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Displaying items by tag: Locusts

11 And they had a king over them, who is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue he has the name Apollyon.

12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more after these.

 

Part 4 - Revelation 9:11-12

 

*** The king of the locust/scorpion army ***: So far, we’ve learned from the message of the fifth trumpet that one of the angels sinned and was cast out of Heaven. That angel was Satan. He gained the domain of the Earth when Adam and Eve listened to the lies he was telling about God’s character. Adam and Eve decided to follow what Satan was telling them through the serpent. By doing so, the humans gave him permission to take the lead. God permitted Satan to perform his activities for some time but God also set some boundaries. Satan did not have free reign over all humans. He did not allow any satanic activity to deceive the true believers. The ones with the Seal of God are immune to Satan’s deceiving tactics. His lies, however, can afflict the nonbelievers for some time. At a certain point in history, Satan and his army of fallen angels and false prophets went out in full force to deceive the nations and torment the non-believers. The weapons used to inflict torment are powered by lies, just like the one the serpent used to torment Eve when she was standing by the forbidden tree.

Eve was a believer but the moment she stopped to entertain the serpent's accusations, doubt came to her mind. She found herself having to choose between trust in God or in her own self-importance. This is the type of torment Satan inflict on people who decide to put themselves first. Eve rejected the protection God offers to the believer, and by doing so, she made herself vulnerable to the enemy's weapons. Satan's torturing methods can reach someone who has rejected God's protection. The torment then becomes the endless quest to satisfy Self. Even today, the serpent's arguments appear to be attractive and reasonable but they are very dangerous. So much so, that Satan’s army was described in a very bizarre way, compared to horse-like locusts and as deadly as scorpions.

The lies deployed among the people are deadly. Satan’s army is working to destroy God’s prized possession: humanity. We will see in the seventh trumpet that God will pour His wrath over those “who destroy the Earth” (Revelation 11:18). Unlike a real swarm of locusts, who do not have a king (Proverbs 30:27) and destroy the earth by instinct, Satan’s swarm has a leader. Revelation 9:11 identifies this leader. He has 2 names, one in Hebrew (Abandon), and one in Greek (Apollyon). In Hebrew, the word Abandon means “destruction”. In Greek, Apollyon means “destroyer”. Satan is this destroyer king. Destruction with lasting consequences comes when people believe in and follow satanic propositions and philosophies. Jesus said: “But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:40,44). There is no solution for the person who refuses to accept the truth. Jesus offers a way out of the sin problem, but the person needs to choose to have their spiritual eyes and ears opened. The understanding of God’s truths brings healing to the soul from the injuries caused by Satan’s weapons (Matthew 13:15).

Satan is the mind behind the attacks on the inhabitants of the Earth. He is injecting poisonous lies, and deceiving the people. 1 Peter 5:8 says: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour”. If we left things at this point, it would seem that the situation is very grim and hopeless. We must remember that when people are truly and deeply rooted in the Word of God, Satan’s arrows cannot penetrate their hearts. The verse that comes right before the one saying that Satan is seeking to devour people, says: “Cast all your anxiety on Him [Jesus], because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). God’s faithful people must trust Him. He is our Protector. The ones who decide to turn around and repent, God will protect them as well. We all must be willing to receive His protection.

*** One woe is past, two more to come ***: The fifth trumpet identified Satan’s organized attack to deceive people and keep them blinded towards God’s truth. After the description of the fifth trumpet, we read in Revelation 9:12 a warning very similar to the one stated in Revelation 8:13. The intensity of the mental torment went up from the third to the fourth and from the fourth to the fifth trumpets. We can now expect that the events coming up with the last two trumpets will be even more intense for those who choose not to follow God.

*** Prophetic Application ***: The fourth trumpet represented the period of apostasy that was seen during the Age of Enlightenment, from the 16th to the 18th centuries (see study #55). The fifth trumpet depicts the spiritual consequences which followed that time. One of the satanic philosophical weapons seen in this period is the transition from a frame of mind where God is the center of thought to one where man is the focus instead. People replaced God with Self. They replaced Biblical reasoning with self-centered emotions. Being involved with a particular religion, denomination, or being totally opposed to any form of belief in God is no longer the strategy Satan is using. As long as Self is under the spotlight, self-proclaimed Christian churches may go on promoting empty outbursts of emotion; encouraging behaviors during the worship service that have no purpose towards understanding God’s truth; or preaching a message solely focused on material benefits to be enjoyed here on Earth. By placing Self at the center of the stage, Satan is working to create a scenario where there is no distinction among name-only Christians, atheists, and believers of any faith. Self is the equalizer. Self is the common ground. People fueled by Self can never run with their engines full. Humans were not created to run on Self. Unless we have the right fuel on board, people will be tormented to find something else to fill the void. Satan is on the lookout for that opportunity to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The prophetic period of the fifth trumpet covers from the 18th century to our present day.

*** Overview ***: The objective of the locust army is to destroy the Earth. That is achieved by weapons that can affect people spiritually. The attack on the Truth does not happen by chance and is devised by the king of destruction, the father of lies (John 8:44), Satan himself. Demonic forces work to convince people to change what is the core of their existence. The appeal to have Self at the center is very strong. He makes it seem that this is the way to bring about unification, peace, and equality. However, a true connection cannot happen outside the parameters established by God. A stable and permanent bond can only occur when people attach themselves to the Word of God. God must be at the core. We are not called to compromise the truth in order to get along with each other. We are called to a totally new path, where we are the ones changed by God. We cannot change and adapt God to be who we want Him to be depending on individual beliefs, in the name of peace. God does not force anyone to change sides and connect to Him directly. We are not called to force others into connecting either. Satan is the one coercing people into joining together in unnatural ways. That is why he has the power to afflict these people because they are not attached to a solid core. Satan works to set in motion his means of torment, trapping people in an endless search to fill their inner void. This is what he wants them to believe: when Self is the center of life, there is no need for a Savior; if there is no savior, there is no hope; if there is no hope, life has no meaning; if life has no meaning, a meaning must be established; if a new meaning must be established, it must be one that makes Self feel good and fulfilled; if Self can’t feel good and fulfilled, then life has no real meaning, and there is no real hope because there is no Savior, and therefore, Self must be the center of life. This never-ending pendular movement desensitizes people and keeps them from breaking with the pattern. They become unable to see and hear God’s call for repentance. Matthew 13:15 says: “For this people’s heart has grown callous; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn, and I would heal them.

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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.

8   And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

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.

10  And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

 

Part 3 - Revelation 9:7-10

 

*** The shape of the locusts: After studying the first 6 verses of Revelation 9, it is clear that John is using the concept of locusts to represent satanic forces at work on the Earth. Over the past 2 lessons, we’ve learned who they are, and what they are doing. Revelation 9:7-10 gives us details on the appearance of the locusts. John uses a series of symbols to describe how frightening the swarm of locusts really is. It seems that John borrowed the general concept and language from Joel 2:4-10. It is possible that the strange description of the locusts is meant to be understood as a whole, as it portrays the terrible torment the locusts will bring about. But it is worth it to see what concepts we find in the Bible that can help us understand the nature of God’s enemy.

Locusts like battle horses: Most often than not, in the Old Testament, horses are associated with an army (1 Kings 20:25;  1 Kings 4:26; Exodus 14:23;  2 Chronicles 1:14; Jeremiah 46:4). The swarm of locusts seems to be ready for battle. The locusts have been at war for a long time since it started in Heaven (Revelation 12:7-9), before Satan fell. We can see that locusts are in a spiritual fight against those with the seal of God. Revelation 12:11 tells us that the way to overcome evil and be victorious in this war, is “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony”. These horse-like locusts are on a mission to hurt people and torment them with lies that can affect them spiritually. This can be seen as a contrast to the horses mentioned in the Seven Seals. When we studied the seals, we read that the first horseman had a conquering mission (Revelation 6:2). Horseman and horse went out to conquer for God, as a symbol of the Truth spreading out, as the Gospel was being preached throughout the World (study #38). The locusts coming out of the pit look like horses, but they are not the same horses found on God’s side. They are on an opposing mission, to spread false information.

Heads like crowns: The Greek word for crown used here is the stephanos, which is the victory crown, not a royal crown. The Bible teaches us that we will receive the stephanos crown once Christ's victory is made clear, after He returns (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). Also, the ones with the seal of God are seen wearing the white robe of victory only after they come out of the tribulation (Revelation 7:9). The locusts, however, have their own version of victory, different from what God says it actually is. In that sense, the locusts are deceiving the world with their impressive appearance. When talking about the tribulation, Jesus warned us about how false prophets would go to great lengths to deceive people (Matthew 24:24).

Faces like human faces: This is not the first time in the Bible when God’s enemy is described as having human features. We read in Daniel 7:8,25 about the little horn power that has “eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” “against the most High”. The satanic entities, represented by the locusts, appear to be like humans. On the other hand, “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). When God created man, God gave him life and a spiritual nature. The human face the locusts have makes them look like they also have a spiritual value that is worth something.

Hair like women’s hair: In Bible analogies, the term woman is used as a symbol for the church, whether the woman is being portrayed as faithful or unfaithful (Jeremiah 6:2; Isaiah 51:16; Ephesians 5:25-32; see other bible references in study #20). The woman component in the description of the locusts suggests that the enemy also presents himself in a church form.

Teeth like lion’s teeth: In Joel 1:1-12, we read about how the land was destroyed by locusts. But the destroyer was not an actual swarm of locusts. It was a nation that had lion’s teeth (Joel 1:6). In the book of Psalms, David used the imagery of teeth as a symbol of how people could fall prey to the lion’s lies (Psalm 57; Psalm 58). The lion's teeth suggest that the locusts also have government powers.

Breastplates: The breastplate is a piece of the armor designed to protect the heart and other vital organs. In Ephesians 6:10-17, we read about the armor of God. We are told, in verse 14, that Christians should wear breastplates made of righteousness. God’s righteousness is what protects the heart of the believer against enemy attacks. The locusts in Revelation also have breastplates, but they are not made of a spiritual material. They appear to be made of iron. Going back to the little horn in Daniel 7, which had the features of a man, we see something very interesting. The little horn came out of the fourth beast, and it had “great iron teeth” (Daniel 7:7-8). Daniel used the imagery of beasts to represent kingdoms (Daniel 7:17). Based on the description of the lion from Joel 1:6, and Daniel 7:17, we see that the satanic activities described in Revelation 9 were, in a way, wrapped by a nation ruling here on Earth.

The sound of the wings: Once again, we see a strong similarity between the fifth trumpet and Joel 2. Joel 2:5 says: “Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.” In Joel 2:4-5, we see that the war horses run and the chariots leap on the tops of the mountains. The verse in Revelation uses the word wings. Not only we have here the concept of an army running, but also of an army flying. Revelation 9:9 gives the reader the idea of movement, speed, and loud sound, as the locusts fiercely move in the direction of the war. They seem to be charging: “as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle” (Revelation 9:9).

Tails: In lesson #58, we learned: “the prophet that teaches lies, he is the tail”, and he will be cut off from among the people of God (Isaiah 9:14,15). The poison of the scorpion is in the tail. Scorpions use their tails to inject venom in their victims. The focus of the symbolism here are the lies that are poisoning those who are not careful to protect themselves with God's truth. The military formation of these locusts tells us they are ready for battle, but their attacks on people happen on a spiritual level, through lying and deceiving. They are in the middle of a spiritual war.

*** The power to hurt for five months ***: The power of this bizarre horse and scorpion-like entity will afflict people with lies for a limited amount of time: five months. As we saw in study #58, this period reminds of some examples in the Bible, more specifically the story of Noah’s Ark (please see study #58 for a detailed explanation about the five-month period).

*** Overview ***: The army of locusts represent the demonic forces in attack formation. Their weapons are very dangerous: false teachings that can confuse people and lead them away from the true message of God. The attacks are only directed at the people who had not received God’s seal (Revelation 9:4). Those with His seal are immune to such attacks because once they know and live the Truth, they cannot believe any of the lies that are presented to them. There is still time for the people who dwell on Earth to repent and turn to God. The warning in the fifth trumpet must inform them of their vulnerability to the enemy’s attacks. It also serves the purpose to remind the ones with the seal of God about the strength they have against the enemy, through the blood of Jesus Christ.

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 who have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

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 it strikes a man.

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.

 

Part 2 - Revelation 9:4-6

 

*** The command not to hurt the green vegetation ***: Revelation 9:4 starts with a command. The locusts mentioned in Revelation 9:3, which came out of the pit, are ordered not to do what locusts do best: hurt the green and live vegetation. We saw the mention of grass, trees, and green things back in the first trumpet (Revelation 8:7 - study #52). In the first trumpet, God had allowed one-third of the vegetation to be burned up. Here, in the fifth trumpet, He is not allowing any green thing to be hurt. If there was any doubt that the trees, grass, and green things were a symbol for God’s people (Jeremiah 17:7-8), the end of Revelation 9:4 can remove it completely. In this verse, the ones without the seal of God stand in contrast to the grass, trees, and green things. The ones with the seal of God are protected during the attacks of the locusts, which we read about in the beginning of the fifth trumpet (study #57). On the other hand, the dead vegetation represents the ones without the seal of God and they can be hurt.

*** Not to be killed but tormented for five months ***: Verses 4 and 5 of Revelation 9 start in a similar way: “it was commanded” and “it was given”. These orders, stated in the passive tense, actually started in Revelation 9:3, when the locusts received scorpion powers. As we saw in study #57, God is the One who allows the enemy to show the world his own evil character. Just as in the story of Job, God places limits as to how far He will allow Satan and his angels to proceed with their demonic activities. During Satan’s first attack on Job, God set a limit. Satan could harm anything Job had, but he could not touch Job (Job 1:12). A series of calamities in Job’s life followed, particularly the loss of all of his possessions and all of his children. God was not attacking Job. Satan was. This is the case in this passage of Revelation as well. God is the One setting the boundaries, telling the locusts the sealed people of God are off limits. Beyond that, the people without God’s seal are not to be killed either, but they should feel the effects of the satanic activities for a limited time. The locusts could use their scorpion powers to torment the non-sealed people for five months. There are two interesting five-month periods mentioned in the Bible. The first one happened after Elizabeth conceived: she hid for five months. She was pregnant with John the Baptist, the man who would come and cry out in the wilderness “Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23). In Elizabeth’s 6th month of pregnancy, Gabriel announced to Mary the conception of Jesus (Luke 1:24-27). The announcement of Jesus’ first coming came after a faithful woman was done being secluded for a period of five months. The other passage including a period of five months is in the story of Noah and the Flood. This event seems to be of great significance for the understanding of the five-month period in Revelation. Back then, the way that the Jewish people counted time and months, followed the lunar cycle. The months had 30 days, for a year of 360 days. Ever so often, they would have an extra month to compensate. The period of 150 days is a period of five months of 30 days each.

 

The Flood

The locust attack in the 5th trumpet

Springs of water broke from the deep, the rain poured and flooded the Earth, to harm the earth (Genesis 7:11)

Out of the bottomless pit, came locusts that would harm the earth (Revelation 9:2-4)

Noah, his family, and all the living things in the Ark were protected during the flood (Genesis 7:23)

Those who have the seal of God are safe from the locust attack (Revelation 9:4)

The pouring of the harmful waters lasted for 150 days (5 months) (Genesis 7:24; Genesis 8:3)

The torment the locusts will inflict will last for 5 months (Revelation 9:5; Revelation 9:10)

 

Just as we see in Genesis, the period of five months is mentioned twice in Revelation as well. Unlike the text in Genesis, the beginning and the end of the five-month period in Revelation is not well defined in terms of precise dates. This suggests that the specific knowledge of when the five months begin or end is not the focus. The point of the text seems to be on the fact that this is a temporary period. Like in the story of Noah, God’s faithful people in the time of the fifth trumpet will also be protected from the locust attack. After Jesus told His followers He watched Satan fall from Heaven (Luke 10:18), He gave them a special power: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19).

*** People will want to die, but they won’t be able to ***: The torment will be so severe during the five months that those without the seal will seek death. The state of mental stress would be so deep during this time, that people would actively wish to die. The text indicates that people would voluntarily look for ways to kill themselves, to end the suffering by their own powers. They would want to take matters into their own hands. To say someone would seek death is a very strong statement. This desperate state of mind reminds us of Job. He wished he could find death and end it all at once (Job 3:21). In fact, he wished he had never been born (Job 3:11-13). But is the text in Revelation speaking literally? Are the people looking for physical death? We must think about the prophetic aspect of all the trumpets. And when we do that, we realize there was never a moment in history when people were not able to die, be killed, or take their own lives. The torment in Revelation seems to be more significant on a spiritual level. The locusts are allowed to attack only the dead and dying vegetation, the people who do not have the seal of God. The “vegetation” under attack is already spiritually infected and afflicted (3rd and 4th trumpets). This means that this torment is a deepening of a problem they already had. Jeremiah 8:3 talks about how the people who are not part of God’s family prefer to choose death rather than life. It is so common to see people making poor choices in many aspects of life that are known to be detrimental. Complete spiritual death on a global scale at that point was not within the boundaries of God’s parameters.

*** Torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a man ***: In study #57 we saw that the locusts coming out of the pit had scorpion powers (Revelation 9:3). In Revelation 9:5, we understand that the torment the locusts inflict is that of a scorpion, “when it strikes a man”. Scorpions use their tails to insert venom in their victims. Oftentimes, scorpion venom is less than deadly to adult humans, with a few exceptions. But that doesn’t mean there is no suffering for the human involved. The demonic activities represented by the locust attack seems to be aimed at poisoning people at an intensity even greater than the one seen during the poisoning of the waters with wormwood (3rd trumpet, study #54). Isaiah 9:14,15 tells us: “Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed, in one day. The elder and honorable, he is the head; and the prophet that teaches lies, he is the tail.” The tail of the red dragon, Satan, deceived a third part of the angels, as well as the whole world (Revelation 12:4,9). The “torment of a scorpion, when it strikes a man”, in Revelation 9:5, happens because of its tail, which is a symbol for false teachers, stinging people with false information and guiding them to a deadly path.

*** Overview ***: When the locusts came out of the pit and moved on to attack the Earth, God limited how far they could go. The locusts represent the satanic activities that aim to further keep people from reaching the Truth. Those who have already truly accepted the Truth are immune to this attack because they seek to be in constant connection with the Lord. Those who are not connected to God still feel the need to connect to something, and they encounter the scorpion-like tail of the locusts, which aim to torment those people with false teachings and philosophies that are contrary to God’s truth. This torture will go on for some time, but it will come to an end. The period of five months serves to remind the reader that the faithful people of God will not be harmed, just as Noah was protected inside the Ark. It is important that we remember: Noah still felt the Ark move and shake with the violent storm outside. God did not keep Noah from having the experience altogether, but He kept Noah safe as he lived through the Flood. If God is the One we serve, then we do not need to be afraid. The main message is: there is no space for the venomous tail of the enemy’s lies to attach to us when we are completely surrounded by God’s truth and protected by His seal.

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.

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.

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.

 

Part 1 - Revelation 9:1-3

 

*** Star fell from Heaven ***: We saw the star that fell from Heaven when we talked about the third trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11). In study #54, we saw that the star that fell from Heaven was Satan. He was known as Lucifer before he was cast out of Heaven. We read about his fall in Isaiah 14:12-21. “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). Based on Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 9:11, we can see that the star that fell from Heaven is also identified as the angel of the bottomless pit (or the abyss, depending on the translation). His fall happened prior to the sounding of the trumpets. In the third trumpet, the fallen star was called Wormwood, and it poisoned the original message of the Gospel (symbolized by the term ‘waters’). It mixed the truth with false teachings and gave that mix for people to drink. The poisonous waters caused the spiritual death of many.

*** The key to the bottomless pit ***: Before we talk about the key, we need to understand what that the abyss (or bottomless pit) is in the first place. The Greek expression used here is “phreatos tēs abyssou”. It means the pit of the abyss.The word abyss is also found in Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The Hebrew word translated as “deep” is the word ṯə-hō-wm, which also means sea and abyss. We see the word ṯə-hō-wm being used during the account of the Flood. The Bible says that the “all the fountains of the great deep [were] broken” (Genesis 7:11, see also Genesis 8:2). These are not the only instances where the word abyss is used. It was used to describe a place of emptiness and desolation (Jeremiah 4:23-30). A similar concept is found in Ezekiel 26:19, with the word void; and in Isaiah 24:21-23, with the word dungeon, referring to the prison where the rebellious hosts of Heaven and kings of the earth will be confined before their punishment.

Now, let’s talk about the key to this place. The key is the instrument that can open or close the abyss. By itself, any key is just an object. Its importance comes from knowing who has it and can use it. ‘Key’ is a symbol of authority and control. We read in the New Testament, that Jesus is the One with the power to send demonic forces to the abyss. One time, Jesus cast many demons out of one man (Luke 8:26-39). They were subject to Jesus’ command to leave that man. The power of God was, and still is, greater than the grip that fallen angels may have over people. The demons begged Jesus not to “command them to go out into the abyss” (Luke 8:31). Jesus not only had the power to order them out of the man but also to order them to go to the abyss. Jesus is the one who has the keys to the bottomless pit. Jesus is also the One with the keys to death and the graves (Revelation 1:18, please see study #10).

The word abyss is a symbol for the ability that God has to confine and restrict the evil angels while they await their judgment. It is more important that we understand this concept of the abyss as the power that God has over them, than a physical place or underground cavern where they gather. The point here is that God is in control (Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:1-3). They cannot move about, unless God allows them to. Revelation 9:1-3 tell us that Satan was given permission to move out of the abyss, and initiate his work of covering the Earth with his smoke. At first, this action may sound very strange. The fact is we don’t understand all that God understands of the situation we are in. Just as when God gave Satan permission to test Job (Job 1:6-12), He is giving Satan permission to prepare his attacks on Earth. Job came out of his experience with a much stronger relationship with God and a with a more invigorated trust in the Lord. In the same way, the enemy’s attacks will not knock people off the path to Eternity if they keep their truth entirely on God, even when they don’t understand what is going on.

*** Smoke came out of the pit, and darkened the sun and the air ***: As soon as Satan was permitted to act, a series of symbols is used to tell us what happened next. The first symbol is smoke, which came out of the pit of the abyss. John describes this smoke as the one that comes out of a furnace. In the Old Testament the term “smoke of a furnace” appears in the description of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 19:28), and when the Lord descended on mount Sinai, to give Moses the 10 Commandments (Exodus 19:18).The end of the verse in Revelation 9:2, we see that the smoke coming out of the pit is responsible for darkening the sun and the air. Unlike the darkness in the fourth trumpet, which was partial and affecting one-third of the celestial bodies, the darkness seen in the fifth trumpet are not measured. We have the impression that the darkness is complete. Even the air is affected. This type of darkness reminds us of the darkness described in the 9th Egyptian plague (Exodus 10:21). At this point in the verse in Revelation, we still don’t know what the smoke is all about. We only know its effect: it causes darkness on the Earth.

*** Locusts came out of the smoke ***: The fact that the darkness of Revelation 9:2 also affects the air, is not a coincidence. The reason for that becomes clear in the next verse: out of the pit of the abyss, came flying a cloud of locusts. Going back to the Egyptian plagues, we see the plague of locusts (Exodus 10:1-20), which came right before the plague of darkness that we just talked about. During the plague of the locusts, the land of Egypt was also covered with darkness (Exodus 10:15). Darkness and locusts are symbols of God’s judgments (Joel 1:1-12). The consequence of rejecting light is spiritual darkness (John 3:18-21).

*** Locusts with scorpion power ***: The locusts coming out of the pit weren’t ordinary locusts.They received power to be like scorpions. Here we have, once again, the expression “received power”. These locusts were permitted to do their locust work carrying scorpion abilities. They seem to be on a deadly mission. The nature of this scene is very symbolic. This is accentuated by the fact that these locusts behave in a manner different from what would be expected naturally. But this will be more clear in the next studies.

*** Overview ***: The bottomless pit, or abyss, is the circumstances by which the fallen angels are restricted and bound under the power of God. They are not allowed to act and obliterate humanity. God’s respect for human free will is so profound that He allows people to choose who and what they want to believe in. Sometimes, He allows for the demonic forces to act. People will have to make a choice. Do they want to believe in the contaminated waters and in the cloud of locusts and, at the same time, reject the Light of Life? Or do they want to receive Christ in their lives, and follow God’s truth? The first three verses of the fifth trumpet may seem frightening. But the main point we must take from this section, is that God is the one in control of the situation. He knows how much to limit the actions of these fallen angels that are swarming out of restriction. We must keep the story of Job in mind, and remember that if we are faithful, our salvation is guaranteed. We may not understand God’s methods. We may not even understand God but we can trust in His power and holiness. We can be assured that everything He does is with the intention to make us know He is God.

   
   
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