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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 9

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The Fifth and Sixth Trumpets Sound Revelation Nine

Revelation chapter nine provides and account of the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets. These are two of the three angles that were included in Rev_8:13 . "And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!" The last three trumpets are often called the "woe" trumpets and they are discussed in Revelation chapters nine through eleven.

The woe of the fifth trumpet is represented under the figure of an immense army of locusts bringing calamity upon the earth. A star fell from heaven and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. When he opened the pit the swarm of locusts comes forth on the earth. They are commanded to do certain work. They were to torment those that did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. However, they were not to kill them. A very vivid description is given of the destructive horde of locusts.

The sixth angel sounded and four angels which were bound in the great river Euphrates were loosed. The four angels are prepared and loosed with a great army to destroy one third of the men. The sad thing about God's judgment coming on the nations is that it does not produce the desired result. The nations are not turned from idolatry. There is no inclination on the part of the ungodly to repent of the abominations they had long practiced. Wickedness still abounded!

Verses 1-3

The fifth angel sounds his trumpet Rev_9:1-3 : As the fifth seal was opened a star was personified. "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." ( Rev_9:1 ) The star that looses the smoke and locusts from the bottomless pit was Satan. "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_12:9 ) Man's greatest enemy will always be the Devil himself.

The locust came forth with smoke from the bottomless pit. The smoke was dark, blinding smoke. It was a smoke that shut out the sun and the air. This is a picture of how the Devil works to shut out the true light and life from God. The false teaching of Satan blinds the minds of people to the truth of God's word. Satan literally blinds the minds of his victims. "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." ( 2Co_4:4 )

Satan has the power to deceive and destroy spiritually. He is even able to cause the death of the wicked. The Devil uses his power to incite man to rebel against the Almighty. When people serve Satan rather than Christ they will face certain torment.

Verses 4-12

The locust and their work Rev_9:4-12 : Locusts are a universal symbol of destruction. The locusts are not literal. We know this because these locusts would not touch the grass, nor any green thing, or tree, as locusts do, only men. ( Rev_9:4 ) These locusts had a king over them. ( Rev_9:11 ) Literal locusts do not have a king over them. "The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands." ( Pro_30:27 ) These locusts do not hurt the land, nor do they hurt the people of God.

The kings over these locust had names in the Hebrew tongue Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon." Both the words Abaddon and Apollyon means "destroyer." The name is mostly translated simply with the word "destruction" as in Job_26:6 . "Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering."

The locusts came out of the smoke. They did not hurt the vegetation. Neither did they hurt the people of God. As people swallow the lies of the Devil (false doctrine) these locusts sting them. False doctrine does not hurt the faith of God. It did have a destructive effect on the Roman Empire.

The locusts are described in a very vivid way. They: (1) are as horses armed for battle, (2) have victory crowns, (3) have faces of men to picture intelligence and beauty, (4) have beautiful hair to represent strength, (5) have powerful teeth like lions, (6) have breastplates for protection, (7) the wings make a mighty sound like the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle, (8) their tails have destructive power like scorpions.

The Roman Empire bought into the lies of Satan and fell from internal spiritual decay. Here God uses this trumpet both to picture punishment and as a warning and a call to repentance. God can destroy wicked nations with natural calamities of as the result of internal decay. The Roman Empire was rotten on the inside!

Verses 13-15

The sixth angel sounds his trumpet Rev_9:13-15 : The sixth angel sounded and four angels were loosed. The purpose of the four horns of the golden altar was to prevent the coals from falling from the altar. God's judgment was coming on the wicked Roman Empire. The world that John depicts with wicked men resisting God, no matter how they hurt themselves in the process, is the world believers must always live in.

In the book of Jeremiah Euphrates was pictured as the land of the enemies of Gods' people. There are many enemies to God's truth. A great army is loosed for the war against evil. God decreed when this would take place to the very hour, and day, and month, and year. There will be victory for the persecuted saints by the decree of God!

Verses 16-21

The army of horsemen Rev_9:16-21 : Sadly man would not listen to God so he sent froth fire and brimstone. This is reminiscent of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen_19:24-28 . Fire and brimstone was a picture of the destruction of wicked nations.

The wicked Roman Empire had received warnings from God to repent. Sadly, the Bible says, "Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." ( Rev_9:21 ) They continued in their ungodliness and false worship. Revelation was written to help Christians of John's day face the evil world in which they lived; and the same truth that helped them can help the Christians of all ages!

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 9". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/revelation-9.html. 2014.
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