Bottomless Pit is opened, the Fifth Trumpet, Revelation Chapter 9 Verses 1-12 (NASB)


    And the fifth ANGEL sounded,
This is the first WOE of the WOE, WOE, WOE in Revelation 8:13 (the previous verse). It will take eleven verses to describe this TRUMPET blast. Finally, in verse 12, this first WOE is past.
    and I saw a STAR from heaven which had fallen to the earth;
Since this STAR "had fallen" indicates the fall took place previously. Perhaps, this star is the one in the third TRUMPET, Revelation 8:10. The most common interpretation is the STAR is a fallen angel or the devil himself.
    and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.
Here is where things get interesting. Christ has the keys: Keys of Death and Hades, Revelation 1:18, Key of David, Revelation 3:7. So it is as if Christ is chiding the devil by saying, "Show me what you have in the bottomless pit that you could possibly use to overthrow Me." Just the act of the devil having to take the key shows superiority of Christ.

Now let's consider "the bottomless pit (abyss)". It is self-contained because it is lockable. Otherwise, there would be no need for a key. However, the word "bottomless" contradicts the idea of self-contained. So the only conclusion is that physical boundaries are subject to physical laws, and spiritual/evil boundaries are subject to different yet lockable laws.

There are two types of demons. Those who are free to roam on the earth. These are the ones Jesus cast out throughout His miracles period. Those who are bound in the pits of darkness for sins committed as Peter says in 2 Peter 2:4-9. They are being preserved for judgment as Jude 6 confirms.

Some think that the Nephilim of Genesis 6:1-8 are some in the bottomless pit after they were drown in the great flood. It is a place so horrible that even the "free-roaming" demons do not want to go there, Luke 8:26-34.
    And he opened the BOTTOMLESS PIT [ABYSS]; and
The one who was given the key in the previous verse opens the PIT.
  • SMOKE went up out of the PIT, like the smoke of a great furnace; and

  • Smoke is an indication of wrath and anger, Psalm 18:7-8-15.

    If hell is at the center of the earth, as some commentators believe, then there really is no bottom but only up. The entities in the PIT are angry for being bound there. Recall that the curse of sin is upon the earth, ALL OF IT!

    The PIT is where the beast arises: Revelation 11:7 and Revelation 17:8. It is the place of certain demons, Luke 8:31 and the realm of the dead, Romans 10:7.

  • And out of the SMOKE came forth LOCUSTS upon the earth;
This is the SUN-darkening and AIR-filling SMOKE from the previous verse, and it came from the PIT. It is not clear whether this is a literal vision or a figurative one. Usually, smoke (fire) would kill insects; therefore, it is probably most likely the LOCUSTS are symbolic.

The PIT is reserved for the devil and his angels, so these LOCUSTS are awful demons previously locked up. Joel 1:4-7 describes what these LOCUSTS do ... strip the remaining humans of life and spiritual conscience.

  • and 1) POWER was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
This is the first of three things given to the LOCUSTS. The other two things follow in the next two verses. There is nothing which happens in the universe unless the Lord permits it, 
Scorpions are not pleasurable. They inflict terrible sting and pain. The Israelites experienced them so they would be trustful, humble, and understand the power to make wealth, Deuteronomy 8:11-20. Ezekiel 2:1-7 shows the house of Israel being so fearful and rebellious that they are willing to "sit on scorpions" than to repent. This explains when Jesus was encouraging the seventy disciples after a demon-bashing-in-His-name mission in Luke 10:17-20 that He passed on His authority to "tread on serpents and scorpions".

This verse shows that a terrible, visible, stripping, and totally destructive evil will be released onto this earth. DO NOT BE THE ONE LEFT BEHIND TO EXPERIENCE THIS!

    And 2) they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree,
It is the creatures from the PIT who are told by the four angels identified in Revelation 7:2, not to hurt any green thing. Now, if these are real locusts, as in the previous verse, then this is exactly opposite of what real locusts do. That is, real locusts feed on "green things". Also since they understand what they are not to do, these creatures are intelligent, at least more than real locusts are.
    BUT ONLY the men who do not have the SEAL OF GOD on their foreheads.
Now, this is an interesting twist. It is clear that these creatures from the PIT are to go after men. Maybe this is a testing of those "unsealed" men who falsely claim they are sealed. The 144,000 men, apparently, are not sealed all at once as implied in Revelation 7:3. So these demons from the PIT appear to be released to do their mischief while the sealing continues by the four angels.
    And 3) they were not permitted to KILL ANYONE, but to TORMENT for FIVE months;
Five months, spring and summer, is the life cycle of the locust. During this time, the permission to kill is denied. To TORMENT is OK. However, for the type of TORMENT to be experienced during this exact five months, DEATH would probably be preferred.

It is clear that to harm believers, the devil needs permission (Job 2:3-6). The devil also needs permission to TORMENT these people too. This implies that ALL HUMAN LIFE is precious to God. Even today we are experiencing a hint of this TORMENT when young men think its nothing to "rub out" a person "just because I wanted to". Here, in this verse, it is the threat of death which is the TORMENT.

Note: the five months period is the same time that the earth was covered with water. During this time ALL LIFE was killed (notTORMENTed) except for Noah and his family and pairs of animals, Genesis 7:21-24.

    and their TORMENT was like the TORMENT of a scorpion when it stings a man.
The scorpion's sting is most painful but seldom fatal. It was equated with harsh discipline as in 2 Chronicles 10:6-11 Other examples of TORMENTand related fear:
  • Job indicates TORMENT brings no ease -- Job 3:20-26.
  • The remnant of Topheth is TORMENTed by the bones of slain Israelis -- Jeremiah 8:1-3.
  • The sin of Israel brought on TORMENT -- Hosea 10:3-10.
    And in those days
These are the days during the 5th TRUMPET and following the release of the smoke (demons) from the abyss.
    MEN will seek DEATH and will not FIND it;
Watchman Nee in his book, "Come, Lord Jesus" says, "The desire to die is a matter of the heart, whereas the seeking of death is a question of way. Presently, it is death that seeks man, but (in those days) in the future it will be man seeking death."
    and they will long to die and death flees from them.
Remember that even DEATH is under Christ's control, Revelation 1:18. Even as Hannah prayed in 1 Samuel 2:5-10, it is the Lord that kills and makes alive.

This period has to be a real awesome period. For five months there will be no deaths among the unsealed people. This is hard to imagine since presumably guns, drugs, hangings etc. should be available during this time; yet the state of the demon controlled person may be such that they will not be able to control their own movements. Take, for example, Luke 8:26-39, a man who had some of these demons. He was out of control. Also note the fear of the villagers in verse 37.

    And the APPEARANCE of the locusts was
John sees these demons released out of the abyss and tries to describe them. Whether they will be visible to the unsealed persons is not clear, but their effect on them will be REAL!
  1. like HORSES prepared for battle; and

  2. Job in Job 39:19-25 gives us a verbal description of how war horses act. Nothing will stop them; they have no fear; and they will not respond "to a trumpet". That is, whatever man tries to do to counteract these terrible demons will not work. They are "rearing to go" having just been released from the pit! Look out unsealed persons!

    Check out how Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:5-11) describes the horsemen invasion by the Chaldeans.

  3. on their heads, as it were, CROWNS like gold, and

  4. The old deceiver, Revelation 12:9, is again trying to imitate authority. However, remember the TRUE crown of GOLD is worn by Christ, Revelation 14:14 and his followers, like the 24 elders, Revelation 4:4.
  5. their faces were like the faces of men.

  6. This denotes the demons have intelligence. That is, they use rational thought. They know who the unsealed are, and it will be difficult for the unsealed to distinguish the humans from the demons. But, again, that is the highest form of deception.

  1. And they had HAIR like the HAIR of WOMEN,

  2. Whether this image is to denote a very attractive beguiling demon which lures men to them or if the long hair is for the "glory" (1 Corinthians 11:6-7) of their leader, ABADDON (Revelation 9:11) is not clear. Nonetheless, they are attractive. That hair is an attention getter, just watch the TV commercials to see what part hair plays in selling product!
  3. and their TEETH were like the TEETH of lions.

  4. What an odd combination! The unsealed are lured by the hair, and then they are "torn apart" by the teeth "of lions". This is in line with what Joel says about the devouring nature of demons (Joel 1:6).

    These demons have no respect. They obviously don't care about doing to others as they wished to be done to them (or are they?) (Matthew 7:12)

  1. And they had BREASTPLATES like breastplates of IRON;

  2. These locusts or demon creatures are well protected, they think. They cannot be killed, nor can they kill; they can only torment for 5 months.

    Note the contrast between these demons "protection" and the believer's BREASTPLATE (1 Thessalonians 5:8) which is given to them by Christ who wears His BREASTPLATE of righteousness, Isaiah 59:17.

  3. and the SOUND of their wings was like the SOUND of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.

  4. The demon creatures have movement and their movement is loud. It is not as though they sneak up on you. Those unsealed persons will hear them going and the SOUND alone should strike terror into their hearts. Joel sees them as leaping from the top of one mountian to another, Joel 2:5 (or can we interpret this as metro area to metro area?).
  1. And they have TAILS like scorpions, and STINGS; and in their TAILS is their POWER to hurt men for five months.

  2. When a phrase "for five months" is repeated within a chapter (verse 5), it means it has importance. These demonic creatures will torment "unsealed" humans for five months. They cannot kill the unsealed people -- just make life miserable.

    Then after five months, they all disappear. Again a brief respite to REPENT.

    Consider how scorpions sting. The tail is kept out of sight until, from out of nowhere, while you are facing the creature, you get hit. Again, how deceptive is looking at beauty and the extreme torment lurking behind.

    One senses throughout this discussion of the scorpions, an overtone of sexuality. This almost seems like David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:2-5 and the consequences in 2 Samuel 11:26-27. This is the combination of beauty, temptation, and sin.

    They have as KING over them, the ANGEL of the ABYSS;
Solomon rightly observed that animal locusts do not have a king in Proverbs 30:24-28. Therefore, this phrase clearly indicates that these are other than animals. To have an angel (fallen) leading them indicates their spiritual nature, that is, demons. There are more creatures than just satan who are evil or fallen, Matthew 25:41.

It is not satan himself even though he rules "principalities" and "power" as found in Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 2:15. And satan's place currently is not in the abyss but in heavenly places as shown in Ephesians 2:2.

    his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Appollyon.
John is the only writer who uses bilingual terms. He does here and in his gospel (John 6:1; John 19:13,17,20; John 20:16). This is his style of writing; however, here in this verse he may have wanted to emphasize that this demonic locust plague was going to affect all "unsealed" both apostate Jews as well as unsaved Gentiles.

The term 'ABADDON' means 'destruction' or 'ruin'. It is used in Job 26:6 as the place of destruction, and even this place is totally revealed before Christ Jesus (Proverbs 15:11). There is no comfort there, even as in Sheol, Proverbs 27:20.

The term 'APOLLYON' is the name of a person meaning 'destoyer'. This personifies the leader of the fallen angels who are released as these awful stinging locusts -- demons.

It was accepted in New Testament times that there were spirits who were imprisoned. Peter eludes to them in 1 Peter 3:19 and 2 Peter 2:4. Abaddon apparently is chief among these imprisoned spirits. Also see other references to the destroyer in Jeremiah 4:7, Jeremiah 6:26, Isaiah 16:1-5, Daniel 8:23-26, Daniel 9:26, and Daniel 11:44.

    The first woe is past;
This is the woe we have just studied which is associated with the sounding of the fifth trumpet. This woe can be interpreted two ways:
  1. Real (physical) ==> There will be a plague of terrible locust-like beasts which sting as scorpions for 5 months. They are released from a dormant state or are newly created by God for this woe.
  2. Figurative ==> Demons are released from the abyss and the evil and cruelty inflicted upon this earth's people will be glamourous but oh so tortorous. Mental anguish is often the worst torment.
    behold, two woes are still coming after these things.
Perhaps, this is said by the eagle (Revelation 8:13) and foretells the next two woes as "trumpets 6 and 7". See the pronouncement after the second woe in Revelation 11:14.
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References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.