The Fifth Trumpet Plague and First Woe

Revelation 9:1-12:

1 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. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 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. 4 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. 5 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.

6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 

11 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. 12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

 
This is possibly the most commonly misunderstood section of the whole of the book of Revelation. 

 

The typical interpretation of this section is that the Apostle John uses this imagery of warhorses with breastplates, lion’s teeth, women’s faces, and scorpion’s tails to describe 21st century attack helicopters from the perspective of his 1st century experience.

 

There are several reasons why this interpretation is incorrect.

 

Let us think about the devastation and destruction which is caused on man and nature when an attack helicopters uses its missiles and cannons to engage a target. People are obliterated, buildings are destroyed, trees are felled and the ground is torn up.

 

Verses 4-5 tell us a very different story:

4 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. 5 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.

 

The grass, green plants and trees are not hurt. The men who were attacked were not killed but tormented for five months. These attackers were also able to identify who had received the heavenly seal instead of the mark of the beast.

 

If this is the army of the antichrist or one of the remaining end time political entities why are they not attacking the saints?

 

The Abyss

Verses 1 and 2 give us the answer:

1 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. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

 

This bottomless pit is called “the abyss” in Greek. We are told in Luke 8:30-31:

30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

 

The word “deep” is that same Greek word, “the Abyss” which is where the demons begged our Messiah not to send them.

Revelation 20:1-3 reveals this information:

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.    2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,  3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

 

The bottomless pit in verses 1 and 3 is the same “abyss” mentioned before. This is where Satan is bound for a thousand years. So the bottomless pit or “abyss” is the place where demons are imprisoned. It is also the place from where they are released when YHWH starts to unleash His supernatural punishment on those who accepted the Mark of the Beast.

 

Verse 1 also tells us of the “star fall from heaven unto the earth” this indicates an angel being cast out of heaven. Verse 11 tells us that the king over the bottom less pit is called Abaddon, or in Greek Apollyon, these names are translated as “The Destroyer”. Again we are given more clear evidence that this is a supernatural plague of demons released to torment the men left on the earth.

 

Five Months of Torment

 

The time period of this period of torment is also significant. Verses 5 and 10 tell us they had power to torment and hurt men for five months.

 

This is significant for 2 reasons.

 

Firstly it tells us that the “Day of the Wrath of YHWH” cannot be a literal day, it must be a prophetic day or one literal year. Also 5 months equates 150 days which is the same amount of time the waters covered the earth when YHWH cleansed His creation during the time of Noah.

 

The final point to make with respect to the timing of this demonic plague is given in verse 12, which states “One woe is past:‘ This five month period must be completed before the second woe, the sixth trumpet plague, comes upon the earth.