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FIFTH TRUMPET .
FIRST WOE .
“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.’ And he opened the ’BOTTOMLESS PIT,’ and there arose a smoke out of the ’Pit,’ as the smoke of a furnace; and the Sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the ’Pit.’ 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. 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 which have not the ’SEAL OF GOD’ in their foreheads. 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 he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shape of the LOCUSTS were like unto HORSES PREPARED UNTO BATTLE: and on their heads were as it were crowns of gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had ’Breastplates,’ as it were Breast-plates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto SCORPIONS, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men FIVE MONTHS. And they had a King over them, which is the ANGEL of the ’Bottomless Pit,’ whose name in the Hebrew tongue is ABADDON, but in the Greek tongue hath his name APOLLYON. One ’WOE’ is past; and, behold, there come ’TWO WOES’ more hereafter.”
At the sounding of the Fifth Trumpet John saw a “STAR” fall, or as the Revised Version has it, “fallen from Heaven.” That it was not a literal star is clear, for in the next verse the “STAR” is spoken of as a PERSON (He), and in the Old Testament angels were called “Stars.” Job 38:7. Because the “STAR” was “fallen from
Heaven” does not imply that the “ANGEL,” for that is what it was, was a “FALLEN ANGEL,” or SATAN himself, as some have supposed. John simply meant that he saw the descent of the “STAR,” or Angel, and so rapidly did it descend that it appeared to be falling. This is the same “STAR ANGEL” that in Revelation 20:1-3 comes down from Heaven, having the “Key” of the “BOTTOMLESS PIT,” and a great chain in his hand, and binds SATAN, and casts him into the “PIT.” This makes it clear that the “STAR ANGEL” is not SATAN. The work of both Angels is the same, to unlock and lock the “Bottomless Pit.” It does not look reasonable that God would entrust the “Key” of the “Prison House” of the “Demons” to a “Fallen Angel,” or even Satan himself.
THE BOTTOMLESS PIT .
The “BOTTOMLESS PIT” is not Hell, or Hades, the place of abode of the “Spirits” of wicked men and women until the resurrection of the “Wicked Dead.” See the Chart of “The Underworld.” Neither is it “Tartarus” the “Prison House” of the “Fallen Angels” (Judges 1:6-7), nor the “Lake of Fire,” the “Final Hell” (Gehenna), Matthew 25:41, but it is the place of confinement of the DEMONS, who are not Satan’s Angels but a class of “disembodied Spirits,” supposed by many to be the “disembodied spirits” of the inhabitants of the Pre-Adamite Earth, who, as they have liberty and opportunity, as in the days of Christ, try to re-embody themselves again in human bodies. They are wicked, unclean, vicious, and have power to derange both mind and body. Matthew 12:22; Matthew 15:22. Luke 4:35; Luke 8:26-36; Luke 9:42. They are the “Familiar Spirits” of the Old Testament and the “Seducing Spirits” of which Paul warned Timothy. I. Tim. 4:1. They wander about in desolate places. Christ used them to illustrate the condition of the Jewish people in the “last days” when “Demoniacal Power” shall be increased over them SEVENFOLD. He said, “When the ’UNCLEAN SPIRIT’ (or Demon) is gone out of a man, he (the Demon) walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out: and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself SEVEN OTHER SPIRITS more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this WICKED GENERATION.” Matthew 12:43-45. The word “Generation,” means not simply the life-time of an individual, but it means a “race,” and by this “WICKED GENERATION,” Christ meant those He was addressing, and they were the Jews. So we see that the Jews, as a “race,” when Jesus comes back, will be SEVENFOLD DEMONIACALLY POSSESSED. This will account for their making a “Covenant” with Antichrist which the Prophet Isaiah calls a “Covenant with DEATH and HELL.” Isaiah 28:18. When Christ cast the “Legion” of devils (Demons) out of the Gadarene Demoniac, they besought Him to not cast them into the “deep,” that is, not into the “ABYSS,” the “BOTTOMLESS PIT.” Luke 8:26-36.
When the “Star Angel” opened the “Bottomless Pit,” smoke, like the smoke of a great furnace, issued forth and darkened the sun, and there came out of the smoke LOCUSTS upon the earth. These were not ordinary locusts. Neither were the locusts of the “Eighth Egyptian Plague.” Exodus 10:3-20. For we read of them that “there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such,” that is, just like them. Nevertheless they were locusts, not some “composite creature” such as John saw, for they acted like locusts and ate up every green thing. The difference must have been in their size and voraciousness.
The LOCUSTS that John saw come out of the “Bottomless Pit” were a kind of “INFERNAL CHERUBIM.” That is, they were a combination of the HORSE, the MAN, the WOMAN, the LION, and the SCORPION, and the sound of their wings in flying was as the “sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.” Their size is not given, but they were doubtless much larger than ordinary locusts, but they were not like them, for ordinary locusts feed on vegetation, but these locusts were forbidden to hurt the grass, or the trees, or any green thing, but were to afflict ONLY MEN, and they had human intelligence, for they afflicted only those men who had not the “SEAL OF GOD” in their foreheads. These men they were not permitted to kill, but only torment, and that for only a limited period--FIVE MONTHS, the time limit of ordinary locusts, which is from May to September. The length of time is mentioned twice, and the character of the torment was like that which follows the STING OF A SCORPION, which causes excruciating pain that often causes the afflicted person to desire to die. So fearfully excruciating will be the anguish of those who shall be tormented by these “SCORPION LOCUSTS” that they will “seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, but death shall flee from them,” the inference being that the LOCUST or DEMON controlling them shall have power to prevent their death.
There is a remarkable description in the prophecy of Joel, of what is spoken of as an army of HORSEMEN, but which seems to refer to John’s “SCORPION LOCUSTS.” “The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses, and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of CHARIOTS on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the PEOPLE SHALL BE MUCH PAINED: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one his ways, and they shall not break ranks; neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path; and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble; the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.” Joel 2:4-10. There are a number of things in this prophecy of Joel that makes us doubt that an invasion of literal horsemen is meant. Horses do not climb walls,
or climb up upon roofs, or enter windows like a thief. They do not fly in the heavens and in such numbers as to darken the sun, moon, and stars, nor do they fall upon the sword and escape wounding. This could only be said of “spirit beings” as DEMONS. This prophecy looks more like a scourge of locusts; not literal locusts, but such “SCORPION LOCUSTS” as John describes, for they attack men, and cause them such great pain that their faces turn BLACK. This view is confirmed when we note the time of this “horsemen” invasion. Joel tells us that it will be in the “Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:1; Joel 2:11), that it will be accompanied with the “sound of a trumpet,” that it will precede the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on all flesh, and that it will be at a time when the Lord will “shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, BLOOD, and FIRE, and PILLARS OF SMOKE.”
Now we know that the “Gift of the Holy Spirit” on the Day of Pentecost was only the “first fruits” and partial fulfilment of this prophecy of Joel, for none of these terrible things occurred at that time, and there was no invasion of enemy “horsemen,” or a “scourge of locusts,” on, or before, or after, the Day of Pentecost such as here described. As we have no historical record of such an invasion of “locust horsemen” as the Prophet Joel describes, the event must still be future, and the description in many respects corresponds with what John tells us will happen when the Fifth Trumpet sounds.
These “SCORPION LOCUSTS” have a King, which ordinary locusts have not. Proverbs 30:27. This King’s name in the Hebrew is “ABADDON,” but in the Greek is “APOLLYON.” Now Satan is no where in the Scriptures called by either of these names, so Satan cannot be the King of the Demons, for their King is the King of the “Bottomless Pit,” to which he is confined, while Satan and his angels are at liberty and roam the Heavenlies. The meaning then of this scourge of “SCORPION LOCUSTS” seems to be, that an Angel, the custodian of the “Pit,” will open the “Bottomless Pit,” and liberate a vast multitude of Demons who shall enter into and take possession of the bodies of men, and so torment them that they shall desire to die and shall not be able.
Those will be awful days in which to live, and especially so for those who have the “MARK OF THE BEAST,” who will be the special mark of those “SCORPION LOCUSTS.” They will be invisible to the natural eye, being “SPIRIT BEINGS,” but their presence will be known by the suffering they inflict, which will be unavoidable because of their invisibility, and the inability to provide any material means as screens, to protect one’s person from their attack. This invasion of “Scorpion Locusts” will last for 5 months and may well be called a “WOE,” but it will be comparatively trifling in comparison with the two “WOES” that are to follow, that of the “Plague of Infernal Cavalry,” and the “Vial Judgments,” which are included under the “Third Woe.”
THE SIXTH TRUMPET .
“And the ’SIXTH ANGEL’ sounded, and I heard a voice from the ’Four Horns’ of the ’Golden Altar’ which is before God, saying to the ’SIXTH ANGEL’ which had the Trumpet, Loose the ’Four Angels’ which are bound in the great river Euphrates, and the ’Four Angels’ were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousandsand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the Vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions: and out of their mouth issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these Plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils (demons), and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither can see, or hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
That these “Four Angels,” who were bound at the river Euphrates, were bad angels is seen from the fact that they were bound, and that they are the leaders or commanders of an army of 200,000,000 “INFERNAL CAVALRY.” This army of 200,000,000 horse-men is a supernatural army. It is not composed of ordinary men and horses. The fact that these “Four Angels” were bound at the Euphrates, where Satan’s seat was in ancient times, and where it is to be again in the City of Babylon restored, and from whence he sallied forth to do his diabolical work, makes it clear that this army is a part of Satan’s forces. Supernatural armies are not unknown to the Scriptures. Horses and a chariot of fire separated Elijah from
Elisha in the day when Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind into Heaven, 2. Kings 2:11. When Dothan was besieged by the army of Syria, God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant, and he saw the mountains around the city full of horses and chariots of fire. 2. Kings 6:13-17. When the Lord Jesus Christ shall come to take “The Kingdom,” He will be attended by the “Armies of Heaven” riding on “White Horses,” and it stands to reason, if there is to be “War in Heaven” between Michael and his angels, and Satan and his angels (Revelation 12:7), that Satan has his armies, and among them horsemen, and that the 200,000,000 Horsemen mentioned here are Satan’s Horse-men, for no such army of ordinary horsemen ever was, or ever could be, assembled on this earth.
Again the horses were not ordinary horses, for while their bodies were like the body of a HORSE, their heads were as the head of a LION, and their tails were like unto a SERPENT, the end of which had the HEAD OF A SERPENT, and it was the SULPHUROUS SMOKE AND FIRE that issued from their mouths, and the SERPENT STING of their tails, that killed all that crossed their path, that reveals the Satanic character of the horses and their riders. The “Riders” upon these horses had “Breastplates of FIRE, JACINTH, and BRIMSTONE,” to match the breath of the horses upon which they rode.
The wonderful thing about this invasion of “INFERNAL CAVALRY” was the awful destruction they wrought. They slew the THIRD PART OF MEN. If that means of the whole world, and the present population of the earth is 1,700,000,000, then this army will destroy 566,666,666 persons. It probably however refers to one-third of the men of the old Roman world. Another remarkable thing is, that the “Four Angels” were prepared for THE (R. V.) HOUR, MONTH, and YEAR, that is, they were waiting for the EXACT year, month, day, and even hour, known only to God, on which to make the invasion, and not, as some think, to slay for a year, month and day, or 391 days. “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:18. This Plague of “INFERNAL CAVALRY” was for a twofold purpose, retribution and reformation. To punish the idolatry and demon worship of men, and their sins of murder, sorcery, fornication, and theft, and to keep others from following in their footsteps. But it appears from verses 20 and 21, that the residue of men who were not killed, did not repent and turn from their sins, and so were left for later judgments.
This army of “INFERNAL CAVALRY,” being composed of “SPIRIT BEINGS” like the “SCORPION LOCUSTS,” will like them be invisible to the natural eye, and therefore cannot be resisted, or warred against, by carnal weapons. Those attacked will therefore be without any means of protection, and this will account for the awful destruction of human life, for the “third part” of man will be killed. The awful destructive judgments of the “Trumpets” and “Vials” that are to come upon the earth are doubtless for the purpose of weeding out the worst of the human race, so that only the better class of men shall be saved for the millennium.
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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 9". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany