Fifth Trumpet - Page 1 of 3 - (series: Lessons on Revelation)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Commentary on the Book of Revelation
By: Tom Lowe Date: 5-7-16

Lesson: III.C.7: Fifth Trumpet (First Woe): Locusts From the Bottomless Pit, Sent to Torment Men (Revelation 9:1-12)

Revelation 9:1-12 (KJV)

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.


The trumpets continue to bring war, but war to which woe his added. The war to be described next is probably one of the most important in the Bible. Trumpets five and six move matters on earth along to the point where Satan’s man is left undisputed master of the globe—for a season.

There are three woe trumpets. The third precipitates the end and is described only after a lengthy parenthesis. At this point a description is given of just the first two. The first of these describes a satanically energized belief which afflicts humanity. The second (next lesson) describes a satanically energized battle which altars history.

The description which follows is highly symbolic. It tells of a fearful demon host which is to be unleashed by divine permission. The terrible demons loosed from the pit in this manner will seize upon men and prepare them for the strong delusion and for the appointment of the beast (Antichrist) to complete and universal power.

The world is already being prepared for what is to come. It is one of the ironies of the age in which we live that, at a time when scientific enlightenment is at its zenith and men are educated, practical, and materialistic in the extreme, millions are turning to the occult for entertainment, enlightenment, and eventual enslavement. Every year, hundreds of new books are published dealing with demonism, witchcraft, magic, spiritism, ghosts, and prophecy. Every season brings its quota of television shows featuring similar themes. Soothsayers, prophets, astrologers, fortune tellers are given enthusiastic hearing by millions. The groundwork is being laid for an enormous increase in demon activity soon to burst upon of the world. What will happen under the blowing of the fifth trumpet will be made easier because men have been preconditioned to reject Biblical truth and to accept the doctrine of demons.

The supernatural creatures released upon the blowing of the fifth trumpet are evil spirits. The description given of their appearance is, at the same time, a description of their character. We are told thirteen things about them.

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.

One: THEY ARE INCARCERATED. The New American Standard Bible renders the phrase “I saw a star fall from heaven” as “I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth.” This would help identify the star here with the fallen star of the third trumpet. This star, which is sometimes referred to as “the unnamed personality,” is definitely a personage. This is made clear in the use of the masculine pronouns “him” and “he.” But who is the star? The tense of the verb “fallen” (R.V.) tells us that the star had already fallen from heaven. John was not told when and how the star had fallen, but he was able to tell that the star is an intelligent being to whom acts are ascribed which could not be said except of a living being. Jesus said to the seventy disciples, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18). By this He meant, I feel certain that it was the fall of Lucifer from Heaven, through which he became Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15). If we are interpreting scripture reference with scripture reference correctly, then there seems to be little doubt that the star is Satan, the great enemy of God and man, and that the reference in Revelation 9:1 is to his original fall.

In other words, the fallen star is Satan, who is now given authority to open the abyss and unleash the terrible beings INCARCERATED there. The imagination cannot picture what the earth will be like when the church is removed from the scene, when society, having completely corrupted itself, is handed over to the malignant attention of the most horrible fiends of hell. These wicked spirits, long mercifully chained by God, are now let loose upon the earth.

From now on, their prison house becomes increasingly prominent in the Apocalypse. It is an ancient penitentiary for evil spirits, or at least for those of them who are so vile that God keeps them “reserved in chains” (2 Peter 2:4). The demons mentioned in Luke 8:31—“And they besought him that he would not command them to go out deep” (to go into the Abyss; NIV)—knew of this extremely unpleasant house and besought the Lord not to send them there. “The deep” is where Satan himself will be chained throughout the millennium age. It is from this same terrible pit that the soul of the beast will be summoned when, after his assassination, he re-emerges as this world’s final Gentile ruler.

Picture what the world would be like if we were to open the doors of all the penitentiaries on earth and set free the worlds most vicious and violent criminals, giving them full rein to practice their wickedness upon mankind. But something worse than this, lies in store for the world. Satan, cast out of heaven, is now permitted to summon to his aid the most diabolical fiends in the abyss to act as his agents in bringing mankind to the footstool of the beast.

The location of the abyss is said to be in “the lower parts of the earth” (Ephesians 4:9), the place into which Christ went at death when He paid the full price of redemption from the penalty of sin. It is a place that is sealed tight, from which there is no release except by divine permission. There is, then, a day coming upon the earth when the prison house of demons will be opened, and evil spirits who prefer to inhabit human bodies, but who have been imprisoned, will be released to inflict torment upon unrepentant man. In that day men will experience a sample of hell on earth. Ordinarily the abyss is “the place of no return,” but for a brief season Satan will be permitted, by divine authority of course, to lead to the surface of the earth some who have been held captive in the pit (hell). This world of “outer darkness,” upon which man has never looked, a place where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30), a place originally “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), will release many strange and wicked things upon the earth.

Here at the beginning of the passage, we encounter controversy, because everyone seems to agree that this was not a star that fell from heaven. The Holy Spirit makes that very clear when He speaks of the star as “he.” This is not strange at all. In Job 38:7, angels were called stars. Bible scholars do not agree on who this is; but I believe as do most Bible scholars that it is none other than Satan. However, I know there are some very competent commentators who hold the opinion that it was the Lord Jesus Christ. To be fair, I am going to site one of the reasons they believe the way they do. “One of the arguments for Jesus being this fallen star goes like this. The star John saw fall from Heaven had the key to the bottomless pit, and according to Revelation 1:18, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; AND HAVE THE KEYS OF HELL AND OF DEATH.” It stands to reason that Almighty God would not trust Satan with the key to hell, so Jesus must be the One described as a fallen star.” I disagree. I do not think it is Christ and neither do I believe that this star was a fallen angel, or a good angel. These are the four opinions of which I am aware.

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