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. 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. And out of the smoke locusts came down on 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 allowed 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. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come. The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.
Angels killing mankind? Class V rapids warning – grab the gunnel and ready the paddles we are headed for some wild water. The fourth and fifth angels have unleashed their wrath and now we come to the sixth. The fourth angel was really connected to the arrival of Wormwood and the cascading catastrophes associated with that extraterrestrial arrival.
Apparently the next three angel trumpet blasts will be even worse than the first four “As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (Revelation 8:13). The calamities up to this point have been horrible but external. It is about to get individual and personal for those not possessing God’s seal.
The fifth angel’s trumpet blast heralds the arrival of what is described as “a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. This part seems oddly reminiscent of the other worldly description wheels and rushing waters in the visions of Ezekiel along the Kebar River. The creatures unleashed on the the earth and those unsealed were both interesting and terrifying “On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.”
Wow Hollywood could not devise a more terrifying invasion. It reminds me a little bit of the invasion in the movie “War of the Worlds”. Although I think in most versions of that movie the aliens dispatch their victims rather quickly rather than with a five month torment. This description in consistent with how a person of the authors time might view technology that we have today drones, especially the details like a breastplate of iron, wings sounding like rushing chariots, crowns of gold on their heads, and tails of torment like scorpion tails. This may totally be mythical creatures but it sure sounds like there is a mechanistic component here. On to the sixth angel…
The sixth angel blows his horn and the “four horns” around the altar instruct the sixth angel to “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” I am not sure why there are four angels except perhaps to symbolize the cardinal directions E, W, N, and S. There is a sense that although they are being unleashed from a specific geographic location, the Euphrates River, this will spread in every direction and touch the lives of all those that are not sealed by God. I find it interesting that the ending of mankind is near the beginning of mankind, the garden of Eden, as described in Genesis.
Apparently these four angels will command armies to do their killing work “And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.” Doing the math that sounds like 200,000,000 million mounted troops. That would be a truly awesome army. I am left wondering if these troops are really something mechanistic that was released and the closest thing that the author could relate to was a “mounted soldier”. I could be totally wrong here, but I do find the language interesting and curious.
So what can we take from this terrifying account of scorpion tales and metaphysical mayhem? The events being described here could be an attempt to describe the indescribable spiritual world that our souls will experience someday. The “war of the worlds” in that case would be between the secular and the spiritual realms. The collision between these two worlds would, from our earthly perspective, undoubtedly seem fantastic and terrifying. The take home for me is that we should keep our focus on the window between these worlds, Jesus. We should have hungry and thirsty souls seeking to know and be known by God, and washed clean by the lamb of God before this collision of worlds happens.
Prayer: God help us to focus on preparing our souls and hearts to be with You so that when the time comes we will not have to endure the anguish of Armageddon without You.