Summary: Chapter 9 of the Book of Revelations begins the Woe's as God sounds out his fifth and six trumpet judgments. We'll examine the 200 million man army and the demonic locusts.
The Book of Revelation
“Woe to the World”
Last week we looked at the first four trumpet judgments against heaven and earth. They resulted in a third of the vegetation, sea life, fresh water, and light being destroyed and diminished. Literally a third of the earth’s food supply and water are gone, and a third of natural light will be eliminated.
After the fourth trumpet sounded an angel announced for all to hear that the final three trumpet judgments were about to be sounded, each measurable worse than the one before it. These will be so horrifying that God assigned a “woe” to each one, indicating that each will bring extreme grief, distress, suffering, affliction, and calamity.
Read Revelation 9:1-12
Fifth Trumpet Judgment: Demonic Locust.
We see a star falling from heaven, but it’s not a meteorite, rather it’s an angelic being. The reason I say this is because John uses a personal pronoun describing the star, calling it “him,” and that he is given a key and opens the door to the abyss reveals intelligence. And then in Revelation chapter one there were stars in the hand of Jesus that were called angels or messengers.
Now some have speculated that this angel is Satan seeing that he has fallen from heaven and had these keys, but there are some problems with this. Satan no longer possesses the keys of Hades and Death, Revelation 1:18, and the idea that Jesus would return them to Satan seem untenable to me.
Further, fallen here doesn’t mean rejected or ousted, but rather he was sent on a mission from heaven to earth for this specific purpose. And so this angel is one of the good guys on a divine mission to begin the fifth trumpet judgment.
The word abyss means “no depth,” which is why it’s also referred to the “bottomless pit.” It refers to a deep cavern within the depths of the earth. The Scriptures speak of this place as the place where fallen angels, or demons, are incarcerated. You may say its demon jail. The demons that possessed the Gaderene man begged Jesus not to cast them into this place, Luke 8:31.
And so we see an angel from heaven that has been given the keys to this abyss opening this dark hellish prison of demons. And the smoke of hell literally rises above the earth so thick and dark that it blocks out the sun.
From this abyss come a plague of demonic locusts that last for approximately five months, and all those upon the earth, with the exception of the 144,000, will experience horror after horror.
A plague of locust is one of the most feared plagues. Locust would invade a country stripping it clean of every green thing bringing severe famine. Such plagues generally occur from May through September, or a five-month period.
God also uses a locust plague as divine judgment against people. We see it used by God in the eighth plague against Egypt. And we see the same thing recorded in Joel. The Lord said,
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25 NKJV)
But these are no ordinary locust as their description indicates, further they have the power to hurt through scorpion-like tails. These demons assume a locust-like form. The fact that they are demons and not locust is seen in their leader who is named “Apollyon,” which means “destroyer.” Normal locust have no leader, they move where the winds blow.
Further, these locusts come from the abyss where evil spirits are imprisoned, and they attack only human beings rather than vegetation. And they are hell bent on spreading as much misery as they possible can, inflicting horrible excruciating agony.
The idea of having scorpion tails only adds to the horror. Not only are locusts the most feared plagues, but also they belong to the largest and most deadly insect tribe. Their bite can sometimes be fatal, thus ranking them with snakes in their hostility towards human beings.
Yet, as malignant as these demonic creatures are, the Lord God has set upon them certain limitations. In other words, they can only go as far as the Lord permits. Not even their demonic leader can change that.
First they were to leave the vegetation alone and attack only humans. Isn’t ironic, here we have rebellion turning upon itself, as these demons who are in rebellion to God are inflicting pain on humans who are also in rebellion to God.
Second, they cannot harm those with God’s seal upon their foreheads, or the 144,000.
Finally, they’re not allowed to kill, only to torment. This word torment means acute pain, and from this pain people are going to want to die but they won’t be able to.