Before the invention of the brass trumpet, God had Moses make two silver Trumpets (Numbers 10:2), but the traditional sacred horn of the ancient Hebrews was the ram's horn called a shofar. Joel 2:1 Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the Day of the Lord is coming; Surely it is near. Trumpets can call an army to mobilize, a call to assemble, or a command to march (see Numbers 10:1-10). These are usually done with silver trumpets. The fourth annual holy day is the Feast of Trumpets, a "memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation" (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1). For this purpose, a ram’s horn (or shofar) was used. The piercing blast of a shofar also symbolized an alarm of impending attack or war. Only the sons of Aaron, the priesthood, had the authority to blow these trumpets. Jesus Christ is our High Priest (Hebrews 6:20). In addition, God caused the walls of Jericho to fall after seven successive days of trumpets sounding (Joshua 6:4-20). Trumpets draw attention and sound alarms.
Revelation 8:5-7 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were rolls of thunder, and rumblings, and flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. 6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. 7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
Luke 12:49-50 49 I have come to ignite a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!
Psalm 11:5-7 5 The LORD examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. 6 He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. 7 For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.
The first six trumpets are used to serve as a wake up call to the sinners on Earth and a call to repentance. One of the Egyptian plagues was "There was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous . . . and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field" (Exodus 9:23-25). The trumpets declare God's judgments on the world, not the trials of the Church, just as the plagues had been against Egypt and not Israel. But this plague differs from the Egyptian with the introduction of blood. The common feature of the first four trumpets is, the judgments under them affect natural objects, the accessories of life, the earth, trees, grass, the sea, rivers, fountains, the light of the sun, moon, and stars. The last three, the woe-trumpets (Re 8:13), affect men's life with pain, death, and hell.
A few days after the global earthquake and a physical display of God’s powers, Revelation says much of Earth will be set on fire by a giant firestorm of burning hail. The fiery hail will ignite massive fires around the world, burning up a third of the trees and all the green grass!
The 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires were a complex of wildfires which began in late November 2016. Some of the towns most impacted were Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. The fires claimed at least 14 lives, injured 134, and are one the largest natural disasters in the history of Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountains wildfires were the deadliest wildfires in the eastern U.S. since the Great Fires of 1947, which killed 16 people in Maine.
The Northern California firestorm, were a series of 250 wildfires that started burning across the state of California, United States, beginning in early October. 21 of the wildfires became major fires that burned at least 245,000 acres. The October 2017 were the costliest group of wildfires on record, causing at least $9.4 billion in insured damages, surpassing the 1991 Oakland firestorm, which until then had been the single costliest fire on record. In addition, the Northern California fires were predicted to cost the US economy at least $85 billion. The Northern California fires have killed at least 44 people and hospitalized at least 185 making the week of October 8, 2017, the deadliest week of wildfires in California history. Collectively, this event constitutes the largest loss of life due to wildfires in the United States since the Cloquet Fire in 1918. In total, an estimated 8,900 structures were destroyed. A series of 29 wildfires ignited across Southern California in December 2017. The wildfires burned over 307,900 acres. The largest of the wildfires was the Thomas Fire, which grew to 281,893 acres and became the largest wildfire in modern California history. They forced over 230,000 residents to evacuate their homes and two deaths.
Revelation 8:8-9 8 Then the second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
Asteroids are rocky, airless worlds that orbit our sun, but are too small to be called planets. Tens of thousands of these minor planets are gathered in the main asteroid belt, a vast doughnut-shaped ring between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids that pass close to Earth are called Near-Earth Objects, or NEOs. If a large asteroid hits in water, then there would be an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere. This would result in an increase in rain resulting in landslides and mudslides. Regionally there might be earthquakes, hurricanes and resulting mega-tsunamis, super-heated dust clouds, and years-long dusk. The combination of dust from the impact and soot from the forest fires will remain in the Earth's atmosphere for a long time, blocking the light of the sun. Without sunlight, much of the Earth's plant life, on land and in the sea, will die. Seaports and coastal cities will destroyed with overwhelming loss of life.
Luke 21:25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
The Asteroid Asteroid 2017 001 came 12,3031 kilometres within range of Earth, a third as close as the moon. It flew past on the 7/20/2017 at fairly safe distance, what is scary is that nobody knew about it till July 23rd three days after it passed Earth.
Some people believe that, rather than an asteroid striking the earth, this trumpet will be a volcano. The Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands is a good candidate. The result would be a giant tsunami that destroys ships. Close to Tenerife, Cumbre Vieja (meaning “Old Summit”) previously erupted in 1949 and 1971. Recent seismic movements of a low magnitude raised concerns over the volcano’s emerging activity, ranging between 1.5 and 2.7 on the Richter scale and up to 17.4 miles underground. The eruption could cause a huge chunk of the volcano to collapse and crash into the ocean with the power of an atomic bomb. The La Palma Island is prone to catastrophic flank failure events. The flanks of accumulated rock masses become unstable over time and sometimes slide down into the ocean as giant landslides along large detachment faults, triggering potentially huge tsunamis.
And others see this as more symbolic with the burning mountain being Babylon cast into a sea of peoples such as a nation. The word "mountain" is often used to refer to a kingdom or empire (Psalm 48:1-2; Psalm 78:68; Isaiah 2:2-3; Isaiah 13:4; Isaiah 31:4; Isaiah 41:15; Isaiah 65:25; Jeremiah 17:1-3; Jeremiah 51:24-25; Obadiah 8-9; Daniel 2:35,44). Ships are mentioned as a reference to a nation’s commercial pride and dominance (Isaiah 2:16-17; Ezekiel 27:25-27). God had used Babylon as a tool to discipline Israel but the evil of Babylon, itself, was dealt with by God's judgment. In the time of John, the Babylonian kingdom had already fallen. The mountain was used as a symbol for Babylon, and Babylon as a symbol for another power - a power opposed to God’s sovereign authority - Rome. God sets the great mountain on fire. God is bringing His judgement on these nations. God “removes kings, and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21). The demise of the Roman Empire came about on many fronts, political, economic, and military. There were religious tensions between the Western and Eastern portions of the Empire. Waves of barbarian tribes began swallowing up Roman territory. As the Roman Empire was sinking, they became covered with blood. Bloodshed was abundant. The role ancient Rome played in Christ’s crucifixion and in the persecution of the Christians did not go unnoticed by God.
Jeremiah 51:7-8, 25, 7, 40-44 Babylon was a gold cup in the Lord’s hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad. 8 Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken. Wail over her!... 25 “I am against you, you destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,” declares the Lord. “I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain... how desolate Babylon will be among the nations! 42 The sea will rise over Babylon; its roaring waves will cover her. 43 Her towns will be desolate, a dry and desert land, a land where no one lives, through which no one travels. 44 I will punish Bel in Babylon and make him spew out what he has swallowed. The nations will no longer stream to him. And the wall of Babylon will fall."
What happened to Babylon and Rome are in the distant past now but there may be a future fulfillment. In studying prophesy we know often it had a more immediate fulfillment, as well as, a future fulfillment in the end times. If it has a future fulfillment you might be looking at a great nation such as America, Russia, China, being the burning mountain. And could that burning mountain be destroyed by the fire of nuclear holocaust?
No matter how you look at it, as asteroid, volcano or the demise of a mighty nation, the results will be catastrophic to the world and it's inhabitants. It's one more reason I am glad I won't be here. I believe that the Church will be raptured before the 7 trumpets. I am saved through Jesus Christ and, if I'm alive when Jesus calls, I will be raptured and I will not be here to experience the horrors of the 7 trumpets. You can be saved too.
Revelation 8:10-11 10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
Jeremiah 9:13-15 13 The LORD said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice nor walked according to it, 14 but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink.
The word “wormwood” is mentioned only here in the New Testament, but it appears eight times in the Old Testament, each time associated with bitterness, poison and death. The Greek word is believed to refer to a plant of the genus Artemisia: Artemisia absinthium, or Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris and was a known Biblical metaphor for things that have a strong smell and are horribly bitter. The English rendering "wormwood" refers to the dark green essential oil produced by the plant, which was used to kill intestinal worms. One third of the fresh water of our planet will become so poisonous and bitter that people can die from drinking it. What happens when 1/3 of potable water is poisoned? We have to have water. We cannot survive without it. So desperation will drive people to desperate measures.
How can that much water be affected? The star called "Wormwood" falls from the sky to affect the waters. We know how pollution has effected our waterways. Could it be pollution, algae blooms, industrial wastes that are allowed to pollute our rivers? Who is responsible for allowing this to happen? Government and government leaders who don't establish and enforce environmental protection laws are allowing this to happen. Sometimes the Bible uses a star to symbolize a leader of a country or armed force.
If it's not pollution, could it be eco-terrorism? When someone intentionally sabotages a water supply with the intent to kill and destroy in the name of a nation, political group, religious group or terrorist organization, they are bioterrorists. Biological warfare releases agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or toxins to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants.
In 1984 members of the Rajneeshee religious cult contaminate a city water supply tank in The Dalles, Oregon, using Salmonella and infecting 750. In 1972 police in Chicago arrested two college students, Allen Schwander and Stephen Pera, who had planned to poison the city's water supply with typhoid and other bacteria. In June 1993, the religious group Aum Shinrikyo released anthrax in Tokyo. In 2003 Jordanian authorities arrested Iraqi agents in connection with a failed plot to poison the water supply that serves American troops in the eastern Jordanian desert near the border with Iraq. So, yes, it can be done and has been done.
Could it be a meteor, comet or asteroid that hits the earth?
Some believe the burning star that falls is actually the AntiChrist coming into the world and the waters are the people and nations of the world.
Some believe it's actually talking about Satan's fall from heaven with 1/3 of the angels who followed him. These angels are called demons. Satan’s fall to earth poisons mankind. The peoples of the earth take on the character of the evil one and become “wormwood” too. Satan is bitter and full of hatred and his influence on man makes him bitter and full of hatred. From this hatred and evil, many people die.
Ezekiel 28:14-17 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
Luke 10:18 So [Jesus] said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven".
Finally, some think the leader referred to as a sudden blazing star, bringing bitterness upon Rome, was Attila, the Hun. Called “The Scourge of God,” he and his hordes of barbarian horsemen, raped, murdered and destroyed city after city without mercy.
Remember, that Biblical prophecies often had multiple fulfillments. For instance, John's vision of the 3rd trumpet could have been first fulfilled with the fall of satan before mankind was created; later, fulfilled a second time with Attila the Hun; and a future fulfillment with what happens in the Great Tribulation. So I have included all the theories I could find and will leave it to you to put it together in your mind. No matter how this prophecy is fulfilled, suffice it to say that it's an unimaginable horror and, again, I'm glad I won't be here for it.
Revelation 8:12 12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
Matthew 24:29 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days: 'The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.'
Joel 2:10, 31 10 Before them the earth quakes, The heavens tremble, The sun and the moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness...31 The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
Ezekiel 32:7-8 7 "And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud And the moon will not give its light. 8 "All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you And will set darkness on your land," Declares the Lord GOD.
Job 9:7 7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars.
We are at the 4th trumpet now. Some take this symbolically to mean Christ, who is the sun and light of the world, is shadowed by heresies. The church, as the moon, is shadowed by corruption. The stars are the ministers who are shadowed by carnality and greed. People bring on darkness and God’s judgment upon themselves because they reject the Source of Light. As people move away from God and reject the truth, they go deeper into darkness. This would prepare the world for the arrival of the antiChrist.
"The doctrines of the gospel, the springs of spiritual life, comfort, and vigor, to the souls of men, are corrupted and made bitter by the mixture of dangerous errors, so that the souls of men find ruin where they sought refreshment." - Matthew Henry Commentary
Some believe that this refers to the fall of the Roman Empire. Often, the sun, Moon and stars are metaphors for empires, nations, government leaders.
Others believe that because of pollution or smoke/ash, the sun, moon and stars could be dimmed by a third. The first three trumpets send megatons of dust, soot, smoke, ash into the air. This cloud could circle the earth with the jet stream bringing darkness. Think of the vast changes in temperatures that will occur and how these will affect human health and food growth. It is evidently a temporary situation because in Revelation 16:8-9, the sun becomes so intense as to burns and scorches people.
On the fourth day God created the sun, Moon, and stars in order to provide light for man; under the fourth trumpet He shall withdraw the light He created.This judgment parallels the ninth plague in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23), which lasted three days. The darkening of the sun, Moon and stars is often associated with God’s judgments over His enemies (Ezekiel 32:7-8; Isaiah 13:9-11; Joel 3:15), and His own people (Amos 5:18; Joel 2:1-2,10). The darkness was so intense in the land of Egypt, that it could be felt (Exodus 10:21). But the darkness was not global but only in Egypt. It was focused on those rejecting God’s commands. "One of the main points of this passage is that only those rejecting the truth stand in darkness. Exodus 10:23 tells us that the Israelites 'had light in their dwellings"”. - Hello-Bible.
When Jesus was crucified, the Bible says that darkness came in the middle of the day for 3 hours.
Luke 23:44-46 44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”e When he had said this, he breathed his last.
‘the sun failed’ (in Greek, ‘tou heliou ekleipontos’). Helios = the Sun. Ekleipo = ‘to fail, to come to an end.’
Matthew 27:45-46 45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Was this an eclipse? "Luke in fact used a word that gave rise to our present word ECLIPSE, an astronomical event, the cause of which lies beyond the confines of the Earth’s atmosphere. But we must not think that the strange darkness was caused by an extended eclipse of the Sun, for there was no way for that to occur on the day of the crucifixion. This is because an eclipse of the Sun only occurs when the Moon is directly between the Sun and us, thus blocking out its light. And on this particular day (Passover - the 14th Nisan, Luke 22:13-15), the Moon was full and therefore on the FAR side of the Earth away from the Sun (Passover was always on a full moon). There can be no possibility of an eclipse of the Sun that day. Furthermore, no eclipse of the Sun can last more than 7 and a half minutes in any one place, and this strange darkness lasted for 3 HOURS." - Oxford Bible Church
Psalm 22:1-2 1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
This Psalm prophesied about Jesus and Jesus quotes from this Psalm while on the cross. Look at verse 2. "I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest." Jesus calls that time, where the sun stopped shining for 3 hours, "night". Secular accounts of this worldwide darkness say that stars were seen. This was the point that Jesus took on all the sins of the world. And sin separates from God so Jesus was separated, for the first and last time, from His Father. God signified this separation with darkness.
So can the God who created the sun, Moon, stars and earth - the entire universe - by speaking them into being... can this God obscure the sun, Moon and stars by 1/3 and cause the shortening of the days and nights by 1/3? I would say so. I tend to believe that the 4th trumpet will be an actual event of judgment and the sun, Moon and stars will be dimmed and the days and nights shortened, just as this verse says.
Revelation 8:13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
Deuteronomy 32:9-11 9 For the people of Israel belong to the LORD; Jacob is his special possession.
10 He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes.
11 Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions.
The eagle soars high and with it's piercing eye, can see the judgments coming and cries a warning, "Woe, woe, woe". Three times according to the three coming trumpets. It is not as if God has not sent warning. He has warned by the written word, by ministers, by men's own consciences, and by the signs of the times. So His judgments should be no surprise. Now a final warning before these next three trumpets. If the judgments up to now have not been horrible enough to turn men to God, then the world must expect even harsher judgments.
The King James Bible has "angel" rather than "eagle". But most scholars believe that "eagle" is the better rendering based on ancient manuscripts. Today we have discovered even more ancient manuscripts than King James' scholars had and the consensus has been that "eagle" is a better choice. Either way, the eagle (or angel) sounds a warning and is a messenger, a harbinger. He is soaring, circling, sees and gives warning but is not the instrument of judgment.
Rome's symbol was an eagle. If you believe these things have already happened, it's possible that Rome gave warning.
America's symbol is the eagle. Could that play a part symbolically? Will America try to give the world warning about coming judgments?
The first 4 trumpets are divided from the last three. The first four bring devastation to the world, God’s creation. The last three target mankind. The number 4 is generally accepted as the number of the world. Why? (From Bible . org)
(1) On the fourth day God finished the material creation, i.e., the heavens and earth (Gen. 1:14-19).
(2) Revelation 7:9 gives us four divisions of mankind: nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.
(3) There are four directions or regions: north, south, east, and west.
(4) There are four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
(5) In presenting the Lord Jesus to men, there are four gospels.
(6) There are four kingdoms: animal, mineral, vegetable, and spiritual;
(7) Finally, in Daniel’s portrayal of the times of the Gentiles, we are given only four great world powers or kingdoms of prophecy, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. We are living in the times of the Gentiles, or the Church Age, where Gentiles (non-Jews) can become a child of God through Jesus Christ.
This is a good time to talk about the 1/3's. Have you noticed the use of 1/3? The quantity of "one-third" is used 12 times throughout the description of the seven trumpets:
1/3 of Earth will be burned up
1/3 of the trees will be burned up
1/3 of the sea will turn into blood
1/3 of the sea creatures will die
1/3 of the ships on the sea will sink
1/3 of the rivers and springs will become contaminated
1/3 of the light from the Sun will be taken away
1/3 of the light from the moon will be taken away
1/3 of the light from the stars will be taken away
1/3 of the day will be without light
1/3 of the night will be without light
1/3 of mankind will be killed in the sixth trumpet war
God could justifiably completely (100%) destroy the earth and mankind. But in His mercy, He holds back, only destroying 1/3, in His attempt to give mankind every chance to turn to Him, to repent. God is merciful and desires all men to be saved. He continues to warn, to give chances. God is being generous with a rebellious, evil world. But, so many, would rather die than turn to God.
The preterist usually views that John was given an accurate vision, of a course of events that would occur over the next several centuries, to fulfill the prophetic seals.
The historicist associates symbols with historical persons, nations or events.
The Futurist sees events that may have taken place in the past but have a future fulfillment.
The Idealist does not take Revelation seriously but it's symbolism and imagery is the struggle between good and evil.
The last 3 Trumpets are called the Woe trumpets and the 5th trumpet is the first of the Woe Trumpets.
Revelation 9:1 1 Then the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and it was given the key to the pit of the abyss.
This star cannot be interpreted literally like the star in 8:10 because the star here was given the key of the pit of the abyss. The Egyptian Plagues of Moses' time were a shadow of these trumpet plagues. You will recall the plague of locusts.
Who, or what, is the "star that had fallen from heaven to earth"? I've found quite a few different understandings of this 5th trumpet. Those who believe these things have already happened see it as Muhammad, the founder of Islam, who leads successful campaigns against the Eastern Roman Empire in the 7th century. God used them to punish the Romans who had killed 10 million Christians. We can remember that Abraham and Sarah were promised by God that they would have a son. But as years went by and Sarah didn't become pregnant, she came up with a plan to "help" God. She gave her maid, Hagar, to Abraham to marry and to bear a child. Abraham unwisely participated in the plan and married Hagar. Hagar had Ishmael. But Ishmael was the product of Abraham and Sarah's plans and machinations, he was not the son of promise by God. They took matters into their own hands and tried to force a solution instead of waiting on God's miracle. Eventually, in His timing, God miraculously gives Abraham and Sarah a child. By that time they were both old, she had gone through menopause and had been barren even as a young woman. So the conception of a child was out of the question in human terms. It had to be a miracle and it was. The result was Isaac, the son of promise. Ishmael was the result of the arm of flesh and Isaac was the result of the arm of the Spirit. The Jews descended from Isaac, the son of promise. Most of the other Arab peoples descended from Ishmael, the son of the flesh.
This has been a problem ever since. These descendants of Ishmael, the Arabs (who are mostly Muslim now), say they are descended from the firstborn son and therefore Abraham's inheritors. The Jews say they are the descendants of the promised son of Isaac and they are Abraham's inheritors. Let's look at God's prophecy over Ishmael:
Genesis 16: 11-12 11 (Amplified) “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall name him Ishmael (God hears), Because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your persecution (suffering). 12 “He (Ishmael) will be a wild donkey of a man; His hand will be against every man [continually fighting] And every man’s hand against him; And he will dwell in defiance of all his brothers.”
The Arabs have fought the Jews ever since and America has traditionally supported the Jewish nation of Israel since it was formed in 1947. So the Arabs hate America.
Back to our scripture, is the fallen star Muhammed and his unleashing of the Muslim religion? The Hebrew word for locust is ‘arbeh‘, and the Hebrew word for Arab is “arbe". Mohammed opened the bottomless pit of Satan’s lies, when he stayed in the cave of Hera for three years, and received a vision from an angel in white (no doubt Satan, as 2 Cor. 11:14 says, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”), The Koran says that Mohammed was given the power of heaven and the fire below, “I have been given the keys of all the treasures of the earth.” The Koran denies the deity of Jesus. The Arabs have an Islamic tradition, which says “Locusts fell onto Mohammed’s hand, and on the wings of the locusts it was written: “We are the army of the Great God“. The rise of Islam came with the shedding of much blood. Is Mohammed the destroyer called Abaddon or Apollyon in the next few verses?
But this is not all the interpretations. Some say the star fallen from heaven was a Pope from the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic means "universal". The Roman Catholic Church descended from the early church where Peter was considered the first "pope" if you will.
Matthew 16:15-19 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Peter's name was petra meaning rock. Catholics believe that Jesus was saying Peter would be the head of the early church whereas protestants believe Jesus was saying the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God would be the foundational rock of this new church.
From the time of Peter, the universal church picked a leader, later titled Pope, upon the death of the previous leader. Eventually, the church gained power and wealth and with power and wealth comes corruption. Many Popes were not Christlike but satanic and led people into all kinds of evil to secure wealth and power for themselves.
Still others believe that the barbarian tribes that helped bring about the downfall of Rome are meant by these locusts. Rome had tangled with Germanic tribes for centuries, but by the 300s “barbarian” groups like the Goths had encroached beyond the Empire’s borders. The Romans weathered a Germanic uprising in the late fourth century, but in 410 the Visigoth King Alaric successfully sacked the city of Rome. Finally, in 476, the Germanic leader Odoacer staged a revolt and deposed the Emperor Romulus Augustulus.
Some believe the star referenced is one of the asteroids that hit earth, although how an asteroid wields a "key to the abyss" makes that theory seem odd.
I could go on. We must remember that prophecy often has a dual fulfillment. If it was prophetic to John then it was in the future for him, but after 2,000 years, his prophesies may have been fulfilled and by studying history (since John's time), we may see a fulfillment that has already happened. But there may also be a future fulfillment yet to come in the end days. So, I can see how historicists would see fulfillment of these verses in history but I believe the complete fulfillment is during the Great Tribulation. Having said that, my belief is that there is an historical event related that effects the end times.
I believe this "star that had fallen from heaven to earth" is satan. The historical event was when he rebelled against God and God cast him and his followers (1/3 of the angels) out of heaven to earth. Satan and his demons have been allowed rule on earth but his final destination is eternal damnation to the Lake of Fire. God has allowed satan to rule this earth to accomplish His Purposes. Satan is a TOOL, he is on a leash, his rule is temporary, his end is certain.
Angels were created before the earth (Job 38:4-7). Satan fell before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-14). Satan’s fall, therefore, must have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. While these two passages are referring specifically to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, they also reference the spiritual power behind those kings, namely, Satan, his fall and his end.
Isaiah 14: 4, 9-16 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end!
How his fury has ended!
9 The realm of the dead below is all astir to meet you at your coming;
it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—
all those who were leaders in the world;
it makes them rise from their thrones—
all those who were kings over the nations.
10 They will all respond, they will say to you,
“You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us.”
11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,
along with the noise of your harps;
maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.
12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.
16 Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble,
Ezekiel 28:1-2, 11-19 1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
"In the pride of your heart you say, 'I am a god;
I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.'
But you are a mere mortal and not a god,
though you think you are as wise as a god."
11 The word of the Lord came to me: 12 Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
"You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountingsc were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
So I made a fire come out from you,
and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you;
you have come to a horrible end and will be no more."
Luke 10:18 18 So He (Jesus) said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
In Revelation 9:1, the star "that had fallen from heaven to earth". You will notice the past tense in the verse, "had fallen". I believe satan is referred to here as he was the morning star and had been cast out of heaven and fallen to earth. He is the one given the key to the abyss.
"The verse before us suggests the picture of a vast depth approached by a pit or shaft, whose top, or mouth, is covered. Dante's Inferno, with its narrowing circles winding down to the central shaft, is somewhat similar. The abyss is the lowest spring of evil, whence the worst dangers arise." - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Historicists who believe this woe has already happened either through Mohammed, a Pope or some other leader point to a “star” representing a leader. The “bottomless pit” comes from the Greek word “abbusos,” where we get our word “abyss,” and means a desolate empty place; a void. For those who believe this woe is referring the rise of Islam, the first 4 trumpets reveal the history of the destruction of the Roman Empire. The last 3 trumpets are the terrible events that were to take place after the fall of Rome and with the spread of the false religion of Islam. The cloud of Islam has obscured the truth. But those who object to this theory say that Mohammed was never a Christian, nor a leader in the church, and therefore how could he "fall from heaven to earth"?
For those who believe it refers to a Pope (or Popes) feel that: " the pope of Rome is meant by the star, seeing the bishops of that city had shone out in great light and purity of doctrine and practice formerly, but now about this time most sadly apostatized; they had been indeed gradually declining for some time, but now they may be said openly to fall from heaven, when Phocas, who murdered his master, the Emperor Mauritius, and took the imperial crown to himself, gave to Pope Boniface the Third the title and power of universal bishop, about the year 859, which he and his successors exercised in a most haughty and tyrannical manner." - Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Pope Boniface III was able to convince the emperor of Constantinople to recognize the bishop of Rome as the head of all churches, as the supreme patriarch, "Universal Bishop". Giving papal claims to supremacy over all churches. Over time this developed into Pope Gregory VII’s Dictatus papae, which asserted that the pope was the final authority everywhere. This was dangerous power that corrupted.
For me, I believe satan is the fallen star and God gives him a key to the abyss, the abode of satan and his demons. I believe satan will release something during the Great Tribulation. We will look at that next.
Or could it be something that science unleashes on the world like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is the world's largest and most powerful particle collider. A scientific organization in Switzerland, known as CERN has built the largest, most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world.
Or could it be as simple as what is released behind the simple door of a conference room. Financial, political, medical, spiritual - all kinds of hell can be released in simple conference rooms. Greed, tyranny, hate, lust for power and egomania reside in most conference rooms.
Revelation 9:2 2 The star opened the pit of the abyss, and smoke rose out of it like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit.
The bottomless pit is locked—not to keep things out, but to keep things in. God locked this abyss and He has the key.
Jude 1:6 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.
Revelation 1:18 18 Jesus says, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell and locked them up in chains in utter darkness, to be kept until the judgment
Jude 6 You also know that the angels who did not keep within their proper domain but abandoned their own place of residence, he has kept in eternal chains in utter darkness, locked up for the judgment of the great Day.
Luke 8:26-35 26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. 30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. 32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened.
The swine running into the water was certainly a judgment and was perhaps symbolic of the fact that Christ was sending them into the abyss. Tartarus means “the abode of the judged”. It is a bottomless, unfathomable pit that is total darkness. It's possible that somewhere in the ocean is the bottomless pit that is locked until this time. The Greek Word abussos means “deep, ocean, large body of water,” and is where we get the word "abyss". Revelation 21:1 and 22:1f describe the new Heaven and the new Earth as having no oceans but rather only the River of Life flowing from the throne of God.
The Bible frequently speaks of keys as representing control or authority. Satan is given a key to, or control over, the bottomless pit. Satan is given keys to the bottomless pit for a specific time and purpose to accomplish God’s plan. We should praise God that nothing in heaven, or earth, or in places under the earth is left to itself. God is King, He is Sovereign and He is in control. Even the lowest hell and death bow to His government.
"The metaphor of keys is intended, no doubt, to set forth the double thought of our Lord’s possessing both the rightful and the actual dominion over death and hell. The rightful dominion, I say, for often it has been the custom, when kings have come to the gates of loyal cities, for the mayor, or high bailiff, or governor of the city to present the keys in formal state, in recognition that His majesty was the lawful owner and rightful sovereign of the borough. So Christ has the keys of hell and death—that is to say He is rightfully the Lord over those dark regions, and rules them by indefeasible title of sovereignty. But in most common life the key is associated with actual possession and power. When the tenant gives up the key to the landlord, then the owner has the house again under his power, and in his possession, by that act and deed. So Christ is not only de jure (according to right), but de facto (according to fact), Lord over hell and death; He actually rules and manages in all the issues of the grave, and overrules all the councils of hell, restraining the mischievous devices of Satan, or turning them to subserve His own designs of good. Our Lord Jesus Christ still is supreme! His kingdom, willingly or unwillingly, extends over all existences in whatever regions they may be." - CHRIST WITH THE KEYS OF DEATH AND HELL. BY C. H. SPURGEON, SERMON DELIVERED ON 10/3/1869
The “bottomless pit” is the abode of demons according to Luke 8:31. It is here that Satan himself is confined for a thousand years during the reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:1-3). Demonic and satanic oppression is released.
A massive amount of smoke rises out of the pit to block the light of the sun.
During the Gulf War, Iraqi soldiers ignited over 700 oil wells around the deserts of Kuwait, which were some of the largest, underground wells of oil on the planet. From the seemingly bottomless hole in the ground, smoke entered the atmosphere and blocked sunlight for three months.
Could it be the smoke of wild fires?
Could it the smoke from a nuclear bomb? This is a photo of the atomic bomb test in Bikini lagoon on July 1, 1946
Spectacular picture captures lava spewing down the side of Kilauea, ash spitting from craters and plumes of smoke rising thousands of feet in the air.
Iceland’s highest volcano, Öræfajökull, in November, 2017. Photo by Gardar Olafsson.
Smoke from volcano mixes with sunset. Photography By: Claudio Santana
Could it be fog like the deadly London fog of 1952? A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants—mostly arising from the use of coal—to form a thick layer of smog over the city.
Or could it be smog from air pollution?
Revelation 9:3-11 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. 6 During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. 7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8 Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10 They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).
Real locust swarms in the last few years!
Damage by locusts swarms:
The picture on the left is after the locust swarm, the picture on the right is before the locust swarm.
It may be real locust swarms like the plague of locusts in Egypt. But there is a detailed description of these locusts and they seem different. Let's look at their description.
- Look like horses prepared for battle
- Something like crowns of gold on their head
- Faces resembled human faces
- Hair like women's hair
- Teeth like lion's teeth
- Breastplates of iron
- Wings, that sound like thundering horses and chariots
- Tails with stingers like scorpions
Someone's rendition based on the description. What could these swarms of "locusts" be? Here are some things I thought of. See what you think?
Military jets can swarm!
Military helicopters look peculiarly like locusts.
Drone spy planes can reconnoiter and use missiles.
Military drones can swarm, reconnoiter, spy, use weapons, etc.
Soldiers in the near future will have armor, exoskeletons, builtins.
Tiny robots can do some damage!
Swarms of tanks
Trying to think outside of the box, could it be some type of biological weapon using viruses?
And, of course, you may have other ideas and there is always the possibility that it will be nothing we can imagine as it's not been seen on earth before. It's been locked in the bottomless pit.
Historicists see the destruction by the Muslim hordes or of the Roman Empire by the German barbarians or the destruction done by Attila the Hun as the locusts.
The Idealist see symbolism and imagery in a struggle between good and evil. The locusts represent demonic forces unleashed upon the earth, with Satan as the angel of the abyss, and the abyss itself the prison of demons. The “five months” are symbolic of a limited period of time, although the demonic torment is so intense its victims wish for death. It is a spiritual plague which is depicted here. A "locust" doctrine that people begin believing in and that torments their minds. Hitler's "locust" doctrines of Arianism and Nazism became a roaring tornado of worldwide destruction. In Germany, the "locust" doctrine began when men burned Bibles at Nuremberg, denied the Scriptural truth that God loves all races (Acts 17:26), renounced the Biblical doctrine of the sanctity of life, and ended with the death of millions. Another historical example is the Muslim religion. It began with the idea that Mohammed was a prophet of God and that there was a new "Bible", the Koran. It has become a nightmare religion to the world and caused untold horror and suffering. Darwinism and evolution is another such "locust" doctrine. Giving millions a substitute religion with it's own creation theory. How many people have believed Darwin and his theory of evolution and rejected God and His intelligent creation? "Locust" lies that turn people from God and lead to the torment of their minds and the destruction of their lives.
What do these locusts do?
- Given power like scorpions
- Could not harm the grass, any plant or tree
- Could only hurt those who do NOT have the seal of God on their foreheads
- Didn't kill but tortured for 5 months
- The suffering caused was like a scorpion sting, enough that people will want to die
This is why I got the idea of a biological attack. It disables but doesn't kill and doesn't affect nature. Face it, bombs, missiles, tanks, soldiers... are going to destroy nature and people die. Most biological warfare kills. So maybe it's not bio-terrorism but just a disease unleashed. A microscopic look would see a swarm of viruses that cause the illness. Maybe, in the microscope, they would look more like the description? Anyway, just pondering.
Five months, if taken literally, is 150 days. This is the same time period of the Flood!
Genesis 7:24 24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
Another 5 month (150 day) period is the story of Elizabeth. An angel told Elizabeth's husband that she would conceive and have a son. After Elizabeth conceived: she hid for five months. She was pregnant with John the Baptist, the man who would come and cry out in the wilderness “Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23). In Elizabeth’s 6th month of pregnancy, Gabriel announced to Mary the conception of Jesus (Luke 1:24-27).
Luke 1:24-27 24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
Could this be the length of the virus or allergen? Or the length of the of time between a"locust" ideology and it's implementation? A time of indoctrination and propaganda before the purges begin. Or could it be a siege by an army and this is the tormenting time before the citizens finally give in and surrender out of their desperation?
Historicists seem to think this was a time in years rather than days so that this might be a time of 150 years.
"Read the history of the Saracens, and you will find that their greatest exploits were performed, their greatest conquests were made, between the year 612, when Mohammed first opened the bottomless pit, and began publicly to teach and propagate his imposture, and the year 762, when the Calif Almansor built Bagdad, to fix there the seat of his empire, and called it the city of peace. Syria, Persia, India, and the greatest part of Asia; Egypt, and the greatest part of Africa; Spain, and some parts of Europe, were all subdued in the intermediate time. But when the califs, who before had removed from place to place, fixed their habitation at Bagdad, then the Saracens ceased from their incursions and ravages, like locusts, and became a settled nation; then they made no more such rapid and amazing conquests as before, but only engaged in common and ordinary wars, like other nations" - Benson's Commentary
"The Saracens and Papists; or in their doctrines, the prophet being the tail, Isaiah 9:15; with which both Mahomet, who set himself up for a prophet, and the Romish clergy, who set up their decrees and unwritten traditions above the word of God, have poisoned and destroyed multitudes of souls:" - Gill's Exposition of the Bible
The first church (Catholic) was, at first, a success; it gained footing in the world, but it became infected and became it's own worst enemy. The church (catholic and protestant denominations) becomes timid and seeks false alliances. The leaders become Hezekiahs - men of great faith in hard times but they become timid with safety and security (2 Kings 20:12-19). Worldliness creeps into the church and spreads. Corruption begins it's work and weakens the church. People seeking entertainment rather than God. Leaders, who seek to entice and placate congregations for money, growth and fame rather than for saving souls, begin to take over. They begin developing "policies" with rules, regulations, and legalities. Christian organizations that rely on insurance, budgets, pension plans, attorneys, security experts, corporate decisions, consultants and marketing strategies are supplanting the churches and leaders who trust in God and Him alone. They busily replace God with their own creations and crowd God out of His own church. There is judgment coming.
Even in the midst of judgment, God is still being merciful. The purpose of this 150 days (or years) is to give people another chance to repent and turn to Him. They will be tormented but they aren't dead and as long as we are still breathing, we have the opportunity to turn to God. Once we are dead, there are no second chances. The faithful people of God will not be harmed during this time, just as Noah was protected inside the Ark. For Christians, our Ark is Jesus Christ. Noah experienced the flood but God kept Noah safe throughout the flood. Noah saw the rain, heard the thunder, felt the movement of the Ark, felt stabs of fear, heard the animals bellowing in their pens, had to feed and attend to the animals in the Ark, had to try to walk in the Ark while it was moving with the waves... but he was safe in the Ark.
If you believe, as I do, that the church has been raptured before these end time events, we have nothing to fear. But even if Christians did have to go through these horrendous times, we are in God's Hands. Just as He took care of Noah, so He will take care of His people who are in the Ark of Jesus Christ.
Who are the ones who have the "seal of God on their foreheads"? In Revelation 7:3-4 3 “'Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.' 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel."
If this is the end times (versus an historical event), then the church has been raptured. But Revelation 7 says there will be 144,000 Jews who come to know the truth and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. This Jewish remnant will be witnesses to those left behind. See my post on the Seven Seals for more.
If this is an historical event then the sealed of God are those who have been saved and have the Holy Spirit living in them. The Holy Spirit living within us is the seal. It means we are genuine Christians, believers, followers of Christ, disciples. "Thus the plague of locusts is a plague of lies, false theories, evil philosophies, selfish proverbs elevated to the status of law, etc." - Coffman Commentaries
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 1:13-14 13 And in Him you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, having heard and believed the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. 14 The Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory.
For the Idealist, false "locust" ideas run their course and are discredited. No one today effectively preaches the doctrine of Aryan supremacy; but there are swarms of locusts, and as soon as one dies, a hundred others take its place! The evil ideas are never ending.
Revelation 9:11 11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).
Abaddon - Hebrew אֲבַדּון, a noun representing the abstract idea "destruction" (Job 31:12), but more frequently employed to designate the netherworld (Job 26:6; Job 28:22; Proverbs 15:11; Psalm 88:12).
Apollyon - From the Greek ἀπώλεια - "to destroy." The word properly denotes "a destroyer". Perdition is personified.
Destruction is this king's main characteristic. He is the "destroyer," the one who causes "perdition" to mankind. Satan is the ultimate destroyer who intends destruction with everything he does.
John 8:44 (Jesus is speaking) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
1 Peter 5:8-9 8 Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.
Satan is allowed to open the pit and unleash the demonic forces. They are led by a leader who is satan himself or inspired by satan.
If it was an historical event, this could have been Mohammed or one of the Roman Emperors or one of the leaders of the Germanic barbarians.
If Muhammed (Mohammed, Muhammed, Mahomet), "A 'destroyer';... very applicable both to Mahomet, who by his imposture has been the cause of the destruction of multitudes of souls, as well as by his wars, and those of the Saracens and Turks, of the lives of millions, and of the ruin of many kingdoms, countries, cities, and towns." - Gill's Exposition of the Bible
For the Idealist, "The locusts are supernatural instruments in the hands of Satan to torment, and yet not kill, the ungodly, under this fifth trumpet. Just as in the case of godly Job." - Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary
The smoke of the pit makes for darkness and confusion. In it are hatred, rebellion, evil ideas, lies, deceptions, evil plots and machinations, murderous intentions, enmity against God, hostility towards truth, lusts and greed, arrogance and all types of maliciousness. From this darkness and confusion comes a swarming army that are intent on tormenting and destroying. They have a leader but they are a leash. God holds control and He only allows them to torment for 150 days (or years) to give a chance for some to repent and turn back to Him. All of those who are faithful to God, the sealed, are protected during this time.
Ezekiel 2:6 Son of man, don't be afraid of them or the things they say. Don't be afraid, even though thorns and thistles are around you and you live among scorpions. Don't let the things they say frighten you. Don't be terrified in their presence, even though they are rebellious people.
But those who refuse to repent and accept Jesus as their Savior, will suffer. They would rather suffer and die than turn to God. In fact, they will want to kill themselves. I don't know if you've noticed like I have, that suicide is now being presented in movies as the ultimate solution rather than the worst and cowardly way out. It seems if things become intolerable, they take the easy way out with suicide, rather than humble themselves, repent and trust in God. And I think, from this, many more people are committing suicide today. They find themselves in a fix and can't see a tolerable way out so they give up. I'm not trying to be judgmental as I've suffered with depression and have attempted to take my own life. I know how far down you can go because I've been there. But I'm trying to show anyone, who is in that dark place, that it's sinful to try to murder yourself. It's selfish; it's weakness; it's cowardly. I've had to repent and ask God's forgiveness for my attempts to commit suicide and for my faithless thought patterns that take me to that dark place. You may not see a way out, but you are discounting God's miracles for He can make a way where there is no way. It takes strength, bravery, courage to keep standing and to trust that God is in control even when you don't see it or feel it right now.
It's shocking how many teenagers are committing suicide. They are only focused on the bad things but most of them have life, health, energy, strength and years ahead to make the most of those gifts. These are things that I don't have much of as I've aged and become disabled. But I can't focus on the bad things either. Because I have intelligence, experience, education, spiritual depths and I'm still breathing and have time to use these gifts.
Lets say you are in the worst case scenario: you have a terminal illness, living in prison surrounded by evil and with the threat of death and torture. There are still things to thank God for. If you are saved, you can thank God that this torment is temporary and that you will live with God in Heaven for eternity! You can thank God that you still have a voice and can sing and testify about God's goodness. You can thank God that you woke up and are able to move. You can thank God that you know your time is limited and therefore have the motivation to be prepared to meet God and use your time wisely. You can thank Jesus for forgiving you and saving you and that you are safely in the Ark of Christ.
When God is for us, what can man do to us? I mean, worst case scenario again: man can kill us. But for us who are saved, that means being immediately in the presence of our Savior and being welcomed into Heaven for eternity! So what satan means for our destruction, God has, and always will, turn it and use it for our good!
Revelation 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The powers of evil have not exhausted themselves. The sixth trumpet resembles the last, though much worse.
Revelation 9:13-15 13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
Altars have been mentioned before in Revelation:
Revelation 6:9 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.
Revelation 8:3-5 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
What is this golden altar?
God gave very specific instructions on how to build the Tabernacle (or Tent) of Meeting. Every detail was instructed. It was to be so many feet long and so many feet wide, the curtains were to be made a certain way, the tent poles were to be made a certain way, etc. While the Israelites were wanderers, they had a mobile Tent of Meeting called the Tabernacle. When they finally got into their own land and became settlers, eventually they built a permanent Temple and it was built along the same lines as the mobile Tabernacle had been built. I have studied the Tabernacle in detail and it makes for a fascinating study. Not only is every detail outlined by God but every detail gives a picture of Jesus Christ who is the Sacrificial Lamb, The High Priest of His People and the Tabernacle of worship.
The Tabernacle had 3 areas: a large Outer Court that was enclosed by curtains but had no roof. The inner court, or Holy Place, was the first room (curtained and with ceiling) and the last area was the smaller Holy of Holies. This room was curtained off and inaccessible to anyone but the High Priest and He only went there once a year to atone for the sins of the people. There were pieces of the Tabernacle (Temple) that were called "furniture". These included the large burnt offering altar made of acacia wood and covered with bronze and the large bronze laver of water for gazing and washing that were located in the Outer Court. In the Holy Place (the first room in the tent) was the golden lampstand, the table of shewbread and the golden altar of incense. In the Holy of Holies (the second room in the tent) was the Ark of the Covenant and it's lid, called the Mercy Seat.
The altar of incense
This scripture describes the bronze burnt offering altar:
Exodus 27:1-8 1 “Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide.b 2 Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze. 3 Make all its utensils of bronze—its pots to remove the ashes, and its shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. 4 Make a grating for it, a bronze network, and make a bronze ring at each of the four corners of the network. 5 Put it under the ledge of the altar so that it is halfway up the altar. 6 Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze. 7 The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried. 8 Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain.
This scripture describes the golden altar of incense:
Exodus 30:1-10 1 “Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense. 2 It is to be square, a cubit long and a cubit wide, and two cubits high —its horns of one piece with it. 3 Overlay the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it. 4 Make two gold rings for the altar below the molding—two on each of the opposite sides—to hold the poles used to carry it. 5 Make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 6 Put the altar in front of the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law—before the atonement cover that is over the tablets of the covenant law—where I will meet with you. 7 “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come. 9 Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. 10 Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to the Lord.”
Acacia wood is a type of wood that hardens as it ages. It is enduring and incorruptible, i.e. not susceptible to rot. Wood represents humanity. Jesus Christ came as a human. Bronze represents God's judgment. Jesus bore our judgment. He shields us from God's wrath. He took it upon Himself so we wouldn't have to. Gold on the altar of incense symbolizes Christ's divinity. Although He was fully human, He was also fully divine. The golden altar had a crown which points to Jesus being our Priestly King. Not only High Priest, but our King of kings! The horns of the altar are intended to signify mercy. Running to the temple and clinging to these horns, a man could seek sanctuary (I Kings 1:50-51). There are four horns as there are four gospels that have been sent to the four corners of the earth. The good news of the gospel with the message of salvation has been heard throughout the earth.
The brazen altar was the place for burning animal sacrifices. It showed the Israelites that sinful man could only approach a holy God by the blood of an innocent and pure sacrifice. For a sin offering, a person had to bring an animal - a male without spot or defect - to the priests at the tabernacle gate. By laying his hand upon the head of the offering, the person was identifying with the sacrifice. Sin and guilt was transferred to the animal. The priest slaughtered the animal, sprinkled its blood in front of the veil of the Holy Place, burned the sacrifice, and poured the rest of it at the foot of the altar. Blood makes atonement. They had to repeat the sacrifices year after year. But Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was the ultimate and final sacrifice when He offered His life. Christ was like a lamb led to slaughter and pierced for our transgressions. His blood was sprinkled and poured out at the cross for us. Horns were a symbol of power and strength in biblical times. When the sacrifice was made, blood was dabbed on the horns of the altar, signifying the power of the blood to atone for sins. There is mighty power in the blood of Christ. Jesus is the “horn of our salvation” (Psalm 18:2, Luke 1:69). We saw this altar in the fifth seal judgment as the martyred souls beneath it cry out to God for vengeance (Rev. 6:9-11).
The altar of incense was in the Holy Place before the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The fire used to burn the incense was always taken from the altar of burnt offering outside the sanctuary (Leviticus 16:12). The altar of incense was not to be used for a burnt offering only for the burning of incense (Exodus 30:9). Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest was to put blood on the horns of the altar of incense to cleanse it. Psalm 141:2 “May my prayer be set before you like incense”. Our prayers must be kindled with heaven’s grace just as the incense was burned with fire from the altar of burnt offering. The incense was always burning meaning we should always pray. The altar of incense was holy to the Lord and was atoned for with the blood of the sacrifice; it is the blood of Christ applied to our hearts that makes our prayers acceptable to a holy God. The altar of sacrifice in the outer court was a type of Christ’s death on our behalf. The altar of incense in the Holy Place was also a type of Christ’s mediation on our behalf. Placing the altar of incense before the curtain into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat is a picture of Jesus standing in the presence of the Father (Hebrews 7:25; 9:24) mediating on our behalf. The continual burning of incense reminds us of Christ's neverending mediation for us. The horns on the golden altar of incense signify the power of Christ's blood in prayer as we confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness. James 5:15 "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven." We saw this altar in Revelation 8:3-5. An angel with a gold incense burner is given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of the saints. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, arises into the presence of the Lord, while the angel fills his incense burner with fire from the altar and hurls it to earth in a prelude to the seven trumpet judgments. John's attention was directed toward the golden altar after the angel blew the sixth trumpet. This judgment is an answer to the prayers for justice.
1 Peter 3:12 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
The Tent of Meeting, the Tabernacle was the place where God dwelled among His People. God wanted His dwelling to be a place where people could approach Him and pray to Him.
I wanted to build a little background on the altars of the Tabernacle so we can look at this altar in Revelation 9. This is the golden altar so it is the golden altar of incense. This altar has always been symbolic of mercy. The blood of the sacrifice and the prayers of intercession have always been for mercy, for salvation, for forgiveness. Our prayers have been for mercy and forgiveness. Jesus intercession on our behalf has been for mercy and salvation. The altar of incense had been a place to seek refuge and mercy. The one who took hold of the horns of the altar, and was righteous, was given mercy and lived, while the wicked died (1 Kings 1:50-53, 1 Kings 2:28-33 vs 2 Chronicles 26:14-16, 2 Chronicles 26:17-20). But now the voice coming from the four horns is for judgment. God’s way for a man to be saved is in the blood. Jesus Christ is the only way. For those who refuse the free offer of salvation through Jesus Christ, they must accept judgment. The four horns on the altar represent the power and authority of God to extend mercy to the righteous, being covered by the blood of the Lamb, or let loose judgment on the wicked.
"However, from the parallelism of this sixth trumpet to the fifth seal (Revelation 6:9-10), the martyrs' cry for avenging their blood from the altar reaching its consummation under the sixth seal and sixth trumpet, I prefer understanding this cry from the four corners of the altars, to mean the saints' cry from the four quarters of the world, incensed by the angel, ascending to God from the golden altar of incense, and bringing down fiery judgments." - Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Robert Jamieson, D.D.; A. R. Fausset; David Brown.
These four angels are not the same four angels restraining the four winds in Revelation 7:1. These angels were "bound" or imprisoned at the Euphrates River. These evidently are not holy angels but fallen angels. God reserved them and held them back until the appointed time. Their intent to kill humans is evil, not just out of obedience to God. In mercy, God has restrained them until this time.
Babylon is the site of the Tower of Babel in Genesis. It was on the Euphrates River, half on one side of the river and half on the other side of the river. According to Wikipedia, it was originally a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC. Hammurabi built Babylon up into a major city and declared himself its king, and southern Mesopotamia became known as Babylonia and Babylon eclipsed Nippur as its holy city. It was destroyed but then rebuilt by the Assyrians. The city came under the rule of the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman, and Sassanid empires.
It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world from c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, and again between c. 612 – c. 320 BC. They have a long and complicated history. The original beginnings of Babylon were the nomadic Amorites. The land of the Amorites is associated with Mesopotamia which included Canaan. The Amorites were descendents of Noah's son, Ham. (Genesis 9:20-25 and Genesis 10: 6, 15-18). Babylonians were the ancient enemy of God's people. They were used as tools of God's discipline. God gave Abraham the land of Canaan and one of the borders was the Euphrates River. The Amorites didn't take kindly to that.
Genesis 15:18 18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates...."
The Euphrates River is a symbol of rebellion against God. The Euphrates River flowed out of the Garden of Eden where sin began (Genesis 10:2-14). Like sin, it flowed out to the world. It was also the place of the first organized rebellion against God with the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:3-9). According to Joshua 24:2-3, 14-15, idolatry originated out of Babylon. God told the Prophet Jeremiah to bind the prophecy about Babylon's destruction to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River, which will be fulfilled in Revelation 18.
Revelation 9:15-19 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number. 17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
Revelation 9:16 The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.
The words translated as "twice ten thousand times ten thousand" are δύο μυριάδες μυριάδων, duos dismyriades myriadōn meaning two myriads of myriads, an essentially countless number. Some translations leave you to think it was 200 million, 200,000, 20,000 or innumerable. But John is specifically TOLD this, he doesn't count the number himself, which leads you to believe it is a literal military force of a certain size. Why does this matter? Well, if it's 200 million or more, can a human army (or armies) make up that total? And if it's not human armies, is it God's heavenly army or a demonic army? To amass such an army in one place would be impossible for humans at this stage of our existence. But, for the last 150 years, our technology has grown to such an extent that we could be nearing the capability of a world war like this. Think about it. For human existence, up until the last 150 years, we've been a primitive people relying on swords, one shot guns, catapults or cannons. But in the last 150 years we've got the technology to mow people down, bomb them with nuclear bombs, etc. We have the communications ability, the air power, the missiles, bombs, biological warfare capabilities, etc like nothing seen in human history before. So, is it possible that we will soon be able to amass, train, outfit, supply and kill with armies that are in these numbers?
This army is not the "locust" army of before. The locust army specialized in terror, not killing. This army kills. But what makes up this army? It's controversial. Some think that the 4 bound angels are let loose to confront God and accuse humans (as in Job) and then God sends His heavenly army to bring righteous judgment and kill 1/3. He is still restraining Himself and being merciful in only killing 1/3. God's heavenly army is made up of angels who appear fiery in the scriptures.
2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Others believe that the 4 bound angels lead a demonic army of supernatural origin. That these innumerable, myriads upon myriads, of fiery soldiers are demons. This makes more sense to me because they are led by 4 fallen, previously bound angels. Could it be demonic attack? Could the demons be other fallen angels who roam the earth now (not all are bound and chained in the bottomless pit)? Or could they be the spirits of the dead Nephilim, the giant halflings? Nephilim were hybrids, the result of fallen angels mating with human beings and procreating. These giants were half human and half demon. They were mostly killed during the Flood but one of Noah's daughters-in-law must have carried the gene as there were some giants in the Bible after the Flood. Goliath was one of them. They were eventually eradicated.
The army is amassed at the Euphrates River right smack dab in the Middle East where Babylon is/was (it still exists but as a tourist attraction now, rather than a major city). This Mesopotamian Valley was the "cradle of civilization". Somewhere in this area was the Garden of Eden. So it's where the fall of Adam and Eve happened. It's where the first lie was told, the first murder occurred, where the Tower of Babel was built in the first organized rebellion against God.
This army will kill 1/3 of mankind. In today's numbers that would be around 2 billion people (2,000,000,000) which is more than we can comprehend. They kill with "fire, smoke and sulfur". Brimstone is sulfur. It is a yellow colored stone. Put a match to it and it burns; lets off toxic fumes irritating your throat causing your throat to close; and melts like wax, dripping. It starts off under the earth as molten rock and spews out in the lava of volcanoes. Brimstone means, "burning stone" or, "the stone that burns." It is often converted to sulfuric acid today for many commercial uses. These weapons are often used in the Bible in judgment.
Luke 17:28-30 28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed."
God has used these natural elements in the past for judgment and wrath. It could literally be fire, brimstone and the noxious, poisonous fumes in the smoke that kills. Or it could represent fiery weapons. If John were to see a flame thrower today, wouldn't he describe it to his readers as a weapon of fire and brimstone? Napalm is a firm jelly made by mixing gasoline with aluminum salts. It can be used in flamethrowers, tanks, boats, bombs laid by airplanes.
This army is described as:
- breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur
- the heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions
- out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.
- the power of the horses was in their mouths
- and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury
Some interpreters have suggested they represent modern weapons that shoot both forward and backward, such as missiles, tanks, war ships, etc. If it's a literal battle between human beings then our weapons will be able to shoot the equivalent of fire and brimstone from front and back. Notice, it's less about the soldiers and more about their transport. The descriptions are about the transport weapon. And maybe there isn't even a man in them? Could it be robotic, drones, an army of soldier-less machines?
Could it be aliens attacking? Such bizarre descriptions may lead some to think of aliens. I mean, our media has primed us to believe in aliens over the last 70 years. Science fiction, alien "reality" shows, Star Wars, etc have opened our minds to this possibility. I don't believe or disbelieve, just putting it forward. I know God is capable of creating other life forms. But I'm not convinced that other life forms have contacted earth. I don't discount it, I just have not been convinced.
Historicists seem to think it's talking about a particular war, or all wars together, which have led to the deaths of 1/3 of mankind. They see this vision as describing the courage, power and brutality of the Romans and their confederates in the Jewish War of the first century. Or these colors reveal the identity of the army as the Turks, who defeat the Byzantine Empire and capture Constantinople in 1453. Others believe the fire, smoke, and sulfur are apt symbols of the gunpowder and artillery introduced in Europe and used by the Turks in their conquest of Constantinople.
Idealists see this horror as symbolizing the spiritual damage of false religions – such as Islam or cults. They point to scripture where mankind is compared to horses (Jeremiah 5:8, 8:6, James 3:1-9). The lion's heads represent the natural mind of man, or carnal nature (Psalm 22:13, 21; 2 Peter 2:12). The bridles, and bits in the mouths of horses signifies words and speech.
Joel 2 describes an army much like what is described here. But in the middle of the devastation, God still calls on them to repent. They don't have to face God's wrath! In His mercy, He has provided a way of escape through repentance and believing in Jesus Christ.
Joel 2:12-14 12 That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. 14 Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the LORD your God as before.
But, unfortunately, the survivors of this horror, do not repent...
Revelation 9:20-21 20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
After all this, man still will not repent and turn to God and cry out for His help. These verses may be the saddest and most horrible that we've seen so far. At every stage, God has given man chances to repent and seek Him and be saved through His Son, Jesus Christ. God has done everything to give us a way of escape. He gave His very Son to save us. Jesus, willingly, knowingly, voluntarily, walked to the cross and experienced the worst death and He did it to save us. God extended this salvation to every human being, freely. He sent the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts and to work on every person so that we could see that God loves us and wants us to accept His offer of salvation. God gave us His Word, the Bible, and He's given some the gift of being able to teach and preach so that others can hear and receive. He has extended His grace and mercy now for over 2,000 years (during what we call the Church Age) to give time for as many as will believe, to believe. When the End Times of judgment and wrath come, even then, God gives men a chance to repent and seek after Him. Those who reject Christ and reject the work of the Holy, Spirit who seeks to turn men to Jesus, will suffer righteous judgment. It is right that they be judged and suffer wrath, but even then, God reaches out to them and gives them chances to be saved! There are over 600 warnings in the Bible about coming judgment but man ignores them all. God sent Prophets in the Old Testament to warn and the Israelites, likewise, ignored the warnings.
But, this verse tells us most still reject Jesus and refuse God's overtures to be saved. Man wants to believe in satan's lies rather than in God's truth. God sent the Holy Spirit to prepare each person and give each person chances to see the truth and turn to Jesus Christ. But there are only so many chances before our heart becomes so hardened we can't hear Jesus knocking on the door of our heart any more. You see, our sinful self, our human nature, wants sin more than we want God. So we willfully turn our heads, harden our hearts and continue on with our sins. Satan makes sin look enticing and we consider them harmless playthings. We can enjoy it for awhile until the sins get a grip on us. Before we know it, our sins have taken over our life; we are in bondage to our sins and we are miserable. But we still can't imagine our life without them. At any point, as long as we are still breathing, we can turn our hearts over to Jesus, ask forgiveness and be free from our sins! At that point, our spirit is born and the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts to begin the second phase of His work! To teach, train, empower us to be who God made us to be, His Children! It's a lifelong process called sanctification. We are immediately saved but the process of sanctification is a process throughout the rest of our lives.
So many people want to say, "Well, my God wouldn't send people to hell and my God wouldn't allow such horrible things to happen in judgment. I don't believe God is that mean and if He is, then He's no God of mine."
First of all, He's God and you don't dictate to Him who He is or isn't or what He does or doesn't do. A god of your creation is a work of YOUR hands (or imaginations) and not the sovereign God of the Universe. You've made him up of your own ideas and not based on HIS WORD! Until you read and study HIS WORD with faith, having believed on Jesus Christ and having the Holy Spirit to teach you, then you have no idea of what you are talking about. God is who He says He is and He reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit and His Word. He is not who YOU say He is. He is who HE says He is! When you imagine a god according to your ideas, your desires and your fancies, then who is really god? You!
Jane Doe decides to sit down and make a list of all the things she imagines would make for a good god.
God is purple with blue polka dots.
God is only awake from 10:00am to 2:00pm Eastern Standard Time.
God's favorite flowers are kudzu blossoms.
God has one large hand and one small hand.
God beeps whenever he's mad.
Once Jane has made her list of the perfect god, she gets some wood or stone and carves it. Then she worships it any old way she wants. Sometimes she brings her idol food (even though wood and stone doesn't have a need for food). Sometimes she lights candles all around it and recites poetry (even though wood and stone have no ears to hear). Sometimes she sacrifices a chicken on it (even though wood and stone have no need for chicken blood and guts). Sometimes she sings and dances around it (even though wood and stone don't move and have no possibility of enjoying movement). Sometimes she leaves money or gifts around it (although wood and stone have no need of money or gifts).
This is so ridiculous and yet, people do it every day. Without knowing anything about the only true and living God, they make up what they want God to be. But, God is sovereign. He is who He is and He does what He wants to do. We are His created beings. And though man is the height of God's creation on earth, we are NOT God and we are ill equipped to play god.
Second, God has done everything possible to save as many as will listen and receive the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. He provided the way of salvation through the sacrifice of His own Son. He has shown mercy and grace over and over again. Even in the midst of righteous judgment, He holds back and gives mankind more last chances. This is not a God who came out of nowhere and with no warning pounced on a hapless and innocent population to horribly murder poor people out of spite, vindictiveness and cruelty. We have had warning, we've been given chances, we have an escape and God has His Hand extended at all times to rescue those who will reach out to Him.
This verse says men and women will "not repent of the work of their hands". The Greek word translated "hand" here means the instrument a person uses to accomplish their purpose (intention, plan). Notice it says, "their purpose". People want things their way. They make up all kinds of idols. An idol isn't necessarily a statue made from wood or stone, although there are plenty of people who worship idols even today.
Exodus 20 has the Ten Commandments and the first four are:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
It is one thing to be proud of your culture and heritage. I'm not saying it's wrong to have a distinct national flavor. We can't avoid that. It's how we are raised, consists of our memories and how our family trained us. And there is value and connected-ness in that. But there is a difference between culture/heritage and false religions and idolatry. Europeans came to the Americas for 2 reasons: gold and conversion to Christianity. Of the two, greed for gold ruined the witness of the other. Today, we modern, enlightened know-it-alls are encouraging indigenous peoples to return to their false religions and idols to "save their heritage"! This is a very sad and sick trend. We are letting them go back to the very religions that doomed their people to begin with and teaches them to turn away from the one, true, living God who is their only hope for salvation to return to their demonic religions. Religions that lead straight to hell. We create multibillion dollar museums to save "national treasures" when really they are saving idols. We romanticize rituals, dances and ceremonies in worship of what?!? Demons! Look at most of these idols and tell me they don't look demonic!
But idols aren't just statues or pictures. "Modern", enlightened, educated people fall into idolatry of a different type.
I believe people tend to worship those whom they consider "heros". We sure do spend a lot of money on creating and maintaining memorials. I have no problem with remembering our past as long as it does not become mythologizing and romanticizing until someone becomes an idol. I believe it has risen to that state for some past presidents such as Lincoln, Kennedy, Roosevelt, etc. Martin Luther King has been lionized into something more than a common man with good leadership skills and a wonderful agenda that led the Civil Rights movement. I don't disrespect the good work done by others but I don't want to fall into idolatry, idolizing another human being.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan receives his people's worship. Although American's don't usually throw themselves at the feet of our presidents and kiss their shoes, we are known to worship our presidents too.
People tend to worship money. For some it means spending all their time working, being a workaholic, in order to make as much as they can to buy their happiness. For others, its being willing to do anything to make the almighty dollar. Drug dealing, pimping/prostitution, pornography, stripping, thieving, corruption, taking bribes, cheating, conning, betraying your country for money, etc. They worship money. It is god to them. Matthew 6:24, "No one is able to serve two masters...You cannot serve both God and mammon (money)".
Sometimes, we find ourselves laying awake at night worrying about our investments. We become so focused on making money we can't sleep, we can't eat, we can't have normal relationships with our families. We become driven and slaves to money.
Some people give up everything they ever held dear for drugs and alcohol. It becomes their only thought for every minute of every day. The thought of being without it drives them into a frenzy. They become willing to do anything to get their next hit. They lose it all for drugs and drink. They make themselves into fools for it. Throwing up, peeing on themselves, being crude, getting into screaming matches, falling all over themselves, sexual promiscuity, getting into fights, going to jail. But no matter how shameful they behave, they won't give up their drug of choice. This is idolatry.
Some spend their time worshiping their houses or cars. Do you spend all your money, time, energy in building and maintaining a house or car? Then it may have become an idol.
I'm sure these men made this picture as a joke. But considering how much money people spend on old classic cars (or new sports cars) only to hide them in climate controlled garages... and dare not drive them as they may lose value... Well, it can get excessive. And, anything excessive and obsessive is an idol.
Some people worship leisure time or the tin god of gambling. They want to spend all their time in the fake and false casinos for a chance to win something. They want to be a part of glitz and glamour. That glitz and glamour is awfully thin. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is a lie from satan. What happens in Vegas sullies your soul and entices you do things you would never do and you wake up ashamed, guilty (and broke).
- How much money do I spend on my passion? Am I using money that I don't really have to spend? Or am I wasting money excessively on something that has no eternal value? Am I spending thousands, tens of thousands or more, on a tailgating RV, fuel, insurance, property taxes, parking fees, repairs and maintenance on a vehicle that is just a party wagon for a few weeks in the year?Am I spending an exorbitant amount of money on season tickets, hotel expenses, travel expenses to go to every game and championship games?
- Is it my ultimate dream to see a sports team make it to the championship or to go to the Super Bowl or to meet a sports hero? Does that mean more to me than God?
- Does my passion get in the way of my everyday life? Am I spending money on my passion that is needed to pay my bills? What if I had to miss a game because my spouse became sick? Am I flexible and able to accept that something more important has come up? Or am I so rigid that nothing gets between me and my passion?
- Is my family suffering because of my passion? Am I spending so much time on my passion that my family is being ignored?
- Is my passion taking over our home? Some people collect things. Either the collection is your passion or your collection just represents your passion. For instance, you may collect hat pins and matchbooks and you enjoy your collection. Or you may be a fanatic baseball fan and you collect baseball cards and anything baseball because you have a passion for the game. But if you have every surface, every room, every floor space crammed with your collections you are in trouble.
- Do you do crazy things for your passion? Such as fans who go to football games in the dead of winter but strip off their shirts and freeze. Or those who wear ridiculous costumes and bizarre body painting in team colors. Or those who get permanent tattoos of a team mascot.
- Does your passion cause you to fall into sinful behaviors? Do you tend to get drunk or high when you go to games? Is your passion tempting you to gamble? Are you overspending, overeating?
- Is it more important than God, than going to church, than my family, than my service to others?
So let's look at whether or not we are idolatrous. Are we deriving our security from our pensions, our investments, our homes, our assets? Are we trusting in our doctors, hospitals and pharmacies instead of God? Are we expecting our government to solve our problems, being our provider and savior? Are we filling our head with so much noise and action so that we won't think, contemplate, hear the call of God? We make our own selves our idols don't we? We only care for our comfort. What we want supplants all else and anyone else. It must be our way, we refuse all compromise. Our selfishness refuses any self denial. Many don't even practice any common courtesy any more because it's all about us. They don't open the doors for others, give someone preference in line or say "please" and "thank you". Common courtesies and good manners only get in the way.
You see, the danger of idolatry is not in the idols but in us. John Calvin said our heart is an idol factory.
According to Revelation 9:20, men continue to worship the work of their hands, idols. Jesus says if our hand causes us to sin (the work of our hands) it would be better to cut off our hand. The Bible tells us to flee from sin!
Matthew 5:30 (NLT, Jesus speaking) 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
1 John 5:20-21 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true—in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Jeremiah 51:17-19 17 “Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;
they have no breath in them.
18 They are worthless, the objects of mockery;
when their judgment comes, they will perish.
19 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the Maker of all things,
including the people of his inheritance—the Lord Almighty is his name.
Habakkuk 2:18-19 18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.”
Isaiah 44:8b-22 8b You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
9 All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.
12 The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel;
I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
21 “Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
And the people didn't "repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts."
The word for "murders" means intentional, unjustified homicide; the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another. People will still be murdering and justifying their murders. Abortion, murder, persecutions, purges, genocides... these will continue. They will try to justify it. "I was bullied"; "God wants me to kill"; "It's MY body, who cares about the baby's right to live"; "I'm killing infidels so I will go to heaven"; "Voices are telling me to kill"; etc.
Beheading a Christian
The vast majority of the 148 people killed by Al-Shabaab terrorists at Garissa University on Thursday 2 April (2015) were Christian students. When the gunmen arrived, their first target was an early morning Christian prayer meeting. Of 29 students there, just seven survived. 'We were praying,' said Duncan Obwamu. 'We were in a circle in the room holding hands.'”
Genocides like Rwanda.
In America we've had school shootings, bombs, snipers and massacres because people are angry about anything and everything! They think they have a cause or they are going to show everyone how powerful they are. But it's just hate. They hate their fellow students, they hate homosexuals, they hate America, they hate Republicans, they hate Democrats, they hate Trump or Obama, they hate the rich, they hate the poor, they hate citizens or they hate illegal immigrants, etc. How despicable!
Matthew 15:19 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.
Isaiah 5:20 20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Psalm 10:6-11 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” 7 His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; 9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. 11 He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.” 12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.
The people didn't "repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts." The word (pharmakeía) translated as "sorceries" or "magic arts" means drug related sorcery, enchantments, magic, the use of drugs or spells. The word translated "sexual immorality" is the Greek porneía which is the root of the English words "pornography, pornographic". It means a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity which is prostitution, whoredom; promiscuity of any (every) type; fornications/adulteries; illicit sexual intercourse in general. They also refuse to repent of their thieving, stealing, robbing, conning and pyramid schemes.
Galatians 5:19-21 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We want to play with sin. We think we can sin without consequence and we get mad when we have consequences. We want to blame everyone else, especially God. We refuse all responsibility for our actions. And as long as our society lets people get away with it, we can keep from facing the results of our actions. As long as we can abort the baby that was created from our promiscuity, we will continue to practice promiscuity and fornication. As long as society tells homosexuals their sinful lifestyle is fine and dandy, the deeper into bondage the homosexual goes. As long as we can get an easy divorce, the more divorces there will be. The more we give out free condoms, free syringes and free medical care, people will continue with their high risk, sinful addictions and behaviors. I don't want anyone to suffer. That is not my heart and is certainly not the heart of God! But the deeper into sin we go, the more bondage, misery and destruction there is and we should want to save people from the horrors of sin and it's result of eternity in hell! It is God's love that begs people to turn from their wicked ways and to let Jesus set them free! Sometimes we have to reach the bottom before we reach up and if we keep people from reaching their bottom, we may be keeping them from reaching up to God. It's called enabling. And it is not loving to enable someone all the way to hell. Enabling is not loving. Go to any AA or Al Anon group and and you learn that.
People want their sin more than they want God. So, despite the horrors they've witnessed, despite the warnings, despite God's sending of the 144,000 witnesses, despite everything... these people refuse to repent and turn to God. They continue on with business as usual. That is desperately sad!
We have here the commencement of an episode, or two episodes, which intervene between the sixth and seventh trumpets. Revelation 10 and Revelation 11:1-14 form a gradual transition from the sixth to the seventh trumpet. I will do a separate post to continue this subject as this post has been quite lengthy.