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of the smoke of the pit.
I have not the seal of God in their 3 And there came out of the foreheads. smoke locusts upon the earth : 5 And to them it was given and unto them was given power, that they should not kill them, as the scorpions of the earth but that they should be torment
ed five months : and their tor4 And it was commanded ment was as the torment of a them that they should not hurt scorpion, when he striketh the grass of the earth, neither man. any green thing, neither any 6 And in those days shall tree; but only those men which men seek death, and shall not seems to be the same general strain 5. Should not kill them. - This lan. of metaphor both in the prophets and guage is not to be understood too in the prophecy of our Lord, in regard strictly, for undoubtedly some were to the destruction of Jerusalein. The slain by the Roman armies at their revelator follows them; but is more first approach. Nevertheless, this metaphorical than either. No reader, was not the time when the great however, can fail to see the similarity slaughter took place. Tormented in their style.
| five months. — They were, however, 3. Came out of the smoke locusts.- greatly tormented, and were driven And what do these locusts represent to the greatest straits for the want of but the first approach of the Roman the necessaries of life, and for the
" Locusts,” (says Dr. Lan- dangers caused by their animosities caster, in his abridgment of Daubuz,) among themselves, and the threaten"fly in such prodigious numbers, asing of the Roman armies. | Torthat they form a great cloud and ment of a scorpion. – Thus was their darken the sky; and then falling upon torment, “as the torment of a scorpion the earth, make a most terrible havoc when he striketh a man. Josephus of all the fruits thereof; and so are a states that very few of the Jews were proper symbol to signify AN ARMY slain during the invasion of their of enemies coming in vast_multi- cities by Cestius Gallus, although tudes,” &c. &c. - (Quoted in Tower's they suffered much. — [De Bell. Jud., Illustrations of Prophecy.) But that Book II., chap. xx., sec. 9.] Cestius they did signify an army will be ren- lay before Jerusalem one whole sumdered absolutely certain as we pro- mer, says Adam Clarke, or about five ceed. They had more than a locust's months; and this may be the time power; they had the power of scor- referred to by the words, “they should pions.
be tormented five months ;' verses 4. Should not hurt the grass. — If 5, 10. they had been locusts in reality, what 6. Shall men seek death.
This was would have been more natural than owing to the greatness of their sufferthat they should have devoured the ings, arising from their commotions grass, and any green thing? But within and enemies without. Christ they were symbolical; they repre- and his apostles forewarned men of sented an army of men, who were the “great tribulation ;' and we have to make havoc of their fellow-men no doubt that many longed for death Those servants of God, however, who as a relief from their terrible sufferwere sealed in their foreheads, Rev. ings. It is not uncommon for people vii. 3, they could not harm; they had to suffer so severely as to long for power only to hurt those who had not death. Job spoke of those in his day, the seal.
who "longed for death, but it came
find it; and shall desire to die, hair of women, and their teeth and death shall flee from them. were as the teeth of lions.
7. And the shapes of the lo- 9 And they had breast-plates, custs were like unto horses pre- as it were breast-plates of iron; pared unto battle ; and on their and the sound of their wings heads were as it were crowns was as the sound of chariots of like gold, and their faces were many horses running to battle. as the faces of men.
10 And they had tails like 8 And they had hair as the unto scorpions, and there were
not, and dug for it more than for hid- can be no doubt that the prophet and den treasures;” iii. 21. And Jere- revelator spake of the same event. miah, foretelling the sufferings of the What other interpretation can be Jews, said, “Death shall be chosen given of the chapter now before us, rather than life;" viii. 3.
that presents such claims to belief? 7. Horses prepared for battle. - Now Every one must see the very striking we have what we call certain proof, resemblance between the description that by the locusts is signified armies. of Joel and that of the revelator ; in They were like horses prepared unto fact, they are almost the self-same battle." Crowns like gold. — Their thing. Why then ought we not to be brazen caps “were as it were crowns guided by the prophet in applying the like gold, and their faces were as the dark passages of the Apocalypse ? faces of men."
The description is evidently that of an 8. As the hair of women. - Their army well supplied with cavalry; and hair, or some ornament of their caps, for that species of force the Romans was as the hair of women; and their were eminent. teeth were like lions' teeth.
10. They had tails like unto scor9. Breast-plates of iron. - They had pions. — The meaning is, they had a breast-plates also, which is surely scorpion's power to inflict pain. It descriptive of soldiers. Sound of agrees precisely with what is said their wings. The sound of their verse 3, "Unto them was given power, wings was like the sound of chariots as the scorpions of the earth have and many horses running to battle. power.” The scorpion is the largest How exactly this agrees with the and most malignant of all the insect description given of the invasion of tribe. Its bite is terrible, not so much Jerusalem by the prophet Joel. It for the death it sometimes occasions, seems impossible to avoid the impres- as for the pain it causes, which is sion, that the revelator drew his worse than death. The torment of figures from that prophet. “A fire the bite of the scorpion of the east is devoureth before them; and behind thus described, according to Mr. Taythem a flame burneth : the land is as lor, by Dioscorides: “When the scorthe garden of Eden before them, and pion has stung, the place becomes behind them a desolate wilderness; inflamed and hardened; it reddens yea, and nothing shall escape them by tension, and is painful by interThe appearance of them is as the vals, being now chilly, now burning. appearance of horses; and as horse. The pain soon rises high, and rages men, so shall they run. Like the sometimes more, and sometimes less. noise of chariots on the tops of moun. A sweating succeeds, attended by a tains shall they leap, like the noise shivering and trembling; the extrem. of a flame of fire that devoureth the ities of the body become cold; the stubble, as a strong people set in groin swells; the hair stands on end; battle-array;" Joel ii. 3—5. There the members become pale; and the
stings in their tails; and their name Apollyon. power was to hurt men five 12 One woe is past; and bemonths.
hold, there come two woes more 11 And they had a king over hereafter. them, which is the angel of the 13 And the sixth angel soundbottomless pit, whose name in ed, and I heard a voice from the the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, four horns of the golden altar but in the Greek tongue hath his which is before God,
skin feels throughout it the sensa- | their commander was said to be the tion of a perpetual prickling, as if angel of that abyss, the principal perby needles." Such is “the torment sonage. And as he caused great loss of a scorpion when he striketh a and devastation, his name is DESTRUCman;" ver. 5. When men are in this tion, for such is the meaning of the awful condition, they long for death, Hebrew word Abaddon, and the Greek and death seems to flee away from Apollyon signifies a Destroyer. Pickthem only to protract their torments. ering defines Abaddon, destruction, In order to give the fact, that the devastation, destroyer ; Apollyon, the Roman armies would cause the most destroyer, devastation. Donnegan intense anguish on the unbelieving defines the verb Apollumi, to destroy Jews, it is said that the locusts, which utterly, and he says Homer uses it represented those armies, had tails mostly of persons slain in battle. Lid. like scorpions, armed with stings. dell and Scott say that Apollumi sig| Hurt men five months. — The locust nifies to destroy utterly, kill, slay, season lasted about five months; the murder; and they refer to Homer, animal comes, ravages, and passes who used it to signify death in battle ; away in about that time. It is also and when applied to things, he used said, that Cestius Gallus lay before it to mean to demolish, to lay waste. Jerusalem about that time. See on How appropriate, then, according to ver. 5.
these high" authorities, to term the 11. They had a king. - This was commander of a destroying army, necessary to be said, because locusts Abaddon, or Apollyon. in general have no king. See Prov. 12. One woe is past.
One of the xxx. 27 : “ The locusts have no king, three woes mentioned viii. 13, has yet go they forth all of them by now been described. Two more rebands. The revelator was obliged, main. Let us turn our attention to therefore, to add, that the forces of the next woe. The three woes were which he spoke, under the metaphor to come at the sounding of the fifth, of locusts, had a king, or command- sixth, and seventh angels. The first er. The movements of armies were woe we have noticed under the sound. described by the prophets by the ing of the fifth angel, ix. 1, and now progress of locusts.
16 As the run
we come to the sounding of the sixth ning to and fro of locusts, shall he angel. run upon them ;" Isa. xxxiii. 4. 13. Heard a voice. The object of Locusts represent especially large the revelator here is to introduce the armies. “Make thyself many as the loosing of the four angels at the locusts."
“ Thy crowned Euphrates; and it is perfectly conare as the locusts, and thy captains sistent with the style of the Apocas the great grasshoppers;" Nahum alypse to describe such an event as iii. 15, 17. Ī The angel of the bot- being done by divine command. tomless pit. — As the host was said to Hence, the voice from the four horns of ascend out of the pit or abyss, so the golden altar, or the voice of God.
14 Saying to the sixth angel loosed, which were prepared for which had the trumpet, Loose an hour, and a day, and a rnonth, the four angels which are bound and a year, for to slay the third in the great river Euphrates. part of men.
15 And the four angels were 16 And the number of the
14. Loose the four angels, &c.— meant by the loosing of the angels in The command is to loose the four the Euphrates, viz., the calling the angels which are bound in the great Roman commanders, who were enriver_Euphrates. The great river. camped in different provinces in the The Euphrates is a great river, and vicinity of that river, to bring their was more especially so in the estima- forces to the city. In the interim betion of the ancients. Its banks were tween the withdrawal of Cestius and the seat of many noble cities; and the approach of Vespasian, the Christowering above all in importance was tians had an opportunity to escape Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms, the from the ill-fated city; and in this beauty of the Chaldees' excellency.” way the 144,000 who had been sealed The Euphrates, or the region thereof, in their foreheads filed away, and was the eastern boundary of the were saved; Rev. vii. 3, 4. This all Roman empire, and that river flowed transpired before the temple was dethrough a vast extent of populous stroyed, because the voice that comcountry. Being far removed from manded to loose the four angels came the capital of the empire, and the from the golden altar, which could nations bordering upon it being hard not with propriety have been said to govern, it was expedient to keep after the temple and the altar were armies there, under experienced gen- demolished. erals. The first efforts of the Romans 15. An hour, and a day, and a month, to obtain possession of Jerusalem hav- and a year. That is, they were preing failed, it became necessary for pared and ready at all times for any them to draw their forces together. length of service; they were instant Dr. Hammond says, “ It is said by in season and out of season; they Josephus, (lib. 5, ch. 6,) that the were ready at any warning for the Syrian legions of the Roman army work of destruction. They were to lay as far as Euphrates; and Pbilo in take part in the destruction of the his Embassy mentions the armies Jews, and do their share in slaying reaching to Euphrates. What, then, that misguided people. does the loosing of the four angels 16. Two hundred thousand thousand. bound in the great river signify, but - This is a certain number for an a call upon the Roman commanders uncertain. It was a custom of the in that region, who had been detained ancients, and is still retained by the there by previous orders, to repair to moderns, to express an uncertain Jerusalem with their forces ? Ves- number by a certain one. The depasian may perhaps be regarded as mons were called legion, not because one of those angels, for he was a the exact number of them leader of the Syrian army, and re- known, but because they were many. paired to Jerusalem after the former | We might say of a vast host, “there leader, Cestius Gallus, had failed to was a million of them,” without in. subdue the rebellious Jews. It was tending that exact number. So when by this army that he was nominated it is said, the number of the horsemen as emperor, at which he repaired to were “two hundred thousand thouRome, and was succeeded by Titus, sand,” or two hundred millions, the his elder son, who prosecuted the war only idea intended to be eonveyed in Judea. This, then, is what is I was that there were a large number.
army of the horsemen' were two and out of their mouths issued hundred thousand thousand: and fire, and smoke, and brimstone. I heard the number of them. 18 By these three was the
17 And thus I saw the horses third part of men killed, by the in the vision, and them that sat fire, and by the smoke, and by on them, having breast-plates of the brimstone, which issued out fire, and of jacinth, and brim- of their mouths. stone : and the heads of the 19 For their power is in their horses were as the heads of lions; mouth, and in their tails : for
The expression is surely hyperbolical. When highly excited, he drives his The Roman armies assembled around breath with great force through his Jerusalem were very numerous. nostrils, and we say he snorts. By
17. And thus I sam.— That is, I this noise, he is sometimes described am now about to describe more par- as being heard at a distance. “The ticularly the appearance of the horses snorting of his horses was heard from and the horsemen, which I have men- Dan: the whole land trembled at the tioned as passing before me in my sound of the neighing of his strong vision. | Breast-plates of fire, and of ones : for they are come, and have jacinth, and of brimstone. It is but a devoured the land, and all that is in matter of small importance to settle, it; the city, and those that dwell whether these breast-plates were worn therein ;" Jer. viii. 16. The horses by the horses or the riders. They which John saw breathed fire and were of fire, jacinth and brimstone; smoke from burning brimstone. It i. e., they were in appearance like is customary in our day, in a painting these articles. A breast-plate very of the excited horse, to show him with highly polished, and reflecting bril- head uplifted, ears put forward, eyes liantly the rays of the sun, or of the all kindled with animation, and phoscamp fires, would seem like a breast- phorescence at his nostrils. So saith plate of fire. The jacinth was a pre- Job: “The glory of his nostrils is cious stone; it is mentioned, Rev. xxi. terrible ;" xxxix. 20. To give the 20, as one of the garnitures of the foun- horses of the eastern cavalry the apdation of the New Jerusalem. Some pearance of great animation, fierceof the breast-plates looked like a bril- ness and power of destruction, the liant of this description; and others revelator describes them as breathing had the appearance of brimstone, i. e., out flames, like the flames that pro(we think,) burning brimstone. As ceed from burning brimstone. the heads of lions. — They were fierce, 18. By these three. — That is, “by fearless; their manes were like lions' the fire, by the smoke, and by the manes ; they had the appearance of brimstone." The power described great majesty and strength. The by them is meant. By this power best horses are trained to war; and did the cavalry its part in the work the nations around the Euphrates, of destruction. from whom this cavalry came,
19. In their mouth and in their tails. abounded in the best of horses. Here lay their power, to which we
Fire, and smoke, and brimstone. - have referred under the preceding This is purely the work of the reve- verse. The revelator's object is still lator's imagination. Out of the the same, viz., to represent the cavalry mouth, or nostrils, — for the breath to be as fearful as possible. In his may proceed from either ; and in a picture, the horses breathed fire and hard chase, or in great excitement, smoke and brimstone. So much for the horse breathes through his mouth. I the mouths. He still wished to