Satan, Plagues, and No Repentance

Revelation 9

Jerry A Collins




·        What is the identity of the locusts in this passage?

·        Who are the 4 angels of the Euphrates river?

·        Why would men refuse to repent during these judgments?


I have never had such severe pain in my life. It continued into the evening. I laid in my bed trying to find any position t relieve me of the intense and throbbing pain in my side and abdomen. I tried to make it thru the nite—constantly tossing, turning and alternately laying in my bed or on the floor desperate to cope with the throbbing ache in my body. Finally, unable to take it anymore, my wife called the doctor early in the morning. She drove me to his office where I waited doubled-over in the waiting room, moaning, pale and jaundiced. The doctor arrived and asked several questions until it was obvious that something was wrong. I was admitted into the hospital and after having to wait for a few more hours in the waiting lobby, I was finally put into a room. The only thing I had an appetite for—the only thing I had been screaming for was relief from the debilitating pain. A nurse began to prod for a vein and her first attempt to intravenously administer pain killing drugs failed—so we had to go thru the whole procedure again. Amazingly, relief came and I immediately fell asleep—my body having endured nearly a day’s worth of unending pain. The next day they surgically removed a kidney stone. God’s judgment during the tribulation will bring unending pain to the earth’s population for 5 mos.


This chapter includes the most occurrences of ‘as’ and ‘like’ than any other and reveals how difficult it was for John to describe the scene in this vision. So John is making descriptions in comparison to things he knows rather than giving a scientific description.

The shaft of locusts 1-3  John saw a star fall from heaven to the earth. This was a person—an angel described as having come down from heaven (like the angel with keys in Chp 20:1 with keys to the abyss—there to throw Satan in and here to let demons out)—called ‘him’ and not a literal star. He was given a key which opens an abyss or void. When opened first something resembling smoke billowing out like an active  volcano darkened the sun and sky. Described as locusts, these creatures have power like scorpions to sting men.

The mission of locusts 4-6 Locusts usually devastate vegetation but they are prevented from doing so by God vs 4. However, they are commissioned to inflict severe pain on earth-dwellers—those who do not have God’s seal of ownership and protection on their foreheads (7:3-8). The 144000 of Israel sealed and extended to all who had mark of God then. They are not permitted to kill people but only to torment them for 5 months. Painful but not fatal! So this ‘woe’ lasts 5 months. So these judgments cannot take place in a brief span of time immediately preceding the 2nd coming—like (post-trib premils or amils? want us to believe). 3 times ‘torture’ or ‘torment’ is mentioned emphasizing the nature of their mission. Their influence and terror will be such that people will seek death—but will not be able to escape their pain by it. Wanting to kill themselves they will not be able to do it. Since this is something John was reporting that he saw—he now spoke as a prophet predicting the future. This is an indication that Revelation is prophetic—foretelling events-- rather than only apocalyptic—exaggerated allusions to a disastrous outcome—in genre. To be taken literally rather than symbolically. Here they would rather die and later they refuse to repent. In either case unwilling to acknowledge God even tho they know it is His judgment!

The characteristics of locusts 7-12 Here John uses ‘like’ to describe these scorpion-like locusts in comparison to things he knows. (1) Like horses prepared for battle. (2) Like crowns of gold on heads. (3) Like faces of men 7. (4) Like hair of women. (5) Like teeth of lion 8. (6) Like breastplates of iron. (7) Like sound of chariots and many horses rushing into battle 9. (8) Like scorpion tails and stings 10. Here is an awesome, ominous, verocious, grotesque and frightening description. Both in vs 5 and vs 10 the repetition to hurt and torture for 5 months stresses the awfulness of their power to inflict people. They have a king over them named ‘destroyer’ 11. This takes locusts from literal locusts to representing demons who have a real leader—apparently demons held in an abyss until this moment. God grants this lead creature permission to emerge with other demons in special judgment on unbelieving mankind. This confirms what Jesus described as great distress unequaled from beginning of  world  and never to be equaled again (Mt 24:21). There are more ‘woes’ yet to come!


Four angels of Euphrates 13-15 Before John ‘saw’ vs 1 now he ‘hears’ something—a voice from throneroom instructing angel to release 4 angels-probably demons again since angels are not bound—at the Euphrates river. Their release is minutely timed—hour and day and month and year—so hey can kill 1/3 of mankind. So this episode takes place in or near modern day Iraq. Now the 4th seal 6:7-8 a ¼ were killed. Here a third of the remainder were put to death. Just these 2 judgments alone account for death of half of earth’s population. Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21 are confirmed by this that Great Trib will be without precedent and would end in death of all mankind if it were not stopped by Christ’s second coming (Mt 24:22).

Army of 2 hundred million 16-19 This loosing of the 4 angels results in this army—an overwhelming military force. Combined Allied and Axis forces at peak of WW2 about 70 million. China boasted of 200 million army in 1965. John tells us ‘he heard the number of them’ 16 so this is literal and may be preparation for this army to come from east for the final great war crossing a dried-up Ephrates river in 16:12. Dan 11:44 predicts large invasion from the East and North in the end. The horsemen and horses described in red, blue, yellow breastplates with lion-like heads--majestic, terrifying and destructive. Fire, smoke and brimstone each repeated with article as 3 distinct plagues. With power to kill like serpents with their tails similar to the scorpions. Together they will be responsible for largest death toll in human history so far 18. Here is description of modern warfare or even warfare future to us.

No repenting 20-21 Devastating and obviously from God, did not motivate men to repent. They continue to (1) worship demons (2) idols of gold and silver (3) murder (4) sorcery (5) immorality (6) theft. This trumpet produced pain and terror it did not produce repentance.

(1) Satan is always an instrument of God. He cannot initiate or do as he pleases and neither can demons. God is in control of demons. He dictates what they can/cannot do. Even demon possession is under sovereign control of God. The world is not a struggle between God and satan. What we see is God demonstrating His glory and He uses satan and demons to do that. They are unwitting servants of God.

(2) Clear evidence of the work of God (such as judgments of rev 9) will not bring about repentance among those who have chosen to not believe. Disaster and tragedy has natural response of anger and pain—not brokenness like 20-21. If you see brokenness as a response to pain, you have evidence of a supernatural act of God.

(3) Inevitable that God will judge mankind for rebellion and belligerance toward God.