Rev 9:4 Locusts Out of the Abyss 9/11/2005 ßà
#1. The Cloud of Locusts (Rev 9:1-12, Matt 28:18)
#2. The Appearance of the Locusts (Joel 1:1-7,15,19-20, 2:1-6,10-11)
#3. Who Are Not Hurt by the Locusts? (Rev 9:4, 2Tim 2:26, Rom 8:35-39, Isa 51:12-16)
Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev
20:1 (2X). With a chapter like this in front of us it is always good to
keep in mind what the objective is of the prophecy that God has placed before
us. First of all, we need to keep in mind that the purpose of
this Revelation is to reveal unto us the Lord Jesus Christ as He truly is. He
is not the baby in a manger who everybody wants to keep in a manger. He
is not the Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes, with a handsome beard, who
walked on the shores of the
The second purpose of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is to show us
how the Kingdom of Christ is gradually displacing the kingdom of Satan from
this world, and how Christ shall have the complete victory at the end. Therefore
this earth must go through a certain process of battle before the
Re 20:1-2 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Re 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
The “Angel come down from heaven” is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, because only Christ has the key to the Bottomless Pit; only Christ “has the keys of Hell and of death” (Rev 1:18). Only Christ could disarm and bind Satan when He atoned for the sins of all His saints on the cross. It was at the cross that Satan was spiritually bound with chains of stupidity, and he was bound for a long period of time, which is symbolized by 1000 years. Please turn in your Bible to Rev 12:7 (2X). Christ is not an angel. The word “angel” should have been translated more correctly as “messenger”. And Christ is certainly the “Messenger of the Covenant”. We have looked at these verses already in last week’s sermon, and there we saw that the “Bottomless Pit” is this earth. We can see that clearly in Rev 12:7-9
Re 12:7-8 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Re 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
That Satan is now bound and cast out of heaven, past tense, can be clearly seen in 2Pet 2:4, where we read “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”. And Jude 1:6 adds, “to be reserved unto the judgment of the great day”. And thus at the cross, or better at the resulting ascension of Christ into heaven, were bound and cast out to this earth, which is allegorically called Hell and “the Bottomless Pit”. And now comes the scary part: We read in Rev 20:3, “and after that he must be loosed a little season”. This means that Satan and his fallen angels will be loosed toward the end of time, in a time segment that we call “The Final Tribulation Period”. This is now what we are seeing in Rev 9:1-12. Please turn in your Bibles to Rev 9:1 (2X). Here in Rev 9 we read about the blowing of the 5th and the 6th trumpet. The 7th trumpet is the last trumpet, which announces Judgment Day, the end of time.
#1. The Cloud of Locusts (Rev 9:1-12, Matt 28:18)
Re 9:1 ¶ 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.
Re 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.
Re 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.
Re 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.
Re 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.
Re 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.
Re 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.
Re 9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
Re 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 to battle.
Re 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.
Re 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.
Re 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
What is God communicating to us here? First of all, when we read in verse 1, “I saw a star fall from heaven” this should have been translated, “I saw a star having fallen from heaven”. John did not literally see the star fall from heaven. The star had already come down from heaven at the moment when the trumpet sounds. At this particular moment the star begins to operate. This is certainly not a literal star, for the simple reason that literal stars do not behave like this star. This star acts like a person with intellect and will. Who does this star represent? This star represents the Lord Jesus Christ, for He alone has the key of the Bottomless Pit. This key was given Him when He successfully atoned for the sins of all His elect, for after His resurrection He said in Matt 28:18, “All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth”. Christ alone is authorized to bind Satan and cast him into the Bottomless Pit, and Christ alone is authorized to release Satan from the Bottomless Pit. The Greek word for the Bottomless Pit is the “Abyss”, which is a synonym for Hell. That is why in 2Pet 2:4 the Greek word “Tartarus” was translated “Hell”. Satan and his demons are in a condition called “Hell”, because they are under the wrath of God without remedy. And thus the title of this sermon is, “Locusts Out of the Abyss” (2X). We read in verse 2 that
It was not Satan who opened the Abyss. Satan does not have the power to
release himself, or to release the armies that follow him. The holy angels as
well as the fallen angels are separate individuals who do not act like one
organism, like mankind. Only Christ can open the pit of the Abyss. And
this act of Christ corresponds in time with the beginning of the Final Tribulation
Period(FTP) and it corresponds with the statement in Rev 20:3, that at the end
of the symbolic 1000 years Satan must be loosed for a little season. Why
must he be loosed? It is a necessity established by the counsel and the
decree of God. It is necessary to loose Satan toward the end of time to prepare
the unsaved part of the world for judgment. And so, at the beginning of the FTP
Christ opens the Bottomless Pit and out comes a great cloud of smoke, “as
the smoke of a great furnace”. It is a furnace reminding us of Hell. Why
did God include this detail? God included this picture of a great furnace to
emphasize that this cloud contained Satan and all his evil spirits who were for
a time bound by chains of darkness, but are now released from the condition
that bound them in Hell, or that bound them in the Bottomless Pit. But let us keep
in mind that the Bottomless Pit is already here on this earth. Satan and his
demons are already here on earth, but now they are released from their
condition of stupidity, which was represented by the chains of darkness. But
now, in verse 3, the appearance of the cloud changes to a cloud of
locusts. This is exactly how swarms of locusts have been witnessed throughout
the centuries. First you see a dark cloud at the horizon, which grows larger
and larger. And as the cloud comes closer you see that the cloud is actually a
swarm of locusts. The sound of the wings of the locusts intensifies until it
sounds like “the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle”. It
is a cloud so great that it darkens the sun. It is terrifying in sight and
sound. Then they descend and eat up everything that is green within fifteen
minutes or less. And when everything has been eaten they fly away and join the
rest of the swarm to touch down at another place. This is the plague of locusts
that is identified in the Bible as an evidence of the wrath of God. But here in
Rev 9 these are not real locusts, for they eat no green things. Verse 4
says that “they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green
thing, neither any tree”. This is not an army of real locusts, but it is an
army of evil spirits released from the Bottomless Pit. This is far worse than
real locusts. But evil spirits are not physical beings. They operate in the
spiritual dimension and are not seen or heard in the physical universe where we
live. Evil spirits need bodies to perform their evil work. In order to
make their presence felt by human beings they must occupy physical bodies. For
example, in order to speak to Eve in the Garden of Eden the angel Lucifer
occupied the body of a serpent. He could have chosen any other animal body. But
he chose a serpent. Here in Rev 9 is a swarm of evil spirits who have been
commanded to torment those who have not the seal of God in their
foreheads. How would they torment them? If they would occupy the bodies of
animals they would be able to hurt men physically, but what would that
accomplish for the
#2. The Appearance of the Locusts (Joel 1:1-7,15,19-20, 2:1-6,10-11)
The appearance of the locusts describes the work that these evil spirits will accomplish. It is in this context that we are drawn to a passage in the prophecy of Joel. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Joel, Joel 1:1 (2X). You find the prophecy of Joel right after Hosea. The sequence is Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel (2X). In this prophecy of Joel we read about a terrible plague of locusts and of a drought. The prophet Joel interprets these events as a punishment for sin, and he calls the people to repentance. Let us now read about these locusts in Joel 1:1.
Joe 1:1 ¶ The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
Joe 1:2-3 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
Joe 1:4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.
Joe 1:5-6 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth. For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
Joe 1:7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
Here was a plague of locusts that ate everything edible out of the land. But then, in verse 6, the prophet calls these locusts “a nation”, as if this was a nation sent by God. And then he describes them as having the teeth of a lion, like in Rev 9:8. Was this just poetically speaking, or is this referring to the army of locusts we read about in Rev 9? We know that Rev 9 speaks about the FTP. But Joel also speaks of that same period of time, for in verse 15 he laments that the Day of the Lord is very near.
Joe 1:15 Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Joel does not call the plague of locusts as the Day of the Lord as if the Day of the Lord has come. He says: “For the Day of the Lord is at hand”, “it shall come”. And then he laments that the land is dry, and that the lack of water has sparked many wildfires. Please drop down to verses 19-20,
Joe 1:19-20 O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
If this is to be interpreted spiritually, then the lack of water reflects that in the FTP there will be a lack of the true Gospel. Is this a possibility? Immediately following these verses about the plague of locusts, calling the locusts a nation, the prophet sounds the alarm that indeed a nation was coming:
Joe 2:1 ¶ Blow
ye the trumpet in
Joe 2:2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
Joe 2:3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
Joe 2:4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.
Joe 2:5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
Joe 2:6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
Again he announces that the Day of the Lord was coming. But now, without
skipping a stroke, a great and strong army of people was going to invade the
land. Historically Joel was speaking about the Babylonian armies that were
going to invade the
Joe 2:10-11 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: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Historically Joel spoke of the armies of
Deut 28:49 The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
In Jer 5:15 this prophecy came close to being fulfilled. The
prophet Jeremiah is lamenting that the prophets in the nation of
Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of
What is God referring to? God is referring to the phenomenon of speaking
in tongues, which is so popular these days. But is this a phenomenon that is
pleasing to God? Please turn to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor
14:20 (2X). You find the Epistle to the Corinthians right after the Epistle
to the Romans. In this first epistle to the church at
1Co 14:20-21 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord”.
1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1Co 14:24-25 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
And thus, God wants us to prophesy rather than speak in tongues. To
prophesy means to proclaim what God said in His Word. At the time that God
dictated the letter to the church at
Isa 9:15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
In the FTP Satan’s main weapon will be false prophets. Like the sting of the scorpions, their preaching will be poisonous. But:
#3. Who Are Not Hurt by these Locusts? (Rev 9:4, 2Tim 2:26, Rom 8:35-39, Isa 51:12-16)
Let us hear again what God says in Rev 9:4.
Rev 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.
“Only those men which have NOT the seal of God in their foreheads” will be hurt by these false prophets, because these are the non-elect. Perhaps you remember that all the elect were sealed in their foreheads in Rev 7. Blessed is the comfort that is implied in these words. For those who have the seal of God in their foreheads, who do not follow the ways of the world, are protected by Christ Himself. By God’s grace these sealed ones have put on the whole armor of God, and are not under the influence of the prince of the power of the air. Those who have not received this seal of God’s ownership are still in the hands of Satan, and he can do with them as he pleases. We read, for example, in 2Tim 2:26 these ominous words, “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will”. They are taken captive by the Devil, “at his will”. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 8:35 (2X). In Rom 8 God assures us: if we have become saved, if we have become “Born from Above”, no one can separate us from the love of Christ. This is called the Perseverance of the Saints. If God be for us, who can be against us? No matter how fearful the locusts out of the Bottomless Pit are, they cannot hurt those who have the protective shield of God around them. We read in Rom 8:35-39,
Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Ro 8:36-37 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Ro 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This passage is a great comfort to all the servants of the Most High. We can rejoice every day in this that we will be safe and secure in the Father’s hand. Even though we know what the false gospels are, and even though we know how great God’s forgiveness is, it is still a great comfort to know that God has set aside a passage of Scripture that is so full of assurance of our perseverance and our preservation as one of His saints. And although we more and more fear the spiritual state of this sinful world, it will remain literally true that the gates of Hell shall never prevail against us.
Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 51:12
(2X). In this chapter of Isa 51 God is addressing those that follow after
righteousness. God comforts us, and God says, “Therefore the redeemed of the
LORD shall return, and come with singing unto
Isa 51:12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
Isa 51:13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
Isa 51:14-16 The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.