Summary: Father, Grant that my heart will embrace the blessings You have for me, in the Spirit in which they are given. Let Your blessings never distract me from You. May Your blessings never be a source of division between me and You, or me and Your people.
And the fifth angel played his trumpet, and I saw a star from heaven, fallen to the earth, and there was given to him the key to the pit of the Abusso
2. and he opened the pit of Abusso, and smoke went up out of the pit, like smoke of a huge furnace, and the sun and air were darkened by the smoke of the pit
3. and out of the smoke locusts came to the earth, and they were given power like the power scorpions have on the earth,
4. and they were told, do not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green, nor any tree, but just the men who don’t have the seal of God on their foreheads.
5. and they were given that they should not kill them, but in order to torment them five months and torment them like the torment of a scorpion, when it bites a person.
6. and in those days, men will seek death, but they will not find it, and they will long to die, and death will flee from them.
7. and the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle, and on their heads were crown-like things, like gold, and the their faces were like the faces of people,
8. and they had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions,
9. and they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound (voice) of their wings was the sound of many chariots with horses, rusing into battle
10. and they have tails like scorpions, and stings, and in their tails they have the power to harm people for five months.
11. they have a king over them, the angle of the Abusso, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
12. the first Woe is past. Look, two more Woes are coming after these things.
v 1 The Abusso (Lk 8:31; Rom 10:7; Rev 9:2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 21:1-3)
v 3 Locusts, again, remind us of the plagues of Egypt (Exo 10:12-19; Joel 1:2-2:11; 2 Chron 7:13-14; v 7).
v 4 Ordinary locusts attack plants, but these extraordinary locusts have only the power to attack rebellious human beings. They, like scorpions, cause great pain. As in Egypt, the people of God are protected, or sealed by God from the outpouring of God’s wrath (Exo 8:22; 9:4, 26; etc.).
v 6 Men will seek death, but be unable to die. This is difficult to imagine. People who have experienced the horrors of war, or the ravages of a life-threatening disease like cancer, or experienced great loss and grief, may know what it is to wish for death to come. But this generation will wish to die, maybe even attempt to die, and yet they will be unable to. Imagine a man throwing himself from the top of a building, breaking his mangled body against the pavement, yet, screaming in pain and ruined, unable to die. The image is grim, grotesque, and horrific.
vv 7-10 These demonic beasts are ugly things. John tries to describe them, but he seems to have difficulty relating these images to any creature or machine of his time. The Italian word for locust is cavalletta, or little horse. The sting of these creatures could be translated goad (Acts 26:14; 1 Cor 15:55). Notice they are not any particular thing-they are like men, like lions, like scorpions, like horses, with things like crowns and iron breastplates. They are like many things, but unlike anything in John’s experience.
v 11 Abaddon, or destroyer is a great description of Satan (Exo 12:23; Jer 4:7; 1 Cor 10:10). The Greek name Apollyon has the same root as the name Apollo. Interestingly, Caligula, and Nero, each infamous for his destructive use of power, venerated the Greek god Apollo, and Domitian claimed to be an incarnation of the false deity.
v 12 this Woe is only the 5th of the 7 Trumpet judgments. Two more are coming. After these things is, again, meta tauta (1:19; 4:1; 7:1).
The Original Death Star
In chapters 6 and 8 we see stars and mountains falling to the earth. This star is not a meteor, however, it is a person. He has keys to the Abyss, and he releases creatures from this pit that torment those who are on the earth. That release results in such suffering that people wish they could die, but they can’t. They are sent, released for torment, for judgment. And they are released by the sounding of a trumpet.
Seals, Trumpets & Bowls as Instruments of Punishment
A seal on a scroll was a means of hiding then revealing the list of items for a beneficiary to inherit. A Trumpet is an instrument of music, worship, celebration and, sometimes, calls to military movement. A bowl is a vessel for nourishment. In the Revelation of Jesus, each of these instruments of blessing is used as a means of judgment. We’ll talk later about bowls. Today, let’s consider the seals and the trumpets.