Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
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In our continuing study of Revelation, we cover the fifth and sixth trumpets of Revelation 9 in our most recent broadcast. This entire chapter deals with just the two trumpet judgments, however, they’re quite detailed and specific.
- Revelation 9:1-12 ~ Fifth Trumpet
- Revelation 9:13-21 ~ Sixth Trumpet
As seen in the chart (click on it for a larger version), the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments are also the first two “woes” that are recorded at the very end of the previous chapter, Revelation 8. This is where the eagle flies across the heavens shouting, “Woe, woe, woe…” signifying to the earth dwellers that three terrible things are on their way and it is due solely to the fact that the people of the earth are by and large unrepentant. They worship demons (masquerading as “gods”), and idols of stone, wood and metal.
The first woe, also known as the Fifth Trumpet Judgment, occurs when a “star” falls from heaven and is given the key to the bottomless pit (literally, the shaft of the abyss). This angel appears to be one of the angels that never rebelled by following Satan. This angel does God’s will perfectly and voluntarily. After being given the key to the pit, he opens it and out flows tremendous smoke (v. 2). Following this smoke, hordes of what appear to John to be a type of locust flies up out of the pit. The question is are these locusts, demons or something else?
If we take the Bible literally, meaning in its most plain and ordinary sense, we would have to take into consideration the context to determine what these things actually are and fortunately, the Bible provides clues. The first clue is that these locusts actually have power like scorpions (v. 3, 5). Beyond this, they were forbidden from harming plant life at all. They’re sole job was to torment those on earth who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads (v. 4). They could torment by inflicting severe pain but they could also not kill people. That would come next in the Sixth Trumpet Judgment.
So these locusts are obviously intelligent, and have tails like scorpions that are capable of inflicting real pain with a sting, unlike actual locusts and very much like real scorpions. But of course, actual locusts also eat vegetation, yet these are forbidden to do so. It’s almost as though they do not need to eat because there is no mention of the fact that they do eat. Locusts eat vegetation to survive. These do not.
The one thing that is reminiscent of actual locusts is the fact that the average life cycle of a locust is roughly five months. In that sense, these locusts out of the pit are given authority to torment people, but not to kill them, for five months.
Some commentators have believed that these locusts are actually military technology that is “released” by Antichrist to torment people. I doubt this could the case because these creatures are clearly intelligent forms of life, able to follow God’s specific instructions. While it’s true that computers could program drones or other things to do something like this, the plain fact is that computers are not infallible and can make mistakes. These creatures do not make mistakes. They do what they are told/allowed to do and nothing more or less. Besides, why would the Antichrist send out drones or other military technology to harass people who are not sealed with the seal of God? He’d be harming his own followers. Of course, we also need to remember there is no mention that Antichrist sends these. All of the seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowl judgments are released by God as we’ve seen the action occurring in His throne room.
It seems to me that these are demons, allowed to come out of the pit for a short amount of time for the sole purpose of inflicting torment on those who are in rebellion to God. This makes the most sense to me. Of course, you’ll have to decide what makes the most sense to you.
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. 8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 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. 10 They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. 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.
The above description from Revelation 9:7-11 describes the way the locusts appeared to John. They were obviously large enough creatures for John to make out the specifics of the appearance. A similarity between actual locusts and these creatures is the sound made when they fly. When locusts swarm in real life, the sound is said to be horrifying and depending on the size of the group, they can blot out the sun turning a bright day into darkness. When these particular creatures above fly, they are likely far larger than the average locust making their flight that much louder and terrifying. This army of demons from the pit are dressed for battle and prepared to make war against those on earth who have not been sealed by God.
God’s seal He places on His servants is likely not visible to the naked eye and it doesn’t have to be. God sees it and these demonic creatures likely see the seal as well. When they see it, they must ignore that person. This is of course, different from when Moses directed the people of Israel to place blood on the lintel and door posts for that first passover (Exodus 11). That blood was applied by human beings to door posts, which is why it was visible to the human eye. In this case, God Himself places His seal on His believers, so it does not need to be visible and certainly, since demons exist in another dimension and are normally not seen by humans, they would likely see this mark put there by God even if/when we do not see these things. I can only imagine what demons see from their perspective when they look at us. Do they see the Holy Spirit within us, the evidence of our salvation? I’m quite sure they do.
Revelation 9:13-21 refers to the next “woe,” which is also the Sixth Trumpet Judgment and it’s a doozy. God is not playing around here and while He most certainly wants to see true repentance in people, when He does not, He will send deserved judgment. The judgment is designed to move people’s hearts toward Him. However, for those who will continue to refuse or who are too far gone to see and admit their need for Him, they will simply dig their heels in more fully.
This judgment starts by pointing out four angelic beings who apparently had been bound at the Euphrates River since time immemorial. This is a very interesting situation and makes me realize just how little we know about the things that have happened in the past in the spiritual realm.
13 Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’
We do not know why these four angelic beings were bound. However, the fact that they were bound signals to us that they are very likely fallen angels. We have no details but we can assume what they did was so horrendous, God had no choice but to bind them and incarcerate them until such a time when He would use them as part of the pouring out of His judgment onto the people of this earth. Revelation 9:15 informs us of more information.
So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
Two things we learn from the above text. First, God specifically kept these angelic beings bound until the specific hour, day, month and year had arrived. Once the timing had arrived, the angelic beings/demons were released for one purpose – to kill 1/3 of humanity throughout the earth.
When this particular judgment is over, roughly half of the earth’s population will be decimated. There are roughly 8 billion people alive now, so that means that there will only be about 4 billion remaining at the end of the Sixth Trumpet Judgment. Stop to consider that if you can. Literally billions of people dead. How are people killed? We do not really know but there are clues. Revelation 9:16-17 tells us about an army of 200 million soldiers in conjunction with these four angelic beings. Apparently, the four angels have authority over the 200 million soldiers. These soldiers are strange looking individuals. If they were humans, we would expect them to be dressed in tactical garb, most likely with full head helmets and visors that allow them night vision and possibly even see weaponry and/or commands on the inside of their helmet shields.
Instead, they are clearly riding horses (v. 16), were covered with breastplates, their heads were like lion heads, and they literally spit fire, smoke and brimstone out of their mouths. It has not been unheard of for military personnel on the battle field to use flame throwers to destroy vegetation and/or even the enemy. Some believe that’s what John saw. The problem is that it seems more accurate to say that the fire, smoke and brimstone actually does come out of their mouths, as John states. Certainly he would’ve known the difference between something emanating from the mouth as opposed to holding some implement that shoots fire.
It appears that these are demons who are released with the four bound angels and have one job – to kill 1/3 of the earth’s total population. Now, if these are not supernatural demons, then it would seem fairly easy for governments of the world to take them out with their technology. The fact that these 200 million appear to have no problem ridding the earth of 1/3 of the total population informs us that these are not men/women with weapons, but demonic hordes of supernatural origin and whose weapons are also of supernatural origin. Humanity has no defense against these creatures. Verse 19 tells us that their power is in their mouths and in their tails. These creatures can kill something in front of them as well as behind them.
But aside from all of this, the most interesting thing is the reaction of those who are not killed, Revelation 9:20-21.
20. But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
This is tragic. Humanity will have gotten to a point where they are so degenerate and reprobate that they will simply hate God more in spite of Him sending correction their way and will dig in their heels to continue to reject Him and His ways.
Next time, we will cover Revelation 10, the Little Scroll and the Angel.
Theology and Politics from a Conservative, Biblical Perspective
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