As I mentioned yesterday, the trumpet or shofar is a call to come to God, repent, and atone for sin. Yesterday, we read about the first four trumpets. Today we will read about the next two. The first four trumpets affected the earth and water and made life dangerous, precious, and difficult but the fifth and sixth trumpet affect humans directly. Verses 1-6 read,
“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.”
These locust like creatures are not heavenly beings, they are locked in the bottomless pit, where the beast is until he makes war on, conquers, and kills the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7-8). It I also the place where Satan will be locked for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:1-3). These locust-like beings like everything else in the bit are sanctioned by Satan, but bound and released by God. Satan may think they are meeting his purposes, but God will restrict them and use them for His purposes.
God allows them only to harm the lost, those who have not been sealed by Him. They cannot harm the grass or trees only people. The torment and suffering they cause does not kill. Instead the tormented suffer for five months and long to die rather than continue. God is giving them a chance to repent, to ask why the sealed are untouched, recognize their sin, and turn to Jesus. Whatever these creatures are, they sound horrific. Verses 7-11 describe them.
“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.”
When I was a teenager, a pastor said he believed them to be helicopters with some sort of terrible weapon being shot from them. I can see where he would think that. But I disagree with him. Helicopters do not shoot from their tails. They would not be kept in the bottomless pit, and demons would not need to use helicopters to spread their torturous plague. But I do not like to guess, because my assumption could be wrong and mislead people.
Verse 12 reads,
“The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.”
I believe the sealed will recognize what is happening and so have the chance to tell the lost. They (or we) will recognize the trumpets and be able to alert people, “This is it, your chance to repent and escape the wrath of the lamb!” I think it will be our responsibility to warn them as prophets warned people for thousands of years. John the Baptist called out in the wilderness. “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:3). We will call out to the nations, “Jesus is returning! The time to repent is now!”
Malachi 3:1-5 describes John the Baptist’s prophetic ministry before Jesus began His redemptive ministry culminating in His crucifixion and resurrection. But I believe it also describes the church and our prophetic ministry to warn people that Jesus is returning and this time it will culminate in The Day of the LORD, eternal life or eternal death. It reads,
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.”
God is calling! Are you listening? Can the lost hear? Whether they heed is not our problem, but making sure they hear is. Ezekiel 3:16-19 says it this way,
“And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”
If we do not warn them, they will have no choice but to die in their sin. God doesn’t want that for them (2 Peter 3:9), neither do we.
Verses 13-19 illustrate the sixth trumpet.
“Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.”
The angels bound until this time are fallen angels bent on the singular cause of leading the demonic army. Again the Lord uses Satan’s minions for His purpose. The Euphrates is one of four rivers formed by the river coming out of Eden. (Genesis 2:10-14). The Euphrates formed a border for the Land God promised Abraham’s descendants. (Genesis 15:18). And it is from border that the demonic army will rise to kill a third of the already dwindling and weak mankind. Do the math on the number of troops in that terrifying army and you will get 2,000,000,000,000. That is two trillion. That is 285 demonic soldiers for every man woman and child on earth right now. The horses have the power to kill and wound in their mouths. They will kill by the fire, smoke, and sulfur which comes from their mouths (Spoiler alert: They will be destroyed by the sword coming from Jesus mouth! Revelation 19:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Believer, You and I have an obligation of love to warn people about what is coming. We have a duty to tell people about Jesus. We have the power in our mouths to give them a chance at salvation.We have to give them a chance to repent. Blow the trumpet! Sound the alarm! Call them to Jesus. Their response is their choice, but we should give them the choice. Will they listen now, before it’s too late? Maybe. Will they listen when trumpet after trumpet is blown? Verses 20-21 read,
“The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, 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, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
They will be so hardened, deaf, and blind to God’s love they will not listen or repent, but God will call none the less. Because God will not give up them, neither should we.