In chapter 9, the apostle John introduces us to the dreadful realm of the fallen spirits and their abode: the abyss. At this point, the fifth angel sounds the fifth trumpet, which is a preview of hell—endless darkness. This bottomless pit is the holding tank of punishment for the fallen angels, demons, the beast, the false prophet, and Satan (Revelation 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 20:1-3). These spirit-beings of the highest magnitude of evil are leftover from Satan’s rebellion. Jude tells us that some of these evil spirit-beings tried to corrupt the human race so that the promised Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, could never come. Others seem to be key leaders of Satan’s forces, while still others have been so vile that they have been held back until Revelation 9. Like Satan, these demonic spirit-beings are filled with a hatred for God and mankind.
Welcome to our 14th class entitled Lucifer and the Real Alien Invaders. Where we are in the book of Revelation, is in the fifth trumpet. We, yesterday, began with the seals, then the trumpets, and then of course in the future, the bowl judgments. Before we read chapter 9, let me give you an introduction. In chapter 9, the apostle [John] introduces us to the dreadful realm of the fallen spirits and their abode in what the Bible calls the Abyss.
Now this, I would have to say in all my years of teaching and lecturing at Bible institutes and Bible colleges and places like that, this is the class where I see everybody sit up. It’s almost like, it’s the first time I have a hundred percent engagement of all the students. As soon as you start talking about angels of doom, the Abyss, Lucifer, and aliens, it’s like you’ve hit every possible note that’s interesting to people.
Where we are? We’re at the fifth angel, sounding the fifth trumpet. Why? This is God giving, in this center point of all those judgments, looking at the abode of Satan, a preview of Hell. Now, today should be the most motivating class for us to use the word of God, to share the word of God, to evangelize the lost around us. What does God say? The bottomless pit, the Abyss, is the holding tank of punishment for fallen angels, the demons, by the time we meet the antichrist when he is finally – at the end of the day of the Lord – put into the bottomless pit, the beast himself will be in there, and finally Satan. That’s a culmination of what starts right here.
These spirit beings are of the highest magnitude. These are the super powerful angels that God keeps cooped up, imprisoned. These are not the demons of the gospels. These are the super angels.
You can see a picture, artistic representation of them on that slide. In fact, Jude tells us some of these evil spirits even tried to corrupt the human race.
Chapter 9, Jesus, and the angels of doom.
Chapter 9, let me read and then we’re going to pray. “Then the fifth angel…” so, the fifth angel associated with the trumpets, starting in chapter 8 we saw the first trumpets, but “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. 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. Then out of the smoke came locus.”
Now this would make an incredible movie. To see this bright, shining like lightning, coming down from Heaven, an angel unlocking this pit and smoke billowing up like a volcanic eruption. Then screeching out of that smoke, the angels of doom.
Father, I thank you that you included this in your word. Not because it’s so interesting to us and it’s such a curiosity, but because it’s a reminder that we’re in a battle. The only way we can survive is wearing our armor your word describes and understanding the sword of the Spirit. So, I pray, that we would be stirred to be prepared for spiritual warfare today because as we will see, it’s not just somewhere in chapter 9 of Revelation. It’s today that this very battle is raging around us. Quicken our hearts to obey you and prepare and live in the power of your Spirit, for Jesus’ sake we ask it. Amen.
Jesus and the angels of doom, chapter 9:1-2, remind us of Satan’s mission. It says in the gospel by John; that Satan, that’s Lucifer fallen to become Satan, has a mission to kill, to steal, to destroy.
Jesus shows us that His mission is, as you see on the slide in front of you, to prepare us for living for God in a dangerous world.
Now, do you see the contrast here? This is what’s going on in Revelation.
- We’re seeing Lucifer fall and to become the arch enemy of God.
- Lucifer becomes Satan. That’s what we see in chapter 12, that’s coming in a couple of days.
- Lucifer, the greatest, most powerful angel God made – falls into the greatest, most powerful being that God made, that is now His enemy.
This is the reality of the alien invaders. The alien invaders are most often seen in the Bible as demons, but we’re going to see even more fearsome ones in the tribulation that are called angels of doom. Is this to entertain us? No, it’s to warn us of Revelation’s overarching message. Remember, look in the bottom left corner there, living for God in the dangerous world. Those first two generations of the church had to learn how to operate, not only resisting all of the temptations and allurements of Rome, not only the persecutions Rome was sending, but far greater dangers was the battle. The spiritual battle that was always raging around them.
What we see is God tells us how to live for Him in this dangerous world. The real deal danger is spiritual warfare. Each day we walk through Satan’s dark realm and he has well-placed archers. Think of a medieval battle or even more modern times in the American West, fighting the Cowboys and native Americans. Think of arrows being shot, only the Bible says that Satan’s arrows are ignited. They are fiery darts.
What are examples? In impure thought is a very good example of a fiery dart. Have you ever been sitting, working on your lessons, your devotional time, memorizing a verse, or just enjoying the beauty of nature and all of a sudden you have a thought come through your mind that’s so horrible you pause yourself and say, where did that come from? Stop. Where did that come from? Right here. Satan can shoot into our mind, fiery darts.
An example of that would be the flaming darts of anger.
- Have you ever been just overwhelmed with anger and it just surprises you how strong it was?
- Or pride where you just start saying things or doing things you would never do before. It’s just like, where did that come from?
- Or fear? Have you ever felt fear, just like a dark cloud come over and suffocate you?
- Or how about despair?
- Covetousness, wanting something?
- Jealousy of someone?
All of those are well aimed fleshly temptations that are darts, arrows. If Satan’s team can land an arrow like we saw in Genesis with Eve, if you remember the temptations of the serpent to Eve, the impact and splatter of this fiercely burning arrow can ignite within our minds, doubts.
Satan’s goal is to make us doubt God’s word, His goodness, His plan. When that happens doubts, distrust that lead to disobedience, that’s Satan’s simple goal. That’s the dangerous world we live in. The real problem is not someone, Jesus said, that can destroy your body but it’s someone that can influence your thoughts to doubt, to disobey God.
Only the shield of faith. What’s the shield of faith? Here’s a good picture of it. Think of your Bible, that could shield you. In fact, in World War II there’s a famous story of the soldier that had the Gideon Soldiers Version Bible in his front pocket. At the end of the war, the Gideons were presented a picture of him. By the way, the Gideons, it’s a ministry, the one that puts them in the hotels and passes them out to graduates and everybody, but this New Testament was in his pocket. A Japanese bullet hit and lodged in there. Of course, it did crack some of his ribs, but the scripture stopped the bullet. Think of the scriptures like a shield, just like it stopped that bullet in World War II. The sword of the Spirit is our offensive, but our defensive mechanism is the shield of faith. What is that? Believe in the promises of God. So, think of the shield of faith, like the word of God that when we hold up and hold on to the truths of God, it’s a shield from Satan’s arrows. That’s what we learn about living in a dangerous world.
Again, over here is my outline, but here Revelation. Seven clear events that we’re memorizing, that you should know backward and forward. Those of you taking the quiz, basically Revelation 1 is Jesus is revealed on the Island of Patmos. 2 & 3, He writes letters to the churches. 4 & 5, we see the church in Heaven. 1-5 is concluded right here, the event we would call the rapture, right here. The rapture launches the Day of the Lord, which is also known as the tribulation, the time of Jacob’s troubles. The day of the Lord goes all the way through the final judgment with the great white throne and then we go into Heaven. So, that’s just a different way of looking at that chart.
Again, looking at this chart, we see the seven seals and it’s another way of seeing the chronological arrangement of the book of Revelation. The seals 6:1-8:1 launch, actually the seventh seal here launches the first trumpet. The seventh trumpet launches the first bowl.
So, think of this as a very connected together plan unfolded by God. Basically, the first three and a half years of the tribulation are just these seals. Then there’s the intensification, growing of the judgments.
Another way to look at it is right here, the seven trumpet judgments in your slides, a third of the grass and trees are burned with the first trumpet. This mountain of fire pollutes all the water in the in the sea, the oceans. Then Wormwood does all of the other water in the lakes and in the rivers. Then there’s this supernatural darkness, where the sun is dimmed and the stars and the moon. Then we come to chapter 9, at the fifth trumpet, the angels of doom come out of the Abyss, which we’re studying today.
So, that takes us here. Let’s look at angelology. If we took everything the Bible says about any topic it’s called systematic theology. Systematic theology is different than biblical theology.
- Biblical theology is an unfolding of all the doctrines as they start. Like Genesis 3:15 has the first description of the gospel and it builds with all the promises of Christ and all the sacrifices. Then of course, David being a picture, that Jesus is a son of David, and then all the promises of the Psalms. Then all of a sudden, we get to Matthew and the birth of the Messiah. So, biblical theology is unfolding, but it’s only putting together one doctrine as it unfolds in the scripture
- Systematic theology is different. Systematic theology is where you divide up all 31,000 verses of the Bible and you put them in little cans or a little containers or little boxes. In systematic theology, you find this verse and this verse talks about… You make a conclusion from that and this verse, and this verse talk about this. This is where we get all the divisions of theology.
- We have theology proper, which is a study of God.
- We have bibliology, which is a study of the scripture.
- We have hamartiology because hamartia is the word for sin, which hamartiology is the study of sin in the scriptures.
Today what we’re looking is angelology and that’s everything all 31,103 verses of the Bible, everything that it says about angels. So, let me do that with you right now. Look on your screen, the doctrine of the creation of angels on the left. God created all angels and when He created all the angels, they were good. They were all His servants. They were holy angels and they served Him. Somewhere after the last day of creation, after the six day, just before God rests in seven, somewhere after the sixth day. God declares on the sixth day of creation, now we’re in Genesis 2, that everything He made was good. By the time we get to chapter 3, things are not good.
Look what happens on your chart. Two thirds of the angels serve and obey God, but one third rebel. Some God puts into prison, most are not in prison. So, that’s basically everything the Bible says about angels. They were all created perfect in creation week. In fact, Job’s says they sang as God created and laid the foundations, but all of a sudden by chapter 3, the leader Lucifer has fallen.
Now, when did that happen? Two chapters of the Bible describe it. Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. So, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14, those two chapters, as you systematize everything about angels, tell us how Lucifer the highest created covering cherub, angel of God, the most powerful being God ever made, fell to become Satan. He fell into sin. So, that’s the graphic. Why is this important?
Look at verse 3 of chapter 9, it says in Revelation 9:3,
“…out of the smoke locusts came on the Earth and to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have powers.”
This is a preview of the relentless terrors of Hell. Remember, nobody’s in Hell right now. Hell is prepared for Satan and his angels. For Satan and his angels, the demons, and the angels of doom, but any humans that follow him in his rebellion, as chapter 9 so clearly describes, are going to suffer the endless, blackness of darkness, and they’re going to suffer the relentless terrors we see in this chapter.
As a shaft leading downward is unlocked and infernal smoke of the pit billows out of the darkness, it unleashes the pent-up fury of the demons and these angels of doom. When the pit is opened, locust emerge out of the smoke of a furnace. This destructive imagery is something that everybody in the ancient world would have thought of because the ancient world was plagued by locusts. Locusts were unstoppable. I’m talking about the insect locusts. When they came, they came in clouds. They came and they ate and destroyed and cause famine to everything in front of them. That’s the relentless unstoppable nature of what we see here.
It’s drawing on, as you see in the next slide, the fearsome symbol of the locust. Look at verse 5 of chapter 9. “They were not given authority to kill them….” That’s the humans, “…but to torment them for five months.”
So, these demonic creatures for five months can chase, and track down, and relentlessly torture humans. It’s horrible. Why? Well, look. Look what God has. God has the two witnesses during this period that are witnessing. We already saw in chapter 7, this group, the 144,000. They’re back again in chapter 14, and God has the gospel angel. So, God does not let anybody die. They all get to have a taste of Hell and they get to hear the gospel. Wouldn’t you choose Christ?
Now, look at verse 21, actually 20 and 21 of chapter 9, “but the rest of mankind who were not killed by the plagues did not repent…” even though they were given five months before they start dying, they refuse to repent.
Back up for a minute to angelology, just to show you because the angels chose to rebel against God. They knew everything He says is true. See, that’s one of the saddest things to me, the angels that watched the creator, the power of God, create the universe – the angels that watch the drama of redemption, of Christ’s incarnation, His gospel ministry, His death, burial, and resurrection. They know it’s true, just like many humans know it’s true, but they refuse to repent.
The slide in front of you, each of the angels we read about in God’s word has power that exceeds anything we can humanly understand as possible by the laws of the physical world, which we live.
That’s every single angel, both, that’s pure angelology. Both the fallen angels, that’s one-third and the two thirds that are not fallen. Every angel has power that exceeds anything we know as possible in our physical world. Why am I telling you that? Because God is absolutely, all powerfully greater than everything, that’s anywhere.
So, every time I talked to you about the angels of doom or the greatest created creature, Satan, it’s to say; God is greater. Remember, greater is He, that is in you than he who lives in the world. We’re persuaded that nothing can separate us from God, He’s greater.
Angels are supernatural and super powerful creatures. If we took the basic theology book, if we were doing systematic theology here instead of a biblical study of the book of Revelation, this is what would be the analysis. The conclusion of angelology.
- As far as we know, angelic creatures are indestructible, they can’t be killed.
- They can’t be destroyed.
- They can travel the universe effortlessly.
- They need no spaceships.
- They never seem to need to rest, sleep, or even eat.
Now that, is why we’re living in a very dangerous world, because right now those demons are only stopped in their attack by the shield of faith. They are only repelled in their attack by the sword of the spirit. They’re very powerful, more so than almost any of us comprehend.
Our God is greater than the sum of everything He created. So, think of the universe plus the Earth, plus the spirit world. Think of the universe, which by the way is getting greater, and greater, and greater. The longer we study it, it’s like we don’t even know the extent of the universe.
Recently before the COVID-19 virus got our attention, a university in the United Kingdom had been working with the European space satellite, as well as the American mapping project. What they did is, they divided the known visible universe. In other words, here’s Earth and everything we were aware of. They mapped, using space telescopes, and they made quadrants like this. They actually just divided up the whole universe into these quadrants and assigned out different, big space telescopes and satellites to start mapping their little box. What they did is, they were going to number all the galaxies and stars that were in our universe. They figured they knew how many octillion stars there might be. After the first year they came back and the group that had this square right here, it had enlarged it out like this. They had found galaxy, galaxy, galaxy, galaxy, galaxy, galaxy, galaxy, galaxy, and Nebula, and all these. Some super giant stars. So, then they started within their quadrant, looking more closely at each of these galaxies. They took this one and magnified it. Do you know what they found out? What they thought was a galaxy was not one galaxy, but a thousand galaxies. What they thought was one galaxy with hundreds of millions and billions of stars turned out to be a thousand. As they went in, multiplied their magnification, the further they looked, what they saw was a star turned out to be a galaxy. What they thought was a galaxy turned out to be a thousand galaxies. And what they thought was a cluster of a thousand, turned out to be a whole cloud of galaxies.
So, in other words, I could bore you all day long, but God is greater than the sum of the whole universe He created, plus the Earth, plus the spiritual world. Here’s the physical universe with the Earth right here and we have all this incomprehensible amount of stellar material and galaxies and stars and overlaying. That is the spirit world. Wow.
What’s in the spirit world. Again, angelology that I was showing you here among the angels. There are five known levels of angels.
- Number one, Lucifer. The guardian. He was a cherub. The highest, most powerful created one.
- He is a part of all the order of cherubim. We know what cherubim looked like from both Ezekiel and what it says in Revelation. They have four faces. They have these six wings. They’re covered with eyes. Kind of sounds horrible, but they are living beings. That’s what a cherub means. They’re a living being.
- Then there are archangels. So, we have this covering cherub, Lucifer. The highest, the greatest, most powerful. Then we have this order that are always flying around God called cherubim. Then we have archangels. They’re the ones that stand. Remember, I showed you the throne. The throne of God and Heaven that we find up there in chapter 4 and 5. We have four cherubim cherubs, in Hebrew “I am” is plural, four of these cherubim, but standing right around the throne are seven archangels. We know two of them, Michael, and Gabriel.
- Then we have after that, the seraphim. What are those there in Isaiah 6? They’re called seraphs, Seraph is a Hebrew word that means burning one.
- Then we have normally angels. That’s five orders.
This is where it gets interesting, those were the angels. Let’s look at the demons.
- We have the angel of light that’s loose, Lucifer becomes Satan.
- We have the destroyer. I’ll talk about him in a minute.
- We have the horrible monsters of the Destroyer. We’re seeing them right now, coming out of chapter 9’s Abyss.
- We have the doomed angels, by the way, there are some angels so bad that they’re chained up and they’re never let out, ever. Peter talks about them in 2 Peter. They’re in everlasting chains, in darkness forever. God never unchains them, they’re so malignant.
- Then we have the nation princes. Now we’re in Daniel chapter 10. There is a Prince of Persia. There is a Prince of Greece. These are angels, that their sole job is to accomplish Satan’s goals in countries. Wow.
- Then we have the principalities, Paul talks about them, powers. He said they are rulers of the darkness of this age. He said there are spiritual hosts of wickedness. They’re like flies and maggots and they just promote wickedness everywhere.
- Then we have these demons that get inside people and make them convulse. Make them to try and destroy themselves and do all the things you’ve heard about with all the exorcisms going on around the world.
Those are the seven orders of demons, but just one of them for a second. Note just the destroyer. We find the destroyer mentioned in Exodus 12, 2 Samuel 24, 1 Corinthians 10, and he shows up right here, in chapter 9, verse 11. He has a name. His name is Destroyer. Hebrew, Abaddon. Greek Apollyon. A postscript here, did you know those are names in video games like Warcraft? Did you know that some of these video games actually use demon’s names? It’s very dangerous for a born-again Christian to play a game with characters in the game named after the alien invaders that are real, that are at the command of Satan. The Bible says, let everyone that names, the name of Christ depart from anything to do with evil and the evil one, and Satan and his minions.
So just the power of the destroyer, what is that power? Note with me what happened in the Passover. In the book of Exodus on the night of the first Passover, what happened? Egypt was inhabited by two groups. The Jewish slaves and the Egyptians. In one night, this angel that we meet in 9:11 of Revelation is he in chapter 12 of Exodus, and in one night he goes through every house. He knows which houses are the Jewish houses. He looks for the blood on the door. He leaves them alone. Every house that didn’t have the sign of the blood on the doorway, he finds the firstborn son and eliminates him. Then he goes to the stable and eliminates the firstborn of the cattle.
Did you know the entire us army? In fact, the army of Europe, in fact, all the armies could never do that. You could not genetically test and find the first-born human and the firstborn animal in the dark, across the whole country and silently, without anybody hearing, eliminate them. That’s the power of just one angel.
Here’s the reason we’re studying this. The big picture. God is absolutely powerful. That’s why this is the most repeated negative prohibition. God says fear not, more than any other command in the Bible, of us to be prohibited from something. Why? This is Satan’s realm. That’s why during COVID-19, we need to be careful. A lot of people are being driven by fear. It’s almost like they think that something can happen to them that God isn’t aware of. So, they’ve got to get involved and protect themselves. Of course, we need to wash our hands and wear our mask and avoid contamination, but not fear. We should be the bravest, boldest, most fearless people, filled with peace, on Earth because God is absolutely powerful. What we’re supposed to do is resist the powers of darkness. Why? Because the battle is already won. Jesus has triumphed and we’re more than conquerors.
So, what should we do?
- We should listen to almighty God. Almighty.
- That means He’s greater than any of these alien invaders. He is greater than the sum of all He created.
- Angels created by God have power that exceeds our comprehension, but
- Almighty God can protect us from the devil. From the destroyer coming out of the abyss, and from the demons, and from Hell.
Back to the ending of chapter 9, look at verse 20 and 21, but the rest of mankind who were given five months to see the power of Hell, they were prevented from dying, “they would not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, idols of gold and silver and brass and stone, […] which can either see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders their pharmakeia,” that’s the word for drugs, “or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
God gives us a portrait of a world hardened by sin. Revelation says that the end of the world is going to be characterized by godlessness, callousness. This hardheartedness, mindlessness. The word sorceries mean; they’ve surrendered their minds to substances. Licentiousness, that means the moral perversions. Lawlessness, there are thefts and murders. Wow.
For just a moment, let me share with you a story. Last year, Bonnie and I, part of the ministry we do when we are not in this virtual classroom is, we go around the world and we minister to frontline servants of the Lord. We were at a conference with several hundred frontline, what I mean by that – in the 64 limited access closed countries of the world, these were servants of the Lord that are serving in those countries, under great risk to give the gospel.
One of them was actually serving right on the border of Syria and Jordan, where the ISIS, a continual battle is going on. It was a medical doctor. He was in an allied base where the soldiers protected him. Then he would drive from that allied base, under escort, to go to a hospital. They treated the soldiers that were injured in battle, as well as the ISIS people that were brought in that were injured in battle.
This doctor says that when he would get up in the morning and load his precious little three daughters into the car and would drive to the base. He, for a brief while was all in his own, they would escort him so far and then he would finish the way. He said that gradually fear began to get him, that one day he would drive and take a wrong turn, he’d get into ISIS territory and they would get his daughters and sell them in the slave market, and take his wife and ravish her, and kill him.
So, he told me, this is how I met him, I was at the conference and Bonnie and I were spiritual mental health care providers. We were walking, I was actually walking. I just finished teaching the morning session and I was teaching through with them on spiritual warfare, just like we’re doing now. This doctor, this amazing man wearing his scrubs because he was going to a seminar and further education he needed as a doctor, but he caught me in the hallway.
He held up this little book and he says, you’re in my book. I’ve never seen this man in my life. I smiled at him because you never know what people are talking about. I said, well, thank you. What does that mean? He told me the whole story of ISIS and driving and fear. He says, when I get to my hospital, many days he said, I feel fear surrounding me like black ink. He says, I can’t even think to do surgery. I can’t even think to give the direction to all the nurses and assistants that are there. He said, I always tell them, excuse me, just a minute. He said, this little book he showed me, it was half the size of my Bible, was his personal journal. He said, every time he heard a verse, a message or read a book or something that explained a verse in the Bible that he could grab onto, that would help him with his fear, he would copy that into his book, and he would meditate on it. Then he would write a prayer from that verse on claiming that truth.
Oh, remember what I just called that? The shield of faith. That’s believing God’s promises. So, this doctor said. I became overwhelmed with fear. I told the nurses and assistants I’ll be back. He said, I went to the only spot that’s quiet in the hospital, the private, little, tiny, hole in the wall restroom. He said, I went in there and locked the door. He said, I sat down on the toilet seat cover, pulled out my little journal. He said, I started praying that promise to God. He said, the shield of faith deployed. He said, as I sat there in the darkness, it began to lift. The fear that we’re not supposed to allow to dominate our life.
When he got all done telling that story. He said, your message this morning gave me one more verse. Now he said, I didn’t listen to the rest of it, I don’t know how it ended. He said, as you were talking about whatever verse I was on, he said, I started writing that verse down and I meditated on it during the rest of your message. I wrote out my prayer. He said, you’re in my book and he said, the next time the inky blackness of Satan’s fear descends on me, he said I’m putting up my shield and I’ll remember you.
You know what? We need to do what Colossians 3:15-17 says, see that on your screen, let the word of Christ richly dwell in you. Know the scriptures. Believe it. Pray it. Hold out that shield. Overcome the powers of darkness. How does that happen? That takes us into the next chapter.
You notice that chapter 9 has all the horrors of the Abyss, but all of a sudden chapter 10 is one of these, what I would say are parentheses that explain things. Look at chapter 10, verse 1. This is the mystery of Jesus, in the background is an Earth that lies in ecological desolation, the land and the sea are ravaged, that happened in these seals and the beginning trumpets. There’d be numb survivors that have hastily buried millions of corpses that have fallen, through all these disasters in mass graves. The horrible roar of demon locust is silent for, who knows how much longer, because they were roaring for five months. That horrific mounted calvary from Hell. The angels of doom that were unleashed by verse 11, with a Destroyer at the head, seemed to have ceased their murder campaign. Which by the way, takes a third of humanity with them.
The sun is finally returning to its normal brightness. After the strange darkness, the weather disasters have abated. The smoke from the grass and forest fires has started to settle. There’re some specks of light green that anticipate grass might soon be poking up through the scorched earth. The bitter waters of the Earth are getting clear again and no stellar debris has fallen to Earth lately.
Chapter 10 right here, is halftime of the tribulation. So, almost there’s a pause. It’s halftime and the halftime show stars, who we see in chapter 10. Revelation 10 may well be a snapshot capturing the work of Christ and the grandeur of God’s plan through an angel. Now remember Jesus in the Old Testament, countless times, shows up as a theophany or Christophany. A pre-incarnate image of the, not yet come to the world as a man, Christ but operating as an angel.
In the New Testament, Jesus is never an angel. So, chapter 10 could not be Jesus Christ, but it certainly is one of the most beautiful pictures of Him. Jesus reflects God’s image and listen to chapter 10, verse 1 in your Bible.
“I saw still another mighty angel coming down from Heaven…” Reminding us Jesus came down from Heaven, “…clothed with a cloud.”
Do you remember when Jesus goes up from the Mount of Transfiguration or from the Mount of Olives in His Ascension, He’s surrounded by clouds. Paul said, He returns in the clouds. So, there’s another tie to Christ.
“A rainbow was on his head.” Ooh, wait a minute. Jesus is the creator. Jesus is the one that is pictured in the Ark and the rainbow is a reminder of the flood. So, it’s another reminder of Jesus, the covenant keeper.
“His face was like the sun.” Now, wait a minute, that’s Revelation chapter 1, Jesus’ face is like the sun. That’s also what we see in the book of Daniel, the Ancient of Days.
“His feet, like pillars of fire.” There we are, back in Revelation 1. So, this angel is to get our focus on Jesus.
Now, look at verses 2 and 3, “He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, his left foot on the land. He cried with a loud voice as when a lion roars…” Wait a minute, Jesus is the word of God. He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. See, all of the elements of this angel that are pulled from all through the scriptures focus our halftime show on Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is coming to claim His inheritance.
That’s what this angel is saying. We’re at the midpoint of the tribulation. Jesus is going to deploy some more of His gospel messengers but right at halftime, He’s saying I’m going to keep my word. He said, I’m offering through those 1 44,000 evangelists, through the two witnesses, and through the gospel angel, I’m offering life.
Jesus goes on, keep going on down to verse 7. It says,
“…in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel,” (which is about to sound, that’s revelation 10:7) “…the mystery of God would be finished.”
Wow. What is that telling us? It’s intro-ing us to next times lesson. You see, the mystery of Jesus is – a mystery in the Bible, mystḗrion, is the word, is a truth that had not been previously known. In chapter 11, all the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that those prophets wrote down, Peter tells us they didn’t even understand what they were writing, they just accurately recorded them. Those promises are connected right after halftime. We’re going to see that next lesson.
Now, look at verse 8 and this is where we’re going to conclude this class. The angel says in verse 8,
” ‘Go take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the Earth.’ So, I went to the angel and said to him, ‘Give me the little book.’ And he said to me, ‘Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be sweet as honey in your mouth.’ Then I […] ate it and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues and Kings.’ “
What is this? This is the lesson from the Old Testament. Do you remember Jeremiah? A couple of days ago, I told you about him. Jeremiah tells us in Jeremiah 15:16, that we’re supposed to eat the word of God. That’s what this picture is of eating little book and sweet in the mouth and sour in the stomach. What that is saying is, it’s a reminder what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 4:4. That man shall not live by what? Bread alone. We’re to have a focus on the word in our lives.
Look at the next slide. Do you see the Kevlar vest? I’m going to talk to you, as we close this class, about spiritual body armor. I would like to know, are you protected for the daily battles that these alien invaders with their fiery arrows are going to unleash on you, and me every day?
Ephesians 6. See that slide? “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” how is that? By putting “on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood against,” and here’s all these orders of the demonic world we’ve already talked about.
“Principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the Heavenly places.”
“Therefore, take up the whole armor of God.” Wow. How do we do that?
Next slide, through the discipline of the scriptures? Do you remember earlier, about the third class maybe, I talked to you about the basics? The disciplines. The ways that God has chosen to protect us, to bless us, to nourish us. Do you remember that? Do you remember the basics? That we are supposed to be involved in the word, and prayer, and sharing the gospel. The basics of scripture, there’s three of them, I call them the three elements of the discipline of scriptures. That is,
- We’re supposed to be reading the word of God.
- We’re supposed to memorize the word of God.
- We’re supposed to meditate.
Don’t ever forget the order that God gives. Look on the slide. Reading the word of God is Matthew 4:4. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word.” So, we have to see and put into our minds, the word of God.
Memorizing the word God is Joshua 1:8. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth.” It goes beyond just running our eyes over. It’s actually, we’re saying it out loud and we want to get it written on our minds so that we can do, what I just said about Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 15:16 says that, “your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” What’s that? That’s meditating on the truth of God’s word. Cultivating a time with the Lord. Reading His word, memorizing His word, and then meditating on His word. Why?
Number one, because it’s the only source of inextinguishable joy and hope. When Lucifer becomes Satan and his alien invaders come, it means we are now living in a dangerous world. In a world where all kinds of things are coming in the future. Right now, our adversaries are shooting at us those flaming arrows.
Jeremiah was probably the most depressed, discouraged, and hopeless person described in the Bible. That’s basically his biography in Lamentations 3.
Look what he said in chapter 15, verse 16, “your words were found.” That’s devotion. “I ate them.” That’s meditation. “Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing my heart.” That’s transformation, I’m changed. Why? Because “I’m called by your name.” That’s our identification in Christ. Jeremiah said, “Oh Lord God of hosts.” You’re the God of all power. You’re winning. You’re in charge and you’re greater than the sum of everything you’ve made. I’m going to trust in you.
Here’s some tips on how to memorize scripture. Now, I’ll just give you a quick summary of what I do. I read the Bible repetitively. This is my Bible. When I find a verse that’s incredible, I highlight it. From those verses that I highlight, I start working on memorizing them. My current chapter is right here, on the back of my phone. I show you this regularly. Remember my phone, by the way, here… I’ll turn it on. Do you see who’s on the front of my phone? That’s my wonderful wife, she’s my cover photo. On the back though, is the living abiding word of God.
How do you memorize scripture? Some of you I know are in the Bible Institute and you have a memory program, that’s important. What I’d say is, don’t just learn those verses for the verse quiz, learn them for life. What method? Now, for all of you that need a method, maybe when you’re out of the Bible Institute or right now you don’t have a plan, invest in a plan.
Look on your screen. The navigators, that’s a ministry completely devoted to scripture memory, started during World War II by Dawson Trotman. An amazing thing. Did you know you can get a scripture memory pack, what you see on that picture, for about $10 to $15 on Amazon. There are little verse cards you can carry in your pocket. You should see mine. I have them up in my study where I spend time everyday working on them.
Here’s the current one I’m working on. Invest in the MacArthur study Bible. That’s a whole pack of verses that John MacArthur made. One verse for every week of the 52 weeks of the year and it’s on a little card. There are 52 cards, he has, in what you see there. The MacArthur scripture memory system has a little CD with MP3s, where you can listen to his five-minute challenge on why that verse is the most important. You can listen to them on your digital device and then carry around the cards.
Here’s the lesson, don’t discourage yourself. I’ve taught this class for decades. People come to me and they say, I want to memorize the whole book of Colossians. A week later they’re going like this. I say, what’s wrong. I tried and it didn’t work. They discouraged themselves. Don’t memorize the book of Colossians, memorize one line of one verse. Don’t intentionally set yourself up for defeat. Pick little, bite sized pieces. What I tell a lot of people… I say, you know what? You already know a bunch of verses. Whenever someone tells me that they can’t memorize, I say, Oh, no, no, no; you already know some verses. For example, I say, Our Father who art in Heaven. If you know that, say it along with me, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Did you know right there, you know Matthew 6:9-13. Wow. How about this? “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want”. How about this, “For God so loved the world.” You know what I mean? Most of us have a little handful of verses. Start with those to get them down.
Try the first letter method. Let me do John 3:16 that way. It’s on your screen.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Now my verse cards, if I could take you to my study you would see on one side, I have John 3:16 and all these letters. You should see it. When I sit in Starbucks when we’re off isolation, or on an airplane when we’re off isolation, people will lean over and they think I’m doing Sudoku or something like that, or a crossword puzzle. They say, what are all those letters? I can’t figure out what they mean. I said, Oh, let me show you. “For God so loved the world.” They go, Oh, that’s cool. I said, well, let me finish it. “That He gave His only begotten Son” for you. So, you can go right into sharing the gospel, try the first letter method.
Number one, because it’s the only source of inexhaustible, joy and peace.
Number two, because it’s the only way to resist the attacks of the aliens.
The only way. See that, in the context of this lesson is what we all need to focus on. Why?
Look at what Peter said. 1 Peter 5:8-9. “Be sober, be vigilant.” Why? “Because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Right now, Satan and his demons are trying to disable you, make you doubt God, make you despair, make you disobey God, make you forget about God, make you ignore God. He wants to devour us. Look at verse nine, 1 Peter 5:9.
“Resist him.” How? “Steadfast in the faith,” How? The shield of faith, believing God’s promises, holding on to them, standing behind them and saying, Lord, I can’t do this. I can’t resist this temptation. I can’t resist this fear, but you can resist him. Why? Because Lucifer and the real alien invaders are here.
That is the 14th lesson, as we explore the book of Revelation. Let’s pray.
Father in Heaven, I ask that you would help us to have a hunger for your word, to learn how to read your Bible, memorize it, meditate on it, and have it become the shield of faith. Were with, we can resist all the fiery, flaming darts of the evil one. In the name of Jesus we pray, and all God’s people said, Amen.