We are talking about the various trumpets that have been sounded.
In verse 10, there were locusts that appeared who had a king. For a period of five months, people are not able to die, no matter what happens to them or what they do to themselves. Death will escape them. God wants them to suffer the tribulation for their rejection.
One “woe” is past, and there are still two to go. In other words, conditions get even worse. God has the right and the ability to destroy the world and all of us in it, but He is gracious to grant His people mercy.
In verse 13, the sixth angel sounds. This is where we get the term “horns of the altar,” which represents a sanctuary.
In verse 14, there are four angels who are loosed that had been bound in the Euphrates River. This is a slap in the face to man-made religion, because this was the place where man-made religions originated. These angels are demonic forces. They have no mercy, no reverence for God, no reverence for the Bible. But God nonetheless controls them. Indeed, He uses the devil for His own devices.
The four angels are prepared for one hour, one day, one month, and one year. (Remember, every time a seal is opened, it is the Lamb who opens it. God is completely in control of all these moves.) This is man’s last stand to shake his fist at God.
The army of the horsemen contains 200,000,000 individuals. John writes, “I heard the number of them.” He is seeing these things as God gives him a revelatory vision.
If you think Jesus isn’t coming back because it has been almost 2,000 years since we were told of His return, it took Him 4,000 years to show up after He was first prophesied in Genesis.
John’s vision seems veiled to us, because He didn’t understand the technology that would exist in the end times. So the language he uses seems antiquated to us in 2016.
There is only one nation on earth that could produce an army of 200,000,000. And we are already told about armies coming from the east. So we are likely looking at 200,000,000 demon-possessed Chinese soldiers constituting this army.
In verse 17, we are told about brimstone coming from the mouths of the “horses.” Heretofore, brimstone has only issued from heaven. But this brimstone is not divinely-produced. (It could be chemical warfare.)
A third of the men will be killed by fire, smoke and brimstone.
John talks about power coming out of the mouths and tails of these creatures. They are able to attack from multiple directions. (Again, this is John’s way of describing modern warfare.)
God has said He will bless those who bless Israel, and He will curse those who curse Israel. No weapons will be able to destroy Israel. God will protect them.
The ones who are not killed will still not repent. They will insist on worshipping something that cannot help them. Man is so wicked and depraved the he is willing to do anything. Despite all the blood and devastation they have seen by now, they have to know that this is divine judgment. Yet they will still shake their fists at God and spit in His face.
God will have the final word over those who do not repent. Christianity is not about us being right, but about God being vindicated for who He is. He is holy and He is just.
Man will not repent of his murders, sorceries (witchcraft), fornication and theft. In fact, the Greek word (farmakeia) from which we derive sorcery & witchcraft is the same word from which we derive pharmacy (drugs). None of these sins are to be taken lightly.
Man without God is capable of anything. Nothing should surprise us anymore. Man is capable of heinous atrocities.
If you do not personally stay close to God, you will ruin your life. If you do not have a consistent relationship with God, you will not grow. If you insist on living life your way, you will wreck your home. If you are not close to God, you will be a train wreck, even if you go to church every Sunday.
Even the apostle Paul admitted he should be a castaway.