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The video of this post explains the difference in timing and purpose of the rapture of the church in the air to take born again believers with Him to Heaven, and the second coming of Jesus to stand on the earth at the mount of Olives in Jerusalem. In addition to the video, we will discuss the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments.
In Chapter 9 verse 1 the fifth angel sounds his trumpet, and the judgment quickly follows. In like manner, in verse 13 the angel sounds his trumpet, and the judgment also quickly follows. During each of the two judgments, the sealed 144,000 Jews and the new believers in Christ are protected. (The torment of the judgment is a judgment upon those who had rejected Christ.) Also protected, will be the born again believers who will be raptured out of the world prior to the beginning of the tribulation.
We will study Chapter 9 in the New King James Version, with comments coming from the MacArthur Study Bible notes, as shown in BibleGateway.org. We will have a closing summary by Dr. John F. Walvoord (deceased). The seventh trumpet will be discussed in Chapter 11.
Revelation 9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Fifth Trumpet—the Bottomless Pit
1 Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. 2 He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.
7 The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. 8 They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. 10 They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. 11 They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.
12 The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.
The Sixth Trumpet—Army from the East
13 Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.
9:1 a star fallen from heaven. Unlike the other stars that will have fallen (6:13; 8:8), this one will be an angelic being (cf. v. 2)—probably Satan himself (v. 4; 12:7; see notes on Is. 14:12–14;Luke 10:18). bottomless pit. Lit. “pit of the abyss.” Mentioned 7 times in Revelation, it always refers to the prison where some of the demonic hordes are incarcerated, the place of severest torment and isolation (vv. 1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3; see notes on 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6, 7).
9:3 locusts. A grasshopper-like insect that descends in swarms so thick they can obscure the sun and strip bare all vegetation. In the 1950s a locust swarm devoured every growing thing for several hundred thousand square miles in the Middle East. These are not normal locusts, however, but specially prepared ones that are merely the outward form of demons, who, like locusts, will bring swarming desolation (see notes on Joel 2:2, 4). “Like” appears 9 times in John’s description; he finds it difficult to describe what he sees in a way the reader can understand.scorpions. An arachnid that inhabits warm, dry regions and has an erect tail tipped with a venomous stinger. A scorpion’s victim often rolls on the ground in agony, foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth in pain. The demons in locust form are able to inflict the physical—and perhaps, spiritual—pain like the scorpion (v. 5).
9:4 men who do not have the seal of God. Everyone on earth except the two groups mentioned in chap. 7—the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and their converts (see note on 7:4).
9:5 five months. The normal life cycle of locusts is 5 months, usually from May to Sep.
9:6 seek death and will not find it. The tormented will find no relief. Even their unimaginable attempts to end their misery in suicide will be unsuccessful.
9:7 faces of men. Probably a reference to these demonic creatures as rational, intelligent beings.
9:8 women’s hair. Jeremiah 51:27 refers to locusts having bristles like hair. lions’ teeth. They are fierce, powerful, and deadly (cf. Jer. 51:27).
9:9 breastplates of iron. Breastplates were designed to protect the vital organs and sustain the life of the warrior. These creatures are invulnerable.
9:10 five months. See note on v. 5.
9:11 Abaddon…Apollyon. Although locusts normally have no king (Prov. 30:27), these demonic creatures do. His name in both Heb. and Gr. means “destroyer.” There is a hierarchy of power among the demons, just as among the holy angels. Apparently, “the angel of the bottomless pit” is one of Satan’s most trusted leaders or possibly Satan himself.
9:12 One woe. The first of the final 3 trumpets (see note on 8:13).
9:13 horns of the golden altar. God’s design for the golden altar of incense included small protrusions (horns) on each corner (Ex. 30:2; see note on 6:9). Normally a place of mercy, as God responds to His people’s prayers, the altar will resound with a cry for vengeance.
9:14 four angels. Scripture never refers to holy angels as being bound. These are fallen angels—another segment of Satan’s force whom God had bound but will free to accomplish His judgment through their horsemen (vv. 15–19). God’s control extends even to the demonic forces—they are bound or freed at His command. Euphrates. One of the 4 rivers that flowed through the Garden of Eden (see note on 16:12; cf. Gen. 2:14). Starting with Babel, this region has spawned many of the world’s pagan religions.
9:15 the hour and day and month and year. God works according to His predetermined plan (cf. Matt. 24:36; Acts 1:7).
9:16 the army. Some see this as a reference to forces accompanying the kings of the east (16:12) and identify them with a human army coming from Asia. But that event occurs in connection with the seventh trumpet, not the sixth. The language is better understood as referring to a demon force that makes war with the earth’s inhabitants and kills one-third of humanity (v. 15).
9:17 breastplates. See note on v. 9. brimstone. Brimstone is a yellowish, sulfuric rock that often attends fire and smoke in Revelation (14:10; 19:20; 20:10). Common in the Dead Sea region, when ignited such deposits melt and produce burning streams and suffocating gas
9:19 tails are like serpents, having heads. John’s language represents the demons’ ability to vent their destructive power in both directions.
9:20, 21 God lists 5 sins that are representative of their defiance
9:20 demons. Reminiscent of Paul’s comments about idolatry (see note on 1 Cor. 10:19, 20); demons impersonate the stone and wood idols men make.
9:21 they did not repent. Cf. 16:9, 11, 21. sorceries. This Gr. word is the root of the Eng. word “pharmacy.” Drugs in the ancient world were used to dull the senses and induce a state suitable for religious experiences such as seances, witchcraft, incantations, and cavorting with mediums (21:8; 22:15). See note on Eph. 5:18.
Summary. John F. Walvoord (Deceased)
(The following comment follows verses 20-21, and relates to vs 16.)
In spite of the dramatic judgment inflicted by this invading military force, those who survive are declared to be unrepentant. Such is the hardness of the human heart even though faced by worldwide destruction and divine judgment from God and a clear testimony of God’s power to deal summarily with every human soul. The character of their wickedness is unfolded in these verses. They do not repent of the evil works of their hands. They do not repent of their worship of devils, or demons, and the worship of idols which their hands have formed, which John dramatically describes in the words “which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk.” Their worship of idols does not change their lives, and verse 21 indicates that they do not repent of their murders, their wicked sorceries, their fornication, nor their thefts. Though the power of satanic false religion is evident in the world, it does not have the transforming, purifying, redeeming quality found only in the power and grace of God. Though men can be made to fear God by demonstration of divine power, they are not brought to the place of repentance apart from faith in Christ and divine grace. Scott observes, “The two closing verses of the chapter reveal an astounding picture of human depravity.”
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