THE THREE WOES
Revelation 9 is the invasion of earth by “armies.” The first four trumpets sounded, and there are three left. These last three trumpets are known as the “three woes.”
To be able to understand what is happening here in Revelation 9, you have to know the Old Testament writings of the prophet Joel.
THE PROPHET JOEL
Joel 2:1 “The day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh” refers to the end times.
2. “A day of darkness and of gloominess” refers to the darkness and gloom when the sun and moon is obscured, in the end times.
4. The “appearance of horses” is comparing this force with locusts.
Note! The locust resemblance the horse, especially in the head. This has found expression in the Italian name “cavalletta”, and German name “heupferd.”
6. “Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.” People are terribly afraid of them.
7. “They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks” They act like a disciplined army.
8. “Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.” Men is defenceless agains them for they cannot hurt them.
9. “They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.” They go through walls and windows, and men cannot hide from them.
10. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
VERSE BY VERSE
Revelation 9:1 And the fith angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
The fifth angel blows his trumpet, and John says: “I saw a star fall.” In the Greek tense, this star is not in the act of falling, but it had fallen already.
Note! The angels of the heavenly host are sometimes called “stars” in Scripture. See here:
- Job 38:7 “the morning stars shouted for joy” at the creation.
- Isaiah 14:12 “how you have fallen from heaven, morning star”
The “him who got the key” implies a fallen angel who got permission from God, to opens up the abyss. That is to say, he is going down to the abyss to free what is being restrained in there.
The “abyss” is a bottomless pit, a pit without a bottom. The Greek word used to describe it is “abussos.” This is a place very unpopular with the demons, where they are being locked away for time being. See Luke 8:31 “The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit.”
Revelation 9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
The gate of the abyss opened, and the contents burst forth upon the earth. A demonic force and thick smoke comes out of the pit. The smoke is so thick that it obscured the sun and the moon, and it became gloomy and dark.
Revelation 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
These locusts are not from the animal species. To the contrary, they are demonic beings in material- and visible form. It is the demonic invasion of earth by Satan’s corps in the last days, Joel’s prophecy.
The factors that support this view:
- Their leader is a fallen angel.
- They have a king over them, but literal locusts don’t. Proverbs 30:27 “locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks.”
- They are coming out of the abyss. In the New Testament it refers to the place where some fallen angels, or demons are being kept.
- They attack only people, not the vegetation. But, we know that literal locusts attack only vegetation.
- They are able to distinguish, and to torture only those who do not have the seal of God.
Note! Good angels are not bounded, they are free.
Revelation 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
These “locusts” are not interfering with the grass, the trees, nor any green thing, as locusts would do. They were interfering with men only. And, they could distinguish between those with a seal, and those without a seal. We read all about this seal in Revelation 7:3 “until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
Revelation 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
The locusts did not kill men, but they torture them.
Revelation 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
The word used for “desire” here is a strong word in the Greek, it is an eager desire. Man was helpless against the onslaught of these beings. The torment was such that they rather wanted to die.
Revelation 9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
John saw these beings, and he did his best to described it to the reader. They look like horses prepared for battle. They wear something like crowns of gold. And, their faces are like that of men.
Revelation 9:8 And they had hair, as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
There teeth look like the teeth of lions, strong and suited to devour. And, there hair were long, like that of a woman.
Revelation 9:9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running into battle.
They wore coverings like breastplates of iron. When they move, it sounded intimidating, like many horses rushing into battle.
Revelation 9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Literal locusts have no sting. These beings had the power to torment men, and they did so for five long months.
This is not yet God’s destruction, but punishment to bring repentance.
ABADDON, THAT IS APOLLYON
Revelation 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
The one ruling over this demonic force, is the Angel of Destruction. He is being called Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in the Greek.
Jesus himself said that Satan is a destroyer. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Revelation 9:12 One woe is past; and behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The first of the three woes happened, and two more to come.
Revelation 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
The sixth trumpet sounded, and as if in one voice, it speaks.
Revelation 9:14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great River Euphrates.
The Greek word for “bound” is “deo.” This is being used to describes when Satan is being bound for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:2). These four angels are bound, thus not of the good angels.
Note! The river Euphrates appears a few times in Scripture. First it Genesis 3, when Satan started his assault against humans. We know it is the eastern boundary of Israel, the traditional boundary between east and west.
FOUR BAD ANGELS
Revelation 9:15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
These are creatures prepared for this moment. Under their guidance people are being killed, not tortured, like the locusts did. This is not punishment, but destruction.
A HUGE ARMY
Revelation 9:16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
The amount of these warriors is 200 thousand thousand, that is 200 million.
The Greek word for “army” can be “an army” and everyone fighting for the same side. Or, it can be “armies” and horsemen from different armies. Whether these are armies of nations or supernatural armies, we do not know.
Note! In Revelation 16, three frog-like spirits are gathering leaders of the world. They do so for the “battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Whether these are the same beings that are being released from the Euphrates here, might well be. We know that the the nations will unite against Israel, in the battle of Armageddon.
DEATH AND DESTRUCTION
Revelation 9:17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
The calvary is out, unleashed to kill and destroy. They bring consuming flames, and suffocating smoke with them. Planet earth becomes one big grave yard.
Revelation 9:19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
They don’t tormented only, but they killed.
IDOLATRY, AND NO REPENTANCE
Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not, of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Beneath every idol that idolaters worship, there is a demon lurking. Hearts of stone is worshipping idols of stone, and they do not repent from it.
Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES:
- Revelation, Why bother?
- Revelation, Overview
- Revelation, Chapter 1
- Revelation, Chapter 2
- Revelation, Chapter 3
- Revelation, Chapter 4
- Revelation, Chapter 5
- Revelation, Chapter 6
- Revelation, Chapter 7
- Revelation, Chapter 8
SOURCES FOR REVELATION, CHAPTER 9:
- The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches by Dr. Chuck Missler
- Revelation by Dr. Baruch Korman
- The Unveiled Christ of Revelation by Dr. John Barnett
- A Light in the Darkness by Rick Renner
- 101 Answers to Questions About the Book of Revelation by Dr. Mark Hitchcock
- Revelation: A Chronology by Dr. Jimmy De Young
OTHER SOURCES FOR REVELATION, CHAPTER 9: