Natan’s Commentary on Revelation Chapters 8–12

Revelation 8

Revelation 8:11, Wormwood. There is much speculation as to what this wormwood star is. One consideration is that Satan is the star who fell from heaven (Luke 10:18 cp. 12:9 and Isa 14:12). He is the archenemy of YHVH who has led men into rebellion against his Torah by perverting the Word of Elohim as he did at the tree of knowledge with Adam and Eve. In the Tanakh, the term wormwood is used as a poetic metaphor for the curses that come upon the people of YHVH when they forsake his Torah (Jer 9:13–15; Deut 29:18). The star in this verse falls upon one-third of the fresh waters. Waters can be taken as a metaphor for the peoples of the earth (Rev 17:15). Interestingly, one-third of the earth’s population professes to be Christian, which holds as a fundamental tenet the rejection of the Torah.

Revelation 9

Revelation 9:1, A star fall from heaven. Likely this is referring to Satan when he is finally, once and for all, cast out of heaven. Yeshua spoke of this in Luke 10:18 when he likens Satan’s fall from heaven to a streak of lightening or a shooting star coming out of heaven.

Key to the bottomless pit. In the end times just prior to the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah, Elohim will give Satan the freedom to release evil spirits imprisoned in the abyss who will go forth to torment men as part of YHVH’s wrath against rebellious men. Perhaps this relates to the perennially enigmatic and troubling passage found in Jude 6 (cp. 1 Pet 3:18–20; 2 Pet 2:4). It seems that the evil, locust-like spirits may be the fallen angels that either rebelled with Lucifer and or were the ones who interacted with humans in the antediluvian world (Gen 6:4–6; Jude 6; 1 Pet 3:18–20; 2 Pet 2:4).

Revelation 9:1, Bottomless pit. (See notes at Deut 32:22; 2 Pet 2:4.) This Greek term (abussos phrear) indicates a large, cavernous hole, pit or abyss with a small opening or orifice like a well and is found several other places in the book of Revelation (Rev 9:2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3). The bottomless pit is analogous to the deepest sheol in the Tanakh (Deut 32:22; Ps 86:13; Isa 14:15) or tartaroo (2 Pet 2:4), and is the place where the angels who rebelled in the time of Satan’s rebellion are being held in chains of restraint awaiting their judgment day (see 2 Pet 2:4). This is also where Satan will be cast at the beginning of the Millennium (Rev 20:1–3), and is to be distinguished from the lake of fire where Satan (and presumably his demons) will be cast at the end of the Millennium to be tormented forever (Rev 20:10).

This passage indicates that YHVH will open the bottomless pit and allow the evil spirits imprisoned therein to torment men for a period of time as part of his judgments against wicked men.

Revelation 9:2, Smoke. Wherever this pit is, it appears to be a place of fire, heat and smoke. The opening of the pit by Satan first releases so much smoke that it darkens the sun and air, if the terminology here is to be taken literally rather than figuratively. If the latter, then the smoke reference cold refer to the global spiritual obfuscation that will occur. This phenomenon is the first sign that the demons of the pit are about to be released. After this follows their release and their tormenting of unredeemed humans. This is the wrath of Satan against humanity that precedes the wrath of Elohim. Since Elohim is permitting these demons to torment humans, it is, in reality, an extension of his judgment or wrath against the wicked. Since unsaved humans have rejected Elohim, and more and more are becoming enamored with and turning to outright Satan worship, Elohim his turning them over to the powerful forces of darkness they are seeking over him. These humans will discover what it’s like to live in a hellish world where those they wish to serve have full reign to torment them—a world devoid of the protective grace of a merciful Creator. 

Revelation 9:3, Locusts. These locusts don’t fit the description of the Joel 1 locusts, which destroy all vegetation. These locusts do not (v. 4). Perhaps the vegetation of Joel 1 is a symbolic metaphor. If so, then is the vegetation of Rev 9:3 also symbolic? If so, how do we still reconcile these two passages, since the symbolic analogy of the one would be opposite the other?

These locusts are likely hybridized theriomorphic or animal-shaped descriptions of demonic spirits that have been released from the abyss where they have been kept imprisoned since their rebellion (see 1 Pet 3:19; 2 Pet 2:4), but who will be released to torment rebellious men as part of Elohim’s end time judgments.

Revelation 9:3, Power. (Gr. exousia) These scorpion, humanoid demons have the divine permission, physical and mental power, the authority and right, the ability and strength to torment unredeemed men.

Revelation 9:4, Those men…seal of Elohim. This is yet another proof that YHVH’s saints are on the earth during this period (the first half) of the wrath of Elohim, and that the pre-tribulation rapture theory is an unbiblical concept. What is the seal of Elohim? If we let Scripture interpret Scripture, this seems to be a reference to the sealing of the Set-Apart Spirit of the saints (e.g. John 6:27; Rom 4:11; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2 Tim 2:19 cp. Rev 7:3).

Revelation 9:5, Not kill…tormented. Torment (Gr. basanizo) means “to test the quality of a metal; to question by applying torture; to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment; to be harassed, distressed.” The demon-locust humanoid creatures can torment and torture unsaved humans, but not kill them. Those who have the seal of Elohim on their foreheads will be untouched. It seems that this will be an amazing opportunity for the saints to evangelize the spiritually lost.

Scorpion. A scorpion can be a biblical idiomatic metaphor for a demonic spirits over which Yeshua gave his disciples authority to trample on as well as all other powers of Satan (Luke 10:19).

Torment of a scorpion. The symptoms of most scorpions stings are relatively harmless, but the bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus, also known as C. exilicauda), found in the American southwest, is an exception. This species of scorpion is venomous and can cause more serious injury and illness. Initial symptoms include immediate pain and sometimes numbness or tingling in the region stung. Serious symptoms, most common among children, include restlessness, muscle spasms, abnormal and random head, neck, and eye movements, anxiety and agitation, sialorrhea and diaphoresis. In some cases, a scorpion bite can prove fatal for children. In adults, tachycardia, hypertension, increased respirations, weakness, muscle spasms, and fasciculations may predominate.

Revelation 9:7, Locusts. Likely some demonic, grotesque gargoyle-like demonic creature (or chimera) that is currently inhabiting the bottomless pit, but that will be released at this time for YHVH’s intended purposes.

Revelation 9:21, Sorceries. Gr. pharmakeia. Pharmakeia is a methodology to circumvent Elohim and to open the doorways into the supernatural. It is the mix of science along with magical arts, occultic or hidden, demonic, angelic or paranormal realm and medicine, potions, or herbs for sorcerous reasons to open the mind to put one in contact with what is beyond the gate or the boundaries YHVH has established between the natural and supernatural (including the demonic) realm. 

The Satanic spirits in Revelation chapter nine inhabit the pit, and those who resort to pharmakaia are coming into contact with spiritual entities either from the pit, or from realm of darkness beyond this earth. Satan is both the angel of the bottomless pit (Rev 9:11) and the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). There are spiritual gateways or portals down to the pit and out into the universe by which humans can contact beings from other dimensions. There are good and evil portals. YHVH revealed to Jacob a good portal or gateway to heaven at the site of the future Temple Mount when he dreamed of the ladder to heaven. Yeshua is the gateway or doorway to the Father in heaven (John 1:51). But there are evil gateways that men an open up illicitly through pharmakeia or drug induced states. 

Biblical examples of individuals illicitly opening up gateways into the evil realm beyond man’s perception include the witch of Endor who summoned the dead (1 Sam 28:3ff). We also see this with the slave girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination and who followed Paul in Macedonia (Acts 16:16–18). Those who come under the influence of pharmakeia put themselves into a drug-induced state to activate gateways into the supernatural realm. It’s a form of rebellion against YHVH’s established boundaries that man is not supposed to cross. Witchcraft is also taking something holy and exploiting it for personal purposes. This is what Samuel accused Saul of doing when he kept the cattle he was supposed to kill, so that he could at a later time offer up an illicit sacrifices without going through the proper Levitical protocols. Samuel equated this act of rebellion with witchcraft (1 Sam 15:23). Saul had this proclivity, for he had offered up a witchcraft sacrifice once before (1 Sam 13:9–13). Samuel rebuked him for it, yet Saul was willing knowingly to repeat the same mistake again, which was strictly forbidden. Taking that which YHVH has ordained to be used legally one way and defiantly using it another way for one’s own selfish purposes is an act of rebellion and witchcraft.

Revelation 10

Revelation 10:1, Mighty angel [or messenger]. Likely this is Yeshua who is not an angel, but Elohim’s heavenly Messenger.

Revelation 10:2, A little book. Likely referring to the Book of Revelation.

Revelation 10:10, You must prophesy again. It appears that the Book of Revelation was written in two parts. Part one was likely written before A.D. 70 when the apostles, based on prophecies in Yeshua’s Olivette discourse, expected the end of the age to occur followed by the second coming. Part two was likely written toward the end of John’s life at the end of the first century. If these conjectures are correct, then Revelation part one ends at the Rev 10:11 and Revelation part two begins at Rev 11:1. Part two is the fulfillment of Yeashua’s prophecy to John that he must prophesy again. (For more info on this subject, see Restoring the Original Bible, pp. 327–330 by Ernest L. Martin and Beyond Acts, pp. 294–299, by Paul R. Finch).

Revelation 11

Revelation 11:3, One thousand two hundred and sixty days. This calculates out to be exactly three-and-one-half years on 360 day year. For a 365.24 day year, this comes out to be 3.45 years.

Revelation 11:3–14, My two witnesses. There is much speculation as to who these two witnesses may be. Moses and Elijah seem to be the chief contenders for these two spots in the eyes of most people. However, we might be do well to consider also Moses and Aaron. 

YHVH Elohim used Moses and Aaron as his proxy to warn Pharaoh and Egypt before bringing his severe and final judgments upon that nation that would end up destroying it. Moses was in the place of Elohim, while Aaron was his prophet (Exod 7:1). 

Whoever the two witnesses will be, in the end times, history will likely repeat itself. YHVH will raise up the two witnesses of Revelation 11 who will, like Moses and Aaron, warn the world to repent just before YHVH pours out his final judgments that will bring down the Babylon the Great new world order system. This will result in redeemed Israel (or the Israel of Elohim, Gal 6:16) being completely set free from the spiritual “Egypt” of this world setting in motion the final redemption or second exodus of the scattered tribes of Israel back to the land of their inheritance, where they will join their brother Judah who has, to one degree or another, already returned.

Revelation 11:3, Sackcloth. Greek word sakkos meaning “a receptacle for holding or carrying various things, as money, food, etc.; a course cloth, a dark course stuff made especially from the hair of animals; a garment of the like material, and clinging to the person like a sack, which was wont to be worn (or drawn over the tunic instead of the cloak or mantle) by mourners, penitents, suppliants and also by those who like the Hebrew prophets, lead an austere life.”

Revelation 11:31–12:2, The ark of his covenant…woman…being with child. As the ark of the covenant was the symbol of YHVH’s presence with his people Israel, which presence left the temple and Israel due to that nation’s apostasy prior to its conquest by Babylon, so the birth of Messiah speaks of YHVH’s glory returning to Israel. This is why John juxtaposes the ark and the birth of the Messiah in these verses. This is why Haggai encouraged the building of the second temple and prophesied,

 ‘and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says YHVH of hosts.… The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says YHVH of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says YHVH of hosts.” (Hag 2:7, 9)

Revelation 11:19–12:1–2, 4–5, The ark of his covenant…her Child. The juxtapositioning in this passage of the heavenly ark of the covenant and the birth of the Messiah is more than an interesting coincidence as Heiser points out. “The ark was the central symbol of God’s presence with Israel. The birth of the [Messiah] in Rev 12:1–7 was John’s way of saying that the presence of God had indeed returned to earth in the form of the Child, the Messiah” (Reversing Hermon, pp. 65–66).

Revelation 12

Revelation 12:1–3, A great sign. According to Ernest Martin in his book The Star That Astonished the Word, in chapter 5(, this passage of Scripture tells us the exact date of Yeshua’s birth; it was the new moon or rosh chodesh of the seventh month, or Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets. Martin determines this based on John’s description of the sun and the moon with relationship to the woman or the zodiacal constellation of Virgo, the Virgin. Moreover, he reasons that Yeshua couldn’t have been born during Sukkot, for when Yeshua was born, every man, by Roman edict, was to be in the city of his birth for the Roman census. This activity could not have occurred during Sukkot, for at that time every male was to be in Jerusalem for that festival. According to Martin, Yeshua was born on September 11, 3 BCE.

The significance of this date for Yeshua’s birth can’t be overstated. Yom Teruah, according to Jewish tradition and based on Exod 23:16 and 34:22, marks the date of creation and hence the beginning of the Jewish civil new year. Yom Teruah is on a rosh chodesh or a new moon signifying a renewal or new beginning. 

This is the first day and first biblical festival of the fall season,which, prophetically points to events surrounding the second coming of the Messiah leading to his defeating Satan and his henchmen and the establishment of Messiah’s millennial kingdom on earth. This is also the day that many biblical students believe that Yeshua will make his appearance in the heavens of earth’s atmosphere at his second coming and the day of the first resurrection of the righteous dead. 

Revelation 12:1–6, Woman clothed with the sun. There is a double prophetic entendré here. The woman refers both to a faithful community of Israelites (a spiritual virgin among the heathen nations of the world) who produced the Messiah, and to the glory of Elohim coming upon an Israelite virgin woman, who gave birth to the Messiah, who would then go on to defeat the devil-serpent. The same woman, or faithful Israelite community, which existed both before and after the coming of the Messiah, is persecuted and forced to flee into the wilderness. Of course, in Jewish thought, the sun, moon and stars can also represent Jacob, his wife and his twelve sons, the twelve tribes of Israel as per Joseph’s dream of Genesis 37:9. Of course Jacob and his offspring came the faithful community of Israelites out of which came the virgin woman who gave birth to the Messiah.

Revelation 12:4, Stars of heaven. The stars can represent angels (Dan 8:10; 10:20–21), human kings or governmental leaders (Judg 5:20) and saints (Dan 12:3; Matt 13:43) and the descendants of Abraham (Gen 15:5; 22:17). So the stars here can represent good heavenly beings and saints who the devil and his forces are attacking.

Revelation 12:6, (14), Fled into the wilderness. Wilderness is the Greek word eremos meaning “solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited, a desert, wilderness, deserted places, lonely regions, an uncultivated region fit for pasturage, deserted by others.”The servants (individually and collectively) fleeing into the wilderness due to satanic persecution is a theme that has been often repeated in the long history of Israel. In every case, YHVH nourished his servants in the wilderness. This happened with Moses, the children of Israel, Elijah and other prophets, Yeshua’s parents, the early Christians fleeing from the Romans to Pella in AD 66 (Matt 24:16; cp. Jer 31:2; Hos 2:14). This is a cycle that is likely to repeat itself again before the second coming of Yeshua. The question that remains is whether the wilderness here is a literal or spiritual one. The word eremos seems to imply a literal wilderness. In the end times, since YHVH’s people are dispersed across the globe and not in a single location as in Bible times, removing to a single geographical wilderness seems unlikely. If so, is this wilderness a figurative one—a place of spiritual isolation in the midsts of society. If so, is “wilderness of the peoples” (Ezek 20:35) as opposed to a literal one as with the children of Israel (v. 36)?

Revelation 12:6, 14 , Twelve hundred and sixty days….time and times and half a time. The time of the saints in John’s wilderness hearkens back to the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years—obviously a longer period that 1,260 days. This forty years metaphorically represents the time period between the Messiah’s first and second comings, where the saints will be wandering in the wilderness of this world, while being cared for YHVH, while at the same time enduring persecution by Satan and his minions. Therefore, as Keener points out, the 1,260 days may be more of a symbolic than a literal number representing a time of the saints’ testing and persecution, while awaiting their final redemption at Messiah’s arrival as the conquering King of kings when he will defeat Satan the dragon once and for all (The IVP Biblical Background Commentary, by Craig Keener, p. 794).

Revelation 12:7, Dragon. In Hebraic thought, a dragon represents evil kingdoms that persecute Israel. Of course, leading evil kingdoms are evil leaders who are often influenced directly by Satan, the grand dragon, himself. The Bible often likens dragons to sea monsters that rise up out of the sea(s of humanity). 

Revelation 12:7–11, War…the accuser. We see war occurring here on two fronts: on earth and in heaven. We also see literal battles occurring as well as legal, courtroom battles before the throne of Elohim. Satan and his minions literally oppose the saints on earth both physically and spiritually. He also opposes them, as the accuser of the brethren before the throne of Elohim—heaven’s courtroom.

Revelation 12:9, The serpent. This verse links the serpent of Gen 3:15 whom the seed of the woman (Yeshua) would crush with Satan the devil.

Revelation 12:10, The accuser. This indicates a heavenly courtroom scene, where Satan is the accuser of the brethren (or prosecuting attorney) before Elohim’s throne, and Yeshua is the defense attorney or legal advocate (or Great High Priest) on behalf of the saints (1 John 2:1 cp. Rom 8:34; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 7:24–25; 9:24).

Revelation 12:11, Testimony. The saints’ verbal testimony backed up their willingness to lay down their lives for Yeshua carries more weight in the courtroom of heaven than Satan accusations against them. The legal standing that the saints have in heaven’s courtroom is totally based on their relationship with Yeshua and their testimony of Yeshua’s work in their lives and faithfulness to his Torah-word (Rev 1:2, 5, 9; 2:13; 12:17; 14:12).

Revelation 12:13, The dragon…cast to the earth. This may be a past event. (See notes at Ezek 28:16–17.) In Luke 10:18, Yeshua seems to be speaking of the event as well, although, at the same time, Rev 11:10 seems to indicate that Satan is present in the courtroom of heaven until the very end of the age.

Revelation 12:14, Two wings. This prophecy calls to remembrance Elohim’s carrying the children of Israel from Egypt into the wilderness “on eagle’s wings” (Exod 19:4). As he safely protected and provided for the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai, he will care for his saints similarly in the end times. The concept of YHVH protecting his people under his spiritual wings is a recurring metaphor in the OT (Pss 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 91:1; Matt 23:cp. Jdg 9:15; Son 2:3; Isa 4:5-6; Lam 4:20).

Wilderness. Gr. eremos meaning “solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited, a desert, wilderness, deserted places, lonely regions, an uncultivated region fit for pasturage, deserted by others.” This seemingly literal wilderness hardly appear to be the same as “the wilderness of the peoples” of Ezek 20:35 (q.v.). 

Revelation 12:15, Water out of his mouth…flood. As Beale points out in his commentary on this verse, this metaphor can be pinned to several ideas in the OT. It can refer to an army spreading to conquer a nation (Dan 11:10, 22, 26, 40), and can relate to divine judgment (Ps 88:7, 17; Isa 8:7–8; 17:12–13; Jer 46:8; 47:2; 51:55; Hos 5:10; cf. Isa 10:22; 59:19; Mic 1:4; Nah 1:8). A flood can also be a general reference to the trials of a saint (Pss 32:6; 90:5). It can also refer to persecution of the saints by their enemies from which Elohim delivers them (2 Sam 22:5; Pss 18:4, 16; 46:3; 66:12; 69:1–2, 14–15; 124:4–5; 144:7–8, 11; Isa 43:2). Due to the context of this verse, it seems that the third idea is clearly in view (Commentary on the NT Use of the OT, by G. K. Beale et al, p. 1126). Beale’s view on the interpretation of the metaphorical water spewing out of Satan’s mouth being likened to armies persecuting the saints can be augmented also to refer “to a war of words” or propaganda against YHVH’s Word and to the saints who have allegiance to it. Certainly the idea that water from the mouth be likened to words is not without biblical precedence (Deut 32:1–2; Jpb 29:22–23; Isa 55:10–11 cp. John 9:6; 1 Cor 3:6–8). Certainly, any military action against the saints will be preceded by an antibiblical and Antichrist propagandistic war of words. In our day, we’re seeing the ramping up of this type of rhetoric worldwide including in the formerly “Christian” West.

Revelation 12:16, The earth opened it mouth. The metaphor of this verse, like those of the preceding verses, draws from OT historical events where Elohim supernaturally delivered his people from their enemies using the earth. For example, the earth swallowed Pharaoh and his army (Exod 15:12), the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the rebellious Korah and his gang of rebels (Num 16:32).

Revelation 12:17, The rest of her offspring. Not all end time believers will hear YHVH’s voice to flee into the wilderness or will be able to flee there (assuming the wilderness is a literal geographic location). Some won’t hear, and will thus miss the call. Some will be too attached to their lifestyles in spiritual Babylon to want to flee to the rigors of privation and faith in the unsettling and unknown place of the wilderness. Some will choose to stay back because they yet have a ministry to reach out to those who remain. Some may stay behind because they’re too old, feeble, sick or otherwise unable or unwilling to flee. This choice on their part should in no way diminish their spiritual standing before YHVH.


3 thoughts on “Natan’s Commentary on Revelation Chapters 8–12

  1. I have tasted wormwood (herb tea) most unpleasant and bitter, although purported to have medicinal properties. Regarding the wicked and the just, the wicked want or are part of the coven where the just want to be part of the covenant!

  2. Pastor Natan, in reading Zech.4: and then Rev 11, I find the parallels, dualities (?) thought provoking at the least…the two olive trees got me thinking about the two houses of Israel-and the two witnesses, the two anointed ones, Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets!
    researched which tribes Moses and Elijah were from-Moses from Levi, the southern kingdom and then Elijah from Gad, northern kingdom=the two houses of Israel! Not sure how to tie this together especially since the two witnesses prophesy the same amount of time the “woman” is protected in the wilderness! Can you give me your exegesis on this please?

  3. I once read somewhere that ‘Chernobyl’ translates to ‘Wormwood’. The radioactivity is certainly capable of polluting large areas as well as waterways etc.
    Shalom, John

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