Sunday, 3 January 2021
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. Revelation 9:1
Chapter nine begins with the continued sounding of the trumpets. John now says, “Then the fifth angel sounded.” The previous verse had called out, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” That process has now begun. With the sounding, John next says, “And I saw a star.”
As was noted in Chapter 6, stars point to leaders in high positions, religious or otherwise. This is certainly the case here as well. With this understanding, John next says, “fallen from heaven to the earth.” Some translations incorrectly make the words active – “I saw a star fall from heaven” (KJV). This is not the sense at all. The verb is a perfect participle. The Greek literally reads, “And I saw a star out of the heaven, fallen to the earth.” It had already fallen, and that is how John sees it. The words are reminiscent of Isaiah 14:12 –
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!”
Also, in Luke 10:18, where Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Whether this is Satan, a fallen angel, or a person under Satan’s control is debated, but the connection is obvious either way. This is a being that is fallen and whose domain is not connected with heaven. To understand how this could be a human, Daniel 8 must be considered. There, and speaking of humans in relation to stars in this same way, it says –
“And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” Daniel 8:10, 11
With this in mind, John next says, “To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.” The Greek rightly reads, “And was given to him the key of the pit of the abyss.”
Special note concerning right thinking: There is an odd group of people, who are actually and inexplicably increasing in number, that believe the earth is flat. One of their main points is that the idea of stars falling to earth is to be taken literally. They claim the proves the stars cannot be billions of miles away.
However, stars don’t fall to earth, get handed keys, and then go open pits. This one, however, is referred to in the masculine, him, and is given a key. Thus, like the other such uses in Scripture, verses like this are obviously to be taken metaphorically.
Having noted this, one reason to believe this could be Satan or a demon is that the star is “fallen.” This indicates that it is not an angel who held its position in heaven, but, like Adam, fell in a spiritual sense. Another such interpretation can be found in Jude 1:6 –
“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day…”
As this star was given the key, it means that it doesn’t have authority over it except as it is granted to him, meaning at the direction of the Creator. A similar situation where the Lord is shown to have authority even over fallen angels can be found in Job 1 where He directs Satan’s movements. This pit is alluded to throughout the Bible, such as in Psalm 55:23 –
“But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction…”
This place of destruction is where sinners and fallen angels go to be held in custody until the final judgment. However, because God controls all things, it can be opened at His direction. Such is the case here.
Life application: One point of doctrine that is made absolutely certain in Scripture is that the Lord is sovereign over all things. Satan cannot operate without the permission of the Lord, and his minions cannot afflict us without it being allowed. And yet, we open ourselves up to these allowances. The unsaved who do not come to Christ have the devil as their head (see John 8:44 and 1 John 3:8, for example).
Saved believers in Christ have moved to the authority of Jesus, but we can still allow ourselves to be afflicted by demons. This is certain based on the words of Paul found in Ephesians 6 –
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13
We remain in a spiritual battle, and we are told to actively participate in both offensive and defensive measures in order to stand against such things. The only way to do this is to take the advice Paul lays out in that chapter, along with applying the many other admonitions of Scripture concerning such things. And the only way to do those things is to read and know your Bible.
This precious word is God’s gift to us concerning such things. His intent for man is found there, if we will but listen. And the first thing we must do is to come to Him as He has shown is right. That is through the offering of His Son, our Lord JESUS.
Lord God, we can tell from Scripture that there is a great unseen world around us where the forces of wickedness operate. Thank You for giving us insights into this. By seeing that You control even this unseen world, we need not fear these things, but we can know for certain that You are in complete control of them. Thank you for these insights. Help us to apply the tools You have given us to stand in this great battle. Amen.