Revelation Notes

ã Copyright Ron Graff, 2000-2013

Note: The New International Version (NIV) is used unless otherwise indicated.
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The Revelation
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- Introduction & Part 1

- Part 2

- Part 3




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Mark of the Beast





Mark of the Beast



The End/
New Beginning
          5F.  The Fifth Trumpet - Striking by Locusts 9:1-12 BLB
            1G.  The Diabolical Pit  9:1-2 BLB

1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.
2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.

In this case the falling star is actually an angelic being. Satan fits this description best since He was created as the Anointed Cherub, a position of prominence among the angels (Ezekiel 28:14 Isaiah 14:4-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 are addressed to earthly rulers, but obviously refer to Satan's own history and work since he controlled the human rulers. Isaiah 14:12 says "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!" (NAS)

The Dragon of Revelation 12 is the Devil, another name for Satan (v.9). He is seen there sweeping away a third of the stars (angels) of heaven, and waging war against God, then being cast out of heaven (vv. 7-9, 12-13).

Satan is given the key, presumably from Jesus Christ, who, according to Revelation 1:18 holds the keys of death and Hades. This key to the Abyss might well be one of these keys.

            2G.  The Demonic Plague  9:3-10 BLB
              1H.  Their Actions  9:3-6 BLB

3 And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.
4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
5 They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
6 During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

Once the Abyss, or Bottomless Pit is opened, its demonic inhabitants are set loose for the purpose of torturing people. Like locusts, they are numerous and destructive. Like scorpions, they inflict pain. But they are not allowed to kill. Here, as in the whole book of Revelation, God's Sovereignty is seen. He sets the limits of what is permitted (Job 2:6; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Those who have the seal of God on their foreheads can not be harmed by these demonic mutations. Some take this to mean all believers since we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). However, it probably refers to the 144,000 servants of God from Revelation 7:3 who are marked or sealed on their foreheads before any further plagues were permitted.

The pain inflicted by this judgment is so severe that men who are afflicted would rather die than suffer the continuous torment (five months), but they are not allowed to take the easy course of death. This length of time may be allowed by God to give men the possibility to repent, though it appears from the last verses of this chapter that none of them do so (Revelation 9:19-20). Those who have hardened their heart against God would probably not even repent in hell itself.

              2H.  Their Appearance  9:7-10 BLB

7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces.
8 Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth.
9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle.
10 They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months

Further information is given about these malignant creatures. Each description is symbolic of some aspect of their power and activity.

They are like horses prepared for battle: descriptive of strength. They seem to have crowns of gold, standing for power and authority, limited as it is by God's order that they may not kill their victims. Human faces imply intelligence. Hair like a woman's hair would be totally unnatural for insect-like monsters and would add to the confusion about their nature. The lion's teeth picture ferocity, breastplates of iron show that they are invincible. Like normal locusts, they have wings. Wings symbolize mobility and speed. Because of their extraordinary powers, their sound in flight is loud and terrifying like horses and chariots in battle.

            3G.  The Destructive Potentate  9:11-12 BLB

11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.
12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of this fifth trumpet judgment is that these monstrosities are actually the demons which have been imprisoned in the Abyss, or Bottomless Pit (Luke 8:31; Jude 6). They have a leader of their fallen ranks, named Abaddon, or "Destroyer." This is a Hebrew word which is used in connection with hell, and normally refers to it as the place of destruction (Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11; 27:20). It occurs only here as the name of a person. Apollyon is the exact Greek equivalent of the same name. This name is found only here.

          6F.  The Sixth Trumpet - Slaying of
               One- third of the Population  9:13-21 BLB
            1G.  The Command from Heaven  
                    9:13-16 BLB
            2G.  The Consuming Holocaust  9:17-19 BLB
            3G.  The Conscious Hardness  9:20-21 BLB

13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God.
14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.
18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.
19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshipping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood-- idols that cannot see or hear or walk.

21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The Sixth Trumpet is also the Second Woe. It is a judgment of great magnitude. It begins with the release of four evil angels (demons) from the area of the Euphrates River, the approximate location of the early evil empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Assyria. They are allowed to kill a third of the people on the Earth. They accomplish this is by mobilizing a force of 200 million soldiers. It is only in recent times that it would be conceivable to raise an army of that size. Today China has that many people who could serve as soldiers.
Each of these 200 million troops has equipment resembling modern weaponry, with fire, smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. They employ horses, symbolic of modern tanks, with "tails" able to inflict injury.

Even after all the agony and death inflicted by these judgments, the survivors are not willing to repent or to stop worshipping demons and idols. There is a process of hardening of one's heart. It is illustrated in the case of Pharaoh during the days of Moses. He hardened His heart repeatedly, and then God actually hardened it too! (Exodus 8:19, 32; 9:12,34; 10:1)

This hardening is explained in Romans 1:21-32. It starts with a conscious decision not to honor God, but to honor themselves instead. This results in idolatry. Idolatry in our age can take many forms. The word means, "to worship what can be seen." Some practice idolatry in the ancient way of venerating a man-made image of something that represents their false god. In New Age religious thought there is worship of the creation itself, such as "Mother Earth," or use of sacred objects, such as crystals. Other people, who do not consider themselves religious at all, often venerate material possessions: in essence, worshipping materialism and wealth. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), but when man's rebellion has reached a certain point, He "gives them over" to their lusts and degrading passions.

Since the Trumpet judgments appear to take place during the Great Tribulation, the second half of the seven years of the Tribulation, these people will have received the Mark of The Beast, which is an unforgivable act of worship of Antichrist.(Revelation 14:9-11; 20:4). This also helps to explain why none of them are willing to repent.

        (  )  Parenthetical Explanations  10:1-11:14 BLB
            1G.  About God's Program  10:1-7 BLB

In preparation for the next section a mighty angel brings a scroll. He says that there will be no more delay.

            2G.  About John's Prophecy  10:8-11 BLB

8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land."
9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey."
10 I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.
11 Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

The little scroll tastes sweet to the prophet. This is probably symbolic of the sweet privilege of being used by God to transmit the prophetic vision. However, it is sour in the prophet's stomach because of the dreadful nature of the message for those who are in rebellion against God.

            3G.  About Gentile Power  11:1-2 BLB

1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there.
2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.

The newly-rebuilt Temple will have been desecrated by Antichrist at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, which lasts three and one-half years, or 42 months. The outer court, the court of the Gentiles was not to be measured because Gentiles are occupying this area again. There is also the possibility that the Moslem Dome of The Rock will still be standing in the outer court.

            4G.  About Two Prophets  11:3-14 BLB

3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth."
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.
6 These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.
8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
9 For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.

10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.
12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

This parenthetical section is about Two Witnesses who are given supernatural power to prophesy, to perform miracles and to speak the truth boldly without fear of being captured or killed for a period of 1260 days. This is the same length of as the 42 months of verse 2 in this same chapter. The 42 months, in turn, is the same as 3 1/3 years, the exact duration of the second half of the Tribulation. This also corresponds to the period of Antichrist's reign in chapter 13, verse 5.

The identity of these two is not certain, but they could be Enoch and Elijah since these are the two people who were taken to heaven without dying (See Genesis 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:11). Since it is "appointed for men to die once..." (Hebrews 9:27), God may be planning to send these two back to conclude their life's work in this striking manner, and to die. Elijah was, of course, a prophet and it is said of Enoch that he prophesied too (Jude 14).

It is also possible that they will be Moses and Elijah since these were the two who appeared with Jesus in His transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). If this is the case, they would represent the two Old Testament periods of The Law and The Prophets. Moses did die, but he was with God alone when he did, and was personally buried by God (Deuteronomy 34:1-8). He was considered the greatest of prophets (Deuteronomy 34:10).

These Two Witnesses are identified as two olive trees. This is reminiscent of the imagery in Zechariah's prophecy of two olive trees which automatically supplied oil continuously to the Golden lampstand in the Temple Zechariah 4:1-14). The meaning given in the passage is that the work of rebuilding the Temple in Zerubabbel's days was "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6 - NAS) Likewise, though enemies are arrayed against God in the last days, His purposes will prevail by the power of His Holy Spirit.

The miraculous powers these two demonstrate are very much like the miracles performed by Moses and Elijah (Exodus chapters 4 through 12; 1 Kings 17:1,7; 18:1,19-45; 2 Kings 1:10-14). This is another indication that the Two Witnesses could be Moses and Elijah.

When their work is finished, God allows them to be put to death. The place of their death is Jerusalem, a city beloved of God, but known for killing the prophets (Matthew 23:37). Spiritually, Jerusalem can be compared to Sodom and Egypt, immoral places, which were condemned by the Lord. Ungodly people rejoice at their death because they had stood against all their evil deeds.

After three and a half days, the Two Witnesses are raised from the dead and caught up to heaven when they heard the words from heaven,: "Come up here." The Rapture of the Church happens at the beginning of The Tribulation, but this event toward the end of these seven years is similar, and may even be representative of what happens to the believing martyrs of this period of time.

          7F.  The Seventh Trumpet - Sovereignty of God
               11:15-19 BLB

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God,
17 saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth."
19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

The Seventh Trumpet, like the Seventh Seal, does not introduce an activity on earth, but looks to Heaven in anticipation of the next series of events. In this case, the next step is God taking His great power and beginning to reign on earth. Thus this last trumpet introduces the events leading up to the Battle of Armageddon.

The next few chapters explain important aspects of the total story, but they can not be taken strictly in chronological order. They focus on particular topics: Israel (chapter 12), Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast (chapter 13), the 144,000 sealed ones (chapter 14) (See 144000.), preparations for judgment (chapters 14-15), and then the Seven Vials (chapter 16) which are poured out in rapid succession, culminating in Judgment of Babylon (chapters 17 and 18), the Battle of Armageddon, and the glorious return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (chapter 19).

As the time approaches for Christ to return, it is also nearing the time for judging the dead and rewarding the faithful (chapters 20 and 21).


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Last Updated: 2/9/13
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