Revelation 9:1 Moffatt NT (1) The fifth angel blew, and I saw a Star which had dropped from heaven to earth; he was given the key of the pit of the abyss,
John MacArthur’s commentary says, “a star fallen from heaven. Unlike the other stars that will have fallen (Rev_6:13; Rev_8:8), this one will be an angelic being (cf. Rev_9:2)—probably Satan himself (Rev_9:4; Rev_12:7; see notes on Isa_14:12-14; Eze_28:12-15; Luk_10:18).”
We can figure out that it is not a physical star because it is referenced as a “he,” and it is given the keys to the abyss or bottomless pit.
I am not so sure how important this is but it is intriguing for several reasons.
- I believe it raises some questions in me about fallen angels. My understanding of who they are and where they are supposed to be is once again based in poorly thought out church tradition. I am just being honest. I have some basic understanding, but I am not a demon chaser and therefore tend not to chase angels too closely either. If I was deeply interested I would do an in-depth study, but I have not.
- While Angels in general are servants, messengers and protectors, this one, though stripped of its power, is still responding to someone. Is he responding to God’s commands or Satan’s. If he is responding to Satan’s commands then that means Satan still has some power.
Jesus stripped Satan of his power:
Colossians 2:13-15 NIV When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (14) having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (15) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
But how does this impact the rest of the angels? If you noticed the passage above it states that Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities and triumphed over them in the cross. I am not so sure that this disallows them the ability to act physically with us. For example: When questioned about Job God was explicit about Satan not taking his life. That is interesting for we want to believe that the enemy cannot touch us, he certainly touched Job’s life, and there is no denying the effects of these locusts from hell.
When he opens the abyss, among other things, another angel comes out. This emerging angel is the king over the locust hoard and has the name Apollyon or Abaddon (which means destroyer.) If you have any biblical background then you are aware of several other angelic names: The prince of Persia, Michael, Gabriel. There have to be many more and scripture tells us that they were all very powerful.
In contrast to our falling angel, Revelation 8:10-11 tells us of another falling star.
Revelation 8:10-11 NIV … a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water– (11) the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
This one is not denoted as having the ability to think as the other did. And the name of this star indicative of a deadly plant. Although they have the similarity of falling from the heavens they have two differing methods and missions.
When I first glanced at this passage I thought of Satan being expelled from heaven. Jesus told us that he saw him fall as lightning, so this concept makes sense to me but the event Jesus spoke of happened in the past. This is what makes Revelation so difficult for some people as there are jumps in time on several occasions. So I have to work on the principal that this is a future event and in context with earlier events associated with the trumpets and seals.
≈ ≈ ≈
Revelation 9:2 NIV When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.
The first thing that strikes me here is the word “like”. Like denotes a comparison but does not necessarily mean that something is burning. I say this because some commentaries want to say that this proves hell is filled with fire. That may well be but that is not what this says and we would do well to not try to make it say other things.
What it is saying is that there is a tremendous amount of smoke coming out, just as there would be from some large industrial chimney. The volume of smoke is enough to block out the sun and sky.
Here is an example of smoke that blocked out the sun and midday.
Aftermath of Mount St. Helens volcano. Photo by Claudia J. Howell / The Oregon Journal
Smoke is typically the product of combustion but it can be the product of chemical reactions. I do not know what this is but it does not matter. God has ordered it and it could be anything. Is the source relevant? No, but the outcome is.
≈ ≈ ≈
Revelation 9:3 NIV And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.
Out of the smoke comes a locust like creature.
While locusts are mainly known for their destructive nature on plant life, these are not. You even find them receiving commands not to touch the plant life, but they do have stingers or they could not be equated to scorpions. They have the ability to inflict gruesome pain but not death. One sting impacts you for five months. I suppose it is safe to say that the end and Christ’s return to the earth is at least 5 months away at this point.
Revelation 9:4-6 NIV They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. (5) They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. (6) During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
One of the commands given to them is to not hurt those with the mark of God. This applies to the 144,000 Jews set aside by God. No one else is protected.
≈ ≈ ≈
Revelation 9:7-10 NIV The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. (8) Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. (9) They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. (10) They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.
There is a tremendous amount of comparison going on here. None of it says that the locusts are Apache helicopters, freakish little creatures, absolutely, but they are still locusts here to torture those that reject God.
Now would be a good time to ask, who is still here?
- The un-repentant – You will not see any hearts turning to God; this includes the nations and Jews.
Revelation 9:20-21 NIV The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk. (21) Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
- 144,000 sealed Jews
- Those who have taken the mark and worshiped the beast.
≈ ≈ ≈
Those that were intended to be numbered among the saints have already been slaughtered.
Revelation 7:14 NIV I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Side note: Whose blood was spilled at the deaths of these saints in Revelation 7:14? Their own – and yet there was another whose blood was spilled in intentional offerings, for what? The sins of the world. They were forgiven and purchased back out of captivity, just as we who were previously caught up.
What then separates us? Our refusal to accept Jesus Christ as our life. So to say, they, the martyred, “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” could also imply that they finally took the last freeing step and accepted his life. If they have accepted his life then Jesus became an integrated aspect of their lives at that moment, just as he did with the believers under grace. The problem most of us have with this is that our choice to see them as being in Christ does not conform with our traditions that include rantings about true repentance demonstrated by a life of contrition and brokenness.
This statement demands that you think outside the box you have lived in. What we have not been taught, because no one seemed to understand, is that the book of Revelation is about God still trying to show mercy to people and giving them continued opportunity to be a part of his family. I can still see so many that do not understand and refuse to understand as their convoluted minds scream out that this God is a God of unjust punishment and horror.
Who is in charge here, God or you? You want an answer? God is, not you.
Those that came out of the tribulation may have merely said, I choose Jehovah, not Allah, and now they are before the throne. Think about it, we who go before, with all of our hangups and problems, do not get to take those issues with us into heaven, and that is precisely why we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and so will these people who now stand before the throne.
Revelation 9:11 NIV They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).
I am not sure how important this is but it is safe to say that everything in the bible was put there for a reason. In my simplistic thinking I am reminded of several other angelic names and references to how powerful they are or were.
Several that come to mind:
- Gabriel – He shows up several times. Daniel saw him and he appeared to Mary
- Michael – One of the chief angels/princes, assisted with Gabriel’s fight with the king of Persia
- the king of Persia
- the angel of the Lord – Most would agree that this was Jesus Christ appearing prior to his becoming a man through birth.
- Each of the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 had an angel assigned to them.
- The angel of the abyss, Apollyon in the Greek, Abaddon in Hebrew.
The fallen angels seem to have strongholds on earth as a conqueror captures territory and those that live within their sphere of influence. Revelation chapter 2 speaks of Satan’s seat here on earth. Revelation 9:14 states that one of the heavenly angels are to “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
Revelation 9:12 LITV The first woe has departed; behold, after these things come two woes.
I will pick up with the sixth trumpet in the next study.
As bad as this all sounds it is about to get worse. Here is what I want you to know. You do not have to go through this! This is meant for those who reject the living God and his mercies. It is a time of wrath and judgment against the nations and Israel for turning their backs upon him. Not all have turned their backs and have received Yashua as messiah, and they will, at this time, be with him in heaven, but many will continue to refuse and there will be many that will accept the mark of the beast, the leader most likely of the Islamic caliphate and they will worship the beast, most likely Allah. Should you choose to do that you will have slit your own throat and their will be no hope for you.
God has gently asked, during this time of grace, for you to follow him to a peaceful home, refusing to do that leaves you with one option, following your leader to his destiny, a life of eternal torment.
I implore you to ask Jesus to make himself real to you. He will and you will know a peace that is beyond your understanding.