And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. (Revelation 9:1)
Each week as we read through the Revelation, we are faced again and again with fascinating, intriguing scenes. Our reading today is in the ninth chapter as John sees more of the terrible woes that will come to earth during the Tribulation period. This is an era when God Himself will not only afflict the earth, but He will allow Satan to have more latitude to work his evil in the hearts of men. Although Satan is called the prince and the power of the air, and he is called the god of this world, he only has as much power as God allows him. During the Tribulation, God will take away some of the restraints that are placed on him now so that he will have much more freedom to do his worst. In 2 Thessalonians 2:7, we are told the Holy Spirit’s restraining power that hinders Satan’s freedom will be removed.
In the ninth chapter, John sees a star fall from heaven to the earth. Many commentators note the tense of the verb should render this as fallen which means the star had already fallen. We are in agreement that the star that fell is Satan. The personal pronoun “him” is used which indicates the word “star” is used in a symbolic way. An account of Satan’s fall from heaven is recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15. Jesus also said in Luke 10:18, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”
Satan was created as one of the holy angels and most likely was of the highest order and chief among angels. When he fell he was not the only angel that rebelled against God. Revelation 12:4 is an indication that one-third of the angels joined him in his rebellion. Some of those angels, now known as demons, are active in the world today and are Satan’s helpers to bring temptation into our lives. However, not all of the demons remained free to assist Satan. Some were chained in the abyss and remain there today. During the Tribulation, Satan will be given the key to the abyss to allow the chained demons to go free and to torture people on earth. The Tribulation will be a time of both terrible mental and spiritual anguish. Demon possession will once again be prevalent because of the darkness of a world with little godly influence.
There are, however, some that will be saved during the Tribulation. In the seventh chapter, we learned that God will choose 144,000 from Israel that will become His witnesses. These are sealed and are under God’s protection (7:3, 9:4). They cannot be hurt by the demons that come from the abyss. I have often been asked if it is possible for Christians to become demon possessed. I am tempted to say, “YES!” because I know some church members that surely act as if they are. I am being facetious though because every Christian has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never leaves us, so in order for Satan to possess a Christian he would have to drive the Holy Spirit out. This is impossible. Every Christian is forever protected from the powers of Satan. This is one of the marvelous benefits of our salvation. We belong to God and are safely held in both Jesus’ and the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29).
As you read this article today, are you confident of God’s protection? Do you know Christ as your Saviour? If not, you are wide open and completely vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. You may not understand this very well, but without Christ you are a subject of Satan’s kingdom. You are in rebellion against God even as the evil star that fell from heaven. One day God will end the rebellion of Satan’s kingdom. If you are still part of that kingdom, the devil’s punishment will be your punishment. Thank God He sent the bright and morning star to change your destiny! His name is Jesus (22:16) and He promised to deliver you from the kingdom of Satan if you will only trust Him as Lord and Saviour. Please do not delay—do not spend another day in the kingdom of darkness. Today is the day you can be saved!
Pastor V. Mark Smith