Revelation 9:13–21 (NKJV)
Sixth Trumpet: The Angels from the Euphrates
After the first woe (fifth trumpet), the unleashing of the horse/locust/scorpion creatures to torment mankind, the second woe (sixth trumpet) is announced and released. The second woe is the action of four angels to kill a third of mankind.
13 Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.Revelation 9:13-19
The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and a voice, possibly from the Tribulation saints that were under the altar after they were martyred, or perhaps God’ voice, called out to the angel who had the sixth trumpet and called upon him to release the four angels bound at the Euphrates River. The identity of these angels is not completely clear. They could be the angels that represented the four winds of an earlier part of the vision. They could be representatives of the armies of the earth who will come and fight against the army of Jesus Christ at Armageddon. This great army, with which the angels are identified, are the instruments of judgment, sent to punish the earth and to destroy or kill one third of mankind. This unleashing of the angels and the army were scheduled and set by God, and they are released at the appropriate time to do their damage. The army that marched forward to kill was numbered at two hundred million troops. It is slightly possible to see these soldiers as instruments whereby the Tribulation saints are killed, but they numbered only one-fourth of the inhabitants of the earth. This could be a horde that simply wreaks havoc on the earth, but they also could be amassing for a future conflict that will determine the future order of the earth for a thousand years.
20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.Revelation 9:20-21
The death of one-third of the population of the earth could have made a difference in the thinking of the rest left alive, but obviously it did not. They continued their practices of worshipping demons, idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood. They continue to worship unclean, false, dead idols that cannot hear or answer them. They cannot walk beside them or care for them. No, these idols are simply incompetent figments of their worshippers imaginations. These unrepentant sinners continued their practices of murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and theft. This decadent mass of humanity did not seek God or His forgiveness. They refused to repent and continued headlong down their spiral of sin into death. This is just one more example of the spiritual blindness thrust upon those who took the mark of the beast. His influence and control are pervasive and powerful. Once marked, there was no turning back. The lesson for us today is that we cannot be duped by the enemy of our souls. We must sell out to Jesus Christ every day and live fully for Him!