Good evening and welcome to EBible Fellowship's Bible study in the Book of Revelation. Tonight is study #1 of Revelation, chapter 9, and we are going to be reading Revelation 9:1-2:
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
We have been moving along in our study of the Book of Revelation. We saw in our last study, at the end of Revelation, chapter 8, God had pronounced three “woes” upon the inhabiters of the earth and that was the signal to indicate that the judgment which had begun at the house of God upon the churches and congregations of the world was now complete. God had brought about the 23-year Great Tribulation which was a judgment on the churches; and at the conclusion of that time it would be time to judge the rest of the rest of the people of the world, all the unsaved inhabiters of the earth.
We spent a little time looking at that phrase “inhabiters of the earth” and it is a clue phrase to help us understand that the transition is being made from the churches to the world.
Also, we saw that the first four trumpets (which were discussed in Revelation, chapter 8, where the language of the “third part” is used many times) were sounded simultaneously: trumpet #1, or trumpet #2, or trumpet #3 or trumpet #4 are all telling us about the same thing: God’s judgment has begun on the churches, using the figure of the “third part.” So there was no sequential order and no chronological order; trumpet #4 was not different in any way from trumpet #1, for example. All four trumpets were stating the same truth, then restating it, emphasizing it and driving the point home that God is judging the “third part.” Judgment has come upon the “third part.”
This is necessary for us to understand because there are some people that insist on trying to understand the Book of Revelation in a chronological way. They try to place the trumpets in order and the seals in order and the seven vials of the seven last plagues in order. We have to take each verse as it is given and allow God to define His own terms and, as we do so, we have to carefully place the judgment (or whatever the descriptive language is being presented) in the place where God would have it to be.
We just cannot think “naturally,” and approach it this way: “If I am going to do something I am going to make a list and I am going to do and I will first do #1 on that list, then #2 on that list, and so on.” All kinds of people, including theologians and commentators on the Bible, have gotten into trouble and have gone way off course trying to follow that self-prescribed manner of understanding Revelation. We have to allow God to dictate to us – we do not tell Him how things should be, as God has blown these trumpets and told us about them.
The first four trumpets are all speaking of the same thing and then we come to that transition verse in Revelation 8:13 and God says, “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” And, as we read Revelation 9:1, the “fifth angel sounded,” and we will find that God will tell us (after He gives us information concerning the fifth sounding of the angel) that a “woe” is past. We read that in verse 12: “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” Then notice what it says in verse 13: “And the sixth angel sounded,” and that is indicating that the second “woe” is now occurring, because the fifth trumpet identifies with the first “woe,” and the sixth trumpet identifies with the second “woe,” and the seventh trumpet identifies with the third “woe.” It is not until Revelation, chapter 11, that God is finished discussing the sixth trumpet and the second “woe.” So, He says in Revelation 11:14: “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” Then notice what it says in verse 15: “And the seventh angel sounded.” So there is no question that the “woes” are the same thing as the “trumpets,” so there are three “woes” with three remaining trumpets (five, six and seven).
And just as with the first four trumpets that sounded simultaneously, in no particular sequence or time order, and with each one applying to the judgment on the churches; likewise, with trumpets “five, six and seven,” there is no chronological order. What I mean is that we are not to read of the first woe and the fifth trumpet (which we just read in Revelation 9:1), and then we think of a period of time elapsing and then we come to verse 12: “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. And the sixth angel sounded,” and now this is some other period of time – no, that is not the case. We will find, as we go through Revelation 9, that information we read regarding the sixth trumpet will match information that God gave us of the fifth trumpet, or the second “woe” matches information of the first “woe.” There is no difference because it is all describing the same thing: trumpets five, six and seven sounded simultaneously, just as the first four trumpets sounded simultaneously.
The first four trumpets dealt with the first 8,400 days of judgment on the churches and the last three trumpets deal with what is very likely the last 1,600 days of judgment on the world. The fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets will be describing Judgment Day beginning on May 21, 2011, and continuing until its completion. There is no breaking up of the Day of Judgment into “compartments” or different periods of time. All three “woes” are speaking of the same thing and that is absolutely necessary for us to understand, in order for us to realize what God is telling us in this chapter, as far as His plan of judgment for the world goes.
Let us go back to Revelation 9:1:
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth…
This is familiar language to us. We just finished reading about this in the previous chapter. Remember Revelation 8:10-11:
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
We spent some time discussing this and we looked at how the Bible relates the Lord Jesus Christ to a “star” in Numbers 24:17. He is the Star that comes out of Jacob; He is the bright and morning star and He is the “great star” that fell from heaven; that is, He came down in wrath upon the waters of the churches, turning them to “wormwood.” Christ did this simply by departing out of the midst of the congregations when the Holy Spirit came out and turned the churches over to Satan. Remember, Jesus is the one that loosed Satan, so we read that He is the “star” that came down from heaven and, in doing so, He brought judgment on the churches.
So we are not surprised at all, in Revelation 9:1,that as God is now shifting focus from the churches to the world, we are reading practically the same thing: “and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” This is indicating, just as it did in relationship to the churches, that now Christ is coming down from heaven in judgment upon the people of the world. God is now judging the whole earth, so He is using similar language of Jesus as a star falling from heaven unto the earth. That is the object of the wrath of God – the earth. Just read Isaiah 24 sometime and notice how many times (15 to 17 times, perhaps) in that same chapter God refers to the word “earth,” and, again, and again, He is letting it be known that His wrath is upon the people of the earth which have broken His covenant.
Now, here in Revelation 9:1, Jesus is coming down as a star and it is similar language to what happened to the churches because it is the same “cup,” and we have repeated this again; and again, and it is necessary to do so because this is what the Bible teaches: God, when He speaks of His wrath, has a “cup” which He measures out and He first gives the cup to the people called by His name; then, once they have drunk of the cup of the wrath of God, He takes the same “cup” (the identical cup, not a different cup) and gives it to the nations.
This was the error in our thinking when we first saw that God was judging the churches and He was doing so spiritually, but we thought that when it came to Him judging the world, it would not be a spiritual judgment, but a physical judgment and they would “see” it. We were probably thinking this due to the idea that since the world operates in the physical realm, God would deal with them in the realm that they can understand and see.
That was our mistake. God judged the churches, even though they did not “see” this truth; they did not see the spiritual judgment upon them and, yet, God judged them in a spiritual way. Likewise, God takes the same “cup” and He uses the very same language when speaking of that “cup” in Jeremiah 25. There is no language like, “Let me put that cup of spiritual judgment down and then take up another cup for the world.” But it is simply language to say, “You have drank of the cup of my wrath, churches, and now I will take that cup from you and give it to the nations of the world. They will certainly drink and they will not go unpunished.”
God lets it be known that the cup is identical in nature and it is the same cup of wrath, so we find, repeatedly, in Jeremiah 25 and in Revelation, that we will read of language where God is speaking of judgment on the churches and then we will read very similar language, or even exact language, where God is speaking of judgment on the world; and that is because it is the same cup.
So, Christ is the “star” falling from heaven unto the earth in a similar manner in which He did to the churches. Then it goes on to say in Revelation 9:1:
… and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit….
In case anyone missed it and in case anyone did not realize that this star that fell from heaven was the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord helps us further with the statement: “to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” There is nowhere in the Bible (absolutely nowhere) where Satan is given the key that “opens and shuts.” We do not read of that anywhere in the Bible and anyone that thinks God would give Satan the key to the bottomless pit would have no basis for that kind of an idea. This is not referring to Satan at all, but it is referring to the One that put Satan in the “bottomless pit.”
Let is just look at the word “key” first. Look at Isaiah 22:20-22:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
This is a Messianic reference to Christ. He is the “son of David” and that is why it says: “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder.” We know, without any question, that Jesus is in view because those verses are quoted in Revelation 3:7:
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Then it goes on to say in Revelation 3:8:
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
It was Christ Himself who opened up a door of utterance, a door of salvation and a door to heaven in the midst of the churches and congregations. And no man could shut that door throughout the period that God had determined to use the churches as a vessel to represent His kingdom on earth. No man could shut the door to heaven which was ministered by the churches during the church age period of 1,955 years. However, God Himself set a time limit on that door and that limit would be when God determined to end the church age at a particular point in time, according to the timetable for His program of “times and seasons.”
So God opened the door and Satan tried his best to shut that door all through the many centuries of the church age; there was a spiritual battle raging, as Satan sought to pervert the Gospel and turn whole congregations away from the truth (and he was successful in some degree), in order to shut the door to heaven as individuals were being saved out of his kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Yet, Satan could not shut the door (and no man could) that God had opened in order to save many men during the period of the church age, but God did shut the door on May 21, 1988. When He ended the church age, He shut the door which He speaks of here in Revelation 3:8: “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.”
But God is not a man, so God shut the door upon the churches and now they try with all their might (and they have tried persistently) to dispute and argue and claim that there is still salvation in their midst, and, yet, none of them – no church, no denomination, no pastor or man of renown, or anyone at all – have been able to open the door, even a crack, in order that even one soul could become saved since God shut it. It is a vain activity to fight against God. If God has shut it, then you cannot open it, and I cannot open it, and no one can open it.
That is what God would also have us to know concerning the things that He did on May 21, 2011, that date that was exactly 7,000 years from the flood. What was the tie-in and what did God associate with that date more than with anything else? Yes, it was 7,000 years from the flood and we know there is a relationship of judgment, as God first destroyed the world with water and now, at the end, He will destroy the world with fire, but what tied in with that date of May 21, 2011? It was the truth that in the Book of Genesis we read that it was on “the seventeenth day of the second month,” after God had told Noah, “For yet seven days and I will cause it to rain upon the earth,” and “the seventeenth day of the second month” was seven days later when God did begin to bring the rain and the flood waters, but He also shut Noah and his family and all the animals into the ark. He shut Noah in, the Bible says. God is one who did this. Let me read this because it is interesting and very significant that we do not read that Noah carefully secured the door behind him and shut it. That would mean Noah did the action, but that is not what it says in Genesis 7:15-16:
And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, whereinis the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and JEHOVAH shut him in.
JEHOVAH shut the door. By the way, occasionally you will find a naysayer that will say, “It does not say that He shut a door.” Well, you tell me what JEHOVAH shut then, to secure all the souls within the ark? There was only one door and it had to be the door that was shut, and God uses that word “shut” in many instances when referencing a “door.” So even though the word “door” is not used, the context demands that a door was shut, and that is what God shut to close Noah and his family and all that had the breath of life into the ark, securing their safety and, thereby, guaranteeing the destruction of all that were outside that door.
And on May 21, 2011, exactly seven thousand years later...and what does God say in the context of the flood and the end of the world, in 2nd Peter 3:10: “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” So when we apply that Biblical principal of one day as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day with God’s statement to Noah that “Yet seven days and I will cause it to rain,” then we go seven thousand years from 4990 B.C., and it falls on May 21, 2011. And the Great Tribulation was an exact period of 23 years; it began on May 21, 1988 and ended on May 21, 2011, a full and exact 8,400 days and an exact 23 years to the selfsame day, on that particular day (and not another day…and you know, there are 365 days in the year, so the odds are that if this were only coincidence, then it would have fallen on another day), which had the underlying Hebrew calendar date of “the seventeenth day of the second month,” on May 21, 2011. The significance of that is that this is the date that God gives in Genesis 7 when God shut Noah and his family in the ark. And now seven thousand years later, God has the Great Tribulation end on the very date that the flood began and God shut the door of the ark.
Some people wonder why the child of God will not let these things go. These are amazing truths and amazing facts and these facts have not been proven wrong in any way and, therefore, the Bible still continues to insist upon them. And God is continuing to insist that this day, May 21, 2011, was the Day of Judgment, the character of which was a day in which God shut the door to heaven. That is what He did to the churches. That is what happened to the churches and congregations and they never realized it; and now that is what God has done to the entire world.
Of course, the world would never understand these things; they do not recognize spiritual truths. The world denies there is even a God because they cannot see Him. No – the world operates in the physical realm; they need information that their senses can process and not spiritual truths and not the Bible’s teachings. They do not see that and they could not care less. Yet, according to the Bible and according to God (because He is the one who wrote the Bible), May 21, 2011, was Judgment Day. It was the day of transition. It was the day that God did to the world what He had earlier done to the churches and now the door to heaven is shut and as God says, if He opens something, no man can shut it. That is a wonderful truth for every child of God – that no man can ever harm the believer if God has done something in our lives.
And, likewise, if God has shut something, as He did to the Gospel within the churches, you can strive, you can argue, you can pout and you can stomp your feet and say, “My God would never do such a thing. My God would never leave the churches.” Yet, the truth is that He did and, likewise, He has now left the world in darkness and the world is shut out of the kingdom of heaven.