What does Revelation 9:10 mean?
ESV: They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails.
NIV: They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.
NASB: They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt people for five months.
CSB: and they had tails with stingers like scorpions, so that with their tails they had the power to harm people for five months.
NLT: They had tails that stung like scorpions, and for five months they had the power to torment people.
KJV: And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Verse Commentary:
John has described a demonic horde as similar to locusts, having tails and stings like scorpions, but also like horses with crowns, human faces and hair, lions' teeth, iron armor, and a roaring noise. Some interpreters compare this to the image of a stereotypical modern-day attack helicopter: a front appearing somewhat like an insect's eyes, prominent upwards-curving tail, loud noise, and with teeth painted on the front for effect. The effects of these creatures, however, seem more in line with a demonic or spiritual interpretation than some kind of war machine.

Originally the word kentra, the Greek word translated "stings" in this verse, referred to goads or pricking irons used in torture. When the Lord appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, He told Saul, "It is hard for you to kick against the goads" (Acts 26:14). Apparently, Saul—later called Paul—had been under sharp conviction for his persecution of believers. The conviction felt like pricking torture in his soul. The scorpions' stings will feel like sharp, pricking torture in those who do not have God's seal on their foreheads (Revelation 9:4). Scorpions' power to sting resides in their tails, and the demonic scorpions' stinging power resides in their tails.

Those who receive the locusts' stings suffer severely. Prior verses can be taken to mean that the demons are active for five months, or even that the effects of their stings last that long for anyone who is stung (Revelation 9:5)!
Verse Context:
Revelation 9:7–12 more thoroughly describes the locust-like beings which ascend from the bottomless pit. They appear like horses galloping into battle. They have something on their heads resembling crowns. Their faces are humanlike; their hair is like women's hair; and they have teeth like lions' teeth. Their chests seem to be iron plated, and the noise of their wings sounds like chariots and horses rushing into battle. They torment humans for five months, and their leader is Apollyon. Joel 2:1–11 prophesies an invasion of locusts, sharing similarities to the description in this passage, and adding details some suggest are references to modern machines of war.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 9 tells us that under the fifth trumpet judgment John sees a star fall from heaven to earth. This ''star'' is Satan, and he is given the key to the bottomless pit. Using this key, Satan unleashes a plague of supernatural demons resembling locusts. They torment unbelievers for five months with such pain that people seek death unsuccessfully. They appear like horses prepared for battle, and they have a king, whose name is Apollyon, meaning ''Destroyer.'' Under the sixth trumpet judgment John sees four angels released from the Euphrates river. Their release coincides with a horde of two hundred million demonic mounted troops that kill a third of mankind. However, the survivors refuse to abandon their idolatry and to repent of their evil deeds.
Chapter Context:
The ninth chapter of Revelation continues the report of what happens when the seven angels blow their trumpets. Chapter 8 described the first four trumpet judgments; chapter 9 reports the fifth and sixth. The events in chapter 9 are much more severe than those which came before. The severity of judgments increases dramatically with each trumpet blast. These judgments precede the final series of events, called the bowl judgments. Revelation chapters 15 and 16 will reveal what happens under these judgments.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:55:27 AM
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