SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The "star that had fallen from the sky to earth" (verse 1) may represent Satan. Passages like Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-15 (which refer specifically to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, but most Bible scholars believe they refer to the spiritual power behind those kings, Satan) reveal that Satan was an angel in heaven who because of ego decided to rebel and take over God's thrown. His rebellion, of course, failed, and God cast him out of heaven. Interestingly, Satan wanted to be like God, and his first temptation (of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:1-5) is for them to be like God. He's been using the same temptation ever since.
- Things get crazy as the floodgates of the abyss release armies of scorpion-like locusts. But instead of devouring plant life like a normal plague of locusts, these things attack and torture people. They could represent past or future armies that attack people other than those who were “sealed” in chapter seven. The majority of theologians believe the descriptions of these things is symbolic. But they could also point to Satan's activity in people's lives.
- The leader of the locust hordes is called "Abaddon" or "Apollyon"; each of these mean "destroyer". Many believe this leader represents Satan.
- After this, another horde of weird creatures is released on the earth to cause plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur.
- Near the end of the reading we get a hint at the reason for the trumpet judgments. In verse 20 it says that the those who weren’t killed by the plagues still refused to worship God and repent from their murders, magic arts, sexual immorality, and theft. (Magic arts could refer to drugs, poisons, or activities associated with idol worship, but not the illusions of modern magicians). Even though humanity’s lifestyles and beliefs do nothing to ease their torture, they still do not turn to God. This picture of mankind is quite bleak.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Satan is not a character from cartoons and movies, nor is he just a part of the story in the Bible. He is real and he is the enemy of your soul. He hates God, and so (because God loves you) there is nothing he enjoys more than wreaking havoc in your life. John 10:10 refers to Satan as a thief, and says that he wants to "steal, kill and destroy" your life.
- Everything that occurs in this chapter may make it seem like God is absent from the picture here, but God is trying to get the attention of people who are defiant and want their own way in hopes that they will turn to him.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- It's been said that Satan probably has a strategy for how he will steal your soul away from God and destroy your life and future. What do you think it probably is? Knowing you, like you do, what do you think Satan would use to tempt you, distract you, and to get you to leave God behind and go in a different direction? And, if Satan has a strategy for how to get you away from God and destroy your life, shouldn't you spend some time developing a strategy for how you will stay close to God and preserve your life with him for now and for all eternity?