Revelation 9:1-12

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

 May 28, 1997

Introduction

As the Great Tribulation has progressed, we've seen a set of seven seals being opened on a scroll.

As each seal was opened, things would happen to move along events of the Tribulation on earth.

When the seventh seal was opened, it contained these seven "trumpet" judgments.

Seven angels are blowing seven trumpets, and as each trumpet sounds, more events happen in the Tribulation.

We now are looking at the last three trumpet judgments.

They are also known as the "three woes".

(Rev 8:13 KJV) And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

Comment from Ray Stedman (now deceased):

"I received an unsigned note in the offering last week which I will read to you exactly as it was written: "Kindly see to it that your sermon presentation is more entertaining and concise." I am sure that note was sincere and well-intentioned. Probably many of you feel the same way about my messages. I, too, strongly sympathize with those sentiments. I wish there was some way to make these messages more entertaining; and although I struggle to make them concise, I probably could use some improvement in that area. But I remind you that we are dealing now with what the Old Testament prophets called "the great and terrible day of the Lord." I find it difficult to make such messages amusing or entertaining. It strikes me that to attempt it would be somewhat analogous to hiring a comedian to entertain the witnesses at a public execution! This is not entertaining material, I grant you, but it is true! And we have to face unpleasant truth at times."

:1-12 The fifth trumpet

:1 And the fifth angel sounded

We've been through the first group of four trumpets, where great devastation has come on the earth, upon vegetation, fresh water, and the oceans.

:1 and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth

fall - in the Greek it's a "perfect" tense, meaning "has fallen", something that has happened in the past, with the results continuing on into the present.

I think this is an important key to this "star".

What (or who) is this "star"?

We've already seen several "stars" falling from heaven to earth:

Re 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Re 8:10-11 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

In both of these cases, we talked about these events in terms of physical objects falling out of the sky onto the earth as the most likely possibility.

Is this the case now?

The difference between this star and the others falling stars is that this star definitely has personality, a characteristic of a person, rather than just being some kind of object.

It is given a key, it opens a pit

That's not to say that the other stars couldn't also be persons as well.

There are places in Scripture where individuals are described as "stars":

Ge 37:9 (Joseph dreaming of his family)

Nu 24:17 (the Messiah described as "a Star out of Jacob")

Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

I think this could be a good description of Satan himself, since he is a "fallen" (already happened) angel -

Isa 14:12-15 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Be careful!

Just because Satan is a "fallen" angel, doesn't mean that he still doesn't have access to God.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

He is currently employed as the "accuser of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10)

It won't be until part way through the tribulation that Satan will loose his access to the throne of God:

Re 12:7-8 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

:1 the bottomless pit.

bottomless pit (two Greek words) - tou freatoj thj abussou

phrear - a well; the pit of the abyss

abussos - ("a" (without) + "buthos" (depth)) - bottomless; unbounded; the abyss

From looking at all the Scriptures, this is what we can best piece together about this place known as the "bottomless pit" or, the "abyss".

Lessons on the abyss:

It's a place of torment.

When Jesus encountered the demons of "Legion", they asked not to be cast into a place called the "abyss":

(Luke 8:26-33 KJV) And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. {27} And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. {28} When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. {29} (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) {30} And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. {31} And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. {32} And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. {33} Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.

Apparently, the "abyss" was a place of torment, as Matthew records the demons saying,

Mt 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Lessons on the abyss:

It's a place of imprisonment.

Back in the days of Noah, it is believed that certain fallen angels ("sons of God") produced offspring with human wives, which apparently contributed to the wickedness on the earth, and led to the flood of Noah (Gen. 6)

We think it's these angels that Peter and Jude talk about being imprisoned:

(2 Pet 2:4 KJV) For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

(Jude 1:6 KJV) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

They are bound in chains until the time of judgment, until Revelation 9.

Isaiah has an interesting verse that may apply to this:

(Isa 24:21-22 KJV) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. {22} And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.

Lessons on the abyss:

It's the place of origin for the antichrist.

The antichrist, or at least the demonic spirit that possesses the man who will be the antichrist, will come out of the abyss:

Re 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Re 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

I wonder about the current craze of reincarnation thinking where people talk about their "past lives".

I've heard people claim to have knowledge about certain places or events that they wouldn't have known about by natural circumstances.

I believe that some of this "past lives" stuff is none other than demonic spirits playing video tapes in the minds of these unsuspecting individuals. After all, the demons have been around for eons!

I wonder if this will be something similar with the antichrist, as some person is possibly possessed by a demonic spirit that has been held in the abyss.

:1 to him was given the key of

The star's authority wasn't complete, the key was given to him.

It's not until God is ready to let these demons go free for a while that the key is given to the "star".

Don't worry, the key to the pit doesn't get lost.

It will be used again after this:

(Rev 20:1-3 KJV) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. {2} And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, {3} And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Satan will be bound in the abyss during the 1,000 years that Jesus reigns on the earth, the time known as the Millenium.

Lesson:

God is still in control.

Satan isn't given the key until the time is right.

It's not that he launches a guerilla offensive and steals the key.

When the time is right, he is given the key.

Even though Satan may be under the idea that he will someday win out, he is only allowed as far as God will allow him.

Satan isn't God's "opposite", or God's "equal".

He is a rebellious angel of high ranking, an extremely powerful individual, but he is nothing compared to the Creator.

Run to God for help!

(James 4:7 KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Let God be your protection from Satan.

Even the highest angels don't face him on their own power, but stand behind Jesus' power:

(Jude 1:9 KJV) Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

:2 And he opened the bottomless pit

The "star" uses the key he's been given, and opens up the abyss.

:2 there arose a smoke out of the pit

Is this symbolic of something? I don't know. I don't see why it has to be.

:2 as the smoke of a great furnace

Again, note the language -

The smoke is simply being compared to the smoke of a great furnace.

There is similarity between the two, but it isn't smoke from a furnace.

:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth

What are these locusts?

Are they real locusts?

One of the plagues in Egypt was with real locusts who demolished the fields of Egypt.

But these aren't normal locuts, these have a king (vs. 11)

For some reason, Solomon tells us that normal locusts don't have a king:

(Prov 30:27 KJV) The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;

Though some would argue that these creatures are military weapons like Apache attack helicopters, I think that it's just possible that these are simply demonic creatures.

:3 and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

As we're going to see, these beings have the ability to inflict pain like a scorpion's pain.

Power - exousia - power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases.

Don't think of them receiving electrical charges, they are given the authority to act the way they're going to.

:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree;

Here's another reason why these aren't normal locusts.

For normal locusts, this is all they hurt.

:4 but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

These locusts have a limited mission, only to afflict those who don't have the "seal of God"

We saw back in chapter seven concerning the 144,000 -

(Rev 7:3 KJV) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

We know that this "seal" must at least apply to the 144,000.

Whether it includes anyone else who is a believer on the earth during the tribulation is kind of speculation.

Lesson:

Don't expect life to be fun in the Tribulation.

Every once in a while you come across a person with a kind of cocky attitude who says they'll just wait until the Rapture happens before they accept Jesus.

But unless they're Jewish, and have never been married, there's not a good chance they'll be one of the 144,000.

And if that's the case, there's no guarantee they won't be affected by these creatures.

:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and

The people afflicted by these locusts were not killed by their sting, they were only in pain.

Torment - basanizo - to question by applying torture; to torture; comes from the word which means to torture someone on a rack to make them divulge the truth.

five months - why? no clue

:5 their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

The bite of a scorpion is one of the most painful of bites.

Jon Courson's story about the man who was bitten on the tongue by his pet scorpion when he gave it it's nightly good night kiss.

:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

People are going to be desparate.

They're going to want to die, yet somehow be unable.

Does this mean that Dr. Kevorkian has retired?

Does this mean that if someone is in a car accident, even if their head is cut off, that they don't die?

Probably it means that the people that are afflicted with this pain won't die from it.

:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle

Notice the language, "like unto", "as it were", "as"

We're simply being given a description.

Horses with armor on them.

Locusts according to some have a horse-like appearance

German - hoepferg - hay horse

Italian - caviletta - little horse

Some who have claimed to see demonic spirits have claimed that this description is very fitting.

From Chuck Smith:

There's a very interesting book called Through Forbidden Tibet by Harrison Forman. He has a chapter called, "I Saw the King of Hell." He talks about an annual religious rite in Tibet where the religious men of the nation gather and call forth various demons-the demon of famine, the demon of floods, etc.-and they materialize. Forman writes that the "priests" exercise their spiritual powers over these demons so that the demons cannot affect the land in the coming year. But a demon may happen to get away. For instance, if the demon of floods escapes, then the land is ravished by floods in the coming year. At the conclusion of this week-long ceremony, they call forth the King of Hell. Forman describes how he sought to guard himself against falling into any hypnotic state or trance and kept doing things to protect himself against becoming hypnotized. What he saw was uncanny. He actually saw demons as they materialized, and he describes them and their various forms. His descriptions of the demons are much like those in Revelation.

:7 ; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

As it were - it means there was a similarity, not that they had crowns of gold.

:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

Long hair, sharp teeth.

Sounds kind of ugly to me.

:9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and

Iron plated.

:9 the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

Noisy little buggers.

Supposedly natural locusts make a lot of noise when they're eating.

Some have seen this as a description of helicopters.

Joel describes a similar scene:

Joel 2:5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.

:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

This is how they inflict their pain, through their tails, just like scorpions.

:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit

As we're going to see, this ties in with the beginning of the chapter, as we tentatively identified the "fallen angel" as Satan.

Extra Missler idea:

(Amos 7:1 KJV) Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings.

In the Septuagint (early, B.C. Greek translation of OT, basis for most NT quotes of OT) - "a swarm of locusts was coming and behold one of the young devastating locusts was Gog the king"

What do you do with that? Who knows?

:11 whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

Abaddon and Apollyon are the same word, but in two different languages.

They both mean "destroyer"

I believe these are names for Satan himself.

Judas was called the "son of destruction"

(John 17:12 KJV) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

The antichrist will be known as the same:

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (AV)

Lesson:

Satan is a destroyer.

(John 10:10 KJV) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

We need to bring people to Jesus, so they can have His life, and not Satan's destruction.

(2 Tim 2:24-26 KJV) And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, {25} In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; {26} And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

One woe down, two more to go.