Revelation 9:1-11

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

TRUMPET JUDGMENT FIVE

INTRODUCTION:

In Revelation of Jesus Christ 8:1 we saw the opening of the seventh seal. The seventh seal is the seven trumpet judgments and includes all the trumpet judgments on the earth up to the second coming of Christ.

We have seen the opening of the first four trumpet judgments in Revelation of Jesus Christ 8 .

In this message as we consider Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:1-11 , we want to consider the fifth trumpet judgment.

I. THE FIFTH TRUMPET - 9:1-11

Following the blowing of the fifth trumpet, we see -

1. The fallen star and the opening of the abyss - 9:1-2

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:1-2 - (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. (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.

The fifth angel is the fifth of the seven angels mentioned in 8:2.

Sounded is sounded the trumpet.

I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth.

I is John.

Saw is the same word translated beheld.

What John saw was a star fall from heaven unto the earth.

Fall is understood in the sense of fallen or having fallen. In this verse John did not actually see the fall of this star as it was taking place; rather, he saw the star after it had already fallen. We are not told in this context when this star fell. However, in chapter 12 John will see the fall of this angel, i.e. of Satan.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 12:7-9 - (7) 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.

(9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

From heaven is out of heaven and indicates that this star had been in heaven where God dwells prior to its fall and had fallen out of it.

Unto the earth indicates that the earth was the place to which this star had fallen. The implication is that this star was on the earth when John saw it.

That this is a person rather than an ordinary star is indicated by: to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

To him means to this star.

Was given indicates that he had not had it previously; but as John watched, it was given to him; and he then possessed it.

What was given to him was the key of the bottomless pit. The possession of the key to something suggests access to it and control over it.

The bottomless pit is the pit of the abyss.

This term translated pit has been seen in Luke 8:31 where the demons who had been inhabiting the Maniac of Gadara requested that Jesus not send them into the deep, i.e. into the pit or into the abyss.

Luke 8:30-34 - (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 [i.e. into the Abyss].

(32) And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer [i.e. allow or permit] them to enter into them. And he suffered [i.e. allowed or permitted] 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.

(34) When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.

Satan will also be confined to the bottomless pit during the Millennium.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:1-3 - (1) 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.

Based on these references, this bottomless pit seems to be a place of confinement for fallen angels or demons. The star who was given the key to the bottomless pit is not identified, but it would appear to be Satan; yet he himself will eventually be confined there.

One cannot help but wonder about the relation of the bottomless pit and Tartarus which is translated hell in II Peter 2:4 .

II Peter 2:4 - For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.

Similarly, there is Jude 6 .

Jude 6 - 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.

Is the bottomless pit the same place as Tartarus where fallen angels of the worst sort are confined until the judgment but where others may be released for a limited time to carry out God's purposes? Or, is the bottomless pit a place similar to Tartarus but separate and distinct from it? We do not have enough information available to us to be able to answer this question.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:1 portrays Satan as having the key to the bottomless pit and having power to release those who are confined there.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

And he opened the bottomless pit

He refers to the star who had fallen out of heaven unto the earth.

Opened suggests that its action occurred as John watched.

What he opened was the bottomless pit, i.e. the pit of the abyss introduced in verse 1.

When he opened the bottomless pit, there arose a smoke out of the pit or smoke arose out of the pit.

Arose is went up or ascended.

Out of the pit indicates the origin of the smoke as being the bottomless pit. The smoke arising up out of the bottomless pit when it was opened adds to the drama of the narrative.

The rising of smoke out of the bottomless pit is compared to smoke rising out of a great furnace - as the smoke of a great furnace.

A great furnace is a large furnace or a large oven.

The sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. Although the sun had been affected by the sixth seal so that it became black, as black as sackcloth of hair (6:12) and although the sun had been smitten by the fourth trumpet judgment so that one third of it was darkened (8:12), yet the sun is still seen to exist in this fifth trumpet judgment. The air was also adversely affected by the smoke. This is the language of appearance from the vantage point of someone standing on the earth looking up. As a result of the smoke ascending out of the bottomless pit, the sun's rays were not able to be seen. Hence, it is said that they were darkened.

By reason of the smoke of the pit is because of the smoke of the pit, i.e. because of the smoke that was ascending out of the bottomless pit.

Following the opening of the bottomless pit, we see a -

2. Demonic horde loosed upon the earth - 9:3-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:3-6 - (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. (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. (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. (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.

There came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth. It is literally out of the smoke came out locusts upon the earth.

Out of the smoke is emphasized in the Greek text by its placement at the beginning of the clause.

Came out is from the vantage point of one who was not in the smoke itself.

Locusts is the subject of came out.

These locusts came upon the earth. One has read about hordes of locusts so thick and numerous that the sun was not able to be seen.

That these locusts are not ordinary locusts is indicated by and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. Instead, they are demons.

Unto them means unto the locusts.

Was given power is was given authority. It suggests that they did not have this power or authority prior to its being given.

As the scorpions of the earth have power shows how these locusts have power or authority in their tails. The scorpions of the earth sting with their tails. As a result, those animals or people who do not wish to get stung steer a clear path away from them. Thus, they exercise a certain power within the local area in which they live.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

It was commanded is simply it was said. In the context of a commandment, it means it was ordered.

Them is to them and refers to the locusts which came out of the smoke of the bottomless pit.

The locusts were commanded that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men.

That they should not hurt is that they should not injure, that they should not damage, or that they should not spoil.

Ordinarily locusts eat all vegetation, but these are not ordinary locusts. The first thing these locusts were not to hurt is the grass of the earth. The second thing they were not to hurt, neither any green thing, is literally neither every green thing. It is all-inclusive. No green thing was to be hurt. The third thing they were not to hurt, neither any tree, is literally neither every tree. It is also all-inclusive. No tree was to be hurt. Ordinarily, locusts devour all green vegetation, but these locusts are different.

But is the translation of two words, which, when used together, mean unless or except.

Only those men means only those human beings which [i.e. who] have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

Men is the generic term for human beings which includes females as well as males.

The seal of God in their foreheads is the seal of God upon their foreheads. It is a reference to the 144,000 Jews in chapter 7 who have been divinely protected from harm during the great tribulation. Thus, the human beings who may be harmed by these locusts include all persons other than these 144,000 Jews, whether they are Jews or Gentiles, whether they are male or female, whether they are saved or lost. Although one would like to believe that all saved people living in the great tribulation at this time will escape this affliction of the fifth trumpet judgment as the Israelites escaped the plagues in Egypt, the text does not state that they actually will. To state categorically that all people saved in the tribulation will escape this demonic plague goes beyond the text of Scripture. One hopes that believers will escape this judgment.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:5 places a limit on the harm they can bring upon people and the length of time they can harm them.

To them refers to the locusts.

Was given indicates that their power or authority to act came from outside themselves, ultimately from God.

What was given to the locusts is that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.

That they should not kill them indicates that the locusts were not permitted to kill the human beings who had not been sealed on their foreheads. This is the good news. . .

But the bad news is: that they should be tormented five months. They refers to the human beings who had not been sealed with the seal of God upon their foreheads.

Should be tormented is should be tortured.

Five months means throughout five months. This activity of their seeking to torture or torment humanity will continue without interruption throughout a period of five months, and the people will not even be able to escape their torment by dying. It does not mean that the torment from their stings will last for a period of five months.

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

Their torment (or their torture) refers to the torment or the torture of these locusts which was inflicted on the human beings who had not been sealed with the seal of God upon their foreheads.

As the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man shows what the torment of these locusts was like.

The torment [or torture] of a scorpion is only potential until it strikes someone. Then it becomes real as when [i.e. whenever] he striketh a man indicates.

He striketh is it strikes or it stings.

Man is the generic term for human being and may refer to a female as well as to a male. Here it is used in the sense of a human being.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

In Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:6 we see that things will be so bad that people who are afflicted by this trumpet judgment will want to die, but they won't be able to die.

And in those days refers to the five month period mentioned in verse 5 during which the locusts torment their victims.

Shall . . . seek is predictive of a future event which will definitely happen.

Men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males. Its reference is to those human beings who have been tormented by these locusts.

What they will seek is death, but they will not be able to die as is indicated by and shall not find it. Death will escape them. It suggests that they will not even be able to commit suicide.

And shall desire to die suggests that they will intensely desire or crave death. The same word is translated to lust in many places in the New Testament.

And death shall flee from them. No matter how hard they try to die, they will not be successful.

Shall flee from them is predictive of a future event which is definitely going to happen. Death is pictured as fleeing from those who have been tormented five months by the sting or bite of one of these locusts.

Following the release of the locusts from the bottomless pit, we see -

3. The locusts described - 9:7-11

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:7-11 - (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. (8) And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. (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. (10) And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men 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.

That these were not ordinary locusts is evident not only from their activity but also from their description.

The shapes of the locusts is the forms of the locusts or the appearances of the locusts.

These locusts were like unto [i.e. similar to] horses prepared unto battle.

Horses prepared unto battle is horses made ready for war or, if speaking of a single conflict, horses put in readiness for a fight.

And on [i.e. upon] their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

As it were is simply as or just as. By stating this, John is saying that it was not really this way but that this is the closest way he could think of to describe them.

Crowns like gold is crowns similar to gold.

Crowns is wreaths and is the term used of the victor's crown.

And their faces were as the faces of men.

Their refers to these locusts.

Faces is countenances.

As the faces of men is as the countenances of men where the word translated men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

And they [i.e. the locusts] had hair as the hair of women, which suggests that their hairstyle was like the hairstyle of women, long and flowing.

And their teeth [i.e. the locusts' teeth] were as the teeth of lions.

As the teeth of lions describes the teeth of these locusts as being sharp, pointed, and strong. They were the sort of teeth that tear the flesh of their victims.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

They refers to the locusts.

Had indicates continuous action in past time.

Breastplates were part of a soldier's armor which would cover his chest to protect him in battle.

As it were suggests that it was similar to this but not actually so.

Of iron describes the material out of which the breastplates had been fashioned or made. Thus, it would be very difficult to hurt them in the area covered by the breastplates. They would be impenetrable.

The sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. Some have read this description and concluded that it was descriptive of modern warfare with helicopters.

The sound of their wings suggests the sound that their wings produced.

As the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle indicates what the sound of their wings was like.

The modern-day reader has never heard the noise produced by chariots of many horses running to battle, but he can imagine that it was very loud and could be heard from a distance.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

And they had tails like unto scorpions suggests that they had tails similar to the tails scorpions have. It is with these tails that scorpions sting.

There were stings in their tails suggests that the weapons with which they would attack people would be their tails.

And their power was to hurt men five months.

Their power is their authority which had been given to them in verses 3-5.

To hurt is to injure.

What they were given authority to hurt or injure was men, i.e. humanity as the entire class of group of people called men, not including the 144,000 who have been sealed with the name of God on their foreheads. Now, it does not say that they will hurt or injure every single individual other than the 144,000, but they have power or authority to do so.

Five months means throughout a period of five months. It means that they will exercise this authority for a period of five months. Once again, it does not mean that the hurt they inflict will last for a period of five months.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 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.

And they had a king over them. The locusts had a ruler or king who ruled over them.

In case anyone has any doubts regarding the identity of their king, he is described by which is the angel of the bottomless pit, i.e. the angel of the abyss. Satan is a fallen angel; so it is not surprising that he is here referred to as an angel. That Satan is the angel of the abyss lends support to the idea that the one to whom the key to the bottomless pit was given in verse 1 was Satan.

This angel of the bottomless pit is further described by whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

In the Hebrew tongue is in Aramaic or in Hebrew.

But in the Greek tongue is but in the Greek language.

Hath his name Apollyon is he has a name Apollyon. Both Abaddon and Apollyon mean destroyer.