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“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. 6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. 7 The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. 8 They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. 12 One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.”


The final three trumpets summon three woes to call attention to the severity of the last three judgments (8:13).  The bowl judgments yet to come are even greater in intensity. 

9:1

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.

The fifth trumpet covers the first eleven verses.  Since God gives this trumpet notable attention by its length, we infer that the events of this trumpet carry great weight in God’s economy of things. 

The fifth trumpet causes John to see a fallen star from heaven, this “star” is Satan.  The Greek indicates that this star is in a fallen state.  Satan fell from heaven because god kicked him out of heaven (Is 14:12f; Lu 10:18; Re 12:7-17).

God gave Satan a “key” to allow demons in the Abyss to come out and torment the earth.  The “bottomless pit” is a residence of demons (9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3).  It is a place of confinement for fallen angels. 

9:2

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.

The “he” in this verse is a person — Satan.  God cast him out of heaven at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Re 12:9, the Great Tribulation begins half way through the Tribulation).  Satan is Lucifer turned Devil.

9:3

Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Scripture associates locusts with judgment (Ex. 10:12-17).  Locusts can come in such great swarms that they destroy everything in their path. 

This passage does not say that these demons were scorpions but simply that they have the power of a scorpion. 

9:4

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.

The demons do not hurt vegetation or the ecological system; they hurt people. These demons hurt everyone except the 144,000 because God protects them with His seal.  God guards these leaders from demonic possession. 

God sends these demons to afflict the earth with His discipline.  God places certain restrictions on these invaders.  They can hurt only those God allows them to hurt and only for a limited period.  God sovereignly controls the demonic world.

9:5

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.

God gave them “authority” to do this so they are not autonomous in their destruction.  God limits their torture to five months. 

9:6

In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.

Men will seek to commit suicide but they will not be able to die.  Their torture is not fatal.  For five months funeral directors will be out of work.

9:7

The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.

John enumerates eight characteristics of these demons.  First, their shape was like horses prepared for battle.  These creatures had mobility.  These were invading creatures.  They came like cavalry.  Secondly, they had crowns like gold, a distinctive of a conqueror.  This could refer to the domination of demons with the cultic thinking.  Thirdly, their faces were like the faces of men.  This may imply intelligence. 

Locusts were a nemesis in the day of the Bible.  Hoards of locusts could wipe out a crop in one day.

9:8

They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.

The fourth characteristic of these demons is that they have hair of women.  This may infer long, loose hair, giving the impression of ferocious beings.  The opposite interpretation might be true as well, that they are of such striking beauty and charisma that few can reject their false teaching.  Many will buy into their propaganda because of the authority and power of these false teachers. 

Their teeth will be like lion’s teeth.  This is a symbol of something frightening.  Those who surrender to false teaching will find it vile and hurtful to their belief.  False teachers will show no mercy on their followers. 

9:9

And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.

Fifth, they had breastplates like iron.  This may have been a chariot of iron.  These demons were not vulnerable to attack. 

Sixth, the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots going into battle.  The sound of false teaching can intimidate

9:10

They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months.

These locusts did not attack crops but people.  God only gave permission to execute judgment for five months. 

9:11

And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

These demons have a king; he is Satan

“Abaddon” means destruction.

PRINCIPLE:

No demon can possess a Christian.

APPLICATION:

The judgment of God is real.  This section of Scripture is not a place for amusement.  False teaching is no joke.  When people follow false teaching it always leads to despair.  This will increase with great severity in the Tribulation.  Today, people fall into “strong delusion” as well.  Satanic power will drive people from lie to lie.  They want to believe anything but the truth.  No demon can touch those with the seal of God on them.  No demon can possess a Christian.  The Christian is “in Christ.”  He holds the same status that Jesus holds before God forever.

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