And the sixth angel sounded his trumpet. And I heard one voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God saying to the sixth angel having the trumpet, “Release the four angels having been bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels having been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, that they might kill a third of mankind, were loosed. And the number of the armies of the cavalry was twice ten thousand ten thousands. I heard the number of them.
And thus I saw the horses in my vision and those sitting on them, having fiery, hyacinthine, and brimstone-like breastplates. And the heads of the horses were like heads of lions, out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone proceeding out of their mouths. Indeed the powers of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails. Indeed their tails are like serpents, having heads, and with them they harm.
And the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues did not repent of their hand’s works so that they will not worship demons and the golden and silver and bronze and stone and wooden idols, which neither are able to see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders nor their sorceries nor their sexual immorality nor of their thefts.
The second woe regards a certain army that comes from the Euphrates. In my own mind, the last trumpet seems to denote the Antichrist’s coming, but this seems to be angelic. The word “angel” is specifically used, but more than that, the context seems to be specifically against the wicked. The general audience, or they who are being affected, seems to span out beyond just Israel at this current trumpet. For the phrase “great river Euphrates”, see Genesis 15:18, Deuteronomy 1:7, and Joshua 1:4.
Who are these angels? Because John is pulling from Joel in the fifth trump, we expect similarly here. We find the later description of the horses does parallel Joel 2:3, but Joel doesn’t record four angels. It is possible that these angels are represented in Zechariah 1:14-21, or even Daniel 8:8, but such connections are quite unlikely. Rather, it seems more plausible that something like Isaiah 27:12 would fit, “In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one.” It could well be that what causes the Antichrist to be concerned in Daniel 11:44 would be the news of these four angels. This, of course, is speculation.
In verse 15, we have a strange way of expressing time. It is uncommon to list hour, day, month, and year like this. However, we do see parallels in Numbers 1:1, Zechariah 1:7, and Haggai 1:15.
Later, in Revelation 16:12, we find that the sixth bowl of wrath is to dry up the Euphrates to make way for the kings of the east. It is possible that there is some connection here.
In verse 16, the number is “twice ten thousand ten thousands”. Compare Psalm 68:17 and Daniel 7:10. In verse 17 we read of John speaking of his vision. Nowhere else in Revelations does John speak of his vision. The colors seem to correspond with what emits from their mouths. Fire, smoke, and sulfur are also found in 14:10, 19:20, 20:10, and 21:8. We find in Ezekiel 23:6 and 14 red and blue signifying Assyria and Babylon, but the chapter also mentions Egypt. It is unlikely, but others have considered a connection here.
The third of mankind is killed (mentioned in verses 15 and 18), which goes back to the fourth trumpet killing “many” instead of a third.
We can compare verse 20 with Jeremiah 1:16 and Deuteronomy 4:28. The idols are a quotation from Daniel 5:4 and 23, and in Deuteronomy 32:11 we read of the foreign gods being called “demons”. For verse 21 we can reference 2 Kings 9:22 and Isaiah 47:9.