What does Revelation 11: 15-19 mean to us now?

 

Keep hope and Christ in mind, as well as the fact that God is understandable and approachable! In devastating times of stress and war, to fathom something such as the Temple or our Church being destroyed would make it seem that God had lost. But, the message here is that of victory. It is a call to trust in Him and continue our walk in faith. God is still in control and He does win. He allows things to happen as consequences for sin yet in His perfect plan, all things will come together to give Him glory (Psalm 2; Rom. 8). 

We are also shown that when all seems lost in our personal lives, when people and events come against God and His faithful, they really do not win. No enemy can do to us what God does not allow—nothing that could really, effectively, eternally hurt us. Those who do evil will be judged beyond what we could or would want to do to them. They get their deserved what is coming as we who are faithful get our reward. The key is to trust Him; be assured and confident that He is reigning and in control. 

These judgments are deserved. Do not mourn for those who are reprobates, who continually refuse to repent while dragging others down with them. These people want the judgment; they have begged for it by their refusal to reconcile to or recognize the Sovereign reign of our Lord and by their contradictory evil ways. They know better, but in spite of that, still sin. There is no sadness or grief on their part and there is none needed by those of us who are the faithful. The choice is before us; we can accept the love, forgiveness, and grace of our Lord or we can refuse. Next come natural consequences and justified judgments to those who are wicked, and the wonders of paradise to those who have received His election (Deut. 30:19). 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How vast and magnificent is God is in your life? What metaphors, language, or feelings do you have for God’s omniscience? Why is it is our duty to heed His voice and reverence Him?
  1. What happens when we read in what we think and not take careful time to see what the context, cultural considerations, and word meanings are? Do you think that some of these theories of end times would be utterly ridiculous to the original readers and Author? Why, or why not?
  1. When all seems lost and people and events come against you, how can you have greater perseverance? What about if you better realized that God, not all the evil, will win? What about that God will not allow any enemy to do anything to us that can really, effectively, eternally hurt us (Psalm 34:11-22)?
  1. When bad things happen, we naturally desire vengeance. How does the fact that those who do evil will be judged beyond what we could or would do to them help you to have assurance and confidence to trust God to judge, that you do not need to take matters in your own hands or go against the civil law?
  1. How can you have hope and faith that even with suffering and the consequences of sin, His perfect plan, that all things will come together to give Him glory, will come to fruition? What will you do to gain more hope and faithfulness for your life?

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

The Four Main Views of Revelation 11: 15-19

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as discords of the Roman war against Jerusalem, and the eventual downfall of Jerusalem from God because of civil and religious rebellion that already took place. Others see this as the story of the witnessing Church and the suffering and rejoicing it endured. The Kingdoms of the earth have become the kingdoms of God does not mean that everyone comes to Christ; rather, they see it as Rome sweeping away Jerusalem while in reality, the world still belongs to God and everything is in His control. Some see it referring to Christ’s ascension, that He is in control when we think He is not, and/or the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. Others see it as the introduction and importance of the Christian world and the fall of Judaism. The judging of the dead is seen as the final judgment when Christ appears and/or God’s revenge on those who are evil and the vindication of the faithful and those who suffered. The Temple being opened is seen as figurative; the real, important Temple is in heaven, not on earth, and will be revealed to us in time and/or it refers to God’s glory. The Lightning….hailstorm is seen as the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The kingdom of our Lord is seen as Christ’s dominion and rule. As the kingdoms of earth are swept away, His Kingdom always remains. Others see it as Christ’s ascension or the fifth kingdom spoken about in Daniel.  

The Futurist view: There are varying views in this camp, but most see this as the herald to Christ’s second coming. The trumpet is seen as proclaiming it is here, the second coming. This view is contradictory for them, as most in this camp believe the rapture took place in Rev. 4:1 which is prior to these events (even though there is no Scriptural support for such a premillennial view). Thus, some see this trumpet as the end of the Millennium, which would contradict their theories on the coming chapters. Some see verse 18 as the accumulation of the entire Millennium. The Kingdoms of the earth is seen as a problem and discrepancy in their chronology, and thus, many speculative views, such as associating it with chapter 20 and the millennial reign, or seeing it as meaning that the earth is no longer under the control of people. The judging of the dead is also out of their sequence, because they teach a rapture that has already occurred; this happened prior to the Tribulation (neither are evident in the text). The common response is that after the tribulation, people come to Christ and this passage is talking about these people. 

The Idealist view: They see the Trumpet as God’s reign on earth and His eternal nature. The judging of the dead is seen as the stubborn and unyielding world versus the faithful and what Christ offers. This passage is also an interlude of praise to God and the Ark; lighting is seen as a metaphor for God’s faithfulness and His promises, as well as a display of God’s “artillery,” His power and control. 

The Historicist view: The trumpet is seen as the end of the age of papal interdiction and persecution of the faithful, and the treaty with the Turks in 1699.  The Temple is seen spiritually because it no longer exists. Others see the trumpet as the end of the first series of visions of John, demonstrated by praise, rejoicing, and worship. Others see this as the rejoicing of the journey’s end for the Church as the final judgment and close of the Church Age commences. Still others see this as the victory of Christ over the apostate Church, and some, the vindication of the faithful through times of trials and sufferings. Some see this as the beginnings of the French and/or American Revolution, while others say this has not happened yet. The earthquake is seen as the political upheavals that happened after the Reformation.

Exegetical look into Revelation 11: 15-19

  • Sounded his trumpet refers to the arrival or accession of something or someone great, such as a king (1 Kings 1:34; Rev. 9:13). 
  • The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord. In John’s time, governments were worldly dominated kingdoms within kingdoms. The Jewish mindset and hope in their time was that they would one day be handed over to God and His Kingdom. It is all about His timing (Ex. 15:18; Psalm 2:2; 10:16; Isa. 9:7; Dan. 7:13-18; Zech. 14:9; 1 Macc. 2:57).
  • Twenty-four elders. Elders refers to those with authority, God’s representatives who are called to declare and serve Him wholeheartedly and righteously. In the early Church, the number 24 meant the 12 Israelite tribes of the Old Testament and the 12 apostles. This also refers to the Church as triumphant, and the entirety of all believers—the sum total of the Church. This can also refer to angelic beings who are also worshipping God (Rev. 9-11; 5:5-14; 7:11-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4). (see Rev. 4: 1-5 study for more info). 
  • The One who is and who was. God is the beginning and the end. This term refers to His sovereignty as He rules over all humanity at all times. Some see this as the start of the reign of Christ on earth; however, the text does not support that theory (Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8).
  • You have taken your great power. This does not mean God was not in control before or had not exercised His power. Rather, the acknowledgment of His present rule is already a “given” in Jewish thought. This is celebrating His future rule over all nations and our participation in it as His faithful (Psalm 2).
  • The nations were angry may refer to their panic and/or how corrupting was their sin. It is interesting to note that they are not afraid but angry, typical of rationalization, defiance, and preponderance of sin. It is always foolish to fight against God (Psalm 48:4).
  • Your wrath/anger points to the Judgment that is coming (Joel 2:11; Mal. 3:2). God’s wrath and righteousness are a reality. However, Christ covers our sin for us (Zeph. 1:14-18; Nahum 1:6; Mal. 3:2; Rom. 1:18; 3:9-23; 6:23; Rev.19:15). We have hope and assurance when our trust is in Christ. He is our hope, even when the very foundations of the universe are collapsing around and under us. When our hope is in Christ, nothing can shake us (Luke 12:32-34; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Heb. 12:25-29; Rev. 14:10-11; 16:15-21; 20:8-15).
  • Your servants the prophets. Referencing Dan. 9:6, 10; Amos 3:7; Zech 1:6.
  • God’s Temple. This metaphor refers to God’s preeminence and/or where God dwells, not necessarily an actual corporeal structure (throne). Nor does it say that the Temple will be rebuilt. It is an image of the Old Testament Tabernacle where the copy of God’s Throne Room, made for His presence, was made known. In the Near East culture of John’s audience, this had an extra meaning that contrasts with the mockery against the two witnesses. God’s Temple contrasts the pretentious dignity and prestige of worldly ways with God’s supremacy and the actuality that He is seated on His Throne in eminence and power. Now, John sees the real heavenly version in a corporal state that shows God in an understandable and approachable manner, as God “condescends” to us and John. This means that God “descends” to our level to make Himself known; He lowers Himself—makes Himself accessible—and gives us insight according to our level of understanding so we can perceive Him from our aptitude to recognize what is otherwise incomprehensible (Ex. 24:9-11; 25 (25:40)-40; 1 Kings 5-7; 22:19; 2 Chron. 2-4; Is. 6; Ezek. 1; 10:1; Dan. 7:9-10; Heb. 8:5-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 4:2; 7:15; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).
  • The ark of his covenant represents the presence of God, His faithfulness, and atonement in keeping the covenant He made with His people even when they disobeyed Him. This refers to the main Jewish icon, the box chest, made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold, which held the tablets of the Ten Commandments and was placed behind the sanctuary curtain in the inner sanctum where the presence of God dwelt. This image could also represent the Ark going to war. It went missing after Nebuzaradan (meaning: “the captain of the guard” who invaded and captured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple for Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-20; Jer. 39:11; 40:2-5). Here it is meant to display God’s dwelling and power and our reverence of Him. Now, it is Christ, who paid for our sin, with whom we have our covenant (Ex. 25:10-22; Lev 26:11-13; Duet 10:1-2; 2 Kings 25:8-10; Matt. 27:51; Heb. 9:23; 10:19-20; Rev. 3: 10-13; 4:6-8).
  • Lightning….hailstorm points to God’s supremacy and authority, the true God and His right of vengeance, His self-revelation, and His awesome majesty and power, and represents an important event, possibly the curse and plagues associated with mocking and disobeying God while worshipping the fake god, Zeus. It is our duty to heed His voice and reverence Him (Ex. 19:16-19; Job 37:5-6; Psalm 18:11-15; 77:18; Ezek. 1:4, 24; 43:2; Dan. 10:6; Heb. 12:18-29; Rev. 4:1-11; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).

Revelation 11:15-19

Introduction 

The Seventh Trumpet 

The seventh angel now sounds his trumpet and loud voices echoing from the heavens proclaim that the entire world has now become a part of the Kingdom of God as Christ assumes His power and position. The twenty- four elders fall prostrate, worshipping and giving thanks and reverence to the Lord.  But, the woe commences too, as His wrath is let out to judge and destroy the evil and the wicked, and His grace is poured out to reward His faithful. He is the One who looks for the faithful and holy ones who have placed Him first, even in the midst of trials and troubles. Then, the world shakes as the precious Ark of the Covenant is exposed, displaying a spectacular show of eminence and power.

We are also shown a contrast between goodness and wickedness, between those who oppress and those who seek liberty, such as the faithful Jerusalem under David and Solomon versus the wicked one that crucified our Lord… 

Now comes the third terror, and woe commences as the seventh angel blows the trumpet, declaring to the whole world that the kingdom of God is at hand. This passage closes the “second cycle of Judgments” (See Background Article) that prepares the way for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ by showing us His Triumph and Victory as He rules (Rev. 8:2-11:19). John now shows the final trumpet and the end of the world as we know it. The language is poetic, but it is “imperative” that John demonstrates that this revelation is at the same level as that of Moses; thus, take heed!

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

 

            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

 

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

 

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

  • 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).

 

Revelation 9:1-11

Introduction 

The Fifth Trumpet  

General idea: The Fifth Angel now blows his trumpet, and sets in motion more judgment as a star falls from the sky, strikes the earth, and causes a great chasm to be formed. It is a bottomless pit and the angel holds the key to this foreboding shaft that leads to the furnace of judgment where no sunlight comes¾only darkness and smoke. This shaft is so powerful that when it is opened, the smoke from it darkens the sky, and the entirety of the earth sees it. Suddenly, locusts come from the furnace and descend upon the peoples of earth with devastation and judgment. They have been given power to strike, yet are directed not to harm too much, sparing the vegetation and most of the peoples. They seek out the peoples whose heart and will do not seek Christ and who refuse to accept His forgiveness and grace. These are the evil peoples who live to and for themselves and evoke evil and sufferings upon others. It is their judgment and they are deserving of it. But, God’s ever-abounding grace and love spare most of these too. So, they are tortured, while offerings of grace are offered, but not taken. They seek anything, even death, but not the love and grace of our Lord. There are malevolent and immoral, and do not care. 

The eagle, the bird of prey, and its messages of woes from previous verses are now accomplished, as “Apollyon” led them. This is the Destroyer, who is the angel of the Abyss (which is the place of absolute devastation, death, desolation, and destruction), perhaps Satan himself. His mission is to supervise the devastation of his minions, the locusts, as they swarm over the earth. 

 In this passage, the Fifth Trumpet is blown and the Plague of Locusts is released. These locusts are a horrific army armed for battle; they are foreboding and strike terror upon the people, merely by their presence. The “bottomless pit” lets loose demonic creatures on the rampage who are literally “hell bent” to kill, but only allowed to torture. Their stay and their devastation are monitored and controlled, so they will inflict only the least amount of harm, allowing for God’s redemptive work to continue, even though it has been ignored. This passage is reminiscent of Joel and the plagues of Egypt (Ex. 10:13-15; Joel, chapters 2-3).

What does Revelation 4: 1-5 mean to us now?

One day, this door will be open to us and we will be there.

The question is, are you ready and have you lived the life He has called you to? God calls us to be earnest in pursuing a serious, deep—rooted, and determined faith. It is a call to persist in our faith and determination, regardless of obstacles—physical limitations, spiritual depression, spiritual warfare, or our circumstances. If everything came to us instantly, there would be no growth, no appreciation, no maturity, and no faith. Faith requires resistance and struggle to make it flourish and grow. God is not the One Who always holds us back; it is usually our refusal to reach out and seize the opportunity. It is we who refuse to exercise our faith and grow. It is we who speak just a simple prayer with no earnest thought behind it, with no zeal or realization of God’s mercy and grace. We get so caught up in our own struggles that we do not look past the crowd to call His Name. We do not realize that He will stop, look, and listen—just for us!

God has given you an open door. What does it take for you to answer and to open it?

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like? Or, is it so far above your ability to imagine that it is a mere hope?
  2. John, Ezekiel, and Daniel all used images and metaphors to describe this wonder. What do you suppose are the reasons for this?
  3. Why do many Christians today get so caught up in these images that they miss the point of the message? Have you ever done that?
  4. Many misguided interpreters read into a Bible text, stringing together other passages out of context to create a grand theology out of injudicious reading and insert ideas that are not in the passages. What could be causes and motivations for this? Why are we called to read His Word with “exegesis,” or a right explanation and analysis of the text from what is actually in it?
  5. One day, this door will be open to us and we will there. The questions are, are you ready, and have you lived the life He has called you to? What do you still need to do?
  6. What would it mean to your faith and relationships to be better at seizing the moment and taking advantage of the opportunities He gives? Remember, the application is that all who are in Christ are His representatives, both individually, and collectively as the whole assemblage of all Christians who are the Church. How can you make this so in your life and church?
  7. In the meantime, as we wait to see all this for ourselves, how can we fuel our perseverance and productivity by His marvel? What can you do to further persevere with your call and faith?

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