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Sunday, December 29, 2019

The TTUF STUDY on The REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST – Chapter NINE


~ by James Fire

Introduction: I am in awe of the holiness of GOD, His grace and truth and peace – His almighty power, knowledge and wisdom, His absolute goodness and pure love – and I am also in awe with such equitable wonder (but in a negative sense) of mankind’s utter rebellion and even hatred of GOD, so that they adamantly refuse to repent.
I have heard people say, “I’d much rather die and suffer unimaginable horrors in the fire of hell for eternity than suffer in the presence of GOD for a minute!” I was astonished at that remark that literally left me speechless.

This is one reason why GOD sends down judgment – so that people’s hardened hearts will be broken of their obstinate pride and rebellion, and make no mistake, there will be multitudes beyond number that will come out of great tribulation (REV 7:14). We see in this chapter such self-willed and aggressive rebellion in the heart of people, who while suffering such terrible judgment at the Holy Hand of GOD, refuse to repent! Absolutely astounding!!

Thank the LORD that we who know Him have willingly bowed our knees, yielded our hearts and submitted our very lives to the One Who is worthy of these and far more: the LORD Jesus Christ. The day is coming when these rebellious souls will be in the very presence of GOD Almighty, unable to stand, for all of His glory, but compelled to their knees and declare that JESUS IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER!

PHILIPPIANS 2:9-11
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
.

REVELATION 9:1-2
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 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
.

In the previous chapter we witnessed a mountain falling into the sea, and then a fiery star poisoning a third of the waters of the Earth. Here we see another star, but unlike the one in Chapter Eight, this isn’t the same sort of star; this is a star with a difference. Notice the words “him” and “he” and these actions of receiving a key and opening the door to the bottomless pit. As mentioned previously, stars are often connoted with angelic beings, aka “the sons of God” (JOB 38:7; 1:6; 2:1; see also REV 1:20; 12:4) and I believe that’s what we are seeing here. An angel (whether holy or fallen, we don’t know for certain), commissioned by GOD, to go to the bottomless pit and release what was imprisoned there.

And what was in this bottomless prison? I believe we have two references to tell us this:

JUDE 1:6
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day
.
2 PETER 2:4
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment
;
The Greek word Tartarus is used once in Scripture, here in 2 PET 2; from Compelling Truth ministries we have the following quote
The word "hell" here is translated from the word Tartarus.
Sinning angels are mentioned in GEN 6:1–4 where they were called "sons of God" and they took advantage of human women and their offspring. JUDE 1:6 describes: "And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day." These are believed to be the "spirits in prison" to whom Jesus proclaimed in 1 PET 3:19–20. Evidently these particular fallen angels are in Tartarus, which is what it seems other demons feared in LUKE 8:31.
But what do we actually see described, ascending out of this bottomless pit? There is first a smoke, so dense and heavy that the sun and the clear atmosphere were blocked out. Chronicles in history report that volcanic eruptions have spewed such ash and smoke that the sun was literally blacked out, casting all the surrounding lands in darkness for days. This smoke apparently is no less dense. There is a darkness that’s only darker than this found in REV 16:10, akin to that found in the 10 Plagues of Egypt (EXOD 10:15,22-23). And what else proceeds from this bottomless pit?

REVELATION 9:3-4
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. 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
.

Are these actual locusts or some allegorical picture? Or something else entirely? They aren’t typical locusts to be certain for these can sting like scorpions, but they don’t go after any grass (note here that it simply says “grass” and not “green grass” (for this type of grass was all destroyed in REV 8:7)) or any other sort of vegetation (“any green thing”) including trees. 
Their sole object are men, but even here there is a specificity: only those who don’t have the seal of GOD in their foreheads, that is, those who have the mark of the Beast instead. Interesting; I believe this seal is invisible, spiritual, not tangible or perceptible except by those that are spiritual in nature: GOD Himself of course, but also the angelic realm – the good as well as the evil. But certainly not locusts or any other kind of bug for that matter!

This is why I believe that the mark of the Beast, which is taken in the forehead (or the right hand) while visible and actual, will also have a spiritual basis, for this mark is a kind of spiritual allegiance to the Beast and to the Dragon, and any who take this mark will be unable to obtain salvation through Christ (REV 14:9-11). Yet who are these that have the seal of GOD in their foreheads? These would be the 144,000 as previously mentioned; these Jewish evangelists, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel (Note: none of the tribes are lost, GOD knows exactly where and who they are! However, also note that the tribe of Dan is missing from among them. Why is that? Do some research!) that are kept, not martyred by the Beast (See REV 7) as are other tribulation saints. 

REVELATION 9:5-6
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. And in those days shall men seek death and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them
.

I’ve never been stung by a scorpion, but it’s said to be one of the most intensely excruciating experiences a person could imagine. Yet to be continuously stung, repeatedly, without rest or reprieve by these monstrously sized ‘locusts’ – not for a day or a week, or even a month, but for five months is staggering! Such will be the experience that people will seek death as the only relief they could acquire, and yet they will be denied this escape.

On a different note: suicide rates these days, especially among the young are at an all-time high; such tormented souls think that to end their miserable lives, would mean relief from such suffering and a rest from ‘being’; to melt into the comforting bliss of oblivion.
Yet the tragedy is, that physical death is not really the end. In the Shakespeare play Hamlet, the main character contemplates “self-slaughter” as that which has been fixed against by Canon:

To be, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--
To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub
[the problem],
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil
,
. . .
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

The dream of that “undiscovered country” would be a quite literal and hellish nightmare; the very thing that the Scriptures warn about: The Holy Judgment of GOD against all sin, and the subsequent and eternal punishment of hellfire. From that place of torturous agony there is no reprieve of oblivion, no last chance for hope, no lingering promise of escape – all is desolation and despair in the sure knowledge that such is their fate without end, for all eternity. 

There is but one chance, one offer of hope, a lingering extension of promised escape from the Judgment of GOD and the resulting punishment – to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and His glorious Gospel! We all know with certainty the day of our birth, but not so the hour of our death. And once we leave this world, there are no second chances. He that will love wisdom will settle this eternal matter at the foot of Calvary’s cross and receive Christ as LORD and Savior before that hour arrives!

REVELATION 9:7-10
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. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 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 to battle. 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months
.

This is the part that I personally find baffling: the descriptions of these creatures, having the faces of men, the hair of women and teeth of lions, the overall shapes of horses and the tails of scorpions is an outlandish vision to say the least. The appearance of horses is understandable, for if you look at a locust, especially the head, it has a ‘horse-like’ appearance; in fact, the Italian word for locust (or grasshopper) is cavalletta, from which we get the word cavalry. 
But this description goes on, speaking of breastplates of iron and the sounds of their wings like chariots of many horses running to battle.
Could these be fallen cherubim that followed Satan in his rebellion? For those were known to have four faces (Lion, Eagle, Ox and Man); could these therefore have various aspects as described? It would seem that they are of monstrous proportions due to the explicit detail given to their various aspects (a normal sized locust with the tiny face of a man would seem rather comical I should think!).

Some assume that John the apostle was attempting to describe something in his 1st century mind that was a vision of 21st century technology and thus attribute these creatures to be military grade helicopters (if you’ve ever seen a locust in flight, the comparison is not unwarranted) with weapons that can ‘sting’ either before or behind (lions teeth and scorpions tail).

Others attribute these creatures to purely demonic beings, and I tend to lean this way; but I wonder if perhaps these might be a combination of genetically created chimeras in some hideous scientific experiment, hidden in some deep underground laboratory (such experiments known in the public domain are already happening; but what’s happening behind the scenes? “Frankenstein scientists developing part-human part-animal chimera, exclaimed the UK's Daily Mirror in May 2016. "Science wants to break down the fence between man and beast," the Washington Times declared two months later, fearing that sentient animals would soon be unleashed on the world.”) that happens to be stationed near the location of the abyss, and that once the star uses the key to unleash the demonic hordes held captive therein, they would then indwell these chimeras and do GOD’s bidding, in tormenting those who worship the Beast? 

A rather fanciful idea, I grant you, but knowing the little that we do about such genetic experimentation (See the article at the link above), and the ability of demons to inhabit lower animal life forms, it’s not altogether beyond reason to suppose such a thing. These are definitely not ordinary locusts, that much is certain, based on what we’ve seen already, but also for the following reason:

REVELATION 9:11
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
.

In PROVERBS 30, it states that the locusts of the Earth have no king:

PROVERBS 30:27
The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands
;

Hive colonies like ants or bees certainly have a leader, queens in fact, but not so with locusts. And yet these in REVELATION not only have a king, but one with an interesting name: Apollyon, whose name means “destruction”. For this reason and all the others, I believe that these creatures are demonic or fallen angels that were consigned to the abyss (or more specifically, that lowest region of the abyss, Tartarus; but now let loose to fulfill GOD’s purposes in judgment and, or punishment for the “earth-dwellers”.

REVELATION 9:12-15
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 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
.

The other fallen creatures were bound in the abyss; these in vs. 14 were bound in the great river Euphrates, and they are four in number – and these will not torture as did the others, but kill and slay a third of the entire population of mankind!

REVELATION 9:16-19
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 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. 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
.

It seems that there is a connection between these four angels and this army of horsemen, because from what we read, this army destroys, not ‘another’ third of men, but “the third part” as it was previously stated in vs. 15. Perhaps these four angels are responsible for inspiring, leading, empowering this bizarre army of horsemen, numbering 200 million? 

Certainly, those who are alive at this time, repentant and seeking GOD and His Word will be granted greater understanding of these verses than we who are alive today have received, for they will have need of such understanding; for we the church of Jesus Christ, it’s more of an academic matter.

In any event, these are terrible and tremendous punishments upon “the earth dwellers” who refuse GOD as the authority over the very creation that He made – including these rebellious souls. In the Old Testament both locusts (EXOD 10:4; JOEL 1:4) and horses (ISAIAH 5:25-28; ZECH 6:1-8), as well as fire (JER 21:12; EZEK 30:14) were all figures denoting GOD’s judgment upon rebellion man.

REVELATION 9:20-21
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
.

By this time nearly half of the world’s population has been killed off at the hand of the Judge of the whole Earth. Abraham, in beseeching the LORD for the impending judgment of Sodom and Gomorra, where his kin dwelled asked, “Shall not the judge of the earth do right?”

GENESIS 18:25
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Yet the LORD knows how to reserve the unjust for the Day of Judgment:

2 PETER 2:9
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished
:

While the many rebels will remain obstinate in their rebellion, there are those who will repent and call upon the Name of the LORD and find salvation (ROM 10:13), most notably the remnant of Israel who will find refuge from the wrath of the anti-Christ in the place of Bozrah, otherwise known as Petra (HOS 5:5-15).

One would think that these survivors would witness the decimation of their fellow men, understand that this is the very hand of GOD in Judgment (EXOD. 8:19) and repent; but like Pharaoh of Egypt, these harden their hearts and refused to repent, and notice what it is that they refuse to repent of: “the works of their hands” – not merely idols behind which are demonic spirits being worshiped (1 COR 10:19-20), but in the building of the One World Order, which as I’ve said before is ‘Babylon Reborn’. 

They refuse to repent of their murders (the unlawful killing of GOD’s saints? The sacrificing of babies, perhaps even by this time, children?), certainly the blood of the martyrs of Jesus our LORD could be counted in these numbers (REV 17:6)! Sorceries – such as the practice of witchcraft that is positively exploding right now in popularity, as well as unbridled indulgence in various illicit drugs (pharmakeia is the Greek word from which we get pharmaceuticals, that means witchcraft) of the hallucinogenic kind that alters one’s state of consciousness so that demonic influence and even possession is possible, even probable. 

These refused to repent of their fornications and their thefts. What could be implied by these sins? It could simply be a matter of lawlessness in sexual promiscuity multiplied by monstrous proportions, but I also believe it implies a spiritual fornication much like what happened in GENESIS 6, when fallen, evil angels co-habitated with women and created Nephilim (“giants”). I could see such things becoming ‘common’ in this time of utter iniquity when the Beast reigns!

As for thefts, if in no other sense, the very fact that these refuse to give glory to GOD are thieves indeed! Yet I also believe that this could imply what I call ‘legal plunder’ or Socialism, which in this case will be global; heavy taxations laid upon the backs of those who labor by the sweat of their brows, but then forced to support those who are slothful and feel themselves entitled to be taken care of by the government, rather than being responsible for their own livelihood.

As we continue this study in REVELATION we must remind ourselves that the events that transpire in these chapters are not necessarily in chronological order – obviously the second seal follows after the first, and the like, but as we conclude Chapter Nine here, we are about to venture into the next section of this book, from Chapter 10 to Chapter 14. 

Chapter 15 commences the last seven Judgments by way of the seven bowls (or “vials”) that will consummate the Judgement of GOD upon “the earth dwellers”.

But beginning in Chapter 10, we find the apostle John confronted by a powerful angel who grants to him “a little book” which he is instructed to eat. Chapter 11 deals with the Temple in Jerusalem and “the two witnesses” that the Beast eventually slays, only to see them raised from the dead three days later! The seventh trumpet is sounded and this results in the seven bowls judgment. The seventh trumpet signifies ultimate victory in battle and sees the enemy conquered (REV 11:15)! Chapter 12 addresses the nation of Israel, of Christ and Satan’s desire unfulfilled in seeing the destruction of that nation. Chapters 13 will deal with various aspects of Babylon at her global level, Chapter 14 on her local level. Chapter 14 also views the 144,000 and their celebration of victory. All of these events are within the period of this last shavuah or seven-year period to complete the 70 weeks prophecy of DANIEL 9.

We shall then proceed in this study and examine Chapter 10, LORD willing, soon!

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