The chart below might help you understand how Revelation is structured. Revelation 8 is where the arrow goes down from the seventh seal and through the fourth trumpet. Revelation 9 covers the fifth trumpet (with the first woe) and the sixth trumpet (with the beginning of the second woe).
|The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Volume 2, p. 950|
The breaking of the seventh seal by the Lamb is followed by thirty minutes of silence. This is appropriate because God's judgment is about to intensify (See Zephaniah 1:7, 14-18). This breaking reveals seven trumpets given to seven angels. Trumpets were significant in Israel's history:
According to Numbers 10, trumpets had three important uses: they called the people together (Num. 10:1–8); they announced war (Num. 10:9); and they announced special times (Num. 10:10). The trumpet sounded at Mount Sinai when the Law was given (Ex. 19:16–19), and trumpets were blown when the king was anointed and enthroned (1 Kings 1:34, 39). Of course, everyone familiar with the Old Testament would remember the trumpets at the conquest of Jericho (Josh. 6:13–16). (The Bible Exposition Commentary: Volume 2, Re 8:1, p. 592)Another angel, stood before the golden altar with a golden censer of a large amount of incense (1 Kings 7:50; 2 Chronicles 4:22). In the Old Testament tabernacle and temple, the golden altar was in front of the veil and burned incense (Exodus 30:1-10). Burning incense were poured on coals and a sweet- aroma went upwards to God. This is symbolic of the prayers ascending to God (Psalm 141:12) from all God's saints. Instead of taking the censer and going into the holy of holies like the high priest would do on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:11-14), the angel hurled the censer full of the fire of the altar to the earth with many fireworks in nature!
Revelation 8:6-13 involves the first four angels and trumpets and natural and heavenly disasters: hail, fire, falling stars, death, and darkness. Wormwood was "a plant both bitter and deleterious, and growing in desolate places, figuratively suggestive of calamity (Lam. 3:15) and injustice (Amos 5:7)" (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: Vol. 2, p. 234).
Wormwood is spoken of in the Old Testament, and it is never good (Deuteronomy 28:18; Proverbs 5:4; Jeremiah 9:15; 23:15; Lamentation 31:15,19; Amos 5:7)!
During the fourth angel's judgment an eagle appears as a messenger proclaiming three "woes" for the "inhabitants of the earth" in 8:13. Who are the "inhabitants"?
The phrase “inhabiters of the earth” (or “them that dwell on the earth”) is found twelve times in Revelation (3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10 [twice]; 12:12; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:6; 17:2, 8). It means much more than “people who live on the earth,” for that is where all living people reside. Instead, it refers to a kind of people: those who live for the earth and the things of the earth. These are just the opposite of people who have their citizenship in heaven (Phil. 3:18–21). John described this worldly sort well in his first epistle (1 John 2:15–17), and later in this prophecy he again makes it clear that “earth-dwellers” are not born again (Rev. 13:8). (The Bible Exposition Commentary: Volume 2, Re 8:7, p. 594)The first four trumpet judgments destroyed only one-third of the earth. The eagle is proclaiming that the worst is yet to come!
Fifth Trumpet with First Woe - The "Locust" Army from the Pit (9:1-12)
It is not known whether the "star" that fell from heaven is Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14; Luke 10:18), a fallen angel, Christ, or a good angel. Regardless, God has given this star the keys (1:17, 18) to open the "shaft of the Abyss" or bottomless pit which is the place where demons dwell (9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,2; Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7). Satan will be temporarily jailed there when Jesus reigns (Revelation 20:1-3). The Antichrist (beast) will come out of there (Revelation 11:7; 17:8).
The pit is hot (Matthew 13:42,50) and locusts come out who have a deadly sting, and they sting people who are not protected by God with the seal given in Revelation 7. All believers are protected (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:19) so regardless of what you believe about where believers are during this at this point in Revelation(raptured before the tribulation, before the wrath of God, in the middle of the tribulation, or after), this is an assurance!
Locust always brought destruction in the Old Testament (Exodus 10:12-20; Joel 1:4-7; 2:1-10). These locusts were given permission to torment the people without the seal for five months, making them want to die (9:6). These do not sound like literal locusts because of the scorpion-like stings. Many commentators believe they are demons which make sense since the pit where they reside has just been opened up. The meaning of their leader's name in Hebrew and Greek is "destroyer." It also might be a play on words since many worshiped the Greek/Roman god, Apollo.
Sixth Trumpet with Second Woe - The Army from the East (9:13-21)
This is the beginning of the second woe which will happen until Revelation 11:14. A voice from the horns of the golden altar (Exodus 27:2), commands that four wicked angels be released (no holy angel would be bound). They come from the Euphrates River in the "cradle of civilization" (Genesis 2:14) and on the border of Israel (Genesis 15:18). The wicked angels on war horses have an army of 200 million beings behind them. This army is released to kill a third of the world's population. When you combine this with one fourth that has already been killed (Revelation 6:8), it is more than half of the world!
I am astounded that the remaining people who are not killed by the plague "did not repent" of their sin and demon worship. They are very hard-hearted!
There is a similarity between these judgments and the 10 plagues when Moses was trying to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. See if you can make the connection with Exodus 7:14-12:36. It will be a good Bible Book Club review!
Your prayers are a sweet aroma to God? Do you believe this and that you can make a difference?
If you have not already done it from yesterday's application, look at the Joshua Project Unreached People of the Day resources and try one. Start small and do it just for today.
Lord, I praise You that You are a God of justice. We do not want people to die without having an opportunity to hear the Good News. Make us ambassadors of that Good News to all we meet! Amen.