Revelation 9

Chapter 9

The Fifth Trumpet: the First Woe.[a] 1 Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. He was given the key to the shaft leading down to the abyss. 2 When he unlocked the shaft of the abyss, smoke rose up from the abyss like smoke from a huge furnace, so that the sun and the sky were darkened by the smoke from the abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts dropped down onto the earth, and they were given the same powers that scorpions have on the earth. 4 They were commanded not to damage the grass or the earth or any plant or tree, and they were told to attack only those people who did not have God’s seal on their foreheads.

5 They were given permission to torture these people for five months, but they were not allowed to kill them, and the torment they were to inflict was to be like that of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 During that time, these people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

7 In appearance the locusts were like horses equipped for battle. On their heads they wore what appeared to be gold crowns. Their faces were like human faces, 8 and their hair was like women’s hair. Their teeth were like lions’ teeth, 9 and their chests were like iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was like the rumble of many horses and chariots rushing into battle.

10 These locusts had tails and stings like those of scorpions, and in their tails they had the power to torment people for five months. 11 They had as their king the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.

12 The first woe has passed, but two more are still to come.

13 The Sixth Trumpet: the Second Woe.[b] Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice[c] emanating from the horns of the gold altar that stood in the presence of God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who was holding the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

15 And so the four angels, who had been held in readiness for this very hour, day, month, and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.[d] 16 The number of their cavalry troops was two hundred million. This was the number I heard.

17 This is how I saw the horses and their riders in my vision. The riders wore breastplates in shades of red, blue, and yellow. The heads of the horses were like heads of lions, and issuing forth from their mouths were fire, smoke, and sulfur. 18 By these three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that poured forth from their mouths, a third of mankind was killed. 19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails. Their tails were like serpents, with heads that inflicted harm.

20 However, the rest of mankind who survived these plagues did not repent of the work of their hands or cease their worship of demons[e] and of idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their sorcery, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.

Footnotes

  1. Revelation 9:1 A fallen star, doubtless Satan himself, opens the door of the abyss, which is regarded as the prison in which the evil spirits are held while awaiting their final punishment. An army of strange locusts escapes (see the eighth and ninth plagues of Egypt—Ex 10:12-15, 21-23—as well as the invasion of locusts in Joel 1:4—2:10). These do not devour the harvest, as one would expect, but attack humans. It is an invasion of a fierce army, led by a satanic being, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, meaning perdition or ruin, and in Greek Apollyon, meaning destroyer. The writer has not resisted the enticing pleasure of giving this being a name that is a caricature of the great Greek god Apollo. Job 3:21 is cited in v. 6.
  2. Revelation 9:13 These ancient monsters seem to have had an appointment to meet on the banks of the Euphrates, to be then unleashed as a savage horde on the people. The visionary is undoubtedly thinking of the four corps of the military that invaded Judea from Syria for the second phase of the Jewish War in an expedition that was particularly destructive and murderous. The event was always supposed to be a sign that jump-started consciences. Alas, it merely leads to bewilderment and decomposition!
  3. Revelation 9:13 I heard a voice: to show that the punishment inflicted on the pagans was the result of the prayer of the martyrs, described in Rev 6:9-10.
  4. Revelation 9:15 For the day of the divine wrath, see Rev 6:17.
  5. Revelation 9:20 Demons: spiritual beings allied with Satan and wielding an evil influence on human beings (see Deut 4:28; Ps 115:5-7; 1 Cor 10:20).

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