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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 44

The Locusts from the Bottomless Pit
 

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Let’s pray together before beginning this lesson:

Father,

We are most grateful to You for giving us Your prophetic Word, showing us that You will always give Your people victory over their oppressors.

Now, as we start on the fifth trumpet, we humbly ask You to guide us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may understand the important message You want to give us.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior we pray.

Amen.




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Revelation 8:12

And the fourth angel sounded.

And the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

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In our last lesson, we saw that the Middle Ages Church made a lot of doctrinal compromises to increase its power over the nations.

Those compromises caused it to plunge into deep spiritual darkness during its reign, which lasted 1260 years, from A.D. 538 to 1798.

Many calls to repentance were given to it, but it obstinately persisted in remaining in apostasy.




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Revelation 9:1

And the fifth angel sounded.

And I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth.

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Revelation 8:10

And the third angel sounded.

And there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp.

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The fifth trumpet reports what followed this great apostasy.

Once again, the star fallen from heaven opens the scene.

As we have seen in our lesson about the third trumpet, this star symbolizes Satan.




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Revelation 9:1,2

I saw a star fall from heaven to the earth.

And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit.

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Genesis 1:1,2

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.

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The «bottomless pit» (or «the deep») represents chaos, the world without God.

Satan, the star fallen from heaven, is now getting ready to launch a new attack, this time drawing his strategy from this bottomless pit.




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Revelation 9:2

And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace.

And the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

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Genesis 19:28

And [Abraham] looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, see, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

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Calling to mind the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah, the bottomless pit gives off smoke, increasing the darkness which was already prevailing.




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Revelation 9:3

And there came out of the smoke locusts on the earth.

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Judges 7:12

And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.

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The message of the fifth trumpet revolves around a great locust invasion.

The Bible often uses the picture of locusts (or grasshoppers) to represent a very strong attack.




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2 Chronicles 7:13,14

If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, (...) if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

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Amos 4:9 [NKJV]

«When your gardens increased, your vineyards, your fig trees, and your olive trees, the locust devoured them.

Yet you have not returned to Me,» says the Lord.

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The trumpets aim to call people to repentance.

The picture of locusts supports this message, since God often used them to this end.




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The picture of locusts also calls to mind the punishment of apostasy:

«It shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you: (...) you shall carry much seed out into the field, and shall gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.» (Deuteronomy 28:15,38)

«The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian. (...) They came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried to the Lord. (...) I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not obeyed My voice.» (Judges 6:1,5,6,10)




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Jeremiah 51:12-14 [NKJV]

Set up the standard on the walls of Babylon. (...)

O you who dwell by many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, the measure of your covetousness.

The Lord of hosts has sworn by Himself, «Surely I will fill you with men, as with locusts, and they shall lift up a shout against you.»

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Just as He destroyed the ancient city of Babylon, God decided to put an end to the activities of the Church of the Middle Ages, and let Satan assail it with a human attack comparable to a locust invasion.




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Revelation 9:7,8

And the shapes of the locusts were like to horses prepared to battle; (...) and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

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Joel 1:4,6 [NKJV]

What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. (...)

For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion.

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Locusts with lions’ teeth symbolize the attacks of strangers against God’s people plunged into apostasy.




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Revelation 9:3,4

And there came out of the smoke locusts on the earth.

And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

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The fifth trumpet aims at the same people as the preceding four trumpets: the oppressors of God’s people.

We can see that those who have the seal of God on their foreheads are spared: who are they?




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Revelation 7:3

Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

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Ezekiel 9:4,6

And the Lord said to [the man clothed with linen], «Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the middle thereof. (...)

Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man on whom is the mark.»

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The seal is put on the servants of God, those who remain far from apostasy.

The seal of God will be the subject of a future lesson.




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Revelation 9:4

It was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

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Which events does the fifth trumpet announce?

The locusts symbolize the peoples which finally rebelled against the apostate Church, seeing the numerous abuses of power of this very Church who was claiming to represent God on earth.

At the end of the 18th century, the French Revolution dealt a severe blow to the Church, killing and deporting thousands of churchmen, as a sign of the people’s complete rejection of religion.




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Revelation 9:5

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.

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In 1798, French General Berthier took Pope Pius VI prisoner, thus breaking the political power of the Church.

But the prophecy announces that this punishment would last only five months.

According to the prophetic equivalence «1 day = 1 year», these five months symbolize a 150-year period (5 x 30 days = 150 days, that is, 150 years).

By adding 150 years to 1798, we obtain 1948, leading us to the post-war era.




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Revelation 13:3

I saw one of [the beast’s] heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.

And all the world wondered after the beast.

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Revelation chapter 13, which will be the subject of a future lesson, confirms the prophecy of the fifth trumpet.

In fact, after having been mortally wounded in 1798, the Roman Church was finally healed. In 1929, the Lateran Treaty restored political power to the Church, giving it full authority over the State of Vatican City.

Afterwards, its influence grew more and more, especially after World War II.




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Revelation 9:5

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.

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Revelation 13:3

His deadly wound was healed.

And all the world wondered after the beast.

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After the five prophetic months, that is, in 1948, the torment of the papacy came to an end.

In fact, the World Council of Churches was founded that year, thus opening the way for the Church of Rome’s future efforts, from the Second Vatican Council onward, to unify all the religions of the world.




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Revelation 13:12

[The beast coming up out of the earth] causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

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Another significant event took place in 1948.

That year, Pope Pius XII - the first pope to have ever visited the United States of America during his lifetime - vigorously condemned Communism, and proclaimed that any Italian Catholic voting for Communists would be excommunicated.

Future lessons will clearly explain the prophetic significance of both Rome’s fellowship with the United States of America, and its open war against Communism.




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Revelation 9:5

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.

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Genesis 7:24 to 8:3

And the waters prevailed on the earth a hundred and fifty days.

And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.

The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped. (...) And after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.

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With the period of five months, or 150 days, the fifth trumpet also refers to the Flood account.

In both cases, for 150 days, the deep (or bottomless pit) released a stream to punish unrepentant men.




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The trumpet reminds of Sodom and the Flood, two powerful judgments of God




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Revelation 9:3,10

And to [the locusts] was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. (...) They had tails like to scorpions.

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Luke 10:18,19

[Jesus] said to [His disciples], «I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.»

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Like scorpions, the locusts obey Satan, the star fallen from heaven.

But they have no power over the faithful believers.




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Revelation 9:3,4

And to [the locusts] was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

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In fact, history reports that the revolt of peoples against the apostate Church, at the end of the 18th century, spared the faithful believers, those who were sincerely living out the faith they preached, and who, furthermore, had very often called this apostate Church to repentance.




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Revelation 9:10

And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

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Isaiah 9:14,15

The Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail. (...)

The ancient and honorable, he is the head; and the prophet that teaches lies, he is the tail.

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Though bringing about the fall of the apostate Church, the French Revolution didn’t actually re-establish truth.

Instead, it encouraged the rise of other lies, like atheism and materialism, denying the existence of God.




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Revelation 9:6

And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

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Jeremiah 8:3,5

«And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places where I have driven them,» said the Lord of hosts. (...)

«They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.»

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The rise of atheism and materialism created a extremely awkward climate for the apostate Church, which was accustomed to domination over the nations.




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Revelation 9:9

[The locusts] had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

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Isaiah 36:9

How then will you turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put your trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

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By using the illustration of chariots and horsemen, closely linked with Egypt, the fifth trumpet indicates that the locusts symbolize peoples who, out of hatred for the apostate Church, wrongly chose to reject God.




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The chariots of Egypt are wrongly preferred to God’s saving power:

«Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not to the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord! (...) Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out His hand, both he that helps shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.» (Isaiah 31:1,3)

«But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? Shall he escape that does such things? Or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?» (Ezekiel 17:15)

«Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt. (...) And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. (...) King Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh.» (1 Kings 10:28,29; 11:1)




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Exodus 5:2

Pharaoh said,

«Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord.»

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Psalm 20:7

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

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Just as Egypt rejected God and preferred relying on its military power, men, as early as the end of the 18th century, increasingly favored human concepts and theories marked by a total absence of the notion of God.




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Revelation 9:7,8

Their faces were as the faces of men.

And they had hair as the hair of women.

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The human aspect of the locusts indicates the lightning rise of humanist concepts, marked by a total absence of the the notion of God.

In fact, after the fall of the apostate Church in 1798, the world was overwhelmed with such trends:

- atheism;
- materialism;
- rationalism;
- Charles Darwin’s evolutionism;
- Karl Marx’s communism;
- Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialism;
- and still many others.




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Revelation 9:11

And [the locusts] had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon.

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1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.

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The spread of these concepts denying the usefulness or even the existence of God is no surprise, since the king of these locusts is Satan himself.

He is given the names of «Abaddon» and «Apollyon», both meaning «destruction, annihilation», words which perfectly describe his work.




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Exodus 10:3-5

And Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh, and said to him,

«Thus said the Lord God of the Hebrews, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

Else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow will I bring the locusts into your coast.

And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth.”»

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Similar to the first four trumpets, the punishment of the oppressor of God’s people calls to mind the punishment of Egypt in Moses’ time.




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Exodus 10:14,16-20

And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt. (...)

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, «I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray you, my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only.»

And he went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the Lord. And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red Sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. (...)

[Pharaoh] would not let the children of Israel go.

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Still similar to Egypt, the punishment inflicted on the apostate Church did not bring it back to the path of repentance and obedience to God.




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Revelation 9:12

One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

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Ezekiel 2:6

Be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with you, and you do dwell among scorpions.

Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

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So another trumpet will have to strike the apostate Church, which remains rebellious and unrepentant.

But the faithful believers have nothing to fear: locusts, scorpions, and other deceiving forces have no power over them.




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Luke 10:18-20

[Jesus] said to [His disciples],

«I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.»

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The fact that the power of the enemy doesn’t affect the faithful believers is certainly good news.

But, as Jesus said, our greatest cause for rejoicing must always be the salvation He offers us.




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Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father,

You said in Your Holy Word, «I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight. (...) Cause the horses to come up like the bristling locusts.» (Jeremiah 51:24,27 [NKJV]).

This punishment was the one You inflicted on spiritual Babylon, the apostate Church, the persecutor of Your people.

Please always keep us away from those locusts, which have no power over those who love and know You, faithfully following You. In the precious name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.


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