THE MULTITUDE, SCORPIONS AND SERPENTS IN REVELATION 9
THE MULTITUDE, SCORPIONS AND SERPENTS IN REVELATION 9
April 7, 2007
THE MULTITUDE, SCORPIONS AND SERPENTS IN REVELATION 9
Three Groups of Players In the 5th and 6th Trumpet Judgments
The ones taken in Luke 17: 34-37 and in Matthew 24: 28 are one of these three groups who are the players in the Trumpet Judgments. The ones taken are not taken off in the dispensationalist rapture. They are killed, but in being brought through the fire (Zechariah 13: 9),they are given everlasting life and walk with Christ in white. Revelation 9: 18 says a third of the entire group claiming at that time to be God's people are killed. In verse 19 the group who cause these Christians to be killed are called serpents. The serpents are a group of the players in the tribulation who were part of the people of God but who go bad. Another group within the church who go bad are called the scorpions in Revelation 9: 3, but the scorpions are not given the power to kill the Multitude (Revelation 9: 5), who make up the third group of players of the Trumpet Judgments.
Remember that end time prophecy is focused upon those claiming to be the people of God. I Peter 4: 17 says judgment must begin at the house of God. Those who totally reject Christ are not the main focus of end time prophecy.
The one third of the Church called the Multitude (Revelation 7: 9) are the players who are a main focus of the Tribulation. The main purpose of the Tribulation is to bring this group out of false doctrines and to purify them, who are now within the apostate church, called Babylon in Revelation 17: 1-6 and Revelation 18: 4.
Mark 16: 17-18: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Luke 10: 19: "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Even before Christ died on the cross and rose again, his disciples were able, through him, to cast out devils, as Luke 10: 17 says. In Acts 19: 12 Paul healed people of diseases and cast out evil spirits. At Pentecost in Acts 2: 4, and in Acts 10: 46, and in Acts 19: 6 the disciples spoke in other tongues. Then Paul was bitten by a snake when he and his company were shipwrecked on the island of Melita (Acts 28: 3-6) but it did him no harm.
Mark 16: 17-18 and Luke 10: 19 are not addressed to all Christians, but these prophecies were fulfilled though not exhausted in the acts of the Apostles.
In addition, Luke 10: 19 is metaphoric since its not talking about real snakes. It could have a literal fulfillment also though being able to kill real snakes with no danger of being bitten is not the main point here.
We have to make a distinction between the broad figurative method of interpreting prophecy used by Origen, Augustine and their followers from our attempt to accurately read specific metaphors like serpents and vipers.Origen and sometimes Augustine created sweeping figurative interpretations using man-made philosophy as their interpretations rather than interpreting metaphors by the use of Scripture. In fact, the meaning of serpents and vipers in Scripture is not as difficult to read as some other metaphors in prophecy.
The Bible sometimes uses more than one metaphor in prophecy to stand for a group of people or for a spiritual construct. Yet Scripture tends to be consistent across books of the Bible in the use of the same metaphor to identity these people and spiritual constructs.
In Matthew 23: 33 Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers..."
In Revelation 9: 19 serpents is again used metaphorically in saying of a group of people during the Sixth Trumpet who are to cause another group to be killed (Revelation 9: 20) that "...for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt." Saying their tails were like serpents may just be a way of alerting readers that this is figurative language. The main point of the metaphor is that this group of people are figuratively serpents.
The scribes and Pharisees of Matthew 23: 33 were leaders of the church at the time of Christ. He called them serpents. I Peter 4: 17 says "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God..." Ezekiel 5: 8 says "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations,"
Who is "thee" here? It refers back to the metaphor of Ezekiel shaving off his beard and dividing the hair into three larger parts and a fourth small part which he binds in his skirts to preserve them. The three large parts die, and Ezekiel 5: 12 goes on to explain that one third will die by disease and famine, a second third will die by the sword and the last third will scatter into the winds and a sword will be drawn out after them too.
Zechariah 13: 8-9 again talks about three groups of people. Two thirds will be "cut off and die," and I think this refers to spiritual death as well as physical death, while one third will be brought through the fire where they are refined. They will call on the Lord and he will hear them. In other words, they undergo a big change in their spiritual condition, turning from apostasy to the truth and the Lord tells them here that they are his people.
The "fire" that this one third of the entire group of professing followers of the Lord are put through is the 6th Trumpet Judgment. The Multitude (Revelation 7: 9) will be threshed by God using vessels of dishonor who are called serpents. At this point in time the people who are to become the Multitude are part of the Church who are in false theologies and doctrines. They are to come out of these false teachings during the Tribulation and turn to the truth. Then they will shine as the brightness of the firmament...(Daniel 12: 3)These modern Pharisees are vessels of dishonor who cause the Multitude to be killed and at the Seventh Trumpet they too are killed.
In Luke 10: 19 the group who is said to be able to tread on serpents and scorpions is a small number of followers of Christ who will be in some ways similar to the Apostles. They are probably the few in Ezekiel 5: 3 who are preserved, i.e.,bound in the skirts of Ol Ezekiel. The scorpions are another group of the originally apostate church who torment the Multitude at the Fifth Trumpet.They are called both locusts and scorpions in Revelation 9: 3. In Verse 5 they have the torment of a scorpion.
Luke 10: 19 is a prophecy for a few followers of Christ in the Tribulation. Having power to tread on serpents and scorpions does not mean that the small remnant, called the 144,000 in Revelation 7, will be empowered to stop the scorpions and serpents from tormenting and causing the Multitude to be killed.. Rather, it must mean that at the Sealing (Revelation 7: 3) the small remnant is protected from the scorpions and serpents. One of the missions of the small
remnant in the Tribulation is given in Daniel 11: 33, which says "And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days." They who shall fall
by the sword are the Multitude. Then Daniel 12: 10 shows us some of the
results of the teaching of the Multitude and of the Remnant and the
Multitude's spiritual condition at some point during the Tribulation in saying
"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." The wicked here must be the scorpions and the serpents.
SUN, MOON AND STARS AS METAPHORS
In both the Old and New Testaments much of end time prophecy is given to us by the use of metaphors. In large part, the metaphors have sealed up these prophecies. The angel told Daniel "Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end (Daniel 12: 9)."
In Matthew 13: 10 the disciples asked Christ "Why speakest thou unto them in parables? Christ answered in Matthew 13: 11-15, saying "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:15. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."
In talking about the use of figurative language in Bible prophecy Hosea 12: 10 says "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets."
Prophets often speak in metaphoric language in their ministry. And to those who insist on using literal interpretation only, the figurative language used by Old and New Testament prophets remains sealed up. These prophecy interpreters and their followers are like the people in Matthew 13: 13 who see not; and hear not, neither do they understand. But Daniel 12: 9 promises that the sealed prophecies will be opened at the time of the end. This opening of prophesy stated in metaphors probably will not mean that those without ears to hear and eyes to see will accept the interpretations given by the Holy Spirit to a few.
It may be easier for some to accept that groups of people who are to be players in the events of the Tribulation are called locusts, scorpions or serpents. That these players might also be called the sun, moon and stars may be harder to grasp. There may also be literal changes in the sun, moon and stars and there may also be a great earthquake, all of which are discussed in Revelation 6: 12-13, the Sixth Seal. But the main focus of the Tribulation is on the people claiming to be of God.
Revelation 6: 12-13 says: "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
The sun, the moon and the stars also have metaphorical meanings, which can be searched out by use of other Scripture. The first key to understanding what the Tribulation is about is found in I Peter 4: 17, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God..." The Tribulation is primarily about the House of God and end time metaphors deal with players and actions within the House of God.
Zechariah 13: 8-9 and Ezekiel 5:2-3 and 5: 8, 12 are fundamental Scriptures which discuss three and four groups within the entire people who claim to be of God.
Zechariah 13: 8-9: And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Ezekiel 5: 2-3 says: Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts.
Ezekiel 5: 8 notes that: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.
Ezekiel 5: 12 says: A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.
Ezekiel 5: 2-3 divides the house of God, those who say they are of the house of God, into four groups. These are the three larger groups and one small group who Ezekiel is to bind in his skirts.
Then Ezekiel 5: 12 says one of the larger groups, a third, will die by pestilence and famine. Another third, the second group, is to die by the sword. the last group, another one-third, is to scatter but a sword will be drawn out after them.
Luke 21: 24 explains that Christians in the end time will be killed by the sword and taken captive, or put in prison. It says "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
On a literal and physical level Luke 21: 24 might seem to have been in part fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Luke 21: 21 says " Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto." Some accounts say that Christians who were in Jerusalem at that time did heed this warning by Christ and got out of Jerusalem alive.
The fourth century church historian Eusebius claims that as the Roman army advanced to Jerusalem, "The people belonging to the church at Jerusalem had been ordered by an oracle revealed to approved men on the spot before the war broke out, to leave the city and dwell in a town of Peraea called Pella" (EH III:5). The destruction of the city, Eusebius says, came only after the Jerusalem Christians had made their escape." This account is on: http://www.wheaton.edu/DistanceLearning/Pella.htm
Who is "they" on a literal and physical level in Luke 21: 24? Christ in his Olivet Discourse, reported in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 is addressing spiritual Israel, so "they" are Christians. Were Christians in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. killed and taken captive by the Romans? Many Jews were killed and some were taken captive. But I don't think Christ in Luke 21: 24 is talking about the non-Christian Jews in Jerusalem being killed and taken captive.
Luke 21: 24 can be read in a spiritual sense. It is a prophecy for the Tribulation. "They" are Christians during the Tribulation who Christ tells us will be killed and taken captive. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles" is metaphoric for the Christians who are to be killed and taken captive by a group here called "Gentiles."
Paul teaches in Romans 2: 28-29 that "For he is not a Jew, which is
one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the
flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that
of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is
not of men, but of God." "They," the Christians who are to be taken captive and killed during
the Tribulation, are spiritual Jerusalem. Spiritual Jerusalem, or
Spiritual Israel, is to be trodden down by these "Gentiles." These "Gentiles" are then
part of the house of God during the tribulation, that is, they say they
are of the house of God. The "Gentiles" may not do the actual killing of these
Christians themselves but may cause them to be taken captive - put in
prison - and killed by the government. So at some point during the Tribulation there
is to be a division in the house of God. Remember that in Ezekiel 5: 12 the last group, another
one-third, is to scatter. Then a sword will be drawn out after them. They scatter in running away from
the "Gentiles" who want to have them put in prison and killed.
Revelation 6: 14 says "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is
rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their
places." "Heaven" can be the kingdom of Heaven, that is, the house of God, including
the "Gentiles" who persecute a group of Christians during the
Tribulation. The Greek word translated in the King James Version as "departed" is Strong's
Exhaustive Concordance Number 673, apochorizo, to separate.
On page 49 of The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, 1978, by Harold K. Moulton
it says that apochorizo means to separate, to be swept aside, to part.
In Revelation 6: 14 the kingdom of heaven is divided and the mountains
and islands being moved out of their places is part of his division of the house of God.
Isaiah 34: 4-5 says "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their
host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a
falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in
heaven: behold, it shall come down
upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment".
Zechariah 5: 1-3 also mentions a roll or scroll. There it says "And
he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll;
the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.
Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the
face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off
as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be
cut off as on that side according to it"
In Revelation 6: 14 "heaven departed as a scroll..." Scroll
is from Strong's Number 975,. biblion, a roll, book, scroll, writing.
Then in Revelation 3: 5 Christ promises that "He that overcometh, the same
shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name
out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my
Father,and before his angels"
Those called "Gentiles" in Luke 21: 24 have gone bad since they
are to cause that one-third of the house of God in Ezekiel 5: 12 who
are to scatter with a sword coming after them to be put in prison and killed. In
addition, and importantly, in Zechariah 13: 9, this one-third of the house of God
will be brought through the fire and they are to be refined. "They shall call upon my
name, and I will hear them; I will say, It is my people: and they
shall say, The Lord is my God."
So, in Luke 21: 24 the Christians who are to "fall by the sword, and
shall be led away captive into all the nations" are those of Ezekiel 5: 12 who
scatter with a sword coming after them and those of Zechariah 13: 8 who are to be
brought through the fire and refined so they turn to God who accepts them.
All three groups mentioned in Zechariah 13: 7-8 and in Ezekiel 5
2-12 started out being a part of the house of God, or at least they claimed they
were of God. One third comes out of Babylon, which represents the apostate Church
in Revelation 17: 1-7 and Revelation 18:.4 where God's people are called to come
out of her so they do not receive the plagues as compensation for her sins.
Matthew 10: 17 in saying they will deliver you up to councils and
beat you in the synagogues is talking about what will happen to those of Luke 21:
24. It says "But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and
they will scourge you in their synagogues." I know that early
Christians were delivered up to councils and Paul was scourged by the Jews, but this prophecy
was not exhausted in early church times. Luke 12 :11 says "And when they
bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take
ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall
say:" The Christians persecuted by the "Gentiles" during the Tribulation will be brought before
magistrates, or judges, and before powers, and perhaps before Christian Churches to be
charged for having "incorrect" beliefs and teachings..
This one third who are brought though the fire and then turn to God are the
overcomers of Revelation 3: 5. We know now from Luke 21: 24 that they are
to be killed during the Tribulation. And in Revelation 9: 18 it says "By these three
was the third part of men killed, by the fire, by the smoke and by the
brimstone..." This is the Sixth Trumpet Judgment where
that one-third who comes out of false doctrines to the truth are killed by
the group within the "Church" in Revelation 9: 14. In verse 19 are they are said to be like serpents.
There is also the other one third who remain apostate and go bad that are called
locust-scorpions in Revelation 9: 3. They come out of the smoke of the bottomless pit,
meaning as they turn bad they are following Satan.
Now lets go back to Christ's promise in Revelation 3: 5 that he will not blot out
the names of the overcomers from the book of life. This means that the names
of these people in the three groups were somehow written in the book of
life, but that the names of the serpents and locust-scorpions will be blotted
out of the Lamb's Book of Life.
In Revelation 6: 14 where heaven is said to depart (divide) as a scroll when it
is rolled together, the scroll is a book, or roll.This may be the Book of Life. And
the flying roll of Zechariah 5: 1-3 and the scroll of Isaiah 34: 4-5 have something to
do with the Book of Life and the kingdom of heaven being divided into parts with
names of some being blotted out of the book of life and some who are
overcomers will not have their names blotted out but they walk with
Christ in white robes (Revelation 3: 4) and having the truth
will shine as the brightness of the firmament...(Daniel 12: 3).
Revelation Chapter Seven describes the 144,000 and their sealing
to protect them from the events just described and more. The very next verse,
Revelation 7: 9, says "And this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude,
which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,
stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palms in
their hands." In Verse 14 an angel told John that "These are they which came out of
great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb." These are the overcomers, the martyrs of Christ, the ones of Ezekiel
5: 12 who scattered when a sword was sent out after than, and the people
in Zechariah 13: 9 who come through the fire to Christ's full truth, call on him and
are accepted by him.
With this background, lets look at the moon, the sun and the stars in
Revelation 6: 12-13 as metaphors for the three main groups of players of the
Trumpet Judgments and elsewhere in the Book of Revelation.
First, Joel 2: 10 talks about all three groups in saying "The earth
shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the
moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:"
The "heavens" in Joel 2: 10 is the kingdom of heaven, the house of
God, which will be shaken - and will tremble -
by the Lord in judgment during the Tribulation. The sun, moon and
stars, all three major players in the trumpet Judgments start out as being spiritually
dark. That is, all three groups are following lies and all tend to be carnal.
Joel 3: 15 says essentially the same thing. "The sun and the moon
shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining."
Revelation 8: 12 says "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."
This seems to be saying metaphorically that the sun, moon and stars
are each one third and all are spiritually darkened.
Joel 2: 31: gets more specific in saying that "The sun shall be turned
into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the
terrible day of the LORD come."
We already know that it is the Multitude whose blood is shed by the serpents, or
the serpents cause the government to kill them. Joel 2: 31 identifies
the moon as being the Multitude in Revelation 6: 12-13.
Acts 2: 20 quotes Joel 2: 31. Isaiah 13: 10 says "
For the stars of heaven and the constellations
thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his
going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine."
Jude 1: 13 says "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame;
wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."
Jude 1: 6 sets the stage for the discussion of the evil described in the following
verses. "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left
their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under
darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Jude 1: 10-11 goes on in describing evil in saying "But these speak
evil of those things which they know not: but what they know
naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran
greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the
gainsaying of Core."
The stars metaphorically in Revelation 6: 12-13 are the more evil of the
two groups who persecute the Multitude. So the stars are the serpents
of Revelation 9: 19.
The sun is darkened in several Scriptures (Isaiah 13:10, Jeremiah. 15:9, Joel
2:10, 2:31, 3:15, Amos 8:9, Matthew . 24:29, Mark 13:24,). Then in 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."
Metaphorically, the smoke from the bottomless pit, i.e., from Satan and his
domain, darkens the sun. The sun figuratively represents the locust-scorpions of
Revelation 6: 12-13. Spiritually, the group identified in Revelation 9: 3, the Fifth
Trumpet, as the locust-scorpions, are darkened by Satan. And so a darkened
sun represents them also.
The great earthquake of the Sixth Seal of Revelation 6: 12 can be described
figuratively as a shaking in the house of the Lord. The Lord arises and
shakes his house to thresh out those who are not following his truth but are
hiding in the refuge of lies and under falsehood of Isaiah 28: 15.
There may be a great earthquake which is literal.
These people are quoted in Isaiah 28: 15 as saying "...when the
overflowing scrouge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us, for
we have made lies our refuge..." One of the reasons those operating
under falsehood do not think that the overflowing scrouge - the Great
Tribulation - will not come to them is because they have been taught
by seminary trained preachers and professional theologians that
they will be raptured off the earth before the Tribulation hits.
Pyron gang at Gilbert Land December 2005