Summary: A contemporary study on Revelation, chapter 9
The book of REVELATION is an odd book when compared to the rest of the Bible. It is a warning for everyone, even though some will not be here to see these warnings unfold. It tells of things to come that were seen in a vision nearly 2,000 years ago. And it describes some things the writer had no way of describing.
We are told in REVELATION 1:3;
“Blessed is the one who reads and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near!”
Most Christians do not like to read this book, and most preachers do not like to teach it. But by my reading this chapter today, and by your listening to it, we will both be blessed in God’s eyes.
Our perspective is that this book is a very difficult book to understand, and rather than make a mistake teaching it, or spend the energy trying to understand it, maybe we should just leave it alone. But is that the correct perspective to have?
The wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country so they could see how the poor folks lived. They spent two days with a dirt farmer’s family, helping them work during the day and then being with their family at night.
On the way home, his father asked him if he had learned anything about poor people. The son said he had learned that their front yard stretched to the road, but the farmer’s front yard stretched beyond the hills. Their swimming pool was rather small, while the farmer had a stream without end. Their day consisted of being bored, while the farmer’s family always had a garden to tend or wood to chop.
And then the son said, “Thanks, Dad, for teaching me how poor we are!”
Perspective is the eye-opener of true knowledge. With that same perspective, let us say “Thank You” to God now for teaching us, through this book of REVELATION, that there is much more to know than we tend to think.
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). For time’s sake, we will not read these passage again, but highly suggest you read them when you get home so you can understand that they were very bad judgments, indeed.
We ended in verse 13 by learning there were 3”woes”, or “judgments”, that were yet to come, and each of these would be worse than any prior judgment.
Now, as we go into chapter 8, we are seeing the beginning of God’s purest wrath being poured out upon an evil and unrepentant world, and it only gets worse with each passing step. The 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. Remember that Jesus remarked He had seen Lucifer fall in LUKE 10:18.
“I watched Satan fall from heaven like a lightning flash.”
John received insight from this vision. He “saw” the star falling does not mean he saw it with his own eyes. He saw that it “had already happened” in the vision. In verse 1, he said he “saw a star that had fallen.” That is in the past tense.
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 pure torment for them.
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 a nearby herd of pigs; and the pigs rushed off a cliff into the waters and drowned. In this account, we see where the demons asked Jesus, “… have you come here to torment us before the time?”