A Study of the Book of Revelation
In this chapter we have an account of the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets, the appearances that attended them, and the events that were to follow; the fifth trumpet (v. 1-12), the sixth (v. 13, etc.).
1. ¶ 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.
With the blowing of the fifth trumpet we see the reason for the eagle’s saying, Woe, woe, woe.
This trumpet entails the first of these three woes.
The word (Gr pipto) translated “fall” should read “fallen” (Greek perfect, active participle, accusative, masculine singular).
Thus, John did not see the star as it fell, but saw an already fallen star.
The fact that this star is given the key to the bottomless pit must mean it is a being and not an inanimate heavenly body.
The Bible frequently uses “star” as a symbol of an angel (1:20).
Who is this star? He is the angel over the bottomless pit whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (9:11).
Both of these names mean “destroyer.” This angel is the king over those of the bottomless pit, a fallen star of supreme authority.
This is Lucifer, the son of the morning (morning star), who was cast out of heaven to the ground for the pride in his heart (Isa 14:12-15).
The devil is going to have three falls.
1. Once in eternity past (Isa. 14:14)
2. Here in the middle of the Tribulation (Rev. 9:1)
3. At the end of the age, his final fall (Rev. 19:20)
2. 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.
When Satan opens the pit, smoke arises out of it like the smoke of a great furnace and the sun is darkened by the black, smoky air.
Out of the smoke come locusts which have been given the power of scorpions.
“Bottomless pit” – place of departed spirits.
Smoke out of the pit refers to vast numbers.
Much of the heavens will be darkened.
3. 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.
Locusts came out of the pit. These are fallen angels.
Power of destruction was given to them.
They are not actually scorpions, but angels.
Scorpions sting, but do not kill. They will torture with pain.
4. 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.
Given the title “locusts” because they perform a similar function as these marauding pests, those loosed out of the bottomless pit by their leader, Satan, are actually demons.
Here are some restrictions placed on them.
They are not to hurt agriculture.
They are not to persecute believers.
5. 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.
They gravely torment those who do not have the seal of God in their foreheads.
They can torture, but not kill.
It was like when a scorpion stings a man.
This is all painful, but not fatal.
The number 5 represents grace. They were only permitted to torment five months.
6. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
These tormented ones are driven to sorceries, witchcraft, fornication, murders, thefts, and other results of pagan idolatry and demon worship and demon possession.
Here is the perfect final fulfillment of 1 Timothy 4:1-3, which predicts the outbreak of demonic worship in the time of the end.
Purpose of the fallen angels is to torture, but not kill.
People will try to die, but cannot.
“Those days” are the days of judgement.
7. 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.
Here is a description of the locusts.
“Like unto horses prepared unto battle” means they had mobility like horses.
Crowns on their heads like gold means they had great power and authority.
Not a literal crown, crowns represent power.
“Faces of men” means the fallen angels look like men.
8. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
The physical appearance of these locusts is extremely gross. They are like horses prepared for battle, having crowns on their heads, with faces like men and hair like women, but teeth like a lion (vs. 7-8).
“Hair of women” means they were beautiful.
Teeth of lions speaks of their ability to attack, and of their fierce power.
9. 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.
They will wear breastplates of iron and the sound of their wings will be like the sound of chariots rushing into battle (vs. 9).
“Breastplates of iron.” This type of armor was worn by the Romans and was the most effective ever used.
Wings was the sound of many horses running.
This speaks of the force of power they had.
This is a picture of the Roman warrior.
10. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Their tails will be like scorpions’ tails with the power to sting severely and torment those they do sting five months (vs. 10).
Here we see the torture.
They won’t kill, but make people want to die.
Five months tells how long this torture will take place.
Five is the number of grace. It is only by God’s grace it stops in five months and does not last longer.
11. 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.
“King over them.” – This is the devil.
Abaddon is the Hebrew name for Satan and means destruction.
Apollyon is the Greek name for Satan and means deceiver.
The devil is the leader.
He will indwell the dictator of the revived Roman empire (Rev. 11:7, 8).
Satan was created by the Lord and for the Lord, however, Satan rebelled against God and purposed to rise above God (Ezek. 28:17; Isa. 14:13, 14).
Names Given to Satan
a. Satan – means adversary (Zech. 3:1)
b. Devil – means slanderer (Rev. 12:9)
c. Lucifer – means the shining one (Isa. 14:12)
d. Abaddon – means destroyer (Rev. 9:11)
e. Apollyon – means destroyer (Rev. 9:11)
f. Beelzebub – means prince of demons (Matt. 12:27)
g. Belial – means lawless (2 Cor. 6:15)
12. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
One woe is past but two are yet to come, even more severe than the first.
The fallen angel released is the first woe.
There are two more woes. – Two trumpet judgments.
13. ¶ And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
“Sixth angel” one of the seven leading angels.
“Sounded” the sixth trumpet judgment.
“Four horns” speak of power.
Golden altar is where the prayers are received from the martyrs and answered.
This judgment is to punish those in the Tribulation who killed these believing martyrs.
14. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
The Euphrates River was considered to be the eastern extremity of the Roman Empire and the dividing line between East and West.
Thus, the four loosened angels lead an army arising out of the east.
The four wicked angels cannot move but at the command of God.
Here is the sixth trumpet judgment.
“Loose the four angels” four super angels.
“Bound in the great river Euphrates.” Many believe this is where the man of sin will arise from.
Cities on the river Euphrates, Ur and Babylon.
15. 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.
Four angels are loosed with power.
Here we find one third of all men killed.
He pinpointed the time down to the hour.
16. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
When they are loosed and given permission to move, however, the army of horsemen they lead numbers 200,000,000. This is an almost inconceivable number.
At the peak strength during World War II the United States had only 12,400,000 soldiers.
But when we consider the hordes of the East, we can believe that an army of 200 million horsemen could easily be reached today.
God not only pinpointed the time, but he gave us the number of this vast army. 200 million strong.
Some think this military is coming from the Orient across the Euphrates River to invade Israel.
Rev. 16:1, 2 says the Euphrates River will dry up.
17. 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.
“Horses…and them that sat on them,” breastplates speaks of war.
“Heads of lions” speaks of fierce, rapid speed and force of this vast army.
The people die from burning and suffocation.
18. 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.
Speaks of how they were killed. 1/3 of all men killed.
This horrible army destroys 1/3 of the population. Under the fourth seal judgment (6:8), ¼ of the earth had been slain. Now 1/3 is slain. This means that these two judgments alone, not to mention the multitudes who have died because of famine, poisoned water, etc., have reduced the population of the earth by ½ since the beginning of the Tribulation.
19. 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.
This verse tells of their strength.
Speaks of their torture.
Tells by what means they brought death.
Whether this mighty army, with its horses having heads like lions, tails like serpents, and fire, smoke, and brimstone issuing out of their mouths, should be considered all human or all demon (equipped with modern weapons of war) is really not important.
What is important is the world’s reaction to the deadly judgment of the sixth trumpet.
20. 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:
Speaks of the wickedness of the earth. Here we see the reaction of the invasion. Man will not repent.
Men hold on to human gods.
1/3 of men killed, yet they would not repent.
21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
This is a description of the horror, death, trial and trouble of Tribulation.
Man hardened their hearts just as Pharaoh did.
In spite of the awful judgment inflicted on the world by this invading army, those who survive are still unrepentant. Such is typical of hardened human hearts.
They still live in sin and debauchery, they still worship demons and idols, they still murder, practice drug abuse, fornicate, and steal.
Without the redeeming power of God in a person’s life there is no difference between these unfortunate inhabitants and inhabitants of our planet today.
The heart is still deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9).
Whether living in Old Testament times, New Testament times, the 20th century, or the Tribulation, all men everywhere need to repent and receive the blood of Jesus Christ as an atonement for their sins.
Without it there is no hope.
With the beginning of Chapter 10 comes another parenthetical section providing additional information about the events of the Tribulation Period.
This parenthesis, like that of chapter 7, does not move the narrative forward but simply adds detail to the events of this time of judgment.
Clark, Neal. Survey of the Book of Revelation. Pensacola, Florida: Thee WFBI Press, 1999. Print.
Falwell, Jerry. Liberty Commentary on the New Testament. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty Press, 1978. Print.