Having heard the eagle’s cry of woe in his vision, John’s vision gets tougher:
“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. 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” (Rev 9:1-2).
Note that this is not like a mine shaft that has a defined path for descending down to and ascending up from the mine. This pit is the descent into judgment from life to death by scorching blaze. It is the antithesis of our presence in the throne room of God. One of its names is “hell.”
“Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 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. 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. And in those days people will seek death and not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them” (Rev 9:3-6).
When we think of disunity from God, do we think of changing churches or seeking a new pastor or ostracizing someone we dislike? Yes. But do we think about five months of torture by God-borne locusts? Is it too late to repent at this point? Apparently it is:
“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, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; 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. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails” (Rev 9:7-10).
Picture punching bags with sharp steel points stabbing repeatedly with the rhythm of a smashing tail. And now we learn who is in charge of this nightmare of vision:
“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. The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come” (Rev 9:11-12).
Is there anyone who is missing here? We see now what happens to those who are in disunity from God, but those who worship the true God in perfect unity with him and welcome his Son Jesus into their hearts, are not present in this scene.
Think about what this means, and hurry back for Part 3!