Summary: Study of the Book of Revelation
Revelation, Part 13
Last time, we went through the first four trumpets in Chapter 8, concluding with an angel flying about the skies proclaiming that the last three trumpets will be the worst ever! This sounding of the trumpets signifies that God’s wrath has begun on the Earth and those who are here have another chance to repent and turn to the Lord.
Read Revelation 9:1-10
I. The Fifth Trumpet- Locusts (v1-4)
A star has fallen
After the fifth angels sounds John sees a star fallen from heaven to earth. One of the hardest aspects in understanding Revelation is distinguishing between metaphor, literalism, and symbolism.
In Revelation 8 the word was used in a literal sense (asteroid). However, here the word “Star” is used in a metaphorical sense like a “Movie Star”. In Revelation 12:4, angels are referred to symbolically as “Stars” being cast (or sent) to earth.
Some have said that this angel is a Satan, since we see a star “Fallen”, the meaning here is one of descent to accomplish the task assigned to the angel, not a fall in position.
The star from heaven is given a key to the bottomless pit. This angel from Heaven has authority to open the bottomless pit. It is important to understand that this star is commanded by God.
Notice that this angel has a key. The key is the source of authority. I speculate if this is off the same key ring that Jesus took when he went to hell and took the keys from the devil?
This same angel seems to maintain the key of the bottomless pit, during the tribulation period. In Revelation 20:1-2, this same angel takes hold of Satan and binds for 1000 years in the same bottomless pit.
Rev 20:1 says, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.”
Notice where these locusts come from – they come from the Bottomless pit. Hades is where the un-saved go after death (Luke 16:23). The “Abyss” seems to be prison for demonic beings. For example -- The demons dwelling in the man from Gadarenes, called “Legion” begged Jesus not to send them to the abyss before their time.
John reports what he sees, to the reader. The smoke arising corresponds to the events taking place in the fourth trumpet, when the darkness (Revelation. 8:12-13) blocked a third of the Sun, moon and stars. Notice how all things tie together in God’s Word, and John is seeing a continual vision of future events.
During this period, the volcanic smoke from underneath the earth signals the visible signs of this judgment.
Locusts came from the smoke
John describes a type of “Locusts” which are unlike any being yet known to man. These have one purpose and function: to torment humanity. The question is, are these locusts in the physical or spiritual realm?
In Revelation John describes the physical and spiritual realms. His descriptions offer vivid pictures in both realms – making it easier for us to understand the importance of spreading God’s Word to this world.
We really need to get this in our soul – the judgments coming upon this Earth can be avoided – but they are coming on those who deny Jesus.
John compares their effect on mankind to that of a scorpion. Scorpion stings can cause death, but for the most are more painful then deadly.
These “locusts” are commanded and have a leader over them lends argument to them being both spiritual and physical in nature. These locusts are able to discern those who need punishing and those who do not (those who are saved or sealed).
We do not want to wait to be sealed – nor have our family and friends wait to be sealed.
Seal of God
The identity of those sealed would include the 144,000 and those who have come to Christ during this period of the tribulation. The Bible is clear, when someone finds Christ they are “Sealed” until the day of redemption.
These judgments are very real, and our understanding is critical. Let us not be the lukewarm church (Laodicea) who refuses to take a stand!
II. 5 months of Torment (v5-10)
The locusts operate under God’s authority.
The whole purpose of the torment is to help the lost make a decision for their eternity – remember that God will use anything to make His point known.
Those on the Earth will actually seek death! However, God in His mercy does not allow people to die and make a quick decision. The pain and suffering they experience is so intense they believe that dying is the only way to escape. If you are seeking death, then perhaps you are ready to seek life. Jesus is the life they need, and God is using this judgment to get their attention!