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Milepost 22: Trumpet Five: the First Great Woe

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Milepost 22: Trumpet Five: the First Great Woe

Primary References: Revelation 9:1-12

 

The fifth trumpet brings the first of the three great woes as a star possessing the pit's keys falls from heaven to earth and frees the bottomless pit's demonic forces from their prolonged captivity. The star's fall from heaven conjures up images of the sixth seal's stars but this star is clearly some sort of creature since John refers to it as ‘him'. John does not identify the fallen star but clues from the text encourage speculation. Jesus provided a key clue as to who the star might be in Luke 10:18 when He described Satan as a light (lightning) falling from heaven.

Why does Satan receive the keys to the bottomless pit? Does God take the keys away from Satan and if so, when? If Satan still possessed the keys when incarcerated in the bottomless pit, what would prevent him from using them? For the last two questions, it is reasonable to assume that God takes back all that is rightfully His, including the keys to the bottomless pit, before Satan is locked away. Before this, God has selectively released those incarcerated in the bottomless pit but now He allows Satan to have the pit's keys so he can empty it of its occupants (with the possible exception of four held until the sixth trumpet). Angry, vengeful demons, many probably never seen by anyone, are now freed to torment humanity.

When the fallen star opens the bottomless pit, smoke and locusts ascend from it darkening the sun and sky. Smoke suggests the lingering effects of God's fiery furnace judgment. The locusts were the pit's prisoners, which must logically be fallen angels (demons) since God only incarcerates rebellious creatures. These locusts attack the flesh of men and spare only those men with God's seal, Revelation 7's 144,000. Some scholars teach that God's judgments do not touch the righteous remaining on earth during the seven-year tribulation. Unfortunately, the fifth trumpet judgment raises doubts about this theory since God stops the pit's creatures from tormenting the 144,000 but says nothing about any of the other righteous.

The locust's bites are as painful as a scorpion's first sting but not so poisonous that they cause death no matter how many times people are stung. Apparently, people's bodies do not build up immunity to the bites since each sting hurts as much as the first. Bite after bite, for five painful months the pain never subsides as the locusts inflict more and more pain. It is little wonder that many people seek relieve through suicide but to their chagrin, death eludes them. Apparently, even the fourth horseman, death, suspends his work during this judgment.