Revelation 9:1-12 NKJV 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. (2) And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. (3) Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. (4) They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. (5) And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. (6) In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. (7) The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. (8) They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. (9) And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. (10) They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. (11) And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. (12) One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.
I’ve read more interpretations to those locusts than I care to think about. I’ve seen those locusts placed at more time periods that I care to count. The fact of the matter is, we wouldn’t expect to see physical locusts fitting that description. Most people know those locusts are a symbol. The question is, after reading Revelation chapter 8, why would people take shortcuts interpreting those symbols, the time frame, and the entire prophecy and vision?
We see an angel coming down to earth to open what was described as a bottomless pit. In Heaven, angels can see this world, and God sees everything that happens in this world. What would a bottomless pit represent? In simple terms, the pit tells us it contains an endless string of deceptions. Locusts came out and their leader was the devil.
The star is referred to as a person. Coming from the sky tells us, he was an angel. Previous chapters in Revelation told how a star is used to represent an angel. That particular angel needed a key. He also had to receive orders, and follow specific instructions and timing. All of those orders originated at God’s throne.
Revelation chapter 8 told us about the sun, moon, stars, day, and night loosing a third of their light. Chapter 9 tells us about smoke coming out of a bottomless pit turning sunlight dark. What do we get when we combine the two trumpets? We see how the light was darkened. Previous chapters in Revelation told us how deceptions would creep in. That pits tells us, the devil will have more deceptions than we can count. That tells us, the devil will try hard to hide the true identity of those locusts as well as the lessons in this chapter, and the entire book of Revelation.
Let’s take a quick look from Heaven to see what John saw. He looked in the pit that was opened and couldn’t see the bottom. How else would he describe that pit. The angel was described as a star. Compared to the darkness from that pit, the angel was nothing less than a contrast.
First smoke came out of the pit. In warfare, smoke is used as a screen, or type of camouflage. The devil doesn’t want this world to see what is happening. That is why it is important to stick with a vision from Heaven. The locusts came from the pit, then descended upon the earth. Are they trying to imitate angels from Heaven? They don’t look like angels? Who could mix them up?
Previous chapters in Revelation described beings in Heaven with different faces. Those locusts had human faces. What does that tell us? Look at those locusts from the aspect of how they would approach people. First you would see their faces and crowns. Then you’d see the similarities to a horse, than a locust, and lastly, you’d see the tail of a scorpion. It is plain to see they are designed to deceive. First they hide their identity until they were close enough to use that stinging tail. The smoke is used to conceal their real identity and intent.
The story formed its own link between grass, trees, and people. A symbol we’ve seen before in Revelation. We are in a building process. Since the vision reviews details we’ve learned, we can expect this part will add to that knowledge.
For some reason those locusts were told to only torture people, not kill them for five months. Why that time period, and what does it mean? It is a physical five months or a spiritual five months? How do we find out? Does context provide the answer? The vision uses symbolism, so the five months must also be a symbol. Pointing to what though? The only thing we are told is, people will seek death in those days. Was, or is there a time when a great number of people looked forward to dying?
As with real locusts, those symbols have wings. They can fly. They can cover great distances in a short amount of time. But why? For what? They follow orders from Satan. No matter what they do, it leads to no good.
What on earth could fit the description John recorded? Is that how Heaven views evil angels? Are those locusts evil angels? How would an evil angel look to you if you were and angle in paradise?
The end of the fifth trumpet ends with a warning. We have two more terrors to look at.