1. The evil will be overcome with evil.
2. And we see this again this week as we see what happens when the sixth trumpet is sounded and the second woe takes place.
3. What we are seeing are the events that many believe will occur at the end times. The first 4 trumpets inflicted the earth. The fifth and sixth trumpets bring infliction directly upon mankind.
4. The evil will be overcome by evil. Last week we saw what occurred when the fifth trumpet was sounded. We saw demonic forces were released that tormented mankind so much that they cried up to be killed. And yet for fifth months they could not escape the torment, not even through death.
5. And this torment was only upon those who did not have the mark of God upon them.
6. Some say these events symbolize what has be happening and will happen on earth between the first and second coming of Christ, rather than being specific end-time events. Time will tell.
7. But regardless of the timing we do learn certain things from how god’s judgements are carried out. We see in the fifth and sixth trumpet that those people who chose sin and evil, the way of the devil and his demons, will be tormented and killed by the very forces and lifestyles they chose. The evil will be overcome with evil.
8. It is something we see already today. Those whose lifestyles are mired in homosexuality or drug use suffer from aids. The very things in which they delight bring them misery.
9. The lesson for us is that we need to know that when we choose the way of sin, we ourselves will even suffer the consequences of sin in our own lives. Whether medical consequences for abusing our bodies, economic consequences for indulging in addictions, or social consequences for the sins we commit toward one another.
10. We would think that we would learn. We would think that the world would learn. And yet we seldom do.
11. And those who chose to live in sin fail to see where their hope lies only in repentance. We see this again in the sounding of the sixth trumpet.
12. In verse 13, we read that John hears a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God. This altar is the altar of 8:3 which symbolizes the prayers of the saints who have been martyred. They cry out for vindication of God’s judgement.
13. The voice from the horns is really a voice from the altar. The voice is either the combined cries of the saints or else the angel priest who fills the censer with coals from the altar. But again, as we have read before, God’s judgement is a response to the prayers of these saints.
14. The voice said to the angel who had the sixth trumpet:
"Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
15. These four angels are not the same as the 4 angels who had stood at the four corners of the earth in 7:1. These are abound at the great river Euphrates. The fact that they were bound indicates that they were evil angels who could not carry out their mission until they were released. And since they share in the mission of demonic horses we could say that they are the supernatural leaders of these evil hosts.
16. As we said they were bound at the great river Euphrates. The Euphrates was the ideal limit of the promised land to the east.
Gen 15:18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates
17. Beyond the Euphrates were many heathen kingdoms, including Assyria. And so the river became a symbol of the enemies of Israel and God. Remember the symbolism that is used in Revelation. And so the location of the angels need not be literal, but could refer to the enemies of God and His kingdom.
18. The Euphrates was also the Eastern boundary of the Roman Empire. And so some early readers of this book would have thought that these forces were the Parthians, who were feared by the Romans. In our day, some have thought these forces are the Chinese - because of their large number.
19. The angels were released. They held been held for the hour, day, month and year. Although they were demonic forces, they could not act until the very hour designated by God. God’s timing is not subject to world events but world events are subject to God’s timing.
20. These evil forces themselves were God’s instruments of divine judgement. Just as we said, evil itself today can be used by God to judge the wicked.