(21 verses, 3:18 to read)
What I am about to READ
A continuation of John’s vision of seven angels blowing seven trumpets. The end of chapter 8 attaches three “woes” to the final three blasts. Thus, the last three trumpet blasts are significantly greater than the previous four.
MARK & LEARN
v.1: The Fifth Trumpet Blast. The “star fallen from heaven to earth” is the angel of the abyss, Satan. “Bottomless pit” or “abyss” denotes the deepest depths of hell. Here Satan plays a prominent role in the apocalypse. He unlocks hell and the smoke unleashed darkens everything. Out of the smoke appear locust-like creatures from hell.
v.3-6: The Locusts from Hell. These are not your typical locusts that devour just about all vegetation. These are supernatural creatures unleashed to torment unbelievers. In order to move people to repentance (9:21) God allows these locust/scorpion-like creatures from hell to torture, but not kill all those who not marked with the seal of God on their foreheads. The affliction will be so severe that they’ll wish they were dead. Thanks be to God that by His grace the children of God, believers in Jesus Christ, are spared this torment.
v.7-10: A description of what the locust/scorpion-like creatures look like. The strange appearance of these supernatural creatures is difficult for us to even imagine. But, one thing is certain, these creatures are ready for battle and hell-bent on inflicting pain.
v.11-12: The names Abaddon and Apollyon mean “destroyer.” Nowhere else in Scripture is Satan given these names; however the names are quite appropriate and fitting since Satan constantly seeks to destroy the good and gracious will of God. Satan is indeed the leader and king of these creatures. Yet, God is using Satan and his hellish beasts to accomplish His own purpose. God is in control. The first “woe” passes, but the final two “woes” are coming.
v.13-19: The Sixth Trumpet Blast. Here the last battle, the last great affliction, the battle of Armageddon is revealed to John for the first time. He will receive visions of this same event in 16:12-16 and 20:7-10. Here John sees the four angels, angels of judgement and punishment prepared for this exact moment, released. It’s unclear whether these angels, and the unimaginable number of horses and riders, are demonic (fallen) angels or not. The language used here does lean toward God using fallen angels (just as He did in 9:1-11). Either way, they do God’s will and one-third of mankind is killed.
v.20-21: Despite the torture inflicted by the locust/scorpion-like creatures from hell, and even despite the death of one-third of mankind, the remaining unbelievers refuse to repent. They refuse to turn from their satanic idolatry and evil.
God’s wrath and judgement are very real! And they are very horrific and frightening! It’s difficult for us to even imagine the hell on earth that John describes in this chapter. Yet this is still nothing compared to the eternal suffering waiting for the unrepentant. Thus, the visions in this chapter serve as a call for repentance. Take comfort in the midst of these visions of torture and death that God will not allow His children to be touched. Dear baptized believers in Christ Jesus our Lord, rejoice that God has marked you with His seal on your foreheads. Christ has accomplished salvation for you – and you’re free from His eternal wrath and judgement!
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Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.