Revelation 9 today, more insights into what happens before Jesus' return. These are fantastic images that are not agreed upon by all scholars. Nevertheless, we can all come to some conclusions from this part of John's vision that should warn and prepare us. Vs 1: The star that falls from heaven to earth is probably Satan. A key to the shaft of the abyss (hell) is given to him. Note that Satan is still on a leash. God is the one who gave him the key. He is only doing what God allows him to do.
Vss 2,3: Satan unlocks the door to the bottomless pit, locusts emerge, reminding those of us who know the Bible of the 8th plague God inflicted on Egypt and the prophecy of Joel 2:31 of locusts coming upon the land.
Vss 4-6: These locusts (demons perhaps? Some think a military army?) cannot inflict death on God's people, the ones who have his seal on their foreheads. They destroy one third of all vegetation. But this only lasts 5 months, thus showing God's sovereignty over all. Also God is giving anyone who will a chance to repent and come to him.
Vss 7-11: If these locusts are indeed demons released from hell (my perspective), their images are frightening. Also we see them as powerful, gruesome, swift, pitiless, intelligent, fierce and capable of inflicting much mental and spiritual anguish on those they attack. Their leader is called Abbaddon, Appollyon which means "the Destroyer." That is Satan's job description from the beginning: to destroy. He doesn't care whom he destroys, he just wants to destroy, even human subjects here.
Vss 13-21: The sixth trumpet sounds and a cavalry comes forth. They have venom in their tails. They kill on a massive scale, killing Satan's own followers. Perhaps this invokes some kind of military conflict "beyond the Euphrates", (interestingly where today nations seek nuclear power). One third of all humanity is killed, yet stopped. The destruction is limited by God, again, trying to woo people to himself in the destruction.
Vss 13,14: Woes are pronounced by God in answer to the saints' prayers, especially the martyrs who had died for their faith (the prayer: "How much longer, Lord?"). Beyond the great river Euphrates, again, there seems to be civil chaos and wanton violence building.
Vss 16-19: An army of 200 million is unleashed. The only nation capable of such numbers is China. Interestingly, it is building such a force as I write. The destruction is absolute and beyond description.
Vss 20,21: Yet people still do not repent. Those who rebelled against God continue to worship their idols and prefer to follow Satan, even after viewing this destruction. Everyone everywhere will be without excuse before God's Judgment Seat one day. He has given every opportunity, thru grace and Jesus, to destruction and pain, to give people the opportunity to repent and turn to him.
The Bible calls these experiences "the awesome day of the Lord." Christians should not fear this day. We will be given the strength and perseverance to overcome.
Jesus is faithful. Trust him for this day...and today.