In chapter 8, we read about the blowings of the first four trumpets of God, in which each signal and announce the next stage of the end times. We are then told that there are three woes about to come. In chapter 9, we will see the ushering-in of these first two woes, which will be a time of troubles and tribulation never before seen on earth.
(Revelation 9:1) And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
As the fifth trumpet is blown, a star will from from heaven, which is the spiritual influence of satan on earth, and this will be stronger at this time than ever before. He will also be given the key to the bottomless pit, which is where his fallen angels, those who made the decision to attempt to thwart God’s plan and come to earth to wreak havoc for Him on two separate occasions in the past, are currently held. With satan being given the key to this holding place, he is being given partial and temporary control once again over them for the ultimate good of God’s purpose. Later in Revelation, we will learn what this ultimate good is.
This 5th trumpet announces the first half of the tribulation.
(Revelation 9:2) And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
With this key, satan opens up the bottomless pit to release these demonic beings physically. Up until now, since they have been under lock and key as we are told in Jude, they have only been able to have a mild spiritual presence and influence on earth, but now they will be free to roam. However, they will not come to earth immediately upon their escape. They will first begin a war in heaven against God’s angels for the first half of the tribulation, which in totality is known as the hour of temptation.
(Rev 12:6) And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
(Rev 12:7) And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
(Rev 12:8) And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
(Rev 12:9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
(Rev 12:10) And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
(Rev 12:11) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
(Rev 12:12) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
This woman in verse 12:6 represents God’s elect, the children of Israel (not to be confused with the nation of Israel in the Middle East), and they are about to head into the wilderness (which brings to mind the story of Moses and his people), in which God will take care of His elect and make sure they stay safe. This wondering in the wilderness of the second half of the tribulation was originally told to be 1230 days (3 1/2 years), before the timespan was shortened per Jesus, and this 1230 days corresponds to satan’s time on earth as antichrist, and is written there to remind us of this time period. Once the fallen angels are released, there will be war in Heaven, in which they will battle God’s angelic army, but they will not be able to defeat God, and Michael, one of God’s archangels, will cast satan and his cronies down to earth for the final half of the tribulation as part of God’s plan to test those on earth. This casting down will happen after the 6th trumpet, as we will find out in the next couple chapters.
Satan will be given a short time here on earth to deceive the world into leaving God and worshiping him instead. He will claim to be God and perform many miracles, but only those who truly know Jesus and His Word will be able to overcome satan’s deception.
(Rev 8:1) And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
In this verse of chapter 8, the seven seals have just finished being opened, signaling the vision of the seven trumpets to start for John. This can be confusing because the seals, like everything else in the Bible, have different levels of meaning. This does not mean that the trumpets start being blown after the 7th seal is opened because that would be mixing the levels of understanding. For our purposes here, we are talking about the actual chronological events of the trumpets. The seals, in the sense that they represent understanding of the end times, mean understanding of the last generation, and the 7th seal is the understanding of the events of the tribulation, including the trumpets.
When the 7th seal was opened in chapter 7, leading into verse 8:1, there was finally silence in Heaven for one half hour, half of the tribulation, because after the war between the angels in Heaven, satan and the fallen angels are to be cast down to earth for the second half hour of the tribulation. Once this happens, Heaven will finally be silent for that second half, as we are going to enter a period of testing no one has ever experienced.
(Revelation 9:3) And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
Out of this pit, first comes smoke, which is the deception of satan that attempts to obscure and cover the light of God’s truth, just as smoke can extinguish the daylight. This smoke, in the first half of the tribulation, really begins to cover the earth, as the deception of the tribulation is begun. While these demons are physically still in Heaven, their spiritual influence will be all over the earth with satan’s, and this influence brings about the one world political system. This will prepare the world for the next step of the plan so the people are ready to accept him as their savior instead of Jesus.
This is one of the locust armies forecast by Joel the prophet in the Old Testament. The first is the “gnawer” stage, which is the kenites gnawing away at our freedoms. Second is the “swarmer” stage, the arab muslims swarming the world to attempt to attain world dominance. The third is the “devourer,” which are the fallen angels devouring men from the inside out. And the Fourth, and final stage, is the “consumer,” in which satan and his fallen angels are on earth physically in person. With this 5th Trump, we are at the “devourer” stage.
They will be like scorpions, which devour their prey by stinging and first digesting their victims from the inside, before sucking and consuming those digested innards. These demons will be preparing man by turning his mind into mush before they arrive in person to spiritually consume those they have deceived. This smoke of deception will be their sting.
(Revelation 9:4) And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
The grass here emphasizes the frailty of flesh mankind and the green things are those who are spiritually healthy, the bride of Christ, and those trees are people. The demons are commanded by God not to hurt anyone on earth until those chosen by God are sealed with understanding the Holy Spirit would give them to lock away in their minds.
(Rev 7:1) And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
(Rev 7:2) And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
(Rev 7:3) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
(Rev 7:4) And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Chapter 7, the 6th seal, details the sealing of God’s chosen before the arrival of antichrist, who is satan, on earth. The sealing will protect those sealed from falling to satan’s deception and worshiping him, which would have otherwise caused them to receive the mark of the beast. Everyone on earth will have either the Seal of God or the Mark of the Beast in their minds.
(Revelation 9:5) And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
Those without the Seal of God will be tormented during this time by the full-strength lies of satan. Not only that, but in a few chapters, we will see the fate of those who receive the Mark of the Beast as the 7 angles pour out their vials.
(Revelation 9:6) And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
This is twofold in the sense that those who are deceived will believe satan is God, and they will want to leave they earth and be with him in a spirit form, but when they receive the initial punishment for their transgressions, they will be suffering as they never have before, but yet they will still not repent. They will believe they are doing what God wants them to and will not understand why they are suffering. They have chosen to ignore God’s Word, which is why they are so easily deceived.
(Revelation 9:7) And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
These locusts are doing battle here on earth, but they will soon be here in person and will battle like they’ve never done before. They will assume the role of spiritual leaders peddling a false doctrine, that only appears to be the doctrine of God to most in the world. But it is not really the pure gold from Jesus, and those who study His Word thoroughly will know the difference. They will seem to be people, and will appear not only harmless, but benevolent.
(Revelation 9:8) And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
They will appear to be beautiful and angelic and good to those that are unlearned, but they are actually ferociously evil and ready to destroy souls. These demons will fool you with their gentleness and kill you with kindness.
(Revelation 9:9) And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
Breastplates were the attire of the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament, meaning that these fallen angels will pretend to serve God, but the breastplates that they would wear are not of gold, they are of iron. This iron construction calls to mind the iron used in the idol made by Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3, in which the iron represents the demonic fallen angels that will intermix with the men, which are the clay. The wings they have here are the protection of satan, which is only superficial because God allows them all to do what they’re doing to accomplish His plan. He could wipe them out at any time if He wanted to, yet He uses their evil for the benefit of us all in the end.
(Revelation 9:10) And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
As we are told by Jesus, He shortened the time of the tribulation, both the first and second halves. Originally the tribulation was told to be 7 years, meaning spiritual completion, and was in two 3 1/2 month halves. But the length of the shortening we are given is 10 months, the same as the length of the flood in Noah’s time, with two 5-month halves. This is the first half, and people are being prepared by the scorpions by being turned to mush, as preparation from the second half, when the evil ones are here to take control of the world, de facto.
(Revelation 9:11) And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
Of course, as we now know, their leader is satan, the destroyer (Apollyon). He is given the key and is the one who releases them from the pit at the right time.
(Revelation 9:12) One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
The 5th trump has been the first of the three woes about which we foretold about in chapter 8. We are about to enter into the Second Woe, which will be worse than the first.
(Revelation 9:13) And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Those four horns of the altar of God are those who have power under God. They are the four archangels, who are like God’s main generals.
(Revelation 9:14) Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.
As the 6th trumpet is blown, satan’s counterparts to God’s archangels are released in the middle east, at the Euphrates, the symbolic boundary between the ways of the heathens in Babylon and the ways of God’s people. The ways of Babylon are about to spread completely to the remaining part of the world as the religion of Mystery Babylon, the one world religious system of satan.
(Revelation 9:15) And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
Satan’s four generals have been held in place for this very prophetic time. They are coming, hoping to deceive the rest of the world which has held out its allegiance, including God’s elect which have not faltered. Of course, since God’s elect have been sealed, they will continue to hold strong.
(Revelation 9:16) And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
This is an idiom meaning they will be innumerable.
(Rev 9:17) And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
Again, these beings are ready to tear people’s souls to pieces. They will have a false gospel, and their deception will cover up the light of God’s truth.
(Rev 9:18) By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
Those who have not yet submitted to this world system, but do not have God’s Seal, will finally whore after satan and receive the Mark of the Beast, as satan’s deception convinces them.
(Rev 9:19) For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
The authority they are given for deception is by their words, and is able to poison the minds of those who would allow themselves to be stung. They are just as evil as the old serpent, satan, and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish their objectives.
(Rev 9:20) And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
(Rev 9:21) Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Those who are not physically harmed in this time, yet who don’t have eyes to see and ears to hear God’s truth, and are victims of this deception, will not repent: They don’t even know enough to realize how wrong they are.
This is the reason we study God’s Word. We don’t want to fall victim to satan. Though these people will be satan’s victims, they will still be held accountable for their inadequacy. Study and prepare so that you will be one that will please God.