without antibiotics and/or modern medicine?

Imperial Rome had many afflictions, from catastrophic plagues to sexually transmitted diseases. The Antonine Plague, possibly the most widespread and catastrophic outbreak of disease in Rome’s Empire, was named after the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, because it occurred during his reign. Historical sources suggest that Roman soldiers returning from battles in Mesopotamia spread disease, which lasted from 165-180 AD. Based on the written observations of fever, diarrhea, and boils by the Greek physician Galen, historians infer that smallpox caused the plague. Including substantial deaths within the army, the outbreaks decimated an estimated two thirds of the Roman population, killing almost 9 million people. Another disease, Mentagra, notably thought by the Imperial Romans to be spread by kissing, was a skin disease most commonly starting on the chin and moving on to the entire face and sometimes other body parts. The aesthetic factor was very ugly, the disease was not deadly but Romans ironically went as far as scar-inducing cauterization to rid them of the abhorrent disease, it made many of them wish they were dead, as they faced multiple outbreaks of diseases within 15 years and have no antibiotics and/or modern medicine? 9:6, 10.

“not to harm”, v4, Jesus was very clear about his disciples suffering persecution, but he also said to his apostles they could trample on snakes and their poison wouldn’t hurt them, while rejoicing that their names are written in Heaven, Luke 10:19. Logically, if STD’s were at the center of this judgment, and Christians truly lived a sexually pure life, avoiding things like the Roman Baths of their era, then you can see how some disease would have been avoided, but spiritual protection must be realized fully during the onslaught of plague and they must accept this spiritual reality as fully as when the Hebrews received it physically. Christians are protected spiritually to the same extent as Hebrews were protected physically from the plagues of Egypt! see Rev. 7:3.

6th Trumpet, God’s judgment upon the Empire’s Military,  4 Angels “bound at the great river Euphrates”, v13-14. “mounted Troops & horses” are often a symbol of war itself, v16-17. 200 million troops, is a big army!

This number echoes from Psalm 68:14-19 numbering God’s army as victorious, but here in Revelation it could be used in reference to the armies against Rome’s Empire as victorious. East of the Empire lay Rome’s greatest threat, Persia! Other armies took advantage of Rome’s eastern weak front. The big division in the Empire was Constantinople, establishing the Eastern Roman Empire. From there on, it began to crumble. The lion headed horses with tails like snakes, are a sure indication that the armies (Vandals, Goths, Franks & Turks) against Rome are full of power and deception. Terrorism is real for the Romans, and you can hear clearly the Eagle’s second woe in this 6th Trumpet, as they watched their military might weaken in defeat. On August 9, 378AD, an army of Goths led by Fritigern rose and attacked the Romans. Two-thirds of the Eastern Roman army were killed. Ammianus Marcellinus called it “the beginning of evils for the Roman empire then and thereafter.” . Between 406-419AD the Romans lost a great deal of their Empire to different German tribes. The Franks conquered northern Gaul, the Burgundians took eastern Gaul, while the Vandals replaced the Romans in Hispania.

“did not repent…did not repent”, v20-21, The purpose of these Judgments (trumpets) upon the Empire was not fully recognized by most unbelievers, just as in the days of Moses, Pharaoh and the Egyptian army were destroyed. God and His children in Christ were proven victors.

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