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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Revelation 9



Other Authors
Verses 1-21


And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the eaRuth ( Revelation 9:1 ):

And it is interesting how that a great mountain of fire burning, a star falling, a star falling, these are like fallen stars. That is why I relate them to perhaps asteroids or meteorites. I could be completely wrong. In other words, there are a lot of people who would like to sort of speculate, and in observed and knowable phenomena, these are not unreasonable. We know of phenomena that could create such things, such as impacting with asteroids or meteorites or whatever.

So the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fallen from heaven unto the earth or a fallen star,

and to him was given the key of the abyss ( Revelation 9:1 ).

That is the abyss, or abussos in Greek, which is translated bottomless pit. The translation bottomless pit is a correct translation of this word abussos. And it is probably right in the heart or the center of the earth, because right in the center of the earth you would be constantly falling. There would be no end to your fall, because as the earth is rotating you would be constantly in a state of falling, a bottomless pit then. Because you would never get to the bottom of the thing, you would be in the middle. If it is always turning around, you are continually falling but you are right there in the heart of it.

We do know that Hades is in the heart of the earth, so this is probably one of the compartments of Hades. This particular compartment is where God incarcerates demonic spirits. It is where the antichrist has been incarcerated. It is where Satan shall be incarcerated for one thousand years. It is where demons are presently incarcerated, but are going to be released upon the earth during this period of time. It is a place where the demons will later on be incarcerated.

When Jesus came to Gadara and there was that man who was filled with devils, demons and Jesus said, "What is your name?" And they said, "Legion," because there was many. And they said, don"t send us to the Abussos, to the pit, before our time. Let us be free for awhile longer. Now, they knew that there time was coming when they would be confined to the abussos, a compartment in Hades. As there is another compartment called Tartarus, a compartment in Hades, this one for fallen angels or demonic spirits where as Hades itself is for the rebellious man.

So, he sees the fallen star from heaven, who no doubt is Satan. He has the key to the abussos.

And he opened the [abussos] 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 ( Revelation 9:2 ).

So, somewhere upon the earth there is probably a fissure of some kind that goes down to the heart of the earth that shall be open, and as it is like a furnace, this smoke is going to ascend from the heart of the earth darkening the skies. As the skies were darken after the eruption of Kartoa and after the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

And there came out of the smoke creatures [demonic creatures] ( Revelation 9:3 ):

As John sees them, because they swarm in great clouds, they are like locust, in that they cover the skies and the skies become dark. And of course, in a part of the world they have plagues of locust that there are so many millions of them that it turns the skies dark as they invade an area. So, these are like a locust plague.

and to 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 eaRuth ( Revelation 9:3-4 ),

And of course that is the natural food of the locust.

neither any green thing, neither any tree [the general diet of the locust]; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads ( Revelation 9:4 ).

So, at this point God is going to start separating those that have His seal in their foreheads from those who do not, even as God made a separation in the plagues in Egypt. And, there was darkness in Egypt, but in Israel there was not darkness. Frogs in Egypt, but among the camp of the Israelites there were no frogs, frogs in their beds, frogs in their kneading troughs and so forth. They would knead their dough and just frogs everywhere, except in the area of Israel. God made a separation, a difference, and so He will again.

And to them it was given that they should not kill the people, but that they should be tormented for five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a man ( Revelation 9:5 ).

Over there in the Middle East, of course upon the earth there are several varieties of scorpion, but there in the Middle East the scorpion there has a sting which is reported to be the worst pain of any sting possible. And these locusts have power to inflict this kind of a stinging torment like scorpions for a period of five months.

And in those days shall men seek death [the torment being so fierce men will seek death], and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them ( Revelation 9:6 ).

So, it is an interesting period when death takes a holiday for five months.

Now, death is an interesting phenomenon. It is something that we don"t fully understand, the mechanics of it. What does happen when the spirit of man leaves his body? Well, we say it is death. They have the EEG probes connected and they watch the little monitor and they watch the brain wave activity as it flutters there on the monitor and shows across the screen, but then when the line goes flat they will monitor it usually for twenty-four hours and then pull the plug. And when the oxygen is no longer being provided, if there is any life at all, the brain will start searching for oxygen and you will see a little flutter on the screen again and they will plug it back in, but if there is no flutter, the line stays flat, they say, "Well, he is dead." The spirit is gone. The soul is gone. The conscience is gone. He is dead.

What releases the consciousness? What releases the spirit of man from his body? We see people who can live for years in commas. The spirit doesn"t leave. Yet, their body is there, but they haven"t the capacity of doing anything. They are just in a comatose state. Why hasn"t the spirit left? What keeps the spirit there? We don"t really know for sure.

Jesus on the cross dismissed His Spirit. He said, "No man takes My life from Me. I give My life. I have the power to give it and I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. No man takes My life from Me." And on the cross it said He bowed His head and dismissed His Spirit. He gave up His spirit. He bowed His head and said, "Okay, you can go". Now, He had the power to do that.

There will come a time when your spirit will refuse to leave your body. And this could be one of the most awesome horrible periods of history. Imagine a person taking a .45 and putting it to his skull and pulling the trigger and blowing the back side of his head off and his brain is all over the room and yet he does not die, the spirit not leaving. And he goes around with this hole in his head, but he keeps on living. The spirit won"t leave. That could be horrible.

You see the real me is spirit. The body is the instrument that God has given to me whereby I can express myself. But the body is the medium of expression for me, but the real me is spirit. The real me is not the body. The real me is spirit. Through the body my spirit can express itself. And that is what God has designed. He has designed the body as the medium by which I can express myself to others and I can relate to others and they can relate to me. It is the medium by which we come to know each other, we come to appreciate and love each other, this medium of our bodies by which our spirits express themselves to each other.

Now, generally when through age, accident, illness, disease, or whatever, generally when the body can no longer fulfill the functions for which God purposed, when the body can no longer really express me, when the body gives me more pain and suffering than joy and pleasure, or when the body is so weakened that it can"t really express me anymore, then God releases my spirit from this body. And my spirit then moves into my new body, the building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

But there is going to come a time when God is not going to release spirits for five months and people will actually seek to die, perhaps mutilate their bodies and under normal circumstances their spirit would have left, but God is going to let them go on in that condition for five months. As I said, that will probably be one of the most horrible periods in the history of the world, when for five months people can"t die.

Death is a blessing to the child of God. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Hey, it is a blessing for the child of God. I don"t want to go on living in this body after it can no longer fulfill the functions for which God purposed and designed. I don"t want to just lie in a bed just staring at the ceiling with needles and intravenous into me and oxygen and people come in to look at me and I"m just dah. And have to be there month after month and year after year for fifty, hundred, two hundred years you just lie there and just staring at the sky and can"t say anything or do anything. That would be horrible. That would be hell. Death is a blessing.

When this old body gets to the place that it can"t function anymore, then God is going to release my spirit from it and that is going to be a blessing, not a curse. It would only be a curse if I weren"t a child of God, because then of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, he to be thought worthy, who had counted the blood of his covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and have done despite to the Spirit of grace. For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. So death takes a holiday. People are tormented.

Now, John is taken by the spirit to a day to the future in which he sees things he does not understand. He can only describe them in the language that he knows. Imagine a prophet being taken, say, into the midst of a battle in World War II, a prophet say in John"s day, taken by the spirit out into the future and dropped into the middle of a battle in World War II. He sees tanks and artillery. And he sees the planes, jets coming in and dropping bombs and all. How would you describe that when you don"t know what a plane, tank, ammunition or explosions are? How would you describe what you are seeing? You would be limited to your vocabulary and the language of your day in the things that you saw.

So, John now does his best to describe what he has seen, but if you are looking at demonic beings again, you are going to have to use language that is representative, but it falls short of a full and complete description. So, he tries to describe them somewhat.

And the shapes of the locust were like horses that are prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns of gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair like the hair of women [Sounds like some hippies, doesn"t it?] 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 like the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle ( Revelation 9:7-9 ).

You are doing pretty good John, if you were trying to describe a dive-bomber coming in, the roar from the wings and all, like many chariots running into battle. Who knows what he is actually seeing. He describes as he can with the language that is available to him.

And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and they had power to hurt men for five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit [or this fallen star], and his name in the Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek it is Apollyon ( Revelation 9:10-11 ).

And the words mean destroyer. So, another name for Satan, the destroyer, and oh what a destroyer he is. Look at this world. Look at men who have been destroyed by the power of Satan. "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth."

One now has past; but, there are two more to come. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God ( Revelation 9:12-13 ).

This altar of which the Mercy seat was a model.

Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 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 ( Revelation 9:14-15 ).

These fallen creatures, Satanic angels, so awesomely fierce that God has kept them incarcerated during these six millennia of man"s history, but in one hour he is going to release them. They have been held back for this one hour in which they enter the world to accomplish their mission. They are prepared for one hour of this particular day, of this month, of this year to slay a third part of men.

Now, in the first four horses of the apocalypse, the first four seals, one quarter of the earth"s population is destroyed. And now by these fierce angels loosed out of the river Euphrates another third of the earth"s population to be destroyed.

And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: [or two hundred million] and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those that were sitting 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. 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. And 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. 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 can neither see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts ( Revelation 9:16-21 ).

And so the judgments of God do not really bring men to repentance. Man hardens his heart against the judgments of God. Paul said, "Don"t you realize it is the goodness of God that brings a man to repentance." That is why I seek in my messages to preach of the goodness of God and emphasize the grace of God. It is the goodness of God that brings man to repentance. I do talk about the judgments of God that are going to come, because I would be derelict in my responsibilities if I did not, because that is a fact that must be faced.

However, I do not like to make that an emphasis of my ministry. And I don"t, because the judgments of God are only going to harden the hearts of men and they fail to repent of all of their evil in which they do, even in the midst of this horrible period of judgment. They continue their worship of Satan and the representations and the idols.

Next week we"ll take the next three chapters. Two woes are past. The third woe is yet to happen, the seventh trumpet from which will come the seven vials, the last final plagues. But in the meantime we are going to have a little interesting digression. In chapter ten, we are going to have a little digression into the glorious return of Jesus Christ. In chapter eleven, we are going to be introduced to the two witnesses and to their ministries. In chapter twelve, we will be introduced to several different personages, the woman representing Israel, Satan the great dragon, and the war between the woman and Satan. So that is our menu for next Sunday night.

May the Lord be with you and watch over and keep you in His love. May you experience the touch of God upon your life, His strength, His help, His guidance, His wisdom. Give the week over to Lord, acknowledge Him in all things that He might direct your path in His way of righteousness as you live a life that is pleasing and accepting unto Him. "


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Revelation 9:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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