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Revelation 8:13-9:12 “Trumpet Judgment 5”

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SIH STSTA ICONTHE TEXT: 

Now, trumpet judgment 5, the first woe, is revealed…

 

 

Rev 8:13-9:12 KJV

(13)  And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(8)  And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
(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.
(10)  And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
(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.
(12)  One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

 

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

Please remember that the final judgment of God is described in many Scriptures as consisting of literal fire that falls from heaven. (2 Thess 1:7-10, 2 Peter 3:3-13, Psa 102:26, Isa 51:6, Zeph 3:8).  This is what will literally take place during the final wrath of God.  At Christ’s second coming, fire will precede Him punishing the lost and renovating the world for His arrival.

Keeping in mind that the final wrath of God consists of fire falling from heaven, we can see that trumpet and the vial judgments are describing this wrath in purely symbolic terms.  In other words, the events that take place in the trumpets and vials are not literal events that will take place, but are symbolic descriptions of the final wrath of God that manifests itself by fire falling from heaven.

In chapter 8 and 9, John sees the opening of seal 7, which will symbolizes the beginning of God’s wrath coming upon the fallen earth and sinful mankind.  His wrath affecting the earth is emphasized in trumpets 1-4. Trumpets 5-6 (the first two woes) are judgments that directly affect lost mankind.

Trumpet 7 (the 3rd woe) is the completion of God’s wrath falling upon the earth and mankind.  This last trumpet brings to completion what was begun in trumpets 1-6.  Trumpet 7 is made up of the seven vials.  Each vial corresponds to a specific trumpet. Each vial simply expands, intensifies and brings to completion the wrath that was begun in its corresponding trumpet.

 

 

Trumpet Vial Area Of Earth Affected By Trumpets (Area of Earth Affected By Vials) Areas Of Mankind Affected By Trumpets (Areas of Mankind Affected By Vials)
1 1 1/3 Trees. Green Grass(All the Earth)
2 2 1/3 Sea(All the Sea)
3 3 1/3 Rivers, Springs(All the Rivers, Springs)
4 4 1/3 Sun, Moon, Stars(Entire Sun)
5 (Woe 1) 5 Men Not Sealed By God(Entire Kingdom and All Worshippers Of Beast)
6 (Woe 2) 6 1/3 Mankind(Whole World)
7 (Woe 3) 7 God’s Wrath Intensified and Completed Against Earth and Mankind Described By The 7 Vials(The Final Destruction Of Babylon and Lost Mankind {The Battle Of Armageddon})
 

 

As we continue our study all of the above will, hopefully, become more clear.

For now, let us just understand that the falling of God’s wrath during the second coming appears to be progressive; growing in intensity, severity and devastation as He descends and His presence draws nearer to the earth.  This is much like the tribulation in today’s time (first six seals) that will gradually increase in intensity and frequency as His coming draws near.

As we have said seal seven is divided into seven parts, symbolized by trumpets that are blown.  Here is a short outline of the upcoming lessons on seal 7 …

  1. Sounding Of First Four Trumpets – 8:7-8:13
    1. 1st Trumpet – vs 7
      1. Judgment – Hail, fire, blood
      2. Affected – Trees, grass
    2. 2nd Trumpet – vs 8
      1. Judgment – Great burning mountain, sea to blood
      2. Affected – Sea, sea creatures, ships
    3. 3rd Trumpet – vs 9-11
      1. Judgment – Burning Star (Wormwood)
      2. Affected – rivers, springs, men
    4. 4th Trumpet – vs 12
      1. Judgment – Striking
      2. Affected – Sun, moon, stars
    5. 3 Woes Announced – vs 13
  2. Sounding Of Trumpets 4 & 5 – 9:1-21
    1. 5th Trumpet (1st Woe) – 9:1-12
      1. Falling Star given Key To Bottomless Pit
      2. Locusts From Pit with King Of Locusts – Abaddon, Apollyon
  • One Woe Past
  1. 6th Trumpet (2nd Woe) – 9:13-21
    1. Release of The 4 Angels & 200,000,000 Army From Euphrates killing Mankind
    2. Mankind does not repent
  2. Please note 7th Trumpet will be revealed in Rev 11:15 & Rev 16: which will reveal the completion of God’s wrath aginst the earth and sinful mankind.

 

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

In this text we find trumpet 5 revealed.  This is the first of three “woes” (judgments that directly fall upon mankind).

Also please note: Many, if not all, of these trumpet judgments are variations of the plagues of God sent against Egypt (during the enslavement of the Jews) and the unbelieving Jews (during the wilderness wanderings).  This helps us to understand that all of these trumpet judgments are being sent against the willfully rebellious who have abused God’s people.

 

Rev 8:13-9:12 KJV

(13)  And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice,

John now sees an angel, announcing the coming trumpet judgments.

 

Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

The angels message holds a triple warning of coming judgment upon men (woe, woe, woe).  The angel is warning the lost men dwelling upon the earth that 3 more trumpet judgments are yet to fall. This time the judgments will now be falling directly upon mankind (the prior four trumpet judgments had fallen directly upon different parts of nature, and affected mankind in an indirect way.

 

The first woe (trumpet 5) now takes place….

(1)  And the fifth angel sounded,

The fifth trumpet sounds announcing the beginning of the next judgment…

 

and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 

John now sees a star fall from heaven and land upon earth, possessing authority to open and secure the bottomless pit.

Although many say that this star symbolizes Satan, it is more likely a symbolic representation of Christ Himself (or an elect angel commissioned by Christ to bring about this plague).

To understand Christ as the the identity of this star, we need to see the contextual description of this star:

  1. vs 1 – A star is the foundational symbol for this being… Christ is described as a Bright and Morning Star (2 Pet 1:19, Rev 2:28, 22:16)
  2. vs 1 – It is said to “fall” (to descend from higher to lower place; related to Grk word for “flying”) from heaven to earth… This pictures Christ’s FIRST coming to the earth. It was at the successful completion of His work at the first coming that Christ was exalted and received authority over all things (Phils 2:5-11; 1 Cor 15:21-28)
  3. vs 1 – It is said to possess the key of the bottomless pit (authority over the entrance and exit of the pit)… Christ is the One that is given the authority over the Lake of Fire (2 Ptr 2:4, Jude 1:6, Rev 20:1)
  4. vs 2 – It is said to open the bottomless pit releasing its demons (initiate this judgment of God upon the lost mankind).. Christ is the One that possesses the ultimate authority over demons, releasing and imprisoning them (Matt 8:28-34, Matt 25:41, Rev 20:1-3)

If verse 11 is speaking of this star…

  1. vs 11 – It is King over the demons (possessing authority, control over them)… Christ possesses authority over demons (see 4 above)
  2. vs 11 – Described as angel of the bottomless pit (owning, controlling the bottomless pit)… Christ possesses authority over the Lake of Fire (see 3 above)
  3. vs 11 – Its name is “Abaddon” and “Apollyon” (destroyer).. no where in the Bible is Satan given the these titles. Not one time. However these Greek and Hebrew words are used many times of God, in the person of Christ, describing and picturing Him as the ultimate Destroyer and Victor over the powers of darkness and the rebellious lost. For more information see verse 11.

The Lord is so great, He even uses the work of Satan and demons as a basis of punishment upon the lost world.

(please note: why does this falling star represent Christ whereas in trumpet judgment 3 another falling star represented Satan?  Context is the “great identifier” for both.  In trumpet three, the descriptions of the star led us to understand that Satan was in view.  The title “Wormwood” along with the the working of perverting and poisoning the gospel message causing great death is the work of Satan based upon many other passages in the Bible.

In trumpet 5 the titles for Christ “star”, “Abaddon” and “Apollyon” are reserved for Christ alone in the Bible, along with the great authority granted to Christ as King of Kings, including authority over the bottomless pit. Helps us to understand this is probably speaking of Christ or one commissioned by Him.

Even if we would believe that Satan is pictured by this falling star, we have to see that Satan is only working under the allowance of God, who had given Satan the temporary authority to open the bottomless pit. Also, we can clearly see in this text the clear limits to Satan and the demons work,  again proving the Lord is the One in control of the forces of evil,  its appearance at His second coming and its affliction upon lost mankind.)

A part of the judgment that Christ will bring to the earth during His second coming is the result of the work of demons in the lives of the lost who live upon the earth.  This will result in increased suffering of mankind on the earth. If Satan and the demons had not blinded the eyes of the lost and opposed the work of Christ, these judgments from God would be unnecessary.  If Satan had not been present in the Garden of Eden, there would be no fall and no sin in the world, and therefore, no wrath of God falling upon sinful mankind.

 

(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.

Here, we see Christ opening up the bottomless pit (aka Lake of Fire, place of eternal torment) to allow demonic departure from it. The smoke that arises and covers the earth is symbolic of the vast area that their work among men would affect.  This event would affect all remaining mankind, regardless of their physical location on and under the earth and the seas.  Because all mankind fell,  all lost mankind must face the wrath  of God

 

(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.

Here, we can see the demonic powers exiting the Lake of Fire and coming upon the earth.  They are allowed by God to do certain things and restrained form doing others.  Remember Christ is the One with the authority (keys) and is their King.  They can only do what He allows and they CANNOT cross the limits He has set for their activity. We can see this clearly as the Lord interacts with Satan concerning the affliction of Job (Job 1:12 & 2:6).

Locusts were very commonly linked to divine judgment against those who are rebellious (Deut 28:38-42, I King 8:37, Psa 78:46, 2 Chron 6:28, 7:13, Psa 105:34, Isa 33:4).  Just as in the other trumpet judgments, locusts were a part of the judgment faced by the Egyptians during the enslavement of the Israelites (Exodus 10:4-19).  Again, we can see many many reminders of God’s judgment falling against those who rebel against God and oppose and mistreat His people under the leadership of Satan and demons.

Scorpions are linked to the fall of Satan in Luke 10:17-19.  It is brought out that the Lord had authority over the fall of Satan and his work following his fall.  This is illustrated by the apostle’s authority given to them over scorpions and serpents. In this context, the demonic plagues are likened to scorpion stings helping us to understand they are working under the confines of the Lord’s authority and purposes.

(Please note: A vicious, literal, locust invasion during the days of Joel (Joel 2:1-11) is used to picture the great wrath of God that will fall during His second coming.  This fits perfectly with this trumpet judgment. The following description of these demonic forces seem to be very similar to Joel 1: & 2:. ) 

 

(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.  (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.

The limits placed upon these demons was in three parts:

  1. They were allowed to harm unsealed, lost men (those not taken by Christ at His appearance) but no other part of creation.
  2. They were allowed to torment (pain, torture) the lost but not to kill them.
  3. They are allowed to torment them for five months, the usual length of time for locust activity in the fields. Why five months? This is not speaking of a literal five months.  Five months (150 days) is the period of time that God allowed the water to continue on the world during the flood of Noah’s day (Gen 7:24).  Symbolically these locusts and their work of misleading mankind results in  5 months of worldwide destruction of a wicked world due to sin, the flood (2 Peter 3:1-7).  

The attacks of the demons are described as being like a scorpions sting, in other words, God’s wrath, the result of the workings of these Satanic creatures causes great pain and suffering resulting in great fear (2 Chron 10:11, Deut 8:15, Ezek 2:6, Luke 10:19, 11:12)  In that sense, the powers of darkness are more responsible for the falling of God’s wrath than the Lord Himself.  Without their workings on the earth, there would be no wrath of Go falling among men. 

 

(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.

God’s sovereign rule will not allow men to commit suicide, nor kill one another.  They will be facing all of these torments and not be given relief from them. Note here they totally lack understanding of the eternal doom they are facing if they physically die.   Although God’s wrath is a horrible affliction, it is nothing compared to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.  Due to their continuing blindness, they cannot begin to comprehend what awaits them following their death. (1 Corinthians 2:14) 

 

(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.  (8)  And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.  (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.  (10)  And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails:

These demonic beings are symbolically described as:

  1. like unto horses prepared unto battle; – they do the bidding of another, they are swift, strong, used to fight battles
  2. and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, – they hold delegated authority, they do the bidding of their King
  3. and their faces were as the faces of men. – Like men these demons (fallen angels) are created to glorify God but chose to rebel. This links them with mankind, reminding us that the judgment they bring upon man is deserved by man for their rebellion.
  4. And they had hair as the hair of women, – They act in submission to Satan, under the allowance of God. They do not act on their own.
  5. and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. – They are vicious, ferocious, and killers (much like Satan – 1 Ptr 5:8).
  6. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; – They are strong, unstoppable, men cannot withstand them.
  7. and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. – great in number, power and influence upon the earth. Work together like army in battle
  8. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: – they bring great pain and harm to mankind.

 

Compare this description to Joel…

Joe 1:1-7 KJV

The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.   Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?  Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.  That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.  Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.  For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.

Joe 2:1-11 KJV

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;  A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.  A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.  The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.

Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.  Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.  They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:  Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.  They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.  The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:   And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

 

and their power was to hurt men five months.

They were given the authority to harm mankind in the same time period as the flood waters continued on the earth during Noah’s flood (Gen 7:24).  Again, reminding us that they are causing this judgment against rebellious, lost mankind and an action that will be used to renovate the fallen earth preparing it for eternity. 

 

(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.

This is referring to the same angel that possessed the keys to the bottomless pit, these titles must apply to Christ, and they do.

These Greek and Hebrew words are used of Christ, as God, describing and picturing Him as the ultimate Destroyer and Victor over the powers of darkness and the rebellious lost. [Prov 15:11 (“destruction”); Jere 10:10-11 (“perish”); Daniel 7:9-11 (“destroyed”); Matt 10:28 (“destroy”); 22:7 (“destroyed”); Luke 17:27-29 (“destroyed”); 1 Cor 10:10 (“destroyed”); James 4:12 (“destroy”); Jude 5 (“destroyed”) 

 

(12)  One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

This concludes trumpet 5, which is the first of the trumpets that are pictured as directly falling upon mankind (trumpets 5,6, and 7).

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this text, we can see Jesus Christ revealed as the Holy Lord who, through His will of allowance controls the demonic forces of the world for His purposes.   Although the demons follow their own sinful desires and Satanic influence, the results of their actions result in God’s judgment falling upon lost mankind and His ultimate will being done.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

In spite of all the wickedness that we see taking place in the world today, we need to always remember that our Lord is in control and His will is still being performed on the earth.  Normally, in the case of His people and His elect angels, His will is being accomplished through their willful submission to His will and ways.   However, in the case of the rebellious lost and dark forces of this world, although they do not willfully submit to His authority, He still sovereignly, turns their rebellious acts into acts that ultimately fulfill His will on the earth.

May we always be thankful for His perfect control over all and His promise that all things will work together for His glory and our good.

 

May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks and many blessings to you for setting straight in my mind about the locusts. I wrestled with it for years whether they were actual locust or actual humans. Great study my friend in Christ.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      All the symbols of Revelation are really interesting to study and understand their Biblical symbolism. Throughout the years I have heard alot of differing opinions of who these locusts are. In my mind, based upon their context in Revelation and the other passages I have mentioned, I believe they represent demonic powers that are under His sovereign control. Lord bless you. So glad you are following the series and the Lord is blessing you! Thanks my friend.

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for sharing this

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