Hell on Earth

Hell on Earth

“Hell on Earth”

(Revelation 9:1-21)

Series: Understanding The Book Of Revelation

Rev. Todd A. Linn, PhD

First Baptist Church, Henderson KY

9-10-06 (AM)


  • Please open your Bibles to Revelation, chapter 9.

We are continuing our series of verse-by-verse messages through the book of Revelation.  We are now in the chapters that teach us about a future time known as the Tribulation period, or the Great Tribulation.  We are getting our information from the Apostle John, who is given visions from the very throne room of heaven.  Chapter 8 introduces what are called the trumpet judgments and there are a total of seven of them.  Each angel blows a trumpet and then we read of a future judgment coming upon the earth.  Chapter 8 introduced the first four trumpet judgments.  These are judgments upon the land. The chapter ends with an eagle crying “woe” three times, each of the three “woes” an eerie preparation for the remaining three trumpet judgments.  These judgments are judgments upon the unbelievers of the earth during the time of the Tribulation.  So we read now of the next two trumpet judgments.


  • Please stand in honor of the reading of the Word of God.

1 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.

3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.


  • Pray.




The Bible very plainly teaches that when we die our soul enters into one of two places: either our soul goes to heaven or to hell.  Because of our sin we all deserve hell and our souls will automatically go there if we have not received Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.  The only way to escape the horror of hell is to talk to God, humbly admitting and confessing our sins.  We must tell God that we believe what the Bible teaches about the Lord Jesus Christ, that Christ took our punishment for sin by dying in our place as our substitute 2,000 years ago on a cross at a place called Calvary.  We must believe that Christ died for our sins and that He rose from the dead three days later.  We must ask Christ into our lives, receiving Him by faith.  If we fail to do this, if we refuse to place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and turn to some other gods or some other belief system, no matter how good we may be, the Bible teaches that when we die our souls will go to hell.  The Bible is very plain about this.


But while we think of hell as the place un-forgiven men and women go when they leave this earth, there is a future time where men will see something of hell coming to this earth.  According to Revelation, chapter 9 there is a future time coming where those alive during the Tribulation time will see hell on earth.  This morning the Bible teaches us what that time will be like.  First, we see that this time of “Hell on Earth” will be:


1. A Time of Unusual Darkness (1-2)

The Bible says that when the fifth angel sounded his trumpet that John saw “a star fallen from heaven to the earth.”  The “star” is a person, as is indicated by the latter part of verse one, “To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.”  There are a couple of reasons why many scholars believe that this person is identified as Satan.  For one, he is identified as “a star fallen from heaven to the earth.”  The participle there is in the perfect tense which means that it should read, “had fallen.”  That is, he is a star who had already fallen.  His fall had already occurred in the past.  Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 give us our understanding of Satan as a fallen angel, originally created by God as good but, because of pride, fell from his place in heaven.

Then we also read that to this fallen star, to this person, “was given the key to the bottomless pit.”  The bottomless pit is literally in the Greek, “the abyss.”  The abyss is that horrible place where demons are imprisoned.  We read of the abyss as the prison house of demons particularly in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6.  We read there of fallen angels cast down to the abyss where they are imprisoned in “chains of darkness” until the day of judgment.  You will remember in Luke 8:31 that when Jesus was getting ready to cast the legion of demons from the Gaderene demoniac that the demons “begged Him that he would not command them to go out into the abyss.”  It is from the abyss that the beast, the Antichrist, will come in chapter 11 and it is to the abyss that Satan will be cast during the millennium in chapter 20.


So it is likely that this “fallen angel” is a reference to Satan himself.  Verse 2 says that when he opened the bottomless pit, the abyss, that “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.”


This coming time of “hell on earth” will be a time of unusual darkness.  The Old Testament book of Joel is good background reading for Revelation 9.  If we read the first two chapters of Joel, chapters 1 and 2, we read something of a foretaste of what is ultimately fulfilled in Revelation 9.  We’ve noted before, for example, Joel 2:2 which refers to the future day of God’s judgment as “a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.”


The coming time of hell on earth, will be a time of unusual darkness.  Secondly, it will be:


2. A Time of Unleashed Demons (3-5)


In verses 3-5 we read that out of the smoke from the abyss come locusts upon the earth.  Because these locusts come from the prison house of demons and because these locusts are commanded not to harm the things locusts normally harm—grass, any green thing, any tree—we understand these locusts to be demons in the form of locusts.  That is, they are not to be understood as literal locusts, but as demonic creatures in the guise, form, or appearance of locusts.


The Bible says these demons in the form of locusts are given power not over the vegetation, but rather they are to harm “those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”  Here again we see that God protects His children from the judgments themselves.  While God’s people in this fallen world are always subject to the wrath of unbelievers, they are not subject to the wrath of God and His judgments.  The wrath of God and the wrath of His judgments are directed to the unbeliever.


Recall Revelation 3:10 where Jesus encourages faithful Christians by saying, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”  Jesus had prayed in John 17:15, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”  That is, God will protect His people, the Gentile believers as well as the Jewish believers.  The 144,000, you will recall from chapter 7, are the Jews during the Tribulation who receive God’s special seal of ownership upon their foreheads.  In addition to the Gentile Christians, God looks out upon the remaining people of the earth, the unbelievers, and He seals 144,000, the Jewish nation.  The remaining people, the remaining unbelievers, are then subject to the wrath of His judgments for their refusal to trust Christ.


5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.


So these demons are unleashed from the abyss and given authority to torment the unbelievers for five months, the average life-span of a locust, from May to September.  What is the torment of these demons like?  Verse 5 says, “like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.”


The coming hell on earth during the Tribulation is a time of unusual darkness, unleashed demons, and:


3. A Time of Unceasing Despair (6-12)


6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.


Imagine a time so terrible that you actually will want to die but you can’t.  There is a tinge of irony here.  The unbelievers during the time of Tribulation will persecute Christians for their faith. They will seek to put them to death.  But as God’s wrath is poured out upon the unbelievers, the unbelievers will seek the same fate they had inflicted upon the Christians.  But it will be a time of unceasing despair.  They will try to take their own lives, but the demons in the appearance of locusts will keep them from succeeding.


Verses 7-12 describe these locusts.  They are truly ugly creatures:


7 The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.

8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.

9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.

10 They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months.

11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

12 One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.


And there again is the suggestion that the fallen angel who had the key to the abyss is Satan, the same person mentioned in verse 11 as “king” over the demons.  His name in both Hebrew and Greek means, “Destroyer.”


If only we fully understood the ways of Satan and his demons!  He is the great deceiver and the great destroyer.  He destroys homes today through alcohol and drugs and sexual immorality.  He destroys homes today by causing a complacency to fall upon the average American so that he is lulled into thinking that he’s going to live on this world forever, and that following Christ is not necessary and no big a deal.


The coming time of hell on earth is a time of unusual darkness, unleashed demons, and unceasing despair.  With the sounding of the sixth trumpet we read that this time is also:


4. A Time of Unequaled Death (13-19)


13 Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” (These angels must also be demons as we never read of good angels being bound.)

15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. (One third of mankind will be killed.  How?  Apparently, the four angles change and metamorphose into an army of horsemen—verse 16).

16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.

17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.

18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed — by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.

19 For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.


So this army of 200 million horsemen, which likely is an army under the influence of demons, is released by God to engage the unbelievers in battle and to inflict death on a third of the unbelievers.  This will be a time of unequaled death, a time that will see more people die than in all of the others wars of human history combined.


There is something here we must see.  We have spoken often of God’s sovereignty in the Book of Revelation.  See it again here in verse 15.  The Bible says that these four angels who were bound were prepared for this day of battle.  Furthermore, they were “prepared for the hour and day and month and year.”  Here again is a reminder that nothing happens without God’s approval.  All things are moving towards the completion of God’s perfect plan.  Nothing escapes His notice.  Even the demons of hell are under the sovereign, divine permission of God.  Evil cannot happen apart from God’s permissive will.  Everything happens within the scope of His control.


Every droplet of rain falls by His divine permission.  Every blade of grass grows according to His timetable and is blown by the wind at the precise moment He ordains.  Every sunrise and sunset occurs at the exact second in time that God has planned.  God is in control of absolutely everything.


As many Americans will reflect tomorrow on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center, we remember that even that event, as cruel as it was, and as much a working out of Satan’s devices, did not occur apart from God’s divine permission.  God is not “caught off guard” or “surprised” by anything.  He knows all things.


So here’s the deal: If God is never up in heaven, pacing back and forth, wringing His hands, then why should you ever pace back and forth and wring your hands?  This same God is in control of your health, your job, and your investment portfolio.  He’s the same God in control of your family, your friends, and your future.  It’s the point we drove home in last Sunday evening’s message: “God is in control of everything and everyone, including you, so you need not worry about a thing.”


But for the unbeliever, this future time of hell on earth will be a time of unusual darkness, unleashed demons, unceasing despair, unequaled death, and:


5. A Time of Unrepentant Depravity (20-21)


We would think that this time of hell on earth would be a time that would get the unbeliever’s attention and would cause him to repent of his sins and turn to Christ.  But what do we read?


20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.

21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.


The rest of mankind, that is, the rest of the unbelievers—remain unbelievers.  Their human depravity is further evidenced by their refusal to repent, to turn away from sin and turn to the Savior.


The unbelievers did not turn away from the things that stood between them and God.  They did not repent of theirs sins, identified in verse 21 as murders, sorceries, or their sexual immorality, or their thefts.



But God is just.  He has given opportunity for the unbeliever to be saved from his sin.  We see here the loving, justice of God.  He sends these judgments in order to warn the unbeliever and to give him the opportunity to repent.  So in the midst of these terrible judgments we have the love of God.


The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”


And God says in Ezekiel 33:11, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way an live.”


Conclusion / Invitation:


Jesus warns us of coming persecution.  He warns His disciples and He warns us.  He says in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”


If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you need not fear the work of Satan and his demons.  For the Christian, the power of Satan has already been defeated at the cross of Calvary.  John’s vision in Revelation 5:6 of the “Lamb as though it had been slain” is a reminder that Jesus Christ has overcome death, hell, and the grave and that the power of Satan has already been defeated.


If you are not a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have every reason to be afraid.  Again, Jesus says in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  That is, fear God.  He is the One who has the power over your soul.  In Revelation 1:18, Jesus says, “I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”


I wish I could make this so plain as there would be no questions.  The Bible doesn’t teach that we go to heaven by being good.  The Bible doesn’t even teach that we go to heaven by just “believing in God.”  That is too vague a statement.  People offer their opinions about how we get to heaven.  Some say “by being a good person.”  Others say “by doing good things.”  Others say, “by being baptized,” or, “by joining the church.”  Someone else says “We go to heaven ‘by believing’ or, ‘by believing in a Higher Power’ or even, ‘by believing in God.’”  But who is God?


Listen carefully: The only way for us to escape the judgment of hell on earth or hell after earth is by believing some very specific things about the Lord Jesus Christ and then receiving Him as our Personal Lord and Savior.  I’m talking to senior adults, to young mothers and fathers, to husbands and wives, young adults, boys and girls.  Each of us must believe that Jesus Christ died as our substitute.  He died in our place for our sins.  We must believe He was buried and that He rose again from the grave on the third day.  We must then make an independent decision to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  That means we must receive Jesus Christ into our lives.  The Bible says in John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God.”  The question is not, “Have you been baptized?”  The question is not, “Are you a member of the church.”  The question is not, “Are you good.”  The question is not even, “Do you believe in a Higher Power?” or even, “Do you believe in God?”  The question is, “Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?”  That’s the question.


Jesus says there’s no other way to heaven.  He says in John 14:6, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father, but by Me.”  No other way.  No other Savior.  No other way to escape hell on earth or hell after earth.  This morning you’re in either one of two categories: either you have been saved from your sins because you have made that personal decision, asking Jesus Christ into your life and living for Him which means others see Jesus in you.  You take seriously His commands.  You attend the worship services.  You’re growing in your faith, bearing fruit of godliness by the way you talk to people, the way you go about your work, the way you think and make decisions—or you’re in the other category of lost people.  You haven’t received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  You’re counting on some other way to escape hell and enter into heaven, some other way that’s not taught in the Bible.  You can believe whatever you want, but the Bible remains true.  Trust Christ as your Lord and Savior this morning.


Stand for prayer.


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