In our study of Revelation Chapter Nine, we continue our look at the sounding of the trumpets. In chapter 8, we looked at the first four trumpets and the judgement on the earth. Now, after the pause and the warning at the end of the first four trumpets, we are introduced to the three woe trumpets and the judgement on the people of the earth.
"The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss." NIV translation
This is the third star mentioned since we started looking at the sounding of the trumpets. (Remember that the number three represents the fact that God's will is established.)
This third star is different from the other two in that it has intelligence as we see that it is given the key to the shaft.
This star is Satan (see Isaiah 14:12-14 & Luke 10:18) but he is still subject to the will of God and God has granted him this power (the key). This same type of thing happened in the book of Job as God granted Satan the ability to test Job.
"When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss." NIV translation
If you have ever heated your home with an old wood stove, you know how sometimes when you open the door smoke billows out and fills the home. This is the same type of thing only much bigger as we see that there is so much smoke coming up from this pit that the sun and sky are darkened.
"And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. " NIV translation
We have seen a plague of locusts before (see Exodus chapter 10) but this one is different. In Exodus, the locusts ate all of the green plants that were left in Egypt but this time they are not allowed to harm any plants. These locusts have stingers like scorpions and are out to torture the people that are left on the earth. I've never been stung by a scorpion but it does not sound like a good thing especially if it continues to sting you for five months. But, even in this terrible situation, we see the grace of God as the time is limited to five months. It's going to be a tough five months for these people but it does end.