Revealing Revelation – The Fifth Trumpet


With the first of the three woes before us we will note that there is much more discussion about the actual event than the previous four trumpets. Not only are we given the result of the fifth trumpet, we are given a detailed description of the image in a way completely unlike the first four or the the seals.

Rev. 9:1-11 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. [2] He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit … Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. [4] They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. [5] They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. [6] And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them

This graphic description most certainly refers to an intense increase in demonic activity during the time of the siege and the attack against the city of Jerusalem. Historical evidence along with the Biblical accounts points to this very matter. The passage itself obviously makes this known through it’s description as well. In fact, in the following section it is made even more clear. But let’s, do now, consider the passage before.

Again we have the image of a star falling from from heaven. Actually here we are presented with the past tense “fallen” in that this star had fallen to earth before John saw this event. This past tense form of the word coupled with the following description of the star as “him” makes this most obviously a description of Satan. In Luke Jesus tells us that He saw Satan fall to the earth like lightning, and in Isaiah, we have an even more similar sounding account.

Isa 14:12″How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!

Satan here is shown having a a key to the bottomless pit. He, by opening the pit, unleashes a previously unforeseen force of demonic activity against the people of the city of Jerusalem. This event, though, was actually predicted by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. In fact, the words of Jesus may have made no sense to the reader without this picture found here in the book of Revelation.

Matt 12:43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

Here Jesus describes a spiritual reality that would impact the first century Jew in the city of Jerusalem – those who would fit into the category of “this generation” at the time of Jesus’ speaking. Just like the use of that phrase in Matthew 23 and 24, this most undoubtedly refers to the generation of Jesus’ day. This punishment is added to the physical punishment received at the hands of the Romans and the spiritual punishment of covenantal divorce at the hands of God.

This showed itself quite plainly in the acts of the Israelites during the siege of the city. From the inexplicable internal squabbles that included destroying their own food sources, to the murders of the priesthood in the Temple proper, to the mass suicides, to the cooking and eating of their own young, the results of this horrific demonic activity are quite obvious.

More evidences can be listed and I would recommend the reading of Jospehus’ Wars and the works of Chilton, Clark and Hendricksen for further details, but suffice it to say, this demonic activity was real and for a relatively short time as the limit of five months suggest versus the use of 3 1/2 years in other places.

But out context continues and we will discuss briefly here the continued evidence for the demonic activity as the illustration before us in this fifth trumpet.

Rev. 9:7-11 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, [8] their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; [9] they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. [10] They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. [11] They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

Remember as we consider this detailed description that as previously seen this activity is a demonic one and here we find it has outward signs in the physical realm as is pictured in the faces appearing like humans. This may include, as Josoephus describes, homosexual activity that was prevalent during this time (Wars 4:4:10) as the description of having hair like a woman.

The most obvious signs of demonic activity are that they were able to hurt people, but not able to kill them and that their leader over them was Abaddon, the Devil. This horrible time inhuman history cannot be equalled from a spiritual point of view. This demonic activity can only be pictured as truly hell on earth and history supports this idea.

The most terrifying aspect of this, though, it that…

Rev 9:12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.


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