The Sixth Trumpet or The Second Woe

 One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.

Revelation 9:12 NKJV

The second woe unleashes another terrible judgment on mankind. This one involves a vast demonic force that will kill one-third of earth’s remaining population. How so? An invisible army of two hundred million horsemen will inflict three plagues upon mankind. God’s purpose is to cause the wicked to turn to Him and repent of their worship of false gods, murders, witchcraft, sexual immorality, and thefts.

Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.

Revelation 9:13-14 NKJV

The Golden Altar

Let’s first look to the Old Testament to understand the Israelites’ altars. The brazen altar sat in the court outside the temple where sacrifices were offered. The golden altar of incense stood inside the holy place in front of the veil. The chief priest would put animal blood on its horns for a sin-offering, especially on the Day of Atonement. (Read more about the golden altar HERE.)

The altar is a symbol of true worship, whose incense of Christ’s sacrifice ascends to God. On the other hand, Satan’s altar of worship demands horrific rituals of prostitution, human sacrifice, immoral orgies, blood-drinking, and satan-worship. Therefore, this second woe decrees judgment on all apostasy and false religions that worship Satan, demons, and idols.

The Four Horns

Just as the golden altar is a symbol of worship, the four horns represent the powerful enforcement and execution of its judgments. Note how God’s judgment comes from the four horns to fall on the world’s four primary religions: Brahmanism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism and Christianity. God has doomed each one because of its Godlessness and Christless Christianity.

The Four Fallen Angels Lead Demonic Armies

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. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 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. 

Revelation 9:15-17 NKJV

These four angels, who have been bound up until this particular moment in time, are demonic. Once freed, they lead an army of two hundred million demons who go forth to kill one-third of the people who practice false and satanic religions. These verses describe an invisible army pouring out from the abyss.

Why are the horses’ heads like lions? To create fear. Nothing terrifies people nor animals more than a lion’s roar. Scripture describes Satan as as a roaring lion, roaming about and seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The implication here is that great fear accompanies these plagues.

Mortal eyesight…

What is the literal explanation of this army, two hundred million strong? We see them plainly in the spiritual dimension, but what do they look like in the physical dimension? Let’s observe them by examining the following microscopic picture of a virus taken by the CDC:

Do you recognize it? Isn’t it interesting that its colors are the same as the breastplates described above. Another interesting fact is that fire, smoke, and brimstone are also red, blue, and yellow, respectively. Additionally, Scripture tells us these three things–fire, smoke, and brimstone–are in hell and the lake of fire.

By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their [the horses’] mouths. 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 9:18-19 NKJV

The horses’ tails look like serpents’ heads, whose bites are lethal. The serpent reminds us of Satan in the Garden of Eden who deceived Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, resulting in spiritual death. So, deception may also play a big part in these plagues, just as fear does.


We may conclude that the four fallen angels have unleashed deep fear and deception regarding three deadly plagues via two million invisible “horsemen.” These affect the entire world, killing one-third of the earth’s population. Could they be future virus strains that cannot be killed with medicine or vaccinations?

The Rest of Mankind Who Did Not Die Nor Repent

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. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Revelation 9:20-21 NKJV

It’s hard to imagine that some will choose to suffer and perhaps die worshiping false religions rather than repent of their sins and turn to God. However, man will still have a chance to find salvation in such days as these. But, accepting Jesus as Savior now is the only certain way to avoid these terrible judgments. If you don’t know Him, you can meet Him today.

Dear Heavenly Father, may those who seek You repent of their sins, turn from their wicked ways, and ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. Thank You for Your protection from the fear and deception of these three plagues that will sweep the earth. As we wait for Your glorious appearing, may we purify our hearts and proclaim Your gospel of salvation to a lost and dying world. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

The Sixth Trumpet or Second Woe by Karen Jurgens copyright ©2023 All rights reserved.