The Fifth Trumpet(1-12).
“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. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.”(Rev.9:1-12).
When the fifth angel sounded, a star fell from heaven unto the Earth. This is metaphorical. It is not a literal star. Stars are used to describe angels of God as well as saints of God(Job 38:7; Gen.22:17). And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever(Dan.22:3). The star is a supernatural being. The statement that a star fell from heaven is referent to an angel descending from heaven. That this star is an angel is borne out by the fact that a key was given to him. To him indictates personhood. A key cannot be given to a literal star. So, we conclude that this star is angelic being. The rank of this angel we are not told, neither his regalia. The tense of the verbal indicates that the revelator John did not see the angel falling, but saw him after he had already fallen. Jesus our Lord saw Satan falling from heaven(Luk.10:18). Theologically fallen angels represent evil spirits. Is this a fallen angel or an angel of God? Surely this angel is on a divine mission. The key of the bottomless pit was given to him. It is also probable that the angel is a high ranking angel in the service of God Almighty. He is a heavenly policeman, a security agent of sorts. It is unlikely that this key could be given to a fallen angelic being.
The Bottomless Pit(2).
What is the bottomless pit? The bottomless pit is below for the star fell from heaven unto the Earth. It is part of the underworld of the dead. It separated the Hell from Paradise in the OT dispensation(Luk.16:26). It is between Hell and the defunct Paradise. Paradise under the OT dispensation was where the OT saints were kept prior to their being taken to heaven when Our Lord Jesus the Christ rose from the dead(Matt.27:52). Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad(John 8:56). That location in the underworld of the dead is now empty. Paradise in the NT dispensation is synonymous with heaven. The term bottomless is a transliteration of abussos(abyss). It occurs nine times in the NT, seven of them in Revelation. It refers to a place of confinement of supernatural beings. It is the confinement chamber for supernatural powers. The demons in the Gadarine demoniac requested that Jesus not command them to depart into the abyss(Luk.8:33). In Matt.8:29, the demon asked Jesus, have you come to torment us before the time? Clearly, the abyss and the place and time of torment are connected. That the demons are aware of future time when they shall be assigned to the abyss is clear. Equally the abyss will be a place of torment for demons. Revelation 20:3 locates the time of confinement of demons to the abyss and the period of their torment in the same to coincide with the millennial reign of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. Satan will also be incarcerated in the abyss for 1000 years. This period of confinement will not be a simple restriction of movement. Rev. 11:7 and 17:8 indicate that the beast that killed the two witnesses and persecuted the people of God during the end times ascended from the bottomless pit. The bottomless pit which is also described as a gulf(Luk.16:26) is where the fallen angels who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation and cohabited with human females and produced humanoids or transhumans are incarcerated. These hybrid humans called nephelim in Hebrew were annihilated in the deluge, and their demonic fathers incarcerated in the bottomless pit(Gen. 6:1-8; Jude1:6). This segment of angels not only sided with Satan in the great rebellion in eternity past before the creation of Adam, and were therefore locked in unrighteousness, after their expulsion from heaven, but also went further to mingle the human and angelic species. God Almighty, the creator of all things made a distinction between human and angelic beings, but these angels assayed to obliterate that distinction. It was a satanic counter strategy to thwart the redemption of mankind. These demons were so vile that they were not suffered to roam the dark void and the starry heavens like Satan and other fallen angels, but were rather imprisoned in the abyss, awaiting the judgment of the great Day of the Lord(Jud.1:6). Pit translates the Greek word phrear. This word is used three times outside Revelation, in the gospels. It refers to a well from which water is drawn(Luk.14:5; John 4:11,12). A key to the shaft of abyss is a literal translation.
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. The thick smoke emanating from the abyss was not ordinary smoke, but multitudes of demonic hordes. They were so many and black as Erebus that they darkened the sun and blackened the air. These hordes of demons were so dark and thick they prevented the penetration of the rays of the sun unto the Earth, producing a total eclipse of the sun. Out of the thick smoke emerged locusts upon the Earth. These are not ordinary biological insects called locusts. They are demons with the physiognomy of locusts. They were given power to hurt as the scorpions of the Earth have power.
The Duty Of The Locusts(4-6).
And unto them were given power as the scorpions of the Earth have power. Locusts generally feed on vegetations. These locusts were forbidden by God to do harm to the vegetations of the Earth, but rather commanded by God to hurt those men who have not the seal of God on their foreheads. Theologians call this the passive of divine activity. They were also forbidden by God to kill those who were not God-marked, but rather to torment them for five months. They killed others but were forbidden to die. The righteous did not want to die but was killed. The wicked wants to die but was forbidden death. And their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when stings a man. The venom of a scorpion is poisonous and could kill. But that is very rare. There is a species of scorpion in southern USA whose venom could kill their victims. Mortality from from scorpion sting has been recorded in medical history in that part of the world. But generally scorpion stings are not fatal. Scorpion sting is a bit common in Nigeria but it generally does not lead to death. They could be very painful but usually do not lead to mortality. The writer treated a few in my days of practice of medicine in Nigeria. They usually do well with local anesthetics and analgesics. The writer has been stung by a scorpion and survived without medical treatment, but by no means advocating that. The pain is horrible especially in the early stages after the sting but wears off after a day or two. But it would be a very horrible experience to be stung by scorpions repeatedly without dying. In the immediate period, one can faint and be in shock from scorpion sting. Am sure the Beast and his minions would put screens on their houses and vehicles. But these demons would not be deterred or restrained. They have been prepared for thousands of years by incarceration in the bottomless pit for the judgment of the great day of the Lord( Jud.1:6). Being chained under darkness for thousands of years has made them more vile and wicked than ever. Being loosed, they cannot be restrained by man through the instrumentality of physical barriers insofar as they are spirit beings and cannot be restrained physically. If anyone is stung by scorpion repeatedly, am sure the one would prefer death to life. No wonder these living wicked beast-marked adorers and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast would seek death and desire to die but death will flee from them(6).
The Appearance Of The Locusts(7-10).
The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were golden crowns, and their faces are like the faces of men. What horrible creatures? Their hairs were like those of women, and their teeth like those of lions. What a terrible combination. This may be an indication that animals were involved in the satanic hybridization programme in the antediluvian world as also said the Jewish rabbis. They had breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of many horses running to battle. Their tails were like those of scorpions. They could sting with their tails like scorpions. And they had power to hurt the beast-marked adorers of the Dragon-Beast for five months.
The King Of The Locusts(11).
Their king is the angel of the bottomless pit. That they have a king suggests order and purpose. The appellative king is interesting because the Scriptures accord no such title to Satan. These creatures have a unique purpose which requires a strict discipline, hence their need of a king. Naturally the locusts have no king(Prov.30:27). There is no contradiction here insofar as these horrific locust-like creatures appear only as locusts. The angel of the abyss is king over these horrible locust-like creatures. The grammatical construction here, genitive subjunctive indicates that the angel is over the bottomless pit. It does not indicate he is from the abyss. The name in Hebrew is Abaddon. The phrase in Hebrew is unique to Johannine expression(John 5:2; 19:13, 17,20; 20:6; Rev.16:16). Some of his audience are Jewish. In the OT, Abaddon is the name of the place of the dead(Prov.15:11; Job 26:6; Ps 88:11). It used as poetic parallel to Shoel in Job 14:11 and Prov.15:11; to death in Job 28:22; and to the grave in Ps 88:11. The Septuagint(LXX) translated the Hebrew term Abaddon as apoleia which means destruction. The Apostle Paul labelled the Man of Lawlessness[the Man of Sin, antiChrist, the Son of Destruction(Abaddon), 2 Thess.2:3]. The Lord Jesus called Judas Iscariot the son of perdition(Abaddon). This is the only place in the Script where a particular angel is explicitly identified with the name Destruction or Destroyer. In the wilderness, those who tempted Christ and murmured were destroyed of the serpent and the destroyer(1 Cor.10:8-10). The death of the ten amongst the spies in Num.14 were credited to the destroyer(Heb.11:28). In Egypt, prior to the exodus, the death of the first born was credited to the destroyer(Exod.12:23). God’s punishment of the wicked is always accomplished by the destroyer. In Greek, he is called Apollyon. John also intends a Greek audience amongst his readers. Apollyon is a derivative of the Greek verb “apollunai” which means to destroy. Therefore, the angel of the abyss is the destroyer. It is not Satan but a subordinate angelic being committed to the task of destroying the enemies of God. He is one of Satan’s high ranking demons. He is probably a principality or power of sorts(Eph.3:10). The names in both Greek and Hebrew mean the same thing, destroyer or destruction. He commands these locusts. He tells them what to do. Where did he get his power? From God ?
The First Woe(12).
The last three trumpet judgments are called woes or rather result in woes. They are the most severe of the seven trumpet judgments.
The Sixth Trumpet judgment(13-21).
“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”(Rev.9:13-21).
Whilst the fifth trumpet judgment tormented its victims without killing them, the sixth trumpet judgment killed a third of the living wicked earth-dwellers who worship and adore the Dragon-beast.
A Voice From The Golden Altar(13,14).
At the sounding of the sixth trumpet the revelator heard a voice from the horns of the golden altar of incense which is before God. Frequently the revelator hears a voice. We assume also that he saw since he was in the spirit and his view unobstructed. The voice must be the voice of the angel of the golden altar of incense where the fifth seal martyrs were kept prior to their glorification. He appears to administer the wrath of God inasmuch as they are divine response in answer to the prayers of the saints calling out for vengeance for their lives which were terminated by the beast-marked adorers and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast. The horns of the altar signal a place of power and authority. So the voice emanating from the horns of the golden altar of incense must be that of a very powerful angel. He is probably higher in rank than the seven angels administering the seven trumpets, insofar as he gives orders to one of the seven angels administering the seven trumpets. This angel was before God. In other words he was acting under the orders of the Almighty. He spoke to the angel who had the sixth trumpet, saying, loose the four Angels which are bound in the great River Euphrates. Obviously the four angels bound in the great River Euphrates are fallen angelic beings called demons. So they are evil spirits. Unlike the angels who did not keep their first estate, we do not know what other acts that these four evil spirits committed that led to their being bound in the Euphrates River other than joining in the great satanic revolt in eternity past. Whatever it was, it is of recent, considering the period of their imprisonment in the great River Euphrates.
The Four Angels Bound In The Great River Euphrates(15).
The voice of the angle emanating from the horns of the golden altar of incense which was before God instructed the angel with the sixth trumpet to loose the four evil spirits incarcerated in the great River Euphrates. These evil angels were prepared for an hour, a day, a month and a year in order for them to slay the third part of the living wicked earth-dwellers and adorers and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast. What is the meaning of a day, a month and a year? Is it literal or its it some kind of a formula? That is difficult to say. In the absence of interpretation somewhere else in the a Scriptures, we presume it is literal. One of the principles of biblical hermeneutics is scripture must interpret scripture.
The Demonic Killing Machines(16-19).
The moment these four horrible creatures were released from their incarceration in the Great River Euphrates, the result was immediate; the raising of armoured divisions amounting to two hundred million soldiers. The revelator described them as cavalries mounted on horsebacks. This is understandable since that was what was known in his day. However these are modern amoured divisions with most sophisticated and latest of modern tanks, equipped with the latest in military laser technology. And I saw the horses in the vision and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. These sophisticated killing machines equipped with the latest in modern military technology have the capacity to set ablaze and incinerate their victims. By these three were the third part of man killed, by the fire, smoke and brimstone that issued out of their mouths. Their power was in their mouths and in their tails: for their tails were like serpents, and have heads, and with them they do hurt. These killing machines have the capacity to fire in both directions. This is not fiction. Though films have been produced in Hollywood portraying these machines and their operators, they are available in one form or the other as robots equipped with artificial intelligence(AI). In the event of world war, the U.S. Military and others like Israel, China, Russia, Britain etc can field robotic soldiers and tanks capacable of accomplishing the kind of devastation graphically portrayed in this vision. These monumental killing machines have the capacity to pulverize and annihilate their victims in a matter of seconds.
The Reaction Of The Survivors(20,21).
Inspite of the havoc just wreaked by these killing machines, wiping out a third of all living earth-dwellers, the survivors repented not of the works of their hands that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. As we have pointed out, apart from the enlivened images of the Beast-antiChrist located at strategic places to identify and cause to be killed those who do not have the mark of the sea-beast, the beast-marked adorers were also instructed by the second beast, the enforcer to make images of the beast to keep and worship in their homes. These images though lifeless in and of themselves are demonized. So, as they bowed to these images, they bowed to demons. Apart from blatant idolatry, these living wicked earth-dwellers practised sorceries, murdered the saints of God and those who did not take the mark of the beast, committed sexual immoralities and purloined. As we have pointed out earlier sin is a cicatrizant; it sears the soul and hardens the heart. These men have sinned beyond repentance. No matter the severity of the punishment, they will never repent.