Fifth Trumpet - Page 2 of 3 - (series: Lessons on Revelation)
by John Lowe
The “bottomless pit” is hell . . . not the lake of fire, for that is the final “prison” for Satan and all who follow him; all the wicked spirits who have died since Adam. Demons are there, the wicked spirits are there; but Satan is walking up and down on the earth—sometimes as a roaring lion, other times as an angel of light (Job 1:6-12; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
There is no doubt in my mind, after comparing spiritual things with spiritual that hell is beneath the ground on which we walk. When the angel unlocks the bottomless pit, smoke will issue from it—and this will not be symbolic smoke. It will be real, just like the smoke that comes from your chimney. The Bible refers to it as the smoke issuing from a great furnace. It will completely black out the sun, and there will be darkness over all the land. Jesus compared hell to a furnace of fire (Matthew 13:42, 50), and in this age that ought to make people stop and think before they make fun of it. When Jesus hung on the cross, the sun refused to shine and all the earth was in darkness for 3 hours. In this scripture, the sun is shining but the smoke of God’s judgment blacks it out.
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.
Two: THESE DEMONS WERE INFERNAL. (Some synonyms for infernal are demonic, devilish, hellish, malevolent, wicked.). John says, “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power.” Anticipating for a moment the full description of these dreadful things which follows, they appear to be a form of satanic cherubim. The horse, the man, the locust, the lion, and the scorpion all combine in their appearance. They are not ordinary locusts (grasshoppers), for they are supernatural and are incapable of being killed.
As soon as the bottomless pit is opened, a cloud of obnoxious smoke is emitted. Like the cloud of a great atomic blast, or a mighty volcanic eruption, a strange and awesome blackness fills the air and blots out the sun from view. These terrors are more than human; they are demonic. Out of the darkness from the pit of the abyss come demons to do their fearful work of taking charge of the souls and bodies of those who have willingly rejected the Son of God. The plague of darkness that God sent to Egypt, “even darkness which may be felt” (Exodus 10:21-22), and which lasted only three days, was mild compared with the darkness of hell let loose on the earth during the time of the Great Tribulation. Because men are sinners by nature they hate the light and prefer the darkness of superstition, error, and ignorance (John 3:19). Not until they feel the darkness of hell itself will they have any desire to flee from it, but by that time it will be too late.
Locusts breed in desert places and invade the cultivated lands for food. They may be about 2 inches in length, with a wingspan of 4-5 inches. They belong to the same family as the household cricket and the grasshopper. They will travel in a column 100 feet deep and as much as four miles long. When such a cloud of locust appears, it is as if there had been an eclipse of the sun and even great buildings less than 100 feet away cannot be seen.
The destruction that they cause is beyond belief. When they have left an area, not a blade of grass is to be seen; the trees are stripped of their bark. Land where the locusts have settled looks as if it had been scorched with a brush fire; not one single living thing is left. When God wanted to judge His people, He would sometimes send locusts to devour the harvests (Deuteronomy 28:38, 42; Joel 2).
It has always been noticed that the head of the locust is like a miniature head of a horse. When they move, they move inexorably on like an army with leaders. People have dug trenches, lit fires, and even fired cannon in an attempt to stop them but without success; they come on in a steady column which climbs hills, enters houses and leaves scorched earth behind.
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.
Three: THEY ARE INSATIABLE. The ordinary locusts descend upon the earth in dense clouds and devour every green thing in sight. The worst locust plague in modern times struck the Middle East in 1951-52 devouring every green and growing thing across hundreds of thousands of square miles in Iran, Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Locusts eat grain, leaf, and stalk, right down to the bare ground. When a swarm arises and flies on its way, the green field is left a desert; barrenness and desolation stretches as far as eye can see.
These demons are so locust-like in their voracious appetites that they have to be divinely restrained and are forbidden to touch those whom God has sealed. Their hunger is for men, and unregenerate, godless, Christ-rejecting men are given to them as their prey. The 144,000 men from the tribes of Israel would therefore escape this painful judgment (Revelation 7:1-8). In fact, it is likely that all who have trusted the Lord will be sealed in some special way and protected from torment.
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.
Four: THEY ARE INTOLERABLE. We are told, “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.” Five months, from May to September, is the natural life of a locust. Think of it! Five months of agony, five months of scorpions. Do I believe this is a literal five months? I answer with these questions: Do I believe John 3:16? Do I believe Acts 16:31? Do I believe the 23rd Psalm? Do I believe John 14:2—“In my Father’s house are many mansions”? I certainly do! Then why should I not believe this? Men will be stung and bitten by locusts for five months they will swell and hurt, beg and scream; but they cannot die.
These demon locusts inflict a sting which produces the most intolerable suffering. The sting of a natural scorpion is not generally fatal, but it produces the most intense pain that any creature can inflict on the human body. The word used to describe the effect of their sting is “torment,” a word generally associated with demons. The sting of these demon locusts also produces torment of mind and spirit almost beyond endurance. The agony they produce is so great that men who normally flee from death will scream for death to come and end their miseries. Imagine a world in which men court death, attempt suicide, expose themselves to the reaper’s scythe, chase after him with all their might, only to find that, for once, he cannot be found! These tormented men cannot die—poison may be swallowed only to find it has been neutralized to impotency—yet they are in anguish beyond words to describe it. It is hell on earth. Do you understand these words? Guns will not kill, razors will not sever arms, poison will not poison, necks will not break, and hearts will not stop! Men will go on their faces and beg God to kill them . . . to let them die. They will mutilate their bodies, but they cannot bleed to death. Death has always been the enemy of men (1 Corinthians 15:26).
The day when men shall choose death rather than life is predicted by God through Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 8:3). “Oh, the misery of waiting for death when it cometh not!” (Job 3:21). Such will be the state of man that even death would be a relief. What great mercy of our Heavenly Father—that believers shall escape this invasion from the underworld! The prophecy of Joel seems to coincide with this prophecy of John. Joel described a locust plague as a foreshadowing of the “day of the Lord,” meaning God’s coming judgment (Joel 1:6-2:11).
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.
This army of demon-locusts out of hell is described in verses 7-10. They had bodies like horses prepared for battle. They had on their heads crowns like gold. These demon monstrosities had faces like men, with long, flowing hair like a woman. They had jagged, sharp teeth like a lion, and “as it were” breastplates of Iron . . . durable and strong, comparable to our steel. They could not be destroyed. Bullets would not penetrate these locusts. They had tails like scorpions of the earth, with stings in their tails, and they were to sting man for five months. These hideous savage demon monstrosities will fill this earth for five months. Think of it! Today, the fearsome army described here is already incarcerated, waiting for the hour of liberation.