Revelation 9:1-11

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 27, 2001


The main goal of the message this morning is to give a warning.


Bear Warnings

In light of the rising frequency of human - grizzly bear conflicts, the Calif. Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field. We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren’t expecting them. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear poop. Black bear poop is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear poop has little bells in it and smells like pepper.

Revelation 9

:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

staraster – a star. This could be referring to an angelic being, since it’s something that is given a “key” and is referred to as “he”.

pitphrear – a well; the pit of the abyss (because the nether world is thought to increase in size the further it extends from the surface of the earth and so resemble a cistern, the orifice of which is narrow)

bottomlessabussos – bottomless; unbounded; the abyss; the pit; the immeasurable depth; It has been suggested that this pit is “bottomless” because it might be located geographically at the center of the earth. If you were in the center of the earth, where would the “bottom” be? Every direction would be “up” from there.

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"; they did not want Jesus to torment them (Luke 8:26-33; Mt. 8:29)

It's a place of imprisonment.

Fallen angels (demons) are imprisoned there. (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6)

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 (Rev. 11:7; 17:8)
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.

Satan will one day be imprisoned there for 1,000 years

When Jesus returns, Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:1-3)

:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

furnacekaminos – a furnace; for smelting; for burning earthen ware; for baking bread

darkened – do you remember what happened when Mount St. Helens erupted? There were places downwind where it was dark as midnight at noontime.

:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

locustsakris – a locust.  They look like our grasshoppers. Sometimes locusts can appear in vast numbers. A column of flying locusts seen over the Red Sea was estimated to be 2,000 miles long. Locusts store up food in their fatty tissues, and as a result the swarms aren’t primarily driven by hunger. But when they reach their destination, they feed ravenously, stripping the entire countryside of anything green.

scorpions – Scorpions have a tail that ends with a sharp, hollow stinger. They paralyze their opponent with a poison that is squeezed through the stinger.

powerexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)

What are these “locusts”?

They could be actual locusts. But when you see how they are described, this is probably not the case.

These could be John’s way of describing some kind of modern weaponry, such as an attack helicopter.

These could be demonic beings. After all, they are coming out of the “abyss”.

:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

commandedrheo – to pour forth, to utter

hurtadikeo – to hurt, damage, harm

These locust beings will only cause hurt to men. And they will be very specific as to whom they will cause injury to. The only people they will not hurt are those that have been sealed back in chapter 7 (the 144,000; Rev. 7:1-8).

These are not like normal locusts. Normal locusts only eat grass and trees.


You don’t want to go through the Tribulation

There are some people who say that they will wait until after the Rapture before they decide to follow Jesus.  But if you actually do accept Jesus after the Rapture, and you aren’t killed by the antichrist, you’re going to be facing these locusts unless you are a part of the 144,000.
There are some people who hold the view that the Church will have to go through the Tribulation period, but God will somehow protect them.  Yet here in Revelation 9, the only people who are going to be protected are the 144,000.
The 144,000 are NOT the church. They are Jewish followers of Jesus. They are Jewish men who have never been married and who follow Jesus (Rev. 14).

My whole reason for teaching from this passage this morning is because I want to make sure we all understand that we don’t want to be in the Tribulation.

:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

tormentedbasanizo to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal; to question by applying torture; to torture; to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment; to be harassed, distressed

strikethpaio – to strike, smite; to sting (to strike or wound with a sting)

as the torment of a scorpion – a scorpion’s sting is very painful, sometimes deadly.

Scorpion venom is a complex mixture of neurotoxins (toxins which affect the victim's nervous system). Despite their bad reputation, only one species in the U.S. and about 20 others worldwide have venom potent enough to be considered dangerous to humans. The venom of the scorpion may produce severe pain and swelling at the site of the sting, numbness, frothing at the mouth, difficulties in breathing (including respiratory paralysis), muscle twitching, and convulsions. (source:

: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 will want to die, but will be unable to do so.

:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

shapeshomoioma – a figure, image, likeness, representation. In other words, these are not real locusts, but this is simply the best word that John can do to describe them.

horses prepared unto battle – perhaps as a horse might have some type of armor draped over it.

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

hairthrix – the hair of the head; the hair of animals

teethodous – a tooth

lionsleon – a lion. The word “dandelion” is French for “lion’s tooth”.

Weird for sure!

:9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

breastplatesthorax – the breast, the part of the body from the neck to the navel, where the ribs end; a breastplate or corset consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle

of ironsidereos – made of iron

chariotsharma – a chariot; of war chariots (i.e. armed with scythes); chariots (drawn with many horses)

These “locusts” are iron plated and make a loud roaring sound.

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

to hurt men five months – either the sting lasts five months, or the attack of these beings lasted for five months.

:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

the angel of the bottomless pit – I think John is referring to the “star” in 9:1 that fell from heaven and was given the key to the abyss.

AbaddonAbaddon = “destruction” / ApollyonApolluon = “Destroyer”

This could be an angel that is known simply as “Abaddon”, but I think it is probably a reference to Satan.

Satan is a “murderer” (John 8:44) and a thief who destroys (John 10:10). Judas and the antichrist are both called the “son of destruction” (or, “son of perdition”) (John 17:12; 2Th. 2:3)

Lesson #1

Why is this all going to happen?

When we look at all the things that are going to happen in the Tribulation, we shudder and wonder how a “God of love” could do such things.  The problem is that we don’t understand that God is also a God of righteousness and judgment.  God will one day judge sin.  God will one day right all the wrongs.
The Tribulation is the time of God’s judgment on a rebellious world. it is known in the Old Testament as part of the “day of the Lord”.
(Isa 13:9 KJV) Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
(Jer 46:10a KJV) For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries …
God has given man plenty of warning.
Joshua taking the Promised Land – it was actually a pretty gruesome war.  Over and over again Joshua records that they wiped out each city they conquered, not leaving a single person breathing.  Why did God want them to do this?  It was because God had become thoroughly disgusted with the Amorites, the people living in the land.  God had warned them through Abraham 400 years earlier, now it was their time of judgment (Deu. 9:3-4)
The Tribulation will also be the same kind of judgment against sin.

(Eph 5:1-6 KJV)  Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; {2} And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. {3} But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; {4} Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. {5} For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. {6} Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

It is because of these kinds of wicked things that God’s wrath is coming.

We become desensitized to sin.  The world is going further and further from God and we are gradually getting used to it and things that are horrible no longer seem offensive to us.
God has provided a way of escape, through Jesus.
When Jesus died on the cross, He was dying in our place. He was taking the punishment that our sins required.

(Rom 5:8-9 KJV)  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Lesson #2

How do I escape this?

It starts with asking Him for help.
(Joel 2:31-32a KJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. {32} And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered
I would love to say to you that if you’ve ever prayed that simple prayer of asking Jesus into your heart, that you don’t have anything to worry about. There’s a sense in which I believe that to be true, but as I read Scripture, I’m not sure that saying a little prayer is all you need to be concerned with.
In the letters to the seven churches, Jesus gives a sincere warning to one of the churches, Thyatira:
(Rev 2:20-22 KJV) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. {21} And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. {22} Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Perhaps these are people in the church who really don’t know the Lord. But Jesus doesn’t make the issue one of whether or not they’ve asked Him into their heart. He makes the issue to be whether or not they follow this Jezebel woman, commit fornication and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Fornication is a word that means any kind of sex outside the bounds of marriage. I was reading an article in Newsweek yesterday about how the American family is changing, and one of the ways it is changing is that more and more people are living together before getting married. And the statistics show that it doesn’t help them in the end, they get divorced just as easily. Don’t do it beloved.

When the Tribulation hits, the people who haven’t repented are still going to be resistant:
(Rev 9:20-21 KJV) And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: {21} Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Note: The Greek word for “sorceries” is pharmakeia, and it has to do with the use of drugs to reach some altered state of consciousness.

If this is you, you need to turn around. You need to turn away from your sin.
Sammy’s Big Catch
Sammy was a good-looking young boy who lived in the Deep South. His summer days were filled with times of walking through the woods, playing with friends, and fishing in the pond down the dirt road. Fishing was by far his favorite thing to do. Just about every day during his summer vacation, he would dig up some worms and head off, pole in hand, for a day of fishing.
This steamy hot day was like most others during Sammy’s summer break. Waking early, he could hear the pond calling him to come fish. Sammy quietly walked out the front door, grabbed his pitchfork and worm pail from the porch, and walked into the woods to search for bait. He turned over old stumps and dug under leaves hoping to find worms. Under one old stump he hit the jackpot. The ground was writhing. In two minutes he had all the bait he needed, and in 15 minutes he was at the pond.
Reaching into his bait bucket, Sammy pulled out a big worm. He double hooked it and tossed it into the water. He noticed a stinging in his hand, but filled with the excitement of the moment, he paid no attention to it. Within 30 seconds, Sammy had a strike and pulled in a nice catfish. Wow, he thought, a fish in the first minute. This is unbelievable!
He put the catch on his stringer, hurried to re-bait his hook, and tried his luck again. Once again he felt a stinging sensation in his hand as he threw his hook into the pond. He didn’t have time to worry about it. Within just a few seconds, he had another huge fish. He fumbled the next time he baited his hook—his hand felt numb and stiff. But Sammy was too excited about catching another fish to give it much thought.
At the end of only an hour of fishing, Sammy had caught eight large fish. This was definitely his best fishing day ever. He was so proud of his accomplishment that, even though there was plenty of day left to fish, he threw the heavy stringer of fish over his shoulder and dashed down the dirt road toward home to show off his catch to his mom and dad.
The local sheriff happened to drive up alongside Sammy and started to congratulate him on his catch of fish. With a smile and a victory whoop, Sammy held up the stringer. The sheriff gasped, parked his car and strode over to Sammy. His eyes hadn’t deceived him—Sammy’s arms really were red and swollen to about twice their normal size. Exactly where have you been and what bait did you use to catch all those fish?” the sheriff asked Sammy, already guessing the answer.
I found some special bait under an old stump,” Sammy boasted. “These worms really wiggle good,” he commented, handing up the bait bucket for inspection. After a close look at the worms, the sheriff went into fast-forward. Securing the bucket in his trunk, he then scooped Sammy and his stringer of fish into the backseat of his patrol car. Spinning a U-turn on the gravel road, he sped off to the hospital, but Sammy was already dead.
What the sheriff had discovered was that Sammy had been fishing with baby rattlesnakes. Sammy’s deadly bait brought him a good morning’s fishing but cost him his life. Had Sammy stopped fishing after that first sting, he could have been saved. One bite from a baby rattler won’t kill a person who gets treatment in time. But Sammy was having fun and didn’t bother himself with the small voice of pain in his hand. Then, as his hand grew numb, even that small voice was silenced.
Playing around with sin is like using baby rattlesnakes for bait. Sinning seems harmless to people who don’t recognize sin and are unaware of its deadly consequences. The more sin you get into, however, the more numb you become to its sting. In the excitement of the moment, you ignore the still small voice of God warning you of danger and encouraging you to choose life instead of death.
Edited from Still More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice.

If you’ve been playing around with stuff you shouldn’t, you’ve been playing with those baby rattlesnakes.  This morning might be a little bit of a sting for you, but don’t ignore the sting.  This is your time to turn around.


Wrong Way!
As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Herman, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on 280. Please be careful!” Herman said, “It’s not just one car, honey, it’s hundreds of them!”
Sometimes we’re just like that.  We get the idea that something is wrong, but we assume that everyone else is wrong.  Turn around.
When Jesus taught on the Tribulation, He said,
(Luke 21:36 KJV) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Lesson #3

Do I stay afraid?

Over the years I’ve known people who have been greatly disturbed over a fear of the Tribulation. They are afraid of going through the Tribulation and they stay afraid of going through the Tribulation.
The problem is not that a person becomes afraid, but that they don’t know what to do with this fear.
If I am a person who is blatantly and willfully disobeying the Lord through things like fornication or through openly worshipping anything other than Jesus, I ought to be afraid.
But if I’ve turned from these things, God wants me to find security and peace in His arms.
There are some of you who will faint dead away any time a preacher talks about sin and judgment. No matter how closely you’ve walked with the Lord, you’ll still scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a reason to feel guilty. You will feel guilty because you only read two chapters instead of three today in your Quiet Time. You will feel guilty because you only witnessed to four people yesterday instead of five. You will feel guilty because you kept a lustful thought in your head for five minutes last week.

You need to find God’s peace. You need to find God’s assurance of protection.

Jesus said to the church in Philadelphia:
(Rev 3:10 KJV) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

This is the church that has stayed close to Jesus. They’ve kept His word and have “endured” (“patience”). Jesus promises to keep them from the Tribulation.

Is your life right with the Lord?
I’m asking you to be honest with yourself.  I’m not here to try and make you feel guilty for watching TV last night.  Be honest.  Are you right with Jesus?  If you aren’t, you need to be.  If you are, you need to find comfort in knowing that Jesus is going to take us home someday to be with Him!