Revelation 9: The 5th and 6th Trumpets

Posted on March 2, 2021

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By David Ettinger

What This Is
Back in the mid-to-late 1990s, I taught a Sunday school class verse by verse on the Book of Revelation. This series represents my notes for each class. (I have done some updating as some of my understandings have changed over the years.) I came across them recently and decided to post them. If you wish to use these notes as a study guide, the way to do it is as follows: Read the verse first in your Bible, then look at the corresponding notes here for commentary.

For some reason, I don’t have notes for Chapters 1-3, therefore this series begins with Chapters 4-5. Following the Chapter 4-5 study notes, each chapter will be presented individually.

Read Chapter 4-5 notes here.
Read Chapter 6 notes here.

Read Chapter 7 notes here.
Read Chapter 8 notes here.

Verse 1
The Fifth Trumpet
*The star that falls is apparently an angel who has the power to open the Abyss.

* The Abyss seems to be a place of detention for wicked angels or the demon world.

* The opening of the Abyss will let loose the terrible judgment of the fifth trumpet

Verse 2
* This time, the disaster originates from Earth and reaches up to Heaven instead of the other way around.

* These creatures are probably demons who take on the form of locusts.

Verse 3
* They have the power of scorpions.

* Again, though they look like locusts and have the power of scorpions, they are probably neither.

Verse 4
* The targets ­– or victims – of the demons are those who did not have the seal of God.

* The 144,000 will definitely be spared. Also to be spared will be those who do not take the mark of the beast but instead take the mark of God.

* People WILL be saved during this period.

Verse 5
* If nothing else, we learn that the duration of this trumpet is 5 months.

* This indicates that the seals and trumpets will not be in rapid-fire succession (as the bowl judgments will be).

* An example of how the Bible uses time is 1 Kings 19:1-9; 15. Elijah’s time of fleeing obviously is long judging by the distance he travels, but we never see that indicated in the narrative.

* In tropical climates where scorpions are large, they have the power to kill small children and inflict terrible pain.

Verse 6
* For this reason, men and women will seek to commit suicide, but will be unsuccessful.

Verse 7
* These creatures were locusts that looked like horses.

* Recall the Lion who looked like a Lamb.

* “Crown of gold” would indicate some kind of authority.

Verse 8
* These creatures have long hair.

* Lion’s teeth would further add to the horror of these frightening creatures, though, apparently, they don’t bite their victims. The apparently sting them (v. 10).

Verse 9
* These are creatures beyond imagination.

* We keep finding out more about them, and the more we find out, the more frightening they become.

Verse 10
* The creatures attack people with their tails. Perhaps while men and women are overwhelmed by their appearance, the tail “sneaks around” and gets them.

* They are given power for 5 months.  

Verse 11
* The purpose of the fifth trumpet is destruction.

* It is far worse than all that preceded it, but is not as bad as what will come next.

* The fifth trumpet has set the stage for the next 2 trumpets.

Verse 12
* Now we see why these final trumpets are referred to as “woe.”

Verse 13
The Sixth Trumpet
* The altar is the altar of incense, and refers back to the prayers of the saints in 8:3-4

* The golden altar is the altar of incense inside the Tabernacle or Temple. It is used for burning incense and worshiping god.

* The voice from the altar is probably that of an angel.

Verse 14
* The Euphrates is in Babylon. False religion had its origin in Babylon.

* From here, demonic forces are released. They are evidently being held there right now.

* Four angels – evidently fallen angels or demons. There is no evidence in Scripture that holy angels are ever bound.

* The 4 will ignite an incredible series of events that will lead to the death of millions of people.

Verse 15
* That 4 angels are “kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year” shows that God indeed has a very specific plan and that He is in complete control of all things at all times.

* This second woe contrasts to the first woe in that the first woe is designed to torment people; this second woe is designed to kill.

Verse 16
* John is given the actual number of troops, 200 million.

* We’re probably looking at a demonic army of some kind. Though many like to equate the 200 million with the Far East, a consistent reading of Scripture would indicate an army of demonic forces.

Verse 17
* What makes the breastplates of these “soldiers” so distinctive is that the breastplates are made of brilliant colors which stand out against the bland, gloomy background. The effect will mesmerize people.

* Lions represent power.

* The real danger of these creatures is that they could kill with their mouths. They evidently emitted a deadly fire with smoke and sulfur.

Verse 18
* The army is so vast, probably, because it has so much killing to do.

* Interestingly, the third of humanity that was killed was done so by the smoke, fire, sulfur, and nothing else (see 2 Peter 3:10).

Verse 19
* Apparently, there is no escaping these creatures. If one escapes the fire, smoke, and sulfur from the mouths of the riders, the tails of the horses will get them (v. 10).

Verses 20-21
* The fact that the living did not repent indicates that repentance will still be available.

* Think back to Pharaoh and how he didn’t repent.

* Humanity gets more rebellious as more bad occurs.

* They CHOOSE their false worship as opposed to the True God.

* Also, they continue in their evil practices.

* Read Joel 2:1-11 for a parallel passage.