“And the fifth angel sounded his trumpet. And I saw a star out of heaven having fallen to the earth, and to him was given the key of the pit of the abyss.”
We discussed at the end of the last post, and now will venture in a littler further, that this falling angel is most likely Lucifer. This is Satan. The fifth trumpet lines up with Revelation 12:7-9. We can see examples of stars being personal beings throughout the Old Testament, as well as in select places in the New Testament. Sometimes the beings are angelic, and sometimes they are human. Sometimes they represent a certain group of people. For example, in Genesis 37:9, we read of Joseph’s dream where the stars represent his brothers, and again in Revelation 12:1 this same language is taken up to represent the twelve tribes.
Numbers 24:17 reads, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will batter the brow of Moab, and destroy of all the sons of tumult.” Here we see what appears to be a messianic prophecy. In fact, many people believe that the morning star mentioned by Peter and John is referencing this very verse.
Judges 5:20 speaks of the stars fighting. Whether this is signifying a heavenly battle between the angels and the principalities, or whether it is simply metaphor, we cannot be certain. Yet, what is certain is the personification of these “stars”. Job 38:7 parallels the morning stars and the sons of God. They are considered as singing together and shouting for joy. Isaiah 14:12-13 is the infamous passage about the morning star falling from heaven – dubbed Lucifer in the Latin – many scholars and laymen alike attributing this to the fall of Satan.
Daniel 8:10 speaks of the stars of heaven being cast down and trampled by the “little horn”, which seems to be the Antichrist. Then, to define what these stars are, Daniel mentions that “the wise shall shine like stars” in 12:3. This is extremely interesting. Who are these wise in Daniel? This refers back to Daniel 11:33-35. The wise are they who will fall by the sword, be burned, captured, or plundered. They are the people who will stumble, but through their stumbling will refine, purify, and make spotless they who are not sincere and join them. In this, some would argue the way that I’m translating the verse. Yet, according to the context, it would appear that the wise are already refined, purified, and made spotless. So, who else could it be that is being refined?
Just like Daniel seems to be calling the saints “stars”, Paul picks up on this in Philippians 2:15. He claims that we will shine like stars in the universe. He pulls directly from Daniel for this concept. There is somehow a heavenly reality of our being. Though we are physical, and manifest upon the earth, there is somehow something spiritual and in the heavenlies as well. It is through conformity to the image of God – as Daniel put it, “resisting him (Satan)” – that we shine like stars.
Finally, we read in Amos 5:26, “You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god – which you made for yourselves.” Notice this star seems to also have unrighteousness painted all over it (just like in Isaiah 14:12). The Bible is consistent. Though there are obvious places where the stars mean the literal stars (Gen 1:16, 15:5, 22:17, 26:4, Exodus 32:13, Deut 1:10, etc), there are these other places where stars take on a sense of personification. They are truly considered to be living. They are beings – whether physical or not varies.
So, when we come to this first verse of Revelation 9, it is not abstract at all to consider this to be Satan. This “falling” does not imply a fallenness, or a “lost” angel. It simply denotes the motion of the star – it descended upon the earth. The abyss seems to be an intermediary pit – or dungeon – to hold those kept (reserved) for judgment. Compare Luke 8:31, 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6. Apparently there are demons that are so horrendous that they would utterly devastate the earth if they were not locked away, which for a time they will be granted opportunity to torture men for five months.
Finally, notice the correspondence with Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 12:7-9. There comes a time where Michael the archangel stands up, and it is at this time that there is a time of unequalled distress. Jesus directly quotes Daniel in Matthew 24:21, and says that this event of unequaled distress will take place when the abomination of desolation is set up. When does that happen? It happens in Revelations 13:14-15. Notice the progression of Revelations 12-14. This is a continuation of narrative. We see the casting down of Satan leading to the persecution of Israel and the saints – which is picked up in 13:7.
After being cast down, the dragon doesn’t simply pursue the woman in the wilderness. We find the pursuit to be the marching onto Jerusalem by the Antichrist (both from the multitude of prophetic words in the Old Testament and from the obvious context of this fifth trumpet). When Michael stands up in Daniel 12, the time of Jacob’s Trouble begins (Jeremiah 30:7). The Time of Jacob’s Trouble is the last three and a half years of the Tribulation (as revealed in Daniel’s seventh week – Daniel 9:27). So, the last 1,260 days that the woman is protected, the 42 months that the Antichrist has his throne, the time, times, and half a time that the dragon pursues the woman – it is all the exact same time. It is the last half of the Tribulation – the time of unequaled distress. We see it all coming together. Daniel 12:1, Michael stands up, and in Revelation 12:7 the mention of Michael is the casting down of Satan.
Then, in Revelation 13, we find the Antichrist established, his rule is to be 42 months (as in 11:2 and 13:5), and he was given power to make war with the saints (13:7). All of it works together. This army in Revelation 9 is the Antichrist army marching upon Israel and Jerusalem. This is the dragon pursuing the woman. This is God bringing judgment upon Israel, as prophesied by all of the prophets. This is the time of unequalled distress, which happens directly after the establishing of the abomination of desolation.
Next time, we’ll take up the task of going through the details of the attack. We’ll examine the text of Revelations primarily, but also will examine it’s parallel: Joel 1-2.