8:13 "And I beheld,
and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice,
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!"
There are two general
classes of people identified for us in the scriptures: elect and non-elect. The
elect are said to be chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph.
1:4). According to the covenant of redemption they are predestinated, called,
justified, and glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). The non-elect are the ones by
definition that were not chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.
They are not predestinated, called, justified, or glorified.
Within the category of the
elect, there are three states in which they exist:
The elect who are called, heard the gospel, and believe the truth.
2. The elect who
are called, but have not heard the gospel or believed the truth.
3. The elect who
haven't yet been called and thus have not yet any interest in the gospel or the
According to our previous
studies, especially in chapter 7, those of the elect who have been called into
spiritual life and have heard the gospel and have believed the truth are said to
have their father's name sealed in their forehead.
There are three woes
pronounced in the above verse. As the book of Revelations has already dealt
with those who have their Father's name sealed in their foreheads, the three
woes deal with those of the elect who have been called, but not yet heard the
gospel or believed the truth, and to those of the elect who have not yet been
spiritually called or born of the Spirit. We see the eternal and timely
judgments of God pronounced in these three woes.
Rev 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. 2 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."
In this passage of scripture
there are four signs that we need to understand: the star, the key, the
bottomless pit, and the smoke of the bottomless pit.
Let us begin by looking at
the bottomless pit. The phrase "bottomless pit" comes from two Greeks words, "abussos,"
and "phrear." Abussos means abyss or depthless. Phrear means pit or well.
Corresponding to phrear in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word, "she'owl,"
meaning grave, hell, or the pit. We can eliminate the grave as a meaning here
because of the descriptive term, bottomless. The following verses of scripture
give us a better understanding of what "she'owl" is and its purpose:
1. De. 32:22
"For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and
shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of
the mountains." Thus this "hell" indicates the "anger" of the Lord and the
"fire" of his judgment or vengeance.
2. Ps. 116:3
"The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I
found trouble and sorrow." This indicates an association between hell and
pains, trouble and sorrow.
3. Pro. 15:24 "The
way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath."
This indicates a timely application to the word hell and that God's children can
depart from a hell on earth.
4. Jon. 2:2 "And
said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out
of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice." Jonah relates
his experience in the belly of the great fish as being in the "belly of hell."
Thus God's children can suffer hell in this life.
However, they are in no
danger of being cast into the lake of fire in the end of time, for Christ has
redeemed them from their sins.
5. Ps. 9:17
"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."
You can't forget something that you didn't know to begin with. Thus we have
people who knew God that later forgot God. That is they forget him in the walks
of life. Thus we conclude that God's people can have their lives turned into
hell as they live by the actions and decisions that they make.
From the above we may draw
the following conclusions:
1. Hell describes
God's anger and judgment against sin, both eternally and timely.
2. Hell involves
pain, trouble, sorrow, and destruction to those who suffer it.
3. God's people
can suffer a timely hell on earth, but are exempted from an eternal hell because
of the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. God's people
by their action can deliver themselves from hell here in time, or brings
themselves into hell here in time but their actions do not affect their eternal
5. It is by the
mercies of God that we are delivered from hell, both timely and eternally.
Next, let us look at the
smoke of the pit as it is described as the smoke of a great furnace. The smoke
of a great furnace is often used to describe God's justice:
1. Gen. 19:28
"And he looked toward Sodom and
Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke
of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace."
2. Ex. 9:10 "And
they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it
up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and
3. Ex. 19:18 "And
mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in
fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole
mount quaked greatly."
4. De. 4:20 "But
the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out
of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day."
5. Is. 48:10
"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the
furnace of affliction."
6. Ezek. 22:20
"As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst
of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in
mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. 21
Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall
be melted in the midst thereof. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of
the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that
I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you."
7. Matt. 13:42
"And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing
Next, we look at the key.
Please notice that this verse doesn't say keys, but says, "the key" indicating
that there is only one key. A key, of course, is used to lock or unlock
something. He that has the key has the ability to lock something up or to
unlock something and loose the contents. It all resides in the power and
authority of the one who has the key.
Finally, we notice the one
who has the key. It is said to be a star fall from heaven. The word, fall,
comes from the Greek word, pipto, sometimes meaning to "alight on." The star is
identified for us in Rev. 20:1 "And I saw an angel come down from heaven,
having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And
he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and
bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and
shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no
more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be
loosed a little season." Since only the Lord has the power and ability to
bind Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit, we must conclude that the Lord
is the "star" that alighted upon the earth as he said, "For I came down from
heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." It is
the Lord who has the ability to cast into the bottomless pit or to deliver from
the bottomless pit: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able
to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and
body in hell."
"And the sun and the air
were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit."
This has application both timely and eternally. To the non-elect a part of the
judgment of sin is to be cast into the mist of darkness forever and to be
eternally separated from God. However, God's children can be cast into outer
darkness here in time and suffer the pains of hell for a season. Not being able
to see the "Sun of Righteousness" in the daily workings of our lives is a part
of the timely judgment upon God's disobedient children.
Rev 9:3-11 "And there came
out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the
scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they
should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any
tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they
should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a
scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek
death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from
them. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto
battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces
were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and
their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as
it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of
chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like
unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to
hurt men five months. 11 And they had a king over them, which is the
angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in
the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
Locusts were one of the
judgmental plagues sent upon the land of Egypt during the time God
delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt:
1. Ex. 10:4
"Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the
locusts into thy coast: 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth,
that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that
which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every
tree which groweth for you out of the field: 6 And they shall fill thy
houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians;
which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day
that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out
2. Ex. 10:12
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for
the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of
the land, even all that the hail hath left. 13 And Moses stretched forth
his rod over the land of Egypt, and
the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night;
and when it was morning, the east
wind brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts went up over all the
land of Egypt, and rested in all the
coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts
as they, neither after them shall be such.
For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened;
and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which
the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in
the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt."
Scorpions are mentioned
eleven times in the scripture and four of the times it is used in connection
with chastisement: "And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke,
I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will
chastise you with scorpions."
This plague of the locusts
was directed to a particular group of people: "but only those men which have
not the seal of God in their foreheads." Thus those who have the seal of
God in their foreheads were exempted from this plague. As we have before shown,
those who have the seal of God in their foreheads are those of the elect who
have heard the gospel and believed it and trusted in Christ for their eternal
salvation and then were sealed with the holy spirit of promise: Eph. 1:13 "In
whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy
Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the
redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
The people to whom the
plague of locusts was sent are further restricted in the fact that they were not
destroyed by the plague: "And to them it was given that they should not kill
them, but that they should be tormented five months." This brings us to the
conclusion that the plague of the locusts was directed to the elect who haven't
heard or believed the truth so as to trust in Christ for their eternal
salvation. These are the ones Paul spoke of in Rom. 10:1 Brethren, my
heart's desire and prayer to God for
Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to
knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going
about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto
the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for
righteousness to every one that believeth."
"And it was
commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any
green thing, neither any tree." This manifests that the eternal life of the
elect who haven't heard or believed the gospel is secure. Green is the bible
color associated with life. The grass, the green thing, and the tree are all
green and manifest life. When Job suffered the loss of his possession, his
children, and his health, the Lord told Satan, "And the LORD said unto Satan,
Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life." While it is true that
Satan has no power over the eternal life of anyone, yet this verse teaches us
that God in the chastisement of his children only allows the power of Satan to
go so far. All the elect are preserved in Christ Jesus and their eternal life
is just that "eternal."
When a person is
born of the Spirit, God writes his laws in their heart and mind:
1. Heb. 8:10
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will
put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:"
2. Heb. 10:16 "This
is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I
will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;"
3. 2 Cor. 3:3 "Forasmuch
as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us,
written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of
stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."
4. Rom. 2:15
Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also
bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one
In essence God sets up a
courtroom in the heart and mind of his born again children. The foundation of
the judicial system is the laws that God has written and placed in their heart
and mind. They have their heart sprinkled from an evil conscience (Heb.
10:22) which serves as the
witness in this courtroom. Their thoughts which either accuse or excuse them
are both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney in this courtroom.
Their heart, which either condemns them or condemns them not (I John 3:20, 21),
is the judge in this courtroom. Once they are born of the Spirit they begin to
see themselves and their judicial state before God in light of the laws written
in their heart. Their conscience begins to bear witness against them. Their
thoughts accuse them and their heart condemns them. In their heart and mind
they are brought to a state of conviction or condemnation before a just and holy
God. The problem isn't just one or two sins, but a plague of sins (locusts).
Thus in their heart and mind coming out of the smoke of God's judgment is a
plague (locusts) of sins in their lives and it begins to torment those born
again children of God. The torment or sting of those sins is compared to the
sting of a scorpion. The sting of a scorpion has been compared to the burning
of hot coals upon flesh. Thus in the heart and mind of an elect born again
child of God, the conviction of sins torments his mind. This torment comes out
of the bottomless pit and is as the torment of hell. Thus as we have already
shown, God's children can suffer hell here in time.
This conviction of sin is a
torment common to God's children, especially before they come to a knowledge of
the truth through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some examples of people in the
scriptures who underwent this torment as follows:
1. Isaiah said in
Is. 6:5 "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of
unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine
eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
2. The publican
in Lk.18:13 said, "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so
much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful
to me a sinner."
3. Paul said of
his own experiences, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the
body of this death?"
4. It was said of
many of those gathered on the day of Pentecost when they heard the accusation
that they were guilty of the blood and death of Jesus: "Now when they heard
this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of
the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Their torment was said to be
five months. Five is the bible number associated with death. Death is a
separation. Their torment wasn't an eternal separation from God, but rather was
the felt loss of fellowship with God due to their felt condemnation of sins.
"And in those days shall
men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall
flee from them." A person who feels
his condemnation because of sins in the courtroom of his heart and mind soon
sees the utter hopelessness of being able to deliver himself from that
condition, though he tries mightily to do so. He begins to despair of life
itself and to seek to find a remedy for his wretched condition even to the point
of death if that would deliver him from the torment of his heart and mind.
"And the shapes of the
locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle."
The phrase "horses prepared unto battle" indicates a warfare. Sin wars against
the soul: 1 Pet. 2:11 "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and
pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." Also in
Gal. 5:17 we read, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit
against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would." While this warfare is present for all
born-again children of God throughout their lives, yet for those who haven't
felt their sins to be forgiven through the blood of Christ, this warfare is a
torment to their mind.
"And on their heads were
as it were crowns like gold." Crowns
are a symbol in the scripture of reigning Kings. Sin reigns in the lives of
some of God's people:
1. Rom. 5:21
"That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
2. Rom. 6:12
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the
The spiritually born child
of God who hasn't yet heard and believed the true gospel sees sin reigning in
his life and sees himself powerless or helpless to do anything about it, though
often he feels like he can somehow through his own efforts overcome sin. Seeing
sin reign in his life is a torment to such an individual.
"And their faces were as
the faces of men." Sin is a mankind
problem. When Adam transgressed in the garden, he brought the condemnation of
sin upon himself and all his posterity. Furthermore, he brought himself and all
his posterity under the bondage and depravity of sin. When Isaiah declared
himself in a state of woe because of sin he identified not only himself as a man
of unclean lips, but he also said that he was dwelling in the midst of a people
with unclean lips. However, the fact that all of mankind are sinners is no
consolation to the child of God who feels the wretchedness and condemnation of
"And they had hair as the
hair of women." 1 Cor. 11:14 "Doth not even nature itself teach you,
that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman
have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a
covering." For a man to have long hair such that a woman does is a shame.
Sin is a shame to all of mankind. Furthermore, it is a shame to each one of us
individually. It is this individual feeling of shame that torments the
"And their teeth were as
the teeth of lions." Lions use
their teeth to destroy and tear the prey. Sin is the destroyer of mankind and
of each of us individually.
"And they had
breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron."
Iron is associated in the scriptures with bondage. Sin brings its victims into
bondage. We are by nature under the bondage of the law of sin and death. This
bondage is an impenetrable bondage. We being dead in trespasses and sins cannot
deliver ourselves from the bondage of sin. Only the Lord can deliver us from
this bondage and he did this through the law of the spirit of life in Christ
"And the sound of their
wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle."
In the spirit born child of God's warfare against sin, the enemy has a huge
numerical advantage. The immensity of sin in the lives of God children can
certainly be intimidating. Only when the person comes to understand that Christ
took all of our sins and nailed them to the tree of his cross and separated them
from us as far as the east is from the west do we get a true rest from the
burden of sin guiltiness.
"And they had a king over
them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue
is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
It comes as no surprise that sin has a king and this king is Satan. The terms
Abaddon and Apollyon both mean destroyer. The following verses show Satan as
1. 1 Cor. 5:5 "To
deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit
may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
2. 1 Pet. 5:8
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
3. Lk. 22:31
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that
he may sift you as wheat:"
4. John 10:10
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come
that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
This timely condemnation and
conviction in the hearts and minds of God's born again people is of the mercies
of God that they might see themselves to be sinners and to know the exceeding
sinfulness of sin and therefore begin to seek a Saviour. It is impossible for a
man to seek a saviour until he has first felt the conviction of sin in his
heart. The true gospel of Jesus Christ, when believed, delivers one from the
heart-felt condemnation of sin and gives him rest from going about trying to get
right with God to resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ.