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Revelation
Chapter Nine

Commentary by Tom Brown

 

9 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.

star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. A reference to Satan’s fall and defeat. See 12:9.

2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.

Description of the plagues of Egypt. This is symbolic of God’s judgment toward those who resist the gospel.

3 And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.

locusts. See Ex 10:13

scorpions. Jesus described demons as scorpions.

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.

only those people who did not have the seal of God. Curses belong only to the unsaved. Those who are saved have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.

5 They were not given power 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 a man.

five months. Normal dry season in which locust are a great problem. This suggest a limited time. 

they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion. People are susceptible for demon attacks that do not know Christ.

6 During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

they will long to die. Suicide is one of the main characteristic of demon possession. Remember the pigs that Jesus sent the demons into, drowned themselves because the torment of demons is so great.

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.

prepared for battle. Demons are in war against the Saints.

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 and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.

stings like scorpions. See v 3

11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. a 

Abaddon…Apollyon. Means destroyer. Make no mistake: Satan is the destroyer of men’s lives, not God.

12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

first woe is past. The first five trumpets belong to one grouping. It is easier to understand revelation when you see the first woe as one continuous description of judgment.

13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns b of the golden altar that is before God.

voice coming from the horns of the golden altar. Immediately I recognize that unlike the first woe, this second woe is not demonic but angelic.

14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."

Release the four angels. Unlike the fifth trumpet that released demons, this trumpet will release God’s angels to do their work of serving.

Euphrates. This river was known to be in the Garden of Eden. He is describing a counter army from Paradise that will fight the army from “the Abyss”. v 1

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 two hundred million. I heard their number.

two hundred million. Like the 144,000, this is a symbolic number meant to convey God’s children that are the army of God (2 Tim 2:3). The number two is significant and will be mentioned later in the book in the form of “two witnesses”. Everything must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Dt 17:6). Therefore the two hundred million are the reliable witnesses of the gospel. The church is the two hundred million.

I heard their number. Exactly how John had known the number of 144, 000. This is a repeat, albeit with different numbers, of the previous vision of 144,000. In this case, the two hundred million are soldiers of the Lord, while in the other case of the 144,000 were those who worshipped God. We have two great duties: to love God as seen in the 144,000 and to love others as seen in the two hundred million who go out to win the world for Christ.

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.

breastplates were fiery red, dark blue. Our breastplates of righteousness are the result of the blood of Christ (red) and come to us from heaven (blue).

heads of lions. We are to be bold as lions (Prov 28:1) as we proclaim the word of God.

out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. Isa 30:27 clearly describes God’s Word as “a consuming fire” and v 33 says that “the breath of the Lord, like a stream of burning sulfur.” The soldiers of the Lord are invincible, not because of our ideas coming forth out of our mouths, but the Word of God coming out of our mouths. Fire also came out of the mouths of the two witnesses. 11:4

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.

their tails were like snakes. Jesus told us to be shrewd as snakes when we preach (Matt 10:16). We need to use wisdom in our presentation of the gospel.

20 The rest of mankind that 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.

still did not repent of the work of their hands. Like Pharaoh, some do not respond to the gospel.

21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

 

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