James J. Barker

Lesson 16

Text: REVELATION 9:1-12


  1. In Revelation 6, the Lord Jesus Christ, referred to as "the Lamb," is pictured opening the first six seals.  This describes the beginning of the tribulation period -- the rise of the antichrist, followed by war, famine, death and hell, etc. (Rev. 6:1-8).
  2. When our Lord opens the fifth seal, martyrs are seen "under the altar" of the temple in heaven.  These represent those who will be slain during the beginning of the tribulation.   Revelation 6:11 reveals that more will be killed throughout the rest of the tribulation.
  3. When the sixth seal is opened, "there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind" (6:12, 13).
  4. Sinners will attempt to hide from "the wrath of the Lamb," but that will be impossible (6:14-17).
  5. Revelation 7 is parenthetical and deals with the 144,000 witnesses from the twelve tribes of Israel.   Revelation 7:3 says these servants of God will be sealed in their foreheads (cf. Rev. 9:4).
  6. The seventh seal is opened in Revelation 8, and the seventh seal contains the seven trumpet judgments. Furthermore, the seventh trumpet contains the seven vial judgments.
  7. In our last message in this series, we looked at the first four trumpet judgments (8:7-13).
  8. Tonight, Lord willing, we will look at the fifth trumpet, and the first woe (cf. 8:13; 9:12).
  9. In his excellent commentary on the book of Revelation, John Walvoord says, "The rising crescendo of judgments on the earth now introduces the first woe, a dramatic event described by John in the first twelve verses of this chapter" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).



  1. As the trumpet of the fifth angel is sounded, John records that he sees a star fallen from heaven having the key to the bottomless pit (9:1).
  2. This star here in chapter 9 refers to a person rather than a literal star or a meteor. The "star" is a person because it says, "and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit" (9:1).
  3. While the book of Revelation has several prophecies regarding literal stars (cf. 8:10), in the book of Revelation stars often represent individuals.
  4. For example, "the morning star" in Revelation 2:28, and "the bright and morning star" in Revelation 22:16 refer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. Revelation 1:16 says the Lord Jesus has in his right hand "seven stars," and then Revelation 1:20 says, "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches."
  6. Most expositors think this refers to the pastors ("angels" literally means "messengers") of the churches.  But whether they are angels or pastors, they are not literal stars but persons.
  7. Angels are referred to as "morning stars" in Job 38:7.
  8. If this "star" in Revelation 9 :1 and 2 is Satan, then this would tie in with Revelation 12:9, where it says Satan "was cast out into the earth."
  9. Isaiah 14:12 says, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"
  10. Our Lord said in Luke 10:18, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
  11. This angelic being (probably Satan but the Bible does not say), referred to as a star, is given the key of the bottomless pit ("the pit of the abyss" -- Scofield margin).
  12. The “bottomless pit” is the abode of demons according to Luke 8:31 ("the deep" -- the abyss).
  13. Strong's Concordance says the Greek word translated "the bottomless pit" or "the deep" in Luke 8:31 refers to "a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons."
  14. Revelation 11:7 says the beast (the antichrist) "ascendeth out of the bottomless pit."
  15. Revelation 17:8 says the beast "shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition" (cf. Rev. 20:1-3).
  16. By comparing these different Scriptures, we may conclude that the bottomless pit is the place of detention for demons.
  17. And it is here that Satan himself will be confined for a thousand years during the millennial reign of Christ on earth (20:1-3).
  18. Revelation 9:1 presents this fallen "star" (probably Satan) as having the key to this bottomless pit.  The key represents the authority to release those who are confined there.
  19. This brings us to the next point: the occupants of the bottomless pit.



  1. Revelation 9:2 tells us the bottomless pit of is opened, and out of it comes a smoke as the smoke of "a great furnace" which darkens the sun and the air.
  2. Our Lord described hell as "a furnace of fire" in Matthew 13:42 and 50.
  3. Revelation 9:2 looks like a description of a typical rock concert with the smoke coming up out of the pit.  We are told that the smoke and red lights are done to create a specific atmosphere.
  4. Yes, that is obvious, but what kind of atmosphere?  Hell?  Demons?
  5. In Revelation 9:2 we are told the smoke coming from the bottomless pit pollutes and darkens the air.   Just like people's minds are polluted and darkened by the modern entertainment industry.
  6. Next John sees locusts coming out of the smoke which are likened to scorpions (9:3).  However, these are not natural locusts, but terrible demonic locusts -- hordes of demons loosed upon the earth.
  7. Walvoord, quoting Peake, says these demons are "uncanny denizens of the abyss, locusts of a hellish species, animated by devilish instincts and equipped with infernal powers."
  8. Walvoord says, "It seems to portend the spiritual corruption which will be caused by these demons released from their confinement, and it identifies the character of the judgment involved in the fifth trumpet as that of demonic and satanic oppression."
  9. Has anyone here ever heard of a "rave party"?  A rave party (sometimes simply called a "rave" or "a rave dance") is a party that features fast-paced electronic music and laser light shows along with projected images, paint, glow sticks and smoke machines (cf. Rev. 9:2).
  10. At these parties people dance and get drunk or high to loud rock music played by disc jockeys (and occasionally live performers).
  11. The locusts are commanded not to hurt the grass of the earth or any green thing, or any tree, but only men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (9:4).
  12. In other words, during the tribulation, these demons will be sent by God to inflict pain on lost sinners who have rejected the Gospel (cf. I Samuel 16:13-16, 23; I Kings 22:19-23).
  13. This will be part of the "strong delusion" the apostle Paul refers to in II Thessalonians 2:11.
  14. Frequently in the Old Testament, locusts were used by the LORD as a divine judgment upon a wicked world.
  15. Locusts were a greatly feared plague because they could strip the country of every green leaf and sprout, leaving man and beast alike to die for lack of food.
  16. In Exodus 10, the LORD sent plagues of locusts to humble Pharaoh.
  17. A similar plague of locusts is mentioned in Joel 1:4-7.
  18. Whereas the account in Exodus describes the locusts as a plague upon Egypt, and Joel's prophecy is about the nation of Israel, it looks like the demonic locusts in Revelation 9 will cover the entire world.
  19. These demonic locusts in Revelation 9 represent a divine judgment upon a wicked, sin-loving world that deserves the fierce wrath of God.
  20. These demonic locusts are described as having the capacity to sting as the scorpions of the earth, and as not eating the grass or green vegetation as ordinary locusts would do (9:3, 4).
  21. Instead, they will torment men in a way comparable to the torment of a scorpion. Apparently the entire human race will be vexed except those who are sealed by God in their foreheads (9:4, 5).
  22. This refers to the 144,000 witnesses of Revelation 7. The divine protection will probably extend to all who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and who have refused the mark of the beast (cf. 13:16-18; 14:9, 10).
  23. Second Timothy 2:19 says, “the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.”
  24. Today, believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise according to Ephesians 1:13, 14.   In the coming tribulation there will be a different supernatural seal (cf. Rev. 7:1-4ff).
  25. Therefore, it seems unlikely that any true believer in the coming tribulation will be subject to the torment of these locusts.  The torment will be God's judgment upon Christ-rejecting sinners.
  26. The graphic description of the torment is compared to that when a scorpion strikes a man (9:5).
  27. John Walvoord says, "Scorpions in all climates are fearful and painful scourges. In warm climates, they grow to such size as to make their sting not only painful but dangerous. Frequently small children die from the sting of a scorpion in tropical countries. Though the affliction here described is not actually a sting of a scorpion, it is compared to the pain and suffering caused by such a sting."
  28. The torment is said to last for five months (9:5). Five months is the ordinary length of time during which locusts commit their ravages.
  29. The pain will be so severe, and will continue for such a long period that we are told in verse 6 that men shall seek death and shall not find it.
  30. This is a frightening picture of demonic torment!
  31. These locust demons will confuse the darkened minds of unbelievers to such an extent that they will lose their ability of free choice. They will be in such terrible agony that they will want to die but will not be able to.
  32. We have never seen anything like this here in America.  Even stories of demon-possession in foreign lands are not as terrible as what we see here in this prophecy.
  33. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 24:21, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
  34. The prophecy in Revelation 9:6 indicates that though these demon-possessed sinners will seek death, death shall flee from them. "As is common in demonic affliction as recorded in the Gospels, those in the grip of demons are not free to exercise their own will and therefore are not free to take their own lives. Even the hope of death to deliver them from their present troubles is taken away from them in that dark hour. They are left to face their trial and affliction without any way of escape" (Walvoord).



  1. The description of the demonic locusts given in these verses makes it clear that they are not ordinary locusts.  These are frightening demons that will come from out of "the bottomless pit" (9:1-3).
  2. Apparently they will be much larger than ordinary locusts, and they are compared to horses prepared for battle (9:7).
  3. These demonic locusts are described as having crowns of gold on their heads. Their faces are described as similar to the faces of men, but their hair is described as the hair of women, and their teeth as the teeth of lions (9:7, 8).
  4. This strange and gruesome combination of the features of demons, beasts, and men depicts the utterly fearful and horrible character of "these instruments of divine judgment" (Walvoord).
  5. "This is in keeping with the general character of the book of Revelation as an unmasking of the true nature of Satan and evil" (Walvoord).
  6. In verse 9, the locusts are declared to have breastplates of iron, implying that they are immune to destruction. They are also equipped with wings which give forth the sound of many chariots going to battle, implying speed and the impossibility of evading their attack (9:9).
  7. Particular attention is given to their tails, which are compared to those of scorpions and by which they have power to hurt men for five months (9:10; cf. 9:5). {Repeated to emphasize the pain and torment.}
  8. In verse 11, the locusts are declared to have a king who is "the angel of the bottomless pit." His Hebrew name “Abaddon” and his Greek name “Apollyon.”  Both names mean “destroyer.”
  9. Our Lord said in John 10:10, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
  10. Second Corinthians 11:14 says, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
  11. Seven times in the book of Revelation we are reminded that Satan is a deceiver who is very successful in blinding the minds of lost sinners.
  12. The last reference to Satan as a deceiver is Revelation 20:10, which says, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
  13. Satan is a master deceiver, and he often appears as an angel of light, but here in the book of Revelation his mask is stripped away and he is seen for who he really is.
  14. Satan and his demons are seen as the destroyers of the souls of men, and as those who can only bring pain and affliction and misery. When divine restraint is released, as it is here in Revelation 9, Satan's true character is manifested.



  1. Satan and his demons are preparing the world for the events described here in the book of Revelation.
  2. There are many popular television shows and Hollywood movies which deal favorably with Satan and demons and witchcraft, etc.
  3. There are many rock and roll singers that glamorize Satan and the occult -- Madonna, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, etc.  There are so many, I do not have time to mention them all.
  4. At the 1992 MTV Awards, the group Red Hot Chili Peppers, upon receiving their award and giving thanks, said: "First of all we want to thank Satan . . ."
  5. Carlos Santana said that when he gets ready to compose a song, he meditates; he lights some candles and incense; he starts chanting; and then he hears a voice telling him, "Write this down" (Rolling Stone magazine, March 16, 2000, p. 41).
  6. Young people are being programmed through rock music and Hollywood and television to accept Satan and demons.

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