The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.
They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come. (Revelation 9:1–12, NIV 1984).
My Musings – “They [Biden Administration] came in with the most daunting set of challenges arguably since Franklin D. Roosevelt, only to then be hit by a perfect storm of crises, from Ukraine to inflation to the supply chain to baby formula. What’s next? Locusts?” (Chris Whipple, author).
No, not next. As bad as we might think things are now, we’re not even close to a “perfect storm.” Storm clouds may be forming, but we “ain’t” seen nothing yet. Three sets (seals, trumpets and bowls) of seven, then the end will come.
FIRST SEAL – Rider on a white horse, conqueror bent on conquest.
SECOND SEAL – Rider on a fiery red horse with power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.
THIRD SEAL – Rider on a black horse holding a pair of scales in his hand. A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine.
FOURTH SEAL – Rider named death on a pale horse, given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague.
FIFTH SEAL – Souls slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained, told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who are to be killed as they have been is completed.
SIXTH SEAL – A great earthquake turns the sun black like sackcloth and the moon blood red. Stars in the sky fell to earth. The sky recedes like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island is removed from its place.
SEVENTH SEAL – Silence in heaven for about half an hour. A censer, filled with fire from the altar is hurled to the earth resulting in peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
FIRST TRUMPET – Hail and fire mixed with blood is hurled down to earth. A third of the earth is burned up, a third of the trees are burned up, and all the green grass is burned up.
SECOND TRUMPET – Something like a huge mountain all ablaze thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turns into blood a third of the living creatures in the sea die, and a third of the ships are destroyed.
THIRD TRUMPET – A great star blazing like a torch falls from the sky onto a third of the rivers and onto the springs of water. A third of the waters turn bitter, and many people die from the bitter waters.
FOURTH TRUMPET – A third of the sun, moon, stars are turned dark. A third of the day is without light, and also a third of the night.
FIFTH TRUMPET – The Abyss is opened with smoke rising from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. Locusts come out of the smoke having the power to torture those without the seal of God on their foreheads for five months, but not to kill them. Men will long to die, but death will elude them.
SIXTH TRUMPET – Four angels kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year are released to kill a third of mankind with fire, smoke and sulfur.
SEVENTH TRUMPET – God’s temple in heaven is opened with flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, causing an earthquake and a great hailstorm on the earth,
THE FIRST BOWL – Ugly and painful sores break out on the people who have the mark of the beast and worship his image.
THE SECOND BOWL – The sea turns into blood and every living thing in the sea die.
THE THIRD BOWL – The rivers and springs of water become blood.
THE FOURTH BOWL – The sun is given power to scorch people with fire. They are seared by the intense heat.
THE FIFTH BOWL – The earth is plunged into darkness. Men gnaw their tongues in agony and curse God because of their pains and their sores.
THE SIXTH BOWL – The spirits of demons performing miraculous signs go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle at the place called Armageddon.
THE SEVENTH BOWL – A loud voice out of the temple cries, “It is done!” Then with flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, a severe earthquake like none that has ever occurred since man has been on earth, causes every island and mountain to disappear. Huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fall upon mankind.
Jesus said, “those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.” (Mark 13:19–20, NIV 1984).
My Advice – The Greek word for soon in Revelation 1:1, “what must soon take place,” means that events will occur suddenly once they begin. It did not necessarily that they would begin shortly after they were spoken to John. In other words, once the end-time events begin (which could now be close at hand or still far into the future), they will proceed in rapid succession. Theologians call this the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ. (Walvoord, J. F.). Near or far, you want to be among the elect who have placed their faith in Jesus.
See my musings “Studies in Revelation” for details on all these events.