Summary: Demonic locusts released from the bottomless pit
The Trumpet Judgments, Part II (Rev 9:1-11)
And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" Rev 8:13, NKJV
Last week, we returned to our study in Revelation in Chapter 8 with the opening of the Seventh Seal, which in turn resulted in the beginning of the Trumpet Judgments. We studied the first four of these judgments, which are:
Hail and fire mixed with blood, destroying vegetation
Meteor strike, polluting the Mediterranean Sea or perhaps an ocean
Wormwood, perhaps a comet, making bitter a vast amount of the water
Darkening of the Sun, Moon and stars
These first four trumpets were ecological in scope; in other words, they were God ordained forces of nature that affected nature itself. The result was what we would call ecological disasters, and these would be catastrophic in extent. Yet, as mentioned in last week's Monday devotional, things can get worse and in this case they do with the opening of the three "Woe Trumpets".
The English term woe is translated from the Koine Greek ouai (oo-ah'-ee); a primary exclamation of grief; "woe" (New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary). MacArthur states in his Revelation 1-11 Commentary: Woe is used throughout Scripture, an expression of judgment, destruction, and condemnation. Jesus pronounced the "woes" on Jerusalem, Bethsaida and Chorazin in the Gospels, stating among the woe pronouncements that if Sodom and Gomorrah had seen the mighty works he had done they would have repented.
In short, ouai is a prophetic pronouncement of coming doom and gloom upon a people; and the fact that this angel uses the term three times has a dual significance. First, it means that doom and gloom are coming, and it will result in great grief and misery (picture grief X 3) in those affected, the "inhabitants of the earth" which is a euphemism in Revelation for those that reject the gospel (MacArthur). Secondly, the term is used three times because there are three trumpets yet to sound.
The eagle is a bird of prey, and the vision is one of coming condemnation. Robert L. Thomas notes in his landmark Revelation 8-22 An Exegetical Commentary that "the picture is that of a strong bird rushing to it's prey, in this case referring to the rapid approach of God's remaining vengence...at one extreme, the eagle speaks of the salvation of God for Israel, reminding that the plagues are the birth pangs of God's new age (Ex 19:4) but at another it is a bird of prey, associated with blood, death and rotting flesh (Job 39:27-30) In addition, the eagle flies high up in the air, is visible to all, and it's call is unmistakable; it is also possible this is the fourth cherub mentioned in Revelation 4.
As bad as things have been so far in Revelation, the worst is to come.
The Trumpet Judgments; Demons From The Deep, Part I
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. Rev 9:1
The next three trumpet judgments are ones that are much worse than the previous four. They regard the demonic realm. The star fallen from heaven here is not an object from outer space--it is obviously an intelligent being referred to as "him" with the key to the bottomless pit. Who, then is this star?
By letting Scripture interpret Scripture, we see that this is Satan. In Revelation 12, which we will study in a few months, the story of the fall of Satan and his fallen angels is told. The illustration is given of Satan being a great dragon, and how "his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth" (Rev 12:4, NKJV). A few verses later, we see Scripture interpret Scripture:
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Rev 12:9, NKJV
Now you might be looking at Revelation 9:1 and make the statement "this star will be thrown down in the future." But in the Koine Greek the action is in past perfect tense, and in the NKJV translation it is as well: "I saw a star fallen from heaven". The KJV says I saw a star fall, which would seem to indicate that it was happening as John was watching, but the NASB does the best translation with "I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth". That Satan fell was an action which happened and is permanent; his normal place of dwelling is here on earth. Satan does appear before God from time to time in Heaven, as is seen in the book of Job; yet his normal place of habitation is Earth.