The Book of Revelation
Revelation Chapter 9 continues with the trumpet judgments giving us the horrible fifth and sixth trumpets. The outline is as follows:
1. The Fifth Trumpet – Revelation 9:1-3
2. The Tormenting of All Men but the 144,000 – Revelation 9:4-6
3. The Description of the Demon Locusts – Revelation 9:7-10
4. The Leader of the Demon Locusts – Revelation 9:11
5. The Announcement of the Next Two Woes – Revelation 9:12
6. The Sixth Trumpet – Revelation 9:13-15
7. The Number and Description of the Demons to Slay Men – Revelation 9:16-19
8. Hardness of Men Stated – Revelation 9:20-21
Many people interpret the 9th chapter of Revelation with the locusts and the horsemen from the pit as being symbolic. For instance, the 200 million horsemen to be released from the pit are thought by some to be 200 million soldiers of various armies that have overrun Europe and Asia during the past centuries. Others conclude that it is 200 million soldiers that will come from China to fight the battle of Armageddon. However, this is just speculation at best and has no scriptural foundation at all. If we can understand the following, then perhaps the ninth chapter of Revelation as well as other passages of the Word of God will become clear.
First of all, what we are seeing in the 9th chapter are literal spirit-beings that will be loosed on this planet during the Great Tribulation period. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the horrible things that will take place. It probably will not be visible to the natural eye. Men will only feel the terrible effects. Most will have no idea as to the cause. Also, we must realize that John described these things as best he could. All he could do, with the help of The Holy Spirit, was to portray them as he saw them. But it must be understood that he was describing real, living creatures.
Understanding one or two things will help us comprehend the spirit world a little better. First, the spirit world is divided into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. God is the creator of all. However, a note of explanation is needed. The kingdom of darkness was not created by God as such. It became that way after satan rebelled against God some time in the dateless past. God’s vast creation was once entirely light. There was no such thing as darkness. However, Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 describe the fall of satan and the coming of the kingdom of darkness. So, God is the creator of both in the sense that he created lucifer, who at the outset, was holy, pure, and righteous. However, the kingdom of darkness came about as a direct result of lucifer’s fall.
When lucifer fell, we are told that that third of the angelic creation fell with him (Revelation 12:4). We know very little about this fall. We understand almost nothing of the destruction that ensued because of it. However, we do know that the carnage must have been terrible. And we know the results of satan’s fall carried over to man’s fall: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It has resulted in a horror that defies description. Originally, all of God’s creation was sinless, pure, and righteous. There were probably many creatures of which we have little understanding.
First, let’s look at the creatures of the Kingdom of Light, at least those we are told about. Throughout the Bible, we are given glimpses of angels. So, in our mind’s eye, we have a fairly graphic description of these powerful beings. We know they hold a different rank. Michael is the only one recorded in the Word of God who bears the title of archangel. But there are other chief angels. For instance, it was Gabriel who appeared, not only to Daniel but also to Zacharias (Luke 1:19) and to Mary, the mother of Christ (Luke 1:26). Gabriel said of himself, “…I am Gabriel that stand in the presence of God;...” (Luke 1:19) I have no idea what rank that would hold, but at the same time, the statement “....stand in the presence of God;...” is so powerful that it is mind-boggling.
There are only 4 angels named in Scripture. Two, Michael and Gabriel are righteous and two, lucifer and abaddon are evil (Revelation 9:11).
Then, in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10, we are introduced to the living creatures, or the cherubim. It is very difficult to explain these creatures. Yet, they are righteous creatures that have to do with the glory of God. Ezekiel said that each one of these creatures had four faces: a man, a lion, an ox, an eagle. They each had four wings, their feet were like calves feet, and they were the color of brass. Stranger still, each of them had the hands of a man under their wings. Their wings seemed to stretch in two different directions. Two pointed up, and two stretched out over their bodies. Their appearance was like burning coals of fire. Stranger still, they had rings (rims of wheels) full of eyes around them.
In Revelation chapter 4, John saw creatures similar to what Ezekiel had seen. The Greek word is “zoa” (4:6), and the King James version translated it beast. However, it would have been better translated “living creatures.” Each creature Ezekiel saw had four heads: a lion, an ox, a man, an eagle. However, those John saw seemed to be individual. In other words, one was like a lion, and the second one was a different creature like a calf, etc. The ones Ezekiel saw had only four wings, these had six according to Revelation 4:8. Ezekiel seemed to have a wheel or rims that continuously circled them. The rims were full of eyes. The ones John saw, as he described them in the Book of Revelation, had eyes all around each creature (Revelation 4:6)
There were many other creatures now unknown to us with no description in the Bible that we see until we get to Heaven. They are very strange to us because there’s nothing on earth like them. What we know as angels are similar to men in appearance, but these living creatures are unlike anything we have ever seen. Conversely, in the world of darkness, there are creatures as the 9th chapter of Revelation bears out, which are as strange on the side of darkness as the living creatures are on the side of light.
If we understand this, then the appearance of these things as described in Revelation Chapter 9, as they were shown to John, will not be so strange. Of course, all of us want to know how these terrible creatures became that way. We know that when God originally created all beings, they were created beautiful, sinless and perfect and righteous. So, how did they become the ghastly creatures described in the ninth chapter? Our knowledge on this is limited, and we can only speculate as to the answer. When these creatures fell in satan’s revolution in the dateless past, sin and rebellion against God took its horrifying toll. No doubt, little by little, they lost, through that sin and rebellion, the glory and beauty they once had. I think it is very difficult for us to imagine. The man God originally created, Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, the man we see today reflects thousands of years of sin and rebellion. It has taken a horrible toll. The deformity, the perversion, the malignity, the ugliness, has all been caused by the fall. Even though and individual comes to the Lord Jesus Christ, he is still the product of thousands of years of genes that are warped, twisted, perverted, and cursed. We don’t know what God’s original creation called man was really like. We will know only after the first resurrection of life, the rapture of the church and the glorifying of saints. Likewise, what these creatures were in Revelation chapter 9, before the fall of lucifer, we have no idea, but we do know they were not created originally by God as we see them in Revelation chapter 9.
The Fifth Trumpet – Revelation 9:1-3
The fifth angel that sounds is the fifth trumpet angel. It says that John saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth. This star that falls is not a meteorite, it is an angelic being. Neither is it a fallen angel. We should describe it as a good angel. He will descend from heaven to open the abyss and allow these demon locusts to be loosed from the bottomless pit. We know this must be a holy and trusted angel because he has the key to the bottomless pit. God would not entrust this key to a fallen angel.
First, we know that the bottomless pit is somewhere in the earth. A star angel falls from heaven to the earth. Secondly, we know that the bottomless pit is now locked and will be opened about 2 ½ years into the Great Tribulation. Thirdly, we know that there is a fire in the bottomless pit, a great furnace of Revelation 9:2. We are told that the atmosphere will be darkened, more than likely limited to the seat of the beast, the Mediterranean area. This phenomenon will be sent by television and radio all over the world. However, only those who believe the Word of God will understand why the sun was darkened by the smoke. The third verse says as the bottomless pit was opened, and the smoke came out, that locusts ascended out of the bottomless pit in this smoke. It also says that power was given unto them as the scorpions of the earth.
The Tormenting of All Men but the 144,000 – Revelation 9:4-6
We know that these creatures described as locusts are intelligent because they were able to take commands according to Revelation 9:4. They are told not to hurt the grass nor any green thing nor any tree but to limit their judgment to men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. This is talking about the 144,000 Jews that we studied in Chapter 7. We also know from this that the terrible judgment will be limited to the Mediterranean area, specifically Israel. These creatures could easily kill millions of people, but they are only allowed to torment them for five months. The torment (pain) is like a scorpion’s sting. It must be even worse than a scorpion’s sting because it says in the sixth verse that in those days, when the demon locusts will be loosed out of the bottomless pit, men will seek death but death will flee from them. The pain will be so horrible that nothing will ameliorate it. Whatever this poison is, it goes into the bodies of hundreds of thousands, even millions of people. It will not respond to any medicine or antidote produced by the medical profession.
Description of the Demon Locusts – Revelation 9:7-10
These creatures are called locusts, Revelation 9:3, however, they are unlike any locusts we have seen on the earth. John describes their shapes. He said they were as horses prepared unto battle, so they must be quite large. On their heads were crowns of gold. They had faces of men but hair like women. Their teeth were as the teeth of lions, and they wore breastplates of iron. Their wings sounded like many horses running into battle. They had tails like scorpions, and they stung men in this terrible fifth trumpet judgment for five months. The will not, however, be able to sting the 144,000 Jews who are set apart by God with the seal of God in their foreheads.
The Leader of the Demon Locusts – Revelation 9:11
To prove these are not animals or insects, we are told they have a king. The king is an angel who is the leader of all those bound in the bottomless pit. The king’s name, Apollyon, means “destruction” or “destroyer.” We do not know what their original responsibility or sin was, but we do know that some of the angels that sinned with lucifer are still allowed freedom of movement (Daniel 10:20-21). Some committed sins more grievous than others, and they have been locked away for a long time. There are other parts to this prison house of the damned that is in the heart of the earth. This seems to be a part of hell but different and separated. Peter said, “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”(1 Peter 3:19). This is speaking of Christ’s descent to Tartarus and has nothing to do with Paradise. It refers to a place where Christ preached after His death, but immediately preceding His resurrection, He preached to these fallen angels. The preaching was not the heralding or the proclamation of the good news of the Gospel. It was an announcement. What that announcement was, we do not know. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” (2 Peter 2:4).
We know that all the angels that sinned have not yet been cast to hell and delivered into chains of darkness, so the ones that have been delivered thusly, may have done something even more horrible than rebelling with satan. It does not say here what sin they committed to cause their confinement, however Jude 6-7 and Genesis 6:1-4 tell us they committed fornication living with the daughters of men contrary to their own nature. So, these angels committed sin beyond that of falling with lucifer, for they are now confined to hell. We know that all angels that fell with lucifer are not confined to this chain of darkness in hell. Some of the fallen angels are now working with lucifer. At a given time, some of these angels and these strange fallen creatures are going to be loosed from their prison house in the heart of the earth.
Announcement of the Next Two Woes – Revelation 9:12
Along with the sealed judgments, trumpet judgments, the vial judgments, there are three woes that come upon the earth. The first woe is in conjunction with the fifth trumpet which is the demon locusts being loosed from the bottomless pit. The second woe will be in conjunction with the sixth trumpet.
The Sixth Trumpet – Revelation 9:13-15
When the sixth angel sounded his trumpet, John said he heard a voice from the Golden Altar of God. This is the same Altar of Worship we described in the 8th chapter. The voice says, “…Loose the four angels bound in the great river Euphrates.” In the 15th verse, we are told these four angels are prepared for a specific hour, day, month and year. And their mission will be to slay the third part of men. Now let’s look at this in greater detail.
First, the four angels bound in the great river Euphrates are fallen angels. They will lead 200 million demon horsemen, now bound in the abyss, who will be loosed under the sixth trumpet to cause the second war announced by the angel in Revelation 8:13. Each angel will command 50 million infernal cavalry, going in four different directions to slay the third part of men. Their destruction will be limited to the area now so prominent in the Middle East: Iraq, Iran, Syria, and probably even Israel. No doubt, many other countries in that vicinity will be affected, too.
Why are these four fallen angels bound in the great river Euphrates, and why are they prepared for a specific time? The Bible does not give us more information. And any other statements would be speculation at best. However, I believe some things are worth noting. First of all, the area now so prominent in the news: Iraq and the Euphrates River is highlighted in the Word of God. We know that the Euphrates is one of the rivers mentioned as having its beginning in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14).
A mighty river had its head in Eden and then parted into four heads. The names of the four rivers are Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel (The Tigris), and the Euphrates. There is no record as to where the Pison and the Gihon are now. The Hiddekel (The Tigris) and the Euphrates are very close to each other in Iraq. So, it stands to reason that the original Garden of Eden must have been in that immediate vicinity.
Some Bible scholars believe that the Garden of Eden was where the city of Babylon was later built. It was Nimrod who founded Babylon according to Genesis 10:8-10. From this area, it was also Nimrod who, after the flood, led the first organized rebellion against God. The very name Nimrod means “to rebel.” This man points to violent and open rebellion against God. The Scripture tells us that Nimrod became mighty in the earth by bold and daring deeds (Genesis 10:8). His rebellion is associated with the beginning of his kingdom and suggests tyranny and force. He lorded over others, hunting and destroying all who opposed him and his despotic rule over men. This is understood by Josephus and writers of the Targums. Josephus says Nimrod persuaded men not to ascribe their happiness unto God but to him. He became a great leader, taught men to centralize and defied God to send another flood. It is said that Nimrod hunted down wild beasts which were killing many people and taught men to build walls around their cities for protection against them. The term “mighty hunter” in Hebrew (Genesis 10:9) could refer to a hunter of animals or men to enslave them. Nimrod was a hunter of both men and animals. The Hebrew “gibbor”, translated “mighty” means “powerful warrior, tyrant, champion, giant or strong one.” It refers to Nimrod as a tyrant and despot, opposing others in the earth. He established the first kingdom and the first great universal false religion opposing God since the flood of Noah. This was done “...before the Lord:...” in the presence of God with all defiance. That is why God, when He came down to see Babel, took action to counteract the rebellion of Nimrod (Genesis 11:1-9.)
So, Babylon was started by Nimrod in defiance of God. It was in this area, Babylon, that the tower of Babel was built. The word “Babel” means “gate of God.” This was where God came down and confounded the languages of men as this rebellion grew in intensity, defying every command of God. Genesis 11:9 says “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”
Babylon continued to grow in power and influence until it reached its zenith under Nebuchadnezzar. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter 2, Babylon was shown on the image of the head of gold. Other kingdoms would certainly become more powerful down through the ages, but none would be more golden and grand. Babylon epitomizes the very core of man’s rebellion against God. This is the area Syria, Iraq, and Iran, from which the antichrist will rise (Daniel 7:8,24; 8:9; 11:5-6, 35, 43). Ironically, in the book of Revelation, only two cities are mentioned, Jerusalem and Babylon. The conflict has been between these two cities from the beginning. The four angels bound in the great river Euphrates probably had something to do with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden or were instrumental in helping Nimrod incite his rebellion against God.
In the 15th verse, the four angels were prepared for a particular time. They are held there now and will continue to be held until a fixed point in time. Upon release, they will kill the third part of men. Whereas the demon locusts only were allowed to hurt men, these leaders of the infernal cavalry will be ordered to kill men. Their destruction and death, it seems, will be confined, once again to the Mediterranean area. Millions of people will be killed.
The Number and Description of the Demons to Slay Men – Revelation 9:16-19
Before were are told what these demon horsemen look like, we are given their number, 200 million. It appears they are loosed out of the same pit as the demon locusts. These are similar to the demon locusts described in the earlier part of the chapter, but there are some differences. As the demon locusts were like horses, these also resemble horses. The demon locusts were like horses prepared for battle. These seem to be demon horses. The creatures riding have breastplates of fire and jacinth which is orange gemstone and like brimstone. The heads of these horses were like the heads of lions. Out of their mouths went fire, smoke, and brimstone killing men. Possibly a poison in the air would kill a third part of men. It then tells us that the power was in their mouth and also in their tails. Their tails are like serpents. The tails had heads and those heads apparently hurt men. More than likely, these horrible creatures will not be visible to the naked eye. They function in the spirit world just as demon spirits function in the spirit world today. However, they will be able to kill men by the millions and cause great pain and suffering by stings or bites. One can see from this, the horror that is going to take place in the Great Tribulation period and understand why Jesus said it will be great tribulation such as never been before or since (Matthew 24:21). These are tangible beings that will be loosed out of the bottomless pit. If we could see them, we would see the same thing John saw and described in the ninth chapter. They are not symbolic of happenings that can be explained otherwise. This is a behind-the-scenes look into the spirit world as to the cause of events transpiring on the earth at that particular time.
Hardness of Men Stated – Revelation 9:20-21
The Holy Spirit draws our attention in these last two verses to several things. First, it seems to imply that God allowed this terrible judgement to come upon the world at this particular time for many reasons but mainly that men will repent. If you will notice, repentance is spoken of twice in these two verses. It says “...yet repented not...” in Revelation 9:20. And then it says “Neither repented they...” in Revelation 9:21. It would seem that with tens of millions of people being killed by these unseen horrors, those remaining would quickly repent. But strangely, they do not.
Again, the Holy Spirit is drawing our attention to the reason for these terrible demon locusts and horsemen being loosed out of the bottomless pit. It is because men are worshiping devils and are engaged in murder, sorcery, fornication, and stealing. Still, the Holy Spirit is telling us that even in these horrible times, if men will repent, God will honor their repentance and have mercy. God has commanded men to repent from the very beginning and will do so at the very end.
Repentance is the one great doctrine that refers not only to unbelievers but to believers as well. The last message Jesus gave was given to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation Chapters 2 and 3). To five of those churches, he commanded they repent. The last words He gave to the last church, Laodicea, is “...repent.” The greatest need for fallen humanity and of the church is to repent. It is as if the Holy Spirit is calling our attention not only to the horror of what takes place under the fifth and sixth trumpets, but He seems to say, “Neither repented they...” (Revelation 9:21). The same epitaph will no doubt be inscribed on the hearts and lives of billions “Neither repented they.”
Dear Reader, as I write these words, I sense heavily an anointing and convicting power of The Holy Spirit. If there is unconfessed sin in your life as a believer, please confess it to The Lord. Repent and turn from all evil. You will find at even the 11th hour, God will grant mercy and grace. Repentance is no better described than through this prayer of the children of Israel so long ago “And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” (Judges 10:15-16) If any person will repent, as Israel did so long ago, admitting his sin, telling God he deserves nothing good, and that God should do unto him as He sees fit, but only deliver him, he should put away the strange gods (sin) and serve The Lord. God will then be grieved for the misery sin has caused and will bring salvation, deliverance, and victory. That is what deliverance means.
The Fifth Trumpet
1 And the fifth angel sounded,
-presents the fifth judgment, and as stated, the first woe
and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth:
-actually refers to satan as the next phrase proclaims according to Luke 10:18
and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
-Christ gives this key to satan although He may use an angel to give the key to the evil one (Relation 20:1).
2 And he (satan) 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 will probably be concentrated in the Old Roman Empire territory which is the Mediterranean area.
3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth:
-These are demon locusts as the following verses prove.
and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
-refers to the sting in their tails and the pain this will cause
4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree;
-Normal locusts destroy plant life, but these are not allowed to do so.
but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
-refers to the 144,000 Jews who have accepted Christ as their Savior (Revelation 7:2-8)
5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months:
-This will be literal, yet these creatures will be invisible.
and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
-pain and swelling
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.
-For pain to be so bad that people want to die is bad indeed. Evidently, painkilling drugs will not work. It will be interesting how medical doctors will diagnose this to say the least.
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.
-These are demon spirits but will be invisible. If they could be seen, this is what they would look like. We’re not told the origin in the Bible. We know they were not originally created in this manner but became this way in the revolution instigated by lucifer against God. (Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:11-19)
8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
-They were, no doubt, originally created by God to perform a particular function of praise and worship even as the “living creatures,” but they have suffered this fate due to rebellion against God.
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.
-We are given a glimpse, here, into the spirit world. This is the reason such foolish efforts, as humanistic psychology, are helpless against such foes. The only answer is Christ and The Cross.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
-This judgment is limited to five months which tells us satan can only do what God allows him to do.
11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit,
gives us further insight into the spirit world of darkness
whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
-This is a powerful fallen angel who, evidently, threw in his lot with lucifer in the great rebellion against God. Only four angels are named in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel, lucifer, and apollyon, the first two being righteous.
12 One woe is past;
-refers to the fifth trumpet judgment
and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
-The word behold calls attention to the fact that the two remaining “woes” will be exceedingly horrific.
The Sixth Trumpet
13 And the sixth angel sounded,
-This is the second “woe.”
and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
-This is the “Altar of Incense.” The “voice” is probably that of the same angel who came and stood at the altar and had much incense according to Revelation 6:9; 8:3.
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
-These are evil angels, hence previously “bound.” The river Euphrates signals the area. It is where it all began, and it is where it will all end and is being prepared even now.
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.
-These four angels are not to be confused with the four angels of Revelation 7:1. Those are righteous angels while these four angels are evil. They are executors of God’s wrath. Once again, this judgment will be mostly confined to the Old Roman Empire territory.
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: (two hundred million) and I heard the number of them.
-This is not symbolic of a human army but, rather, demon spirits which will be invisible.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, (demon horses) 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.
-All of this presents demon spirits riding demon horses.
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.
-Quite possibly, over 100 million people will die as a result of this particular plague. Whatever they think to be the cause, the actual cause will be what is described here.
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.
-Once again, we are here given a glimpse into the spirit world. That’s the reason Paul said, “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) That is why all efforts to oppose such are fruitless other than Christ and The Cross.
20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues
-once again, probably confined to the Middle East area
yet repented not of the works of their hands,
-As is obvious here, men do not easily repent.
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:
-All worship of God must be based strictly on the Sacrifice of Christ in the Name of Christ else it is a “work of man’s hands” which God can never accept (Ephesians 2:13-18).
21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
-The Holy Spirit again emphasizes the fact that they will not repent. Repentance by the world must be in the realm of the sin of man creating another god. In the church, repentance must be in the realm of the sin of the creation of another sacrifice.
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT