Revelation 9:1-12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 15, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The apostle John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.

He saw Jesus take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals.  As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.

The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.

Built within the seventh seal are seven trumpets.

We are now looking at the last three trumpets.  The last three trumpets bring such terrible things to the earth that they are called the three “woes”.

It’s possible that as we’ve gotten this far, some of you are a little queasy about how bad things are going to be on the earth during the tribulation.  Brace yourself because it’s only going to get worse.

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."

9:1-12 Trumpet Five: Locusts

:1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.

:1 soundedsalpizo – to sound a trumpet

:1 a star fallen from heaven

When the third angel blew his trumpet (8:10), there was a “great star” that fell from heaven and it was burning like a torch.  It polluted the fresh water.  It’s name was Wormwood.

We talked about different possibilities of what that might be, but we didn’t mention one other possibility – that the star might be a person, like an angel.

At the beginning of Revelation John saw a vision of Jesus with seven stars in His right hand.  It was symbolic:
(Re 1:20 NKJV) …The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches…
Here we see a star that is acting like a person – it’s given a key and it does something with the key.

:1 fallenpipto – to descend from a higher place to a lower

It’s a perfect tense – it had fallen in the past and continues in a “fallen” state.

This gives us a clue as to the identify of this “fallen star”. 


Satan’s Fall

We believe this “star” is Satan, also known as Lucifer, also called at the end of the paragraph the “Destroyer”.
Satan’s “fall” has to do with a change in his status, not his address.
Some people are mistaken in thinking that Satan no longer has access to heaven because they think he lives in hell.  That’s incorrect.
Satan’s status update was about a change of attitude, not address.

Satan was no longer working “for” God, but “against” God.

Satan used to be one of the worship leaders in heaven (Eze. 28:14-15). But He rebelled against God and became an enemy of God.
(Eze 28:14–15 NKJV) —14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
Satan’s “fall” took place prior to the Garden of Eden when he acted to tempt Eve, but his “fall” didn’t change the place of his employment.

After the Garden of Eden, Satan was still one of the “sons of God” who present themselves before God (Job 1).

Currently, Satan still has full access to heaven where he works as the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10)
Isaiah describes Satan’s “fall”:
(Is 14:12–15 NKJV) —12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

Notice the emphasis on the word “I”.

Satan’s new “status” is all about being self-centered.

Be careful when your life becomes self-centered.  Paul wrote,

(1 Ti 5:6 ESV) but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.

In contrast, Jesus said,

(Lk 9:23 NKJV) Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

:1 keykleis – a key

:1 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)

:1 bottomlessabussos (“abyss”) – bottomless, unbounded; the abyss

:2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.

:2 smokekapnos – smoke

:2 furnacekaminos – a furnace

:2 the sun and the air were darkened

We get some of that effect when we have fires fueled by the Santa Ana winds.  The sky is darkened with the smoke.

:2 the bottomless pit

There is a place on earth, whether it’s in the physical realm or in the spiritual realm, known as the bottomless pit or “abyss”.

The Greek word for “bottomless” is “abussos”, meaning “no bottom”


The Abyss

Death Destination
It is thought to be the place where the unrighteous dead go.

(Ro 10:7 NKJV) or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

This is the place that Jesus described when He told the story about a rich man and Lazarus, a place that had two compartments – one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous (Luke 16:22-23)

(Lk 16:22–23 NKJV) —22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

We believe that when Jesus rose from the dead, that He led those in Abraham’s bosom with Him to heaven.

Demon Prison
It is considered a prison for demons.  When Jesus was about to cast out the demoniac’s demons…

(Lk 8:31 NKJV) And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

Peter speaks of this demonic prison for rebellious angels:

(2 Pe 2:4 NKJV) …God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness…

(Jud 6 NKJV) —6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;

It will one day be a temporary prison for Satan (Rev. 20:3)

(Re 20:3 NKJV) and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

In our text (Rev. 9), we are going to see demonic creatures being released by the one with the key.
Antichrist’s origin
(Re 17:8a NKJV) The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition…

Whoever the antichrist turns out to be, there is going to be a connection with the demons of the abyss.  More when we get further in Revelation.

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

:3 locustsakris – a locust

We’re going to see that these aren’t your everyday brand of locusts (think grasshoppers).  There’s something demonic about these creatures.

Numberless swarms of them almost every spring are carried by the wind from Arabia into Palestine, and having devastated that country, migrate to regions farther north, until they perish by falling into the sea. The Orientals accustomed to feed upon locusts, either raw or roasted and seasoned with salt (or prepared in other ways), and the Israelites also were permitted to eat them.

:3 powerexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; physical and mental power

:3 scorpionsskorpios – a scorpion

:3 as the scorpions

We’ll see that these locusts will be able to sting like a scorpion.

:4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

:4 commandedereo – to utter, speak, say

It was told them …

:4 to harmadikeo – to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin,; to hurt, damage, harm

:4 grass … green … tree

Regular locusts eat green stuff, not humans.  These only target humans.

:4 only those men

These locusts are targeting humans.

:4 the seal of God on their foreheads

Who has the seal of God on their foreheads?

It’s our Jewish evangelists, the 144,000.  We met them back in Rev. 7 when an angel announced:
(Re 7:3–4 NKJV) —3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:

While apparently all the humans on earth will be affected by these locust creatures, the evangelists will be protected.

It will not be fun to live on the planet at this time.

It will be somewhat reminiscent of what happened with the plagues in Egypt with Moses:

(Ex 8:22–23 NKJV) —22 And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land. 23 I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be.” ’ ”

:5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

:5 tormentbasanizo – to test metals with a “touchstone”, a black stone tablet that metals are rubbed across to show their purity; to question by applying torture; to torture; to vex with grievous pains

The definition of the word sounds like a painful version of nails on a blackboard.

:5 five months

The normal lifespan of an insect locust is about five months (May to September).

This might mean that these locust creatures will be around for five months, or it could mean that the pain caused by the locusts will last for five months.

:5 like the torment of a scorpion

There are 1400 species of scorpions, but only 25 of them have venom that is toxic to man.

Scorpion venom is a mixture of compounds like neurotoxins and enzyme inhibitors and it works to kill or paralyze the prey.

:6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.

:6 seekzeteo – to seek in order to find; to crave, demand something from someone

:6 they will desireepithumeo – to have a desire for, long for, to desire; to lust after, covet

:6 will fleepheugo – to flee away, seek safety by flight

:6 death will flee from them

This could be talking about people wanting to die who have been stung by these locust creatures.

Some have theorized that nobody dies during a period of five months.

:7 The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.

:7 shapehomoioma – a figure, image, likeness, representation

As John describes these creatures, the best he can do is tell us what they are “like”.

Remember, this is a 1st century man describing things from the 21st century.

We aren’t given an idea as to their size, so perhaps they are the size of a locust.

In fact, when you look at the description, it’s hard to figure why John calls them “locusts”, except perhaps for their size.

:7 horses prepared for battle

Through the ages, horses have been used in time of war.

We might think of a medieval knight’s horse, or a horse in the Light Brigade.
John is probably thinking more along the lines of the Egyptians horses used with ancient battle chariots.

:7 crownsstephanos – a crown; a mark of royal or (in general) exalted rank

:7 crowns of something like gold

John is careful to say that these “crowns” on their heads weren’t exactly gold, but “something like” gold.

:7 faces were like the faces of men

The faces are only “like” men’s faces.  Perhaps eyes, nose, mouth?

:8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.

:8 hairthrix – the hair of the head

:8 hair like women’s hair

Probably meaning that they had long hair.

:8 teeth were like lions’ teeth

I have a new fresh insight into this passage.

In French, the word for “tooth” is “dents”.  And the word for “lion” in French is “lion”.  The phrase “lion’s tooth” would be translated in French as “dent de lion”, or our word “dandelion”.
These horrible demonic locusts are carrying dandelions.

Actually, I only go down that sidetrack to point out that sometimes we can go just a little bit overboard with languages and “hidden meanings”.

When I point out Greek or Hebrew words, my intention is not to give you “secret meanings”, but to give you a flavor of the word that adds to our English translation.  You don’t have to know Greek or Hebrew to understand God’s Word.  You just need to read.

:9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.

:9 breastplatesthorax – breast; a breastplate or corset consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle

:9 breastplates of iron

These creatures are armored.

:9 sound of their wings … like … horses

These are flying creatures, but they make a lot of noise that sounds like horses running.

Listen to the sound of horses running (Play “horses stampede” mp3 clip)

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

:10 stingskentron – a sting, as that of bees, scorpions

:10 tails like scorpions

These are not like regular locusts.  Regular locusts do not have stingers.

:10 to hurt men five months

The normal lifespan of the locust is about five months (May to September).

Again, it could be that these creatures are only around for five months, or it could be saying that their “sting” lasts for five months.

:7 The shape of the locusts was like

So what do you think these locusts are?

Some see these are purely demonic beings coming from the abyss.  There are all kinds of versions of drawings from John’s description.
Some see these as being some sort of modern weapon, like an Apache attack helicopter, maybe swarms of them – not a perfect description, but kind of close.
Play Apache Helicopter mp3
We don’t really know.

:11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

:11 they had as king over them

Regular locusts do not have a “king” or queen over them.

(Pr 30:27 NKJV) —27 The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks;
But these demonic locusts do have a king.

:11 the angel of the bottomless pit

This is the “fallen star” that had been given a key.

:11 Abaddon – place of destruction, destruction, ruin,

:11 Apollyon – “destroyer”; from apollumi

:11 Abaddon … Apollyon

Both the Hebrew and Greek words mean the same – “Destruction” or “Destroyer”.

This seems to be another reference to Satan who is a destroyer:

(Jn 10:10 NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Here’s another strange thing to ponder about the “Locust King”.  In our English version, based on the Hebrew text, Amos writes:

(Am 7:1 NKJV) Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, He formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late crop; indeed it was the late crop after the king’s mowings.
But the ancient Greek translation (LXX) translates into English a bit differently:
"…a swarm of locusts was coming and behold one of the young devastating locusts was Gog the king"
Strange, eh?

:12 One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.

Things on the earth will continue to get worse from this point.

When it comes to subjects like demons, things can get kind of scary.  And I think that sometimes people go a little overboard in attributing everything to demons.  I’ll warn you – this next clip might look pretty scary, but you’ll see it isn’t …

PlayDirt Devil” clip.

Though sometimes we give the devil too much credit, and sometimes we need to be a little more concerned about what he can do.


Ready for battle

We have spiritual weapons
(Eph 6:10–11 NKJV) —10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

When our military goes out to battle, they are equipped for war.  We are constantly developing weapons to neutralize the enemy.

We actually have many weapons in our warfare against Satan – I want to look at two of them.

Did you notice that these demonic locusts couldn’t touch the 144,000, those with God’s seal on them?

(1 Jn 5:18 NKJV) We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.

I think it’s interesting that in the same sentence that John is encouraging his readers to not sin, he connects it somehow to Satan’s powerlessness against us.

I think that when we yield ourselves to sin, we are giving Satan places to grab onto us – it’s like we’re attaching handles to us, not that he can possess us, but that he gains influence over us.

When we learn to say “no” to sin, it’s like coating ourselves with Teflon – Satan can’t get a grip.

When we get to Revelation 14, we’re going to see that 144,000 had a reputation for purity, and the demons couldn’t touch them.

(Re 14:4–5 NKJV) —4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Specifically, I want to talk about the authority Jesus gives us to “bind” the devil in prayer.

Jesus said to Peter:

(Mt 16:19 NKJV) And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

I think that one of the ways these “keys” are used is when we face the demonic with the authority of Jesus and “bind” it.  We “bind” it here in the natural realm (on earth), and it affects the spiritual realm (in heaven).

You see Jesus demonstrating this authority

(Mt 12:22 NKJV) Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.

You see the disciples using this same authority after Jesus gives it to them:

(Lk 10:17–18 NKJV) —17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

I think Jesus is describing that as Satan was being bound on earth by the disciples, it temporarily affected him in heaven.

(Ac 16:18 NKJV)  …But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

Though there may be times when we come face to face with the demonic (like Daniel Grant shared a few weeks ago), many times our battle is in prayer.

The demonic realm cannot stand against the power of the name of Jesus Christ.  They have to yield to Jesus.

And when we learn to walk more and more in purity, Satan has less and less of a chance to trip us up.

Best of all, we have Jesus on our side.  John writes,

(1 Jn 4:4 NKJV) You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

When your cell phone rings and you see Satan’s caller I.D. on the screen, you don’t really have to be scared.  Just answer the phone, and yell out, “Jesus, the call’s for you!”

We don’t need to be afraid of what’s ahead.