Revelation 9:1–5 (NKJV)
After the warning of the angel concerning the three woes to come, John records the sounding of the fifth angel, bringing torment on the inhabitants of the earth.
Fifth Trumpet: The Locusts from the Bottomless Pit
1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.Revelation 9:1-5
This fifth trumpet and first woe on the earth is a direct attack on humanity. A star fell from heaven to earth, which seems to have morphed into a being. This being had a demonic quality, thus signifying that the devil or one of his demons were the initiator of this woe. The description of the star falling from heaven is reminiscent of the description of Satan being cast from heaven for attempting to make himself equal with God. This being had the key to the bottomless pit. An alternate interpretation sees this being as an angel, sent to judge men and women on earth. The bottomless pit is descriptive of the “shaft of the abyss,” or reservoir of evil. It represents a prison of demons, and is the name given to the place where Satan will be bound during the Millennium. A smoke like that of a great furnace (a hellish image) came up out of the shaft and darkened the sky. Out of the smoke came a swarms of locusts, encompassing the earth. They had power like scorpions to torment humanity for five months (the life expectancy of a locust). They were not to harm the remaining vegetation of the earth, but rather to torment those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (remember that the 144,000 Jews had the seal of God on their forehead). It appears that all of the Tribulation saints that were to be martyred for their faith are now gone, and that process transitions into this process.
The locusts were not allowed to kill human beings, but were allowed to torment them, striking them with the painful sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. They have the appearance of small horses, but still are able to inflict excruciating pain. This imagery, combining the elements of horses, locusts, and scorpions, is meant to terrify those upon whom this torment is unleashed. This torment had the desired purpose of bringing humanity to repentance, but those marked by the beast were doomed to destruction. Whether demon or angel, the one who opens this bottomless pit and releases these horrid creatures upon mankind is an instrument of God through the forces of evil on earth. This is a strong and fearful beginning to the three woes accompanying trumpets five through seven.
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