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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 9

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-21

Fifth and sixth trumpets (9:1-21)

Worse than the destruction by the forces of nature is the suffering brought by the forces of demons (fifth trumpet). These demonic forces are pictured in a strange and terrifying army of locusts. Though uncontrollable by any human power, they are not independent of the rule of God. He keeps them imprisoned in the abyss (RSV: bottomless pit), and even when he releases them he determines the extent of their activity (9:1-3).
The demons do not harm plant life (as ordinary locusts do), but harm people - though not God’s people. They torment the ungodly with severe pain, rather like scorpions, but do not kill them. The vision shows how the ungodly become so tormented in mind and body by satanic forces that they wish to die, but they cannot. Just as a plague of locusts lasts for only a limited period, so does this attack by the forces of evil (4-6). John then describes the frightening appearance of this army of demons (7-10). He points out that they are led by a satanic leader whose name, whether in Hebrew or Greek, means ‘destroyer’ (11).
As the sixth trumpet sounds, a noise comes from the golden altar, giving a reminder that these judgments are a response to the prayers of the persecuted Christians (12-13; cf. 6:9-10). At that moment God allows wicked angels to be released and there is another outbreak of demonic activity. The locust-like demons were not allowed to kill people, but these demons bring widespread death to the human race (14-16). Again John describes the fearsome appearance of the demons. They are like an army of horses and riders equipped to bring suffering and death by the most frightful means (17-19).
God’s aim is not merely to send his judgments upon the world, but to show people the seriousness of their sins so that they might repent and be saved. But no matter how severe his judgments, they continue in their sins (20-21).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Revelation 9". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/revelation-9.html. 2005.
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