Fifth Trumpet
(Locusts)


9:1-12
NOTES:
v1: The fifth angel sounds the trumpet. This is the first of the 3 Woes that were called out in the previous verse. You may hear of these trumpets that are for the woes the "woe trumpets".

©Salem Kirban, Inc.

A "star" had fallen or a star fall (KJV) from heaven. This Greek grammar correction in all other versions can make a big difference in the understanding of who the angel is. The Greek is in the past perfect tense which means the star was something that had already occurred. Therefore, this star could be a angel who had fallen in the past. In other words, Satan or Lucifer could be this angel. Remember, Satan can only do what God allows him to do. Therefore, Satan, or his representative could have the keys given to him to release his own demons. (Ezek. 28:13-14; Isa. 14:12)

Some say the angel could be an angel given authority to open the abyss by being given the keys. Even though God is controlling everything, He also uses people or spirits to accomplish His goals. The significance of the verse is that a very strong power releases a terrible thing on the people of earth.

What also needs to be answered is what the pit is. Most feel the pit symbolizes hell or hades. As you will see later, Satan and the fallen angels are put into the pit for 1000 years (the Millennium). Therefore, he is not there now. Since Satan now is on earth (not in heaven anymore) and the fallen angels are also not in heaven, it is possible this pit is the abode of the earthly demons. Have they been limited to the damage they could do to humans? Therefore, have they have been "restrained" by being in a pit or abyss?

v2: The keys are used to unlock this pit and immediately very hot and dense smoke comes out. The heat and blackness could be symbolic of the terrible, "black" nature of the creatures. It was so black it darkened the sun and day.

v3: Who or what are these locusts? Why are they called locusts? The Greek uses the word akris which means a scorpion. The extreme descriptions God gives in the coming verses seem to indicate the symbolism is very important. These "scorpions" were given power as are the normal insect scorpions about which we know. That is, they are strong and poisonous and can inflict terrible pain and sometimes death.

v4-5: This is where the "locusts" seem to take on different purposes and capabilities than the insects. They are instructed they cannot damage the grass, which is one of the things real locusts do. They eat everything in their path, normally. They cannot eat any green things or trees. This means that they cannot eat any other vegetation as well as the grass. They are only allowed to sting. And the only things they are allowed to sting are those that are unmarked, i.e. the 144,000 Jews that God marked in chapter 7. They cannot KILL their "prey"; just make them miserable by their stings. Man will WANT to die- but, they will not.

There is a lot of discussion on what the "locusts" really are. Are they exactly as described, demons allowed on earth to torment the non-believers in the hope of converting some people to give in to God as the real God of all. Are they describing real wars and real people that have already fought the wars. We must think of these questions in light of prophecy, scripture, context, reasonability, set up (everything coming about in history to set up the scriptures).

These are the things we must consider. If we consider this book prophecy, what kind of prophecy is it. Is it prophecy to generally predict the future. Is that future already past or is it yet to come. If it is not prophecy to generally predict, it must be to predict the end times. If it is end times, then it is obvious that end times has not come yet. Therefore, we may need to consider the book of true things to still occur. In addition, we look at the symbolism to determine what we have now and will develop that would allow the words in scripture to "sing" the truth. Just for one example, I feel all true believers will recognize the development of the antichrist on earth. We will see it; but, not many people will hear what we have to say. All of this ability of knowing who the antichrist is; where he is; what he is doing; exactly when he is doing it; and actually see him doing it; will come about because we have all the technology to see and hear almost instantly anything in the entire world. What about the nuclear bomb. This can bring about some of the disasters we are studying. etc. etc.

The five months also is in question. Is it a literal five months (150 days). Or, is this a prophetic reckoning of time which might then mean each day is equal to a year, as Daniel 70 days prediction is. Although locusts live on an average of 4-6 years, locusts are actually in force for five months of a year (approx. May through Sept.). Therefore, the symbolism in this case might be literal. These questions will always be around. The actual exact answer will not be available until Christ comes again. The problem with the 150 year idea is that those scholars also tend to look for history that has already come. It would be relatively easy to find 150 years of turmoil and strife. However, did everything happen before and after these 150 years just as Revelation says. So far, no. For example, almost the entire slightly greater than 200 years of the history of the USA has been wrought with strife, war, conflicts, non-believers, terrible torment of Christians (note: more Christians have been killed simply because of the belief in Christ in the last 100 years than in all the years since Christ was on earth. This is the truth; but, the media does not tell what is happening. Look at the USA, the most free system in history. It is so free, anyone can believe in anything they want and can also cause others NOT to believe what they want. This is now happening with the elimination of God in the entire USA society. All of this Christ predicted would occur. He says the end will not come until the apostacy of the church occurs. If you review the letters to the churches sections of Revelation (Rev. 2-3), you will find that we seem to fit the church of Laodicea (the luke-warm church, the most hated of God). These are all thoughts that all of you must digest and then make your own decision. Remember, God gave us free will. We live in a world of Tolerance. If we don't have it, we are in trouble with our society. I would like all to examine the life of Jesus. He may have been the least tolerant person on earth when it came to compromising ourselves with God.

v6: Going back to the previous commentary paragraph, this verse says that many people will desire death and will not be able to achieve it. Even today, people want the "easy" way out. They wish to die to get out of the situation they are in, anywhere from suffering from disease to suffering from oppression. Some have no hope of an end of suffering except through the grave. Some die by the pistol, by poison, drowning, or etc. to end their woes. They look forward to death as a release; however, if the truth were known, death would bring no such relief if one has not taken to God as He wishes for people to do. for there are deeper and longer woes beyond the grave than there are this side of it.

v7-10: Here the description of the locusts is given. Remember the words "like" and "as" are used to state symbolism. Other words tell things as they actually are. For example, if we say they were LIKE horses, they are NOT horses.

  • They are shaped like horses (v 9:7)
  • on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, (v 9:7)
  • and their faces were like the faces of men. (v 9:7)
  • Their hair was long and flowing as a woman's. (v 9:8)
  • They had teeth like a lion.(v 9:8)
  • They had breast plates of like iron (v 9:9)
  • and the sound of their wings were like chariots and many horses going to battle (v 9:9)
  • They had tails and stingers like scorpions. They could hurt men for 5 months.(v 9:10)

What are these? There are several possibilities.

  • They may really be a new strain of locusts for which there will be no means of killing them.
  • They may be some form of demonic power let loose by God in the body of a locust.
  • They could be symbolic of a modern war machine. For example- helicopter (sound of the wings), gas masks, bayonets, etc.

It is sure the symbol of locust must be "man" based. The face of the man was not symbolized. The horse was considered power. As a matter of fact, there were very few horses used by the Jews. Not only could most of them not afford them; but, they did not want them because they were symbols of Roman power. The Romans had many horses and used them in the armies. The power will therefore be from men of great possessions.

The crown meant power, royalty. Gold, even back in time, was always precious. There were times in history that it was not the MOST valuable, but, it was always rated highly in value. Therefore, the man will be very powerful and rich.

The long hair was not normal for men to wear. This seems to show an effeminate nature that John did not understand. What it does say is the figures were quite different and exceptional. (Of course, we already knew that.) No razor passed over the locusts' faces. When men did not shave in ancient times, it was usually to show some sacrifice and dedication for a specific cause. Afterwards, the shaving would begin.

The lion would naturally indicate viciousness and cruelty.

They locusts seem to be all-powerful and impenetrable. The iron breastplate protection showed that.

The sound of locusts is a very recognizable sound for those who have experienced locust attacks. The noise of the weapons and the volume of locusts created the wing noise. Note: Scripture does not make a "like" or "as" for the wings. They apparently HAD wings. (Joel 2:5-7)

v11: There is a leader of these locusts which is not necessarily a locust himself, In Hebrew "Abaddon" means destroyer or destruction. In Greek "Apollyon" also means similarly The one who is destroying. It appears in this form in only one spot in the Greek, Rev 9-1. This king or leader is Satan. If you read on with those commentators that think this has already occurred, some think this person is Mohammed and some think this person is the emperor Vespasian. To me the scripture says clearly who the leader of the locusts is....Satan... in Hebrew or Greek.

v12: Remember the three woes called out in 8:13; this verse 12 now says the locusts are over. Therefore, the first woe is over. Now there are two more to come.

REFERENCES:
Psa 55-23; Num 16-30,33; Isa 34-.10

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