Revelation 9:1-4 reads, “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened, by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”

After believers of this church age are translated to glory, a time of unparalleled tribulation will occur for seven years. A series of seal, trumpet and vial judgments will be unleashed upon this Christ-rejecting world. In this passage we have the sounding of the 5th trumpet which results in a frightening army of locusts being released from the bottomless pit. This army will inflict unimaginable pain upon all unbelievers, those who do not have the protective seal of God upon their foreheads. This does raise three questions though which we will try to answer.

Is this a literal army of locusts? Verses 1-2 are helpful in answering this question, for the “bottomless pit” is the prison house of “demons,” not “locusts.” In Luke 8:31 we read, “And they besought Him that He would not command them to go out into the deep.” In this verse demons were asking the Lord Jesus not to send them into “the deep,” which refers to the “bottomless pit.” They knew that one day they would be consigned to the “bottomless pit” for one thousand years, along with the Devil. Revelation 20:2-3 confirms this, “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit.” In verse 4 they are commanded not to “hurt the grassneither any green thing, neither any tree,” which would be impossible for a literal locust that naturally feeds on vegetation. Verse 10 describes them as having “stings in their tails,” which locusts do not have. And finally in verse 11 it says, “And they had a king over them,” which is also not true of locusts. Proverbs 30:27 states emphatically, “The locusts have no king.” Because of these things we conclude that these are NOT an army of locust, but an army of demons.

Why would demons be compared to locusts? The excruciating pain they cause will last 5 months, which is the average life-span of a locust. Verse 5 says, “And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months.” The imagery of verses 2-3 and the army described in verses 7-11 remind us of the locust plague in Egypt. The “armies” of locusts in that day “blackened” the skies, as we see in Exodus 10:15, “For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened.”

What is the pain that unbelievers will experience from these demons? Verse 5 says that “they shall be tormentedas the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.” I believe this “torment” will include both “intense physical suffering and mental torture.” We have an example of this in the demon-possessed man in Mark 5:1-5. Verse 6 informs us that the pain will be so great that “in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”

It is our earnest prayer that none who hear or read this will have to experience the terror of this judgment. We would plead with you to flee from the wrath to come by taking refuge at the cross of Calvary. Jesus died for you to rescue you from this judgment that is coming, but you must accept Him as your savior. Acts 16:31 is a promise from God, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Take God at His Word right now and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. (168.1) (DO)