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Revelation  ◦   Chapter 9

1The fifth angel trumpeted his warning, and I saw a fallen angel symbolized by a star falling from the sky to the earth. The fallen angel had the key to accessing the abyss, symbolizing spiritualism and mysticism being the key to accessing the pit of demonic influences.2He opened the abyss, and smoke rose from it like that from a huge furnace, symbolizing the immense rise in popularity and acceptance of spiritualism and mysticism. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke, symbolizing the minds of people having become dark and no longer looking to God for enlightenment.3Out of the smoke came locusts that had the power of scorpions. As locusts consume the fruit of the land, so too the sting of sin consumes the fruit of the Spirit.4The locusts were unable to harm the people whose minds were so settled into the truth about God that they could not be moved–symbolized by the healthy grass, plants, and trees–but could harm those whose minds were not sealed into the truth about God.5They were not able to inflict direct physical harm, but caused tortured thinking and mental anguish for five months. And the agony suffered was from the sting of living outside God's design for life–the scorpion-sting of sin.6Dying to self and being renewed in righteousness is preferable to living in the anguish of sin, therefore many will seek to die to self and be renewed, but they will not find it, because they seek their own mystical method of renewal.

7The forces of evil, swarming like locusts, were prepared like battle horses for their assault. On their heads, they had what looked like crowns of gold, and they had human faces, which meant that they claimed their ways would ennoble the mind and cleanse the character.8They came subtly, pretending to be gentle helpers, like women, but in reality they were ravenous lions, devouring and destroying.9Rather than a breastplate of righteousness, they had breastplates of iron, symbolic of their corrupt characters and the power to enslave the mind. Their wings sounded like thunder or the rumble of horses galloping into battle, which symbolized the rapid spread of their distorted mystical ways through the minds of people on earth.10Their tails were like those of scorpions, symbolic of the lies that deceive, and their sting is the sting of sin that results from believing lies about God. They had the power to torment people for five months.11They followed their king who ruled them–the fallen angel from the abyss, also known as Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek, but we call him Satan.

12The first woe has happened, two more are to come.

13The sixth angel trumpeted his warning, and I heard a voice — coming from the horns of the golden altar before God — which is Christ speaking while he works to cleanse the minds of his people.14The voice said to the sixth angel, who held the warning trumpet, "It is time to release the four angels bound to the great river Euphrates, who have stood as a barrier protecting the people."15Then the four angels who had been waiting for that hour, day, month and year were released, and they let go of what they held back; and one-third of people on earth died.16The number of the enemy forces was more than two times ten thousand times ten thousand–the number was beyond counting, symbolizing the number composed of peoples from the entire world.

17The horses and riders were a conglomerate of diverse forces uniting together to oppose God. They were assembled in three main divisions: Those who believed the lies about God and promoted them through churches had breastplates of fiery red; those who practiced mysticism and spiritualism had breastplates of metallic blue; and those who merely pursued political power and coerced with the power of the state had breastplates of sulfur yellow. They were all bent on destroying truth, love and freedom, as symbolized by their horses with heads like the heads of lions. They destroyed with fiery lies, smoky mysticism, and coercive pressure.18One-third of humanity had their characters destroyed by the combined effect of the fiery lies, smoky mysticism, and coercive pressure.19The power of these enemy forces came from the lies and falsehoods they promoted — symbolized by the smoke coming from their mouths, and by their tails being like heads of snakes, which were able to inflict injury. 4 Isa 9:1520The rest of humanity whose consciences were not completely seared by these assaults still refused to turn away from their own self-promotion; they continued to trust demons, and the idols of their own hearts’ desire, that are not even alive.21They did not turn away from destroying others, or from mystical and magical practices, or from sexual immorality or theft.