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Scripture reading – Revelation 9; Revelation 10

Continuing our study in the Book of Revelation, we find ourselves chronologically in the prophetic time known as the Tribulation. The prophet Jeremiah foretold it would “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Christ taught His disciples, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). The apostle Paul, in his letter to believers at Thessalonica, foretold a false peace would precede the Tribulation, and people would say, “Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Christ had opened six of seven seals that bound a scroll recording the judgments that would precede His Second Coming (Revelation 5). Six seals and their judgments were recorded in Revelation 6, and that chapter closed with the announcement, “the great day of his [God’s] wrath is come” (6:17). The seventh seal was opened in Revelation 8, and “there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (8:1).

Then, “seven angels which stood before God…were given seven trumpets” and would announce seven divisions of God’s judgment to come (8:2). Four of the seven trumpets were sounded by angels in chapter 8, and each was followed by four judgments (8:7-12). As John looked on, he “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!” (8:13) As we will see, Revelation 9 will reveal the fifth and sixth trumpets to announce the first and second woes to follow.

Revelation 9

The Sound of the Fifth Trumpet (9:1-12)

When the fifth trumpet sounded, John “saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit” (9:1). Though the identity of the “star” was not given, by comparing other Scriptures with our text, it is clear the “star” was figurative of the devil. The falling star was the fallen angel Lucifer, who is the devil (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-16; Luke 10:18). He was given a “key to the bottomless pit,” where a multitude of demons were chained awaiting their day of judgment (1 Peter 3:19-20).

When the devil “opened the bottomless pit…there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace” (9:2). The place of torment was a place of fire and darkness, and the smoke that billowed up from the depths of the pit darkened the sun and the air (9:2). John then observed what he described as a horde of locusts that emerged from the pit (9:3). Though named “locusts,” we can construe from the description they were symbolic of the demons of hell coming forth as an innumerable swarm of evil spirits (9:3). They were forbidden to hurt the grass or any green thing that was growing, but were permitted to afflict men who had “not the seal of God in their foreheads” (for they were not of the Lord, 9:4).

Locusts generally have a lifespan of five months, and so these that emerged from the pit were permitted to torment men five months (9:5). The pain and sorrow of that day would be so great, men would cry for death to release them from their misery, but even “death shall flee from them” (9:6). The appearance, terror and sorrow afflicted by the demons (portrayed as voracious locusts) was recorded in Revelation 9:7-10.

The King of the Demons Revealed (9:11-12)

Unlike locusts which swarm in mass so thick they might darken the sky for hundreds of miles, the locusts described by John were organized under a vile king. Who was the king? He was identified as “the angel of the bottomless pit” (9:11). The “bottomless pit” was a place of fire, darkness, and eternal torment (Job 26:6; 28:22). Job described it as “a fire that consumeth to destruction” (Job 31:12). Solomon warned, “Hell and destruction are before the Lord” (Proverbs 15:11). So, the demons of the pit were organized under the rule of one “whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon” (9:11). With that revelation, the first woe was ended, and two more would follow (9:12).

Closing thoughts (9:13-21) – Notice the sixth trumpet will sound and introduce the second of three woes (9:13). This time of judgment will continue through to Revelation 11:14. Imagine the terror on the earth when the devil is given the keys to the bottomless pit, and unleashes the demons of that place to swarm the earth, leaving a path of death and destruction. Billions will perish after suffering afflictions so grave they will cry for death to come, and even “death shall flee from them” (9:6). Yet, even those sorrows will not move men to repent.

I invite you again, repent of your sin, and accept Christ as your Savior before it is eternally too late!

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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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