What horrifying scenes are painted in this passage! First are “locusts” dropping from smoke billowing forth from the “Abyss.” These fearful creatures, which are really demons from hell, follow the “angel of the Abyss” (Satan). They are allowed to torment people so severely that they will long for death!
Then, when the sixth trumpet blows, bringing us close to the return of Jesus, four “angels” are released bringing about incredible carnage, apparently through warfare the likes of which our world has never seen! No wonder the eagle had screeched “Woe! Woe!” before these trumpets sounded!
It’s not a pretty picture; it’s one of judgment and warning unheeded warning (9:20-21)! But there is comfort for believers even in these scenes. First, the Lamb is clearly in complete control! The dreadful “locusts” can’t leave the Abyss until it is unlocked! And, even then, they cannot harm those who have the “seal of God” on them (believers). And the “angels” who usher in horrific warfare are unable to do anything until they are released. Jesus is in control!
And, second, even these dreadful judgments help to bring about Christ’s coming! They fit into God’s plan, happening at just the right time (v. 15)! Followers of the Lamb need not fear these “woes,” horrible as they are, for even they serve the coming of our King!
Lord Jesus, may all things even demons and warfare help to bring about the coming of Your kingdom. Amen.