Revelation 9.1-12 – Why is this happening?

1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; 9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.

Yesterday four trumpets were blown and God’s judgement on a fallen world began. Today, the fifth trumpet is blown and things start to get intense…well, more intense.

An angel is given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from it all hell breaks loose, literally. Could this be satan? Most likely not, he is hell’s victim, not ruler, despite what pop-culture would depict him to be. He is real, for sure, but he is is not in charge of hell, he is sent there.

From the bottomless pit, then, come demons, not actual locusts. We know they are not actual locust because there is lots of likelike…Why locusts then? Well, throughout the Bible locusts are used as a tool of God’s judgement, quite prolifically through the Old Testament.

The obvious question (for me at least), is why is this happening? Why does God allow such severe suffering on His earth, suffering that makes people want to die, suffering that lasts for months on end?

The answer, as always, is to turn hearts and minds back to the Lord, to have people repent of their wicked ways and turn back to God. Think about being at home and having to discipline your children; if they knock over a cup and spill a little water you don’t flip out and send them to bed with no dinner, do you? I hope you don’t, anyway. But, if they repeatedly disobey your instructions, continue behaviour that you have specifically asked them not to, culminating in breaking a priceless gift you gave them, then your reaction would be more firm than a little spilled water, wouldn’t it?

These verses then are a last chance for those on the earth who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour to repent, to turn away from wicked ways, to seek God through Jesus for their Salvation. Sadly, the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues (that the trumpets bring about), did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

If you are going through a tough time today, this week, this month, or this year then please know that God is not punishing you, your punishment was poured out at Calvary on the cross.

Please do not listen to the demonic deception that you should give in, give up, or just walk away.

Instead, take it to the Lord in prayer, seek out other believers who can come around you and offer guidance, who can cover you with spiritual protection through intercessory prayer, but don’t listen to the deception.

As hard as it is to read, passages like this should make us sure in our choice to live the Christian life. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. The troubles we face on earth are the worst it will ever get. Those who may live prosperously now are living their best life, now. Ours is hidden with Christ, and when He comes or calls us home, we will be justified in our choice.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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