Rev Mar’s Nov 8 sermon text and slides can be downloaded here:
Revelation Chapter 9 (Trumpet Judgments 5-7 Continued)
- The first four trumpet judgments. The first three trumpet judgments fell on the land, sea, rivers and fountains of water. The first burnt 1/3 of trees and grass; the second made 1/3 of the sea into blood and destroyed 1/3 of seafaring vessels; the third destroyed 1/3 of the rivers and fountains of freshwater. (The earth has an abundance of water, but unfortunately, only a small percentage (about 0.3 percent), is even usable by humans. The other 99.7 percent is in the oceans, soils, icecaps, and floating in the atmosphere.) The fourth trumpet when sounded caused 1/3 of the sun, moon and stars to turn black and a third of the day is without light and also the night.
- Then an eagle flying in midair called out three woes representing the three last trumpets to fall on earth. The woes are described as being worse than the first four. Though these succeeding three trumpet judgments will be fearful, they will only be the beginning of even more fearful bowl judgments.
- Chapter 9 – The 5th and 6th Trumpet Judgments. Many attempts have been made to find symbolic meaning to the imagery in the following passages but there has been no uniformity. The best explanation is to take them in their literal sense. The apostle John uses familiar objects that best explains what he sees. That is why he would use the terms “appearance of the locusts” or “like horses” or “like gold” or “like the faces of men” or like the hair of women” or like breastplates of iron” or “like the sound of chariots’ or “tails like scorpions”
- vv 1-6. As trumpets sound, each trumpet presents a disaster worse than the disaster that preceded it.
- The great star that fell in the previous chapter (8:10) was a literal star that fell on earth. This star (v.1) that fell is different in that it was given the key to the bottomless pit (other renderings, Abyss), a place that is used to detain wicked angels or demons. It is also a place where satan will be chained for 1,000 years (20:3) during the millennial physical and visible reign of the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth from the city of Jerusalem. The star is an angel who is given the authority to open the bottomless pit and let loose the horrible judgment called by the 5th trumpet.
- When the pit was opened, smoke arose and the sky was darkened, then came out locusts that were like scorpions on earth which are “fallen angels or demon world” (Every Prophecy of the Bible, John F. Walvoord, p. 548). Then they took on the appearance of locusts and were given the power of scorpions. They were instructed “not to harm the grass… or any plant or tree” in contrast to the first trumpet judgment in the past chapter where the first trumpet judgment burned down 1/3 of the trees and 1/3 grass but those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads (v.4). The 144,000 Israelites from the 12 tribes of Israel (Chapter 7) are saved because they received the seal of God as servants of God. Though not mentioned, I believe that the living tribulation saints will also be saved from this 5th trumpet judgment but later on, they will be killed later by the antichrist for the word of God and their testimony which they held and their failure to worship the image of the beast (13:15).
- This trumpet introduced the torture of men for five months. The locusts will torment people with pain like that of a sting of a scorpion but they will not die. People will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. Five months (normal life span of locusts) is the opportunity given to men to repent and embrace the gospel. Unbelievers will hear the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ preached by the 144,000 Israelite evangelists. The intense suffering will also be as intense as the evangelization.
- vv. 7-12. Though the pain caused by a sting from a scorpion is real but not fatal means that this is a picture of supernatural judgment. Demons and angels can take on appearances other than humans. The description of the locusts who sting like scorpions does not fit any shape of man or beast. The use of terms “like” (8x used) and “appeared to be” indicates likeness not reality. Their king is the angel of the bottomless pit whose name is Abaddon and in Greek, Apollyon which both mean “destroyer”. This title is also referred to satan as a destroyer in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” With the 5th trumpet having fulfilled the role of the first woe, the second woe.
- vv. 9:13-15. The 6th angel sounds his trumpet.
- The apostle John was referred to the golden altars with horns. This altar is the altar of incense and its introduction refers to the prayer of the saints (cf. 8:3-4). The golden altar was the altar of incense within the tabernacle in contrast to the brass altar which is outside and was used for bloody sacrifices. The golden altar was used for burning incense and worshipping the Lord.
- The voice coming from the horns of the altar is probably the voice of an angel addressed the sixth angel, “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 four angels mentioned here must be the demons or fallen angels as holy angels are never bound. they were kept up to the day and time when this is to take place. The release of the four demons made possible the killing of a third of mankind. If the fourth seal (6:8) was able to kill a fourth of the world’s population, this judgment would kill a third of the remainder which would leave us 3.8 B from the present 7.6B population.
- v. 16. The number of mounted troops was 200 million sounds an impossibility. Yet, an army this size may come from China and India. That the army would come from the east is indicated by the presence of the four angels in the Euphrates River, the eastern border of the land. In Revelation 16:12 when the River Euphrates is dried up, it will allow the passage of armies from the Far East.
- vv. 17-19. The description of the horses does not fit what is a true horse. The devastating effect of such a large force whether human or demonic is in harmony with the result.
- Vv. 20-21. Though they had observed the Lord’s terrifying judgment, they still would not repent of their evil deeds. Our present world is characterized by murders, sorceries (pharmakeia, associated with the taking of drugs), sexual immorality, and thefts.
- Just like they usually say, “The heat of sun works both ways. It will harden the clay or it will melt the butter.
- This we see during the tribulation period. Many will repent to become tribulation saints (6:9-11; 7:9-17;12:11, 17; 13:10; 14:12) who would rather lay their lives on the line for the word of God and to maintain their testimony for the Lamb than worship the beast or the antichrist. There will be those who repented not of their evil deeds but instead blasphemed the name of God who had the power to save them from the plaques (2:21; 6:16-17; 9:20, 21; 16:9,11). We can see from the horrific torment, pain, and death in these passages that during the intense pouring of the wrath of the Lamb, they will try to hide from the face of the Lamb and they would not repent.
- We should pay great attention to the letters of the Lord Jesus to the 7 churches in the Book of Revelation. These churches are representative of what we are today. In those 7 churches (except for Smyrna and Philadelphia), 5 were admonished by the Lord to repent. It is not because we belong to a church or we think we are Christians that you are alright with the Lord Jesus Christ. Many in these churches thought they are acceptable in the Lord. Remember, the people in the Laodicean church were the last to know that they are not saved. The Lord said, “because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” But the Lord wrote them to repent. The command to repent was given before the rapture. The Lord will one day come to execute judgment upon all (Jude 15)
- As members of the church of Jesus Christ, while there is that small window of time before the rapture, we should:
- Take the responsibility to faithfully proclaim the gospel to unbelievers that the Lord may snatch them out of the coming judgment, and,
- Continue to examine ourselves if we are in the faith and repent. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2Corinthians 13:5)
- In the end, may we be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2Timothy 4:7-8)
The Lord’s message: 08/11/2020