Revelation #17 Revelation 9:1-20 End Times Unleash The Demons


Revelation #17 Revelation 9:1-20

The four trumpets of God have blown and ecological disaster has befallen.  The gifts of the Earth, the bounty of the sea, fresh water, food, and light in the sky, significantly reduced. Add to this the war and famine and plagues of the seals and the entire world is caught up in trauma. The trauma intensifies with the remaining trumpets, supernatural terrors are about to be unleashed upon humanity.

John writes:

Revelation 8:13 (MSG)

I looked hard; I heard a lone eagle, flying through Middle-Heaven, crying out ominously, "Doom! Doom! Doom to everyone left on Earth! There are three more Angels about to blow their trumpets. Doom is on its way!"

Revelation 9:1-12 (MSG)

1 The fifth Angel trumpeted. I saw a Star plummet from Heaven to Earth. The Star was handed a key to the Well of the Abyss. He unlocked the Well of the Abyss—smoke poured out of the Well, billows, and billows of smoke, sun, and air in blackout from smoke pouring out of the Well.

3 Then out of the smoke crawled locusts with the venom of scorpions. They were given their orders: "Don't hurt the grass, don't hurt anything green, don't hurt a single tree—only men and women, and then only those who lack the seal of God on their foreheads." They were ordered to torture but not kill, torture them for five months, the pain like a scorpion sting. When this happens, people are going to prefer death to torture, look for ways to kill themselves. But they won't find a way—death will have gone into hiding.

7 The locusts looked like horses ready for war. They had gold crowns, human faces, women's hair, the teeth of lions, and iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was the sound of horse-drawn chariots charging into battle. Their tails were equipped with stings, like scorpion tails. With those tails they were ordered to torture the human race for five months. They had a king over them, the Angel of the Abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, in Greek, Apollyon—"Destroyer."

12 The first doom is past. Two dooms yet to come.

“Doom to everyone left on earth.”  Don’t be afraid.  Remember the promise made to the congregation in Philadelphia.  "Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test” (Rev 3:10 (MSG).  Though believers are caught up in the trauma they are kept safe by the command of Jesus.

In ancient times stars were often thought to be angelic beings (Judges 5:20, Job 38:2).  When the trumpet sounds an angel descends with a key to a place called the Abyss, or the bottomless pit. How deep is a bottomless pit?  The folks adhering to a literal interpretation are going to have a hard time calculating where the bottom of a bottomless pit is. It might be wise to understand this as a word picture revealing that demonic activity has been held in check, a prison for evil we could say, until this time. The angel opens the Abyss.

We can think of the smoke as a sign of divine displeasure. 

Romans 1:28-29 (MSG)

Since they didn't bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating.

The smoke may speak to humanity running loose, symbolic of confusion, spiritual blindness, a lack of clarity, and the foolishness of those who claim to be wise.


Out of the Abyss arise demonic entities from the underworld, and torment is unleashed upon humanity. “The dense smoke resolves itself into a swarm of infernal demons in the form of locusts” (Mounce, p. 194).  Locusts are always a symbol of destruction (Deuteronomy 28:42, 1 Kings 8:37, Psalms 78:46). Unlike natural locusts these are commanded not to harm the vegetation but rather to torment those who have not been sealed with the mark of God (Revelation 7:3).  They are limited in the harm they can cause; they are forbidden to kill. This prohibition is again letting us know that this woe is to turn people to God, the megaphone of pain.  The sting of the locust is like a scorpion. If you have ever been stung by a scorpion you know how much it hurts and that often you need to seek medical attention to deal with it.  Since one of our interpretive tools is realizing the use of metaphorical and figurative language, we may be safe in assuming that the pain inflicted is psychological.  Things are so horrific that the only way to make it stop is to die (Rotz, p. 140).


In his description of the demon locusts John is drawing from the prophet Joel, specifically Joel chapters 1 and 2. The king of the locusts is given a name, Abaddon in Hebrew, which is a term used for the place of death and destruction (Job 31:12) Sheol the place of the dead (Job 26:6, Proverbs 15:11), the grace (Psalm 88:11), and the personification of death (Job 28:22). The second name John writes is Apollyon, the name means “Destroyer.”  There may be something hidden in that name.  Some scholars see the name Apollyon as associated with the Greek God Apollo.  One of the symbols associated with Apollo is the locust. Historians tell us that Emperor Domitian liked to be regarded as an incarnation of Apollo (also suspected Caligula and Nero). If John is a literary genius, then we could interpret this passage to mean that it is the Emperor of Rome who is the King of this madness. (Mounce, p. 198)


The fifth trumpet has brought trauma and torment so great that people are despairing of life. The thoughts of death as the only relief to their suffering are common.  But those sealed by God are enduring.

Rev 9:12-21 (MSG)

The first doom is past. Two dooms yet to come.


13 The sixth Angel trumpeted. I heard a voice speaking to the sixth Angel from the horns of the Golden Altar before God: "Let the Four Angels loose, the Angels confined at the great River Euphrates."


15 The Four Angels were untied and let loose, Four Angels all prepared for the exact year, month, day, and even hour when they were to kill a third of the human race. The number of the army of horsemen was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard the count and saw both horses and riders in my vision: fiery breastplates on the riders, lion heads on the horses breathing out fire and smoke and brimstone. With these three weapons—fire and smoke and brimstone—they killed a third of the human race. The horses killed with their mouths and tails; their serpent like tails also had heads that wreaked havoc.


The end-time prophets are excited about the current condition of the Euphrates River. The water levels have significantly declined compared to historic levels.  This is mainly due to the dams and irrigation projects in Turkey and Syria. The Euphrates is the ancient easter border of the land promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:16, Joshua 1:4).  East of the River was the Assyrian empire one of Israel’s antagonists. When John wrote the Euphrates was also the eastern border of the Roman Empire.  The nation imposing a threat to Roman rule was Parthia, the nomadic tribes of Iran that became known as the Arsacid Empire. The Parthians favored cavalry in warfare. The Euphrates is a spiritual boundary line.  On one side there is peace and order, the rule of law.  On the other side is conflict, chaos, and the rule of power. When the Angels confined to the border are let loose, things go from bad to worse as human atrocities abound.


200,000,000 million  "ten" symbolizes completion and totality. By multiplying ten thousand by itself twice, the text emphasizes the absolute and complete nature of the destruction and judgment to come.  This hyperbole aims to convey the overwhelming power and destructive potential of this force. In Jewish numerology, the number 7 also symbolizes completion with the added understanding of perfection.


Like the description of the locusts, the description of the demonic calvary is meant to generate fear and revulsion.  These spiritual forces of evil are hideous monstrosities. Their number and visage depict how devastating these creatures are.  The horsemen don’t appear to be the ones killing humans, it’s the horses. The horse’s weapons of destruction are fire, smoke, and brimstone. John does not see the results of nuclear war, much to the displeasure of the end-time prophets.  In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone fall upon the cities in an act of divine judgment (Genesis 19:24. Jude 7).  The destruction comes from the mouths of the horses. Jesus speaks the truth.  We can speculate that many people are driven to death because they believe in the lies of the spiritual forces of evil.  It’s an overdose of lies, it’s death by being fooled because righteousness was forsaken. The restraining forces of evil that have prevented people from devouring one another are removed.  Don’t expect to see these riders and horses, instead look for humans being inhumane, people who have forgotten how to be human, oppressing one another, killing one another, using their liberty to destroy civilization as they try to build their ego kingdoms. See this woe has the self-destructive murderous foolishness of humanity gone wild.


With these scenes of devastation, I don’t see a wrathful, vengeful God smiting humanity.  Instead, I see the lament of Jesus. 

Matthew 23:37 (MSG)

"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God's news! How often I've ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn't let me.


God’s purpose in these woes, is to wake people up to their need of Him, the giver of eternal life. All that tribulation, yet people still choose to believe the lies.


Revelation  9:20-21 (MSG)

20 The remaining men and women who weren't killed by these weapons went on their merry way—didn't change their way of life, didn't quit worshiping demons, didn't quit centering their lives around lumps of gold and silver and brass, hunks of stone and wood that couldn't see or hear or move. There wasn't a sign of a change of heart. They plunged right on in their murderous, occult, promiscuous, and thieving ways.


Here's what we can walk away with from Chapter 9:

The locusts represent the consequence of sin and rebellion.  Ask the Holy Spirit to search your life for any area of disobedience and get rid of it.

The horses represent our internal struggles and temptations brought about by the lies of our culture.  Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment to judge between truth and error and the wisdom to apply what is revealed to your life.

As God’s ambassadors…

You are an ambassador of God are you not? Have you not bent the knee to the Lordship of Christ, pledging your fidelity to Jesus? Have you not repented because you believe you are guilty of sin, and asked for the forgiveness found in Christ’s atonement? Have you not asked to become His slave so that you can discover real freedom? If not, why are you playing for the losing side in this spiritual war?

When you ask God to save you, there is a life change, and part of that life change is becoming God’s ambassador to the men and women who are going along their merry way living ego-driven lives.

As God ambassadors our job is to tell the good news.  Ours is to be activists fighting injustice, oppression, and exploitation.  God’s ambassadors care for the vulnerable and marginalized. In the smoke of Revelation 9 God’s ambassadors are to be a breath of fresh air, living their lives to the full as a testimony. In the darkness of Revelation 8 and 9 God’s ambassadors are to take up their crosses and be the light of the world. You have the truth that can bring a brighter future for those in your world. 

Don’t allow judgmentalism, false teaching, hypocrisy, indifference, or thinking yourself of no significance.  Clean your house and do the work of an ambassador.


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