A Series on Divine Judgment
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."
Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe,
woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are
about to sound!" (Rev 8:13)
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.
Throughout the book of Revelation, the English translation "plague" is used for the Greek noun "plēgē." While the
English definition conveys the meaning of disease or affliction, the Greek meaning includes supernatural events
harmful to human beings (i.e. the plagues of Exodus) and "wound" as in a physical injury.
Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among
robbers, and they stripped him and beat (plēgē) him, and went away leaving him half dead.
When they had struck them with many blows (plēgē), they threw them into prison,
commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner
prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. (Acts 16:23-24)
Up until to the fifth trumpet, God’s wrath of judgment was not focused on causing physical injury (plēgē) upon
The first four seals caused social upheaval and death
The first four trumpets caused harm upon the earth and seas
Identified as a woe, the fifth trumpet heralds the start of God’s wrath being dispensed directly
and physically upon human beings.
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
After opening the abyss, the angel from heaven does three things
1. Gives the locusts a power like a scorpion such as a tail that stings and hurts people for five
months (Rev 9:10).
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 they afflict.
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.
Abaddon (Hebrew): Used in several instances in the Old Testament, this Hebrew noun means
"destruction" or "the place ruin."
The realm of the dead is naked before God;
Destruction (Abaddon) lies
uncovered. (Job 26:6 NIV)
Destruction (Abaddon) and Death say,
"Only a rumor of it has reached our
ears." (Job 28:22 NIV)
It is a fire that burns to Destruction (Abaddon);
it would have uprooted my
harvest. (Job 31:12 NIV)
Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction (Abaddon)?
(Ps 88:11 NIV)
Death and Destruction (Abaddon) lie open before the Lord—
how much more do
human hearts! (Prov 15:11 NIV)
Death and Destruction (Abaddon) are never satisfied,
and neither are human
eyes. (Prov 27:20 NIV)
Apollyon (Greek): Found only once in the Bible, this Greek noun means "exterminator" or
The abyss is featured prominently as a place for fallen angels.
From the abyss comes a demonic angelic being that kills the Two Witnesses. Note: this being
distinctive from the human individual known as the Beast from the Earth
Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will
attack them, and overpower and kill them. (Rev 11:7)
The abyss is the location that Satan is confined to for one thousand years and then release for
a short time until he is thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone
The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and
go to its destruction. (Rev 17:8)
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in
his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for
a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the
nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
1. Brand C, Draper C, England A, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, (2003).
2. Gaeblein FE ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 12, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House (1992).
3. Walvoord JF, Zuck RB eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, Wheaton: Victor Books, (1983).