Release the four angels at the Euphrates River (Rev 9:14)

“The voice said

To the sixth angel

Who had the trumpet,


The four angels

Who are bound

At the great Euphrates River.’”

λέγοντα τῷ ἕκτῳ ἀγγέλῳ, ὁ ἔχων τὴν σάλπιγγα Λῦσον τοὺς τέσσαρας ἀγγέλους τοὺς δεδεμένους ἐπὶ τῷ ποταμῷ τῷ μεγάλῳ Εὐφράτῃ.

John said, “The voice said (λέγοντα) to the sixth angel (τῷ ἕκτῳ ἀγγέλῳ) who had the trumpet (ὁ ἔχων τὴν σάλπιγγα), ‘Release (Λῦσον) the four angels (τοὺς τέσσαρας ἀγγέλους) who are bound (τοὺς δεδεμένους) at the great Euphrates River (ἐπὶ τῷ ποταμῷ τῷ μεγάλῳ Εὐφράτῃ).’”  The Euphrates River only appears here in Revelation and not in any other canonical Greek biblical NT writing.  The voice from the horns at the golden heavenly altar told the sixth angel with the trumpet to release the four angels who were bound or tied up at the great Euphrates River.  The Euphrates River was the largest river in ancient Mesopotamia.  In the first century, it was the eastern limits of the Roman Empire.  How or why these angels were tied up or bound, and where on the Euphrates River they were, is not clear.  What do you know about the Euphrates River?

The sixth angel blew his trumpet (Rev 9:13)

“The sixth angel

Blew his trumpet.

I heard

A voice

From the four horns

Of the golden altar

Before God.”

Καὶ ὁ ἕκτος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν μίαν ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων κεράτων τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τοῦ χρυσοῦ τοῦ ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ,

John said, “The sixth angel (Καὶ ὁ ἕκτος ἄγγελος) blew his trumpet (ἐσάλπισεν).  I heard (καὶ ἤκουσα) one voice (φωνὴν μίαν) from the four horns (ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων κεράτων) of the golden altar (τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τοῦ χρυσοῦ) before God (τοῦ ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ).”  John indicated that he heard the sixth angel blow his trumpet.  At the same time, he heard one voice come from the four horns of the heavenly golden altar that was in front of the throne of God.  The four horns were on the four corners of the altar, just like the Jerusalem Temple altar.  Once again, a voice rang out.  Have you ever seen the four horns on an altar?

The first woe has passed (Rev 9:12)

“The first woe

Has passed.


There are still

Two woes

To come.”

Ἡ Οὐαὶ ἡ μία ἀπῆλθεν· ἰδοὺ ἔρχεται ἔτι δύο Οὐαὶ μετὰ ταῦτα.

John said, “The first woe (Ἡ Οὐαὶ ἡ μία) has passed (ἀπῆλθεν).  Look (ἰδοὺ)!  There are still (μετὰ ταῦτα) two woes (ἔτι δύο Οὐαὶ) to come (ἔρχεται).”  John then commented that the first woe of the three great woes had passed, but there were still two more to come.  They still had two more angels with trumpets to go.  Do these woes scare you?

King Abaddon (Rev 9:11)

“They have as their king

Over them

The angel

Of the bottomless pit.

His name in Hebrew

Is Abaddon.

In Greek,

He is called Apollyon.”

ἔχουσιν ἐπ’ αὐτῶν βασιλέα τὸν ἄγγελον τῆς ἀβύσσου, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἑβραϊστί Ἀβαδδών καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ ὄνομα ἔχει Ἀπολλύων.

John said, “They have (ἔχουσιν) as their king over them (ἐπ’ αὐτῶν βασιλέα) the angel (τὸν ἄγγελον) of the bottomless pit (τῆς ἀβύσσου).  His name (ὄνομα αὐτῷ) in Hebrew (Ἑβραϊστί) is Abaddon (Ἀβαδδών).  In Greek (καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ), he is called (ὄνομα ἔχει) Apollyon (Ἀπολλύων).”  John said that the locusts had a king, the angel of the bottomless pit.  In fact, John gave the name of this evil angel in both Hebrew and Greek.  Abaddon was the angel of the abyss, a destroyer angel or a place of destruction.  Apollyon had the same meaning in Greek.  Obviously, both these words appear only here Revelation and not in any other canonical biblical Greek NT writing.  This was some kind of vague reference to Sheol or the underground, as opposed to the heavens and the earth.  These five month stinging locusts had an angel king called the destroyer.  Do you care about the Hebrew or Greek name of this angel king of the bottomless pit?

Stinger tails (Rev 9:10)

“They have tails

Like scorpions,

With stingers.

In their tails

Is their power

To harm people

For five months.”

καὶ ἔχουσιν οὐρὰς ὁμοίας σκορπίοις καὶ κέντρα, καὶ ἐν ταῖς οὐραῖς αὐτῶν ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἀδικῆσαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους μῆνας πέντε.

John said, “They have tails (καὶ ἔχουσιν οὐρὰς) like scorpions (ὁμοίας σκορπίοις), with stingers (καὶ κέντρα).  In their tails (καὶ ἐν ταῖς οὐραῖς αὐτῶν) is their power (ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν) to harm (ἀδικῆσαι) people (τοὺς ἀνθρώπους) for five months (μῆνας πέντε).”  This is the only use of this Greek word that appears only in Revelation and not in any other canonical biblical NT writing, the word οὐρὰς or οὐραῖς, that means tail.  Finally, John got to describe their stinger tails that were like scorpion tails that lasted for five months, the normal life cycle of a locust.  All their power to inflect harm and annoyance on humans was in their stinging tails.  What do you know about being stung?

Nosy wings (Rev 9:9)

“They had breastplates

Like iron breastplates.

The noise

Of their wings was

Like the noise

Of many chariot horses

Rushing into battle.”

καὶ εἶχον θώρακας ὡς θώρακας σιδηροῦς, καὶ ἡ φωνὴ τῶν πτερύγων αὐτῶν ὡς φωνὴ ἁρμάτων ἵππων πολλῶν τρεχόντων εἰς πόλεμον.

John said, “They had breastplates (καὶ εἶχον θώρακας) like iron breastplates (ὡς θώρακας σιδηροῦς).  The noise (καὶ ἡ φωνὴ) of their wings (τῶν πτερύγων αὐτῶν) was like the noise (ὡς φωνὴ) of many chariot horses (ἁρμάτων ἵππων πολλῶν) rushing (τρεχόντων) into battle (εἰς πόλεμον).”  John was really taken with these locusts.  He continued with his description of these locusts that seemed to have iron breastplates.  The noise from their wings was like the sound of many chariot horses rushing into battle.  Remember that these were tiny little insects.  However, in a group they can be devastating.  Have you ever heard the noise of a swarm of locusts?

Woman’s hair and lion’s teeth (Rev 9:8)

“The locust’s hair

Was like

Woman’s hair.

Their teeth

Were like

Lion’s teeth.”

καὶ εἶχαν τρίχας ὡς τρίχας γυναικῶν, καὶ οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτῶν ὡς λεόντων ἦσαν,

John said, “The locust’s hair was (καὶ εἶχαν τρίχας) like woman’s hair (ὡς τρίχας γυναικῶν).  Their teeth (καὶ οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτῶν) were like lion’s teeth (ὡς λεόντων ἦσαν).”  John continued with his description of the hair and the teeth of these stinging locusts.  The locusts had hair like women’s hair, whatever that means.  They had teeth like a lion.  However, they had a lot smaller mouth than a lion.  Have you ever looked at a lion’s tooth?

The locusts were like horses (Rev 9:7)

“In appearance,

The locusts were

Like horses

Equipped for battle.

On their heads

Were what looked like

Crowns of gold.

Their faces

Were like human faces.”

καὶ τὰ ὁμοιώματα τῶν ἀκρίδων ὅμοιοι ἵπποις ἡτοιμασμένοις εἰς πόλεμον, καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν ὡς στέφανοι ὅμοιοι χρυσῷ, καὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν ὡς πρόσωπα ἀνθρώπων,

John said, “In appearance (καὶ τὰ ὁμοιώματα), the locusts (τῶν ἀκρίδων) were like horses (ὅμοιοι ἵπποις) equipped (ἡτοιμασμένοις) for battle (εἰς πόλεμον).  On their heads (καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν) were what looked like crowns of gold (ὡς στέφανοι ὅμοιοι χρυσῷ).  Their faces (καὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν) were like human faces (ὡς πρόσωπα ἀνθρώπων).”  Next John described these small stinging locusts.  They looked like horses getting ready to go to war.  They had small crowns of gold on their heads.  They even had human faces.  They were quite different from your run of the mill locusts.  In the prophet Joel, chapter 1, there was a swarm of locusts that cut down on their food supply.  John was very concerned about the appearance of these locusts.  Do you even know what a locust looks like?

They will long to die (Rev 9:6)

“In those days,

People will seek death,

But will not find it.

They will long

To die,

But death

Will flee

From them.”

καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ζητήσουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι τὸν θάνατον καὶ οὐ μὴ εὑρήσουσιν αὐτόν, καὶ ἐπιθυμήσουσιν ἀποθανεῖν καὶ φεύγει ὁ θάνατος ἀπ’ αὐτῶν.

John said, “In those days (καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις), people (οἱ ἄνθρωποι) will seek (ζητήσουσιν) death (τὸν θάνατον), but will not find it (καὶ οὐ μὴ εὑρήσουσιν αὐτόν).  They will long (καὶ ἐπιθυμήσουσιν) to die (ἀποθανεῖν), but (καὶ) death (ὁ θάνατος) will flee (φεύγει) from them (ἀπ’ αὐτῶν).”  John indicated that this stinging torture would be so bad, that many people would rather seek death than put up with this stinging torture.  People would want to die, but death would flee them.  They would not be able to catch death, but rather suffer on.  Do you think that you would ever prefer death over life?

Torture for five months (Rev 9:5)

“They were allowed

To torture them

For five months,

But not to kill them.

Their torture

Was like the torture

Of a scorpion

When it stings

A person.”

καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἵνα μὴ ἀποκτείνωσιν αὐτούς, ἀλλ’ ἵνα βασανισθήσονται μῆνας πέντε· καὶ ὁ βασανισμὸς αὐτῶν ὡς βασανισμὸς σκορπίου, ὅταν παίσῃ ἄνθρωπον.

John said, “They were allowed (καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς) to torture them (ἀλλ’ ἵνα βασανισθήσονται) for five months (μῆνας πέντε), but not to kill them (ἵνα μὴ ἀποκτείνωσιν αὐτούς).  Their torture (καὶ ὁ βασανισμὸς αὐτῶν) was like the torture (ὡς βασανισμὸς) of a scorpion (σκορπίου) when it stings a person (ὅταν παίσῃ ἄνθρωπον).”  This is the only use of this Greek word that appears only in Revelation and not in any other canonical biblical NT writing, the word βασανισμὸς, that means torture or torment.  John said that the swarming locusts were allowed to torture people for only five months, the normal life cycle of a locust.  However, they were not allowed to kill anybody.  This was a torture that was merely stinging people, like a scorpion sting.  Would you be bothered by a scorpion sting?