What does Revelation 19:11-21 mean to us now?

27 10 2010

 

This passage also seems to make reference to Roman oppression that it is finely over, and it sets up the world for the return of Christ! This is true for those who first read this letter, but this passage is not just about the then current situation of the seven churches or Rome’s eventual demise. Revelation and its themes and applications resound to us and beyond because it was not only written to the seven churches, but it is also for us throughout Church history.  Thus, we can take great comfort and assurance that our King will return in His timing. This is our triumph and anticipation, but as it is a climax of Christianity, effectual faith, love, and fruit are our first and foremost calls for the meantime!  

No matter what we face and what we go through, we have a reason and a purpose. Tragedies and jubilations can mold and shape us, but that shape is only good when it is in His image and plan. No matter how powerful or ominous our foes seem or are, they will be judged and they will fall!  

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. The climax of this Book and Christianity is His Return. But, is this the most important aspect of our faith? Why, or why not? How do you have confidence in God that Satan and evil are killed; game over—God wins?

 2.    How have you seen the Gospel message spread? What are the hindrances to His Word seen throughout Church history? How can knowing that now there are no real, effectual impediments raise your confidence for evangelism and missions?

 3.    How would you feel if God’s tangible presence was made known to you? How does our pretentiousness get in the way of His reality? What about how you make decisions or lead a church?

 4.    How can you be better prepared in your faith and practice for the return of the King? Jesus is depicted in this passage as the Sovereign Mighty Warrior; what does this do to your view and worship of Him?  

5.    What does it mean to your church that Christ is the Sovereign Lord? What can be done to better reverence Him in worship and your daily life? What would that mean to your maturity and relationships?  

© 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 





The Four Main Views of Revelation 19:11-21

27 10 2010

 

The Four Prevailing Views (This passage concludes the four prevailing views that resound from chapters four through nineteen. Chapter twenty is about the three main views of the Millennium: Post-millennium/Postmillennial, Pre-millennium/Premillennial, and Am-millennium/Amillennial (see background article) that intersect into the four views. Then, Chapters twenty-one and twenty-two deal with the literal versus non-literal interpretation of Scripture. 

The Preterist view: This camp is split as full Preterists see that Christ already returned in form and/or spirit in 70 A. D. (this view is rare); the Partial-Preterist sees that all up to this point of Revelation has been fulfilled; then, as of this writing, the future events that have not been fulfilled are seen. The Preterist sees the allusion to Christ’s second coming in this passage as the start of the Church Age and the spiritual warfare with Satan and his minions. The White horse is seen as the living and conquering Jesus setting up the Church and empowering the Believers, depicted as being clothed in linen. The fall of the beast and false prophet is seen as the destruction of Rome, as the Beast, and its states as the false prophet, thus not the physical coming of our Lord. This is mainly due to the phrase, Word of God, meaning spiritual conflict, not physical. Thus, the conquering power and spread of the Gospel and the defeat of evil and the resulting growth of faith are principal aspects of the passage in this view. The Partial-Preterist sees the conquering power of the Gospel, but also sees a literal return of the King.  

The Futurist view: This camp sees this passage as a quintessential opening describing the victorious Second Coming of Christ. This view is partially supported by the writings of the Early Church Fathers as well as Augustine and the Reformers. This is the first that this “end times” theory has had significant agreement with Scripture and backed up by nearly two thousand years of Church theological history. White horse is the return of Christ setting up His millennial Kingdom, depicted by His names Word, Faithful and True, and King of kings. The saints are seen as the Believers and/or angels in battle against evil nations either spiritually or actually. There are varying views in this camp, over spiritual warfare, the battle of Armageddon, the movement of the Gospel, or the conflicts in the Church over the years. And, the lake of fire is the endgame for Satan and his followers.  

The Idealist view: They see this passage as the Names of Christ converging, Word, Faithful and True, and King of kings as fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, and no one knows as only God can understand Himself. Armies of heaven is seen as angels while others see them as Believers, both interlocked in spiritual warfare and the angels engaging Satan in our behalf. Winepress is seen as God’s wrath and His ferocity in dealing with sin and evil. This war is seen as literal with humanity and/or angels engaging the evil worldly persecuting powers and armies in an epic holy war. The battle ends as the Church and Christ are victors and the evil and those seduced into the world’s sin being judged and then thrown into hell.  

The Historicist view: They see this passage as mostly symbolic referring to the victories of Christ accomplished through His Church to spread His Word. This is also about God’s judgment against evil and worldly ways. Others in this camp see an actual battle of Armageddon as literal or symbolic against apostasy and/or the Catholic Church versus the Protestant Church.  Others see this as symbolic for spiritual warfare and how we are victorious when we are faithful in Christ. Sharp sword and Word are seen as true doctrine winning out against false teachings. Armies of heaven and saints are seen as Believers remaining faithful by following Christ and/or witnesses of His glory. Birds gorged is seen as God’s enemies destroyed by their own ways collapsing upon themselves and/or God’s direct intervention. Reformer Luther and others see this as the destruction or downfall of the apostate Catholic Church and/or the weakening of papal power. Some have seen this already accomplished by Vatican I and II.

 





Exegetical look into Revelation 19:17-21

27 10 2010

 

  • ·         KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS means the one who rules over all the earth. It refers to the Parthian titles of their kings, an extremely pretentious and prideful statement that now is only reserved for the One True God (Deut. 10:17; Dan. 2:47; Zech. 14:9; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14).
  • ·         Great supper of God means a reversed banquet. Instead of sacrificing animals and feasting on them, the opposite comes about. It refers to a contrast to the wedding feast of the Lamb in the previous passage; now, there is another feast, a sacrificial feast where God’s enemies are sacrificed to prevent the universe from going into chaos. This would have been of great comfort to those undergoing persecutions, knowing their oppressors would get what they deserve (Isa. 34:6-7; 49:26; Jer. 46:10; Zech. 14;  Zeph. 1:7-9; Ezek. 29:5; 39:4-22; Rev. 19:7-9; 20:8).
  • ·         Eat the flesh of kings…refers to judgment and a proverbial curse as God reverses the created food chain and dietary laws (Gen. 1:30; 9:2-3; Deut. 28:26; Psalm 79:2; Jer. 7:33; 15:3; 16:4; 19:7; 34:20; Ezek. 29:5; 32:4).
  • ·         The beast. See Rev. 13:1-10 Study.
  • ·         Armies gathered. The world’s armies, who seek to mock and fight God, get their deserved judgment (Rev. 16:14).
  • ·         Lake of burning sulfur/lake of fire. Means the judgment and defeat of Satan and his entourage of followers such as evil leaders too! For the ancients, “fire” was greatly feared; it meant pain, punishment, judgment, and torment. Here, it is referred to as an all consuming eternity of judgment. This is Hell, the place of everlasting torment. It is the very worse thing that can ever happen to anyone, and our ultimate fear and dread. It is also a place the wicked send them selves because they do not want to be with God. It is a place of extreme suffering and anguish yet a place of grace, because a loving God does not force anyone to be with Him that would not want to be (2 King 16:3; 23:10; Is. 30:33; 66:15; Jer 7:31; Joel 2:3; Dan. 7:11; Matt. 5:22; Rev. 14:9-10; 20:10-15; 21:8, also1 Enoch 54:1).
  • ·         Birds gorged themselves. An image of Deut 28:26-49 and Matthew 24:28; 25:31-45, this refers to the sure judgment and defeat of the world’s wicked that awaits them. It is also an assault on the perceived dignity of evil and pride, and that if you fight against God, you will be devoured (1 Sam. 17:44-46; 1 Kings 4:11; 16:4; 21:19; 21:23-24; 2 Kings 9:10)!

 





Exegetical look into Revelation 19:11-16

27 10 2010

 

  • ·         Heaven standing open/opened…world can see means standing open; here, this vision is not limited to John, but the whole world can see it. God’s tangible presence is known (Rev. 4:1).
  • ·         White horse means “the king returns;” it refers to royalty and power. Most conservative theologians see this as the quintessential Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Roman princes rode white horses in pretentious ceremonies showing their self-perceived power and prestige as did the Parthian kings. Here, Christ is shown as the Real King—no pretentiousness. The reality is that He is The Sovereign Lord. Whether it was Jesus Himself on the horse or a representative of Him does not matter; this is about His Title that points to His Supremacy. The image is Christ’s second coming as THE KING returns. Whether it is actual or metaphorical, the real point is are we prepared in our faith and practice (Psalm 149:6-9; Zech. 9:9-10; 10:3; Col. 3:17; Rev. 6:2)?
  • ·         Rider is called Faithful and True means the ultimate and absolute Truth and/or Christ crucified as a sin offering to be our Deliverer. This is in contrast to Christ as a Lamb; he is now a Warrior.
  • ·         Makes war. Holy War! Here, Jesus is in all of His Majesty and Glory and He wages war on evil and those who oppresses His faithful. God is a God of truth and justice; His enemies will be judged fairly, sentenced to fit their crime, and destroyed too. God is our defender; He wages war on behalf of His people. He is our Warrior who defends our faithfulness and honor. This is what the first century Jews expected the Messiah to do for them in the present, not later as Christ said in Matthew 24 (Ex. 15:2-3; Deut. 20; Psalm 18:8; 46:3; Is. 13:13; 24:18-20; 59:16-18; Jer. 4:23-26; Joel 2:10, 30-31; Hag. 2:6-7, 21; 3:16; Ezek. 32:6-8; 38:18-23, 39; Hab. 3:8-15; Zech. 12:1-9; 14:3-5; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev.13:4; 20:15)!
  • ·         Eyes are like blazing fire means God’s penetrating insight and strength. This is also about Christ as the persecutor of sin, His Sovereignty as Warrior, and His role as victor in the final battle to come. It also refers to the great victories in battles in the Old Testament, and points to the Transfiguration (Ex. 15:3; Duet. 32: 41-42; Judges 5:31; Is. 59:17-18; Zech. 14:3; Dan. 10:6; Matt. 13:43; 17:2; Rev. 1:14; 4:6; 19:11-21).  
  •         Many crowns normally means a great victory and a victor’s reward; here, it is a different word from most other passages (Rev. 2:10; 3:11; 4:4; 12:3; 14:14) in that it refers to “diadems,” Christ’s royal crowns one of the victor and one of royalty. Thus, Christ is the ultimate, Royal Victor in contrast to Satan’s pretentiousness (Rev. 12:3; 13:1).  
  • ·         He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. The true name of God is veiled from us, perhaps not so much as a secret but as His name is unknowable and not understandable to humanity. No one has authority of power over Him. Knowing a name of a god refers to ownership and control that no one has over our One True God. Just as knowing a person’s name means we have knowledge of and influence on them. In ancient cultures, it also meant gaining power over a person. It also refers to His protection over us (Mark 5:9; Rev. 2:17).

 ·         Robe dipped in blood/blood-stained. This is an image of a winepress that refers to God’s judgment and revenge of His faithful. Also, Jewish tradition from the “Talmud” and “Wisdom of Solomon 18,” states a warrior messiah will be stained with blood. It is also an image of the blood of Christ that was shed to atone for our sin, and/or an enemy’s blood spilled in war. The word for dipped in is the Greek “bapto” as in “baptized” (Gen. 49:10-11; Is. 63:1-3; Rev. 14:14-20).

  • ·         His name is the Word of God refers to His power, Lordship, and as Judge,  thus spiritual warfare is in view here using Spirit, Word, Truth, and prayer instead of conventional weapons (Is. 11:4; John 1:1; 12:48; Heb. 4:12-13).
  • ·         Armies of heaven/his armies may refer to Angelic beings and/or Believers fighting on God’s behalf in contrast to the imitation locust army in Rev. 9. The imagery here is those of the Parthian raiders, the most horrific image for this time. Although not necessarily a literal war plan of God, His plan will be disastrous to the unlawful, unfaithful, and those who are evil (This is where J.R. Tolkien got his ideas for the “Lord of the Rings” books and well as C.S. Lewis’ works of fiction.) (Deut 33:2; 2 Kings 2:11; 6:17; Psalm 68:17; Is. 11:4; 66:15; Jer. 4:13; Hab. 3:8; Rev. 17:14).
  • ·         Sharp sword…iron scepter .meant the long Roman sword or spear that was used to create fear and to conquer. The scepter was also a symbol of authority with power over life and death. Here, it is in conjunction with the Word of God as sharp, powerful, and penetrating, thus is referred to figuratively as a sword. It is also a symbol of judgment (Psalm 2:9; 57:4; Is. 34:5; 49:2; 66:15-16; Jer. 12:12; 47:6; Hos. 6:5; John 1:1; 1 John 1:1; Rev 1:16; 2:27 also: 4 Ezra 13).
  • ·         On his thigh referred to the horse’s thigh where the name of the warrior and/or kingdom was written or was branded similar to modern military designations (Ex. 28:36-38; Rev. 7:3; 13:16).

 





Revelation 19:11-21: What are the Contexts?

27 10 2010

 

This passage starts the sixth cycle of Judgments that lead up to Christ’s Second Coming and the climax of this Book and Christianity. Most biblical scholars who read the Bible (many do not) see this as happening while Christ is returning or just before. This is also about the principles of real spiritual warfare, how Satan deceives and is doomed and how we are easily tricked and still will be held accountable. This is also about how the Gospel message has been spread without any real effectual hindrances throughout Church history.  

The passage is proclaiming the conquering Christ as He wages war against all those who oppose God. His arch enemy, the beast/Satan, seeks to defeat Christ and is so deluded that he thinks he can do so. God’s way defeats all those who are evil and refuse Him. As Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, now His Name and Word are on the white horse of Judgment, conquering His and our enemies! This also shows the contrast to how the beast rode in, as a choice is given: choose Christ and His liberty or choose evil and its defeat and death. The world will be filled with His (Christ) glory and not his (devil) ways! Along with the previous passage, it is another contrast between two banquets. One is for faithfulness and blessings and the other is for iniquity and its judgment. One is the wedding feast of the Lamb, and now the feast for the beast. His end game and rewards banquet consists of being devoured and thrown into Hell (Psalm 2; Matt. 21:1-11; Eph. 5:25-27; 6:10-20; Heb. 13:8; 1 John 5:4-5; Rev. 1:7; 16: 14-21; 17:14; 19:1-10; 20:7-10; 22:13).  

The climax of this Book and Christianity is His Return. But, is this the most important aspect of our faith? Why, or why not? How do you have confidence in God that Satan and evil are killed; game over—God wins?

 





Revelation 19:11-21

27 10 2010

Introduction  

The Return of the KING! 

How do you give Christ honor for His glory? How has Christ been your Deliverer from your salvation into your daily life?  

The King of kings is here, bringing the climax of this Book and of Christianity! John sees Heaven open up again, but this time the entire world can see it too; and now comes the Rider on the white horse! The horse has a name, “Faithful and True;” he will go to war and judge, doing so fairly. This is no regular horse as its eyes were bright like flames. Crowns were on the rider’s head, and His clothes had been dipped in blood. His title was “The Word of God!” He led the armies of the Lord, striking down all evil and the nations that followed. He stood in the sun; from his mouth came a sword and he bore the wrath of the Almighty God. He was titled the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords!” He shouted to the vultures, saying “come and gather for the banquet God has prepared and feast upon inequity small and great.” Then, the beast gathered his forces and sought to do battle with the Lord’s armies but it did not go so well for him. He was captured along with the false prophet and all who deceived and accepted his mark, and they were thrown into the Lake of Fire. The army of the beast is killed! Game over—God wins!  

Keeping in mind righteousness and purity, how then will you live your Christian life? What will be your response to Who He is and what He has done? How can you prevent yourself and church to do as you (your pride) see fit?





What does Revelation 9: 1-11 mean to us now?

26 09 2009

 

            The image here is of the armies of hell that will come in some way, shape, or form, by invading armies, pestilence, or supernatural activities. Their mission is to invoke fear; they seek souls to themselves, souls who do not desire God, that would rather die and spend their eternity in hell with their cohorts in the realm of demons. This is not a pretty picture, but a warning that we must take our lives and our duty to Know Him and make Christ known in our lives seriously. Moreover, in context, it is the warning to take on our duty to run His Church His way, and point others to His Way. 

Do you know how powerful God is? What about in your life? This passage is not just about doom and gloom, it is about getting our priorities straight as is the Joel passage John borrows it from. It is His power and His love to which we bow. The bottom line is, God calls us to repent! Have you? Really, in every aspect of your innermost thoughts and ways? There is nothing our Lord Jesus Christ does not know, nothing that is inaccessible to Him, including the secrets in the recesses of our innermost personal being (1 Sam. 16:7; Job 26:6; Psalm 139:8; Prov. 15:11). Thus, we must allow His conviction and our accountably to others to examine who we are and who we ought to be. If we are in a self-indulgent life-style, with the desire to live and do as we please, we are headed for trouble. We may be Christians, sealed by His grace, but do we serve Him as we “run” our personal lives and His Church? God wants us to “hear this word,” not bow to our self-indulgent mindsets, so we can have our personal aspirations of control in surrender to Him, allowing His Lordship to be manifested in all parts of our lives (Isa. 28:7-8; Am. 4:1). 

Real repentance will entail full, genuine confession, restitution, and the will to turn to Christ, not just as Savior, but also as Lord. 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. Have you undergone a great change, a complete turn, that has changed your heart and mind? Perhaps from being a non-Christian to a Christian? What about gong from being a weak, unfaithful, or worldly Christian to a mature and faithful Christian?
  1. What needs to take place so that you experience deeper results from the acknowledgment of what Christ has done in you? What can you do to make the commitment and resolve to constantly, and with diligence, examine your actions and attitudes and allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the good advice and counsel of others make you a better follower of Christ?
  1. What can you and your church do to be better prepared, with attitude and mindset, in regarding God as a God of grace and of judgment? What can be done to better communicate this to your congregation?
  1. Do you truly have a real, heartfelt interest in knowing and serving Christ as Lord? If not, what is in the way? What needs to happen for you to grow in this much needed area in your life?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

 





The Four Main Views of Revelation 9: 1-11

26 09 2009

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the days of the Roman conquest and destruction of Jerusalem and then the resulting spread of death and disease as the outcome. The “star” represents the leaders of this and the unbelief and apostasy of the Jews that caused it. “Five months” represents the May to September siege of Jerusalem. The “locusts” are seen as demons being let loose or being influencers of the siege, and the kink is Satan himself as the influencer. “Seek death” is seen as the application of Luke 23:27-30 and the desire to die during the Roman’s heinous activities. Women’s “long hair” is seen as transvestitism, brothels, or the women being violated. And, Apollyon is seen as the Roman Emperor who gave charge to the siege. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as a literal and supernatural plague by demons that God allows Satan to set loose just before Christ’s Second Coming. The “star” represents the “third trumpet” of Revelation 8:10. Most in this camp say this is a future Pope, and his corruption of adding apostasy to the Church. Others see this as the rise of cult groups since the 1900s, and still others see it as a comet or as Satan himself. The “Abyss” is seen as hell or another house for demons. The “locusts” represent demons or people who are possessed by them, and their effects on people during the tribulation. “Seek death” is seen as people unable to exercise their will because of demonic activity. Others see this as the effects of a foreign invasion; some have said it is helicopters, and “torment” is nerve gas. In the 80s, it was seen as Russia; now it is terrorists. What will it be next? (My money is on poodles!) The “deceptions” of the locusts are taken literally, as many believe they are helicopters or some military machine. Very probable perhaps; however this is not that the text tells us. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as God’s judgment by the effects of nature that are distressing and relentless in damage, while we are powerless to stop it. Some see this as the internal decay of Rome that led to its downfall, or the decay of correct doctrine. The “star” represents Satan and the “locusts” represent demonic influences on the world and the Church. The “smoke” is the influence of evil clouding people’s minds, causing them to forsake righteousness. The “torment” is the loss of joy and peace as a result.  “Seek death” is seen as an extra punishment or more intense torment, as there is no relief. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the Islamic attacks of the seventh and eighth centuries, which came like plagues and locusts, killing and destroying countless people at their pleasure. The “star” represents a symbol for a prince who has been corrupted by Muslims, or is Mohammed, or perhaps Boniface, the third Bishop of Rome who deceived the Church and caused widespread spiritual damage. The “locusts” represent the Saracens led by Mohammed who are the now Muslim Arab’s attack against Eastern Rome and its consequential terrors from 612 to 763 A.D. The Arabs came like locusts and killed like a plague. Mohammed gave the command not to tear down fruit producing trees, good crops, or to destroy goods his people could use, while other invaders ordered the “slash and burn” of it all. Those who do not have “the seal” are the corrupt church officials who either helped the invaders or sympathized with them. “Five months” represents the time of Mohammed and his “Mohammedan” reign, which was 150 years that amounts to ten times 5 months. The Catholics see the “star” as Martin Luther and the “locusts” as the Reformation. The “crowns” are seen as Islamic turbans and “long hair” as the hair of the Muslim invaders similar to that of modern Sikhs. “Breastplates of iron” is seen as the armor of the invaders, and the “stings of the tails” is seen as their fighting style of slashing rearward.

 





Exegetical look into Revelation 9: 7-11

26 09 2009

 

This is not just about God’s judgment, but also another picture of His grace, as, again, most (two-thirds) are spared. Do not feel sorry for these people who are being tortured, for they are absolutely evil. These people would rather commit suicide and spend eternity in Hell rather than repent. They desperately want to continue their sins of immorality, thievery, murder, occult practices, and debauchery rather than seek what is good and uplifting.

  • Horses prepared for battle. Refers to invasions; many horses, from a distance, look like a plague of locusts (Jer. 51:14-27; Joel 2:4).
  • Crowns of gold. Refers to the military exploits and accomplishments which we call “medals” today.
  • Human faces. Refers to nightmares and the heinous images on ancient Mediterranean zodiacs. This may also refer to their cleverness and cunning. We may expect force while they use tricks to deceive people.
  • Women’s hair. Refers to the long hair that, in these times, the Barbarians and the Parthian invaders had. This may also refer to the long antennae of a locust. What is evil and destructive can also be appealing to some. The warning here is to be careful what you wish for.
  • Lions’ teeth. Refers to the ferocity, brutality, and merciless nature of a lion, which would give emphasis to the destructive nature of these events (Joel 1:6).
  • Breastplates of iron. This was the armor of a Roman solder, a coat of “mail” that was made of pieces of metal braided over one another on top of leather that protected their torso. Perhaps, it refers to the demonic or supernatural power they have and that from a human perspective, they are unstoppable (unless people repent). It is interesting to note that many kinds of locusts have an exoskeleton resembling scaled armor.
  • Thundering of many horsesnoise of the chariots. Refers to the utter fear and intensity of the torment, as the family’s and clan’s way of life is destroyed when an invading army or locusts come; or, at the very least, is never the same again (Jer. 8:16; Joel 2:5).
  • Tails and stings like scorpions. The scorpion’s weapon is in its tail; in ancient terms, this meant “archers” who shoot arrows that people greatly feared and that were unstoppable. The Parthian archers wiped out many legions of Roman solders.
  • Abaddon/Apollyon means “destruction” and referred to their dwelling at the lowest depths of the earth where the territory of the dead lay. This is also the Greek root for the god Apollo, whose representation is a locust. This is the name given to the king of the locust’s plague, represented by this angel. It means “Destroyer” and is typically given as a name and description of Satan. It is his role to oversee destruction, yet he and his cohorts are limited to what they can do. This may refer to Satan himself or one of his lieutenants. This was also one of the code words used for the emperor, Nero, and then again for the emperor Domitian by the Early Church. Most of the various views see this as Satan (Ex. 12:12; Num. 33:4; Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; 28:22; 31:12; Psalm 88:11; Prov. 15:11; 26:6; 27:20; Rev. 2:18).

 





Exegetical look into Revelation 9: 1-6

26 09 2009
  • The fifth angel. He sets off a plague of locusts, of devastation, perhaps commanded by demonic forces. This can be taken literally, as a plague of locusts can cause severe devastation. Locusts, in ancient times and in many parts of the world today, mean starvation for people if they come in sufficient numbers (Rev. 13:1-10). Ancient Jewish literature speaks of imprisoned, evil angels waiting their chance to unleash their revenge, inflicting chaos and mayhem.
  • A star. Ancient cultures saw stars as divinities or angels; thus, this could refer to a mighty angel. This is the “star” of Rev. 8:10, referring to a cosmic disturbance, an Angel or servant, or an instrument of God (Rev. 20:1).
  • Abyss/bottomless pit means “very deep” (the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament word for bottomless). Jewish tradition saw this as a literal, subterranean place, used for the imprisonment of evil demons and Satan, which was actually on the earth. Angels were assigned to guard it and were given keys to it. Now, with our better understanding of science and biblical interpretation, most scholars see this as an extra dimension or residence, the exact locale we cannot fathom. This is where Dante got his “Inferno” and where we get our cultural view of hell (1 Enoch). John is using this vibrant imagery not to be a literal place we can see, but rather to show that hell, as well as demons, are real. (Gen. 1:2; 7:11; Prov. 8:28; Luke 8:31; Rev. 20:1).
  • Smoke rose. John uses this imagery to make his point more powerfully.
  • The sun and sky were darkened. This is a reference to a significant astronomical or supernatural event in the form of Old Testament judgment language (Psalm 18:6-19; Isa. 13:10; 24:23; 34:4; Jer. 4:20-28; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 3:14; Zech. 14:6; Matt. 24:29-51). The question is not if or when, as many of us obsess over. Rather, it shows He will come and we had better be prepared with our attitude and mindsets! This is a most frightening prediction (Ex. 9:21-23)! 
  • Locusts refer to a terrible invasion of some sort by demons, peoples, nature, or all of the above; this is a metaphor for the elements and behavior of nature that God controls and directs (Psalm 148:1-12; Zech. 6:5). It is a prophesy from Joel, too, of the desolation that will come with the “day of the Lord.” Perhaps it is literal insects, which have terrorized farmers of all times; they eat everything and leave nothing in the wake of their desolation. They do not bother people directly, but their effect certainly does. This would strike terror to John’s readers (who lived in an agrarian society) more profoundly than an invading army of men, as the threat of a locust “invasion” was always at hand. This is reminiscent of the eighth plague in Egypt and Joel’s prediction. Locusts sometimes move in vast swarms and can easily strip away all the crops. It is reported that from 1866 to 1869, in the country of Algiers on the Mediterranean Sea, over 200,000 people died from the result of famine from a locust plague. More recently, in June of 1993, locusts were devouring the harvests of Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti. (Exodus 10:1-20; Joel 1:2-2:27).
  • Were given power. God is still in control, and sets limits upon them.
  • Scorpions refer to a spider-like insect with a poisonous barb in its tail. This is a symbol of a sometimes-used instrument of God’s judgment. Its sting can severely injure or kill a large man (1 Kings 12:11; 2 Chron. 10:14).
  • They were told not to harm the grass. A statement of comfort and of God’s grace. Even in the greatest sufferings, it is not as bad as it can or should be.
  • Did not have the seal of God. Refers to those who are immoral and depraved and who refuse to accept what Christ has done or to lead honest and proper lives. Wickedness caused by such people is reciprocal, as it is self-defeating, not only tormenting others, but harming themselves too. These were the people in the locust’s targets. Sometimes, God allows those who are wicked to suffer in this life, as we would like to see, but their real judgment is still to come. We can take comfort as they only attack those who are wicked and who refuse God’s grace (Rev. 20:11-15).
  • Torture. Do not worry; this does not concern the “servants of God,” just as God’s protection of the Israelites from His judgment upon Egypt (Ex. 8:22; 9:4, 26; 10:23; 11:7; Rev. 7:3).
  • Five months. Refers to limiting; whatever happens, it will not last long. Locusts eat their fill in a few days and then move on. It is interesting to note that the life cycle of a typical locust is about five months.
  • Sting of a scorpion. Referred to the most intense pain an ancient person could conceive of.
  • Men will seek death. Denotes that the sufferings they receive will cause them to seek death as relief (Jer. 8:3; Hosea 10:8; Luke 23:30).
  • Death will elude them. God will not allow relief to those who refuse Him. Their pain cannot be squelched, and it is further complicated in that they can do nothing about it, although they would be able to do by receiving Christ’s free offer (Phil. 1:23-24).

 






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