Lesson 15 - The Seventh Seal – The Trumpet Judgments

Lesson 15 - The Seventh Seal – The Trumpet Judgments

(Revelation 8:7-13 – 9:1-21)

In Revelation 8:7 the first angel had blown his trumpet and what seem like meteorites fell to the earth and destroyed one third of trees and green vegetation.  In Revelation 8:8 the second trumpet was sounded and something that resembled a great mountain, blazing with fire, was thrown into the sea.  When this occurred a third of the sea was turned to blood, a third of the creatures in the sea were killed and a third of the ships were destroyed. This certainly seems like a volcanic mountain, or perhaps it was a very large meteorite, that was literally thrown into the sea, which caused the sea to turn to blood, killed a third of the animals in the sea and destroyed a third of the shipping vessels.  There is no contextual reason to believe anything other than what John said will actually occur. (Exodus 7:20; Psalms 78:43-44; Jeremiah 51:25) 

John continued to describe the scene in Revelation 8:10 when the third angel blew his trumpet.  This blowing of the trumpet caused a huge star to fall from heaven, which was burning like a torch.  This star dropped on a third of the rivers and springs.  This star had a proper name, which was Wormwood.  The waters become “wormwood” when the star fell into them.  Wormwood was a plant with a bitter taste that when eaten caused nervous derangement and apparently death in some cases.  The English word for this plant is absinth.  (Jeremiah 9:15, 23:15; Lamentations 3:15-19)

The fourth angel blew his trumpet and a third of the sun was destroyed, a third of the moon was destroyed and a third of the stars were destroyed.  The result was a third of the daylight was removed and a third of the moonlight was removed.  As we know, reduced light means the reduction of life in many categories, which would result in less crop production and famine. (Exodus 10:21-22)

Revelation 8:13 was a warning to the inhabitants of the earth regarding the last three trumpet judgments.  God used what seemed to John to be a flying eagle, who could talk, to deliver His warnings.  The exact explanation of this creature is not clear, though it is most likely figurative.  (Deuteronomy 28:49; Hosea 8:1; Habakkuk 1:8)

God was continuing His policy of vengeance upon the evildoers on the earth.  Only God is justified in seeking revenge.  It is against God that Satan and his followers are directing their anger and evil.  It is God and His kingdom that Satan is attempting to overthrow.  God therefore deals with Satan and his followers by destroying their sources of food and water, and by showering them with meteorites from the sky.  For emphasis John repeats the word “woe” three times.

Revelation 9:1-21, Joel 1:15-2:11

We know that Jesus Christ holds the key to the bottomless pit. He took the key away from Satan when He (Jesus) went there, preached, and brought “captivity captive” out with Him. (Ephesians 4:8)

The fifth trumpet was the expulsion of Satan from Heaven. The identification of Satan in this passage is not hard to make. Isaiah foresaw this development in exactly the same manner described by John.  A star is often used in Scripture to identify an angel.  In this case it is Satan.  (Isaiah 14:12-17)

Many people mistakenly believe that throughout human history, Satan has already been banished from Heaven, or that he reigns in some kind of kingdom in hell. That isn't true. Satan has always had access to the throne room of God, where he serves as the principle accuser of the saints of God. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them." (Job 1:4)

Satan was then kicked out of Heaven. Note that he carries with him the key to the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1) He didn't have it before; it was given him by the One who holds the keys to heaven, to hell and to death.

Jesus gave Satan the keys so that he could be released to carry out this punishment. Just as Satan had to have permission from God to afflict Job, Satan brings all of these terrible things on the earth and his people by permission of God.  The physical smoke that comes up surely will obscure the sun and diminish the light.

The abyss (bottomless pit) is the home of Satan and the demons. When Satan opened the abyss, the demons came out in force to deceive and destroy. They have such a vicious nature that God had to bind them to keep the human race from being annihilated before the appointed time, but now the restraints are off.

"And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”

The appearance of these locusts is both frightening and repulsive (Revelation 9:7-10), and they do not act in an unorganized way; in fact, John says, "They had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon." (v.11) Both names mean "Destroyer.”  

The description of the locusts in Revelation 9:7-10 indicates that they were demons who were given physical forms in order to manifest their destruction and torment. Horses show their warlike character. Their crowns depict them as conquerors. Human faces show intelligence. Their feminine hair perhaps makes them seductive and attractive. The “teeth of lions” shows them to be destructive and hurtful. Breastplates of iron make them indestructible. Wings symbolize swiftness. The stings in their tails give them the power to hurt. Fortunately for mankind, their period of torment was limited to five months. But the next judgment will be even worse.

The locusts were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man." (Revelation 9:3-5) God's instructions are, "You may torment those who have the Antichrist's mark, but you may not kill them." Also, "you may not touch those who belong to Me."  Satan's power is under strict control over those sealed by God.  Though this will be a period of great anguish, it is really the grace of God at work.  The Lord is seeking to make mankind think because of this terrible torment and to decide to trust Christ as Savior.

Here again, whether this is physical pain and torment from fallout causing sores and torture, or whether this is spiritual and terrible suffering, it is brought on by constant attack from the devil for five months. It is terrible.  After a nuclear attack, sores, deformities and torment beyond our comprehension can take place.  A terrible burn would have the pain of a scorpion's sting.  Perhaps this is what will take place. 

Death would be a welcome relief to all this suffering. These forces of evil turned loose (unrestrained) upon the earth, whether physical or spiritual, will be so terrible that men will beg to die but will be unable to during this punishment.

This was the first of the three woes!

Here John described the locusts (demons) as he gives a detailed description of their appearance in his vision. They are described as locusts since they will bring massive and devastating judgment from God.  This demon host will be virtually unstoppable and man will have no weapon that can harm them nor a cure for the terrible torment they will inflict.

Their “faces of men” indicate they are intelligent and rational beings, not insects. Having hair as being like the hair of women emphasizes their seductiveness. Perhaps this is to lure unsuspecting unbelievers to come close to them before striking them.  Having teeth like lions means they will be fierce, powerful and deadly.

“Breastplates of iron” symbolized the locusts’ invulnerability.  They will be impossible to resist or to destroy.  There will be no escaping their worldwide onslaught, as there will be nowhere to run or hide from them.In a metaphor drawn from a battlefield, John compared the sound of their wings to a moving army, noting that it was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. The sound alone will be enough to put fear into the hearts of the unbelievers.

These demons are given the power to torment unbelievers for 5 full months with no relief for the tormented. This emphasizes God's sovereign power over the timing of their assault. Eventually God will return them to the abyss with their evil and send them to the lake of fire. (Revelation 20)

This is Satan. Lucifer was one of the angels close to God in Heaven.  He was a very beautiful angel before his fall. All of the demons were angels in Heaven until 1/3 of the angels followed Lucifer and became demons. These fallen angels are ministering pain and suffering. Their mission is to destroy. Their leader, Lucifer, is the epitome of evil. He has been their king since they were cast out of Heaven by God. Their abode, when they are not on a mission of destruction, is in the abyss. They are continuously causing war, both spiritual and literal.

This "king" in Revelation 9:11 is the star we saw in Revelation 9:1, who was thrown out of Heaven and has hell for an abode.  Just as he led these angels out of Heaven, he leads them in this mission of destruction.

Remember, all of this happens because God's wrath is kindled. God alone can stop Satan. This time, however, God does not want to stop him.  God allows, and even orders, this to happen. Satan, Apollyon, Abaddon, Lucifer, the devil, or whatever you care to call him, is still obedient to God. He, as we, or any other being, or angel, are created and subject to the desires of the Creator. God alone could stop this destruction. "Apollyon" and "Abaddon" mean destruction.

As if that which we have been hearing about is not terrible enough, there are two more woes.