Chapter 9

The last three trumpets are as Dr. J Vernon McGee states “Weird and Wild”. These trumpets are the Woetrumpets as they occur after the angel flies and says Woe, Woe, and Woe. Please keep in mind that if you are a child of God you will not be on the earth during these judgments. Do not fear or be afraid, because the saints are in Heaven with Jesus Christ.

This will be the darkest and the most intense part of the Great Tribulation period. Even though the language is going to at times be very vivid and wild, we still stand by the method of interpretation that is the literal method. We will let John tell us what is happening, and if we should apply another method of interpretation, John will let us know what it is. We must not alter and take things symbolically just because we do not at first glance understand them. So without further chit chat let’s dig in.

Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

Revelation 9:2 And he 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.

The first question would naturally be: Who is this, or what is this star fallen from heaven?

I submit the following for your consideration.

This chapter of Revelation is about demons. Do you believe that there are demons? If not, you will when this study is finished.

The star cannot be a literal star because in the first verse the star is called a him. Verse 2 starts and he, so we see that this star is not a literal star but a fallen angel as the previous chapters would bear out.

Now looking at the New American Standard Bible (NASB) we see the words Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth;. This indicates a previous fall some time in the past and not falling as in ‘right now’. Now this seems to be a particularly significant angel, one of some importance.

So we move the previous question, who is this star (angel) or what is this star which had fallen from heaven. We get a clue by turning to the Old Testament book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isaiah 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Isaiah 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Isaiah 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

This reference is to the king of Babylon but it also has an application for the prince of darkness.

So, it is none other than, drum roll please.

Satan himself!

Notice in verse 2 that Satan does not have the keys to the pit but the keys to the pit are given to him. This indicates that he does not have any authority except that which is given unto him. He is now permitted to unlock the pit.

I am reminded of the account of Job where God permits Satan to come against Job and do a lot of damage, but Satan is not allowed to take Job’s life. Satan is nothing more than a fallen powerful angel, Cherubim to be specific, who is now being used by God.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

Job 1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.

Job 2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

Job 2:5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

Satan was powerless to touch Job until God gave Satan the authority to test him.

Look at the result of the pit being opened. Verse 2 says that the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke. I take this to mean that this smoke is very dark. This would be similar to what we would see if a storage area for used tires were to catch on fire, black smoke, so thick and acrid that a person could not see through it nor breathe it.

Revelation 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Revelation 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

Revelation 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

Are these real locusts or are they depicting something else?

Unless the Apostle John gives us further insight we should take them to be actual locusts, but hold that thought loosely as John did not leave us to wonder about their identity very long.

What do we know about locusts?

What is their life span?

Do they have a leader?

It is my understanding that locust live for about 3 to 5 months, and they go through several stages of development. From egg to hopper to adult, from the little green grasshopper looking insect to the final stage of a eat everything leave nothing locust. Locusts were used in the eighth plague of Egypt and are depicted as darkening the sky by their great number. Unlike the grasshopper, a locust has the ability to change its behavior and habits and can migrate over long distances. A locust plague has no leader and they are thought to move by following the wind currents.

Now these locusts are a little different than normal. They are given power like scorpions have power. They are commanded not tohurt (translate this ‘eat’) the grass or the trees or any green thing. Now this is interesting because that is exactly what they do eat. We see that they are commanded to hurt people not the planet. There has never been an incidence where a locust or a swarm of locusts have ever harmed a human, until now. These locusts are commanded to hurt all of mankind that do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

These locusts are seen to torment mankind for five months. They have the ability to sting as a scorpion would sting, meaning that it would be extremely painful, but are not allowed to kill.

It has been said that the Roman soldiers were taught to ignore pain because it was a sign of weakness. When the Roman soldiers first encountered the scorpion they were said to scream in agony because of the pain of the sting. So we see that these locusts have a little more going for them than an ordinary insect.

Revelation 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

We see that the pain of the sting of these scorpions is so great the people want to die; they desire to die but cannot. The scripture says that death shall flee from them.

Have you ever had pain so great that you wanted to die so that you would be rid of the pain? When a person needs Morphine every two hours to control pain, they would be in this position, wanting to die just so they could get relief.

Now we get to what John saw, the shape and the appearance, the best rendering that John could give, because he had never seen anything like what he was viewing now.

Revelation 9:7 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.

Revelation 9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

Revelation 9:9 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.

Revelation 9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

We have seen that these are not ordinary locusts, and now in verses 7 through 10 we see that they do not resemble any type of locust.

Before we go much further, let’s go back and recall the symbolic words that tell us not to take things literally. When we see the word“like” it means likeness in external appearance, and when we see the word “as” it means similarity in action or quality.

Prayerfully I can get the picture of a desert locust included with this study. The head with a little imagination resembles the head of a horse. We can also see the gold color at the top of the head which would resemble a crown and the wings of thousands of locusts all moving at the same time would sound like horses in full gallop. Now that’s about as far as I can see that this locust would resemble what we see here in Revelation chapter 9.

John did his best to articulate and preserve in writing what he saw, but he had never seen anything like the vision that he was now receiving. How would you describe the swarm that was coming out of the pit where the fallen angels were held?

Look at the following verses.

2Peter 2:4 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;

Jude Verse 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Combined, these two verses tell us that what we see coming out of the pit are not literally locust but demons that have the outward appearance of something like a locust.

When Satan fell there were a multitude of angels that fell with him. Some of these angels were put into the pit and then the entrance was blocked and locked. We now have Satan, the prince of the fallen angels, given permission to unlock the pit and release the demons (fallen angels) so that they can torment everyone that does not have the mark of God on their forehead.

These fallen angels or demons are given their power for five months which is similar to the life span of a ‘locust’. Once again the nearest thing John could relate this sight to was that they looked like locusts.

Now could they be actual locusts? Yes, they could be if God wants them to be! They could be demon possessed locusts. I know this is possible because of what we see in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Matthew 8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

Matthew 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

Matthew 8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

People, animals, insects and the like can all be possessed by a demon, and we have just witnessed the truth of the scripture to prove that point.

Now, so as not to get everyone discouraged or scared to the point of trembling, demons are under the authority of Jesus Christ. We have just seen in Matthew that the demons were commanded by Jesus and the demons knew that Jesus had authority over them. Yes Virginia, all is still right with the world, God is still in charge.

Now a side note! We must remember that all is not lost, God is still in control. Everything that is happening, even though it seems so out of control and harsh, is still under the control of God Almighty. God has orchestrated the entire seven year period, and nothing happens during the tribulation period where God has not been the conductor, He is in charge of it all.

The only people that have to fear are the ones that are living at this time, for you see, the Church is not here. The Church has been taken up to be with Christ Jesus in Heaven awaiting the return of Christ to this earth with His Church. We see this in Revelation chapter 19 and verse 14.

Revelation 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

This plague of locusts has as their leader the angel of the bottomless pit. The Greek language lists the meaning of these two words as ‘the destroying angel’ and ‘Satan’. So we see that these locusts have Satan as their leader, and the purpose is to hurt men for five months but not to kill them, sort of like our man Job.

Satan is the one that seeks to destroy everyone, not just believers. The way that Satan destroys believers is to get the believer sidetracked. If Satan can get us focusing on something other than God, on our homes or possessions or anything else that takes our eyes off of Christ Jesus, he destroys our witness. The world needs to see the difference between unbelievers and Christians.

Revelation 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

The sixth angel now sounds the sixth trumpet.

Revelation 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

Which altar are we looking at here? It has four horns and is overlaid with gold and its location is before God.

It is none other that the Golden Altar of Incense. Look at the following verses from the book of Exodus.

Exodus 37:25 And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same.

Exodus 37:26 And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about.

Exodus 37:27 And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal.

Exodus 37:28 And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold.

How do I know that this is the Golden Altar of Incense and not the altar of sacrifice?

We know this because the altar where the animals were sacrificed was overlaid with brass, not gold. We see this again in the book of Exodus as follows.

Exodus 38:1 And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof.

Exodus 38:2 And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same: and he overlaid it with brass.

Revelation 9:14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

I have listened to various explanations about how these angels were bound in the Euphrates River. Most Bible scholars refer back to the the books of 2Peter and Jude in order to explain these verses.

2Peter 2:4 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;

Jude Verse 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

I just do not know for sure, but we do know that when Satan fell there were a multitude of angels that fell with him. Some of these angels were bound in the pit. Others were loose on the earth and would possess animals and people when they could. This tells me they were looking for a host body since they do not possess one of their own. We are also told that there are four angels in the Euphrates River.

Revelation 9:15 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.

They were bound in this river and according to verse 15 were also prepared for this time so that they could kill one third of mankind. This I do know and have no doubt that is so.

Who prepared these angels for the destruction that is to come?

A demon would not participate in an activity that would lead to his extinction or destruction. So I move the previous question, who prepared them for this time? I believe that God has prepared them as He is in charge of every event in the tribulation period. A demon must obey God just as the demon possessed men of Matthew obeyed Jesus Christ. We also see in this scripture that the demons know their final abode.

Matthew 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Back to Revelation 9:15.

We also see from this verse that one third of mankind will be killed. One third will amount to approximately two billion people if we use our census estimate for 2050. The death toll is mounting and will keep mounting through the battle of Armageddon.

Revelation 9:16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

Revelation 9:17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, 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.

The four angels are loosed from the river and there follows them two hundred thousand thousand. This would be the equivalent of two hundred million demons. Can you imagine the destruction that is taking place now? It is utter devastation.

At this point we have over one half of the world’s population that has been killed and we have yet to talk about the battle of Armageddon.

This description of the horses and the riders may or may not be literal ‘horses and normal riders’. We see fire and smoke and brimstone coming out of the mouth of the horses. Now keep in mind that this multitude of demons has just risen up out of the River Euphrates so they could be demons and not horses, or they are demon possessed horses and possibly mutated from what we know as horses. Do you think that these horses are real horses, literal horses?

Read on.

Revelation 9:18 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.

Revelation 9:19 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.

This is a description of the horses, we have seen that fire, smoke and brimstone comes out of their mouth, and now we see further evidence that this is actually a plague of demons or demon possessed horses. Look at verse 19 again. Their power is in their mouth and in their tails. Their tails are like serpents, they were not serpents but like serpents, and heads with which they can hurt people. It is not the rider that is causing the destruction but the horses or demons.

Please pay close attention to the next two verses. We can see the hardness of man’s heart and the absolute stubbornness that most of us possess. The interesting thing to note here is that even while observing all of the killing and the misery and destruction, those that were not killed would not repent.

Isn’t that just like the human race? If the bad things aren’t happening to me personally I will not change my mind and change my ways. In this period of time, as it is now, if a person looses his or her life and dies in unbelief, that’s it, no more chances.

The time to repent and turn to Christ is while we still have the breath to do it. There will not be a moment just before we die that we get a final chance. Refusing to acknowledge Christ as our personal Savior until death is not pardonable. If a person rejects the wooing of the Holy Spirit and denies Christ there is no longer any way to reach Heaven. Jesus is the only way that anyone will ever get there.

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Hebrews 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries

Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, 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:

Revelation 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

These folks would not turn from their evil ways and repent. Everything was more important to them than their eternal soul. Money and gold and things that it could buy were their gods. They worshiped at the foot of gods that could not talk, could not speak and could not hear, and rejected the one and only true God of the universe, The Lord Jesus Christ.

Look at the illustration of the things that they worshiped. First they worshiped gold, and when the gold runs out they would go to silver, then the lesser brass, then stone and finally wood. None of these things could accomplish the desired result.

We can see by this that there is worship happening during the tribulation period. These folks are worshiping, but they are worshiping at the foot of false gods and you might call them the church of Satan. Satan will do everything in his power to keep people from receiving Christ. He will lie and cheat and steal and even murder his followers to keep them from turning to Christ.

Look also at the condition of the people and the things that are happening here. The Greek word for sorceries is the word ‘pharmakeion’ from which we get our English word pharmacy. This indicates drugs. We used to call places where we bought our prescriptions, ‘drug stores’, now we call them pharmacies.

Drugs will play a large part during the tribulation period. There are people being murdered and no one repents. There are people practicing witchcraft which I believe leads to sexual immorality and illegal drugs. Thievery and sexual sins and sorceries and false gods are now the normal behavior. God is judging the wicked world and rightly so.

May God richly bless you as you study His Word. Amen