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