The Fifth Trumpet

And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! (Revelation 8:13)

Four trumpets have sounded, and if Chicken Little were around, she would be running around saying, “The sky is falling.” Indeed, the first four trumpets make it seem as if the sky is falling – burning hail mixed with blood, asteroids striking the sea, and the land destroying a third of ocean life and ships and a third of fresh water, springs, and rivers. The unnatural disasters darken the sun, moon, and stars by one-third. In addition, the effects of the first six seals continue unabated. By now, Antichrist is in full control of the New World Order, but not all the world is going along. Many nations rebel, and war rages all over the world. The global economy is in shambles with runaway inflation. People are dying everywhere from starvation, plagues, and war, and human and animal corpses litter the landscape because they cannot be buried fast enough. At this point, the Tribulation nears the midpoint, and the worst is yet to come. Three trumpets remain to sound, and the angel announces, “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” (Revelation 8:13).

“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1). Another star falls, but, even though John refers to it as an “astēr,” this is not another space rock. Notice that star has a gender (him and he), and “to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” So, what is this “star” to whom responsibility is given?

Without going into great detail, this is an angelic creature.[1] We can know this from what we read in Job where God answers Job. “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding … When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7, emphasis mine). The Book of Job is written in the Hebrew poetic style of parallelism; therefore, “the morning stars” and “the sons of God” are the same. The “sons of God” is the English translation for the Hebrew “bêne ‘ĕlôhı̂ym.” We see this term used at the beginning of the Book of Job when the “sons of God” presented themselves before God and Satan was among them.[2] These are all the council of God which includes all of God’s angels, good and bad. There we see that Satan is among them. Genesis, which most Bible scholars agree came much later than Job, makes a reference to the “sons of God” which came into the “daughters of men” and produced the Nephilim.[3]

We conclude, therefore, that this “star” which falls from the sky with keys to the bottomless pit is an angelic being, but whether he is one of God’s or one of Satan’s is up for debate. Some believe this is one of God’s angels because, they argue, why would God give a demonic angel the key to the bottomless pit where the worst of the demons are held in prison? It would be like putting a rat in charge of guarding the cheese. I hold the opposite view. The text gives no indication that this angel is the prison guard in charge of keeping the devils locked up. Instead, he is “given” the keys to the bottomless pit at this precise time, and he does exactly what one would expect him to do. He breaks out his demon buddies from prison!

“And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power” (Revelation 9:2-3). There is no indication to make us think that this is anything other than literal smoke. Considering where these demons are kept, it makes perfect sense that smoke would rise from the pit when the door is open. The simile comes when it is likened to smoke that comes from a furnace. The thickness of the smoke darkens the air and the sun.

Out of smoke come locusts; however, these locusts are unlike anything John has ever seen, as we will see in the verses that follow. They have “power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” Note the simile. It is not clear from this initial description whether these locusts have stingers, but later on, we learn that they indeed do have tails like scorpions (9:10). I have never experienced a scorpion sting, but I have heard that it is extremely painful. The Indian Red Scorpion is “considered the world’s most lethal scorpion species. The Indian Red Scorpion lives in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Eastern Nepal, and India … The sting from an Indian Red Scorpion is characteristic of excruciating pain, heart problems, vomiting, nausea, and sweating. In more dire situations, it could result in the collapse of the respiratory system and ultimately death.”[4] These locusts possess the capability to inflict agonizing pain.

“And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4). Unlike normal locust swarms that devastate every green plant in their paths, these are “commanded” not to hurt plants “but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” Reminiscent of the eighth plague sent to Egypt[5] where the locust devastated the Egyptian crops but left the crops of the Israelites in the land of Goshen untouched, these locusts make a distinction between people with the “seal of God” and those without the seal.

We may ask, what is that “seal of God”? The “sphragis” is a “stamp” or “impression” confirming the authenticity of something, in this case, those who belong to God. Consider this: “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, emphasis mine). “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13, emphasis mine). “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). So, “the seal of God” is the Holy Spirit that dwells within believers. These are Tribulation saints (believers) which include the 144K[6] and those who have come to faith in Christ through their message. These are spared the wrath of God. Their “seal” is not a visible mark, but the demonic locusts recognize it and stay away.

“And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them” (Revelation 9:5-6). The tormentors are limited to only five months to torment the God rejectors. Like the sting of the Indian Red Scorpion, the agony makes the victims wish for death, but death eludes them.

These things are nothing like anything John has ever seen, and he employs a lot of similes in an attempt to describe their appearance. Note the use of “like” and “as.” “And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months” (Revelation 9:7-10, emphasis mine). Because of John’s description, some have speculated that what John saw were helicopters. It makes sense that a first-century man would be at a loss to explain 21st-century military weapons. However, helicopters do not have stings on their tails and they do not originate from “the bottomless pit.” These are demonic creatures, not manmade military aircraft.

Finally, we learn the identity of the angel who released the swarm of locusts. “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11, emphasis mine). Without a doubt, we learn that this “angel” is one of Satan’s. His name, “Abaddon” and “Apollyon” means “destruction, ruin.” Apollyon means “destroyer.”

“One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter” (Revelation 9:12). Worse things are yet to come.

Reader, are you prepared for what is coming to the world? You do not need to go through the Tribulation, God’s wrath, that is coming upon the world. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life,” and ask Jesus to save you from the wrath to come.


[1]  See The First Four Trumpets | Ernie’s Musings ( for an explanation on the distinction between that which is symbolic and that which is literal and how we can know the difference.

[2]  Job 1:6; 2:1

[3]  Genesis 6:2, 4

[4]  The 35 Different Types Of Scorpions: Sting, Size & More – Outforia

[5]  Exodus 10:1-20

[6]  The 144K | Ernie’s Musings (

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