Revelation Chapter 9
Rev 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.
The star is some kind of being, perhaps an angel that has the key to the bottomless pit. We see from this that whatever this place is, nothing can escape from it and it takes a key opened by a person authorized to open it. It appears that the very moment the fifth trumpet sounds an angel falls from heaven. Sometimes Satanís angels are referred to as stars but I donít understand why they would be given any keys. All this is done by the will of God. One bible scholar says this person could be Christ since Jesus was given the keys to heaven and hell meaning that through Jesus one can go to one and escape the other. I sort of lean toward the opinion that this is an angel. Since we see that star fall, it may be that Satan himself is the one who lets his angels loose for a season. Then again this may be the same angel that binds Satan for 1000 years later in the book of Revelation.
Rev 9:2 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.
This is a place of fire we see for it produces a great amount of smoke when it is opened, so much so that the whole sky is darkened. This reminds me of some of the weird movies that are out. They may have gotten some of their creatures and ideas from this book.
Rev 9:3 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.
Rev 9:4 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.
Here is the first plague that directly attacks the people. People died from the previous events when the trumpet judgments were taking place but this is a direct attack on individuals who were not sealed by God.
This is another reminder that God will watch over those that are faithful to Him. He will not allow anything that we cannot bear.
Rev 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
Men were killed in the first judgments but here their lives were to be spared but they were to be tormented for 5 months. Perhaps this was to get them to repent. I'm reminded of the verse, "He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." Perhaps also that these are receiving torment because they tormented those that believed in Jesus and spread the gospel.
Rev 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
Here we see that people will actually be in so much pain that they desire to die, not realizing that death is no escape from pain. The soul does not die but will suffer eternally in some other place. At the time this takes place they still do not see the mercy and grace of God that saves mankind from all these things. If they would only repent of sin and believe upon the savior that God sent to save us from this wrath to come, they could escape. It is sort of like a person who visits a certain part of town where there is much violence and every time he goes, he gets beat up yet he keeps returning to that place. A person with common sense would stay away and avoid being beat up. We do not understand at what point the soul and spirit leave the body but here we see that the soul and spirit refuse to leave even in the midst of great pain.
I believe that when plagues and bad weather happen now, we can try to find other reasons for the events like global warming for instance; but in the days of the tribulation men will know who it is that is bringing evil upon them. We see this in Revelation 6: 15, 16 when men wanted the mountains to fall on them because they knew the judgment of the lamb of God was about to fall and they feared facing the throne of God. They were without excuse. This seems like cruelty on Godís part but actually it shows His mercy. He is showing these people what hell may be like. Perhaps they might choose not to go there but as we see from the scriptures to follow, they do not repent.
Rev 9:7 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.
Locust usually only destroy vegetation but these were weird creatures with long hair, teeth like lion's and iron breastplates. They made a loud noise when they flapped their wings. It sounds like something from a Star Wars movie. This is not fiction however, it is a fierce judgment from God because these same people persecuted, tormented and harmed God's people who were faithful to Him and tried to preach the gospel to these same people. The law of sowing and reaping is in effect here. Whatever a man sows that shall he reap. I doubt if any innocent people are suffering here but those that killed the prophets and preachers of the gospel.
Rev 9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
Rev 9:9 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.
Rev 9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Rev 9:11 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.
Here we see one of the fallen angels that were usually bound in the bottomless pit but were allowed to escape long enough to lead these creatures in their attack against these wicked men.
The word Abaddon actually means destruction and destroyer. He is not Satan because Satan has not been bound yet and then let loose. He has never been bound. He is only hindered by the power of God at this time.
Some believe these descriptions are just symbols of something else that we see in modern times but I usually take everything literally unless the bible makes is clear that what is written about is symbolic. When we try to spiritualize everything and interpret things in other ways except by the literal interpretation, it causes confusion. I take the bible literally most of the time. When the bible uses symbolic language it is made clear that it is symbolic. These locusts are intelligent beings capable of following orders. They are real literal creatures. They are not ordinary locusts because they do not eat vegetation like ordinary locusts, they have a king, smoke doesnít bother them like it would ordinary locusts and men usually do not fear ordinary locusts but only fear the results of their damage.
While it is true that John has never seen modern airplanes, automobiles and helicopters and if any of those things were in this vision, John would have to use terms that he understands to describe what he saw but in this case I believe these are literal just like the bible describes them to be. Men flee from these things and they cause great fear and pain. Men would be used to airplanes or helicopters but not these creatures.
We humans have a tendency to try to interpret the bible with human reasoning that we can understand but notice that the makers of the crazy Star Wars and Lord of the Rings movies have no trouble dreaming up the craziest, hideous looking creatures. This is something they had not seen before that resembled locusts. Helicopters do not come from the abyss. In the days of the plagues of Egypt, they were literal and real so there is no reason to try to come up with natural explanations for something supernatural. There is supernatural powers and beings. Some of it is evil and some are good but the supernatural exists.
Rev 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The five trumpets have already sounded and one of the woes is past that was mentioned in the last verse in chapter 8. There is much more to come.
This is frightful and sometimes hard to grasp when we think of the severity of the wrath of God. Lest we think God cruel though we must remember that He first comes in mercy and love. He saw His creation unable to escape the sin that was destroying them. He saw them helpless to save themselves in any way. They were lost and on their way to eternal hell and eternal separation from their creator.
He sent them His best, His beloved Son which was the same as sending Himself. The apostolic church believes that He did literally send Himself. I don't understand how they get that theory but sending His Son was sending Himself in a way since they are so close, they act as one. God (the Son) became a man and could feel pain just as we do. He was careful never to sin and always careful to obey His Father's will in all things. If He would have sinned just once, He couldn't have become the perfect sacrifice to die in our place. He had to be blameless like an innocent lamb. When He died, He died sinless but yet took our sins upon Himself so that we who believe in Him and turn from sin can inherit eternal life. He made the way for us to escape all this judgment and also the eternal judgment of hell. Yet so many choose to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin instead of choosing this good way provided by our creator.
We don't have to come to this place of judgment. We don't have to go to hell. We don't have to face the wrath of God. There is a way out and only one way. Faith in Jesus Christ.
Rev 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Rev 9:14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
This is clearly four angels that had followed Satan in his rebellion against God in ages past. God's angels are never bound because they do not need to be. These may have been angels that previously overstepped their authority and did more than they were allowed to do. I say that because Satan is not yet bound and probably not all his angels are bound. Yet we see these four were bound for some reason. Here God allows them to be set free temporarily.
Rev 9:15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
We see here that they were not given power over all the earth or over all men but only a third. At a fixed point in time they will kill a third part of men. Perhaps this is similar to the death angel which struck the Egyptians in the days of Moses.
The blood on the doorposts saved those in Moses' time from being killed just as the blood of Jesus saves us from being lost for eternity. Jesus is our way of escape. Any one who believed could have been saved in Egypt if they would have obeyed the commandment to place blood on their doors indicating an act of faith in the word of God.
All we have to do is believe God's word. If He says repent, we repent, if He says believe in my Son, we believe in His Son. If He says I am coming again, we believe He is coming again and has not delayed His coming but will come at an appointed time.
Beloved, these are not just stories to scare us. These things is surely going to come to pass. Did not the nation of Israel return again after years of being no nation just as the bible said it would? All things will come to pass. Not one prophecy given by God's true servants in the Old and New Testaments will fail to come to pass. These are real events that are spoken of in this word.
Rev 9:16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
200,000,000 supernatural horsemen sent as a judgment from God is what is pictured here. I do not believe this is the army of the anti-christ but a literal army headed by the four previously bound angels of Satan. We see that these beings literally were given the power to kill.
Rev 9:17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
We see from this description that these are not ordinary men or any army made by man.
Rev 9:18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
This is a preview of eternal hell. If man would only repent, they would not go to such a place but as we see in the verses following, their hearts are hard as rock, they do not repent. We see also that this comes upon only a 3rd part of the earth and not all of it giving survivors a chance to repent. God still has mercy even in the midst of His wrath.
One thing I think of here is that these things exist now some place in the universe but our merciful God does not allow them loose at this present time. It does show us that there is a lot of bad and tragic events that take place but they would be worse if God just once removed His hand of protection.
Rev 9:19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
Rev 9:20 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:
Rev 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
When I read these chapters years ago as a young person, I could not understand who in their right minds would still be worshipping idols in this day and age. Since then we have seen the arise of witchcraft, eastern religions that do have idol worship, we've seen sorceries which involve the use of mind controlling drugs, fornication or sexual sin is considered normal even among those in the governments of the world. Theft is still not considered acceptable yet but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. That they are guilty of murder is apparent by the amount of martyrs we saw in previous chapters.
Since Idolatry is such an offense to God, I really hate to see churches use images in their worship. Why take the chance? I'm not going to pass judgment on them but when I drive pass some of the images or see images on the Internet that is in their churches, it really gives me a creepy feeling. I was not raised in that kind of environment but with the word of the bible so clear that we are not to bow down to images, why do it? When I read the book of Acts, I do not see the apostles worshipping in any way that most churches do today. I'm sure they were not formal and they didn't practice any type of idolatry.
To the brave souls who risked their life and possessions to bring us out of the established churches that existed in their lifetime, I think them from the bottom of my heart. Both Catholic and Protestant churches who married the state, lost their first love of Jesus Christ and began persecuting any dissenters, I believe sincerely that they will bear judgment along with the heathen if they do not repent. We who claim the name of Jesus should know His words better than anyone. Jesus taught us by the example of washing His own disciple's feet that we are not to establish hierarchies and lord over our congregations. Jesus taught us to be wise and serpents but harmless as doves. He never authorized us to harm those that disagree. He taught us to call no man father. He alone is Lord and we have only one father in Heaven. There is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus, not Mary, not another saint and certain not any image. I say this in love, not hate. I want to see us make heaven. The word is plain and simple and it is written for all to understand. We don't have to face this judgment. Jesus Christ makes us free and when we are made free from sin we can then worship in spirit and in truth either alone or with other believers. Religion does not save one soul. Jesus saves and Him alone. No one has to be lost and without God.
The sad part of these scriptures is that men do not repent even after all this. The message of repentance is not taught as it once was. We do still hear the part about accepting Jesus in our hearts and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ but the word repentance is usually left out. Yet part of our salvation when turning to Christ is turning away from sin. To be saved one has to repent and believe in Jesus. We canít believe in Jesus and have a heart that wants to hold on to sin at the same time when the whole reason He died was to save us from sin. I have said many times that to believe in Jesus is to believe Him. We canít believe in something and not believe in what they stand for, what they say and who they are.
We can say that we believe that a certain person like our teacher exists but to really believe in that person, we would have to believe in what they say, do and teach. To believe Jesus exists is not enough to save. We have to believe why He came, what He stands for and what He says.
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