Revelation 9:12-21 Part 4


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 four mighty messengers of the throne of Almighty God; the same four that John heard call out the four colored horses and their riders as the Lamb loosed the first four seals of the scroll.  That was at the beginning of chapter six.

The first was “white”; the Rider had the bow and the crown.  It was Christ the King Who, having risen and ascended to the throne, was now charging out to do His work as covenantal Executor, and leading the other horsemen.

The second – at the loosing of the second seal – was “red”, and its rider, led by the Rider on the white horse, galloped out to take the peace from the land; for the riders of the horses and chariots in Zechariah reported that the “land” was at rest.  And the work of this rider being done, all Israel took up the sword against one another, sons against fathers, brother against brother, friends against friends (as prophesied by our Lord in Matthew twenty four)… and there was no peace in all the land.

The third horse was “black”, and it bolted out of the heavens, its rider with scales to weigh food and drink, to bring plagues and pestilences and famines upon Israel so that there was no food or wine in all of the land.

And the fourth horse was “pale”.  Its rider was named “the death”, for it would kill with famine and with wild beasts and with the sword… a “comprehensive” commission from the King of Kings Who leads the armies of the heaven, and Who has sole authority over all creatures good and evil.

At the loosing of the first four seals, the four awesome cherubim at the Throne-seat of God called out the four horses of the mighty armies of the heaven.

The psalmist in Psalm 68 says that God’s chariots are myriads of myriads; and that He takes captivity captive; and that “as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of Yahveh.”

In our text here in chapter nine, the armies of Yahveh are readied from the North; and they are myriads of myriads (John heard their number – a number which he already knew from Psalm 68… that’s why he records it here).  And he heard the command from the golden altar that the cherubim be loosed.  Take note that it’s the “trumpeter” that “looses” them, for in all Israel’s history it was, first, the trumpeting voice of God that brought fear and judgment; and, secondly, it was always the trumpeting that called God’s armies to battle!

And the armies of God, led by the cherubim at the four corners of the mercy seat, are loosed upon the nation that has profaned the name of Yahveh and has polluted and defiled the land.

Now I want to take up the concept of mockery once again.  One of Yahveh’s charges against Israel, which contributed greatly to her profanation of the name and the defiling of the land, was that she had made treaties and covenants with the surrounding pagan nations.  Those treaties were for the purpose of assuring Israel’s safety from the vast armies surrounding her.

Not only had Yahveh Himself assured Israel of her safety, and not only had Israel mockingly refused Yahveh’s assurance by entering into the treaties; but the treaties themselves were, in some part, instruments promoting further perversions and polluting of the land.

So Israel’s open and blatant mockery of Yahveh’s Law-word against the defilements of the surrounding pagans is impetus for what we see in our text, for the armies of God called out by the cherubim are obviously a taunting caricature of Israel’s mockery of Yahveh’s Word in the Law and the prophets.

As we develop this issue some more this morning, let’s see a few of the many places in Scripture in which Yahveh reveals His contempt for those who mock Him.  We’ve already heard from Psalm two, which says:


“He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.”


And from Psalm thirty-seven we read this:


12) The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;

13) but Yahveh laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.


Before the cherub called forth Babylon as the first (of four) civilization encompassing, culture changing dominions of history, Israel had reached such a state of degradation that it was mocking God’s Word and His prophets.  Listen in Second Chronicles chapter thirty-six:


14) All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of Yahveh that he had made holy in Jerusalem.

15) Yahveh, the God of their fathers, persistently sent to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.

16) But they kept mocking the messengers of God, reviling his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of Yahveh rose against his people, and there was no remedy.


Now, the writer of the chronicles of Israel’s history wrote that as a prelude, and prophecy, of that which was about to occur.  The wrath of Yahveh toward the mockery of His Word through the prophets was brought to effect through the armies of Babylon (called forth by the first cherub from the throne).

All Israel was flooded with the first of four foreign armies (all prophesied by Daniel); the nation that God had called His “heaven and earth” was devastated; the city of Jerusalem was ransacked; Solomon’s temple was totally destroyed (not to be rebuilt until king Herod at the time of The Christ); and the remaining men and families taken into captivity for seventy years (Daniel included).  And “the land” lay fallow for seven decades.

Now, the definition of mockery is to treat with ridicule, contempt or derision… a very important term all through God’s Word.  And all through the Scripture there is a persistence on Yahveh’s part to be compassionate and longsuffering with Israel’s mockery of Him by sending His prophets to these His chosen people and promising them forgiveness and abundance and protection should they repent and obey.  And warning them of imminent destruction should they not.  (That’s the covenant of life and death, you remember.)

Equally persistent all through the Scripture is Israel’s contempt (mockery) of Yahveh’s Revelation of Himself and His creation, and her willful “counterfeiting” of the worship, adoration and obedience required of her.  I think the word “counterfeiting”, or “mimicry”, is of some importance here as we seek to understand this better, for Israel was forever practicing and advocating a fraudulent religion and passing it off as genuine.

So when Yahveh “sent” to them (and, by-the-way, that’s what “apostle” means in the newer Scripture – “one sent”) when Yahveh sent to them by way of His prophets, Israel’s counterfeit religion (now seen by them as genuine) was the source from which came her contempt for the words brought by the prophets.  And from that contempt came forth persecution for the messengers!  The leaders of Israel never believed that God would do to them what these prophets said, should they not repent; so they treated the Word of God and His prophets with contempt and derision.  That’s mockery.

Israel trusted its own “mimicking” religion (counterfeit religion); and it found its safety in the horses and chariots and armor and swords and spears of the great armies of those with whom they had formed treaties (all against God’s Law-word).  And the religions of all of these pagan neighbors found their way easily into the culture and practice of “the land” – polluting and defiling God’s new edenic paradise.

The land of milk and honey (God’s heaven-and-earth-Israel) was to be in the likeness of that which is in the heaven.  In fact, it was to be such a “reflection” of the heaven that a man-made “holy of holies” was built so that Yahveh could “make His Presence known” there in the midst of His people.  And the coming Anointed of God was clearly prophesied in all that was built.

But you see, Israel quickly turned what was to be the “image” of the heaven into a complete counterfeit.  Instead of a replica of God’s heaven, Israel reflected a profane and polluted throne of God and His Glory Cloud!

Instead of reflecting the glory of God, it imaged a perverted and corrupt god.  And the image of the coming Anointed of God was mocked and profaned!  That image was so polluted that, when He came, they couldn’t even recognize Him!  He didn’t meet the expectations that their counterfeit image had produced!

And for fifteen hundred years of longsuffering with this foul, perverted image of His heaven, God sent His prophets to require their repentance in order that the image of His heaven might be restored. But all of the “ones sent” to them (the prophets) were mocked and persecuted and killed.

We’re going to look at some of those passages in the older Scripture having to do with Israel’s mockery… of God and His new paradise; of His glory; of His Law-word; of His Anointed One – and  the mockery of the Revelation of His heaven (for the temple itself reflected an obscene likeness).

The first passage, though, is concerning God’s mockery of Israel and her idols.  It is in First Kings chapter eighteen where the corrupt king Ahab and his vulgar wife Jezebel have mocked God by causing ba’als (idols) to be erected and worshiped on all of Israel’s “high places”.  (And remember, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the second and third chapters of The Revelation, sent messages to the seven Churches; and in those messages He excoriated the Churches because they had allowed those after the order of Jezebel to cause trouble in those Churches.)

Anyway, God’s prophet Elijah was king Ahab’s mortal enemy.  Ahab accused Elijah of “troubling” all of Israel with his prophecies from Yahveh.  So Elijah assembled all the “prophets” of the ba’als (the idols) that Ahab and Jezebel had supported and had built all over Israel.  And he challenged the false prophets to pray to their “gods” to consume a sacrifice!

Elijah’s mockery of them is very interesting, and quite funny!  Listen to a bit of it:


25) Then Elijah said to the prophets of ba’al, "Choose for yourselves one ox and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it."

26) And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of ba’al from morning until noon, saying, "O ba’al, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they leaped around the altar that they had made.

27) And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry out loudly, for he is a god!  Either he is thinking, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a trip, or perhaps he is asleep and has to be awakened."

28) And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them.

29) And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no sound, nobody answered, no one paid any attention.


Well, after being spurred on to frenzied activity by Elijah’s mockery (which, by the way, was words directly from God, the prophet says), the false prophets finally exhausted themselves and quit.

Elijah then builds an altar for his slain ox; and this altar is made of stones with wood at the top.  And he builds a trench all around it.  Then he pours copious amounts of water all over it, so that the trench around it is full.

 Then Elijah prays (and that’s when he says that Yahveh told him what to do).  This is a prayer of faith, since it is all at God’s command.  And then fire from the Glory Cloud, directly from underneath the Judgment Seat, is poured out to consume the ox, the wood, all of the stones and all the water in the trench.

Then Elijah had all four hundred and fifty prophets of ba’al slaughtered right in view of all the people who had gathered to watch all the proceedings.

Now I have to read for you from Proverbs chapter one.  Remember this is Wisdom Personified, Yahveh Son of God – The Word – speaking here.  Please listen carefully to it:


20) Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares.

21) She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:

22) "How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance? [How long] will [you] mockers enjoy mocking and [you] fools hate knowledge?

23) If you turn at my discipline, (repent) then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words.

24) However, I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention,

25) and you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction,

26) I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when terror strikes you,

27) when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you.

28) Then they will call me, but I won't answer; they will search for me, but won't find me.

29) Because they hated knowledge, didn't choose to fear the LORD,

30) were not interested in my counsel, and rejected all my correction,

31) they will eat the fruit of their way and be satiated with their own schemes.

32) The waywardness (turning away) of the naïve will kill them and the complacency (false security) of fools will destroy them.

33) But whoever listens to me (Wisdom) will live securely and be free from the dread of evil.”


Those who mock the Wisdom of the Word will be mocked and filled with their own schemes… satiated with their own devices (which is exactly what we’re seeing here in Revelation chapter nine, isn’t it?).

Before we get there, there are two more that you must hear before some comments about what John sees here in our text.  This next passage is from the beautifully worded, poetically devised prophecy of Isaiah, at chapter fifty-seven.  His words, from Yahveh – to Israel, have to do with the unmitigated futility of her idolatry.

Here it is, please listen carefully:


3)    But come here, you sons of a sorceress, offspring of an adulterer and a prostitute!

4)    Who is it you are mocking?  Who is it you are opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue at?  Isn't it you, you rebellious children, you race of liars,

5)    who burn with lust among the oaks, under every flourishing tree, who slaughter children in the wadis below the clefts of the rocks?

11) Who was it you dreaded and feared, so that you lied and didn't remember Me or take it to heart?  Have I not kept silent for such a long time and you do not fear Me?

12) I will expose your righteousness, and your works—they will not profit you.

13) When you cry out, let your collection [of idols] deliver you!  The wind will carry all of them off, a breath will take them away.  But whoever takes refuge in Me will inherit the land and possess My holy mountain.


Now, lastly… Ezekiel chapter twenty-two contains one of the clearest and most virulent indictments by Yahveh of the princes, priests and elders of Jerusalem and all of Israel.

And once again, Yahveh speaks the very words that the prophet is to say to Israel’s leaders.  And it’s essential that we hear them, because of the clarity that they bring to the text here in chapter nine.

So, listen closely to the words from Yahveh that the prophet is to speak:


1)    The word of the LORD came to me:

2)    "Now, son of man, will you pass judgment? Will you pass judgment against the city of blood? Then explain all her abominations to her.

3)    You are to say: This is what the Lord GOD says: A city that sheds blood within her [walls] so that her time of judgment has come and who makes idols for herself so that she is defiled!

4)    You are guilty of the blood you have shed, and you are defiled from the idols you have made. You have brought your [judgment] days near and have come to your years [of punishment]. Therefore, I have made you a disgrace to the nations and a mockery to all the lands.

5)    Those who are near and those far away from you will mock you and look upon you as infamous and full of misery.


God said that He had made Jerusalem a mockery; and all nations near and far would mock her in her infamy and in her misery, for she had mocked Yahveh by her idolatry and by her defilement of the land and by her putrid reflection of that which is in the heaven.  And that’s what we see here in chapter nine, for it is all pure mockery of this decadent people.

As I said earlier, these are just a few of those passages in the older Scripture having to do with mockery.   It is a significant and weighty concept all through Scripture, and we do well to pay attention to it.  For God’s revenge is revealed to John in terms of mockery.

We have been encouraged often to receive God’s perspective rather than to manufacture one from our own imaginations (as many seem to do).  And what the apostle John sees and hears in our text is exactly that… it is how Yahveh has “caused” it to be, and how He perceives it.  And it is the “fullness” of His prophetic Word.

He has caused Jerusalem and all of Israel to be a mockery; and He has caused her to be mocked by all the nations near and far.  And as the end of the age approaches (67-70AD), it is in those terms that He reveals what is to come to pass quickly.

The Revelation that we have before us is the mockery promised by Yahveh.  In His revenge upon fifteen hundred years of mockery by Israel, He makes her a mockery; and the language is just that.  And we mock God if we make it something else; we mock God if we make it say something different from His interpretation.

And make no mistake about it… this is HIS interpretation.  It’s already interpreted.  It’s the fullness of His prophetic Word, and it’s in His language, and it’s His perspective… it’s HIS revenge upon His “heaven and earth” that He had made in the likeness of His heaven!  And if we make something of it that’s different from His Own perspective, or should we re-interpret what is said, then we’re guilty of mocking God’s Word!  Instead, we have to see it as HE sees it!  After all, it IS His Word, isn’t it?  And we have no right whatever to impose what we think it ought to say!

Now, as verse fifteen says, the four mighty messengers from the four corners of God’s judgment seat in the heaven are the very ones, according to the prophet Daniel, that called forth the four great civilizations of history.  And now all four are here so John can see them and hear them at the inauguration and installation of the Fifth, and last, civilization-wide, culture-changing Kingdom of God’s creation!

As they’re loosed by the trumpeting voice of Almighty God, the cherubim bring the mighty armies of the earth from the North.  And make no mistake, this is at the instigation and decree of God that myriads of myriads of His horses and chariots are poised at the north, at the River Euphrates.

The armies of Babylon were His armies; the armies of Persia were His armies; the armies of Greece were His armies, and the armies of Rome and those of all of her provinces were His armies… all called out by the decree of God through His mighty cherubim from the four corners of the throne in the heaven.

These are not “accidents” of history (these four civilization-encompassing, culture changing, world-ruling tyrant nations)!  They’re God’s armies; they all belonged to Him; they’re called out by His cherubim – one-at-a-time – at God’s will and decree (all of it prophesied).

The prophet said that they were called out of the vast “sea” of pagan humanity at God’s decree and for His Own purpose.  Their armies were vast and fierce – savage and venomous as wild animals; their horses and chariots, covered with bright armor, were daunting – so many that they couldn’t be counted (they were like plagues of locusts and scorpions they were so many).  And their weapons of death and destruction stinging and biting – maiming and killing. (All here in Revelation chapter nine.)

 They entered a land flowing with water and filled with trees and grass and flocks and herds and crops (truly a land of abundance from Yahveh… and when they passed through there was nothing left but wasteland and rising clouds of dust that blocked out the light of the sun and the moon and the stars.

And they maimed and starved and killed without leniency, without compassion, without mercy – predatory and brutal and ruthless.

These are the ones with whom Israel had made treaties; these are the ones whose idols and philosophies and cultures Israel had gladly received – in outright mockery of the Words of Yahveh.  These are the ones with whom she copulated in order to gain their favor. These are the ones from whom Yahveh had promised Israel’s protection should she worship Him alone and obey His Words and refrain from corrupting the land which reflected the glory of His heaven.

But Israel would not.  Instead, she mocked His Word, and she mocked His prophets who He sent to require her repentance.  And having her own established counterfeit religion, she wouldn’t even recognize, and wouldn’t acknowledge, God’s Anointed Savior of the world.

And she continued her fifteen hundred years of mockery at His trial before the Sanhedrin; He was mocked by representatives of the nations; He was mocked by the princes and priests and elders of Israel as He hung on the tree.  And then His resurrection out of death was mocked by Israel’s leaders.

And then, in mocking reprisal, Israel pursued and persecuted and killed many of our Lord’s elect Who He came to seek and to save, sealing our Lord’s promise that all the blood of the righteous in Israel’s history would be laid to their account in this generation.

I leave for you just one short passage of our Lord’s condemnation of Israel and her imminent demise.  He said these things directly to Israel’s leadership just before His being delivered up and crucified.  This is from Matthew chapter twenty-three:


“Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, who indeed appear beautiful from the outside but inside are full of dead bones and all uncleanness!

Thus also you from the outside indeed make yourselves appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness!

Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, you repair the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,

and you say, ‘If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers of them in the blood of the prophets.”

So you are witnesses to yourselves that you are sons of those who killed the prophets;

and you, you fill up the measure of your fathers.

Serpents, brood of vipers, how shall you escape from the judgment of Gehenna? (the pit)

Because of this, Lo, I send to you prophets and sages and scribes; of them you will kill and crucify, and of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and you will persecute them from city into city,

In order that all righteous blood shall come upon you which has been spilled upon the earth from the blood of the righteous Abel until the blood of Zacharias Son of Barachias, whom you murdered between the temple and altar!

Amen I say to you, these things shall come upon this generation.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, she who kills the prophets and stones the ones who were being sent to her, how many times I wished to gather together your children (even as a bird gathers her brood under her wings) and you would not.

Lo, your house is left to you a desolation.”


After further remarks (next Lord’s Day) concerning God’s perception of His armies and His mocking revenge here in the last verses of this chapter, hopefully we’ll get to finish nine and begin our preparations then for chapter ten.  And may God richly bless us all by the reading and preaching of His Word.