Subject 10 : The Revelation (Commentaries on the Revelation)

[Chapter 9-2] Have Bold Faith in the End Times (Revelation 9:1-21)

Have Bold Faith in the End Times(Revelation 9:1-21)
Of the plagues of the seven trumpets, we have just gone over the plagues of the fifth and the sixth trumpets in the above passage. The fifth trumpet sounds the plague of locusts, and the sixth trumpet announces the plague of war at the Euphrates River.
The first thing we need to find out is whether or not the saints will go through these plagues of the seven trumpets. This is the first thing that we must hear, know, and believe in.
Will the saints find themselves in the middle of the plagues of the seven trumpets? The saints, too, will surely find themselves in the middle of these plagues. A third of the world’s forests will be burnt out, a third of the sea and the rivers will turn into blood, and the sun, the moon, and the stars will be struck and lose a third of their light. Although a third of the nature of the whole world will either turn into blood or lose light, this also means that the other two-thirds would still remain.
The Word tells us that we, the saints who have been saved, will find ourselves in the midst of the first six plagues that will destroy a third of the world. However, we do not fear these plagues, because as God commanded the locusts to harm “only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads” in His fifth plague, He will protect the saints sealed by Him in the midst of these plagues of the seven trumpets.
But this still means that the saints will go through all these plagues. You and I, as the ones who have been redeemed by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, will find ourselves in the middle of the first plague, which will burn off a third of the world with the fire rained down by God, as well as the second plague, turning a third of the sea into blood with the fall of a blazing mountain, and also the third, which will turn a third of the rivers and springs into wormwood with the fall of a great star from the sky.
We will live through the fourth plague as well, bringing darkness by striking a third of the sun, the moon, and the stars; we will go through the fifth plague also, when locusts harm people with scorpion-like power; and, when the sixth plague brings a world war at the Euphrates River, we will still find ourselves living through the whole plague. No one can do anything about it, because this is the providence of God waiting to be realized. That we will live through these six horrendous plagues is the written fact of God’s Word.
Our Lord has redeemed you from all your sins. He has taken away all our sins through His baptism, His blood on the Cross, and His resurrection from death. We received our atonement by believing in what Jesus Christ has done for us. To those who have received the remission of all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, even as they live through the six horrible plagues, God’s special protection will be with them. The Word tells us, in other words, that God’s special grace will allow us to live on. We must realize just how worthy our God is to receive all our thanks for giving this special privilege and protection in the midst of the plagues to those of us who are saved.
When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, John saw “a star fallen from heaven to the earth,” which “was given the key to the bottomless pit.” The star here refers to an angel; the spiritual meaning of God’s stars is that they are all His servants and saints. When this angel who descended to the earth received the key to the bottomless pit and opened it with its key, smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace.
The “bottomless pit” refers to a place that has, quite literally, no bottom or end. Also known as the Abyss, it is a pit of endless depth. When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, he, having received the key to this bottomless pit, opened the pit with this key. From the pit came out great smoke, as if from a great fire. This smoke from the abyss covered the sun and the sky, darkening the whole world.
Smoke was not the only thing that came out when the bottomless pit was opened; also arising out of the pit with the smoke were locusts. These “locusts” that climbed on to the earth were given power like that of scorpions of the earth, stinging people with their tails. The Bible describes them as having faces that look like the faces of men, their shape like the horses prepared for battle, their teeth like lion’s teeth, and their hair like women’s hair.
By using the plural word “locusts” instead of the singular "locust", the Bible also tells us that we are not talking about just one or even a few locusts, but a huge cloud of locusts, like those that plague the tropical regions from time to time, consuming all the plants on its path of destruction and leaving nothing behind but their roots. Such locusts will arise out of the bottomless pit and torment the people for five months.
Those who will be struck by the fifth of the plagues of the seven trumpets are only those who are not born again. This plague of locusts will pass by the born-again. Our Lord will not bring the plague of locusts on us, for He knows that the born-again, if were they stung by the locusts, will spit out the gospel of salvation, wondering, “why was I saved at all?” We can ascertain this with verse 4: “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.”
We know that 144,000 of the people of Israel will be sealed by the seal of God, but the Bible makes no mention of the Gentiles. Does this then mean that we will be tormented by the locusts just like the sinners? Not at all! As 144,000 Israelites are sealed, so are we—that is, the hearts of those who have received the remission of their sins are sealed before God by the Holy Spirit. Do you not have the Holy Spirit in your heart? Because those whose hearts are dwelt by the Holy Spirit have been sealed as the children of God, we, along with 144,000 Israelites, will escape from the plague of locusts as His people.
Because the plague of locusts will harm only those who are not born again, people will probably hate and persecute us even more. During the five-month period of the plague, only those who are not born again will be stung by the locusts, tormented in great pain and yet unable to die. The faces of these locusts look like the faces of men, their hair like women’s hair, their teeth as ferocious as lions’ canine teeth, and their shape like horses prepared for battle, with tails of scorpions. These locusts will threaten everyone in their path with their heads, bite them everywhere with their teeth, and sting them with their poisonous tails, bringing indescribably excruciating pain to their victims.
A single sting will be enough to bring incredible pain, perhaps akin to being shocked by high voltage electricity, which will last for five months. And people will not be able to die, no matter how much they are tormented by the locusts or how much they themselves want to rather die than to live with such suffering. Because the plague of the undead is included in this plague of locusts, there will be no death on the earth for five months. This plague will torment the world for five months.
We have not seen such plagues with our own eyes, but they are nevertheless all planned by God. God tells us that He will bring these plagues on this earth, to the people of this world—that is, to those who do not believe in God, neither in His love and salvation, nor in His gospel of redemption. All these have been planned by God. Because God has planned to do all these things, we must believe that God will indeed bring all of them to pass.
All that we can do is only believing in God, for no man can ever argue about what God plans and does. Even in this situation where people are suffering from the locusts, God will not allow the locusts to bite or sting us and protect us from this plague, for He will command them not to harm those who have the seal of God on their foreheads.

Why Does God Bring the Plagues of the Seven Trumpets?

God’s purposes in bringing the plagues of the seven trumpets are, for the born-again, to receive glory from them; for those who are yet to be born-again, to give them another chance to be born again; and for every and each one in this world whom God created, to show them that the Lord is God, the Creator of this world, the Savior, and the Judge of all.
First, by bringing suffering to the sinners through the plagues and allowing the righteous to escape from them, God makes the righteous to praise the Lord’s greatness, His grace, blessings and glory.
Second, God allows the plagues for His last harvest. He brings the plagues of the seven trumpets to save, for the last time, those who have known the gospel of the water and the Spirit but have not believed in it. It is to give through the Tribulation all whom God created, both the Gentiles and the Israelites, their last chance to return to the Lord and be saved.
Third, as nothing in this world came into its existence without the Lord, Jesus Christ—who came to this earth in the flesh of a man, took upon the sins of the world on Himself with His baptism, and wiped out all sins with His death on the Cross—will show, through these terrifying plagues, His majestic power to those who have not accepted His love and the love of His Father, and not believed in the gospel of salvation. To those who are not born again, He will bring both their suffering in this world and their eternal condemnation to hell in afterlife.
God brings the plagues to this world with such purposes and plans. We must know and believe that these plagues will indeed come. Though we will be especially exempt from the plague of locusts, we must realize that we will nevertheless live through all these plagues. The plague of fire that burns down a third of the nature and the forests of the whole world, the plague of water that turns a third of the sea into blood and a third of the rivers and springs into wormwood, the plague of darkness that darkens the sun, the moon, and the stars, and the plague of war that destroys the world—we will all be right in the middle of all these plagues. But we must also realize that even as we live through such plagues, we will still be filled by ever greater joy.
With the plagues of the seven trumpets, we will lose all interests in earthly life. Let’s assume, for a moment, that volcanoes are erupting everywhere, earthquakes are uprooting the ground, mountains are burning up in smoke, and a third of the sea, the rivers, and springs have turned into blood and wormwood. Dust, smoke, and ashes cover the whole world; the sun rises around 10 in the morning and sets by 4 in the afternoon; and the moon and the stars have lost their light that we can’t even see them anymore. Would you feel excited about your earthly life in such a world? Of course not!
This is why the saints will look only at God and place their hope only in His Kingdom at this time. All our hope, 100 percent of it, is found in God alone. Neither would we have any interest in living on this earth anymore, nor could we ever do so, even if we were given all the riches of the world to live for a thousand years. Because all these plagues have been planned and permitted by God, no one can stop them. As God has planned these plagues, so will He allow them.
Why are the plagues planned by God recorded in the Bible? Why did God lift up John to Heaven, let him hear and see all the plagues that would happen with the sounding of the seven trumpets, and make him write down what he heard and saw? In showing what would happen to this world, it was to make the saints place their hope only in the Kingdom of God, to make them preach the gospel on this earth, and to make everyone believe in Jesus Christ.
God has planned and permitted all these things so that through these plagues, people would think again and not suffer in the lake of fire and brimstone burning in hell. God has given them, in other words, a refuge to escape from the plagues. Because God does not want any of us to end up in hell, He wants the sinners’ hearts to return to Him through the plagues. I believe that the Word was written and shown to us so that everyone would be led to Heaven.
The plagues that God brings to us, in other words, are not just to make us suffer. God brings these plagues to the world and to us so that we would place our hope not on this earth but in His Kingdom. We must also realize that He permits all these things to make us preach His love of salvation to the countless lost souls who are bound to the eternal flames of hell, so that they, too, may believe in the Word of salvation, be saved, and escape from this Tribulation.
Some kinds of catfish are renowned, among other things, for the pain that they can cause with their stings. If you are not careful in handling these fish, your hand can get stung by their poisonous fins, and then excruciating pain will follow, as if you were shocked by electricity. This pain is nothing compared to the pain of being stung by the locusts.
Now imagine having such pain for five months. It will be the worst pain possible, for even as people would rather die than live in their agony, they will not be able to do so. They will not even be able to kill themselves, as the Word tells us, “They will desire to die, and death will flee from them.” But because we have become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and because we thus have the Holy Spirit in us, God will protect us from this plague so that we would not suffer the pain brought by the locusts. We are protected even amidst such a plague because we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We should not regard the Book of Revelation with only fear, but through the Word of Revelation, we must realize how God would give us His special protection from the plagues, how He would be glorified through us, and how we, too, would be clothed in glory by God. By knowing these things, we can be bolder, preach the gospel more, and give even more glory to God when the time of the Tribulation comes. As such, we must live this era without any fear in our hearts, nor any greed for our earthly lives. God teaches us all these things beforehand, so that we would have the courage. We must therefore have the faith of boldness.
God classifies the seven plagues into two categories, the first four catastrophes and the last three woes, and He clarifies that the latter will be far more horrible and terrible in scale and intensity. So, He announces especially, when the fifth plague is over, “One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.”
The second woe is the plague of the sixth trumpet: “saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’ So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.” In verse 16, it says, “the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million.” It shows that a massive war will break out, and a third of all mankind will be killed by this warfare. God will bring, in other words, a horrendous plague of war to this earth.
Verses 17-18 say, “And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.” God will allow that a countless number of people will be actually brought to death by the massive army of the horsemen. This is the plague that will come with the sounding of the sixth angel’s trumpet.
What happens when the seventh trumpet sounds? Resurrection and rapture will come. Up to the sixth trumpet, all the preceding plagues would be brought either as natural disasters or as a war that would directly bring death to people. Because all these are included in the plagues of the seven trumpets and recorded in the Bible, I believe in this Word. But what about you? Do you also believe in this truth?
Have you received the remission of your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Though included in these plagues, for you to escape from the suffering of the eternal plague and to never enter hell, you must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit now, which God gave you to make all your sins disappear, to deliver you from the Great Tribulation, and to give you His Kingdom, the New Heaven and Earth. You must have faith that believes in this gospel. You must know and believe in this gospel. There is no other way to Heaven but by your faith in this gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Jesus told Peter, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” The keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are given to us when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior—that He came to this earth, that He took upon all the sins of mankind and of the world on Himself with His baptism received from John the Baptist at the Jordan River, that He carried all these sins and died on the Cross, and that He rose from the dead again. We can enter Heaven and be protected from these plagues only when we have this faith—faith that believes that all our sins have been blotted out.
With the sounding of the seventh trumpet comes the rapture, together with the martyrdom described in Revelation 13. When the Antichrist emerges, we will face our righteous death, martyred for the gospel.
You must realize just how precious and important this gospel that you know and believe in is. Believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit. You will then be able to overcome the end times in boldness and dwell in the Millennial Kingdom and the New Heaven and Earth promised by the Lord. To worship the Lord as one of the 24 elders standing around Jesus Christ, who is God, there is no other way but to boldly overcome the Tribulation by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
I hope and pray that you will, as the saints born again by believing in this gospel with your hearts, all overcome the end times and inherit God’s Millennial Kingdom and His eternal Heaven.
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