In 1727 John Hutchinson (1674–1737) published ‘Moses’s Principia,’ in which he attempted to defend his interpretation of the cosmology of the Bible, against that of Sir Isaac Newton, and Dr. Samuel Clarke, who publicized Newton’s ideas in the Boyle lectures, and of Dr. John Woodward, (1665–1728) physician to the duke of Somerset. Hutchinson ridiculed Woodward’s treatise, The Natural History of the Earth. Hutchinson also attacked Clark for his heterodox views on the Trinity as well as for his Newtonian natural philosophy.
Robert Govett’s commentary on Revelation 9:1-11 is part of his exposition of the Apocalypse. His exposition of the First Woe prophecy, from an abridged edition of his commentary, is provided in this pdf file: R. Govett on the First Woe.
Govett claimed the woe-trumpets described in this chapter begin the great tribulation. “With the woe-trumpets the time of Great Tribulation on earth begins. Matt. xxiv. 21, 22.” Govett identified the “bottomless pit” with “hell.” He said men will become “fearfully immortal” for five months, the time associated with the first woe: “Men are made fearfully immortal during five months of Satan’s reign.”
In Scripture, fire and God’s sword each represent the word of God, which Jesus said, will endure forever.
Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, & Luke 21:33
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Jeremiah compared God’s word to fire.
Isaiah said that God speaks to us with “stammering lips and another tongue.”
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” [Isa. 28:9-11]
“They have power to turn the waters to blood” is part of the description of the two witnesses [Rev. 11:6]. In this article, the two witnesses are understood to represent the Scriptures, and the Spirit, the two things that Jesus said testify of him. [John 5:39; 15:26]
The waters in the prophecy signify the prophetic Scriptures. Blood signifies something that contaminates, that men cannot eat, or drink. Blood was forbidden to all men in Genesis. God said, “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” [Gen. 9:4] It was forbidden to Israel in the law of Moses. “Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood.” [Lev. 19:26]
Justin Almerin Smith (1819-1896) discussed the second woe of Revelation chapter 9 in his Commentary on the Revelation. [American Baptist Publication Society. Philadelphia, Pa. 1884. pp. 131-139.]
Smith attempted to apply the prophecy to historical events. He believed the prophecy foretold the centuries of warfare between Mohammedanism and Christianity.
Gregory K. Beale is Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. In his commentary on Revelation he says the two witnesses of chapter 11 represent the whole church, not two individual humans. Beale wrote: