Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 9th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 9

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

  1. Intro:
    1. Announce – 5 week, Tuesday Nights @ CCCM.
    2. Outline: Loathsome Locusts & Horrific Horses!
    1. HOME OF THE LOCUSTS! (1,2)
    2. Like the 8th plague/Locusts (Ex.10:1-20)
    3. “Here the bottomless pit belches out demonic creatures to torment mankind!” (Warren Wiersbe)
    4. (1) A Star fallen = Satan? (vs.11)
      1. Given the key – i.e. he is not in control. God still orchestrating it all!
    5. Abyss = bottomless pit. A type of holding cell for evil spirits.
      1. The Pit is the abode of demons – Jesus mentioned this Pit/abyss already in Lk.8:31(demons/pigs/don’t send us to the abyss early)
    6. See 2 Pet.2:4 (also Jude 6) Hell=Tartarus
    7. The world must make a choice: Life or Death?
      1. Read Deut.30:19,20.
    8. POWER OF THE LOCUSTS! (3-6)
    9. (3) Locusts - God sometimes used Locusts to judge His people (Deut.28:42; Joel 2)
      1. Regular locust were feared by most biblical civilizations because 1 large swarm could strip away most crops in a matter of minutes.
      2. Then females would lay eggs deep in the soil & their hatch would in the spring, eating whatever grew back.
      3. But, what’s worse then locust after greenery? Locust after people!
      4. Not literal Locust - They don’t eat vegetation(Keep off the grass). They can distinguish people. They have an incredible sting. They have a king(11).
      5. It’s interesting the normal lifespan of a locust is 5 months [May-Sept]
    10. There are more occurrences of “like & as” here then in any other ch. in scripture!
    11. Scorpions - 650 species, sting is painful but not deadly (only 1 deadly in Mexico)
      1. Power “as” scorpions.
    12. (5,6) Repent?...No suicide!
      1. I guess the same theme of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The ghostly pirates that can’t die.
      2. They try suicide but cannot die! - Like a “B” rated horror flick. /
      3. Christopher Marlowe said, “When all the world dissolves, & every creature shall be purified, all place shall be hell that is not heaven.”
    13. 5 months – again probably limited to give a warning & an opportunity to repent!
    14. SHAPE OF THE LOCUSTS! (7-10)
    15. (7-10) John could be spiritualizing some modern means of warfare?...They wish!
      1. I believe they’re Demons! Led by none other than the Satan himself.
    17. They are led by none other than the Satan himself.
    18. (12) 2 more woes.
  3. HORRIFIC HORSES! - 6th TRUMPET (13-21)
    1. You seek death?...I’ll give you death!” - Torment is now replaced…with Death!
    2. This army is released at a precise time, & for a special purpose! To kill!
      1. Nothing is random or out of control.
      2. Jonathan Edwards “the bow of God’s wrath is bent, & the arrow made ready on the string, & justice bends the arrow at your heart, & strains the bow, & there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, w/o any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.”
    3. (15) 4 angels – they were in timeout for misbehavior.
      1. What hideous fallen angels waiting years, decades, millenniums, foaming at the mouth for their time to slaughter approx 1.5 billion people.
      2. If there is approx. 6 bill. people (1/4 was already wiped out 1.5 billion, leaving 4.5 left)
      3. Now 1/3rd (another 1.5) leaving 3 bill. left.......1/2 the world is gone!
    4. (16) John specifically heard the number 200 million.
      1. China boasted of a 200 million army back in 1965.
    5. (17-19) - Another Demonic Army!
      1. Their riders wore fiery red, dark blue, & bright yellow.
      2. But, it was the Horses not the riders that were feared.
      3. It was their mouths & tails.
      4. Mouths – fire, smoke, & brimstone.
      5. Tails – like snakes w/heads of their own that could also injure others.
      6. Whatever these horrific horses are…they are hellish!
        1. Demon-inspired, demon-led, resulting in unparalleled death & destruction. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.32)
    6. Interesting: This plague of horsemen seem similar to the Parthian warriors who threatened Rome from the East.
      1. At the border of the roman empire to the east was the river Euphrates.
      2. Beyond lived the Parthians, an Iranian people, who were a grave threat to the civilized world of Rome.
      3. Several times their mounted troops constituted a terror from the East.
      4. (19) Tails…they do harm –
        1. Have you ever heard the phrase a “Parthian Shot”? – it means to make a final hostile remark or gesture made while leaving.
        2. From the Parthians’ legendary tactic of firing arrows over their shoulders while retreating. [Encarta Dictionary]
          1. Thus, danger coming from the rear of the horse.
        3. The Parthians would draw up for battle and then withdraw, drawing the cumbersome Roman legionaries after them. They repeated this tactic until the Roman column was severely extended. Then the Parthians turned, enveloped the head of the column, massacred them, and moved back to the next part of the column until the Romans were almost entirely wiped out. (Encarta Reference Library 2005.)
      5. I’m not trying to explain this away. Just thought that this would be interesting to John’s readers of his day!
        1. Then, in our day today with the worlds problem with Iran’s leader saying, Israel should be wiped off the map”.
        2. And their let’s talk strategy so they can continue to build their nuclear program!
    7. (20,21) - You’d think 5 months of torment, then catastrophic deaths, would bring mankind to its knees in Repentance....Nope! (they would not)
      1. These sins listed sound contemporary with today!
      2. The very demons who were agents inflicting widespread death… were the objects of their worship???
    8. The most frightening thing about ch.9 is not the judgments that God sends, but the sins that man persists in committingeven while He is judging them!
      1. What was Paul’s warning in 2 Cor.4:4? “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
      2. Not only do people hang onto their false worship but also their wicked lifestyles.
      3. If you break the 1st table of the 10 commandments(sins against God), then breaking the 2nd tablet is sure to follow(sins against man).
        1. Love of God & love for humanity are linked!
        2. True biblical love for God has ethical results.
    9. End:
      1. We are at the mid-point (3 1/2 yrs. past)
      2. Ch.10-14 Æ Takes place in the middle of the trib.
      3. Pause next week, for a night of worship!
    10. Note the 3 main points:
      1. The Reality & Power of the unseen world of Demons & Satan.
      2. The Reality & Power of a God who Judges.
      3. The Reality & Power of the Hardness of sinful human hearts.
    11. God’s Heart? Choose Life! “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; "that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days...”
      1. Now is the day of salvation!
      2. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ
      3. Choose Life!
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Revelation 9". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/revelation-9.html. 2017.
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