In Mel Gibson’s movie, “THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST”, there was one detail that most people missed. That one detail said so much about whom it was that actually punished Jesus. That detail was that we never got to see the man’s face who hammered the spikes into Jesus’ hands.
His face was only a reflection. It was a reflection of sin; of all sin throughout the ages; and it was a reflection of the sin that we carry today, too. In essence, it was a perfect reflection of us today.
It was not just the Jews, or the Romans, or even the Pharisees that nailed our Savior to that Cross. Sin nailed Him to it. And that sin has run rampant throughout the ages, and can even be found in our lives today. So, it wasn’t the nails that kept Jesus on the Cross; it was sin.
COLOSSIANS 2:13-14 tell us that even when we were spiritually dead in our sins, we were made alive and whole through the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. He loved us enough to forgive us, and through His death, He turned around and nailed our sin to that Cross.
And so, as we sit on holy ground this morning, let us remember the sacrifice that He made for us. Let us remember that it was the sinful nature found in people that hammered the nails. And let us also remember that He continues to love us enough to totally forgive us when we surrender our prideful wills to Him and ask Him for that forgiveness.
Let us resolve once again to put Him as Lord in our lives; as Master of our will; and as the Savior of our souls. Let us bow in humility to the Son of God, as he reaches down to touch us with His amazing grace and unending love.
LET US OPEN THIS MORNING’S SERVICE IN PRAYER.
In chapter 8, we discussed the first four trumpet judgments. They were: The judgment by FIRE (vs. 7); the judgment upon the SEA (vs. 8-9); the judgment of WORMWOOD (vs. 10-11); and the judgment of absolute DARKNESS (vs. 12).
We ended in verse 13 by learning there were 3 more “woe’s” yet to come, and each of these would not only be worse than any prior judgment, but each woe would be worse than the one before it.
Now, we are seeing the beginning of God’s purest wrath, and it gets worse with each passing step. Starting in verse 1, we see that the 5th.trumpet judgment is about to begin.
In VERSE 1, John says:
“The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth. The key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him.”
Who is the star that fell? Typically, in the Bible, a fallen star refers to an angel who has been told to leave heaven. Most theologians consider this fallen star to be Lucifer.
Jesus remarked that He had seen Lucifer fall in LUKE 10:18.
“I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash.”
When this angel fell, the keys to the abyss were given to him and his sole purpose was to unlock the shaft.
(Some theologians believe this star was Jesus, but I think if it had been Jesus, John would have indicated such in his writings. Other theologians believe it was an angel of God. Again, I do not see any indication that the fallen star’s purpose was anything other than opening the pit so the smoke from it could cause chaos on this world.)
The “shaft of the abyss” refers to a bottomless pit. That word is the Greek word “abussos” which occurs nine times in the New Testament; seven of which are in the book of REVELATION. It refers to a place of imprisonment for supernatural beings. It is also a place of absolute anguish and torment.
In MATTHEW 8:29, we read about the story of the demonic man who lived in the cemetery. Christ drove the demons out of him, they entered pigs, and the pigs rushed off a cliff into the waters and drowned. In this account, we also see where the demons asked Jesus, “… have you come here to torment us before the time?”
The abyss and the time of torment are clearly connected. The demons are aware of this future time, and judging by the above verse, they are afraid of it, too.
VERSE 2 –
“He opened the shaft of the abyss and smoke came up out of it like the smoke from a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the shaft.”
When the smoke came up, it darkened the sun and blinding the eyes of men by putting out light and knowledge, and promoting ignorance and error. It also darkened the air, which shows it polluted the world and acted to confuse men. And from this great smoke, instruments of God’s wrath appeared and began to be unleashed upon men.
“Then, out of the smoke, locusts came to the earth and power was given to them like the power that scorpions have. They were told to not harm the grass, or any green plant, or any tree, but only people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads.”
This is the first woe. These locusts are not like any previous locusts that have been on this earth. They ate plants, even devastating complete fields. These scorpions do not eat plants. They are to attack men.
“The locusts were not permitted to kill the people, but to pester them unmercifully for five months. Their torment will be like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. In those days, people will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them.”
The torment will be so unbearable, people will actually want to die, but they will not be able to. They will have to go on living this anguish of horror. This judgment of locusts will be the worst punishment this world will have ever seen - - up to that point.
“The appearance of the locusts was like horses equipped for battle. On their heads were something like gold crowns; their faces were like mens’ faces; they had hair like women’s hair; their teeth were like lions’ teeth; they had chests like iron breastplates; the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses rushing into battle;
“… and they had tails with singers, like scorpions, so that with their tails they had the power to harm people for five months. They had, as their king, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek it is Apollyon. The first woe has passed. There are still two more woes to come after this.”
Both “Abaddon” and “Apollyon” mean ‘destroyer.’ That is the description of the king of the bottomless pit, or shaft. It is Satan, whose sole purpose in eternity is to destroy everything of God including all of God’s creation.
These locusts have been given the power of scorpions – not in their looks so much as in their destructive power. They resemble something between man and beast. And since they are a punishment sent by God to the sinful people who hate God, they only torment those who have not been sealed by God.
The dictionary defines the word “torment” as: “having great physical pain, or extreme mental anguish.” It also says it is “unbearable pestering.” All people who are not sealed by God will experience very painful bites and stings all over their bodies that do not stop hurting or festering; and according to verse 10, they will go five months with no real sleep because of this continual pain and pestering.
But just as God’s children were kept safe from the judgment of flies in the Old Testament, His children will be kept safe from this judgment of locusts, too.
In EXODUS 8:22-23, God had Moses get up early and go tell Pharaoh;
“But on that day, I will give special treatment to the land of Goshen where My people are living; no flies will come upon them. This way, you will know that I, the Lord, am in the land. I will show a difference between how I treat My people and your people.
This is the end of the fifth trumpet judgment, or the first “woe”.
And now, it is time for the 6th trumpet judgment, or the second “woe.” This will be much worse than the ones before.
“The sixth angel blew his trumpet. From the four horns of the gold altar that is before God, I heard a voice say to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels bound at the great river Euphrates.’”
The gold altar was a place where priests burned incense day and night. It was meant to offer up to God, the incense and prayers of His people. The altar had a horn protruding from each of the four corners at the top.
Who are the four angels bound at the river Euphrates? We studied about them in chapter 7:1. They are the same angels who restrained the winds from blowing until the faithful in Christ were sealed. Now that they have been sealed, Christ orders them to go ahead with their pre-appointed duties.
“So, the four angels who were prepared for the hour, day, month, and year were released to kill a third of the human race.”
This is a major point in God’s plan for the people He created. It is time to hold those in the End Time who have rejected His Son fully accountable for their choices. Adding this number to the number of people killed in the fourth seal, about 50% of humans will be killed all because they made a decision based upon what they wanted, instead of listening to what their Creator wanted for them.
“The number of mounted troops was 200 million. I heard their numbers. This is how I saw the horses in my vision: The horsemen had breastplates that were fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow. The heads of the horses were like lions’ heads and from their mouths came fire, smoke, and sulfur. A third of the human race was killed by these three plagues – the fire, smoke, and sulfur: For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; because their tails (like snakes) have heads and they inflict injury with them.”
The number of soldiers shows that there are many nations who have come together as one in the fight against God. Today, it would seem that those nations include Russia, China, and all of the Arab nations of the Middle East. They could unite and come under the banner of the European Union or some other global government.
The way John describes what they will wear and the weapons they will use, many theologians believe it was his best attempt to describe things he had no words to describe: Things like tanks, troop carriers, airplanes, nuclear weapons and such.
VERSE 20 (a)
“The rest of the people, who were not killed by these things, did not repent . . .”
God has given mankind every chance to repent from his sins and turn back towards God, but mankind has always refused, wanting to continue doing those things in the world that we enjoy and like. In so doing, we actually show that we hate God.
VERSE 20 (b)
“… of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood…”
The works of our hands refers to how we make things and then end up worshiping them.
VERSE 20 (c)
“… which are not able to see, hear, or walk.”
Those things we adore, those things we pursue cannot see us, they cannot hear us, nor can they walk with us or guide us. Yet, we still chase after them. Why we don’t turn around and see Jesus Christ as the One who can actually give us everything we crave is beyond any rational explanation.
In verse 15, we saw a third of the human race killed. In verse 20, we find that those who remain still do not repent of their worldly ways. They continue to worship idols and be fixated on things they personally like rather than on things they spiritually need.
If you think we do not do the same thing, write out a list of the things you spend your money on and then read it aloud. By spending so much money, time, and putting so much of our desires into things that do not honor God, we actually let them become our idols for the moment.
If God were to come down right now and judged you by the actions you have shown in your life, do you think He would say you worship Him or that you worship your own desires most?
Any time we put our focus on anything other than on Jesus Christ, that thing we are focusing on becomes our idol for that moment. It might be our jobs that take center place in our minds, or our relationships, our money, our place in society, our golf games, and anything else that could tear us away from focusing on Jesus Christ.
Again, if we think we are different than the people described in verse 20, I challenge you to do some reassessing of your life, and see what things you worship instead of Jesus.
So we see here that we allow ourselves to do all the wrong things and very little, if any, of the right things. Just what are some of the wrong things we are doing?
We allow abortions under the guise of “women’s rights”, we give homosexuality a free reign because “they were born this way,” and we deny people the ability to freely worship Christ because “other people are not comfortable with it.”
We do this with airplanes, cars, boats, houses, and everything else man works to create. We put all of our attention and focus into them and forget all about the one God of heaven. We take weekend trips to Vegas and spend half our savings instead of going to church and tithing, and tell people God has blessed us with our abilities to do these things.
We turn our backs on our Creator so we can drool over the lowly things we create. And we honor mortal man as if he were our god. We say that we are good people and don’t hurt anyone. That is the biggest lie Satan has every put forth, and we have bought right into it. There are demonic influences in pornography, adultery, gambling, drinking, and everything else we do against God. And these things not only affect us, they affect those around us.
“And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.”
It is April 15th in the heavenly realm, folks. It is time to pay the piper; time to pay the debt we owe. It is time for us to stand before Christ and explain to Him why we have done and thought the things we have done and thought in our lives. And it is time to either receive His loving reward or His tragic judgment.
As a soldier on the battlefield stands guard with an ever-vigilant awareness, let us see the need and practice the steps to keep spiritually vigilant; to be always aware; and to be fully dependent upon Jesus Christ, who really is the solid rock on which we stand.
• The 5th trumpet judgment came as an infliction and bother to mankind.
• The 6th trumpet judgment came as death into a wicked, sinful, and unrepentant mankind.