Just prior to the introduction of the fifth trumpet, the apostle John sees an eagle flying and crying out, "woe, woe, woe to
those who dwell on the earth." Unbeknownst to the apostle is that the remaining three trumpets will herald the release of God's
plagues which will bring torment and death upon all human beings on earth.
While the English definition of "plague" conveys the meaning of disease or affliction, the meaning of the original Greek noun
includes the view of harmful supernatural events (i.e. the plagues of Exodus).
Up until to the fifth trumpet, God's wrath of judgment was not focused on directly causing harm upon human beings.
The first four seals caused social upheaval and death (Rev 6:1-8).
The first four trumpets caused harm upon the earth and seas
When the fifth trumpet sounds, an angel from heaven is sent to earth to open the "bottomless pit" with the key he was given.
From the abyss comes "the smoke of a great furnace" which darkens the sun (Rev 9:1-2).
After opening the abyss, the angel from heaven does three things (Rev 9:3-5):
1. Gives the locusts a power like a scorpion such as a tail that stings and hurts people for five months
2. Restricts the locusts from hurting the grass, any vegetation, or any tree.
3. Restricts the locusts from stinging any of the 144,000 sealed bond servants and causing any death of those
The locusts appear to the apostle John as something he's unfamiliar with, because he describes them using similes:
- They appeared like horses prepared for battle
- On their heads appeared to be crowns
- Their faces were like faces of men
- They had hair like the hair of women
- Their teeth were like the teeth of lions
- They had breastplates like breastplates of iron
- The sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots of many horses
- They have tails like scorpions
Elsewhere in the Bible, the abyss is presented as a place of confinement and punishment for fallen angels who indulged in some
form of gross immoral behavior (Luke 8:26-31;
Matt 8:28-32; Jude 1:6-7).
Thus the opening of the abyss marks the first time that God is using a demonic instrument to dispense His wrath upon mankind. The
apostle John introduces the fallen angel and king over the abyss with his Hebrew and Greek names with the intention that all would
have no doubt of who he is and what he does.
The Hebrew noun "Abaddon" means "destruction" or "the place ruin."
The Greek noun "Apollyon" means "exterminator" or "destroyer."
The fifth trumpet is the first woe, which God intends as a means to torment human beings with pain such that they would seek death
but not find it. And if death is unobtainable, it forces one to consider God.