Future Prophesies - During the Tribulation & Beyond
ANGELS and DEMONS
Are demons for real, and if so, are they fallen angels?
Demonic Manifestations - 1st and 2nd Woes
Awesome angel/abortion story - Start at beginning
Descriptions of angels in Bible - Start at 6:05
Do angels exist?
The Bible speaks of angels as real, actual beings. However, Scripture’s depiction of angels is very different from the popular concept of them. The Bible describes angels as vastly powerful, intimidating, and mysterious creatures. They serve God for specific reasons and do not seem to be wandering or random creatures. While we don’t have a great deal of information about angels in the Bible, what’s available is enough to correct many common misconceptions.
The word angel comes from the Greek word aggelos (or angelos), which most literally means “messenger.” In Old Testament Hebrew, these beings are called mal’ak, which means the same thing, “messenger.” Communication seems to be the primary function of angels in the Bible. Most references to angels involve their delivering some news or command on behalf of God. They are occasionally depicted as protecting certain people (Daniel 6:20–23) or nations (Daniel 12:1). However, there is no direct biblical support for the concept of a “guardian angel”—a single spiritual entity assigned to a specific person for purposes of protection or guidance—although such beings may exist.
In modern times, common depictions of angels include things like halos, feathery wings, blond hair, harps, and white robes, or chubby infants with tiny wings and shining eyes. In reality, the Bible gives no general physical description of angels. Only a few specific types of beings, such as cherubim and seraphim, are given direct visual details (Isaiah 6:2–6; Ezekiel 1:4–28). Only one angel, at the empty tomb of Jesus, is ever described as wearing a white robe (Mark 16:5). Scripture indicates that angels can take on a mundane human form (Genesis 19:1–4).
That being said, most people in Scripture who encounter angels react with fear. Almost every time an angel appears to someone, the angel’s first words are, “Don’t be afraid!” (Luke 1:13, 30; 2:10; Matthew 28:5). Their presence can be so overwhelming that even apostles such as John had to be warned not to worship them (Revelation 19:9–10). This makes sense, given the level of power ascribed to angels by the Bible. As spiritual beings created to serve God, angels are not so much “cute” as they are powerful and otherworldly.
Looking at the Bible, we can say that angels are literal beings. Biblical angels exist. The cartoonish versions of angels so often seen in movies and commercials, however, do not.
What does the Bible say about angels?
Angels are personal spiritual beings who have intelligence, emotions, and will. This is true of both the good and evil angels (demons). Angels possess intelligence (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12), show emotion (Luke 2:13; James 2:19; Revelation 12:17), and exercise will (Luke 8:28-31; 2 Timothy 2:26; Jude 6). Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) without true physical bodies. Although they do not have physical bodies, they are still personalities.
Because they are created beings, their knowledge is limited. This means they do not know all things as God does (Matthew 24:36). They do seem to have greater knowledge than humans, however, which may be due to three things. First, angels were created as an order of creatures higher than humans. Therefore, they innately possess greater knowledge. Second, angels study the Bible and the world more thoroughly than humans do and gain knowledge from it (James 2:19; Revelation 12:12). Third, angels gain knowledge through long observation of human activities. Unlike humans, angels do not have to study the past; they have experienced it. Therefore, they know how others have acted and reacted in situations and can predict with a greater degree of accuracy how we may act in similar circumstances.
Though they have wills, angels, like all creatures, are subject to the will of God. Good angels are sent by God to help believers (Hebrews 1:14). Here are some activities the Bible ascribes to angels:
They praise God (Psalm 148:1-2; Isaiah 6:3). They worship God (Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:8-13). They rejoice in what God does (Job 38:6-7). They serve God (Psalm 103:20; Revelation 22:9). They appear before God (Job 1:6; 2:1). They are instruments of God’s judgments (Revelation 7:1; 8:2). They bring answers to prayer (Acts 12:5-10). They aid in winning people to Christ (Acts 8:26; 10:3). They observe Christian order, work, and suffering (1 Corinthians 4:9; 11:10; Ephesians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:12). They encourage in times of danger (Acts 27:23-24). They care for the righteous at the time of death (Luke 16:22).
Angels are an entirely different order of being than humans. Human beings do not become angels after they die. Angels will never become, and never were, human beings. God created the angels, just as He created humanity. The Bible nowhere states that angels are created in the image and likeness of God, as humans are (Genesis 1:26). Angels are spiritual beings that can, to a certain degree, take on physical form. Humans are primarily physical beings, but with a spiritual aspect. The greatest thing we can learn from the holy angels is their instant, unquestioning obedience to God’s commands.
Do angels exist? If so, what do angels do? What are angels? What are the different types of angels? In reference to angels and demons, what are fallen angels? Were angels ever human? In this video, Pastor Nelson with Bible Munch answers the question, “What does the Bible say about angels?”.
Where do angels come from?
Angels are personal spirit beings created to worship and serve God. We don’t know when angels were created in relation to the events of Genesis 1—2, but Scripture indicates that angels were present when God created the earth (Job 38:4–7).
Angels are mysterious to us, and they are powerful beings, but they are created as all things are. On this Scripture is clear. Psalm 148 lists various created things, and everything, including angels, is commanded to praise the Lord: “Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. . . . Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created” (verses 2 and 5). Angels are part of the “invisible” things and “powers” created by God and mentioned by Paul: “In [the Son] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things” (Colossians 1:16–17).
We know that mankind came from the earth. God scooped up mud and formed Adam’s body, then breathed life into it, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). We are not told what “substance,” if any, God used to create angels or what the process looked like. Since He merely spoke the entire universe into being (Genesis 1), it could be that He also spoke the angels into existence. We could say that angels came from the mind of God and showcase another aspect of His creative brilliance.
A popular notion is that people become angels when they die—at least, the “good” people do. The 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life advances this concept through the fictional character Clarence Odbody, who was a clockmaker when he was alive (293 years previously) but is now an angel trying to earn his wings through good works. There is no biblical basis for the theory that angels are former people. In fact, the Bible clearly indicates that angels are different from us; mankind is a class of being created “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5). Even in heaven, the difference between mankind and “angelkind” is preserved (Revelation 7:9–11).
The Ministry of Angels - Past, Present, and Future By Dr. David R. Reagan
Lamb & Lion Ministries had four founders back in 1980. One supplied the faith; another, the leadership; a third, the money. The fourth was the one to whom God gave the vision for the ministry — a man named Dudley Head.
Dudley is one of the godliest men I have ever known. Ever since I met him in the 1970’s, he has had an intimate relationship with the Lord, producing many special spiritual experiences in his life.
For example, I remember the day he called me excitedly to tell me about something that had happened to him in his backyard. “I was meditating on the Lord,” he said, “when I sensed His presence. I quietly said, ‘Lord, please manifest your presence to me in some special way.'”
Dudley said the words were hardly out of his mouth when a Monarch butterfly suddenly appeared, circled him a few times, and then landed in the open palm of his right hand. “We just sat there and stared at each other for a long time,” Dudley said.
In 1963 Dudley was serving as the lay preacher of a small church in South Dakota, and he desperately needed encouragement. One day he got a telephone call from a stranger.
“Do you believe in helping people?” the man asked.
“Yes, I do,” answered Dudley.
“Even if they are Jewish?”
“Yes,” Dudley responded.
The man then explained that he was a Jew who was stranded in the town and needed help. He said he was at a gas station on the main highway that passed through the town.
Dudley drove over and picked him up. He was a young man in his early 30’s. He said he had been hitchhiking from California.
Dudley took him home, and his wife fixed dinner for him. After dinner, Dudley asked the man if he would like to go to his church’s Wednesday evening Bible study. The man agreed.
They were studying the Old Testament, something none of the members of the church were familiar with, including Dudley. As they began their study that evening, the Jewish stranger soon took over and began to explain the meaning of the Scriptures. Dudley was amazed, enlightened, and encouraged.
Dudley found a place for the man to stay that night and paid for his lodging. The next morning, he had disappeared without a trace.
To this day Dudley believes the man was an angel sent by God to encourage him and to get him interested in the prophecies contained in the Hebrew Scriptures. And ever since that strange experience more than 40 years ago, Dudley has emphasized Hebrews 13:2 to everyone: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Yes, the Bible teaches the reality of angels, and it teaches that they sometimes take on human form in order to minister to those who are in the process of being saved (Hebrews 1:14).
What are angels? Where did they come from? What is their purpose? Do they have a ministry today? How do they relate to the end times?
The Origin of Angels
Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) which were created by God (Genesis 2:1 and Colossians 1:16). Exactly when they were created is not clear, but they pre-date the creation of the material universe because the Scriptures say that they witnessed the creation and rejoiced over it (Job 38:4-7).
One of the greatest myths concerning angels pertains to their origin. Many people are convinced that when a saved person goes to Heaven, he or she becomes an angel. There is no biblical basis for this belief. Angels and humans are two separate entities. The Bible says that Man is slightly lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:5-7), but the Bible also teaches that through redemption Man becomes superior to angels and that the saved will one day judge the angels — most likely the fallen angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).
Satan was originally one of God’s most glorious angels, “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12). But his heart became lifted up because of his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17), and his pride motivated him to try to take the throne of God (Isaiah 14:12-14). Due to his rebellion, he was cast out of Heaven, down to earth, and one third of the angels were cast out with him because they joined his rebellion (Revelation 12:4).
The Bible does not tell us when this revolt took place, but it was most likely after the end of the creation week because at the end of that week God pronounced all of His creation to be “good” (Genesis 1:31).
I believe these fallen angels are the demons that are referred to in both the Old and New Testaments. Satan, in fact, is called the “ruler of the demons” (Matthew 9:34).
Three places in the Hebrew Scriptures we are told that people sacrificed to demons (Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37). With the opening of the New Testament, there is an explosion of demonic activity, undoubtedly in response to the First Coming of the Messiah. Jesus was often confronted by demons who recognized who He was (Mark 3:11), and much of His healing ministry was directed at casting demons out of people (Matthew 8:16).
The Bible teaches that some of these fallen angels did not keep to their properly assigned domain (Jude 6), and they were thus bound in a place called Tartarus, probably a compartment in Hades, possibly even the abyss or chasm that exists in Hades (Luke 16:26). What is meant by “not keeping to their own domain” is not clear. Some believe this is a reference to Genesis 6 where we are told that “the sons of God” had sexual relations with “the daughters of men” and that their union produced a race of giants known as the Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4).
The Nature of Angels
Angels are created spirit beings (Nehemiah 9:6 and Hebrews 1:14). Yet, the Bible clearly teaches that they can take on human form and appear to people. In the Old Testament there are recorded appearances of angels to Abraham, Hagar, Lot, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Daniel, and many others. The New Testament opens with a whole series of angelic appearances related to the birth of the Messiah. After the death of Jesus, angels appeared at His tomb and at His ascension. Peter, John, Phillip, and Paul all had angelic encounters in their ministries.
In their biblical appearances angels always manifest themselves as men. There is no mention of them having wings. The idea that angels have wings is rooted in the Bible’s description of some special angelic beings called Seraphim and Cherubim who reside in the throne room of God in Heaven. Seraphim are described as having six wings (Isaiah 6:2). Cherubim are depicted with four wings (Ezekiel 1:5-6).
When angels take on human form, they appear like any normal person (Genesis 18:2 and Genesis 19:1-17). When they manifest themselves in their spirit form, they tend to appear as dazzling light (Matthew 28:1-4).
Angels do not marry or procreate (Matthew 22:30). They do not age nor are they subject to death (Luke 20:36). Therefore, their numbers remain constant. The exact number is not revealed, but it is very large. Ten thousand angels appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 33:2). David saw 20,000 at one time (Psalm 68:17). When John was raptured to the throne room of God, he saw ten times ten thousand (KJV) or, as the New American Standard Version puts it: “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11). The book of Hebrews says there are “innumerable myriads” (Hebrews 12:22).
Angels have great knowledge, but they are not omniscient. Jesus said, for example, that angels do not know when His Second Coming will take place (Mark 13:32). Angels are very powerful (2 Thessalonians 1:7 and 2 Peter 2:11), but they are not omnipotent. They are obedient servants of their Creator (Psalm 103:20). They can move about rapidly, but they are not omnipresent. In short, angels are not gods, and therefore, they are not to be worshiped (Colossians 2:18 and Revelation 22:8-9).
There is no biblical passage that says angels have to eat to stay alive, but the Bible portrays them as eating when they take on human form (Genesis 18:1-8 and 19:1-3). Also, Psalm 78:25 refers to the manna God provided to feed the children of Israel in the wilderness as “the bread of angels.”
In like manner, the Bible never specifically says that angels sing, but their singing is implied in two ways. First, their words are often expressed in poetic form (Luke 2:14, Revelation 4:8, 11, and Revelation 5:9-10,12-13). Second, music is a universal form of worship, and angels are pictured worshiping the Lord unceasingly (Psalm 148:1-2 and Revelation 4 and 5).
When angels speak to a person, they always use that person’s native language. But the Bible indicates that angels have a language of their own that they use among themselves (1 Corinthians 13:1).
The Types of Angels
There is quite a variety of angels in addition to the regular ones and the fallen ones.
The Bible indicates that Satan may have originally been the supreme angel. Before his fall, he is referred to as “the anointed cherub” (Ezekiel 28:14). He is further described as “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12- 13). After Satan’s fall, an angel named Michael became the chief of God’s heavenly host. He is the only angel referred to in the Bible as an “archangel” (Jude 9).
The Hebrew Scriptures portray Michael as “the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people [the Jews]” (Daniel 12:1). The book of Revelation pictures Michael as the commander-in-chief of the armies of God, and in this capacity, he wages war against Satan in the middle of the Tribulation when Satan tries one last time to take the throne of God (Revelation 12:7-9). So important and powerful is Michael that some cultic groups, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists, have incorrectly identified him with Jesus.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 we are told that when Jesus appears for the Rapture of the Church, the event will be heralded by the shout of an archangel. Since Michael is the only angel identified in the Scriptures with this title, he is most likely the one who will utter the shout.
Another angel VIP is Gabriel. He emerges in the Scriptures as God’s premier messenger. He appeared to Daniel twice, first to interpret a vision concerning the Antichrist (Daniel 8:15-26), and second, to present the prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years (Daniel 9:20-27).
In the New Testament, Gabriel serves as an angel of annunciation. He was the one who proclaimed to Zacharias that his wife would give birth to a prophet named John (Luke 1:8-20). And he is the angel who told Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah (Luke 1:26-33).
There are two mysterious groups of angels that occupy the throne room of God. They are called Seraphim and Cherubim. The Seraphim are pictured only once in the Scriptures, in Isaiah 6:1-3. In this passage Isaiah is given a glimpse of God’s throne room in Heaven. He sees angelic creatures called Seraphim hovering above God’s throne. They are described as having six wings each. They appear to be worship leaders as they cry out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole world is full of His glory.”
The Cherubim are first mentioned in Genesis 3:24. After the fall of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, God posted Cherubim with flaming swords “to guard the way to the tree of life.” They are next mentioned in Exodus 25 when God told Moses to place images of two Cherubim on the mercy seat (the lid) of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-20).
When King Solomon built his magnificent temple, he placed two gigantic images of Cherubim in the Holy of Holies. Their outstretched wings hovered over the entire chamber, including the Ark of the Covenant with its smaller Cherubim (2 Chronicles 3:8-14). These symbolic usages of Cherub symbols indicate that Cherubim are special guardians of God’s things.
The most detailed description of these enigmatic celestial creatures can be found in chapter one of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Ezekiel was a prisoner in Chaldea by the Chebar River when he had a vision of a storm coming from the north with glowing figures in the clouds (Ezekiel 1:1-4). He described them as “four living beings” that had “human form,” but each of them had four faces and four wings (Ezekiel 1:4-6). They gleamed like burnished bronze (Ezekiel 1:7). Each of these creatures had the face of a man, the face of a lion, the face of a bull, and the face of an eagle — seemingly representing all of God’s creation (Ezekiel 1:10).
Ezekiel later identifies these creatures as Cherubim (Ezekiel 10:15) when he encounters them for a second time. The second encounter is a sad one. It occurred when God decided to withdraw His glory from the Holy of Holies in preparation for the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. As the glory of the Lord (what the Jews called “the Shekinah”) departed, Ezekiel witnessed Cherubim accompanying it to Heaven (Ezekiel 10:1-22).
When the Apostle John was raptured to Heaven from the Isle of Patmos, he saw similar creatures in front of God’s throne. Like Ezekiel, he referred to them as “four living creatures” (Revelation 4:6). What he saw was very similar, but not exactly the same. He does not mention each having four faces, and he says they had six wings each instead of four. But he does state that each one had a different face, and the faces mentioned are the same as what Ezekiel saw — lion, bull, man, and eagle.
The only other special angel mentioned in the Scriptures is a very special one indeed. He is the one who is referred to throughout the Old Testament as “The Angel of the Lord.” I believe He is none other than Jesus making preincarnate appearances.
The Ministry of Angels
Michael is the commander-in-chief of the heavenly host and the designated defender of Israel. Gabriel is God’s special messenger. The Seraphim are worship leaders. The Cherubim are guardians. The Four Living Creatures of Revelation are either identical with the Cherubim or else they are special representatives of all God’s creation. Like the Seraphim, they praise God without ceasing (Revelation 4:8-9).
Regarding the host of regular angels, the Bible makes it clear that they are servants of God who have a variety of tasks. One of those tasks is indicated by their name. The very word, angel, is derived from the Greek word, angelos, which means “messenger.” The Hebrew equivalent, malakh, also means “messenger.” Accordingly, angels are often pictured in the Scriptures as delivering messages from God. The examples abound throughout the Scriptures. To mention only a few —
Abraham was informed by angels that his wife would have a child (Genesis 18:1-10).
Lot was warned by angels of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-16).
Joseph was visited by angels three times in dreams. He was assured that Mary was a virgin (Matthew 1:20). He was told to take his family and flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13). And he was informed when it was safe to leave Egypt and return to Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-20).
Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was told by an angel to send for Peter to receive a special message from God (Acts 10:1-8).
A second major role of angels is to minister to the needs of saints. They were sent to provide food and drink for Elijah as he lay dying in the wilderness (1 Kings 19:1-8). In like manner, angels were dispatched to minister to Jesus after His exhausting 40 days of temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11). An army of angels surrounded the prophet Elisha to protect him when his life was endangered (2 Kings 6:15-19). In the New Testament, we are told that Peter was released from prison by an angel (Acts 12:5-11).
An equally significant role of angels is to execute judgments of God. They were sent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:12-15). An angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night to prevent them from attacking Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:35). Psalm 78:49 speaks of a “band of destroying angels” that was sent to torment the Jews in the wilderness when they rebelled against God. The New Testament makes it clear that God will execute His end time judgments on the nations through angels (Matthew 13:49- 50 and Jude 14-15).
Some angels seem to have highly specialized responsibilities that relate to the natural universe. Revelation 16:5 refers to “the angel of the waters.” Another is called the angel “who has power over fire” (Revelation 14:18). In Revelation 7:1 four angels are pictured who have control of the winds of the earth.
The most popular concept of the role of angels is that of guardians. Most people seem to believe that God has assigned a guardian angel to each person. The Bible never says this, but it does indicate a guardian role for angels. As I have already mentioned, the Archangel Michael is the protector of Israel (Daniel 12:1). Jesus indicated that children have guardian angels. He is quoted in Matthew 18:10 as saying, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father…”
Hebrews 1:14 indicates that believers may have guardian angels: “Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” I love this verse, and I often claim it in prayer. For example, when I have to travel out of town, I always pray for the Lord to post an angel at my home to watch over my wife. And I always pray for the Lord to surround my airplane with angels to guarantee a safe flight.
11) For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.
12) They will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
The letters Jesus dictated to John for the seven churches of Asia Minor are addressed to “the angel” of each church. Some believe this is a reference to the pastor, and that could very well be, but I cannot help but imagine that the Lord has assigned an actual angel to guard each of His true churches.
With one exception, which we will see later, angels are never given the responsibility of proclaiming the Gospel. This is the work of the Holy Spirit through human evangelists, pastors, and laymen. But angels are often portrayed as playing an active role in evangelistic preparation. Thus, it was an angel who directed the evangelist Philip to the location of the Ethiopian enunch so that the Gospel could be shared with him (Acts 8:26). The situation is reversed with the Roman soldier, Cornelius. An angel appeared to him in order to direct him to Peter so that Peter could share the Gospel with him. Angels guide, but the Holy Spirit instructs (Acts 8:29).
Several verses indicate that angels are active and involved eyewitnesses to what is going on in the Church and in the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 4:9, 11:10 and 1 Timothy 5:21). Surely the “cloud of witnesses” referred to in Hebrews 12:1 must include the angels as well as saints who have gone to be with the Lord. In this sense I think we can consider the angels to be our cheerleaders! We know for certain that they celebrate when a sinner repents and is saved (Luke 15:10). The Bible also indicates that they attend the death of a believer. In His story about Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus left us with the comforting concept that when a believer dies, his spirit is ushered into the Lord’s presence by angels (Luke 16:22).
Dr. Vance Havner commented on the impact of angels as observers in his book, Though I Walk Through the Valley (1974). He tells the story of the pastor of a small country church who was working late into the night on a sermon. His wife asked him why he was spending so much time on a message that would be given to such a small congregation. He replied, “You forget, my dear, how large my audience will be!” Dr. Havner added, “Nothing is trivial here if Heaven looks on. We shall play a better game if, ‘seeing we are encompassed,’ we remember who is in the grandstand.”
Angels in the End Times
The Bible reveals that there will be a flurry of angelic activity in the end times.
The Four Living Creatures before the throne of God are the ones who will execute the first series of judgments that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation. It is in response to their commands that the Four Horsemen go forth with the Seal Judgments that result in the death of one-fourth of humanity (Revelation 6:1-8). Simultaneously, it is angels who will seal 144,000 Jews so that they will be supernaturally protected from all the judgments (Revelation 7:2-3).
When the second series of judgments begin — the Trumpet Judgments — it will be angels once again who serve as the instruments of God’s wrath, resulting in the deaths of one-third of those still left alive (Revelation 8 and 9).
In the middle of the Tribulation, Satan will try one last time to take the throne of God, resulting in a war in the heavens between Satan and his demonic angels and Michael and his holy angels. Satan will be defeated, and he and his angels will be cast down to earth. His access to Heaven will be cut off permanently (Revelation 12:7-12).
In the second half of the Tribulation we are told that God will give Mankind one last opportunity to repent before He pours out His final wrath. He does this in a most unusual way. He sends forth three angels with very specific tasks.
The first angel, the one I like to refer to as “the Gospel Angel,” is given the responsibility to proclaim the “eternal gospel” to “every nation and tribe and tongue and people” (Revelation 14:6). This will be the only time in history that God has allowed an angel to preach the Gospel. It will constitute the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Jesus when He said: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come” (Matthew 24:14).
The second angel will follow the first as he circumnavigates the earth. His task will be to proclaim the impending destruction of the kingdom of the Antichrist (Revelation 14:8). The third angel will follow along behind the first two. His role will be to issue a warning that anyone who worships the Antichrist and receives his mark will suffer God’s wrath and torment in Hell (Revelation 14:9-11).
These three proclamations will be followed by the final outpouring of God’s wrath, called the Bowl Judgments (Revelation 16). Once again, seven angels will execute these judgments (Revelation 16:1). Angels are also the ones who will destroy the capital city of the Antichrist in one hour on one day (Revelation 18).
The destruction of the Antichrist and his kingdom will bring to a close the terrible period of the Tribulation and will result in all the heavenly host breaking forth in celebration shouting, “Hallelujah!” (Revelation 19:1-7). Shortly thereafter, this same host of angels will return to earth with Jesus at His Second Coming (Matthew 24:30-31). They will gather the elect (those saved during the Tribulation who are still alive) from the four corners of the earth (Matthew 24:31).
The only information we are given about angels in the Eternal State is that the fallen angels, together with Satan, will be tormented in Hell forever (Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 20:10). No information is supplied regarding the godly angels.
I would assume that the holy angels would continue to serve God eternally and that they would also continue to minister to the Redeemed. I yearn to hear their stories about their interventions in my life. I look forward to their fellowship, and most of all, I look forward to hearing them sing!
What roles do angels play in the book of Revelation?
The word “angel,” malak in the original Hebrew and angeloi in the Greek, actually means “messenger.” Certainly, angels perform other duties in their service to God Almighty — guardians, rescuers, warriors, worshipers, evangelists, enforcers, servants and even executioners — but they are actually named after their primary duty as God’s messengers. Angels often act as intermediaries between God and Man. And, that’s what we find these celestial beings doing all throughout the book of Revelation.
Bear in mind that not every messenger mentioned in Revelation is a celestial being. The Apostle John, for example, “who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw,” performed his scribal duty to the Seven Churches and the Church universal, but was a mere man. Another messenger mentioned is the “Angel of the Lord,” the pre-incarnate name of Jesus Christ, who is clearly divine and not a created angelic being. We also encounter the “Seven Spirits,” a name representative of the Holy Spirit. We even take a hard look at the 24 Elders in God’s throne room and conclude that none of them are angels, but they were all messengers.
The word “Revelation” derives from the Greek word apokalypsis. It is used 18 times in the Bible, and it is where we get our English word “apocalypse.” In the Greek, the word means “to unveil.” And that’s just what the book of Revelation does — it unveils the shrouded activities of God and His mighty angels. When reading Revelation, you will marvel at how Jesus Christ utilizes His faithful helpers to dole out His Apocalypse — His wrath — during the 21 judgments of the Tribulation.
Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation present the angels who guard and protect, such as the Angels of the Seven Churches. Then, in chapters 4 and 5, the scene moves to God’s throne room in Heaven where we witness some of the more extraordinary of all of God’s mighty angels. The multi-faced and multi-winged Seraphim sing unceasing praises to the One on the throne. The Cherubim transport God’s throne across the heavens. The multitudes of Choir Angels sing God’s praises.
Back on Earth, chapters 6 through 19 present the Servant Angels, such as the Branding Angel, who marks the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and the Four Wind Angels who control the weather, performing God’s divine will. The angels who enact God’s judgment, such as the Seven Trumpet Judgment Angels and the Seven Bowl Judgment Angels, deliver God’s wrath upon a rebellious world. The Executioner Angels, such as the Stone Angel who crushes the Antichrist’s capital flat and the Jailer Angel who locks Satan into the Bottomless Pit for a thousand years, carry out God’s judgments.
In the aftermath of the Tribulation, described in chapter 20, the Lamb of God sets up His throne over all of the Earth, and we are introduced to other angels such as the Good News Angel and the Guardians of the Twelve Gates who aid in ushering in the Eternal State of chapters 21 and 22. I could name many, many other angels and groups of angels busy at work in almost every paragraph in the book of Revelation, for there are so many.
Revelation 5:11-12 - The Scroll and the Lamb
Rev 5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
Revelation 7:1-4 - 144,000 Sealed
Rev 7:1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed.
Revelation 7:11-12 - The Great Multitude in White Robes
Rev 7:11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 8:2-5 - The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
Rev 8:2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:6-13; 9:1-16; 11:15 - The Trumpet Judgments
Rev 8: 6 So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
First Trumpet: Vegetation Struck
7 The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the [a]earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
Second Trumpet: The Seas Struck
8 Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
Third Trumpet: The Waters Struck
10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.
Fourth Trumpet: The Heavens Struck
12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day [b]did not shine, and likewise the night.
13 And I looked, and I heard an [c]angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “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!”
Fifth Trumpet: The Locusts from the Bottomless Pit
Rev 9:1 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.
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.
Sixth Trumpet: The Angels from the Euphrates
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.” 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. 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.
Seventh Trumpet: The Kingdom Proclaimed
Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The [f]kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Revelation 10 - The Mighty Angel with the Little Book
Rev 10:1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”
5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, 7 but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
John Eats the Little Book
8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”
9 So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.”
And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”
10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. 11 And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”
Revelation 12:7-9 - Satan Thrown Out of Heaven
Rev 12:7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 14:6-13 - The Proclamations of Three Angels
Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
Revelation 14:14-16 - Reaping the Earth’s Harvest
Rev 14:14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Revelation 14:17-20 - Reaping the Grapes of Wrath
Rev 14:17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” 19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.
Revelation 15:1-8 - Prelude to the Bowl Judgments
Rev 15:1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.... 5 After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. 6 And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. 8 The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
Revelation 16 - The Seven Bowls
Rev 16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”
First Bowl: Loathsome Sores
2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.
Second Bowl: The Sea Turns to Blood
3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.
Third Bowl: The Waters Turn to Blood
4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying:
“You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things.
6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.”
7 And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
Fourth Bowl: Men Are Scorched
8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.
Fifth Bowl: Darkness and Pain
10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. 11 They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.
Sixth Bowl: Euphrates Dried Up
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
Seventh Bowl: The Earth Utterly Shaken
17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.
Revelation 17 - The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast
Rev 17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. ... 7 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. ...
Revelation 18:1-8 - The Fall of Babylon the Great
Rev 18:1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
Revelation 18:21 - Finality of Babylon’s Fall
Rev 18:21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.
Revelation 19:17-18 - The Beast and His Armies Defeated
Rev 19:17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
Revelation 20:1-3 - Satan Bound 1,000 Years
Rev 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
Revelation 21:9-21 - The New Jerusalem
Rev 21:9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Revelation 22:6-11 - The Time Is Near
Rev 22:6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
Revelation 22:12-17 - Jesus Testifies to the Churches
Rev 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Proclamations of Three Angels (Revelation 14:6-13)
Revelation 14:6-13 - The Three Angels (NKJV)
Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
8 A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
I. The Proclamation Concerning Belief (vs. 6-7)
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” John sees an angel that appears in mid-air, or mid heaven. This is the place in the sky where the sun is at its highest (noon), the highest point in the sky. The scene he describes has this angel in the center point of the sky preaching the gospel to the whole world. You can be certain the Antichrist (the Beast) will not lay a hand on this servant of God. His pulpit is beyond the reach of God’s enemies. He will herald His message to the Jewish remnant that in turn will carry it throughout the earth. God’s message must be spoken. If men are silenced, then angels become vocal. If Satan could slay and silence every human witness of God’s truth, then God would see to its proclamation by some other means. It should be noted that the word “angel” literally means “messenger.” When Paul wrote “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8), he was not stating emphatically that angels do preach the gospel in our present age. But in the Tribulation the wickedness of man and the power of Satan necessitate a change in the divine method. God will then resort to a method he used before Christ came to earth the first time: “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast . . .” (Hebrews 2:2). This angel is the first in a parade of six “another” angels mentioned in verses 8-9, 15, and 17-18.
This proclamation is God’s last call to the Gentiles. It is given during the Great Tribulation, and many are saved by it. The word “gospel” simply means “good news.” We use the word today to describe the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), which is the good news for this age. Any person who tampers with this gospel is accursed (Galatians 1:8). But there are other aspects of the good news, aspects which apply to ages other than ours. There is the gospel of the kingdom, for example, and what is called here “the everlasting gospel.” This everlasting gospel is only a very small portion of the gospel which is preached today. Its message is designed for the terrible hour of the beast’s triumph, but it contains the essence of the gospel in any age, namely a living faith in a living God.
The nature of this gospel is described first. It is eternal in its significance, and it is universal in its scope. John says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach.” It is everlasting because it has to do with eternal truth. The one basic gospel (truth), in whatever form it is cast, is fear God! Glorify God! Worship God! The special significance of the everlasting gospel lies in the fact that the beast is saying to men, fear me! glorify me! worship me! This everlasting gospel is to be preached to the people on earth at the end of the Great Tribulation Period, immediately preceding the judgment of the nation’s when the sheep will be divided from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). The message is judgment—not salvation; however, even though the message is judgment, it is good news for the elect (Israel) and the saved nations, because they have gone through—and are now in—great tribulation. The saved ones will rejoice to hear the message of the everlasting gospel.
“The everlasting gospel.” The question naturally arises, How is this the gospel, since the word “gospel” means “good news?” Is this angel bringing good news? Yes, it is good news for those who are God’s children, but it is bad news for the unbelievers.
The gospel is not only everlasting in its significance; it is universal in its scope. The angel’s commission was “to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Angels do not preach the gospel of the grace of God, but they do preach the gospel of the government of God. These shining ones have watched with great interest throughout the long years of the Christian era as redeemed ones told the story of God’s grace. They have looked on in amazement at Christians wasting priceless opportunities for telling others the good news, thus hiding their life under a bushel.
During our age the gospel has been committed to men, and they alone are the messengers of it. At the beginning of the Great Tribulation men are the messengers of God, as the 144,000 reveal. Angels as well as men were the messengers of the Old Testament—“. . . the word spoken by angels was stedfast . . .” (Hebrews 2:2). The times are so intense in the Great Tribulation Period that only angels can get the messages of God through to the world. Angels are indestructible.
“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him . . . and worship him . . . that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” The news of this gospel is described next. It involves conviction, conversion, and consecration. The angel is heard “saying with a loud voice, Fear God!” The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the Lord means to treat the Lord with awe and reverence. The call is to acknowledge God’s control and power over the earth. At this time, the beast is ruling and the world is giving its respect and reverence to him. Yet the angel has stated that fear (respect and obedience) must be given to God and not to the beast.
At this point in the world’s history, there will be so much fear on earth that all values will be distorted and all perspectives destroyed. The gospel puts the priorities straight—fear is number one!
The gospel involves conversion. The angel says, “Fear God, and give Glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” It is not merely the Day of Judgment now, but the “hour of judgment.” The unregenerate man always denies God glory; the saved man always gives God glory and thus comes into harmony with God’s great goal both in creation and in redemption—to bring glory to Himself. All creation bears witness to God’s existence as well as to His power and wisdom. Nonetheless, “the beast will convince men that he is in charge of the world, and that their destinies are in his hands. The message of the angel calls men back to basics: God is creator—worship and serve Him. The fear of the Lord, not the fear of “the beast,” is the source of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
To give glory to God is to announce the marvelous wonders that He has done and to give Him the honor he is due. The glory of God is the manifestation of His attributes. Giving glory to God is the evidence of a person’s own conversion, proof that he has entered into a new world, one to which he had been deaf and blind before. (Some commentators see this as an announcement of judgment rather than an appeal.)
The gospel involves consecration. The angel cried, “Worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Worship is the highest, holiest, and happiest function of a rational, complete human being. It is the overflow of a heart filled with wonder, love, and praise for God. Intelligent worship is pouring out one’s being as a drink offering to God, the laying of one’s life upon the alter, the giving back of the life we owe. The beast may be manipulating the earth, but God is the maker of the earth. To worship God is to acknowledge who He is. In this case, He is to be acknowledged as the maker of the universe—the creator only, and not the creature, must be worshipped. This then is the first proclamation. It concerns belief.
II. The Proclamation Concerning Babylon (v. 8)
8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
The first proclamation was good news, the second was great news, and the third angel announces the doom of the Beast-worshippers. “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” This is the first mention of Babylon in the Apocalypse, but it is by no means the last. It gathers up into itself in one brief preliminary statement—“Babylon has fallen”—all that is later unfolded in chapters 17 and 18. This nation makes people drink the wine of her immorality. Every thought and every desire of this nation is so wicked and evil that its heart is obsessed with destroying God. Babylon was the name of both an evil city and an immoral empire—a world center for idol worship. It is the name given to the civilization that was seduced by the beast (see also 17:1-9). This world system is filled with idolatry, corruption, and sexual sin (18:2-3, 7), a wellspring of ungodly religion, governments, and economics. The name can represent the pride and wickedness of humanity that opposes God.
Before this city was called Babylon it was known as Babel. The people who lived in Babel built a tower they hoped would reach to the throne of God; but God confused their languages so they could no longer communicate and had to leave the tower unfinished. The city of Babylon will evidently be rebuilt during the Great Tribulation Period. I believe that ancient Babylon will be rebuilt, though not at the same location, and that judgment upon it, which is predicted in the Book of Isaiah, is yet to come.
This proclamation anticipates the complete collapse of the political, economic, and religious system of the beast. The angel is letting everyone know that God is going to do away with the beast’s empire. It will fall. Its doom is so certain that it appears here as already “fallen.” This note is sounded here in view of the warning that follows, for those alive on the earth at this time will have a dire choice before them. That choice is the subject of the third proclamation. This second proclamation puts things into perspective for them and thus helps them decide. The triumph of Babylon will be brief.
It is true that those who live through all or most of the Great Tribulation do so because they have received the mark of the Beast. However, part of the Great Tribulation is not caused by Satan being released, but by Christ’s judgment upon the earth. He will move personally and directly in putting down the rebellion against Him here on this earth.
In John’s time Rome had replaced Babylon and had exceeded her in wickedness. In later New Testament times Rome was called “Babylon” (16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21; 1 Peter 5:13). Rome, like Babylon before her, had used her power and wealth to seduce the nations. She had acted like a temple prostitute who intoxicated her victims before seducing them. Even this warning seems to imply a call to repentance.
III. The Proclamation Concerning the Beast (vs. 9-12)
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb
The issues are now made clear, the alternatives unmistakable. “Worship me,” cries the beast, “or be doomed!” “Worship me,” cries the Lamb, “or be dammed!” The proclamation is in two parts. First is described the doom of those who deify the beast. This doom is twofold. Those who take this step can expect unbelievable torment from an angry God. John says, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” The message is urgent; it is proclaimed by an angel, and it is heralded in a loud voice. It is short, it is blunt, it is plain, and it is one of the most unique proclamations in Scripture, for it depicts the horrors of hell with a fullness of detail rare indeed in the Bible. There will be no hope for those who worship the beast, bow before his image, or receive his mark. They can’t expect anything but the wrath of God. The full extent of His anger, undiluted by mercy and grace, would soon be poured out on those who had adamantly refused to turn from sin and receive His salvation. It will be payback for how they have rejected God and mistreated their fellow human beings (Matthew 13:41-42; 16:27). Jesus promised that Satan, his demons, and the wicked would be thrown into hell at the final judgment (Matthew 25:41). Jesus repeatedly warned that hell would be a fate far worse than physical death. Scripture consistently describes hell as a place where one is utterly alone, rejected by one’s Creator, and excluded from His presence (Matthew 25:12, 41; Luke 13:24-28; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). If in this life we choose to be independent of God, in the next life we will be separated from Him forever.
Punishment is awaiting those who take the mark of the beast and worship him. Keep in mind that the mark of the beast represents humanity. It is not just a number—it is a religion and a life philosophy. Those who receive the mark of the beast will receive the following punishments:
They will drink of the wine of God’s wrath. This refers to both His power to punish and the totality of all of His anger. The “wine of the wrath of God” is a figure of speech adopted from the Old Testament. In Psalm 75:8 we read: “In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs” (NIV). The Old Testament prophets picked up that theme. They saw the cup of wrath filling up to the brim. God was patient and let men go on and on in his sins, but when the cup of wrath was filled, then God would press it too the lips of a godless society. Rebellious men kept building this thing up until judgment had to take place.
They will be eternally tormented with fire and brimstone. This refers to the burning of hell. This hell is a place the angels and Jesus will be able to view. Dear reader, “God will never send anybody to hell. If man goes to hell, he goes by his own free choice . . . God has done everything within His power to keep you out. He even gave His Son to die on that cross to keep you out . . . You can go to heaven or to hell. The choice is yours” (Billy Graham). Adding to their torment is the fact that their punishment will take place in the presence (full view) of the lamb and holy angels.
They will be tormented continually. Their lives will be tormented both day and night without rest (11).
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God . . .” Each man who worshipped “the beast” and wore his mark on the forehead or hand will suffer a twofold punishment: (1) he will “drink the wine of God’s wrath undiluted; (2) he will be tormented with “fire and brimstone” forever. These severe punishments are permanent. If they seem too severe, one must recall that the doomed people have refused many calls to repentance. They are not casual sinners; they have confirmed their rejection of God by worshipping the beast and wearing his mark.
If you believe that the church is going to go through the Great Tribulation, you also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to subject His own to the mingled, unmixed cup of His anger. I simply cannot believe that Christ would do this to the church which He has redeemed.
“. . . and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone . . .” This scripture is very clear and understandable. These will be “tormented with fire.” Do I think it will be real fire? Why should I think anything else? When the Word of God clearly says, “he shall be tormented with fire,” why should I spiritualize or symbolize that statement? It is real fire, just like the fire we know. “Brimstone” is added to the fire. If you look up that word in your dictionary, you will find that it means “burning sulfur.” That will add heat to the blaze and pain to the tormenting, which will be in the sight of the holy angels and the Lamb of God.
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Those who worship the beast can expect undying torment from an angry God. John says, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Their torment begins on earth. Smoke will boil up as from a great furnace. This is neither spiritual nor symbolic smoke—it is real smoke. They find it impossible to rest, for their days become one long horror of anguish, and their nights become black nightmares of torment. And, after that—eternity, an awful eternity of misery. In Revelation 20:10 the devil is cast into the lake of fire where the Beast and False Prophet are.
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
“Here is the patience of the saints . . .” All that God’s own can do during this period is to be patient and wait for the coming of Christ. Our Lord said, “But the one who stands firm (endures) to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). Why will he endure? He will endure because he has been sealed by the Spirit of God, and he is clothed in the righteousness of Christ. He is able to overcome by the blood of the Lamb. Our Lord said, “ Stand firm, and you will win life” (Luke 21:19). All they can do is wait out the storm, and that is what they will do during the Great Tribulation.
“. . . Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth . . .” Believers would face persecution and death at the hands of the Antichrist and his worldwide power and influence. The phrase “from henceforth” doesn’t mean that some martyrs for the faith would not be blessed; in fact, those already dead are waiting for the final vindication (6:9-11). The phrase probably means that they are blessed from the moment of their death because they immediately go to be with Christ. As persecution increases, such blessing is just as certain for those who remain faithful. To “die in the Lord” does not necessarily refer to martyrdom; all believers die “in the Lord” and go to heaven to be with Christ. Apparently many of God’s tribulation saints, both of the 144,000 and of the untold number of Gentiles that will be saved during that time, are going to lay down their lives for Christ. They will be martyred. During the time of the Great Tribulation, it will be better to die than to live. At that time this verse will give comfort and assurance. They will have rest from their sorrows, and the Lord will reward them.
For me it would be unnatural to want to die, but in the Great Tribulation it will be a different story. They will just be waiting in patience and in sorrow. If they are martyred it will be a wonderful thing. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” He is going to reward them for their faithfulness to Himself.
In happy contrast with the doom of those who defy the beast is the destiny of those who defy the beast. Two things are said of these as well. They will be resisted. John says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Except for the hundred and forty-four thousand, those who defy the beast can anticipate death in a thousand fiendish ways, but it is death instantly transformed by God into blessings! “I’ll make you suffer!” screams the beast. “You’ll make us saints!” reply the overcomers. I’ll persecute you to the grave,” roars the beast, “You’ll promote us to glory!” reply the overcomers. “I’ll blast you” snarls the beast. “You’ll bless us!” reply the overcomers. The beast’s rage against these noble martyrs will all be in vain. He will utterly fail at last; but those who stay true to God will be blessed. The ones who keep their eyes on the way of God and the work of Jesus will avoid this torment. Those who want to stay true to the Lord during this time risk almost certain death, and for that reason John is told that those who die for the Lord are blessed. All who have ever died in the Lord are blessed. They are blessed because they are absent from the body of suffering in a world where they are despised, and at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8), and this latter is far better (Philippians 1:23). It will be better for them to be dead than alive.
Moreover, they will be rewarded. “Yea, say the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” The unbelievers may have done some “good deeds” during their time on earth, but those deeds will not save them. In the end, those good deeds will be destroyed. But God remembers the believer’s good deeds; indeed they are the basis for the rewards he will get (1 Corinthians 3:13-15; Ephesians 6:8). The phrase “Their works do follow them” indicates that our works (good and bad) are like tin cans tied to a dog’s tail; we can’t get away from them. They will follow us to the bema seat of Christ.
All believers who have died since the days of Pentecost had gone to the Paradise “far above all heavens” (see Ephesians 4:7-11). The dead in Christ are with the Lord now, and will remain with Him until the Rapture. When the Rapture takes place the bodies will be raised, and the spirit which is with the Lord now will reunite with the body. We who are alive will be changed and will be caught up to meet Jesus in the air. (Study 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, Philippians 1:21-24, Luke 16:22.) There is no intermediate state of unconsciousness for the dead. The righteous did go immediately to be with the Lord; the wicked did go immediately into hell.
If you are afraid of death, if it frightens you to think of dying, then dear friend you have not experienced perfect love (1 John 4:18). “Perfect love casteth out fear,” and if you are afraid to meet God, then I am afraid you will spend eternity with “the fearful” (Revelation 21:8). Today is the day of salvation. Now is the accepted time. Bow your head and invite Jesus to come into your heart—and He will!
Where do demons come from?
Demons are mentioned numerous times in the Bible. The Old Testament refers to them directly as “demons” (3 times), “evil spirits” (8 times), or sometimes in a more obscure sense such as “prince” (in Daniel 10). The New Testament mentions demons many more times, calling them either “demons” (daimónion) or “evil spirits” over 80 times. The origin of demons is not explicitly addressed in Scripture, but there are clues.
The etymology of the Hebrew and Greek words used to denote demons indicate that demons, in general, are powerful entities that transcend ordinary experience and the space/time physical nature of humanity; i.e., they are incorporeal beings.
Scripture suggests in Revelation 12:4, 7 that demons were originally created as angels and existed as part of God’s angelic army. However, when Satan rebelled against God, one third of the angelic host joined him in his revolt, which is why Scripture refers to them collectively as “Satan . . . and his angels” (Revelation 12:9). Most likely, these fallen angels who rebelled with Satan are the beings Scripture refers to as “demons.”
Again, the Bible does not specifically say where demons came from, so we cannot be dogmatic. What the Bible is clear about is the demons’ destination: “eternal fire” was prepared for them (Matthew 25:41), and they know of their coming fiery torment (Matthew 8:29).
What does the Bible say about demons?
Demons are fallen angels, as Revelation 12:9 indicates: “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically described in Isaiah 14:12–15 and Ezekiel 28:12–15. When he fell, Satan took some of the angels with him—one third of them, according to Revelation 12:4. Jude 6 also mentions angels who sinned. So, biblically, demons are fallen angels who, along with Satan, chose to rebel against God.
Some of the demons are already locked “in darkness, bound with everlasting chains” (Jude 1:6) for their sin. Others are free to roam and are referred to as “the powers of this dark world and . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” in Ephesians 6:12 (cf. Colossians 2:15). The demons still follow Satan as their leader and do battle with the holy angels in an attempt to thwart God’s plan and hinder God’s people (Daniel 10:13).
Demons, as spirit beings, have the ability to take possession of a physical body. Demonic possession occurs when a person’s body is completely controlled by a demon. This cannot happen to a child of God, since the Holy Spirit resides in the heart of the believer in Christ (1 John 4:4).
Jesus, during His earthly ministry, encountered many demons. Of course, none of them were a match for the power of Christ: “Many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word” (Matthew 8:16). Jesus’ authority over the demons was one of the proofs that He was indeed the Son of God (Luke 11:20). The demons who encountered Jesus knew who He was, and they feared Him: “‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ [the demons] shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’” (Matthew 8:29). The demons know their end will be one of torment.
Satan and his demons now look to destroy the work of God and deceive anyone they can (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14–15). The demons are described as evil spirits (Matthew 10:1), unclean spirits (Mark 1:27), lying spirits (1 Kings 22:23), and angels of Satan (Revelation 12:9). Satan and his demons deceive the world (2 Corinthians 4:4), promulgate false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1), attack Christians (2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 5:8), and combat the holy angels (Revelation 12:4–9).
The demons/fallen angels are enemies of God, but they are defeated enemies. Christ has “disarmed the powers and authorities,” and He has “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). As we submit to God and resist the devil, we have nothing to fear. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Are demons fallen angels?
When exactly God created angels is open for debate, but what is known for sure is that God created everything good because God, in His holiness, cannot create something sinful. So when Satan, who was once the angel Lucifer, rebelled against God and fell from heaven (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28), one third of the angelic host joined his insurrection (Revelation 12:3-4,9). There is no doubt these fallen angels are now known as the demons.
We know that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, according to Matthew 25:41: “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Jesus, by using the possessive word his makes it clear that these angels belong to Satan. Revelation 12:7-9 describes an end-times angelic battle between Michael and "his angels" and the devil and "his angels." From these and similar verses, it is clear that demons and fallen angels are synonymous.
Some reject the idea that the demons are the fallen angels due to the fact that Jude verse 6 declares the angels who sinned to be "bound with everlasting chains." However, it is clear that not all of the angels who sinned are "bound," as Satan is still free (1 Peter 5:8). Why would God imprison the rest of the fallen angels, but allow the leader of the rebellion to remain free? It seems that Jude verse 6 is referring to God confining the fallen angels who rebelled in an additional way, likely the "sons of God" incident in Genesis chapter 6.
The most common alternate explanation for the origin of the demons is that when the Nephilim of Genesis 6 were destroyed in the Flood, their disembodied souls became the demons. While the Bible does not specifically say what happened to the souls of the Nephilim when they were killed, it is unlikely that God would destroy the Nephilim in the Flood only to allow their souls to cause even greater evil as the demons. The most biblically consistent explanation for the origin of the demons is that they are the fallen angels, the angels who rebelled against God with Satan.
Are demons for real, and if so, are they fallen angels?
Absolutely real! When we arrive at the Great Sign as described in Revelation 12, we are introduced to the villains of the Tribulation. That’s where we encounter the Red Dragon, a symbol of the lord of the demons himself — Satan. Too many people today have come to the conclusion that there is really no such thing as the Devil. They think he’s just a symbol for evil, or a force of nature. But, the Bible makes it crystal clear that Satan is a very real being.
The evil entity we call Satan today was once a good angel known as Lucifer long ago. He actually existed for the purpose of glorifying God. He was created extra special, imbued with great wisdom and sculpted perfectly in beauty. Lucifer was given a great honor, having been anointed to serve in the illustrious role as guardian over God’s throne.
Day and night Lucifer led the hosts of Heaven in singing the Almighty’s praises with his “timbrels and pipes.” But, it wasn’t too long before this superior chief among the angels believed someone as special as he should also get a share of the attention. Lucifer’s heart became lifted up in pride, and in his avarice, he committed the very first sin — he coveted God’s authority and position. The angel once considered perfect in all his ways was found to have iniquity seething in his heart. Where once beauty and brightness defined Lucifer’s virtues, now the blackness of greed and the lust for power corrupted his every thought.
Like all of God’s sentient creatures, Lucifer enjoyed free will, and so he could have chosen to repent before his Creator, but he instead plotted to usurp his Liege. Lucifer convinced other angels with the likely promise that if they joined him in overthrowing God they themselves would become gods and so be worshiped by mankind. Sin is like a virus, spreading and infecting others very quickly, and it wasn’t too long before a staggering third of the angels plotted alongside Lucifer.
Lucifer, as one of the “chief princes” along with the Archangel Michael, makes him one of the most powerful beings ever created; and yet, his power is nothing compared to the Creator. Therefore, Lucifer had zero chance of successfully pulling off his coup. He and his scheming co-conspirators easily lost out to the Almighty and His loyal angels. Banned from their celestial abode, the insurgents fell to the earth like falling stars. In their fall, the rebellious angels transformed into demons, and Lucifer became known as the Devil or Satan.
Revelation 12 also describes how Satan will lead his armies back to Heaven at the midpoint of the Tribulation in yet another attempt to overthrow God. But, he will again fail miserably, and he will then be permanently and forever locked out of God’s abode. At that point God will allow the Red Dragon to muster his demonic hordes — Abaddon and the Locust Demons, the Four Horsemen of the Euphrates, the Chimera and the Frog Demons — who become judgments upon all of wicked humanity. Even in rebellion, Satan and the demons play a role in Christ’s inevitable victory.
Revelation 20 provides the final details of Satan’s last attempt to overthrow God during the Millennial Kingdom. The story will end joyously with Satan’s and the demons’ inevitable failure and eternal sentence to the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 9:1-12 – Fifth Trumpet: The Locusts from the Bottomless Pit
Rev 9:13 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.
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.
Who or what is Abaddon/Apollyon?
The name Abaddon or Apollyon appears in Revelation 9:11: “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.” In Hebrew, the name “Abaddon” means “place of destruction”; the Greek title “Apollyon” literally means “The Destroyer.”
In Revelation 8–9, John describes a period during the end times when angels sound seven trumpets. Each trumpet signals the coming of a new judgment on the people of earth. When the fifth angel blows his trumpet, the Abyss, a great smoking pit, will open, and a horde of demonic “locusts” will rise out of it (Revelation 9:1-3). These creatures will be given the power to torture any person who does not bear God’s seal (verse 4). The pain they inflict will be so intense that sufferers will wish to die (verse 6). Abaddon/Apollyon is the ruler of the Abyss and the king of these demonic locusts.
Abaddon/Apollyon is often used as another name for Satan. However, Scripture seems to distinguish the two. We find Satan later on in Revelation, when he is imprisoned for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). He is then released to wreak havoc on the earth (verses 1-8) and ultimately receives his final, eternal punishment (verse 10). Abaddon/Apollyon is likely one of Satan’s underlings, a destroying demon and one of the “rulers,” “authorities,” and “powers” mentioned in Ephesians 6:12.
John Bunyan’s classic allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress includes a memorable scene in which Christian does battle with a demonic monster named Apollyon. True to its name, Apollyon nearly destroys Christian. The pilgrim in his armor withstands the attack and wields his sword to repel the fiend. Bunyan’s “Apollyon” is a symbolic representation of our spiritual enemy, but the inspiration for the character is literal. The Abaddon/Apollyon of Revelation is a real being who will one day inflict real pain on real people during God’s real judgment.
Revelation 9:13-21 – Sixth Trumpet: The Angels from the Euphrates
Rev 9:13 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.” 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. 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.
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.