Advent with Revelation (Ch. 9)
December 06, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 9 (Monday of the Second Week of Advent)

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit; he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given authority like the authority of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to damage the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them.

In appearance the locusts were like horses equipped for battle. On their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails like scorpions, with stings, and in their tails is their power to harm people for five months. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

The first woe has passed. There are still two woes to come.

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’ So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of humankind. The number of the troops of cavalry was two hundred million; I heard their number. And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the colour of fire and of sapphire and of sulphur; the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of humankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they inflict harm.

The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshipping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts.


What previously preceded by a figure in the slain lamb is fulfilled in Christ, the truth which followed afterwards. As, then, when Egypt was smitten, the Jewish people could not escape except by the blood and the sign of the lamb; so also, when the world shall begin to be desolated and smitten, whoever is found in the blood and the sign of Christ alone shall escape. Look, therefore, while there is time, to the true and eternal salvation; and since now the end of the world is at hand, turn your minds to God, in the fear of God; nor let that powerless and vain dominion in the world over the just and meek delight you, since in the field, even among the cultivated and fruitful corn, the tares and the darnel have dominion. (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

The altar is the Church, and it is golden because it is illuminated by heavenly wisdom. Note also that the altar is before the eyes of God because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just. The horns of the altar are holy preachers, and by this one horn we understand the leader of preachers, that is Christ. He tells the sixth angel sounding the trumpet, that is, he proclaims to the Church, to loose the four angels, because he has granted it the power tobind and loose in heaven and on earth, according to this: Whatsoever thou shalt bind, etc. In the four angels we recognize the entire body of the reprobates, which consists of evil spirits and wicked men, of course separate in nature, but united in iniquity. Indeed the number four is frequently used to signify totality, whence it is said that in the end of the world the elect will be taken from the four winds of the sky by angels. By the Euphrates, which is often mentioned with a negative meaning, is represented the worldly kingdom’s power, hostile to Christ and the Church; and the old enemy is said to be bound in this power with his body because he is not permitted to do as much harm as he wants. (Alcuin of York)

The Devil is bound throughout the whole period embraced by the Apocalypse, that is, from the firstcom­ing of Christ to the end of the world, which will be Christ’s second coming. The meaning of this binding is not that he ceases to seduce the Church during that interval called ‘the thousand years’, as is shown by the fact that when unloosed he is evidently not destined to lead it astray. For assuredly if his binding meant that he is unable, or not allowed, to lead it astray, his unloosing can only mean that he is now able, or permitted, to do so. But God forbid that this should be the case! Instead, what the binding of the Devil means is that he is not permitted to exert his whole power of temptation either by force or by guile to seduce people to his side by violent compulsion or fraudulent delusion. For if he were permitted for so long a time, a time when so many were so insecure, he would overthrow very many of the faithful or prevent very many from believing, and those would be the kind of people to whom God did not will that this should happen. It was to prevent his achieving this that he was bound. (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Musical Selections


Benedictio, et claritas, et sapientia, et gratiarum actio, honor, et virtus, et fortitudo Deo nostro in sæcula sæculorum, Amen.
Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, honor and power and strength to our God, forever and ever. Amen.”

Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face; here would I touch and handle things unseen, here grasp with firmer hand th'eternal grace, and all my weariness upon thee lean.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God, here drink with thee the royal wine of heav'n; here would I lay aside each earthly load, here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiv'n.

I have no help but thine, nor do I need another arm save thine to lean upon: it is enough, O Lord, enough indeed; my strength is in thy might, thy might alone.

Mine is the sin, but thine the righteousness; mine is the guilt, but thine the cleansing blood; here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace: thy blood, thy righteousness, O Lord my God.


Blessing and honor and glory and pow'r,
wisdom and riches and strength evermore
give ye to him who our battle hath won,
whose are the kingdom, the crown, and the throne.

Soundeth the heav'n of the heav'ns with his name;
ringeth the earth with his glory and fame;
ocean and mountain, stream, forest, and flow'r
echo his praises and tell of his pow'r.

Ever ascendeth the song and the joy;
ever descendeth the love from on high;
blessing and honor and glory and praise-—
this is the theme of the hymns that we raise.

Give we the glory and praise to the Lamb;
take we the robe and the harp and the palm;
sing we the song of the Lamb that was slain,
dying in weakness, but rising to reign.


May our prayer of petition
rise before you, we pray, O Lord,
that, with purity unblemished,
we, your servants, may come, as we desire,
to celebrate the great mystery
of the Incarnation of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.