The angel of Darkness
Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.
And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.
Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.
And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle.
They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months.9:1-10
The Fifth Trumpet Blast
The sounding of the fifth trumpet heralded the opening of the bottomless pit in 9:1. This may not be a pit at all, but, perhaps, rather, a place. The fact that it is called bottomless simply implies that it has an unlimited amount to horror and bloodshed. Jehovah is preparing to pour out the wine of his wrath. Some say that the star that fell refers to Lucifer and that he received the key. We studied about this incident in, "A War in Heaven",12:7-10. See: http://ikefehr1939.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-war-in-heaven.html
Wuest# translates the word, star, as, meteor, as he also did in 8:10. Perhaps, it could be supposed, that a giant meteor could have authority to damage the earth; it could be argued that, a meteor smashing into the earth could open up fountains of molten lava with its associated smoke. But why would the smoke of molten lava produce locusts?
John did not say that he saw the star fall; he saw a star fallen from heaven. The word, key, signifies, authority. According to my theory, after the pit was opened by Satan, a wicked army leader took over under Satan's control. Associated with the smoke were locusts.
Some Bible teachers tell us that this smoke means spiritual delusion. If the smoke represents spiritual delusion what do the locusts, the scorpions, the grass, and the trees represent? If smoke refers to spiritual delusion why is the torment for only five months? To me it seems more logical to think of this scene as a preparation for the Battle of Armageddon.
Enough smoke came out of the pit to obscure the sun and pollute the air as is seen in 9:2. It seems that the picture here is that of chemical warfare. However, the chemical used does not kill people but it causes severe anguish, to the sufferers, for five months (whatever five months meant to John). In fact, 9:5 says; the torment was like the torment of a scorpion. The typical life span of a scorpion is five months. Concordia Bible Commentary
Out of the smoke (the origin of the chemical warfare) locusts came (not scorpions). These locusts (flying military tanks) had power, and in some sense this power resembles the power of the scorpions. 9:10. It is also interesting that these locusts attack humans, except those people that have the seal of God on their foreheads. The locusts were forbidden to attack the greenery, even though that is what locusts normally do.
Could this seal of God refer to those nations who refuse to take up arms against the Lord's anointed; because they do not take part in The Battle of Armageddon they will not be tormented by the chemicals? This scene may have no spiritual connotation at all.
These locusts had the sting of scorpions in their tails but the shape of the locusts was like horses (a means of transportation) prepared unto battle.
- They had faces like the faces of men (the pilots of the war planes),
- and they had hair like women’s hair (possibly the pilots of that air force grew their hair long to make a religious or political statement.
- They had something like crowns like gold on their heads, (these were their communication devices).
- their teeth were like lions teeth, maybe he looked directly into the front of a jet engine, and thought of it as having teeth!
- They had breastplates of iron, (the metal nose and sides of the plane), and
- (they had) wings. Was John looking at some sort of a flying tank;
- a tank that stings with its tail like the gun barrels of a tank do?
the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. Here it is easy to picture the wings of an airplane with the engines on the wings, and it was the engines that made this sound of many horses running into battle.
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest