Revelation 9:15-21
 
(Rev 9:15 KJV)
And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

The voice from the four horns of the altar commanded that the four angels be loosed and in this verse we are seeing that this command is now happening. If you notice that these demonic forces have been prepared for this moment. Just as an invading army prepares itself to do battle, these demonic forces have been prepared in the same manner. In fact, the words “were prepared” are in the perfect tense and may be understood as “having been prepared.” These demonic forces have been prepared for the precise moment when they will be unleashed. If you notice their time of dispatch was for a year, a month, a day, and an hour. This denotes a specific time of dispatch. We also read that they killed the third part of men.

(Rev 6:8 KJV) And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

In Revelation 6:8, which was the first vision of John we see that one fourth of the population of the earth was killed. Now we are seeing an increase in that number in this second vision. We go from one fourth to one third which is a large increase. To properly understand Revelation, we must keep these progressive quantities in mind. Demons do not kill people but what they do is they deceive them into false beliefs and those false beliefs eventually will kill them with the second death. Here we are seeing an increase from one fourth to one third. This means as we get closer to the end the great prophesied apostasy will become more evident as teachings stray from the truths of the Bible. There will be an increasing number of people who will be drawn into false belief systems whether they are religious or secular.

(Rev 9:16 KJV)
And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

This number is not a literal number but God is emphasizing to us that there is going to be a great number of demonic forces which are going out through all the earth deceiving the populations of the earth. They cannot deceive the true believers as they were commanded not to hurt those who have the seal of God on them, which is the seal of salvation. There are some who attempt to take this number and claim that this is the Chinese army which will invade Israel. This is an erroneous interpretation and abuses the context of this verse.

(Rev 9:17 KJV)
And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

Here is the reason that the 200 million demons cannot be a literal army. John is now describing the ferocity of this demon army. It is not the riders which are bringing the judgment but it is the horses. As John described the locusts in a manner not consistent with the actual insect, the same principle is in effect here as these horses are also being described in a manner not consistent with the actual animal. These horses were spewing out fire, brimstone, and smoke which is all consistent with the judgment God is going to bring upon all the unbelievers at the Great White Throne judgment.

(Psa 11:6 KJV) Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

(Gen 19:24 KJV) Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

In both Psalm 11:6 and Genesis 19:24, we see that fire and brimstone speak of judgment by God upon the unbelievers in this world.

(Rev 21:8 KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

In Revelation 21:8 we read that unbelievers will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.

(Rev 14:11 KJV) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

We see that smoke, fire, and brimstone are all connected with hell. When we read about the horses in Revelation 9:17 issuing fire, smoke, and brimstone we know that their mission is associated with hell. These demons will also be very ferocious as they are portrayed as having the heads of lions. The mission of these demons is to bring a very hard deception upon the unbelievers and there will be no relenting on their part. Since the forces of hell are involved, the deception will be strong and lasting and will keep countless numbers in spiritual darkness which will result in their ultimate second death for all eternity.

(Rev 9:18 KJV)
By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.

Once again we are introduced to the one third which means that this judgment is also one which is progressively wider in scope than those of the first vision. We read here that there are three separate judgments yet connected. They are the fire, smoke, and brimstone which is a burning sulphur. Brimstone is what burned when Sodom and Gomorrah was judged by God for their wicked sins. Since the world is also headed in the same direction that Sodom and Gomorrah were, it follows suit that the judgment of God will fall in the same fashion as it did on Sodom and Gomorrah. That judgment fell swiftly and the cities were incinerated in a matter of minutes.
(Jude 1:7 KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. The present world is also being prepared for the day of judgment as Sodomy is being accepted by both the world and the church. (Deu 29:22-23 KJV) So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it; {23} And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: The fire, smoke, and brimstone are all associated with Hell, so when these people who have succumbed to the false gospels and false religion wind up in Hell, they will be there for eternity as their situation will never change.

(Rev 9:19 KJV)
For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

(Psa 50:16-19 KJV) But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? {17} Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. {18} When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. {19} Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. One of the characteristics of these demonic beings is that their power is in their mouth which means that the words which they speak are those words of Hell as we associate the fire, smoke and brimstone with these demonic beings. In Psalm 50:16-19, we are reading that the wicked are those who give their mouths over to evil and their tongues over to deceit. The greatest tool that Satan has in his arsenal is that of deceiving the people of this earth. (Prov 18:21 KJV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. As these demonic beings have power in their tongues. The word “power” in the Greek may also be translated as “authority.” Keep in mind that these demonic beings have been given the power at this time to begin to deceive the masses of the world since they have this authority in their tongue and the tongue uses words.

These horse demons which John saw also have tails like serpents. In the Bible the serpent is associated with Satan which means that both their words and actions will hurt those whom God has used these demons to judge. The mouth uses words and the tail has a sting and that sting is the actions which will hurt the ones who this judgment is focused on. The word “hurt” in the Greek may also be translated as “Do wrong, injure, or act unjustly.” So we can see that the tail will represent the actions which accompany the false words of deception. For example, in the charismatic movement many of their preachers speak of financial prosperity and the way to achieve it is by giving a lot of money, of course, to their ministry. So the words are the false preaching and the serpent tails are the actions which the people do, in this case giving large sums of money to a false system. The fact that there are heads on these tails teaches us that the actions will be made to sound like they are just and in keeping with God’s economy. They will come with an intelligent pitch but under girded with deception. That deception will sound so good to the intellect that those who are deceived by it will not believe they are being deceived.

(Rev 9:20-21 KJV)
{20} And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: {21} Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

The heart of unsaved man is as hard as can be. Instead of judgments softening the hearts, for many reprobates they become more hardened. Those who were not affected by these judgments did not repent of their evil works. One of the main evil works which has been brought to light here is that of idolatry. The heart of the unsaved man is evil and will wax worse and worse as they go deeper into sin. If we look at the list of sins, they are representative of the baseness of the unregenerate heart. Man worships devils through idolatry. Idolatry need not be a statue of a false god, it can be the gold we have in the bank or the money we are saving. It can be the pursuit of worldly pleasures and the pursuit of worldly gain. Idolatry can be anything which takes us in the opposite direction of God. In these two verses, we read that the idolatry is again connected with Hell since the worship of devils is involved. Many Christians are involved in Freemasonry which has its roots in Satanism and occultism, yet it is touted as a just a fraternal organization. The very wealthy who have designs upon world denomination are also worshippers of Satan through these esoteric organizations like the Yale Order of the Skull and Bones. These two verses in Revelation show us that not only the wealthy serve Satan which are represented by the silver and gold, but also poor people are in Satan’s service as represented by the brass, stone, and wood. Any time a person gets caught up in false religions and then propagates it to gain new members are guilty of murder. The murder is of the soul of the convert to the false religion. When they stand before the Lord on Judgment day they will be cast into Hell for opposing Christ and Christianity. Basically, the list of sins in these two verses represent the way man goes when he rejects the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, they go right into the bosom of Satan as Satan deceives them with all kinds of promises of worldly wealth and status but in the end they will realize they have been deceived but then it will be too late. Remember Satan’s promise to the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Mat 4:8-9 KJV) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; {9} And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. This is exactly what man is doing, he is worshipping Satan to gain the kingdoms of the world.
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