Revelation 028 – The Reality of DemonsRevelation 9:1-12 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 17, 2019 • Revelation
The Reality of Demons 2-17-19
Revelation 9:1-12 Lesson 28
I’m trying to mix Hebrew with Texan and so that’s what I came up with, but the way they say good morning in Israel is “Boker Tov” so “Boker is “Tov” is good, so let’s give it a shot. Boker Tov! All right, praise God.
Let’s find our way to Revelation 9, I was hoping I could be teaching a more seeker friendly passage on my time back but that’s where we find ourselves, Revelation 9. And I’ll give you more details on the trip in subsequent teachings, right now my mind is still on Middle Eastern time, I should be sound asleep right now. It’s kind of a scary thing when the preacher is asleep but we’ll do our best. We had a wonderful two week experience in the land of Israel. There’s really nothing like walking where Jesus walked. We went to a place called the Southern Steps in the temple area and it’s indisputable that Jesus walked on those steps and so we just had a great time. We got back yesterday. The first order of business was to go to Dairy Queen because we had been eating shawarma and falalfel for two straight weeks, which by the way are very good. But we needed a little Americana going through our veins, blood stream, so praise the Lord for Dairy Queen. Amen!
The Book of Revelation, chapter 9, taking a look this morning at verses 1-12. David Hocking, the other teacher on the trip, who sponsored the trip, wanted to know what I was teaching on Sunday morning and I told him Revelation 9 and he said aha, demons huh, and so that’s what we’re talking about today, the reality of demons. The title of our message is The Reality of Demons. Do you believe in demons? Do you believe in the existence of Satan? It’s interesting, the Bible really doesn’t give a lot of wriggle room, it just tells us they’re there and they exist. And we see a manifestation of them here in chapter 9.
Of course I want to thank Gabe and Jim and Tommy Ice, did you all enjoy Tommy Ice? Yeah, when you see Tommy preach you say to yourself God definitely threw the mold away when He made Tommy Ice, because he can function as a theologian and a standup comic simultaneously. But I very much appreciate Tommy, I know you enjoyed his ministry. But of course I want to thank Gabe, Jim, Tommy, everybody else that filled in so well while I was gone.
We’re in a section of the Book of Revelation, chapter 9, where the trumpet blasts are being sounded just as Christ began to open a seven sealed scroll in chapter 6, and every time a seal was broken another judgment came to the earth, the same is happening with these trumpet blasts. I believe that both of these events take place in the first half of the tribulation period. And I’ll be showing you more why I think that as we progress through the Book of Revelation. But the primary reason is because when you get to chapters 11, 12 and 13, those chapters all revolve around the rebuilt Jewish temple. In fact, I had the privilege of going and standing, we had the privilege of going and standing on the Temple Mount where that third temple will exist one day.
We had the privilege of going into a place called The Temple Institute while we were in Jerusalem. They wouldn’t let us take photographs there but it’s very clear that they believe in plans, they have the plans laid out, archeologically they have the priest’s robes prepared, they’re preparing a special animal that will be offered in the rebuilt temple for animal sacrifices. It’s very clear that the Jews have in remind to rebuild that third temple, and we know prophetically that temple will be functioning midway through the tribulation period. That’s the temple that the antichrist will desecrate. And because the temple involves the middle of the tribulation period and because chapters 11, 12 and 13 revolve around that temple in the middle of the tribulation period and because the events in the Book of Revelation are primary chronological I’m placing the seal judgments, chapter 6, and the trumpet judgments, chapters 8 and 9, in the first half of the tribulation period. More on that as we progress.
But we’ve worked our way through, you might recall, a couple of weeks ago chapter 8. Chapter 8, verses 1-6 was the opening of the seventh seal which involved silence in heaven for half an hour. A lot of us prophecy teachers, we disagree with each other on certain things, and so I like to say well, the reason there’s silence in heaven for half an hour is that’s when we’re all readjusting our prophecy charts because I don’t think anybody has a complete understanding of when these things will happen with the exact precision. We can make pretty good guesses.
But chapter 8, verse 1-6 is silence in heaven for half an hour. It’s sort of a foreboding silence because that seventh seal unleashes a horrific wave of judgment, called the trumpet judgments. Angels proceed out of heaven each holding a trumpet and as they each sound their trumpets in consecutive order another judgment comes to the earth. So with trumpet one a third of the earth’s vegetation was destroyed. Trumpet number two, a third of the ocean was destroyed. Trumpet number three, a third of the earth’s fresh water supply was destroyed. Trumpet number four a third of the luminaries, the sun and the moon and the stars which the Lord brought into existence in the fourth creation day, those are darkened.
And this morning we find ourselves dealing with trumpet number five, the release of what I believe is a demonic hoard upon the earth. So we’re going to be looking at this morning chapter 9, verses 1-12. So here’s the outline we’re looking at.
————————————————– 5th Trumpet (Rev. 9:1-12)
- Discharging angel (9:1)
- Angel opens the abyss (9:2)
- Demons emerge from the abyss (9:3)
- Demonic activity (9:4-6)
- Demonic description (9:7-10)
- Demonic leader (9:11)
Remaining trumpets (9:12) —————————————————–
Notice, if you will, chapter 9 and verse 1, the discharging angel. Revelation 9:1 says, “Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.” Notice this expression, “the fifth angel.” It’s very clear as you move through the Book of Revelation that these events are chronological. Now as we talked about at the end of chapter 6 there are five times where the chronology pauses and we’ve had one of those pauses in chapter 7 and I’ll be showing you where there’s a pause in the chronology as we progress through the Book. This happens about five times. But other than that the events are meant to be understood in chronological order. That’s why it keeps saying first, second, third, fourth, etc. Just as the creation days are meant to be understood as ordinary days in chronological order, day one, day two, day three, day four, etc. the same is true with these judgments in the Book of Revelation.
It says there in chapter 9, verse 1, “Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star” not it’s interesting to me that angels in the Bible are typically analogized to stars. Back in Job 38:7, speaking of the “sons of God” or angels it says, “When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God” that’s the angels, “shouted for joy?” It’s interesting that Lucifer himself, who fell with a third of the angels and became Satan, he is initially referred to as a star. Isaiah 14:12 says, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!” In fact, the name “Lucifer” itself means light-bearer or star.
Revelation 12:4 says this: “And his” that’s Satan, “tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth….” Verse 9 of Revelation 12 interprets these stars as “his angels,” in other words, Satan’s angels. [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”] So many times in the Scripture when you see the word “star” it’s referring to an angel.
As up jump down to verse 2 you see the personal pronoun “He,” the masculine personal pronoun “he” in reference to the star. So a star is not normally described as a “he” unless that star represents an actual personage and in this case the star is an angel. This would be the discharging angel who is responsible for releasing other angels, in this case demons who are in a place called the abyss.
You’ll notice also in verse 1 it says, “Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth and the key to the bottomless pit was given to him.” He’s given a key, this angel, to a place that in the Greek reads the abyss, or the bottomless pit; a key is of course something that you use to open something. So he’s given permission to open something that is containing something horrific which is about to come upon the earth in this fifth trumpet judgment.
Notice if you will chapter 9 verse 2 where this angel actually opens up this abyss. Notice what it says there. “He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit,” translated “abyss,” and smoke went up out of the pit “like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit,” or the smoke preceding out of the pit.
What is this place called the abyss, translated bottomless pit? The only other time you see it referenced in the Book of Revelation is in Revelation 20:1 and verse 3. It’s the place where Satan himself is going to be put once the millennial kingdom begins. When Jesus, or Yeshua returns to the earth He will start his thousand year kingdom at the end of the tribulation period and His first order of business is to dethrone Satan who has been running the world, and happy (I might say) running the world ever since the fall of man in Eden. And the Lord will take this entity, Satan, an angel, and He will put him into a place called the abyss, translated here “the bottomless pit.” And that will be his location throughout the millennial kingdom.
Revelation 20:1 says, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.” Verse 3, “and he” that’s Christ, “threw” as Christ is working through this good angel, “threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.”
Why doesn’t the Lord just take Satan and throw him into the Lake of Fire at the end of the tribulation period? Answer: He has one more purpose for Satan to fulfill; that will take place at the end of the thousand year kingdom. I hope you don’t have a mindset related to Satan that he is somehow all powerful. I think a lot of people get their theology from the movie Rocky, where you’ve got two price fighters relatively equally matched, put into the ring and you’re sort of sitting on the edge of your seat because you don’t know who’s going to pull this off, is it going to be Apollo Creed or is going to be Rocky Balboa? A lot of people look at God versus Satan in that way; they’re equally matched they think in their minds and we’re not really sure what’s going to really happen, who’s going to win. The fact of the matter is this is no contest. Satan, Ezekiel 28:13 and verse 15 is a created being.
[Ezekiel 28:13, 15, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.  “You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.  “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.”]
It says of Satan, “On the day that you were created.” And immediately when you see that Satan is created you know that he’s on the losing side of history because what power can a created being have against God who is omniscient, all knowing, omnipotent, all powerful, omnipresent, everywhere at the same time? The only reason Satan is even kept around is to somehow serve the purposes of God. And that’s why these demons are in this place called “the bottomless pit” or “the abyss,” they’ve been kept there, as I’ll explain, since the days of Noah because God has a purpose for them. The purpose for them is to be released and to torment men for five months as part of this sixth trumpet judgment.
So where is this place called the abyss, this place where Satan will be thrown into one day at the beginning of the millennial kingdom? Where is this abyss that these terrible creatures arise from? I believe the abyss is called a prison, it’s described that way in Revelation 20:7. [Revelation 20:7, “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,”] When the thousand years are completed Satan will be released from his prison. I believe it is a temporary holding place of incarceration for some demons and it will be Satan’s location once the kingdom of God begins for a thousand years. So when you see this reference to the abyss, the bottomless pit, think of it as a temporary holding place for some fallen angels.
So one angel is given a key to unlock this abyss and what begins to come out of this abyss according to verse 2 is smoke begins to rise to the point where the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Revelation 9:2, “He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.”] Something is coming out of this pit and that’s sort of a foreshadowing, if you will, a foreboding if you will, of something horrific that is about to come out of this abyss. The smoke itself is sort of a type, if you will, a prefigurement if you will, of something horrific that is about to be released and unleashed on planet earth.
Notice if you will chapter 9 and verse 3 where we see entities that I believe are demons emerging from this abyss. Verse 3, “Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” So one of the questions people ask is are these literal locusts that seem to be coming out here. I don’t think these are actual physical literal locusts and the reason I think that is because John, in Revelation 9:1-12 uses the language “like” or “as” in a concentrated way more than you find anywhere else in the Bible. “Like” or “as” is what kind of figure of speech? It’s called a simile, comparing two things with the expression “like” or “as.” John does this over and over and over and over again just in these twelve verses. To him they looked like locusts because he really couldn’t fully identify what they were so he keeps saying they “like” or they were “as” something.
In fact, when you go through the Book of Revelation John does this quite frequently. He describes something and he uses the word “like” or “as” because John is given a very difficult task on the island of Patmos in A.D. 95. He is simply told to see a vision and write down what he sees. And you can see John sort of struggling to describe what it is he’s actually seeing in the vision so he begins to analogize it to things from his own time period that he would recognize. So these entities coming out of this abyss, this bottomless pit, to John looked LIKE or AS locusts. And the fact of that they are coming out of the abyss, which is the same place Satan will be incarcerated to in the thousand year kingdom. And since the abyss is sort of a temporary holding facility, if you will, for demons I don’t think these are literal locusts at all! (A) they come out of the abyss where fallen angels come out of, and (B) John never says they’re locusts, he keeps saying they are “like” locusts. They’re “as locusts” and he keeps using this simile. So I believe these locusts coming forth are what we would call demons.
Now it’s a very interesting thing when you get into the subject of angelology and demonology and Satanology which is an issue, a subject I’m going to try to tackle in Sunday School a little bit down the road, once we complete our study of ecclesiology. Ecclesiology is the study of the church; angelology which would include demons and Satan is the study of what the Bible reveals about the invisible world that’s all around us called the angelic realm. It is interesting that when you study your Bible, particularly the New Testament, and you study the fallen angels that are arrayed against us what you discover is some of these fallen angels are evidently free and can attack us at will. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we are in a wrestling match today as we speak with such demons. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against” what? “flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” It’s very interesting to note that demons by and large are free. They’re free to attack us under Satan’s authority at will.
But as you continue to study the New Testament what you learn is there’s a subset of demons that are not free but they are in a place of incarceration or imprisonment. The three references to this are 1 Peter 3:19-20, 2 Peter 2:4-5, and the Book of Jude, verses 6-7. Just one of those references if I can read it to you, [1 Peter 3:19-20, it says “in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits” angels in other words, “now in prison,  who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of” who? “Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”
[2 Peter 2:4-5, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;  and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;” Jude 6-7, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,  just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”]
When you study 1 Peter 3:19-20, 2 Peter 2:4-5, Jude verses 6 and 7, what you learn very rapidly is yes, most of the demons today are free but not all of them. Some are in a place of imprisonment, some are in a place of incarceration, and it’s interesting that that place of incarceration is always connected to the days of who? The days of Noah. So apparently something really bad happened during the days of Noah for God to take not all of the demons but some of the demons and put them into a prison somewhere. And the only real explanation you have as to why this is a reality is the Book of Genesis, chapter 6 verses 1-4 which is one of those hotly debated passages of Scripture.
It says this: “Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,  that the sons of God” now the Hebrew expression for “sons of God” is bene Elohim, and it is used other than in Genesis 6 about three other times in the Bible and it always refers to angels, without exception. In fact, what is the oldest book of the Bible? The Book of Job. In Job 1:6, Job 2:7 and Job 38:7, which I just read not long ago, bene Elohim always refers to angels, in this case fallen angels.
It says, [Genesis 6:1] “Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them,  that the sons of God that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.  Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” Verse 4, “The Nephilim” now Nephilim is a noun, a plural noun, in verbal form it’s called nephal, [can’t understand word] Nephilim literally means the fallen one. “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God” bene Elohim, angels, “came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
Now in angelology, I’ll go into more details as to why I think this is so, but let me sort of give you the Readers Digest version if I can. In fact, when I taught at the local College of Biblical Studies for seven years, I taught angelogy every semester and every semester I would give a three hour lecture on Genesis 6:1-4. And it’s one of the few lectures I can remember giving consistently where the students were wide awake for it because this is always an interest. I mean, what in the world is going on here with these sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:1-4? The Readers Digest version is simply this: Satan, under his authority commanded that some of the demons, which had already fallen by the way, Revelation 12:3-4 and 7-8 tells us that when Satan fell originally he deceived a third of the angels into falling with him.
[Revelation 12:3-4, Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.”  And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.”]
Those fallen angels, we call them demons, which always sort of makes me feel good because although a third fell that means how many are on our side? According to my old math we’ve got two-thirds on our side. So let’s not get too afraid of the realm of the demonic but at the same time let’s recognize the reality of demons that we are in conflict with.
A third of them fell with Satan and Satan said this in Genesis 6, some of you, not all of you, some of you I want you to begin to procreate with human women, and I want you to create a race of people that aren’t fully human. And those hybrid creatures are called there in Genesis 6:4 the Nephilim because Satan was trying to lock the human race into a permanent state of fallenness.
Why would Satan do that? Because Satan understands Bible prophecy. Satan is not like your typical theologian today that ignores Bible prophecy or maybe doesn’t even believe in Bible prophecy. Believe me, he knows Bible prophecy very well and in his darkened mind he thinks he can stop the prophecies of the Bible from taking place, which he has an interest in because he was there, in fact, these words were spoken to him in Eden in Genesis 3:15. God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman,” “the woman” being who? Eve. “…and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” And what was happening is right at the dawn of post fall history Satan was put on notice that “there’s coming one from the seed of the woman…” (now who would this be? We would call Him Jesus, the Hebrews would call Him Yeshua) but “…there’s coming one from the seed of the woman who will take your head and” do what with it? “crush it.”
Now Satan in the prophecy, we call it the proto evangelium, first Messianic prophecy in the whole Bible, you’re going to be able to inflict some damage along the way, you’re going to be able to bruise His heel, but in the end He will take your head and He will crush it. Having your head crushed is total defeat! If you had a choice would you rather have your head crushed or your heel bruised? I guess I’d take the heel because the heel is temporal damage; the crushing of the head is permanent damage. And Satan was there, in fact, these words were spoken to him and he was put on notice that a Messiah was going to come and defeat him. Now the rest of Scripture is sort of an unpacking, if you will, of that prophecy. Genesis 3:15. In fact in that prophecy you have in microcosm form basically every event spoken of in Scripture.
Satan, in his wisdom it has now become darkened, Ezekiel 28 talks about that, his mind doesn’t work right. He’s not rational. And why is that? Because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of” what? knowledge and wisdom. [Proverbs 9:10, “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”] If someone doesn’t fear the Lord their mind starts to not work correctly. This happens with fallen angelic beings; it also happens with fallen human beings. Read Romans 1 and you’ll see it very clearly, how people become darkened in their understanding when they refuse to submit to God. The brilliant minds, the brilliant intellect that God has given to Satan is not functioning correctly because he is not in submission go God and he thinks he can stop God’s prophecies from happening. That obviously is not rational thought because how do you fight God? That’s an impossibility.
So he works in history to prevent this Messiah from being born. And all the way through the Old Testament you can see this as the Messianic line, in many cases, is close to extermination or elimination yet somehow God always shows up in the nick of time to rescue the Messianic line. And what is happening in Genesis 6:1-4 is Satan is taking not all but some of his demons to procreate with human women so then the hybrid race will be created called the Nephilim, a race that is not fully human but the genetics of the race have been so tampered with that the race is partly human, partly angel. And this is why they are called the Nephilim.
And what better way to prevent the birth of the Messiah who must come forth from the seed of the woman. The woman is Eve, the Messiah must not just be fully God but fully man. What better way to stop that from happening than to create a race of people that aren’t fully human. To create a race of people that aren’t fully human they could never begat or be the lineage to the Messiah, who must have full deity and must have full humanity. And you see, this is why Genesis 6:9 says that Noah was innocent and blameless in his days and in his generation. [Genesis 6:9, “These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”] And many people take that statement as well, Noah must have been a pretty good guy. No, he was not a pretty good guy, he was a sinner like the rest of us because the Bible says, Genesis 6:8, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” How do you find grace if you’re already morally perfect? Noah was not morally perfect, Noah got himself drunk, you’ll remember, in the post flood world.
So when it says Noah was blameless and innocent in his generation what it’s saying is his genetics had not been tampered with the way Satan was tampering with the genetics of the human race to prevent the birth of the Messiah. In other words, Noah was not one of the Nephilim. In fact, in Genesis 6:9 it says Noah was innocent and blameless and in that second word you’ll find it used in Exodus 12:5 in Hebrew to describe the genetic purity of the Passover lamb. [Exodus 12:5, “’Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.”]
So Satan was doing what he had to do to prevent the birth of the Messiah but he never got to Noah. He never got to Noah’s wife, he never got to Noah’s children, Ham, Shem and Japheth, he never got to their respective wives, and that’s why they are preserved in the ark, because they are probably the only people left that are genetically qualified to bring forth the Messiah.
And the Book of Jude, verses 6 and 7, says that when the angels did this and began to procreate with human women God was not pleased at all. It says, “And angels who did not keep their domain but abandoned their proper mode He kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,  just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”
Because these fallen angels, some of them, left their natural abode and began to procreate with fallen women, and by the way, an angel has an ability to look like a person. If you don’t believe that then you can’t understand Hebrews 13:2 which says, some of you “have entertained angels” what? “unaware.” [Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” KJV] In fact, in Genesis 18 and Genesis 19 Abraham had two guests that he had a meal with and the text just tells you they are two guests until you get to Genesis 19:1 and you learn that they are angels. [Genesis 19:1, “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.”]
So apparently what happened is a third of the demons fell with Lucifer originally and some of them, not all of them, some of them got involved in this terrible project in Genesis 6 to tamper with the genetics of the human race, create the Nephilim, thereby in Satan’s darkened mind thinking he can prevent the birth of Jesus Christ. And God was so disturbed by this act of rebellion that He took those demons involved in this crime and He put them in immediate incarceration in this place called the abyss. And that, beloved, is really the only explanation you have as to why some demons are free, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood,” and yet some demons are imprisoned. You can take the third that originally fell with Lucifer and you can divide them basically into half; I don’t know if half is the exact estimate but just for purposes of argument let’s pretend half. Half got involved in the Genesis 6 project, trying to prevent the birth of the Messiah by tampering with the genetics of the human race creating the Nephilim by procreating with human women. Half of the fallen angels did not do that. That’s why some are free and some are in prison. The ones that are in prison were part of the Genesis 6 project; the demons that are free to harass us were not part of the Genesis 6 project. And that’s sort of my explanation as to what is happening.
Now, there are many, many people that will laugh at this explanation; I’ve had many, many criticisms of me personally because I hold this view. In fact, when I was at Dallas Seminary I was in Denny’s with a professor and with two of his teaching assistants, and I was in a booth and one teaching assistant was here and one teaching assistant was here so I couldn’t get out, and the professor was sitting across the table and somehow I made the mistake, which I should have never even divulged this, that I held to this view, and they sat there and hammered me with questions, I thought we were just going to go out for a hamburger and fries, they sat there and hammered me with questions, literally for two hours, why I would believe this. And finally I said well you all have been spending two hours criticizing my view of Genesis 6:1-4, you’ve asked me probably, I don’t know, fifty to seventy-five questions, can I ask you one question? They all said sure. I go, “if this view is not true can you explain to me why some demons are free and some are in an incarceration, because the New Testament clearly reveals that. And you know what their answer was, to a man? I don’t know. And I said well, at least with my view, you may not like it, at least I have an answer, you don’t even have an answer.
And you see with Genesis 6 if you don’t have the doctrine of angels in Genesis 6 you really don’t have a working explanation as to why some demons are imprisoned and some are free. So I pick the view with the least problems, that’s what I do. I don’t think there is a perfect view on this but I picked a view that has the least problems and best handles everything in the Bible, not just a passage or two.
You say well what does this all have to do with Revelation chapter 9, verse 3? [Revelation 9:3, “the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”] Because the demons involved in the Genesis 6 project are still in an incarceration. Why are they still in incarceration? The same reason why God is going to take Satan and put him in an incarceration in the same place at the beginning of the millennial kingdom. God still has one further purpose for Satan. God has one further purpose for these incarcerated demons to harass the human race. That’s where these incarcerated demons came from; they were involved in the Genesis 6 project. They’ve been in incarceration, I believe, in this place called the abyss, ever since the days of Noah. And God is going to let them out; He’s going to give an angel a key, which is going to let them out of the bottomless pit so they can come forward and bring a great series of tortures upon the human race for a period of five months. They’re being released at this point. And their activities begin to be described in verses 4-6.
Notice, if you will, Revelation chapter 9 and verse 4, “ They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth,” now why is that? Because two-thirds of the grass on the earth is still intact because only one-third of it was destroyed with one of the earlier trumpet judgments, Revelation 8. “They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” So this is a judgment that is coming upon unbelieving humans only. It doesn’t affect the grass or the trees, a third of them were already affected in the earlier trumpet judgments but this is only for humans and it’s only for unsaved humans. We are told specifically that this stinging or this torture is only to occur with those who do not have the seal of God on their forehead.
The only people that have been sealed unto God up to this point in time in the chronology of the Book of Revelation are who? Anybody remember? The 144,000 Jewish evangelists, Revelation 7:3-4. [Revelation 7:3-4, “saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.’  And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:”]
They were sealed or marked by the Holy Spirit; an invisible seal was placed on them. And so these demons incarcerated since the days of Noah are released from the abyss to torture humans only who do not have the mark for a period of about five months.
It’s very similar to what you find in the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 9 and verse 6. Ezekiel describes a judgment happening in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, ancient Babylon, as Nebuchadnezzar was coming into destroy the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 9:6 says, “Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.’” So they started with the elders who were before the temple.”]
As long as that protective mark was on them in Ezekiel’s day and in the events of the Book of Revelation they are untouched by this judgment. And there’s a real interesting application and parallel to us in the church age. The moment you place your personal faith in Jesus Christ you are sealed by the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30. [Ephesians 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”]
And as such absolutely nothing can come into your life without the divine permission of God. And that’s why receiving Christ as personal Savior and being regenerated and receiving the seal of God upon you is such a big deal because once that happens Satan can do nothing to you unless God allows it. And we see a similar thing happening here in the Book of Revelation, chapter 9, verse 4 where this judgment is for humans only, unsaved only. The 144,000 apparently are protected from this.
And how bad is this judgment? Verse 5, “And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.” It’s like receiving a scorpion’s sting when these demons have their way with you. And you’ll notice that this only occurs for five months. And you’ll also notice that the demons are not given authority to kill anybody. This, I think, speaks to the sovereignty of God; no matter how bad things get God is always still on the throne. Amen! God always still retains control. And you see the sovereignty of God here at work in the midst of this terrible judgment because it can only last for five months and it cannot result in anybody’s death.
It reminds me of the Book of Job, chapter 1 and verse 12, and chapter 2 and verse 6 where God tells Satan you can have your way with Job but you can’t kill him. [Job 1:12, “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. Job 2:6, “So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”’] In other words, even in the midst of a terrible time of difficulty for Job God was still on the throne.
And that’s something to understand because a lot of Christians today, a lot you, a lot of us, are walking through some very difficult times. All you’ve got to do is read the prayer requests that come into this church and you can see it very clearly. There’s a lot of suffering in this body; there’s a lot of suffering amongst Christians worldwide. And that’s where you need to have a belief in the sovereignty of God that God, for whatever reason, has allowed this into your life and the suffering is not designed to make you bitter, it’s designed to make you better. You’re going to learn things through this suffering but you have to understand that the suffering is kept by God under very tight reigns and on a very short leash. And that’s what’s happening here in Revelation chapter 9 and verse 4 and 5.
Notice verse 6, “And in those days” what days? The events of the tribulation period. “And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.” This is a very catastrophic judgment of the scorpion sting that is coming upon these human unbelievers; it’s of such a caliber and intensity of pain that the natural desire is for people to want to commit suicide. And yet we were told earlier that they could not be killed under God’s sovereignty, these humans. But think of a scenario where you’re in so much pain that you want to kill yourself and yet suicide itself is not an option. In fact, committing suicide or damaging your body would probably only add to the pain and intensify the pain but it would not solve the pain. And that’s the demonic activity that is taking place here in Revelation 9:4-6. I, for one, am very glad that I will be heaven, not on the earth, to see this horrific judgment take place.
Now as you move down to verses 7-10 you have a description of these demons. And here’s where I think a lot of interpreters in our camp, the futurist, pretribulational, premillennial camp have done us a disservice because they’ve over sensationalized these verses. There are two extremes you have to monitor very carefully in the area of Bible prophecy. Number one, seeing too little, on the other hand, seeing too much, making the prophecy sort of fit a newspaper scenario to hyper sensationalize things. Allegorizing it away is horrific but equally horrific is hyper sensitization. Is that a word? Sensationalism, hyper sensationalism. But so many people teach, and I can name the names and if I name the names you’d all know who I was talking about, but many people will teach that these are actually helicopters; many people teach that these sound a lot like cobra helicopters and they’ll come up with these kinds of interpretations. The problem is John says they come out of the abyss, not out of the United States Air Force, out of the abyss. And when you study the abyss, as we have looked at, that’s a temporary holding facility for fallen angelic beings.
Beyond that John uses what kind of figure of speech over and over again? A simile, he keeps saying “like,” it’s “as,” so a lot of people think they’re following a literal interpretation when they argue that these are Cobra helicopters. Literal interpretation is not taking the events of the newspaper and reading it into the passage. That’s not literal interpretation at all. Literal interpretation is trying to figure out what the passage actually says.
Now am I against looking at the signs of the times all around us, which show us that we’re rapidly moving into this time period? I’m not against that at all! What I’m against is people not starting with the Bible first. We start with the Word of God through the literal, grammatical, historical consistently applied method of interpretation. Once that is established then you can kind of look at the world and see how the world is being shaped for this particular prophecy. But the problem is people start with the newspaper (we call that newspaper exegesis) and read it back into the Scripture.
These are clearly demons, they’re not Cobra attack helicopters. But notice their appearance, verse 7. “The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.” You see how John keeps say it was “like”? It was “as”, he talks about their appearance, he talks about their heads.
Verse 8, notice what it says, “They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions.” He’s talking about first of all their appearance and then their heads, verse 7; verse 8, their hear and their teeth. Notice, if you will verse 9 as he continues to describe the appearance of these entities that have come forth out of the abyss to torture people for five months. Verse 9, “They had breastplates like breastplates of iron;” and look a this, “and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.” Breastplates, he even is describing the sound of these entities and how it sounds like multitudes of multitudes of multitudes of flapping wings.
But what tortures people is what’s in the tail, just like a scorpion, verse 10, “They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.” Now it talks about their tails, it talks about the sting that they inflict, just like a scorpion. Notice it doesn’t say kill, it says “hurt” because God already put parameters on them, they can’t kill anybody. And you’ll notice that this is going to take place again for a specified duration of time, “five months,” showing that God is in control of the judgment itself and the time period of the judgment. God always retains His sovereignty in the midst of these judgments. You say why not six months? Why not seven months? Why not a year? Why not a year and a half? I have a simple answer to that, it’s called grace. God is graceful even to unregenerate humans that completely reject Him. He even demonstrates His grace to them in the midst of judgment itself.
Now these demons, coming forth from the abyss, apparently have a leader and the leader of these demons is described in chapter 9 and verse 11, and notice what it says. “They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.” Why is he giving the Greek name and the Hebrew name? Well who is the original audience of the Book of Revelation? Remember, Revelation 2 and 3? The seven churches in Asia Minor. And that’s a Greek speaking audience so when he uses the Hebrew name he’s got to tell them that this is Hebrew because they may not understand that given the fact that they are Greek speaking.
And I think here in verse 11 is more proof that these are not literal locusts; they are “like locusts” but they are not literal locusts. Why? Because these entities that are “like locusts” have a king and they have a ruler over them. Now jot down the Book of Proverbs chapter 30, verse 27, it’s very interesting. It says, “The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks.” Proverbs 30:27 says locusts, literal, don’t have a king or a ruler over them, yet these entities have a king or a ruler over them. So apparently they are not literal locusts but they are “like locusts,” they are fallen angelic beings.
So you’ll notice that within the realm of the fallen demonic angelic kingdom there is a hierarchy. There is a ranking system because these demons have over them some sort of lead demon or king demon. And this hierarchy ranking system in the angelic realm, specifically here we’re talking about the fallen angelic realm, fits very nicely other passages of Scripture. Ephesians 6:12 says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against” who? “the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Do you know that the fallen angelic realm itself is organized like an army. You’ve got rulers, you’ve got powers, you’ve got forces, doesn’t that sound like military regiments, military battalions? And it’s interesting that on the Israel trip we spent some time on the Sea of Galilee, going across on a boat, in fact the boat ride was so expensive now I understand why Jesus decided to walk across the sea. [Laughter]
But near the Sea of Galilee is a place called Gadara and Gadara is the home of a man that was possessed by demons. Now how many demons were inside this man. It’s in Mark 5:9, “And He was asking Him,” Jesus, “‘What is your name?’ And he said to Him, ‘My name is” what? “‘Legion; for we are many.’” Study the concept of a legion some time. The Ryrie Study Bible defines “legion” in Mark 5:9 as follows: “The largest unit of a Roman army, three thousand to six thousand strong indicating that many demons possessed the men.” You can see why that man was in such bad shape. If legion is the equivalent of a Roman legion he had there at Gadara probably 3,000 to 6,000 demons inside of him.
And so you find this concept of legion relating to demons, a Roman army or hierarchy. You find “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against rulers, against the powers, spiritual forces,” the army of organization in the demonic realm. You find here this demonic horde that comes forth out of the abyss is being orchestrated by a higher demon, a lead demon, a ruler demon.
And it’s interesting, who is this leader’s name? We have the Greek and Hebrew name, his Hebrew name is Abaddon, or Abadan, in Greek it’s Apollyon. Now when you look up those words in either Hebrew or in Greek what do they mean? They mean destruction. Some would say that this leader is Satan himself. I don’t know if I would go that far, to me he seems like a lead demon in Satan’s army, a General demon. But it’s interesting that his name itself means destruction. And I want us to understand something, whether you comprehend it or not, whether you embrace it or not, you have as a Christian a very real enemy whose whole design is to destroy your life. If he can’t kill you because God won’t allot it then he can at least cause you to fail to such an extent that you become totally ineffective for the Lord. And this entity that fights against us is Satan and the third of the angels that fell.
John 10:10 says, “The thief,” that’s Satan, “The thief comes only to” do what? “to steal and kill and destroy;” Jesus says, “but I came that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Christ’s point in coming into the world is to give us abundant life but just as real as that plan of God is the adversary, Satan, has a counter plan on your life to do what? To steal, kill and destroy. In fact, 1 Peter 5:8 says, “[Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.] Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a” what? sweet pussy cat…. “Your adversary the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to” have a glass of iced tea with, NO, “seeking someone to devour.”
This is why we need to understand the Word of God and we need to be putting on daily the armor of God. When I was in Campus Crusade we would evangelize this way: God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. That’s all true but let me give you the other side of the equation. Satan hates you and has a terrible plan for your life. You are caught, as a Christian, in the middle of a spiritual war where the adversary is out to render you a complete failure and make you totally ineffective in the service of God. That’s his goal. He can’t take your soul into hell because your sin debt has been paid for by Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!
But that doesn’t mean he can’t wage war perpetually against you, against your business, against your ministry, against your marriage, against your family, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The lead demon over these demonic entities coming out of the abyss, the very name of this leader, both in Hebrew and Greek, is destruction itself.
And finally we come to verse 12 where we’ll conclude. It says after this judgment is complete “ The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.” Now this is trumpet five, which is bad. Next week we’ll be looking at trumpet six which is bad. But then in trumpet seven there’s going to be a pause in the action. So you’ll notice it says, verse 12, “The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming,” the first woe would be trumpet five, the next woe would be trumpet six, but why is trumpet seven called a woe when it only represents a pause in the action?
The answer is the seventh trumpet is the worst of all the judgments in the trumpet series because it has the function of unleashing the what? The bowl judgments, just as seal seven unleashed the trumpets the seventh trumpet will unleash the bowls. That’s why it’s called a woe even though it too, like seal seven, represents a momentary pause in the action. Yes, there’s a pause in the action, there’s a moment of grace but at the same time that seventh trumpet is also a woe, perhaps the worst woe because it will unleash the worst series of judgments described in the Book of Revelation, chapter 16, the bowl judgments.
And this is evidence that these judgments sort of pull out like a telescope, they move chronologically but seal seven unleashes the trumpets, and seal trumpet unleashes the bowls and when we move next week into the sixth trumpet judgment, chapter 9:13-21, I challenge you to, I encourage you to read that this week in preparation for next week. We’re going to learn about another army; this army is not coming out of the abyss, this army is coming out of the east. The one we’ve been studying today is the demonic army; this next one that’s coming is a human army and it will be responsible for destroying a third of the earth’s population. So we’ll take a look at that next week.
You say well, this is not really a happy clappy kind of church is it? [Laughter] I mean, I want some of your best life now stuff. Well, I would say this, this is a truth oriented church. What did Jesus say? “You shall know the truth and the truth shall” what? “set you free.” To quote that great theologian, Jack Nicholson, who said in one of those movies, “you can’t handle the truth,” remember that? That’s why a lot of churches aren’t teaching the truth, there’s a fear you’re going to drive people away and it does; truth does that. But at the same time truth, as hard as it is to swallow many times does more to liberate the human soul than any other single thing I can think of. And God is love, and gracious, but He’s disclosed also these horrific judgments that are destined to come upon the earth in these last days.
And you say well how can I escape these judgments? What does the Book of Proverbs, chapter 18, I think it’s verse 10 say? “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” The only escape from these horrific judgments is the “strong tower” of Jesus Christ Himself who stepped into the line of fire and absorbed the wrath of a holy God in our place. And if we will simply receive as a free gift, by way of faith, which is the only way to receive a gift from God, if we will receive as a free gift by way of faith what Jesus has done in our place then you have a promise. It’s Romans 8:1, where “there is no” what, “? “condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Are you afraid of these judgments? I am. But being afraid is not necessarily a bad thing is it, if it can cause you to embrace the solution; the solution is Jesus Christ. Judgment is coming to this planet, God in His holiness can’t just ignore sin or wink at sin and pretend it doesn’t exist. It will be judged but He’s given us a refuge, He’s given us a way of escape because God the Son, the second member of the Trinity absorbed the wrath of God in our place. And so our exhortation here at Sugar Land Bible Church is to embrace Jesus Christ, even while you’re seated there you can do this simple thing. You can place your trust, not in yourself, not in your education, not in your life experiences, not in your church, not in your denomination, not in what your parents believed, but you can place your trust exclusively in Christ.
In fact, the Spirit of God has come into the world, John 16:7-11 describes this, to convict men and women of their need to do this. [John 16:7-11, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;  concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;  and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”]
In fact, this same spirit I believe was alive and well in Noah’s day, for a hundred and twenty years. Genesis 6:3 says, God says, “[Then the LORD said,] ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is mortal and his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” So right now in the same way the Scripture is striving with man, it won’t be there forever. It’s striving with man, convicting man, persuading man, humanity, to accept by way of faith as a gift Jesus Christ and the fact that He bore the sins of the world in our place. He stepped into the line of fire and absorbed the wrath of a holy God in our place so we wouldn’t have to experience these judgments. But if a person rejects that refuge, rejects that solution, then sin will be paid for; God’s holiness demands it. So we would encourage people, either here in the building or listening via streaming or what not, as they come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit to trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation. It’s not necessary that you walk an aisle to do this, pray a prayer to do this, send money to do this, join a church to do this, it’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord where the Lord, the Holy Spirit convicts you, and the best you know, in the quietness of your own thoughts and heart you believe or trust in what Christ has done in our place. You can do that right now as I’m talking. If it’s something that you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk.
Shall we pray. Father, truth is sometimes hard to swallow but You have seen fit in Your Word to disclose truth in this fifth seal judgment. Help us to grow in terms of our understanding of Your ways and Your Word and Your Character as we continue to move systematically through the Book of Revelation. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…. Amen.