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Bible Commentaries

Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Revelation 9

Verses 1-11

5. THE FIFTH TRUMPET--9:1-11--THE HORROR OF EVIL.

In the previous study notes on this chapter 1 have stated my reasoning which leads me to believe that "the STAR fallen from heaven to earth" is Satan. And that "THE SMOKE" that came from the opened shaft of the bottomless pit" is THE DIABOLICAL SPIRIT OF HATRED and CRUELTY DIFFUSED THROUGH THE WORLD.

It is "OUT OF THIS SMOKE"--that is, out of this diffused spirit of hatred in the world that there "came locusts which preyed on all mankind who were not sealed by God" (we learned in chapter 7 that Christians are sealed by God now).

The only mercy shown is that the scourge is limited according to verses 5 and 6 to "5 months" that is, HALF OF TEN--A LIMITED AND INCOMPLETE TIME.

I leave you to consider the meaning of the symbolism of those locusts. Don’t think of them as literal locusts. I refer you to my earlier notes on the locusts.

Actually material locusts, as we know them, represent a kind of impersonal destructiveness. They destroy everything. Perhaps John is trying to say in this symbol that these loathsome creatures arise from the source of concentrated evil of hate and malice to do their awful work. It is of no use to try to have a peace congress with locusts. It is useless to try to appease them. Their very nature is malignant malice. The locusts represent something which with dark and malignant purposes manages to enter the lives of the world of men.

John described the wars and strifes on earth as coming from hell. If God is not permitted to control a man the devil takes over control. To John both heaven and hell were real. Both good and evil were realities. Both worlds are striving for mastery over the souls of men. Whether or not we understand who and what these locusts are which arise out of the smoke of the bottomless pit we do know that the smoke of the pit of hell is all around us today. Those sins of ours, the ill-temper, the uncharitableness, the harshness, the unkindness, the slanders, the gossip, the quarreling and strife, the malice and suspicion which surround us--these are the locusts bred of that spirit from hell which is sensual and devilish.

In 1 John 2:11 this same writer, John, wrote "He that hateth his brother is in darkness," that is, walks in the smoke of the bottomless pit. We need to pray constantly and thoughtfully "From envy, hatred, malice and all uncharitableness, Good Lord deliver us."

Verses 12-21

6. THE SIXTH TRUMPET--9:12-21--THE HORROR OF LAWLESSNESS

In this woe terrible horses are let loose in lawlessness to destroy human society on earth.

The barrier of the river Euphrates which separated Israel from the pagan world is dried up and invading forces rush in.

This sixth symbol is saying that mighty and malicious forces of lawlessness are let loose among men by their own rejection of God. Some day the barriers by which destruction has been held back by God will be removed and the world will be overtaken by the raging unhindered forces of man’s own lawlessness. Law and order in human society is destroyed. Mob violence takes over.

The idea of men being under the control of Satan is laughed at by modern pagans. But John says that there is a power abroad on earth which makes men IN-human. Even as men can be controlled by a good spirit--so men can also be controlled by an evil spirit and become inhuman.

Just as there is an interlude between the sixth and seventh seal vision as we saw earlier--so there is an interlude of 3 visions in chapters 10 and 11 before the seventh trumpet sounds. (We will return to these chapters later).

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Bibliographical Information
Norris, Harold. "Commentary on Revelation 9". "Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/nor/revelation-9.html. 2021.