The Weekend Word
1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.
- We ended 8:13 with the triple woe – coming judgment
- This blowing of the trumpet brings about a star falling from heaven – Isaiah 14:12 – “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!”
- We will see a further description in verse 11 (Satan).
- The bottomless pit = the Abyss – A place that is forsaken by God – Demonland – Hades (6:8).
2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.
- The Bottomless Pit – The word literally means “without depth.” And seems to play a fairly prominent role in scripture. From several biblical references, it seems the “abyss” is a place reserved for the demonic angels. The demons expelled from the Gadarene begged Jesus “not to command them to depart into the abyss” (Luke 8:31). In Romans, the abyss is the abode of the dead (Rom 10:7; see also Ps 63:9; 71:20). In the epistles, evil angels are in “chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). In Revelation, the abyss is the origin of the beast (11:7; 17:8) and the place of Satan’s temporary incarceration (20:1-8). Here, this bottomless pit appears to be the home of demons shut up until they are released at the proper time.
- Smoke filled the air in such quantity, it blocked the sun.
3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.
- Think back to the plagues. This is the 8th plague on Egypt – Ex 10:4.
- Joel 2:2-5 uses the locust as a description of the Assyrian invasion.
- Locust Joel 1:1-12 – a description of the invasion and v.13, the purpose – repentance — sound familiar?
- You must understand Joel to understand this Rev 9 passage – judgment is brought for the sake of what? People repenting – turning from their sin and believing in the lamb who has been slain.
- If you do not see this as a call to repentance, it really skews your view of our Father. Rather than the one who loves and desires to save his dear children, he is vindictive – he is judgmental.
- Now this is a divine event – it is not some natural phenomenon that can be explained by global warming or global cooling, as I am sure many today would attempt.
- Note that this began with a star falling from the sky. This star is given the key to the bottomless pit. This is not something to be explained away – but it is an unexplainable event
- These are demonic hoards sent by God as his agents, his instruments to do his work.
4 They were told not to harm the grass 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.
- This is not a judgment on the earth but on man – unbelieving man – worshipers of the beast of all times – past, present and future.
- Notice how those who have God’s seal are spared? Just like in Egypt as the Israelites were not harmed by the plagues that attacked Egypt – see Ex 8-10.
- To me, this is another anti rapture passage. Those with God’s seal and those without are still living on earth side by side.
- God protects his own from his wrath – he does not need to remove them.
5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.
- Five months – what is happening here? How long does the average locust live? Up to 5 months.
- This is partial judgment so 5 months = limited time.
- It is interesting to keep in mind how God is in charge. He sets the parameters – do not harm the grass – time limit, 5 months – all of this as he keeps focus on his work.
- 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (but read the broader statement v.8-10.
6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
- The people will be tormented and tortured but cannot die. They will wish they could, but they can’t.
- Is this not a description of how despairing people are? People who believe the satanic lie that you can be as God, knowing good from evil and that you are in charge?
- The grim wages of lusts and additions. Tiger Woods could tell us much about living under the addictions of pornography and sex. Living under the burden of sin, living with the sting of the scorpion – that fiery burning that just will not die.
- When your false gods crash you wish you were dead.
7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,
8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth;
9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle.
10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails.
- After detailing their origin and their mission, John next attempts to describe what he saw in his vision. In one of the strangest passages in the entire Bible, he writes verses 7-10.
- John saw what looked like locusts to him. He describes them in words built on real locusts but his description goes far beyond reality. This nine-fold description of the locusts in the verses above stretch John’s own apocalyptic imagination. Note the struggle with John’s continual use of the word “like”.
11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
- They – who are the THEY? This refers to the locust like beings, but we must also apply it to the unbeliever – all unbelievers of all time – those without God’s seal.
- Satan is their leader. How does John handle the description? With great emphasis John states his name in both Hebrew and Greek – the Destroyer.
12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.
- Literally ‘went away’ – the idea is that the first woe has come and gone – we will see the same in 11:14.
- This is a transitional verse between the 5th and 6th We know that these are woes as the text tells us so.
- The next woe will run from 9:13 to 11:13 … this is a lot of woe.
- Where is the 3rd woe identified in the 7th trumpet? It is not. Instead, John records another scene of heavenly worship at 11:15-19.
- So the function of the 3 woes is to form a link between the 7 trumpets and the 7 bowls which begin in Rev 16.