We now enter a part of Revelation that involves the demonic world. Men will be able to see clearly the nature and purposes of Satan’s forces. When the door to the abyss is opened, the demons come out and the battle is on. It is frightening to face the reality of a powerful demonic army dedicated to destroying humanity. However, we will also see their limitations as God uses these evil forces for his purposes but limits their power. God is very much in control.
DAY ONE: FIFTH TRUMPET IS SOUNDED.
READ: Revelation 9:1-6
A. A “STAR” FELL TO THE EARTH.
Who or what is this star? The use of a personal pronoun suggests it is a person. Since stars are often used symbolically to denote angels, we may assume that this is a fallen angel who is assigned a special task in this fifth trumpet (first woe) judgment. Some have even suggested it could be Satan himself.
B. THE ABYSS IS OPENED.
This is certainly a different kind of disaster than the first four trumpet judgments on the environment. It obviously is correct in being called a “woe” because people will be attacked and tortured. The abyss is a holding place deep in the earth, the place of demonic imprisonment. (Luke 8:31) The demons kept here are exceptionally evil. Now God chooses to release them for a period of time to torment wicked people.
C. SMOKE RISES.
The abyss released a thick dark smoke that obscured the sun. It was compared to a giant furnace. In our day it might compare to the giant sandstorms in the dust bowl that made visibility almost zero. But the smoke is not be feared. Out of the smoke came demon “locusts” – an army that was to be greatly feared!
D. LOCUSTS ARE GIVEN POWER TO TORTURE.
Even though these demons are dangerous and have had to be confined, God now releases them provisionally. They are not to harm vegetation or harm those sealed for God. They could torture but not kill. Their torture was limited to five months or 150 days. Nevertheless, their torment is so painful that people wish to die because of the scorpion-like stings, but are unable to do so.
- From the following passages, what is the purpose of the abyss? (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6)
- Who holds the keys to death and Hades? (Revelation 1:18)
- How might the following verses suggest the identity of the “fallen star?” (Isaiah 14:12-14; Matthew 12:22-26; Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:4)
- How do God’s judgments in Egypt foreshadow the trumpet judgments?
- What is your reaction when you read about the power and reality of demons?
- Explain your personal belief in Satan and his angels.
DAY TWO: CREATURES ARE RELEASED.
READ: Revelation 9:7-12
A. RELEASED CREATURES ARE SUPERNATURAL.
The description of the creatures defies comparison with any living thing in our reality. God leaves man with no doubt that this is not a phenomenon of nature. God finds ever new ways to break down defenses and bring man face to face with the reality of God’s judgment and of Satan’s forces.
B. CREATURES ARE DESCRIBED.
These creatures have horse-like bodies, gold-like crowns, human-like faces, women’s hair, lion’s teeth, lion-like breastplates, loud wings, and tails like scorpions. They are called locusts but behave like scorpions. They are organized with a fallen angel as their king He is called Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyn (Greek).
- How are these “demon locusts” different in their damage from the insect locusts in the Egyptian plague? (Exodus 10:13-15)
- Abaddon is their king, but who really controls them?
- Why do you think God allows them to torture but not kill the wicked people?
- What was Paul’s promise to the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians 1:6?
- In limiting the time but not the severity, do you see this judgment as justice or mercy?
DAY THREE: THE SIXTH TRUMPET BEGINS.
READ: Revelation 9:12-21
A. JUDGMENT IS INTENSIFIED.
The first four judgments were against man’s environment. The fifth trumpet began an assault on man himself. Now the sixth trumpet (second woe) intensified.
B. A VOICE CALLED OUT.
This voice originated from the horns of the altar. This is traditionally a place where blood from the offerings was wiped (Exodus 29:12; 30:1-10). A person could grab the horn and appeal for mercy. Mercy was not always granted. God is not mocked.
C. ANGELS ARE RELEASED.
Four angels have been kept bound at the River Euphrates for this moment in time. Martyrs from God’s altar are awaiting justice (Rev. 6:9-11). The judgment about to be released appears to be God’s vengeance on those who tortured and killed His servants for their testimony.
The angels appear to be fallen angels that God will use on evil humanity. They have been kept near the place where Satan tempted Adam and Eve. They are waiting to kill unrepentant people – one-third of mankind.
D. DEMONIC TROOPS ARE RELEASED.
John saw a vision of a second demonic invasion. The first invasion was allowed to torment but not to kill. This invasion is commissioned to kill one third of the unrepentant souls left on earth.
The four angels let loose an army of demons numbering 200 million. The description of these demons rule out their being human. The riders had breastplates of red, blue, and yellow. The horse’s heads were lion’s heads and from their mouths came deadly fire, smoke and sulphur. Real venom was in their tails which end as snakes whose bite is deadly.
E. THE PEOPLE REFUSE TO REPENT.
Even though this invading demonic army was frightening and deadly, the remaining people who are able to escape still refused to repent. They kept worshipping their idols, even though it was obvious the idols were not responsive in any way. They also refused to repent from their sinful lifestyles. Wrong worship leads to wrong living.
- As time permits, read Joel 1:15- 2:11 for a detailed description of this previous locust judgment. What impresses you?
- How does the people’s response to these trumpet judgments justify God’s judgment?
- What will happen to these people? (Romans 2:5)
- What is your personal reaction to these other-worldly creatures?
- Why do you think repentance is so difficult for man?
- Who gives us the strength to do this?
DAY FOUR: A MIGHTY ANGEL APPEARS.
READ: Revelation 10:1-7
A. JUDGMENT TAKES A BREAK.
In chapter 9, six trumpet judgments were carried out. The last two, described as “woes” were carried out by extremely evil angels who were used as God’s instruments. Now we have a break or an INTERLUDE as we come to the middle point in the tribulation. John saw a vision of a powerful and good angel.
B. A POWERFUL ANGEL IS DESCRIBED.
- This angel freely descends. He is not thrown down or compelled to be unbound.
- He is clothed in a cloud with a rainbow above his head.
- His face was shining like the sun.
- His legs were like fiery pillows, suggesting strength.
This angel is holding a small scroll that is open. He placed one foot on land and one foot in the sea — suggesting that he has authority over the entire earth.
This angel shouts his declaration or intent of what will take place. When he shouted the voice of seven thunders spoke.
Who are the voices? John doesn’t explain, but is prepared to write down the messages. However, John is told not to write them down. The angel raised his hand and swore there will be no more delay.
The seventh trumpet will be blown and the last seven judgments will fall, just as prophesied. The scroll holds the future of the earth. These secrets were revealed to God’s prophets in prior ages and will now be accomplished.
- What did Peter say about the coming kingdom in 2 Peter 1:16-21?
- What did Paul reveal about Gods plan in Acts 17:30-31?
- In the Old Testament Daniel spoke of the final overthrow of the evil world systems. What will soon take place in John’s revelation? (Daniel 2:44-45)
- What two attributes of God are revealed in the angel’s oath (Rev. 10: 6)
- Peter reveals what will happen in 2 Peter 3:3-10. How do you feel when you read about this coming judgment on the earth?
- Who do you know who needs to get prepared for this event?
DAY FIVE: JOHN EATS THE SCROLL.
READ: Revelation 10:8-11
A. THE INCREDIBLE EDIBLE SCROLL!
There are some things on earth that are both sweet and sour. We answer a call to move to a new church, a new ministry field, or a new city. There is opportunity for new experiences and new friends, but there is the loss of old friends and familiar routines. Relocating is usually a bittersweet experience.
Likewise, the news that God will soon shake the earth and usher in the kingdom is good news for believers but tragic news for the rest of mankind.
B. JOHN EXPERIENCES THE SOUR SIDE.
Sometimes we want to be a “Pollyanna.” We want to only talk about the love of God and His sweet promises to His children. But we must present the fullness of God. He is both holy and just. He is full of grace but must also punish unrepentant evil. John ends chapter 10 with this realization. He is compelled to speak plainly and truthfully about the coming judgment. The life of a prophet was never easy. God never promised them a rose garden when they were called to this office.
1. Savor the sweetness of the following verses:
- John 3:16
- Romans 8:28
- Jeremiah 29:11
- Psalm 23
2. How do these following verses complete the picture of God’s character?
- Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11
- Acts 17:30-31
- 2 Peter 3:3-10
- Examine carefully your own proclamation of the word of God. Do you focus only on the “sweet” verses?
- How often do you say the hard things that unbelievers need to hear?
- In your opinion, what are some of the hard things in God’s word?
It is important and urgent that we present the whole counsel of God. God’s character is perfect and perfectly balanced. To ignore his justice, wrath and judgment in favor of His grace, love and mercy is to present an incomplete picture or even perhaps a false picture. The day of the Lord is coming. John (and all of us) must speak openly and truthfully about the coming events.
PRINCIPLE FOR THE WEEK
God’s salvation and God’s judgment are facts of life that need to be plainly revealed.
Speak to some person this week of the sweet promises of Heaven and the harsh reality of Hell.
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