Revelation 9:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Revelation 9:15, NIV: And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.

Revelation 9:15, ESV: So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.

Revelation 9:15, KJV: And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

Revelation 9:15, NASB: And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.

Revelation 9:15, NLT: Then the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth.

Revelation 9:15, CSB: So the four angels who were prepared for the hour, day, month, and year were released to kill a third of the human race.

What does Revelation 9:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Prior verses indicated these beings were "bound," meaning they are fallen angels, or demons. This verse reports that the four angels had been prepared precisely for the time of their release. The words, "the hour, the day, the month, and the year" are not intended to be added together into some exact amount of time. Rather, this expression means God had prepared them for this precise instant of their release—for this exact moment in history.

The purpose of these demons' release was to kill one third of mankind. Daniel 12:1 predicts this terrible time. It states: "And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time." Also, this level of catastrophe was part of what Jesus predicted, calling it a great tribulation. Matthew 24:21–22 records His words: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short."

Jesus' words are not entirely symbolic. The fourth seal judgment (Revelation 6:7–8) released the "pale" horseman who caused the death of one fourth of earth's people. This sixth trumpet judgment slays one third of those who survive, meaning the apocalypse has already killed half of the pre-tribulation population. Death on that scale, in only a few years, would eventually lead to human extinction, if not held in check by God.