One of the reasons God has left us as believers on earth is to resist the Devil and stand against Satan’s plans. God wants us aware that Satan is alive and well on planet Earth, We are to neither ignore nor fear Satan, we are to resist him. That is the truth that God wanted emphasized in the Church, and that is the theme of Revelation 9.
Satan is constantly prowling the world seeking to demote God, and derail God’s work from being accomplished on Earth among people, but we are called to resist and stand against him.
The confidence we have assures us as Romans 8 says, that we are “more than conquerors through Christ”. As we learn and grow today we will find Satan is a defeated foe, a weakened adversary and crushed enemy. We through Jesus Christ have the victory.
Satan is Resisting God’s Work on Earth Today
Bad, evil, dark, fearsome, and deadly are just a few terms that would describe this realm that God intentionally opens for His Church to see, comprehend, and prepare for in our daily lives.
This morning as we open our Bibles to Revelation 9, we are opening to the fifth trumpet. Just a quick glance at the map will help orient us to where we are and where we have been.
• Revelation 1 is the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, where John introduced us to Jesus Christ as He is right now, the Risen Lord of the Church He has purchased with His own blood.
• Revelation 2-3 contains the Seven Church Visits, as John records the unannounced visits Jesus made to see if the churches were following His Word, or slipping away. Only one or at the most, two of the churches were staying true to the Book left as their plan for being good and faithful servants.
• Revelation 4-5 gives us a peek at the Worship in Heaven, as John is shown the Throne of God Almighty, as we see worship from the redeemed plus all the creatures of God encircling His Throne.
• Revelation 6-19 lays out God’s Plans for the End of Human History, we are introduced us to the future wrath of God upon sinful humanity.
Seven Seal judgments spread from Rev. 6:1-8:1;
Seven Trumpet judgments stretch from Rev. 8:1-11:15;
Seven Bowl judgments fill Rev. 16:1-21.
Then Jesus Christ returns in Rev. 19.
So we could say that as we open to Revelation 9 we are opening up to lessons from God’s plan for the future at the sounding of the 5th trumpet. As we saw last time:
Trumpet Five: Only God can Defeat the Devil & Demons
Listen to the scene as we stand and read v. 1-2. There is a repeated emphasis upon a place, and a realm that most of us today have very little understanding or comprehension of, that can deeply impact our lives each day.
Revelation 9:1-2 (NKJV) Then 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. 2 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.
These two verses we are looking at are part of an intentional account God has sent to us to read, understand, and respond to in Christ's Church.
God gives the Church: Lessons from the Demons’ Location
Look again at Rev. 9:1–2 (NKJV):
Then 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. 2 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.
What ever that place is; and what ever lives there, is being emphasized by God: and all of that realm is off the charts for most of us. But much like the ocean currents and magnetic fields of earth, we are impacted every day by things largely unseen and incomprehensible to us.
Two elements jump from those verses. First there is this person that falls like a star from Heaven, that gets a special key given to him; and second, the key unlocks a place that is mentioned four times as a bottomless pit or abyss that is filled with hideous demon hordes.
This could easily begin to sound like some great sci-fi movie script, but instead it is a message that comes directly from God. So we can conclude that God wants us to know about a person who is like a star falling from Heaven to Earth; and God wants us to know about a bottomless pit that He as God Almighty keeps under lock and key.
Fascinating, but is it even important to study? Yes, because:
God Wants the Church to Know All This
None of those seven lessons of Revelation 9 would be my first choices as topics for study. But God chose them, and packaged them, and added to them a very important statement.
Sometimes I think we need to keep going back to why we would even study Revelation.
God’s answer is always the same, written down, clear and simple. Look back at why we at Calvary would spend Sunday after Sunday in the final book of the Bible.
Turn back to Rev. 1:1-3:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
What Does God Want us to See
God wants us to see how closely Satan’s activities are tied, to the events in this world. Listen again to the two elements that jump from those verses. First there is this person that falls like a star from Heaven, that gets a special key given to him; and second the key unlocks a place that is mentioned four times as a bottomless pit or abyss.
From looking at the rest of God's Word we can conclude that this person is the archenemy of God, the Devil. The verse tells us that this is not a star in the sense of a thermonuclear solar furnace, rather it is a spiritual being (note that v. 1 say that “to him was given”, that means this is a person) of great power and authority. So we can safely conclude that this is:
The Supernatural Person called Satan
This powerful, supernatural person shows up all the way through the Book of Revelation. By the time we get to chapter 12 we find the most complete explanation of him that makes all the pieces fit. Turn there with me there, to Revelation 12:3-4a (NKJV), and follow along as I read what God says:
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.
In this verse we meet a dragon; then in the next verse (v. 4) this dragon draws a third of the angels under his control; then move on down to v. 7 and we see that there are two groups of angels Michael and the un-fallen angels of God vs. the Dragon and his fallen angels. Now look at v. 9, which becomes like a Rosetta Stone that connects together several of the pieces of the world of Satan and his angels. Satan, is the Devil, is the Dragon, is the Serpent, the Deceiver.
In Rev. 12:9 we see God connecting Genesis with Revelation, and everything in between. Here are the key points:
1. Satan is the Dragon (think of the book of Revelation); is also:
2. Satan is the Serpent of Old (think Eve in Garden of Eden); who is also:
3. Satan is the Devil (think wilderness temptation of Christ); who is also:
4. Satan is the Wicked one (think 1 John 5); who is also
5. Satan is the Accuser of the brethren (think of the book of Job scene); who is none other than:
6. Satan; who is the fallen and twisted version of the greatest of the angels named:
Here in one verse God ties together the Cunning Serpent of the Garden that drew mankind into sin, with the Accuser of Job, with the Devil of Christ's Temptation, with Satan the Adversary of all that God is doing. All of these various depictions of Lucifer (Isaiah 14, Ezk. 28), fallen to become Satan the Devil, are united here in this verse. Bottom line:
Satan is Dangerous
Look at what the New Testament has already warned us about Satan’s activities:
SATAN MULTIPLIES EVIL DOERS: Matthew 13:25, 38-39 "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 38 "The field is the World, the good seeds are the sons of the Kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked [one.] 39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. (NKJV)
SATAN STEALS THE WORD: Mark 4:15 "And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. (NKJV)
SATAN RESISTS MINISTRY ADVANCES: Luke 10:17-18 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”.
Satan is actively seeking to disrupt, destroy, derail, deceive, and defile anything that God is doing.
SATAN INVADES HEARTS: Acts 5:3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back [part] of the price of the land for yourself? (NKJV).
Satan seems to have the power of mental suggestion, which in the individual becomes auto suggestion, and which unless halted and hindered by the Word and Spirit of God will also in him be expressed by word and action.
SATAN AUTHORS SUFFERING: Acts 10:38 "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil , for God was with Him. (NKJV).
In the final analysis Satan is the ultimate source of all suffering, because he is the ultimate source of all sin, its primal cause. He is also immediately responsible for many individual cases of sickness and disease; of which examples are furnished us in the New Testament.
SATAN BLINDS MINDS TO THE TRUTH: 2 Corinthians 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV).
Unbelief of the truth seems to be the same as a special invitation to Satan to bring in the darkness of error and falsehood. He blinds the minds of unbelieving men to prevent them from receiving the light of the gospel.
SATAN EMPOWERS WICKED MINISTERS: 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (NKJV)
SATAN BUFFETS BELIEVERS: 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (NKJV).
Satan’s hindrance of Paul’s going to Thessalonica gave to the saints there and to the generations since this precious epistle (Rev. 2:10). Satan buffets, resists and hinders God’s servants in every possible way, but God’s grace is sufficient to give them the victory.
SATAN HINDERS GOD’S SERVANTS: 1 Thessalonians 2:18 Therefore we wanted to come to you -- even I, Paul, time and again -- but Satan hindered us. (NKJV);
SATAN IS THE TEMPTER: 1 Thessalonians 3:5 For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain. (NKJV).
Satan incites men to sin. He so arranges times and controls events and circumstances as to make the greatest possible appeal to the sinful tendencies of man. He is the tempter. If you doubt his power to tempt you, just ask Moses about his explosive anger, David about his simmering lusts, and Peter about his over confidence.
Satan is Already Defeated
Back to Rev 12 to see the victory of the saints over Satan recorded in v. 11 (NKJV):
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb (that’s faith in Jesus) and by the word of their testimony (that’s hope through Jesus), and they did not love their lives to the death (that’s love for Jesus).
No matter how desperate their situation looks, no matter how furiously Satan rages against them, believers can take comfort in knowing that his ultimate defeat is certain. That is what we celebrate today, the power of the Cross, the work of Jesus Christ destroying the Devil who had the power of death.
In the words of Martin Luther’s magnificent hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,”
The Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure; One little word shall fell him.