Jesus is Sovereign over the Future (Revelation 4-22), cont’d.
Revelation 8-9 The 7 Trumpets…Judgments of God (Chronology Chapter), cont’d.
Revelation 9-The Second Series of God’s Judgments, cont’d. (Trumpets #5-6)
At this point, John must have struggled to communicate exactly what he is seeing because he uses the word “like” more in chapter 9 than it is used in any other chapter in the Bible.
Revelation 9:1-12 (Trumpet #5, Woe #1)
Attention is now brought to a "star from Heaven" (Satan, :12) that had fallen to the earth. He is given the "key of the bottomless pit" and when he opened it "locusts" (demonic creatures) came out. They had power like a scorpion (:5)...to "hurt" (:4) and "torment" (not kill-:5; cause intense pain-:6) "the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" (cf. 7:2-3). They could do this for a period of 5 months (:5,10). They have an appearance "like" horses in battle gear, with faces like men, hair like women, teeth like a lion, crowns on their heads, breastplates of iron, and wings. Their king is "the angel of the abyss...Abaddon...Apollyon" (both words mean "destruction").
- I saw a star fallen from heaven: The text clearly shows us that this star is a person (to him), not a literal star. The verb tense (fallen) indicates that he already had fallen.
- But who is this star? Suggestions have included Nero, a fallen angel, an evil spirit, Satan, the Word of God, a good angel, or even Jesus Himself.
- In the context, this star is best seen as an angel; whether he is a good or bad angel depends on his relation to the angel of the bottomless pit in Revelation 9:11. If the angel of Revelation 9:1 one is the same as the angel of Revelation 9:11, it is an evil angel - perhaps Satan himself. If it is a different angel, it may be a good angel sent by God to open up this bottomless pit for the purposes of judgment.
- To him was given the key to the bottomless pit: That this star is fallen makes us associate him with Satan, or another high ranking evil angelic being. But the fact that he is given the key to the bottomless pit makes us not want to associate him with Satan. The idea that Satan is the "master of hell" is foreign to the rest of the Scriptures. He will be hell's victim, not ruler.
- At the same time, we notice that the key is given to this being, and that it is given at a specific time and for a specific purpose that furthers God's plan. This angel - evil or good - serves God's purpose, even if he does not intend to.
- Where is the bottomless pit? The most straightforward answer is that it is in the center of the earth, because there, one might say that all is "top" and nothing is "bottom." But the "bottomlessness" of the pit may be symbolic.
- The abyssos is a prison for certain demons (Luke 8:31, 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6). This is probably the same place as this bottomless pit. More generally, this place is considered the realm of the dead, the same as Hades (Romans 10:7).
- Revelation 9:1 is a good example of how the Book of Revelation is wrongly spiritualized in its interpretation. Some commentators say that the star is the word of God, the pit is human nature, and the lesson is that if the gospel is rejected, horrors are unleashed. But this is far from the plain meaning of Revelation 9:1…
- The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle: Many attempts have been made to show that this is an accurate (though poetic) description of natural locusts. But this approach misses the obvious demonic connection.
- Why would God call them locusts if they are not literal locusts, but demonic spirits who swarm and destroy like locusts? Among other reasons, because locusts are agents of God's judgment. This is a consistent Old Testament figure in passages like Exodus 10:4-14, Deuteronomy 28:38, 1 Kings 8:37, 2 Chronicles 7:13, Joel 1:4, and Amos 4:9.
- Like horses … like gold … like the faces of men … like women's hair … like lion's teeth: The repetition of like indicates something other than a literal description is intended. The total impact of this picture is one of unnatural and awesome cruelty.
- Suggestions that these locusts actually describe something such as the "helicopter gunships of the Antichrist" are interesting, but purely speculative, and don't fit all the details.
- "There seems to be no alternative to concluding that God, satisfying the age-long desire of those wicked spirits to possess bodies of their own, has created bodies for them, bodies appropriate in demonic appearance to the character of the demonic inhabitants." (Morris)
iii. "There can be no specific answer to the question of exactly who or what is symbolized by the plague of locusts. All we can know for sure is that in the period immediately before the end the wicked will be subjected to a time of unprecedented demonic torment. Exactly how this will take place will remain unknown until disclosed by history itself." (Mounce)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Revelation 9,
Revelation 9:13-19 (Trumpet #6, Woe #2)
One-third of mankind is killed (11:14) when four angels who are bound at the Euphrates River are released. 200 million horsemen are in the army...they are either human beings, demons, or demon-possessed humans. Fire, smoke, and brimstone come out of the horses' mouths...and one-third of mankind are killed by these three "plagues" (:18). The power of the horses is in their mouths and tails (:19-"are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm").
- Were released to kill a third of mankind: The demonic locusts described earlier in the chapter were restricted to tormenting mankind. But these four angels have the authority to kill on a massive scale.
- These angels have a specific sphere of activity (a third of mankind), and are only activated in God's timing. They execute God's will in God's timing.
- The great river Euphrates: Why are these angels of judgment connected with the Euphrates River? The Euphrates was a landmark of ancient Babylon. It was the frontier of the Israel's land as fully promised by God (Genesis 15:17-21). It was also the boundary of the old Roman Empire, which will be revived under the Antichrist.
- The Euphrates is also associated with the first sin (Genesis 2:10-14), the first murder (Genesis 4:16), the first organized revolt against God (Genesis 11:1-9), the first war confederation (Genesis 14:1), and the first dictatorship (Genesis 10:8-10).
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Revelation 9,
Revelation 9:20-21-The Refusal of People to Repent
Revelation tells us that despite the judgments, the warnings of God…the rest of mankind will not repent of their sins.
Woe #2 begins with the blowing of Trumpet #6 (9:13-21). We then have chapters 10-11, which are Content Chapters. Woe #2 picks up again and is completed in chapter 11, verses 13-14.
Prayer: Lord, please give us eyes to see...and hearts to believe. Don't let us become so hardened that we fail to see You in every waking moment. It is amazing that men will go through such terrible things as shown here and still not turn from their sin. Lord, please help me to be sensitive and responsive to Your Spirit. Don't let me become indifferent to You. Don't let me be non-responsive to You. Help me to repent of my sin when You first convict me of it.