“And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.” – Revelation 9:5
There is a cloud of darkness moving upon the earth that threatens to engulf us. This cloud is a foreboding sign thick with a perverse and immoral smoke that shuts out light. The stench of it is overpowering. The weight of it crushes the innocent and seeks to steam roll anyone brave enough to resist it. This is a tornado of anarchy, a dust storm of secrecy and deception, and a haze that causes a moral migraine. Like a cyclone that sweeps up debris, this storm builds with things like chaotic demonstrations, putrid propaganda, the promotion of immoral lifestyles, and most sadly, the victimization of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. The storm is building. Now we see only samples of its severity. A time is coming when its severity will be unleashed in full force upon the earth.
Nearly fifty years ago the sanctity of human life was dealt a blow with the legalization of abortion. Since then over 60 million unborn children have been killed in the womb. The violence toward children has crept out of the womb as we see a rise in sex trafficking of children, rumors of removing age of consent laws, and a proliferation of pedophilia. It’s estimated that 8 million children go missing each year. There have been 320 million missing children in the last four decades. No doubt a high proportion of these missing children have experienced various abuses. Many have been murdered and will never be found. There is great pain being perpetrated physically and psychologically on the children of the world.
More recently we have seen a movement in society to legitimize LGBT gender choices. The “L” here stands for Lesbian, the “G” for Gay, the “B” for Bisexual, and the “T” for Transsexual. As gender designations have expanded to LGBTQIA we find ourselves having a difficult time keeping up. The relatively new “Q” stands for “questioning” or “Queer.” The “I” stands for “intersex” or “someone whose anatomy is not exclusively male or female.” And “A” represents someone who is an “Ally” or friend of the cause or an “asexual” who has no sexual attraction. These designations and the movement it represents have been birthed out of a public educational system that has long been coopted by those who have rejected the idea of there being absolute truths for all people. Instead they promote the idea that “truth” or “reality” can be different for individuals. One and one no longer equals two, if you personally don’t want it to. All of this gender confusion is the source of great pain. Those who experience such core confusion about who they are suffer pain. The efforts of a clueless culture that seeks to ameliorate the personal plight of these people by trying to legitimize such confusion only exacerbate the pain and prevent healing. There are absolute truths and realities in life. People who choose to deny reality and live in a fantasy existence will continue to suffer like a psychotic banging their head against a brick wall. To move forward and deal with our issues there must be a confrontation of reality and truth. Refusing to do so and resisting with demonstrations that are more like tantrums will only prolong the agony and create more pain.
Today politics is in the center ring. There is a clash between socialist globalists fighting to diminish national sovereignty versus freedom loving patriots. A generation of public school propaganda trained “justice warriors” are rising up to fight for what seems to be fewer rights and self-inflicting wounds. There’s a whole lot of arguing and accusing going on. Anyone with an opposing view is labelled in the most derogatory mean way as “haters,” “bigots,” or some other evil epithet. I grew up in the 60s and 70s with anti-war demonstrations galore. It was a time when cultural mores were tested and often discarded. Much of what we see today is the bad fruit birthed by those who embraced that time of social anarchy and amorality. But the disorder, antisocial evil, and deception we see today has been turned up a notch. Police are being openly barbarously executed. The media assassinates character on a regular basis. You are guilty until proven innocent. Objectivity and “reporting the truth” has been thrown out the window and replaced with partisan propaganda. Criminals and perpetrators are given sympathy while victims are ignored. The world is going wild and the structures that once held society together are being scorned, ripped up and torn down.
Such is the despair and angst in the world today that we see a rise in the suicide rate. People are taking their own lives more and more. Suicide can be a final act of defiance and cry for attention. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. There are 123 suicides per day and about 45,000 suicides per year in the United States. For every suicide there are 25 attempted suicides. More and more people are choosing suicide to stop their pain. That is a sad truth. But a sadder truth is that suicide is not the solution and may indeed be a pathway to even worse pain. 
Jesus described the devil as, “a murderer from the beginning,” one who, “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). There’s a lot of evidence of Satan’s involvement in the world today. We see his fingerprints everywhere. Wherever you see lies and murderous tendencies, acts that destroy life and deny truth, you can rest assured the devil and or his minions are at work. When we look at the clouds of darkness that are threatening to engulf our land we should know that Satan is the one stirring them up. “The sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Satan is the one “who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). Satan’s stingers are everywhere.
As bad as all of this cloudy stormy pain producing morass is, the Bible says it will only get worse. In the last few years we see Christians and conservative masses finally waking up. There is a movement to thwart the globalist agenda. There is a stand for righteousness and rightness being taken more and more in the public square. We are fighting back and it does seem that we have somewhat stemmed the tide of sinful storm. But the Bible says eventually things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
A time is coming when the restraining force of the Holy Spirit working through the Church will be removed from this world. When I say “Church” I don’t mean to refer to a denomination of some kind, I mean to refer to all those who have been spiritually regenerated by the Holy Spirit by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:4-7). The “Church” is composed of those who have been “born again” (John 3). “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The Church will depart, will be raptured out of this world, then all hell will break loose on this earth.
When the Church has been raptured from this earth, God will pour out His righteous wrath on a Christ-rejecting world (Revelation 6:16; 11:18). And when that happens the people of the earth will be shaken. They will be forced to admit, “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17). But God’s outpoured wrath is not merely punitive. No, God’s outpoured wrath is a final attempt to shake up and wake up the spiritually negligent. God loves the people of this world. He sent His only Son Jesus to redeem them and die an atoning death for them so they might be forgiven their sins (John 3:16). Having rejected His Son, having wasted God’s historical longsuffering and merciful waiting for people to repent, God will now use one final method to win the lost. God will resort to tough love. God will make every effort to shake even one last sinner from the tree of lost humanity.
This time of God’s outpoured wrath and righteous judgment is referred to in the Bible as the Tribulation (e.g. Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:9, 15, 2129). It is a time when God will once again work in this world through His people in the nation of Israel. He will anoint 144,000 apostle Paul like evangelists to minister throughout the earth (Revelation 7). He will use two resurrected prophetic witnesses that all the world will see (Revelation 11). He will even use an angel proclaiming the Gospel throughout the earth (Revelation 14:6). “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The “Hound of Heaven” is relentless in His pursuit of lost souls. He will run us up a tree or follow us done a hole to find and rescue us. He will chase us to the cross. He will do whatever it takes to gives us every chance to forsake our sin and choose Him. No one in hell will be able to say they weren’t given countless gracious opportunities to be saved from their condemning sins. No one on Judgment Day will be able to defend their delinquency and damning guilt in light of God’s extreme measures to save them. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Every mouth that might think of defending itself will be shut (Romans 3:19). On that day God will be the “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). Those who have refused to put their faith in Jesus will get what they righteously and justly deserve, eternal torment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20).
There is an additional means God uses to wake up the sinner that I want to focus on in this study. In the Fifth Seal of God’s righteous judgment He will unleash Satan and his devilish hoards on this earth. I call them Satan’s stingers. I focus on this event because as we look at what will happen in the future, we gain insight to what is going on in part now. Revelation depicts hell let loose on earth in the future, but it also gives us insight to wage victorious battle against the enemy now.
The first verse of Revelation 9 states, “Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1). This “star” is a particular star, “a star.” It is a star that has “fallen,” not falling. This star has already fallen in the past. And that this star is more than a celestial object is revealed by its being referred to with the personal pronoun “him.” This star is none other than Satan.
The prophet Isaiah stated, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:12-14). The name “Lucifer” is a translation of the Hebrew word heylel which literally means morning star or shinning one. Satan may have been created a shining star, but he became a fallen star! He is the “star” of Revelation 9:1. Pride and a lust for God’s throne brought him down. And it is often pride and lust that he uses to lure people into web of sin and destruction.
Notice it states of Satan that star that, “To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.” Satan did not take this key, it was given to him. Whatever authority Satan has is given to him. He is not equal with God but is subservient to Him. Satan is under God’s authority. Satan can do nothing without the permission of God Almighty. Jesus has authority over Satan and demons. In Revelation 9:1-2 we see that the key has to be given to the “star” who is Satan to open the pit. In Revelation 1:18 it is Jesus who has the keys to Hades. Satan could not take it upon himself to open this pit, he had to be given the means to do so. Satan, even now, is operating under the authority of God.
Having been given the key to the bottomless pit Satan uses it to open it. “And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit” (Revelation 9:2-3). Henry Morris, scientist and biblical scholar, in his commentary on Revelation makes the following comment in regards to this bottomless pit:
“The bottomless pit which he forthwith unlocks is literally “the pit of the abyss.” . . . . It is apparently at the very center of the earth and so, in truth, has no bottom. Its boundaries in all directions are all ceilings; one cannot go “down” in any direction. The pit of this abyss of Hades is apparently one of its imprisoning cells, and it is only this one to which Satan actually receives the key . . .. But when he opens the gate, an amazing phenomenon occurs. Great billows of subterranean smoke pour forth on the earth, spreading around until it darkens the air worldwide, even dimming the sun’s light. This indicates that there must be somewhere on the earth an opening leading to a great shaft, leading down from the earth’s surface, through the crust, the mantle and the core, all the way to Hades and the pit itself. Man has never discovered this shaft because it is apparently blocked at its exit, but this does not mean it doesn’t exist. It has been “ordained of old” by God and its walls are impregnable, from within or without, designed by the Creator to withstand all rupturing pressures, natural or supernatural. But when the key is turned, great billows of smoke, presumably from the earth’s internal heat and pressure, flow toward the surface and finally out to surround the earth itself.”
Who are kept in this bottomless pit? Why did God create it? Why did He deem it necessary? In Revelation 9:3 it continues, “Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” The creatures described by John provide a pretty scary sight. “Locusts” (from Greek akris) refers to a species of grasshopper known for swarming over Middle Eastern lands consuming all vegetation and destroying crops. Because of their innumerable swarming army-like infestations in the land they were particularly dreaded. When a swarm of locusts descended upon the land, there was not much people could do. Controlled fires and smoke were one response to the swarms but warding off such attacks was seldom successful. Therefore, when a plague of locusts appeared on the horizon, it instilled dread and despair in those in their path.
Are these merely insects? I think these locusts are more than mere insects. John states, “to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” “Power” here is translated from the Greek term exousia which means force, influence, capacity, delegated influence. This word is used to refer to governmental power or authority. What “power” does a “scorpion” (Greek skorpios) have? Skorpios literally means to pierce, to sting. These scorpions have power to afflict physically human or animal with their sting. These locusts are purveyors of pain.
When we think of insects like locusts we think of cold, emotionless, almost robotic entities. In Proverbs it states, “The locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks” (Proverbs 30:27). Locusts are driven by insatiable appetites to feed and reproduce. They were often carried by the wind so their arrival could be very sudden and frightening especially to those living in an agrarian society that depended on crops for food and commerce. The idea conveyed by John’s description of these locusts is that of a vast hoard of emotionless, driven insect-like entities. There’s no reasoning with these locusts. They won’t take “no” for an answer. They have come to bite, devour and devastate and devastate they will. They have come to inflict pain.
But these locusts, as fierce and powerful as they were, are still under the control of God. John continues, “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4). These locusts had been controlled and confined in this bottomless pit. And even once they are let loose on the earth, they “were commanded.” “Commanded” (from the Greek ereo) convey the idea that they were not just haphazardly let loose on the earth, but there were limits put on them.
God commands these locusts and restrains their influence and who they can afflict. It states, they may “harm,” “only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” The 144,000 and all who in the Tribulation had taken the seal of God were protected by God from these demonic entities. God asserts His sovereign protection for His people. But if a person doesn’t have God’s seal, they are at the mercy of these vicious demonic creatures.
Who are these locusts? These locusts were not your regular run of the mill locusts who would come and devastate the land’s vegetation. These were locusts prohibited from harming “the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree.” The word “harm” (Greek adikeo) is a word that means do wrong, injure, hurt, harm, or act unjustly. These locusts were given “power” (Greek exousia) or influence like a person who is given authority and influence. They were “commanded” (Greek ereo) or addressed as someone with understanding. Their ability to afflict was referred to with the word “harm” (Greek adikeo) which is a word that implies volition or the ability to choose to injure or hurt. Since this is a word normally used with those who have volition, it would seem these locusts are more than mere insects. Volition implies more than mindless creatures. They were commanded in a way that required they identify and not harm those who “have the seal of God on their forehead.” All of these things are evidence that these are not your run of the mill locusts. There is something more going on here. What might it be? I believe these locusts are demonic entities. Let me explain.
Scriptures such as Luke 16:19-31 and Ephesians 4:9 indicate that before Christ atoned for the sins of the world on the cross, both the unrighteous and righteous dead went to a place the Bible refers to as Sheol (Hebrew) or Hades (Greek). In this place were two compartments, one for the righteous called Abraham’s Bosom and one section for the unrighteous that is without name. When Jesus had offered His life as atonement for the sins of the world on the cross, the first thing He did was descend to this lower place (cf. Ephesians 4:8-10).
Why did Jesus descend to Sheol? Jesus descended to the lower parts to lead the righteous Old Testament saints to heaven with Him. The salvation of the Old Testament saints was based on their faith in God (e.g. Genesis 15:6). God passed over their sin based on what He knew Jesus would accomplish on the cross. But they could not come to heaven until atonement had been actually completed by Christ (Romans 3:24-26). Old Testament saints who were righteous by faith, upon death, went to Abraham’s bosom to be comforted until the actual atoning death of Jesus was accomplished on the cross. Once that atoning death of Jesus was accomplished, Jesus descended to proclaim the justification through His blood atonement and to lead these righteous Old Testament saints to Paradise to be with Him.
Upon His death, Jesus went to the unrighteous section of Hades as well. In Luke 16 it tells us that there was another side that was separate from paradise, a place of torment separated by an unbridgeable chasm. Those in this section will not be removed until they are called to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20). Those judged at this judgment will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of eternal fire and separation from God.
Who did Jesus find in the unrighteous section of Sheol and what did He do? 1 Peter sheds light on this:
- 1 Peter 3:18-20 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”
Who are these “spirits in prison”? These are angelic beings who were disobedient during the past time and in particular the past time of Noah and the Flood. In Peter’s second letter we get further insight as to the identity of these “spirits.”
- 2 Peter 2:4-5 – “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [Greek Tartaros – a section of Hades] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;” (Emphasis added.)
Jesus went and preached to the spirits who had been disobedient at the time of the Flood. These spirits are referred to as “angels who sinned.” These disobedient angels are in “hell . . . and delivered . . . to chains of darkness.” The word “hell” here is translated from the term tartaros. Biblical descriptions of the unrighteous compartment of Sheol indicate that there are probably various levels of this section. Tartaros is believed to be the deepest darkest part of Sheol reserved for the worst of the worst offenders. The origins of the term Tartaros are found in Greek myth. But the use of it in scripture brings the truth out about it. The 18th century Wesleyan commentator Adam Clarke stated that, “God cast the apostate angels out of His presence into that zophos tou skotous, blackness of darkness (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13) where they will be forever banished from the light of His countenance (Clarke’s Commentaries, 6:885).”
Tartaros is the lowest part of hell reserved for fallen angelic or demonic beings who were guilty of the most heinous offenses. It is these lowest of the low and worst of the worst demons that are described in Revelation 9. These demons that are let loose on the earth from the bottomless pit are best described by John as ugly fearsome rabid locusts. These demonic locusts are the worst of the worst in terms of their corrupting sinful offenses.
How did these angels sin? Why were they chained in Tartaros? What was their heinous terrible sin? In Jude 6 it tells us, “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” The sin of these angelic beings had something to do with not keeping “their proper domain, but left their abode.” What does that refer to? I believe this refers to the time of Noah when there was a sinful perverse effort made by a group of fallen angels. In Genesis 6 we see the following:
- Genesis 6:4 – “There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
The phrase, “sons of God” in the Old Testament is an expression that always refers to angelic beings (cf. also Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). These angels can be good or fallen. Revelation tells us that when Satan was cast out of heaven a third of the angels of heaven were cast out with him (Revelation 12:9). Satan was cast out of heaven before the creation of the earth by God. Satan had already fallen from heaven by the time God created the earth and humanity. Satan manifested himself as a serpent who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3).
These cast out angelic beings were the demons who followed Satan. God created humanity to rule over the earth with Him. He created human beings uniquely with His image in them (Genesis 1:26). This apparently caused the fallen angels to envy God’s newly created human beings. Satan sought to lure Adam and Eve away from their blissful relationship with their Creator. What was his motive? In part to insert himself in the place of God in their lives. But more importantly, it’s likely Satan sought to inflict pain on the Father by attacking His children. And He was successful. Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and disobeyed God. Sin entered their being and into the realm God had created for them. All must have seemed lost. But God had a plan.
In Genesis 3:15 God alluded to His redemptive plan for fallen humanity. This plan would be through a “Seed.” Genesis 3:15 states, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” This is the first mention of God’s redemptive plan, the Protoevangelium or first mention of the Gospel.
“Gospel” means good news. There’s always good news with God. No matter how despicable or devilish Satan’s attacks are, when we look to the Lord, there’s always hope. Remember that as we continue our study. God won’t allow us to be tested or tempted beyond our limit, but with the test or temptation will provide a way out so we can stand under it. That’s His promise to us (1Corinthians 10:13).
There would be a conflict of seeds. There would be “enmity” or hatred, hostility, enmity between the serpent and the woman and her offspring. God describes this conflict with the detail, “between your seed and her Seed.” This is important. Satan would have a “seed.” The woman would have a “Seed.” Since biologically a woman does not have a seed but an egg, the idea conspicuously conveyed here by God was an allusion to the Virgin Birth when the Holy Spirit would come upon Mary and birth Messiah Jesus (Luke 1 and 2). God would not react to Satan’s evil tempting ways by sending an army of angels to war with him and his fallen ones. God had a better plan, a supremely good plan, a plan that would show His love and Divine authority and power. God would send Jesus, “the Seed” to do what Adam failed to do and redeem the fallen world (e.g. Romans 5).
But what about the “seed” of the serpent? How would the seed of the serpent make war and oppose God’s human seed? The events leading up to the Flood tell us Satan’s strategy. In Genesis fallen angelic beings left their proper position and had sexual relations with the “daughters of men.” They inserted their “seed” into humanity. This resulted in producing half-breed mutations referred to as “giants on the earth in those days. . . the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” These “giants” are the Hebrew Nephilim, a word that literally means fallen ones (Numbers 13:32). Satan led a rebellious angelic group to have sexual relations with “the daughters of men.”
But why? What was the motivation behind Satan’s and his fallen angel’s efforts here? What is the objective of this diabolical plan? In his vengefulness Satan would try to hurt God by harming His creation. We see this in Eden and his successful temptation of Adam and Eve to disobey God their Creator. When Adam and Eve chose to sin and gave into the serpent’s temptation it had devastating effects. There sin led to all kinds of death (e.g. Romans 3 and 6:23). And that sinful image was passed on to succeeding generations (cf. Genesis 5:3). But even in the face of this sinful rejection of His love by humanity, God in His foreknowledge and gracious love, put in place a redemptive plan. God could have scrapped humanity and started over. He could have sent legions of powerful angels to wipe out Satan and his hoard. But that is not the way of love. And our God is a God of love (e.g. 2 Cor. 13:11). Therefore, He put in place and gave prophetic revelation of a plan to redeem the world from their Fall and sin.
Why did Satan the serpent, after the Fall, persist in his attack of humanity through the sexual intercourse of angelic beings with the daughters of men? At the time leading up to the Flood, Satan was trying to thwart God’s redemptive plan to redeem fallen humanity through “the Seed” of the woman. Satan is not omniscient; he doesn’t have all the information. We don’t know if he fully understood God’s redemptive plan from Genesis 3:15. But he probably deduced and felt he could thwart God’s plan through the Seed if he could pollute the seed of humanity.
It would take a Second Adam to reverse the death of the first Fall of humanity (e.g. Romans 5). This is the purpose of the Messiah promised in scripture. Satan’s objective leading up to the Flood, was to somehow corrupt the Seed of humanity so that God’s plans would be thwarted. Satan seems to have thought that if he could corrupt the bloodline “seed” or DNA of humanity from which Messiah “Seed” would come, he could somehow prevent the holy incarnation and the coming of Messiah. This was the aim of the “sons of God” having sexual relations with the “daughters of men.” They sought to pollute the seed of humanity. The efforts of these fallen angels were largely effective. “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). The Hebrew term for “corrupt” (Hebrew sahat) means ruined, corrupt, destroyed, marred, spoiled, utterly wasted. It appears the angels were effective in polluting the seed fo humanity.
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). That grace extended to Noah and his family and would eventually through his offspring extend to future generations of humanity. “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Hebrews 11:7). Thank the LORD for His grace to Noah and to us!
The efforts of these fallen angels were stopped by God. Satan sought to pollute the human line so that no “Seed” could come to redeem humanity. The devil seems to have reasoned that a fallen humanity in perpetuity would be drawn to worship him the fallen “star” of heaven. But in response to Satan’s first attempt to thwart God’s plans those polluted by intercourse with fallen angelic beings were destroyed in the Flood.  And those angelic beings who sought to side with Satan and his diabolical plans were chained in the lowest parts of hell, and deservedly so.
The fallen angels involved in this ugly perverted plot were cast into the “bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1-2). These angels became ugly demons. They were seen as the most evil and devious and most threatening evil entities. Imagine these worst of the worst fallen angels being released once again! It’s going to happen. It will truly be a terrible time on earth during the Tribulation. It will be like opening the doors of every maximum-security prison releasing all the most dangerous and psychopathic criminals into the public domain. Demonic Hannibal Lecter psychopathic types let loose on the earth! Think orcs and goblins like those depicted in Lord of the Rings. Think that but know that such a comparison, as frightening as it may be, is a picnic compared to what is happening in Revelation 9!
The demon locusts of Revelation 9 were commanded to harm only “those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” What Paul writes to Timothy is a source of great relief in view of such horror: “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19). Satan is not given power over those who are sealed with God’s seal, but only those who have rejected Christ and refused the seal of God. Rejecting the salvation God has offered in His Son exposes a person to the attacks of Satan. If you haven’t received Jesus as your Savior, whether you realize it or not, you are one who lives, “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, . . . [and who are] by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3). There’s no hope without Jesus. Without Jesus as your personal Savior God in His word declares you are, “of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). Without Jesus you are one of the, “children of the devil” (1 John 3:8-10).
Think of the demonic anger Satan must have felt well up within himself as he was prevented from attacking those whom he most desired to destroy, God’s people, Christians. How the devil must aim a particularly vicious venomous sting at those who he can harm! Living without Jesus is like walking blindfolded into a dark alley with predatory criminals in every dark shadowy doorway. Truly life without Jesus is scary. Come to Jesus. He will protect you. Jesus will ward off the demon locusts and give you hope for the future.
The sting of Satan’s stingers. John continues, “And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.” (Revelation 9:5). Notice again the sovereignty of God that God in His mercy LIMITED the demonic influence. Notice also that even when these locust-like demons are unleashed upon the earth that God is in control. He is the One who oversees the power they receive. He is the One who limits their effect in that, “they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months.” God is in control, even when this demonic hoard is let loose on the earth.
It further states that, “their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.” Scorpions are known for having some of the most painful bites and poisonous venom. The bites from these scorpions is meant to get the attention of the bitten. Pain and suffering have a way of getting our attention. People tend to be more likely to call out to God when in pain. God takes no pleasure in allowing such affliction. But God will allow extreme measures and yes, even extreme pain, to get people’s attention. He does this in hopes the sinner will repent, be saved from their sin through faith in Jesus, and then be suited to spend eternity with God in Heaven. As bad as the pain in this world gets, it’s nothing in comparison with the eternal torment of the Lake of Fire.
John records, “In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.” (Revelation 9:6). The sting of Satan’s stingers cause people to want to take their own lives. As was mentioned in the introduction, suicide is on the rise. Could that be an indicator of an increase in spiritual warfare and demonically inspired attacks on people? I think it is. Humanity has the image of God in them. Satan hates God and hates His image. What better way to strike out at God than to coax and coerce those created in God’s image to destroy themselves and that image? The torment that sometimes leads to suicide very well might have a demonically influential aspect to it.
Satan and his demons will torment people until they come to a point where they seek relief from the pain by suicide. But such an avenue of escape will be supernaturally prevented. Satan seeks to make life so frustrating, futile and dark, so hopeless, that suicide seems to be the only way out. That’s a lie. It isn’t a way out. Suicide is no option and takes us further away from the Answer, God. Suicide is the consequence of despair induced by demonic possession (of the unsaved) or oppression (of the saved – Christians sealed with the Spirit cannot be possessed by demons). Even Christians can be tempted to despair and yes, even to consider suicide. A common strategy of Satan and his minions is despair and discouragement. The answer to such despair, disillusionment, and depression is found in prayerfully seeking Jesus for His peace that surpasses human understanding (e.g. Philippians 4:6-7). It is the “God of peace” Who will crush Satan under our feet! (Romans 16:20). If we resist the devil He must flee (James 4:7). Greater is the Holy Spirit residing in the Christian than anyone, including the devil in this world (1 John 4:4). And all of this is true because Jesus has shamed the devil and dealt him the decisive blow on the cross (Colossians 2:14-15). On the cross Jesus, “the Seed” completed turned the tables on the devil. When the devil and his demons attack, just remind them they are already defeated by Jesus at the cross. That’s proven by the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). Christians especially should be aware of such truth. “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons. . . .” (Mark 16:17a). With God, we can, in Jesus’ name, crush Satan under our feet like grinding a spent cigarette butt under our heel. Satan is a spent cigarette butt! I like that!
Every mention of suicide in the Bible is associated with a spiritual collapse by the person committing suicide. Saul’s suicide was an outgrowth of his spiritual collapse (1 Samuel 31). Judas committed suicide, but Peter, did not. Judas had no saving faith. Peter had denied Christ but his faith kept him from destroying himself (Judas – Matthew 27:3-10; Peter – Matthew. 26:69-75; John. 18:25-27). Peter was restored (John 21:5-15). The Bible tells us that God numbers our days (Job 14:1-5). God has purchased us and we are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 14:8). God uses suffering to build a close bond of dependence of us on Him (1 Corinthians 12:8-10; Philippians 3:10). WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO TAKE OUR OWN LIVES! Be patient. Trust the Lord. Let the trials that enter your life serve their purpose (e.g. James 1:2ff.).
Hardhearted Humankind. John concludes, “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21). Remarkably, despite the abusso demon’s stings THERE IS STILL NO REPENTANCE!
The Bible tells us that the god of this world, Satan, has blinded the eyes of the unsaved. The lost are those, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The unsaved who refuse to put their faith in Christ are blinded, but that does not remove their own culpability. The sinner is responsible for their sin. They are blinded because they refuse to believe in Jesus. How about you, do you still persist in not believing in Jesus as Savior? Are you under the influence of God or Satan? You need to repent and come to God in Christ.
Seven doorways to demonic influence. There are ways Satan and his demons can gain a foothold in a person’s life. We see this in the sins mentioned at the end of Revelation 9. The sin they refused to repent of is similar in many ways to the sins of our time. These sins represent seven doorways to demonic influence.
First, unrepentance. The most common way to allow satanic and demonic influence in your life is through unrepentance. When you allow sin in your life it cuts off the communication channels to God (e.g. Psalm 66:18). When you love your sin more than God, when you defy or reject or turn away from God and His discipline, it opens the doorway to the demonic.
Second, they worshipped demons. It says they “worship demons.” In these times and in the latter days generally the occult and demon worship will flourish. (See 1 Timothy 4:1f.). Satan will have so deluded the world that they will offer worship to him and his demons (See Revelation 12:9). We see such in TV programs and elsewhere when the devil is depicted sympathetically as not such a bad guy. This is one of the most common ways to invite satanic and demonic trouble into your life.
Third, idolatry. It mentions, “worship . . . idols.” These unrepentant sinners were still focused on possessions (See Psalm 115:4-7). Idolatry is connected with the demonic early in scripture. In Leviticus it states, “They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations” (Leviticus 17:7). When you worship someone or something other than the One True God, there is likely some demonic influence involved. Your “God” is your master passion. You worship what you think most about and spend most of your time and resources on. Is that God for you, or something or someone else?
Fourth, murder. In this list is “murders.” This is the taking of innocent life. We see this in varying circumstances in our day such as in partial birth abortions; abortion; euthanasia; cloning; cheapening of life. (See Matthew 5:21-22; John. 8:44). Whenever the sanctity of life is lessened and murder is involved you can be sure there is a demonic influence in play.
Fifth, sorcery. Next is “sorceries.” The word “sorceries” is translated from the Greek term pharmakeia. Sorcerers, witches, and pagan worshippers often used hallucinogenic drugs to alter consciousness in order to open oneself to the spiritual dimension. “Sorceries” is classified as one of the works of the flesh of which Paul commented “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (cf. also Galatians 5:20-21). When you use drugs for something other than medicinal purposes, no matter how harmless you think it is, you are opening a doorway to the demonic. Those who walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), when they use hallucinogenic or mind-altering drugs, no matter how harmless or “legal” they are, they are opening themselves to demonic influences. Using drugs in this way is like purposefully impairing your senses with a psychopathic murderer nearby. It’s insane!
Sixth, sexual immorality. Next on this list is “sexual immoralities.” This phrase is translated from the Greek term porneia. Porneia refers to illicit sexual intercourse or sexual activity outside of God’s holy prescribed plan of marriage (between one man and one woman). We get the modern-day term “pornography” from this word. Jesus said to think lustfully after someone was sinful. Lust and sexual sin is one of the common ways to invite demonic influences in your life (Proverbs 6:32; Matthew 5:28; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20).
Seventh, theft. Last, but no less important on this list is “thefts.” The word translated “thefts” here is kleema and refers to a stolen thing. This is taking something that does not belong to you. When a person steals it is a statement that they don’t recognize what God has provided for them, that they don’t appreciate what God has provided for them, and that they don’t depend on God for providing things for them. Stealing is an act of disregarding God’s boundaries. Stealing and theft opens the door to demonic influence (Matthew 6:20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
THESE ARE THE THINGS USED BY DEMONS TO GET A FOOTHOLD IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE.
While Christians cannot be possessed by demons (James 4:7; 1 John 4:4; Revelation 12:10-11), they can be oppressed by demons. Demon oppression occurs when a believer allows a demonic foothold to exist in their lives. Oppression is an external attack, but an attack nonetheless. CHRISTIANS CAN BE OPPRESSED! WE CAN ALLOW DEMONS A FOOTHOLD WHEN WE INDULGE IN SIN! Those involved in such sinful things need to repent. If we repent God will restore us. God will allow whatever it takes in a person’s life to bring them to repentance in order to restore them.
What’s the solution? Revelation 9 reveals the chaos created by demonic influence. We see very similar chaos in our world today. It’s only going to get worse. We may only be in the eye of the storm. That time of respite will eventually pass. The chaos will continue. But the Bible tells us God is a God of order. “For God is not the Author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33a). The Bible exhorts, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). We see God’s order in His Creation, in His plans for the Tabernacle and Temple, in His redemptive plan and His prophetic revelations that are aimed at preparing people for their fulfillment. Order leads to peace. Chaos leads to anxiety and a host of other disruptions in life. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Are you living under the influence of the devil and demons? Are you ready to repent? Are you ready to turn from your sins to God through faith in Jesus?
The ultimate sting of Satan is death and sin is the tip of that arrow. But God in Jesus has provided a way to defeat death and remove its sting. “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:56-58). Don’t give up, trust in Jesus. By faith in the power of the Spirit be steadfast and immovable and abound in your efforts and work for the Lord.
Look to Jesus! “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). Don’t fear death. Patiently wait for it and embrace it when it comes. Death, in God’s time, in God’s way, brings us to Jesus.
Satan’s bite no longer has any teeth to it. Satan has been declawed. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:8-10). Be aware and alert because the devil is looking for an opening in your life. Resist him steadfastly by faith. Rely on God’s grace. The victory is ours in Jesus.
The sting of Satan’s stingers is painful, but if that pain leads you to eternal life by His grace through faith in Jesus, then its worth it. God wants you with Him for eternity. He will go to extreme measures to see that happen. Some may be painful. But your pain can lead to peace with God (Romans 5:1). And once you are at peace with God you will find the peace of God as you grow in your relationship with Him (see Philippians 4:6-9). Jesus is the solution to Satan’s stingers. Choose Him.
 Suicide is a complex issue beyond the scope of this present study. There are psychological and extenuating circumstances. It is a painful issue for those who self-destruct as well as for their family and loved ones. I would encourage all to look at the issue with grace as well as truth. Suicide is not the answer.
 Henry Morris, The Revelation Record, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Pub, Inc., and Sn Diego, CA: Creation-Life Pub, 1983) p. 157
 Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The – The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Sigma-Omega.
 See Michael S. Heiser’s The Unseen Realm, (Bellingham WA: Lexam Press) 2015. Also see Ancient Book of Enoch by Kin Johnson, (Self Published) 2012.