Revelation 9

Revelation 9

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.


Revelation 9 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The 5th Trumpet

The 5th trumpet releases a key to open the abyss. Many scholars believe this is the same abyss that the demons begged Jesus not to throw them in. It may be the same place where God locked up the spiritual beings who sinned by choosing to reproduce with human women.

When people had spread all over the world, and daughters were being born, 2 some of the heavenly beings saw that these young women were beautiful, so they took the ones they liked. 3 Then the LORD said, “I will not allow people to live forever; they are mortal. From now on they will live no longer than 120 years.” 4 In those days, and even later, there were giants on the earth who were descendants of human women and the heavenly beings. They were the great heroes and famous men of long ago.

Genesis 6:1-4 GNB

And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

Jude 1:6-7 NASB

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;

2 Peter 2:4 NASB

And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him.  31  They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.

Luke 8:30-31 NASB

The key unlocks a disobedient demonic plague that sweeps over the Earth. Similar to the book of Job, God allows for these demonic forces to have their way with the people. However, the major difference is that it is not the righteous who will suffer from this plague but “the inhabitants of the Earth.”

The 6th Trumpet

The 6th trumpet releases 4 angels to bring more destruction. It reminds us of the 4 angels who were cautioned earlier not to disrupt Earth with the forces of wind. At that time they needed to wait until the entirety of God’s people were sealed. We can assume the people being sealed were the 144,000 who transformed into a great multitude.

The staggering numbers and graphic descriptions can be overwhelming to us. We read this and immediately think, “I would do anything to avoid that.” However, we learn at the end of the chapter that this was not the case. In fact, the people on the receiving end of this torment do not repent at all.

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.

Revelation 9:20-21 NASB

In Revelation 9, John wrote about how mankind will seek death but will be unable to find it. The sins listed specifically by name were very common to the Gentile nations. Although the list here opposes the 10 commandments, it was also taking place within Christian churches in the NT where false teachers were promoting sexual immorality, sorcery, and idolatry.

It seems impossible that people would not repent after these horrible judgments, but we have seen it before in history. The picture here mirrors Exodus when Pharoah hardens his heart even amongst the most deadly plagues sent by God. After the Passover, he finally agrees to release the Israelites but then later changes his mind and comes after them again!

Death Over Repentance

This is one of the more eye-opening discoveries from the book of Revelation. People will prefer death and torture over repentance. These people (that God loves) have so much pride and hatred in their hearts that even as this horror story unfolds here on earth, they choose to continue living the way they want rather than repenting and turning to God. It seems unbelievable, but upon further study, it’s actually very believable – especially in terms of what we are seeing in our nation today.

One of the vices mentioned in this list of sins is the word sorceries. People refuse to repent of their sorceries. In ancient times, sorcery was attached to witchcraft but it also commonly involved something else. That word sorceries comes from the Greek word pharmakeia. This is where we get our word pharmaceuticals and pharmacy. In other words, drugs.

When we render the text that way, suddenly it speaks to our culture like never before. Do you know addicts who despite losing everything continue to go back to their drug of choice?

Look at this list and tell me if this sounds like our nation today: idols, murder, drugs, sexual immorality, and stealing. These will have such a stronghold over them that even when the wrath of God is sent from Heaven above, it will not change their minds about turning from their sin! These verses are potentially speaking to humanity’s addictions which will keep them from repentance!

God’s judgment will not produce repentance. But, I think we already know that.

Failure to keep the law of God has never worked to change a human heart. Only the love of Christ can do that. This is why it is so critical for believers to love people into the Kingdom (especially in the midst of the end times) because we understand that the wrath of God will not produce the change needed to turn from their sin. It may provide the conditions for change to happen, but it is only through humility, repentance, and the grace and forgiveness of Jesus that any of us are able to be free from our addictions today.

If the wrath of God changed people we could just sit back and wait for natural consequences to change everyone, but real life experiences tell us that isn’t the way it works. So, knowing this, what does that mean we should be doing today?

I think it means we should be praying for people and loving them like never before. I think it means we must take seriously our responsibility to bear God’s image to people who are in such a dangerous state of mind and don’t even know it. I think it means we need to be honest and get the healing we need from our own addictions, no matter how big or small they might seem. People’s eternal destination hangs in the balance.

In Revelation 9, the most frightening thought here is not the fact that God will send legions of spiritual beings to torture unbelieving people on earth (that’s a big statement.) The most frightening part is that those people being tortured will continue sinning even while God is judging them!

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