Revelation 9 records the fifth and sixth blast of the angelic trumpets. With each blast, another calamity is poured out upon a Christ-rejecting world. While each of these is intriguing in themselves, two things stand out to me as I read through them.
First, it strikes me, the judgment of God does not come in a single stroke. It is spread throughout seven trumpet blasts, the pouring forth of seven bowls, and a multitude of other expressions. The message screams at me, God truly does not want men to perish. Each judgment is strong enough to grab attention, while allowing many to have the opportunity to respond by crying out to Jesus for salvation. No doubt, many will respond during the tribulation. Sadly however, many will also reject, seeking death rather than conversion. The same is true today. Some, who hear of the love and grace of God, decide to follow Him, while others reject Him, thinking they can escape judgment by ignoring it. Don’t misinterpret the patience and mercy of God, by thinking His judgment can be evaded by ignoring it. Cry out today for Jesus to save and transform you.
Second, I am struck by the fact that God makes a distinction between those who belong to Him and those who do not. A mark is placed on the forehead of all who believe. We are not sure what this mark is or whether others can see it, but we do know it is a distinguishing mark, affecting how a person is treated by God. Those with the mark avoid the judgment. Currently, there is no mark on the forehead of genuine believers. Instead, the evidence of true conversion is the indwelling of the Spirit of God. The Spirit is manifested in that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. God has always been in the business of making a distinction between His people and those who do not yet follow Him. In Egypt, the Israelites avoided many of the plagues; in the tribulation, those with the mark of God, will avoid much of the calamity caused by judgment. Today, the child of God dwells under the mighty hand of God, in a place of sweet fellowship peace and comfort.
Questions for Revelation 9
Beginning in chapter 6, we have seen the terrible judgments that come upon the world during the time of the Great Tribulation. They began as the seven seals were opened and they continued as the first four of seven trumpets have sounded. In this chapter the trouble continues.
1. Read verses 1-2 and 11. This star that is fallen from heaven is it an actual star? What is it?
2. In verse 2, what effect does the opening of the bottomless pit have upon the atmosphere of the earth?
3. “Locusts” are released from the bottomless pit and in verses 3-5 we see learn about what they can do. What do they have power to do? What are the limitations of their power? How long will they affect man? Who are they not allowed to touch?
4. Verse 6 tells us that in those days men will desire to die but will not be able to. What causes a person to desire death? Do people feel this way today? Read Ephesians 2:12-13 and 1Peter 1:3 to see an antidote.
5. Verses 7-10 paint us a picture of these locusts. Note the frequent use of the word like. John must reference things he does know to describe something that he has never seen before. What do you think about the appearance of these locusts? Based on their appearance, do you think that they are actual locusts?
6. When the sixth angel sounds his trumpet we see four others angels released. We’ll get into the details of how next, but what is their job?
7. Do some quick math. If the earth has 6 billion people at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, and one fourth of those died as a result of the opening of the first four seals (Rev 6:8), then how many were left? Now as these four angels release an army upon the earth, one third of the remaining population of the earth will die. How many people are left?
8. In verses 16-19 we are shown a massive army that the four angels will send forth. Although it is possible that this is an army of men, after reading the description of this army, does that seem likely?
9. What is the response of the remaining people on the earth to these frightening consequences of rejecting and rebelling against God? Why would God allow these things to happen? Look up Proverbs 3:12 and Matthew 23:37.