The Fifth Trumpet: 9:1-12.
The 9th chapter explains the 5th and 6th trumpets judgments. This is the painful and the darkest period of human history. When the 5th angel blows the trumpet, John sees a star fallen to earth from the sky. He was given the key to the bottomless pit. The "Star" is symbolic of an angel (1:20; Job 38:7). His name in Greek is Apollyon and in Hebrew is Abaddon which means destroyer. This angel has authority over fallen angels. This may be Lucifer the son of the morning star who was cast out from heaven for the pride of his heart (Isaiah 14:12-15). When this fallen angel opens the bottomless pit, smoke pours out of the pit and the sun and the air turn dark from the smoke (9:1-2). The fallen star seems to be Satan himself. He is allowed to use the key of the bottomless pit for a specific purpose. The locusts come from the smoke and they have sting like scorpions. There are unchained demons and chained demons (Luke 8:27-31; Jude 6, 7). The bottomless pit is the abode of the demons. Out of the smoke appears locusts. They look like horses prepared for battle. They look gross, wearing gold-like crowns and their faces look like human faces (9:7-8). They are not allowed to destroy vegetation. They may torment those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. The pain from the sting of locusts was unbearable but not fatal. The duration of this judgment will be five months. In those days people will seek death but will not find it. The worst judgment is yet to come.
The Sixth Trumpet: 9:13-21.
When the sixth angel blows the trumpet, John hears a voice speaking from the four horns of the golden altar, saying to the sixth angel to release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates (9:13,14). These four satanic angels will lead an army of 200 million from the east. They will kill one-third of all people on earth. Under the fourth seal judgment already one fourth of the earth was killed (6:8). This army under four angels is equipped with modern weapons. That means the world population will be reduced to half since the beginning of the tribulation. The source of this invasion is the Euphrates River. The false religion began at this place (Genesis 2:14; 4:3). John saw the horses and the rider sitting on them. This army looks like a horse and the riders are sitting on them with fiery red armor. The horses have heads like lions. Fire, smoke and burning sulfur come out of the mouths of horses. Their power is in their mouths and in their tails. Their tails have heads like snakes with the power to injure people (9: 17-19). Is it not a picture of modern day warfare? Despite the severe judgment, people will not repent. Such is typical of hardened human hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). Whether we live today or during the tribulation, only the redeeming grace of God can save souls (Genesis 6:5). We all deserve the judgment of God. But God poured out the judgment we deserve upon His Son. God rescued us from eternal judgment (Romans 8:1). Without Christ there is no hope. Have you believed in Jesus Christ to escape from the coming judgment?