Sunday, August 30, 2009

Revelation 9:1-12 Trumpet 5

Revelation 9

So far, the devastation of the seventh seal trumpet judgments have only been directed at the planet, and the effects on the inhabitants have been a by-product. Now the next two trumpet judgments are going to be directed specifically at the inhabitants.

Verse 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.”

We know already that stars are another way of referring to angels. In this case this is the way that this is to be interpreted, as a real gas giant could not be given a key. This is an individual. As to which star or angel it is, as he is being given the key to unlock the abyss where the demons are held, one can suspect that this is Satan, as other scriptures refer to him falling from heaven to earth, or it is possibly another angel, who is a destroyer.

Luke 10:18 “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”

Rev. 12:3a, 4a “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon….and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth;”
If the angel is Satan, as he is also the ultimate leader of the rebel angels, it would seem appropriate for him to be allowed to get his gang out of prison. If another angel, he is still the one in charge of destruction.  So regardless of who this is, he is given the key to the bottomless pit, or the abyss as it is otherwise known from the Greek word “abussos” meaning depthless or bottomless. In scripture there are five different words that are used to refer to the places of the departed dead or the abyss where the fallen angels are held. They are translated into English by the words hell, grave, deep (N.T.), pit (O.T.), or bottomless pit (N.T.). Sheol is the Hebrew word in the Old Testament from which "hell", "grave" and "pit" are translated and simply means the world of the dead or place of departed souls. Hades, Tartarus, Gehenna, and abussos are the Greek words from which "hell", "grave" (one time only in 1 Cor. 15:55) "deep", and "bottomless pit" are translated. Hades is the Greek equivalent of Sheol and means the place of departed souls or world of the dead. Tartarus refers to the deepest abyss (or bottomless pit) in Hades and is only used in conjunction with the prison of the fallen angels. It also has the dual meaning of being incarcerated in eternal torment. Gehenna was a valley in Jerusalem that was used for the sacrifice of children to Molech. The continuous burning that went on there caused it to become a figurative name for the place of everlasting torment of the damned. In the New Testament the word "hell" is usually translated either from Hades or Gehenna. Tartarus is used only once in scripture when referring to where the angels are bound, 2 Pet. 2:4. When abussos is used, it is translated as "bottomless pit" or "deep". As to location of hell or the bottomless pit, the scriptures give us a clue.

First is the parable in Luke 16 about Lazarus and the rich man. According to the parable Hades, which Christ would certainly portray accurately, is a place which had two compartments. One was known as Paradise (a place of the righteous dead) and the other as Hell (the place of the wicked dead). These two places were separated by a huge impassable gulf. People were conscious while in these places and could actually speak to each other. While Paradise was a nice place, Hell is a place of burning torment. When Christ died, he told the thief on the cross that he would be with him in Paradise, Luke 23:39-43. Before Christ’s death, the righteous dead could not enter into heaven, as there had not yet been payment made for their sins. The blood of bulls and goats never covered their sins, Heb. 10:4, and therefore they could not enter into the presence of God. Christ had to die first, so there had to be a holding place for these people until that time. Paradise was that place. Scripture says that Christ’s soul was not left in Hell (Hades) Acts 2:31, Ps. 16:10, which tells us that indeed he went to Hades, the Paradise side after he died. He did not go to heaven as some assume. In John 20:17, Christ tells Mary not to touch Him for He has not yet ascended to His Father. Christ went to Paradise to preach to the inhabitants there and let them know he was the Messiah for whom they had been waiting. It is possible he also went into Hell to preach to the souls there, 1 Pet. 3:18-20, Rom. 10:7 (deep is abussos, it is the abyss where the demons named Legion did not want to be sent, Luke 8:31). It says when Christ ascended he took “captivity captive”, Gal. 4:8, Ps. 68:18, meaning that He took the inhabitants of Paradise with him. We know that now that Christ has ascended, saints go to heaven upon death. 2 Cor. 5:8. So now Paradise is empty, which allows hell to enlarge itself as it fills, Is. 5:14.

As to its location, it says that Christ descended into the lower parts of the earth, Gal. 4:9. There are also many other verses that verify this location as being in the lower regions or center of the earth. Ez. 5:16, Ps. 86:13, and Ez. 32:27 speak of hell being down below us, as do a number of other verses. In Revelation we learn that smoke pours out of the abyss into the sky, Rev. 9:2, which could only happen if the shaft opened goes into the center of the earth. All of this would seem to indicate that the abyss and/or hell is located in the center of the earth. This would explain the fire in hell, the smoke pouring into our sky when a shaft is opened into it, and why it is below us in the lower regions or nether parts of the earth. The center of the earth would be a bottomless pit as, if one thinks of a ball of fire in the middle of the earth, no matter which way you turn, there is no bottom. Every direction is up.

(Since posting this, I have read another suggestion as to the identity of this angel.  Someone has suggested that this is a good angel, not a fallen one, and that he is a destroyer on the Lord's behalf, such as when he was apparently sent to kill the firstborn of all of Egypt. Exodus 12:23 "For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you." I don't know that either view, that he is good or fallen is provable by these verses, for the fact is, the Lord controls all the angels and He allows evil by His permissive will as well as sending angles to do His bidding. I don't believe that God created an angel for the purpose of destruction and named him the Destroyer at the beginning, for He created all things good.  So personally while neither view is provable, I would lean toward believing this is a fallen angel under the circumstances.)

Verse 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 the reason of the smoke of the pit.”

When the bottomless pit is opened, there is a shaft that goes directly down into the fiery pit of hell that allows all of that smoke from the fires of hell to escape. There is so much smoke that it fills the air and blots out the sun from shining on the earth.. We know there are at least two compartments to Hades, Hell and a now empty Paradise. It appears there is a third compartment that exists. It is called Tartarus and is a deeper abyss than hell itself. It is spoken of once in scripture in the book of 2 Peter using the word “hell”. “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, (Tartarus, the bottomless pit) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” 2 Pet. 2:4. This verse precedes the verse about Noah, indicating that this event preceded the flood.

Verse 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.”

Out of this smoky shaft down into hell comes a swarm of what John refers to as locusts. That they are not real locusts is evident from the fact that they have been let out of the abyss with a key. God does not lock real locusts into the bottomless pit in hell. This demonic horde looks to John as locusts. They not only swarm by the hundreds, or more likely thousands, but probably look somewhat like mutant insects or something of that nature. They are given power as the scorpions have power. Real scorpions have the power to sting people, and even cause death depending on the scorpion. The sting can be intensely painful and have some really bad side-effects, some being numbness, muscle twitching, unusual head movements, sweating, difficulty breathing, and weakness.

Verse 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.”

Real locusts would go after all the green vegetation, but these locusts are told not to touch the vegetation. After the first few trumpet judgments, many of the trees and all the grass were burned up, but here we see that the grass is growing back, and there are still plenty of trees. God apparently wants some of this vegetation left for the days ahead, for they are told to leave it alone. On the other hand, they are told that they are free to torture anyone who does not have the seal of God in their foreheads. We know that Christians are sealed by the Lord when they become saved, and now we see the reason for the 144,000 being sealed. It was for protection from these creatures. Not being Christians, they are not immune from their attacks, but with the special seal that was placed on their foreheads, they are protected from this horde.

Verse 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.”

Now we see that the previous scorpion reference was deliberate. They do exactly what scorpions do. They sting people, and that sting causes tremendous pain and torment, but not death. They cannot kill people, only hurt them. This sting will be horrible and will not continue for only a few days or week as a real scorpion sting would, but lasts five months. Imagine the intense pain and other side-effects that people will have to endure. It will be extremely unbearable.

Verse 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.”

The intensity of this torture is so great and so long that people will try to commit suicide. God will not allow it though. No matter what they do, they will survive to be tortured some more. People will not be able to hide and escape them either. They even have the ability to enter houses that will be locked against them. We learned that from the Old Testament.

There is more information about their behavior from the passage from Joel that we studied when studying the Day of the Lord. “A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like a mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war, and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and the Lord shall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” Joel 2:2-11

That this passage parallels Revelation is obvious from some of the similarities. The thick darkness (from the smoke) is mentioned. It is a great (powerful and big), strong people that there has never been the like of or will be again. It says that a flame devours before them and after them. We know that these locusts in Revelation were told not to hurt the vegetation, but we also know that before they arrive, the earth has been burned, and after they leave we will see that the earth will burn some more. It is not that they personally will be responsible for this burning, but the events surrounding their arrival will be the cause of all of the burning. The people are much pained because of them. We know that this agrees with what they will be doing, stinging people. Joel’s description of the way they move together, not breaking ranks, climbing walls, going into windows and over the tops of houses, exactly describes how locusts would behave. People will not be able to get away from them or shut them out. If anyone has read the Little House on the Prairie books, Laura Ingalls Wilder describes a plague of locusts going through the land. It sounds exactly like Joel’s description of the way they move through the land. Joel says that they have the appearance of horses, and run like horsemen. They have the noise of chariots, are dressed in battle array, and can leap from mountains. Let us see if the rest of the description in Revelation bears out that this is the same group.

Verse 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.”

So here we have it. The shapes of the locusts were similar in some way to horses, just as Joel said. But not just horses - horses prepared unto battle. In other words, in battle array. To compare them to a horse would indicate their size. On their heads are something that to John resembles a crown of gold. They have a face like a man, but as we will see that merely means that the general appearance - eyes, nose, mouth, chin, etc. is like a man’s. In fact they do not look like men at all.

Verse 8 “And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.”

Now it can be seen that they do not look quite so much like men. The teeth of a lion would make them appear a great deal more vicious. And they have long hair, as a woman of John’s day would have. Again we can look to Joel for another comparison. “For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.” Joel 1:6.

Verse 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.”

Here is the same description as in Joel. They have the noise of chariots as if many horsemen were running to battle, just as Joel said. The noise comes from their wings which again indicates size to create this noise. They are not tiny little insects. This also describes their battle array in more detail. They have breastplates of iron. Joel tells us that they can be run through by a sword and not be wounded. Not only would this breastplate prevent that, but being demonic, they cannot die anyhow.

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

Again we are given the description that they are similar to scorpions in that they have a tail in which there is a stinger with poison that they will use to inflict pain upon mankind for five months.

This would appear to be a very confusing description, but I have seen several carvings (if that is the appropriate word) that look very much like what is described here. One is a sculpture of an insectoid creature that looks somewhat like this description, (I am not sure if the sculptor's idea came from an ancient description or not) and the other seems to be a representation of this actual creature or demon as it seems to fit the description very accurately. It is a Mayan artifact. I believe it is one of the artifacts that those who believe in ancient astronauts point to as a rendering of what the ancient astronauts looked like. For now, to picture this creature, think of a (probably) man-sized insectoid type of creature whose body somewhat resembles a locust, but has a tail like a scorpion. They apparently run on all fours like a horse, have a human type face with lion’s teeth and long hair. They have wings (or something similar) which allows them to fly (and makes noise), and have on breastplates. While these are fallen angels, the world will not understand that is what they are. In fact, the world will think they are something quite different. Based on the ancient astronaut theories, that are now being used to explain the puzzles of the ancient pyramids, ruins, artifacts, etc. that cannot be explained, this will set people up to believe that these creatures are aliens from another dimension or planet.

Verse 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.”

The leader of this group is Abaddon or Apollyon, both which mean “the destroyer”. This is not just any fallen angel. This is a really important, powerful, evil angel. This angel has been locked in the bottomless pit for having done something really destructive. He was the king of the others, so one has to assume he was responsible for being the ringleader for whatever the others did. It is clear from 2 Peter that they are chained in Tartarus as that is the bottomless pit. Jude 6 spoke of the fallen angels who had come down and cohabited with man, married the women and produced giants, both before and after the flood. These fallen 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.” This also speaks of being chained until the day of judgment as did Peter. Here we finally have the time of that great day of judgment on the world. This group of fallen angels appears to be the group mentioned in Jude. It does not specify, however putting these three scriptures together, Peter, Jude, and Revelation it seems to point to this conclusion. This terrible event occurred both before and after the flood. What was done to mankind before the flood was certainly a destructive thing. It nearly completely destroyed mankind. Noah was the only one left that was “perfect” in his generations. The only one who did not have tainted blood. So to have their leader named Abaddon would certainly be appropriate. What is disturbing is that this event also occurred after the flood, and there was no worldwide judgment to wipe out all the progeny of these demonic unions. That is why God was so bloodthirsty about Israel destroying every man, woman, and child when they entered the land. It is quite possible that some of that tainted blood still exists today in people in the world, as Israel did not always do as told. This is something we will get into later. What may be a puzzle to some is how, if these are those particular fallen angels, such creatures would be able to mate with humans. There are several explanations for that. First, angelic beings can take on other forms. We know that the ones that showed up to take Lot out of Sodom looked like normal human men, but they were not. Another explanation is that God changed the look of these angels after they fell as part of their punishment, as He did to Satan. If they were so beautiful before and attracted the women, what better punishment than making them hideous. Some descriptions I have heard, from people who have claimed to see God's angels, have described them as around eight feet tall, blonde and blue eyed, and extremely handsome. If that is what they looked like before, it would explain the giants and women accepting this situatlon. The stories of the gods of the Greeks, Romans, Norse, etc. mythologies have beautiful gods. Another explanation although this one requires more of a stretch, although there are some reasons for this explanation that I will go over later, is that the beings were capable of creating test tube babies for the women to be artificially inseminated. Since we can do this, this is not beyond their capability. They would have even more capabilities in that respect, being able to manipulate man's DNA.

Verse 12 “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.”

The fifth trumpet judgment is called the first woe. It is very important to take note of this
Two more woes are to come. The second woe is the sixth trumpet and the third woe is the seventh trumpet. This nomenclature will become very important later on for identifying something in the timeline, so it is important to remember.

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