Revelation 9:12-21 Part 3


1)    Then the fifth messenger trumpeted, and I saw a star having fallen from the heaven into the land, and the key of the shaft of the abyss was given to it.

2)    And the shaft of the abyss was opened, and smoke as smoke from a great furnace arose out of the shaft, and the sun and the atmosphere was darkened by the smoke from the shaft.

3)    Then locusts came forth into the land from the smoke; and power was given to them the same as the capabilities the scorpions of the land have.

4)    And it was said to them that they should do no harm to the grass of the land nor any green plant nor any tree, but only the men having no seal of God on their foreheads.

5)    And it was given to them that they not kill them but that they should be tormented five months, and their torment as the scorpion torments when it has stung a man.

6)    Then the men will seek the death in these days and will not find it; they will long to die, but the death flees from them.

7)    The appearances of the locusts like horses having been made ready into battle; upon their heads as crowns like gold; their faces as men’s faces;

8)    they had hair as women’s hair; their teeth were as lions’;

9)    they had breastplates as iron breastplates; the sound of their wings as chariot sound from many horses running into battle;

10) they have tails and stings like scorpions, their ability to harm the men five months in their tails.

11) For their ruler they have the messenger of the abyss, the Hebrew name: Abaddon, the Hellenic name being Apollyon.

12) The one woe did go forth.  Lo!  It comes yet two woes after this.

13) Then the sixth messenger trumpeted.  Then I heard one voice from the four corners of the altar of gold before God

14) saying to the sixth messenger having the trumpet, ‘loose the four messengers having been bound at the great river Euphrates’.

15) And the four messengers having been made ready into the hour and the day and the month and the year were loosed in order that they might kill the third of the men.

16) The number of the armies of horses: two myriads of myriads.  I heard their number.

17) And thus I saw in the appearance of the horses, and those who sit on them, having breastplates of fire and hyacinth and brimstone, the heads of the horses as lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur went forth out of their mouths.

18) From these three plagues, the fire and the smoke and the sulphur going forth from their mouths, the third of the men were killed,

19) for the ability of the horses is in their mouths; and in their tails, their tails like serpents having heads, they do harm.

20) And the rest of the men, those not killed in these plagues, neither repented of the works of their hands that they should not worship devils and idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood (which neither can see nor hear nor walk),

21) nor did they repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their fornications nor of their thefts.


The “One Voice” from the four horns of the golden altar commands the sixth trumpeter to loose the four created messengers that have been bound at the great river Euphrates (the far north border of the land given to Israel).

Then the text of John’s letter says, verse fifteen:


“And the four messengers having been made ready into the hour and the day and the month and the year were loosed in order that they might kill the third of the men.”


The imprecatory prayers of those whose blood was shed for the Name of Jesus were faithful prayers, offered from the hands of the Christ at the golden altar.  They were faithful, for our Lord had promised the vengeance upon those who had persecuted them (Matthew 24).

And our God’s pleasure in those imprecatory prayers is clearly seen in the wrath poured out from the censer at the golden altar, and the five preceding plagues and pestilences.

And once again we see, as the sixth trumpeter sounds and the second of three woes is revealed……messengers already prepared in the heaven, bound from executing their purpose until a specific time – their role in history utterly predestined and certain.

These are the four cherubim from the four corners of the mercy seat over which God judges in absolute sovereignty.  And they are prepared from the north.

Please listen as we hear our Lord’s prophetic Word.  First is from Ezekiel chapter one:

4)    As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.

5)    And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures.


And listen to Jeremiah as he was being commissioned by Yahveh to speak to the tribes of Israel about what was in store for them:


13) Again the word of the LORD came to me inquiring,  "What do you see?"  And I replied, "I see a boiling pot, its mouth tilted from the north."

14) Then Yahveh said to me, "Disaster will be poured out from the north on all who live in the land.

15) Indeed, I am about to summon all the clans and kingdoms of the north."  Yahveh’s declaration.  They will come, and each will set up his Throne at the entrance to Jerusalem's gates.  They will attack all her surrounding walls and all the other cities of Judah.

16) "I will pronounce My judgments against them (i.e. inhabitants of Israel) for all the evil they did when they did forsake Me to burn incense to other gods and to worship the works of their own hands.”


The “north” is the direction from which comes the Glory Cloud; and the north is the direction from which comes the tilted boiling pot which pours out disaster.

And remember, the way that God created it all and defines it all in His Own terms is the reality with which we must deal.  And the way He spoke it to Moses is that there was a Paradise called Eden; and a river flowed from it into the garden and split into four rivers… the southernmost being the great river Euphrates.

When Adam and his wife were cast out of that garden, they were placed just east of the garden, and God’s cherubim were stationed there.  It was this very area in which (after one hundred and fifty days of the flood) Noah’s ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat – just east of the garden.  (And, by the way, that hundred and fifty days of the flood perfectly matches the hundred and fifty days of the wrath of God following the sounding of the fifth trumpeter here in chapter nine).

Then there was a city built just east of where the garden was; and its name was Haran.  And you’ll take note of the fact that this is the city from which God chose Abram and his wife Sarah – right out of the same area into which Adam and Eve were appointed when they were expelled and banned from the garden!  And therefore there is a providential connection between Abram and Sarah and Adam and Eve that is Biblically undeniable!

Yahveh led Abram “south” (from the north) across the Euphrates into Canaan, and He covenanted with him, and gave his descendants the land from the Euphrates to the river of Egypt, which is the “new” edenic paradise in the likeness of His heaven and earth.

And as the Scripture indicates, as the new paradise of God becomes defiled and perverted, the Glory Cloud and the flooding wrath of Yahveh is prophesied to come from the “north” where the original Eden was located, and where the “four” cherubim were stationed.

And in our text it is these four cherubim stationed in the area of the original Eden – to the north of the “new” paradise of God – at the great river Euphrates.  They’ve been bound to the hour and to the day and to the month and to the year.  And now they are to be “loosed” at the One Voice from the four horns of the golden altar.

And the second of three woes – all prophesied by the Word of the Christ in the older Scripture – is heard and seen by John at the sounding of the sixth trumpeter.

Please remember that these four cherubim spoke “Come!” to the four waiting horsemen on four different colored horses when the Lamb slain loosed the first four seals of the scroll (that, too, prophesied by the voice of the Christ – which we read from the prophecy of Zechariah).

Then the Lamb loosed the fifth seal, and John heard the prayers of the martyrs before the golden altar – these prayers for God’s revenge.

Then the sixth seal opened up what John saw was to happen quickly – the new edenic paradise – God’s “micro-cosmos” Israel -terminated like a scroll snapping shut.  And judaist Israel ceased to exist; what few remained (as prophesied) were scattered into the nations, and they be hunted down, persecuted and killed – which has been the case now for almost two thousand years.

Then the seventh seal was loosed by the Lamb; and John saw the four cherubim holding back the four winds of the land until Archangel Michael marked and sealed and rescued our Lord’s elect from the twelve tribes.  They are there, the four of them at the four corners of the covenantal mercy seat of God, instantly accomplishing the Will of God, quickening, moving, animating God’s creation; holding back that which is coming quickly in order that those for whom Christ shed His blood are marked out and sealed!

We’ve witnessed God’s language in the creation itself being in the likeness of that which is in the heaven; then further in the creation of Israel and the city on the mount and the temple with all of its sacrifices – all in the likeness of God’s Throne room; for it was, indeed, “heaven and earth”; for God had created it for Himself following the destruction of the first one in His flooding wrath.

We’ve heard of lightnings and thunders, fire and smoke and coals and a furnace; and Throne creatures, and chariots with wheels, and a firmament under the Throne; and beautiful colored stones (as in the garden), and trumpets and shakings and mountains and trees and rocks… and the “sea” with its imagery of pagan humanity.  And much, much more.

And, as we’ve seen before, another one of those “constructs of God’s perception” that is revealed to us by God through His prophets has to do with His creation in “fours”.  The creation is perceived by God as “four”.  It is dealt with by God as “four”.  In its “four-ness” it is in the likeness of that which is in the heaven.

There are four Throne-creatures at the four corners of the Mercy Seat of God; His second heaven and earth – Israel – is also revealed in fours, with four winds and four corners of the land; and with the temple and its implements constructed in fours, and Israel itself described in fours… all in the likeness of the Throne room and the Throne of God.

The four Throne-creatures are revealed in the prophetic Word to move upon the face of the “sea of humanity”, and four great civilization-ruling, culture changing nations (dominions) rise up through history in advance of the arrival of The Branch and His fifth (and eternal) Kingdom.

     Having been created in His image, our very life having been breathed into us, and our movements and directions, and our eyes, and our work, and our thoughts, and our worship, and our activities and our relationships are all animated through these four living beings who are the very eyes and will of God – Father, Son and Spirit.

And in many ways the entire creation corresponds to them since it is all activated and animated through them; and we are to have similarities to them in the way that we live and move and have our very being in Christ Jesus the Lord, as we correspond to what the apostle sees in the heaven at the Judgment Seat of God.

The apostle John says that these living beings were entirely of eyes front and back.  Now, since these are the living beings that are most closely linked with the earth and all its history, we are to perceive these creatures from the perspective of God’s demand, in His written Word, that we know His power and divinity from what He has made (Romans one).

And, as we’ve said on numerous occasions, this is John’s inspired and enscripturated description of the Throne.  It is God’s rule and dominion over all His creation and all His creatures and all of the “agents” of His dominion.  And these four living beings, “in and round about the Throne” are the ones by which He rules, sovereignly, over all things in His dominion.  The Throne is the Throne of dominion, you see.

“Entirely of eyes front and back” indicates that these creatures are able to see immediately and in every direction, and at all times.  They see to the Providence of God; and they see to what that Providence demands in the whole of the creation.  They are the very eyes of the Throne of dominion over which God rules.

It’s just as the apostle Paul said at the acropolis in Athens: “In Him we live and move and have our very being.”  Although completely independent of what He has made, our God is imminently involved in every detail of what He’s made.  It all exists, it lives, it moves, it has its being – in Him.  And these creatures of His are, in many ways, the “pattern” for every detail of the dominion of God on earth.

These living beings have eyes; God’s creatures on the earth have eyes.  These living beings move and go in different directions; God’s creatures on earth move and go in different directions.  These four living beings respond positively and immediately to the sovereign Will of God from His Throne of rule and dominion.  God’s creatures on earth are commanded by God to respond to His sovereign Will as revealed in creation and The Word.  There is great diversity in the living beings; there is also great diversity among God’s earthly creatures.

Wind doesn’t blow; the sun doesn’t shine; darkness doesn’t exist; objects don’t fall to the earth when they’re dropped; there are no “seasons”; men and animals don’t see; men and animals don’t move; men and animals don’t live – none of these things without the direct and immediate “Cause” … Father, Son and Spirit.  And these Throne-creatures are His “ministers” or “agents” of His rule and dominion.

These creatures have the “hands” of man.  Or, rather, we have hands “in the likeness” of that which is in the heaven.  And we are to perceive, to know, to discern God’s power and divinity in all that His hands have made; for all that He has made has an Archetype in the heaven.  He has made it all to HIS liking!  Therefore all men are obligated, by all of His creation, to give Him worship and honor and thanksgiving.

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the likeness of that which is in the heaven; and that’s where our “minds” should be.  We are to know these things; we are to contemplate these things; we are to respond in fear and awe and obedience because of these things.  Therefore His Revelation of all things is the “beginning point” to all our understanding of all that exists!  All men are obligated to begin their inquiries with God’s Revelation.  For any inquiry to begin at any other “assumed” beginning point is fraudulent and perverted!

Wind doesn’t blow “naturally”; water doesn’t run downhill “naturally”; a coin doesn’t drop to the floor “naturally”; flowers don’t grow “naturally”.  In fact, “naturally” doesn’t exist when it’s separated philosophically from God’s decree!

We live, and move, and have our being in Him.  And it’s all in His Providence; and it’s all from the Throne of dominion and rule, and exercised by these four Throne-creatures.

Here’s how John described these four in an earlier portion of this letter:


“… and the first creature like unto a lion, and the second creature like unto a calf (that’s the calf of an ox, or a young ox), and the third creature having the face as of man, and the fourth creature like unto a flying eagle….”


Having read John Calvin earlier, in his commentary on Ezekiel chapter ten, we remember that he says “by these (living creatures) all living creatures were represented to us….”  That’s an excellent observation by our esteemed reformation pastor.  I would prefer to put it another way, though.  By the diversity of creatures made by God on the earth, we observe that the creation is in the “likeness” of that which is in the heaven.

The numbers, or kinds, of creatures God has made in the cosmos are not infinite, but they are certainly diverse – as are the kinds of creatures in the heaven.  And certainly the cherubim, the four creatures most closely linked with the earth itself, add immeasurably to that heavenly diversity.  And we most assuredly can say, with Calvin, that the whole of creation should cause us to acknowledge the power and glory and divinity of our God and Savior.  And therefore the animals upon the earth ought to remind us of the Throne of dominion in the heaven and its four cherubim, and give honor and glory to Father, Son and Spirit as these heavenly creatures do.

Now.  There has been much said in the commentaries about these “faces” which adorn the four cherubim that we now see having been “loosed” at the great river.  And I’m very skeptical about most of it, because it seems as if it’s just pulled out of thin air.  “Well, this seems to be that”, or “this face represents (something or the other)”.

But, as we’ve declared previously, God doesn’t do anything without purpose.  And we find in His Word those things in His cosmos that are made in the likeness of that which is in the heaven.

And I have just a few passages of Scripture for you which give us “indication” as to the faces of the cherubim.  These are earthy “likenesses” to the Throne-creatures.

First, from Numbers chapter twenty-four:


8)    God brings him forth out of Egypt; He has as it were the strength of the wild-ox: He shall eat up the nations his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces, and smite them through with his arrows.

9)    He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? Blessed be every one that blesses you, and cursed be every one that curses you.


That’s prophecy, by Holy Spirit, through Baalam!  And here’s another:


47) Because you served not Yahveh your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things;

48) therefore shall you serve your enemies that Yahveh shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he has destroyed you.

49) Yahveh will bring a nation against you from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flies; a nation whose tongue you shall not understand;

50) a nation of fierce countenance, that shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young,


That’s Moses prophecy against Israel should she not worship and obey Yahveh!  And we’ve already seen the eagle flying mid-heaven pronouncing three woes!  And it’s one of the faces of the cherubim!

And then this, as Moses recounts, prophetically, what God has done for Israel, chapter thirty-two of Deuteronomy:


9)    For Yahveh's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

10) He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He compassed him about, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of his eye.

11) As an eagle that stirs up her nest, that flutters over her young, He spread abroad his wings, He took them, He bare them on His pinions.


And the words of the Son of God through the psalmist (Psalm 93):


10) But my horn have you exalted like the horn of the wild-ox: I am anointed with fresh oil.

11) Mine eye also has seen my desire on my enemies, Mine ears have heard my desire of the evil-doers that rise up against me.

12) The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

13) They are planted in the house of Yahveh; they shall flourish in the courts of our God.


Without going any further with reading to you, let me just say that there are literally dozens upon dozens of prophetic references to oxen and eagles and lions… and, of course, man (all faces of cherubim), as the earth (as Calvin says) is activated, or animated, by these creatures of God.  And the earth, in all of its diversity, bears a striking correspondence to the Throne-room of God and all His creatures – especially His Throne-creatures.

I’ll read just one more passage; this one from Jeremiah concerning THE MAN (one of the faces of cherubim)!


14) Behold, the days come, says Yahveh, that I will perform that good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and concerning the house of Judah.

15) In those days, and at that time, will I cause a Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

16) In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby she shall be called: Yahveh our righteousness.

17) For thus says Yahveh:  David shall never want for a man to sit upon the Throne of the house of Israel….


The Throne; the Throne-creatures; The Man….

I see (in the Scripture) the Lion of Judah, Ruler of all creation, above the Throne of judgment and redemption in the heaven; soaring with the wings of an eagle. He was once the young ox on the altar of whole burnt offering.

He is awesome to behold, beyond description, bursting with majestic glory (Psalm 45:3).  His hair glistens like wool and new snow. The arms and feet of our King glow like burnished bronze fresh from the forge, and His face shines with the brilliance of the sun. Fiery eyes fix their gaze, while still seeing all things (Revelation 1:14). A rich robe, impossibly white and pure, drapes over His powerful, risen form; and a name of mystery is written on it (Revelation 19:12). The One named Holy and Faithful and True (Revelation 3:7) rides a magnificent stallion (Revelation 19:11), and with a voice resonating with the ocean’s power and ringing loud and long and terrible as a trumpet (Revelation 4:1), our man/King shouts to a glorious host of angels and awesome creatures of might, who storm across the skies with Him (Revelation 19:14). The King of kings rides out to victory over all His enemies (Psalm 45:4).

This is God-man, Who has been given all authority in the heaven and upon the earth.  Matthew twenty-eight.

So, each of these powerful creatures, having been bound in the heaven and having been loosed in the heaven, created by Triune God with great diversity, have four different faces each. And they are “full of eyes”. And with their great diversity they respond instantly to the Will of the One Who has all authority in the heaven and on the earth.

They are the “Throne-creatures” of God; and they are the magnificent creatures of the earth, for all things having to do with the cosmos are made by God in their likeness.  And there is such an intimate identity between them and the creation that all of what God has made is actually animated by them.

And it is these creatures that are readied at the northern border of God’s “heaven and earth” Israel for the hour and day and month and year.  For the sixth trumpeter sounds the voice of Almighty God for their “loosing”.

Having been bound in the heaven for this particular hour and day and month and year, they are now loosed at the command of the One Voice from the four horns of the altar.

And here they are, the cherubim at the four corners of the judgment seat – over which our God reigns.  The immense sights and the terrifying sounds of the chariot of God riding on the wings of the wind; the flashes of fire and light and the terrible thunders and the darkness of the Glory Cloud as the mighty wings of the messengers of God cause an intense roar; and the coals of fire and the glory of God as bright glowing metal.

And the creatures of God appear once again to John in great mockery of Israel; for judaists have mocked God and His Law-word by their profanation of His Name; and they have participated in every perversity – as did the Canaanites before them.  And His second Edenic paradise has been profaned as the first one was.

As we’ll see next time, God’s mockery of Israel now turns deadly serious.

But out of the North, at the great river Euphrates, comes the Glory Cloud in judgment upon the nation that has profaned the Name of Yahveh and defiled His new “heaven and earth”.  His four cherubim have been “loosed”.


Now.  I don’t think that anybody here would disagree with the assertion that our nation is suffering from mass delusion.  I think that’s pretty obvious, since many profane the Name of the Lord, and many are participating in perverted behavior.  The idolatry and the perversions are easy to see.  And perverted practices follow closely behind idolatry (Romans chapter one).

The darkness of delusion is settling over the nation as the “secular” rises to prominence.  And as it does so, a particular term of mocking and derision gains popularity and prestige: the term is religionists.

That’s a contemptuous word in the secularist vocabulary… scoffing, scornful, taunting.  And it’s primarily associated with the Name of Jesus, the Christ.

We’re “religionists”.  That means we’re irrational and completely out of touch with reality because we want the country to subscribe to the teachings of a religion.  And all religions are irrelevant – especially Christianity… idolatrous ones not so much.

Well, now that we’ve spent some time in The Revelation, we’re aware of how our Lord views mockery.  As the caricature and contempt of the Christ abounds, the deep darkness of delusion settles in.  And you know the rest… our Lord will not be mocked.

Coming to the table, we’re told to “remember”.  Remember His work (which we’re learning so much more about); remember His Word; have His mind; rest in His authority.  And by all means be thankful.

That’s what the word “eucharist” means – thanksgiving.  We’re thankful that there is One Who has all authority in the heaven and on the earth.  We’re thankful for His work; we’re thankful for His Word.  And we’re thankful that we can rest in Him and have peace with God.  And we’re thankful that He will have His way among men and nations.  And that there will be restitution for mockery, for it will be compensated seven-fold.