The Fifth and Sixth Trumpet Judgments (Rev. 9)

OVERVIEW OF THE FIRST SIX TRUMPETS

The first four trumpets will destroy the natural resources of the Antichrist’s empire that support human life, instead of directly touching people’s bodies (Rev. 8:7-12). However, some will die from drinking the bitter waters (Rev. 8:10-11).

The fifth and sixth trumpets are more intense as demons directly touch humans. They release two demonic armies on the earth. Hell is opened to let imprisoned demons torment their followers. This will allow unbelievers to see how horrible the kingdom of darkness is. This will give opportunity to repent before progressing in evil and taking the mark of the Beast, which will be equivalent to blasphemy against the Spirit as an unforgivable sin (Mt. 12:31-32).

There will be two categories of unbelievers during the Great Tribulation. Those who take the mark of the Beast will be reprobates. Unbelievers who refuse the mark may still be saved.

The trumpet judgments are released in part to warn the lost to receive salvation.

Now is the time that demons will come to answer the “worship and intercession” of their followers. When the earth worships demons, then God will release an army of demons to answer their cry. Demons hate humans, who are fallen image-bearers. Demons have no capacity to love!

FIFTH TRUMPET: TORMENT BY DEMONIC LOCUSTS (REV. 9:1-11)

The fifth trumpet will release demonic locusts that torment men for 5 months (Rev. 9:1-12).

The fifth angel sounded: I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 He opened the bottomless pit … 3 out of the smoke locusts came on the earth. 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 … but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months … like the torment of a scorpion … 6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. (Rev. 9:1-6)

Outline of Revelation 9:1-11: the origin of the demonic locusts (vv. 1-2), the effects of demonic locusts (vv. 3-6), and the description of demonic locusts (vv. 7-11)

Locusts: these locusts are supernatural demonic beings not natural locusts. The details of this prophecy include specific names, ranks, and a five-month period of torment.

These details demand to be interpreted at face value rather than being dismissed as symbolic. Some interpret this as a human army (with locusts as modern helicopters pictured in ancient language, or the Mohammedan army in the ancient world).

The characteristics of these locusts make it clear that they are not natural locusts. They have a king, whereas natural locusts do not have a king (Rev. 9:11; Prov. 30:27). These have the ability to distinguish between unbelievers, whom they hurt, and believers, whom they do not hurt. Also, natural locusts do not come up from the depths of the earth and do not sting with their tails.

The torment will last five months, which corresponds to the time a locust pillages an area (May-September) and the 150 days with Noah. Believers will speak this time frame to unbelievers.

The waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days. (Gen. 7:24)

The specific time must be taken literally since there is no contextual (biblical) reason to make this figurative or symbolic. Scorpions are mentioned three times and the five month period is emphasized twice so that these could not be mistaken or dismissed (Rev. 9:3, 5, 10).

God is the unexpressed agent granting permission seen in the phrase “it was given” (9:1, 3, 4, 5). God’s sovereignty is manifest over these demons, who can only move as far as allowed. Divine limitations are given to these locusts in that they are not to hurt grass and trees, but only men without the seal, and only for a five-month period.

The strange forms of the locusts cause some to see them as symbolic. However, the four living creatures have forms that are unusual to us, yet they are understood as literal descriptions. Demons can have unusual bodies that resemble frogs (Rev. 16:13).

Seal of God: I do not believe this seal is limited to the 144,000 from Israel described in Revelation 7:4-8. As Israel was protected during the plagues of Egypt, so God will seal believers to protect them from judgment. The Goshen principle is seen in Exodus 8:22-23; 9:4-6, 10:23; Zephaniah 2:3; and Psalm 91. Israel received a protective mark on their doors to save their firstborn from death in Egypt.

The coals of God’s judgment were not poured out on Jerusalem until after the angel marked or sealed the foreheads of the saints (Ezek. 9:4-6).

The LORD said to him, “Go through … the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.” 5 To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare … 6 Utterly slay … but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark.” (Ezek. 9:4-7)

Jesus has given the saints authority over scorpions.

I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy [physical & spiritual scorpions], and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Lk. 10:19)

The saints are not the objects of God’s end-time judgments (Rev. 9:4; 7:1-4; 1 Thes. 5:9). The judgments are released in answer to the prayers of the saints.

God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord. (1 Thes. 5:9)

The anguish of this sting was meant to cause men to repent. Multitudes will refuse to repent.

Bottomless pit: the bottomless pit is a temporary prison for fallen angels who will be released during the end times (Rev. 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 20:1-3). The bottomless pit or the abyss is not actually bottomless, since it is in the earth. There is a huge shaft extending from the earth’s surface to its depths that is currently sealed. The Antichrist comes from this pit (Rev. 11:7; 17:8).

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment. (2 Pet. 2:4)

The angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day. (Jude 6)

The underworld is described using five different words: Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus and the bottomless pit. The KJV translates all five words as hell. Sheol is a Hebrew term used only in the OT (translated grave, pit, and hell in the KJV). It was the place of the dead located in the earth. It had three distinct chambers before Jesus was raised from the dead.

A chamber of torment for the unredeemed until they are cast into the lake of fire.

A chamber of rest for the OT redeemed (before the cross) called “Abraham’s bosom” (Lk. 16:19-31). At Jesus’ ascension, He led the OT saints out of Sheol (Eph. 4:8).

A chamber or prison for demons bound by chains of darkness called Tartarus in 2 Pet. 2:4. The Greek name Tartarus is translated as hell by most translations. It is also referred to as the bottomless pit (Greek: abysso/abyss; Rev. 9:1-2, 11; 11:7; 17:8, 11; 20:1, 3)

Hades is a Greek term that is used only in the NT. It speaks of the two remaining chambers of Sheol, since those in Abraham’s bosom were taken to Paradise after Jesus’ resurrection. It is still the place of the unredeemed dead, and some disobedient angels (demons) are imprisoned. Hades contains Tartarus (the place demons are imprisoned).

Hades is like the county jail in the spirit realm until the final sentencing occurs at the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15; Dan. 7:9-10). The lake of fire is like the federal prison. Hades (Mt. 11:23; 16:18; Lk. 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; 1 Cor. 15:55; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14) is translated as Hades (NKJV), hell (KJV), three times as depths or death (NIV), and, rarely, the grave (1 Cor. 15:55). Both Hades and Gehenna are rendered hell. Gehenna (NT) refers to the lake of fire. Gehenna in the NT is translated as hell or hell fire (Mt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mk. 9:43, 45, 47; Lk. 12:5; Jas. 3:6).

Star: in Revelation, stars can speak of angels (Rev. 1:20; 12:4; Job 38:7) or inanimate objects (Rev. 6:13; 8:10). The star in Revelation 9:1 is an intelligent being who is able to use a key.

1 I saw a star fallen [descended?] from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit. (Rev. 9:1-2)

There is debate about whether this is a good or evil angel. The argument is focused on the meaning of the word “fallen.” Good angels are never described in Scripture as fallen. Therefore, if the angel “fell” in judgment, then this refers to an evil angel (Lk. 10:18; Rev. 12:7-9). If “fallen” means “descended” from heaven, then this is a good angel, paralleling the activity of the angel who opens the bottomless pit to bind Satan in Rev. 20:1.

I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit. (Rev 20:1)

Jesus has all the keys or authority to open doors in the spirit realm (Rev. 1:18; Mt. 16:18-19).

I [Jesus] have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Rev. 1:18)

The scorpion sting does not bring its desired repentance; instead, men desire death. The anguish of a scorpion sting drives men to such great despair that they seek to commit suicide. In an unspecified way, we are told that they cannot kill themselves.

The eighth Egyptian plague of natural locusts is a prototype of this judgment (Ex. 10:12). The Egyptian plague of locusts destroyed food but did not inflict pain on people.

John described the demonic locust army (Rev. 9:7-11) by comparing them to horses prepared for battle wearing golden crowns with human faces. John uses “like” eight times in describing them. He starts by describing the head, then moves down the demon’s body to their tail.

Heads: crowns with something like gold points to their supremacy (Rev. 14:14).

Faces: human faces emphasize that these demons have human abilities, like intelligence and emotion. If these demons were men then they would not be likened to men.

Hair: “like women’s hair” emphasizes their human appearance.
Teeth: locusts have teeth, but not strong ones like a lion with the ability to tear apart their prey. Breastplates: iron speaks of durability in battle (like the other demons in Rev. 9:17).

Wings: sound of chariots running into battle will cause terror. Tails: the sting in their tails is powerful (Rev. 9:3, 5, 10)

King: Satan has a hierarchy, which includes a king over the locusts from the bottomless pit. His name is Abaddon in Hebrew, but is named Apollyon in Greek. John gives the angel’s name in two languages to enforce the literalness of this being. Most of John’s audience spoke Greek (Rev. 16:16). This king is not Satan, who rules from the heavenly places and not the bottomless pit (Eph. 6:12). He is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). Beelzebub is the ruler of the demons (Mt. 12:24). Satan will be thrown into the bottomless pit after Jesus’ second coming (Rev. 20:1-3).

Green grass: the prohibition not to hurt the green grass (v. 4) points to the fact that the grass will have time to grow back after the first trumpet some months earlier (Rev. 8:7). A worldwide drought will last for three and a half years, making green grass rare (Rev. 11:6).

They will prophesy 1,260 days … 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy… (Rev. 11:3-6)

SIXTH TRUMPET: DEATH BY DEMONIC HORSEMEN (REV. 9:12-21)

The sixth trumpet results in the release of demonic horsemen that kill one-third of the earth. In the fifth trumpet, men seek to die (Rev. 9:6). The demons they worship will now kill them.
I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was 200 million; I heard the number of them … 17 Those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. (Rev. 9:13-19)

To emphasize the literalness of this judgment, John twice declared that one-third of the human race will be killed (Rev. 9:15, 18), and he told us the specific number of 200 million horsemen and what they specifically will look like. He also told us that there will be a specific hour, day, and month that the four demonic angels will be released.

Killing one-third: by AD 2025, the world population is estimated to be about eight billion people. After one-fourth or approximately two billion die in the fourth seal (Rev. 6:8), six billion will remain. After another one-third of these die (another two billion), the death toll would be about four billion. That is nearly 100 times the death toll of World War II (fifty million people). For four billion people to die in three and a half years (1,260 days) means that an average of about three million will die daily, or 100 million each month.

Isaiah prophesied of the time when God destroy the wicked (Isa. 13:6-13; 24:6).

Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger … He will destroy its sinners … 10 The stars … will not give their light; the sun will be darkened … 11 I will punish the world for its evil … 12 I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold. (Isa. 13:9-12)

Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left. (Isa. 24:6)

Bound: the four angels who are bound and released are evil angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). Good angels are not bound.

Prepared: these angels were prepared for a specific work of judgment in the end times. They lead a demonic army of 200 million horsemen (possibly each commands 50 million horsemen). If 200 million demons kill two billion people, each demon would kill ten people on average.

Euphrates: it is great in size (nearly 1,800 miles) and in significance to God’s purposes. It is the eastern boundary of the promised land (Gen. 15:18). The kings of the east cross it (Rev. 16:12).

Golden altar: a voice from the golden altar of intercession will commission the angel with the sixth trumpet to release four demonic angels bound at the Euphrates River. This judgment is connected to the prayer movement in which the prayers ascend at the golden altar (Rev. 8:3-5).

In the OT, there were two places of asylum: the horns of the altar and the cities of refuge. Those charged with a crime ran and grabbed the horns to ask for mercy from death (1 Kgs. 1:50-51; 2:28-34). The saints will not fear this plague, but will be assured that it is an expression of God’s mercy. We will hold onto the horns of the golden altar by prayer, love, and faith.

This mercy from the horns of the altar speaks of God giving judgment in favor of the saints.

The  Ancient  of  Days  [Father]  came,  and  a  judgment  was  made  in  favor  of  the  saints  of  the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. (Dan. 7:22)

WORLDWIDE HARDNESS OF HEART: FOUR MAIN STRONGHOLDS IN SOCIETY

But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev. 9:20-21)

Sin will reach its greatest heights in history with more demonized people than any time. Society will be dominated by four primary strongholds of evil: murder, sorcery, immorality, and theft.

In the latter time … when the transgressors have reached their fullness. (Dan. 8:23)

Sin will become ripe worldwide (Rev. 14:18; 17:4; 18:5). The wheat and the tares, the righteous and the wicked, mature together at the end of the age (Mt. 13:29-30).

Let both [wheat and tares] grow together until the harvest. (Mt. 13:30)

Murder: many will be possessed by demons of murder in this horrific murder-movement.

Immorality: billions will be demonized with bondage to sexual perversion.

Sorcery: Satan worship and occult activity will fill the earth. The nations will be become more “spiritual.” Sexual perversion will be dynamically connected to the spiritual realm. It will be more than hedonism, but will express aspects of demon worship with a dark spirituality.

Theft: there will be many different manifestations of theft.

The Antichrist’s entire empire will have hardened hearts as Pharaoh did. God hardens the heart by turning multitudes over to the sin they love and allow them to experience its consequences.
God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts … 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions … 28 God gave them over to a debased mind. (Rom. 1:24-28).




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