Friday, September 22, 2023

The Fifth and Sixth Trumpets

Bobservations' Column
Titled - The Fifth Trumpet
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In Mathew 16:13-18 Jesus questions His disciples about what men are saying about Him. Then He asks them about who they say He is. Simon Peter pipes up saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  True inspiration! The passage continues with the first mention of Jesus’ Church, and the memorable phrase that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

In Judges 7, we learn about Gideon’s army being pared down in size at what is now known as “Gideon’s Springs.” The source of the water at Gideon’s Springs (The Well of Harod, Judges 7:1) is a cave flooded with water bubbling up continually. Fed by a spring, the depth of the cave is unfathomable. The cave is also known as “The Gates of Hell” because of its bottomless depth.

Idol worship took place there because of the flow of life-giving water. This spring, and two other tributaries converge downstream and become the Jordan River. The river creates a fertile valley, before emptying into the Dead Sea.

This Gate of Hell is just one of at least sixteen other places on Earth that are known as “Gates of Hell.” So, it is appropriate that Jesus mentions these Gates in the plural sense. From bottomless pits, and deep caves, to gas-fed fires that fill craters on the Earth’s surface, the Gates of Hell add a colorful visual to this strange phrase used by God at Harod’s Well. The message of this gate of hell is clear: While a spring-fed well can bring refreshing, life-giving water, we should be alert and aware of the path of the water because it might bring us to death, like the end of the Jordan River. Because the Dead Sea has no outlet, the water stagnates, and the H2O evaporates leaving behind water so contaminated with minerals and phosphates that neither plant, nor animal life survive in it. The water in the Dead Sea is not potable. Swimmers in its waters are encouraged to use the sea-side showers to rinse the residue of chemicals off their skin as they retreat from the water. Resort Health Spas take advantage of the mineral rich mud for providing mud baths to visitors. But the message of the river is clear:

What at first seems refreshing, can often bring us to death, just like Satan’s lies to Eve. Walk circumspectly, be alert to dangers, and know who you it is that accompanies you.
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." -  Ephesians 5:15,16

Bobservations - Audio Version:

Sunday Morning Audio Message:
Revelation 9:1-12 - "The Fifth Trumpet


What will it take for non-believers to accept Christ? What will it take to repent of the sin for which God has repeatedly warned will be severely punished? How much of God’s judgment and wrath do frail humans think they can endure?

It might surprise you to know that there are many who would rather die in their sin than to repent and yield to the authority of Jesus, who is not only the Savior of the world, but the Lord over all.

The judgments of God all through history were meant to catch the attention of men so that they may repent and come back to God. It is the mercy and long-suffering of God that He repeatedly, even in His wrath, affords mankind every opportunity to come to repentance and salvation in Christ.

God pronounces judgment on all who blaspheme Him, who reject His Son, who reject the Gospel, who pervert His law, and pervert His Word. He pronounces judgment on them not only in a temporal sense, such as in Romans 1, where you have an outworking of wrath in the very society itself, but in an eternal sense.

The word “woe” in the Bible is an exclamation of judgment on others. It is tied to sin and rebellion against God, and the resulting judgments are referred to as “woes.”

In Isaiah 5 there are listed a series of woes, a series of severe condemnations. One of those is in chapter 5 and verse 20. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Woe—damnation, cursing—on those who reverse God’s moral code, who reverse His righteousness, who swap His goodness for evil.

In the Old Testament, the prophets pronounced damnation on sinful people and sinful nations and declared coming judgment. In the New Testament, even Jesus pronounced seven “woes” on the hypocrites of His day. In Revelation, God’s final judgments are even revealed as “woes” on mankind. This is what we will look more closely at today.

In Revelation 8:13, before the other three trumpets are sounded, solemn warning is given to those still alive on the earth. “Woe, woe, woe” introduces one threat for each of the remaining three Trumpets about to sound (9:1-21; 11:15). Woe is an expression of God’s judgment, destruction, and condemnation. God’s wrath and judgment will come upon “those who dwell on the earth,” those who have rejected the gospel. Although they will acknowledge that the disasters have come from God, scripture reveals that they will not repent.

This week in chapter 9 of Revelation, Pastor Bob asks a pressing question, “What will it take for the unbeliever to repent and accept Christ? What are you willing to endure?” God has revealed what is coming, and has given every single soul ample time to seriously consider their eternal destination. Pay attention to these questions as we read these difficult verses.

Revelation 9 begins with:

A Star Fallen From Heaven - Unlike the other stars that have fallen (6:13; 8:8), this one will be an angelic being - or Satan himself.

The fifth angel has sounded his trumpet. John sees a star from heaven fall to the earth. At this point John, in his visions, has already seen several heavenly bodies plunge to earth (see 6:13; 8:8). Unlike them, this star was not a piece of celestial matter, like an asteroid, but an angelic being. This is a fallen angel, the one tossed out of heaven, it is a reference to Satan, the leader of all the fallen angels (Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-16; Luke 10:18).

The fall of Satan described in 9:1 is not his original rebellion. Satan and the angels that fell with him were banished from heaven, but Satan retains access to God’s presence, where he constantly accuses believers. Later in chapter 12, Satan and his demon hosts will battle Michael and the holy angels, and will lose. Their defeat will permanently cast them down to the earth.

Satan Receives the Key to the Bottomless Pit - literally “pit of the abyss.” The bottomless pit appears seven times in Revelation, always in reference to the abode of incarcerated demons. It is the place of severest torment and isolation (verses 1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,3).

Satan then releases those locked in the bottomless pit. It says smoke arose (related to judgment) so much so that the sun and the air were darkened by it. Perhaps this symbolizes the pollution of the corruption of hell covering the world.

Locusts - These are not normal locusts, but specially prepared ones that are merely the outward forms of demons.

Scorpions - an arachnid with an erect tail tipped with a venomous stinger. A scorpion’s victim experiences agony, foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth in pain. The demons in locust form are able to inflict physical, perhaps, spiritual pain like the scorpion.

Five Months - it is interesting that the normal life cycle of a normal locust is five months, usually May to September.

John sees vile demons emerge; he describes them as locusts. This is a plague on the earth. The imagery is horrifying. These are not ordinary locust, but demons, who like locusts, bring swarming destruction. They are uncountable in number, massive in destruction. Three times it is mentioned that their power to inflict pain is compared to that of scorpions, but far worse.

This is a judgment where God is allowing these locked up demons loose to come into direct contact with unrepentant people. They have strict limitations not to attack the physical world (grass, trees, any green thing). They are restricted to tormenting unrepentant human beings. Men will seek death and will not find it. There will be no relief, even suicide will be unsuccessful.

Here we witness once again, the wonderful mercy of God. He doesn’t allow Satan and his demon inmates to destroy them, but for 5 months they will torment every living being on earth accept those who are sealed by God, the 144,000. For 5 months each of these people will have the opportunity to repent and believe, and this may be their last opportunity to do so.

The Appearance of these Demons were like:
  • Locusts - see above description.
  • Horses prepared for battle - warlike powerful and defiant, straining at the bit and pawing the ground and ready to charge.
  • Wearing crowns like Gold - like victory crowns, people will have no weapon that can harm them
  • Faces of Men - not insects, but rational beings
  • Hair like Women - perhaps seductive
  • Teeth Like Lions - fierce and powerful tearing apart their victims
  • Breastplates of Iron - incapable of being wounded, immune to attack
  • Sound of their wings like chariots, of many horses rushing to battle - a moving army
  • Tails like scorpions - with stinging painful venom

Who is their leader?

These demons have a king over them. John calls him the angel of the abyss. This could be Satan, which would be their natural leader. Or perhaps this is a high ranking demon in Satan’s hierarchy.

His name is Abaddon in Hebrew, and Apollyon in the Greek - it means destroyer. Both names are probably used to show the impact on both the ungodly Jews and Gentiles.

This is only the first of three “woes.” There are two more ahead in the sixth and seventh Trumpets.

The Sixth Trumpet is sounded, calling up more attacks by demon forces upon unrepentant mankind. After five months of torment, and God’s mercy, space to repent, and still hardened hearts, this judgment brings death.

Voice - literally one voice, not identified, perhaps the Lamb.

Four horns of the golden altar before God - altar of intercession, as the martyred saints pleaded with God for vengeance.

Four angels -  these are actually demons that are released.  We know this because they are bound at the great river Euphrates. These are not heavenly angels.

Euphrates - One of the four rivers that flowed through the Garden of Eden (1:12). This region has spawned many of the world’s pagan religions. It is also the promised land of Israel, from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. See Joshua 1:4. This territory would include the land from the southern tip of Israel along the Red Sea to the Euphrates River on the east, the border of Syria on the north.

The purpose of these four fallen angels is to kill a third of mankind. Remember the the judgment of the fourth seal killed one quarter of the earth’s population. This additional third brings the death toll up to half of the earths population.

Two hundred thousand, thousand - This is equal to two hundred million.

The army that can slaughter well over a billion people not only has to be a powerful force, but a huge army.

The Army - This could be a reference to the kings of the east (16:12), or it could be another demonic force that makes war with the earth’s inhabitants killing a third of its population.

Description of those that sat on the horses, along with the Horses they rode:

Note:  The colors described on the riders are the colors and features of hell.
  • Breastplates of Fire - Red
  • Jacinth - bluish black like smoke
  • Brimstone - sulfurous yellow, produces suffocating gas and a burning flame
  • The horses - associated with warfare, but these are not actual horses.
  • Heads of lions - savage and powerful
  • Mouths issuing fire, smoke and brimstone - dragon like
  • Tails - deadly and venomous, serpent like
Whatever these are, there is a devastating result, a fatal demonic assault.

In verse 20, John writes, those not killed by these “plagues.” Plagues appears several times in Revelation. It is a term for the destructive final judgments.

What will it take???

What will it take for the ungodly to repent and turn to the Lord? Here i
s a devastating reality, for many nothing. Verses 20 and 21 reveal that they repented not. After everything they’ve witnessed, every horrible calamity, destruction, judgment, torment, they are yet defiant and still refuse to repent. This is tragic. These remaining will choose to worship the beast instead of the Lamb.

John lists the five sins representative of defiance:
  • They did not repent of the works of their hands - idolatry, worshiping other gods.
  • Murders - Violent Crimes, blood lust.
  • Sorceries - witchcraft, drugs that induce an altered state, that bend the mind into the spirit realm, exposed to demonic influence.
  • Fornication - immorality in all its forms, sexual sins.
  • Thefts - in every fashion, morality, honesty, material things.

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