Revelation of Hope
Introduction – In this Session we will complete Revelation Chapter 9. We continue the 7 Trumpet cycle in the context of the spiritual warfare in the unseen realms in relation to the destruction of the land of Judea, Jerusalem and the Temple.
The Sixth Trumpet is about to blow and we will see the most descriptive language on the subject of spiritual warfare and the assignment of demons ever found in Scripture. As we continue to read through the Revelation, I want to remind us that we are approaching the Revelation from the Historist View that sees a partial fulfillment of the Revelation in the First Century, and in the real history surrounding the destruction of Judea, Jerusalem and the Temple.
The point of this verse by verse study of the Revelation, is to demystify the book and place it in the proper context of the First Century hearer and prove that the prophecies of Jesus concerning the generation that rejected Him, and His prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the desolation of the land were fulfilled in the First Century. To project the book of Revelation into the future is to dismiss the real history of Jews, the Church, and the prophecies of Jesus, and to engage in a very serious speculation about the future we live in now.
a) The sixth angel blows the trumpet – In previous sessions we learned that in Scripture trumpets were used to sound the alarm of war, to gather the assembly to worship or feast, or as a command to march. In the context of this prophetic book, the 7 trumpets are the alarm of war against those who have rejected Jesus as Messiah.
b) The voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. The symbolism is important to note here. This is the true altar before God’s throne. The horns of the altar are significant because this was the place where the sins of the community were covered by blood in the Old Covenant Sacrificial System. See Leviticus 4:13-18. A First Century believer would have connected this altar to the earthly altar in Jerusalem and seen its fulfillment in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sin. The symbolism of gold represents the Royal Authority of God, and the abundance of power and the wealth of His Kingdom.
c) The voice from the altar that is before God’s throne is authoritative and holds the power of the decree of God. God’s people are covered by the blood of Jesus have access to His presence and throne.
a) The Great River Euphrates is the Northern most natural boundary between the land of Judea and the pagan kingdoms of the North, i.e. Babylonians, Assyrians, etc. In Scripture the area of the Euphrates is described as the place where the judgments of God on the land of Israel originate. See Jer. 6:1, 22; 10:22; 13:20; 25:9, 26; 46:20, 24; 47:2; Ezek. 26:7; 38:6, 15; 39:2
b) A First Century Jewish believer would have associated the area as the place where the judgments of God come on the land of Israel.
c) The reference to the angels being bound – Greek – DEŌ – to bind – bound with chains – to bind, fasten with chains, to throw into chains – or can be used as a metaphor for satanic influence – the same word is used in Luke 13:16 by Jesus to describe the woman who was bent over by satanic influence in her life. These 4 angles can be identified as angels who are in allegiance with satan. See Revelation 9:11
d) Their assignment is to release the hell of war and death on the land in response the Jewish rejection of Jesus.
e) It is important to note that their assignment was at a specific time, day, month and year. If this already happened in history we would have no expectation of anything like this in the future.
f) To kill a third of mankind – The Greek word anthrōpos is used here in verse 15, it simply means people, male or female. When we think of the word in our cultural context we think of the whole human race. This is not in view here. It refers to a large group of people. History tells us that vast numbers of people perished in the destruction of the land of Judea and during the siege of Jerusalem. Josephus says approximately 1.1 million died in Jerusalem alone.
a) The number of the mounted troops – 200 million – Greek – DISMYRIAS – double myriad, an innumerable number – To take this number literally is to miss the point that what is being described is that a vast demonic army will be loosed on the Land, Jerusalem and the Temple. The identity of these mounted troops will be given to us verses 17-19. It is also error to associate this demon army with a physical army, as the clear context of these verses in the taking place “in the Spirit”.
a) The symbolism of the demon horses and riders –
b) Fiery Red – A description of demonic anger and the association with the Dragon/satan
c) Dark Blue as opposed the Heavenly Blue hues of God’s realm speak of them belonging to a false dominion.
d) Yellow like sulfur – This is symbolic of being allied with hell as sulfur and brimstone come from hell.
e) Horses with lions heads – Symbolic for the fierceness and devouring attacks that these demons loose on the Land. Horses are symbols of warfare, and power in warfare in Scripture.
f) Out of mouth – No words, only the stench of hell. There is no breath of life in the mouths of satan or demons. The absence of the Breath of Life brings death.
a) The power was in their mouths and tails. Again we continue with the symbolic description of the demon horses. The tails like snakes, continue the symbolism of these demon horses being empowered by the serpent, satan.
b) The Greek word for injury used here is interesting. ADIKEŌ – to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin, – to be a criminal, to have violated the laws in some way – to do wrong – to hurt. We can see from a natural reading of the original use of the word that this would be injurious in terms of sin that hurts the souls of people and bring spiritual death as well as physical death when it is manifested in the natural realm.
c) We are seeing a very descriptive narrative of the spiritual warfare that accompanied God’s judgment on Jerusalem, as this was the generation that rejected Jesus Christ as Messiah. Many times in Old Testament Scripture we see God using the enemies of Israel to be tools of judgment, and then in turn we see God judge their enemies according to what they had done to Israel. We see this same flow in Revelation as satan and his demons are judged are destroyed in the lake of fire. See Revelation 20.
a) The Old Covenant Temple and worship system as devoid of life when Jesus was sacrificed for sin on the cross, raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven. The Temple worship had become useless and the symbolic Temple elements that were to lead Israel to Jesus, became idolatrous.
b) Gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood were all used in Temple worship as either building materials, or materials associated with the Temple instruments.
c) When God is not present, every expression of worship is void and open to the influence of demons. The Temple and the Law at this point had become useless and lacked any ability to save, cover sin, or please God.
d) John refers to Psalm 115 in verse 20.
e) Josephus gives a detailed list of supernatural documented warnings given to this generation to cause them to repent. – See the list below
f) Sign of the Son of Man in the sky – Josephus documented seven signs in detail. The parallel passage here is Luke 21:11.” Fearful sights and great signs from heaven.”
g) A meteor in the shape of a sword hung over Jerusalem for 12 months of which he eye witnessed.
h) On the eighth month of Zanthicus, before the feast of unleavened bread, a light shined around the altar as bright as the light of day for about ½ hour.
i) At Passover, before the destruction of Jerusalem a heifer gave birth to a lamb on its way to sacrificial altar. Josephus documents this in detail. This is the same season in which our Lord became the one sacrifice.
j) In the night, a bronze gate to the Temple that required 20 men to close was blown wide open.
k) After a Passover feast, before the setting of the sun, chariots and armed men were seen in the air, passing around Jerusalem.
l) At Pentecost that same year, the priests in the Temple heard murmuring that eventually came to loud voices that said, “let us depart from here”.
m) Josephus says the most fearful sign, was a prophet from the lower class, Ananus, during the feast of tabernacles before the destruction of Jerusalem, declared all thru the city, “a voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jersusalem, a voice against bridegrooms and brides, a voice against the whole people.” This man was scourged, but showed no sign of fear or pain, he prophesied this over and over, and became casualty in the siege from a Roman war engine, as he prophesied his own death.
a) God’s judgments on Jerusalem were for the purpose of repentance. The Lord gives every opportunity for the human heart to repent. Greek – METANOEŌ – to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent – to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins
b) John lists the crimes of the generation of those who rejected Jesus.
c) Murders – The crucifixion of Jesus, the stoning of Steven, and the Church – See Acts 2:23, 36; 3:14-15; 4:26; 7:51-52, 58-60
d) Sorceries/Magic Arts – Simon the Sorcerer – See Acts 8:9, 11; 13:6-11; 19:13-15; cf. Rev. 18:23; 21:8; 22:15
e) Sexual Immoralities – The description of sexual sins, rape, and spiritual adultery were all present in this generation. See – Rev 2:14; 2:20; 2:21; 9:21; 14:8; 17:2 [twice]; 17:4; 18:3 [twice]; 18:9; 19:2 – Josephus comments – “These men, therefore, trampled upon all the laws of man, and laughed at the laws of God; and as for the oracles of the prophets, they ridiculed them as the tricks of jugglers; yet did these prophets foretell many things concerning the rewards of virtue, and punishments of vice, which when these zealots violated, they occasioned the fulﬁlling of those very prophecies belonging to their own country.” – “Neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world.” – “I suppose that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overﬂowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed.”
f) Thefts – This crime in the OT is associated with apostasy– See Isa. 61:8; Jer. 7:9-10; Ezek. 22:29; Hos. 4:1-2; Mark 11:17; Rom. 2:21; James 5:1 g) In the next Chapter we begin another Interlude before the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet.
Source Material: Josephus.org David Chilton – Days of Vengeance The Apocalypse Code – Hank Hanegraaff G. Davis Dean – The Revelation of Jesus Christ Blue Letter Bible.com Preterist Archive.com Charles Taylor – Commentary on the Book of Revelation George Eldon Ladd – Commentary on the Book of Revelation George Eldon Ladd – The Gospel of the Kingdom Loraine Boettner – The Millenium Harold Eberle – Victorious Eschatology Holman Bible Dictionary Strongs Concordance NIV – Interlinear Greek New Testament- NASB – Interlinear Greek New Testament Jonathan Welton – Raptureless George Peter Holford – The Destruction of Jerusalem Wikipedia Rapture Fever – Gary North The Prophets Dictionary – Price Vines Expository Bible Dictionary