QUESTION: The ninth chapter of Revelation says that the fifth angel blew his trumpet. “And I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth…” How can you justify a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth as being Jesus Christ? How can the expression “star fallen from heaven” apply to Jesus Christ? Who will give the key to the shaft of abyss to him i.e. Jesus Christ? Will it be Jehovah?
ANSWER: We may be inclined to think in terms of Satan and the demons in connection with a fallen angel, or star, but there is reason to consider another interpretation.
The opening words of the book of Revelation inform us: “A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And he sent his angel and presented it in signs through him to his slave John…”
So, our task is to understand the meaning of the “signs” or symbols in which the message is conveyed. One of the keys to understanding Revelation is the series of prophecies in Daniel.
To illustrate the point, the various individual beasts presented in Daniel chapter seven —one as a lion, a bear and a four-headed leopard, which represent Babylon, Persia and Greece, respectively —are alluded to in the 13th chapter of Revelation, being part of a single composite beast that has the feet of a bear, the mouth of a lion, but the body of a leopard. In all the visions of Daniel the holy ones of the Kingdom are shown to be dominated by the beastly kingdom. That is the case in Revelation as well.
In the 8th chapter of Daniel a fierce-looking king ascends to power, symbolized by a little horn that grows greater and greater. Of it the prophecy states: “It grew so great that it reached all the way to the army of the heavens, and it caused some of the army and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. It exalted itself even against the Prince of the army, and from him the constant feature was taken away, and the established place of his sanctuary was thrown down.”
This aspect of the prophecy may help shed light upon how it is that Jesus may be symbolized as a star that falls from heaven. Note, please, that the little horn symbolizing the fierce-looking king, reaches all the way to the army of the heavens and causes some of the stars to fall to the earth and he tramples upon them. Not only that, he is said to exalt himself against the very Prince of the army, so that he takes possession of something belonging to the Prince himself.
A few questions ought to come to mind. First, who is the so-called Prince of the army? Inexplicably, the Watchtower claims that Jehovah himself is the prince. It is understood by virtually everyone that a prince is a son of royalty. How it is that Jehovah is a son is beyond comprehension. But I’ll leave that to the Watchtower to explain.
The prophecy of Daniel consistently reveals how God will replace human rule with the government of his making – a.k.a. the Kingdom of God. All the prophecies of Daniel portray the ruler(s) of that Kingdom in various ways. For example, the second chapter simply states that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom.” The seventh chapter calls him the Son of man. The eighth chapter the Prince of Princes. The 11th chapter refers to him as Michael, the great prince.
Having the identity of the Prince of the army in mind the next question that should be considered is this: Since Jesus is a heavenly being how is it possible that an earthly entity such as the fierce-looking king could possibly exalt himself over Christ in heaven and take from him the soldiers of his “army” and the constant feature and throw down his sanctuary? Since the little horn is very much an earthly entity he can only exalt himself over Christ by opposing the work of Christ here on the earth.
Consider what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in connection with those who have been called into Christ’s Kingdom, referred to in the 8th chapter of Daniel as the holy ones. Paul wrote of these: “Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ, as he chose us to be in union with him before the founding of the world…”
Further on the apostle wrote: “Moreover, he raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus…”
Paul referred to Christians on earth who are in union with Christ as being seated with him in heaven even while they are still in the flesh on earth. So in that sense they can be likened to stars that are thrown down from heaven when they come under the domination of the last king.
But the inverse is true as well. Since anointed Christians are in union with Jesus and Jesus said he will be with them until the conclusion of the system and whoever obeys their word obeys his word, it is as if Jesus is on earth too, at least vicariously, spiritually, through his disciples. That will especially be the case when the final sealing takes place, when those who do it to the least of these his brothers do it to him.
With the foregoing in mind, since Jesus is represented on earth via the congregation of the firstborn, whatever befalls that congregation (symbolized by the sanctuary in Daniel) is a direct affront to Christ as well. Hence, the trampling of the fallen stars represents the persecution of the chosen ones, and their being thrown down by the fierce-looking king is a momentary defeat for Christ.
It is in the aftermath of the trampling of the chosen ones that Jesus acts. That is what is portrayed in the 9th chapter of Revelation, which reads: “The fifth angel blew his trumpet. And I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth, and the key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him. He opened the shaft of the abyss, and smoke ascended out of the shaft like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun was darkened, also the air, by the smoke of the shaft. And locusts came out of the smoke onto the earth, and authority was given to them, the same authority that the scorpions of the earth have. They were told not to harm the vegetation of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And it was granted the locusts, not to kill them, but to torment them five months, and their torment was like torment by a scorpion when it strikes a person. In those days people will seek death but will by no means find it, and they will long to die, but death will flee from them. And in appearance the locusts resembled horses prepared for battle; on their heads were what seemed to be crowns of gold, and their faces were like human faces, but they had hair like women’s hair. And their teeth were like those of lions, and they had breastplates like iron breastplates. And the sound of their wings was like the sound of horse-drawn chariots rushing into battle. Also, they have tails with stingers like scorpions, and in their tails is their authority to hurt the people for five months. They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.”
I’m not going to go into all the symbolism, but it is ironic that the Watchtower’s interpretation of the symbolism is valid, but as with so many other prophecies, their attachment to 1914 distorts everything. It’s like looking at yourself in convex and concave mirrors in a carnival fun house – you see your image, you recognize certain features, but everything is twisted and distorted.
The Watchtower’s interpretation of this aspect of prophecy can easily be refuted due to the simple fact that the creatures from the abyss are commanded to only sting those who do not have the seal of God upon their foreheads. Obviously, the release of the stinging locusts can only take place after the sealing is concluded. In other words, after the remaining ones on earth have already been sealed. Although the Watchtower says the army of Abaddon was released from the abyss in 1919, that simply could not be the case. Not even the Watchtower claims that the final sealing of the chosen ones has already taken place.
So, once we establish in our minds that everything spoken of in the ninth chapter —and the entire book of Revelation for that matter —is still in the future, and we clear away the Watchtower clutter from our minds as well as regards some supposed past fulfillment, then we can begin to think in terms of a future development.
As I’ve stated already the Watchtower’s interpretation of the symbolism itself is valid. For example, the fact that these creatures are released from an abyss symbolizes their being reactivated from a deathlike state of inactivity.
This means that the fierce looking king is going to bring the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses to an end. As I’ve stated in many places already, the worldwide work sponsored by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is going to come to a sudden and jarring halt. This is what is symbolized in Daniel by the taking away of the constant feature.
Jehovah’s anointed witnesses will be taken into captivity, as it were —restrained from going about their Christ-assigned ministry. This will serve as much-needed humbling and disciplining from Jehovah.
However, there is to be a restoration, a repurchasing, a release from captivity and an outpouring of God’s Spirit such as never occurred before. But instead of preaching the good news as all of God’s ministers have been occupied with since Christ bestowed this commission upon his followers, the remaining ones of God’s seed will proclaim the imminence of Jehovah’s day of vengeance. They will have a devouring fire implanted in them to give the world a final witness in the name of Jehovah; to pronounce doom upon Satan’s entire world.
Jesus himself foretold that during a critical time his chosen ones would be hauled before governors and kings in order for them to be given a witness. And Jesus said not to be anxious about what we will say then, because what we speak will not be our own but will proceed from the holy spirit itself. While it is true that the holy spirit can aid us to speak what is true now, Jesus is talking about something far more different. That is indicated by the fact that Jesus said that none of our opposers would be able to hold their own against us.
It seems that the martyrdom is Stephen was a portent of things to come; when he issued his spirit-inspired denunciation of the Jews for their having murdered God’s prophets and Jesus himself. It was at that time that his face shone as an angel’s face, portentous of the time when the chosen ones shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.
The book of Micah also speaks to this phenomenon and likens the spirit-fired chosen ones to lions among the lambs, and not in the sense that the lion will lie down with the lamb in peaceful coexistence; rather, the prophecy states: “The remaining ones of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of a forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, that passes through and pounces and tears in pieces; and there is no one to rescue them. Your hand will be raised over your adversaries, and all your enemies will be destroyed.”
“The remaining ones of Jacob” is the same as the remaining ones referred to in the last verse of the 12th chapter of Revelation —the anointed remnant as they used to be called. Notice the similarity of the symbolism, in that, the locusts from the abyss are said to have the teeth of lions. Also, the end of the matter is that the enemies of God will be destroyed. Isn’t that the work of the Destroyer —also known by his Hebrew and Greek names of Abaddon and Apollyon?
Of note too, all of the 144,000 will be directly involved in smashing the nations —even as Jesus said in Revelation: “And to the one who conquers and observes my deeds down to the end, I will give authority over the nations, and he will shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels, just as I have received from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations.”
When the Kingdom becomes fully operational it will have the unique distinction of having some of its kings, the majority, in heaven while the remaining ones are on earth, although at that time fully accepted into the Kingdom of their Father. So, it may well be that all of the 144,000 are symbolized as being released from the abyss. Whatever the case, those holy ones on earth during the reign of the last king will be impelled by Christ to announce the coming destruction. And their deaths —implied by the short-lived locusts army of five months —will result in their instantaneous transformation into literal destroyers, like their King —the angel of the abyss —The Destroyer.