The unveiling of the Sixth Trumpet judgment seems, on the surface, to threaten mankind with a great war involving 200 million mounted warriors, the largest military force to ever terrorize the world. The combined military forces of the Allies and the Axis powers of World War II was only 70 million, a terribly destructive force, indeed, but it had only one-third of the destructive power of that of the Sixth Trumpet, if taken literally. Of course, today’s political climate is not without its newspaper exegetes, who are ready to proclaim this trumpet is about to sound. They point to the current political climate surrounding the area of the Euphrates river, which begins in northern Turkey, then flows through Syria and Iraq on its way to empty into the Persian Gulf. The fact that this same area is also the stronghold of ISIS only adds to the explosive climate, and, of course, this is used to stir the apocalyptic pot enough to legitimize the opinions of the prophet wanabes who claim the end is near. Does this interpretation have any Biblical merit? In a word—No!
As the angel blew the Sixth Trumpet, John heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar (Revelation 9:13). The fact that this voice came from the four horns of the golden altar, which is in the Holy Place, seems to indicate that the prayers of the saints are in view here (Revelation 6:9-10). They cried out for vindication, and vindication was promised them once the ministries of the disciples of Jesus were complete (cf. Revelation 6:11). The fact that the four winds of Revelation 7:1 were held back (viz. the first four trumpets of Revelation 8) until the entire elect were sealed seems to indicate that the sealing was complete before the trumpets were blown. Therefore, the casting of the golden censor to the earth would express the fact that those prayers were about to be answered, meaning the vindication of the elect was about to take place (viz. Revelation 6:9-11) sometime in the judgment of the seven trumpets that were ready to be blown (Revelation 8:6). Moreover, since the Sixth Trumpet was the impetus that permitted the voice of the four horns of the altar to be heard, it would seem that the vindication of the righteous was to take place during this judgment.
Although the souls under the altar cried out at the same time, they were heard as one voice (Revelation 6:9-10), and the same is true at the blowing of the Sixth Trumpet. A single voice was heard from the four horns of the altar (Revelation 9:14), which may indicate the voice, itself, comes from the High Priest (Revelation 8:3) who represents the voices of the whole of the elect.
The horns of the altar seem to represent the power of God and Christ for salvation (Psalm 18:2; Habakkuk 3:4; Luke 1:69), and this is somewhat borne out in the fact that both Adonijah and Joab clung to the horns of the Altar of Burnt Sacrifice, indicating they sought mercy from King Solomon, hoping their repentance would save their lives (1Kings 1:50-51; 2:28).
In the context of Revelation 9:13 it would be a cry of the elect for both salvation (resurrection) and vindication (judgment upon their enemies). Jesus’ claim, that the whole of God’s wrath for the vindication of the righteous blood, which was shed from creation to the first century AD, would come upon that generation of Jews who rejected their Messiah (Matthew 23:34), tells us that the Sixth Trumpet judgment would fall upon Jerusalem and the land of the Jews in the first century AD. Therefore, no matter what the political climate of the Middle East is today, the Sixth Trumpet has absolutely nothing to do with what we read in the newspapers or hear on the Nightly News. The Sixth Trumpet judgment concerned vindicating the blood of the righteous upon the heads of that generation of Jews who rejected Jesus and his Gospel in the first century AD. War had been declared! The Jews were finally at war with Rome, as Jesus disciples had been predicting would occur for nearly 40 years. Judgment had finally come!
 No matter what the meaning of the Sixth Trumpet judgment, the fact that the golden altar is referred to here without further comment leads one to assume the Temple at Jerusalem was still standing at the time of John’s prophecy.
 Moses never said from what beast the horns came that decorated the four corners of the Altar of incense. However, Psalm 22:21 implies they were the horns of the unicorn, which seems to be that of a massive wild ox, not a single horned creature such as the rhinoceros, because out of Joseph came two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh (cf. Deuteronomy 33:17). This beast was ferocious (Numbers 23:22; 24:8) and untamable (Job 39:9-12), which, today, seems to be extinct.