In Revelation chapter 9, we are given a glimpse of what the fifth trumpet reveals. The last three trumpets are also the three woes - because they are demonic in nature.
I have heard many interpretations of what these locusts are including the possibility of Apache helicopters. But lets take a common sense approach and use also God’s Word in helping us determine what these ‘locusts’ are.
We can understand that the apostle John, when given this vision in Revelation, had an increased sense of sight. He was able to see angels and describe them in detail, allowing for the idea that he also is able to see and describe demons.
In the beginning of chapter 9, a star is given a key to open the shaft of the Abyss. This cannot be a rock, although it’s coming to earth will be seen as a star falling from Heaven, which could be a asteroid hitting the earth
This ‘Star’ is actually Satan himself being thrown out of heaven which is mentioned in Revelation 12. This star now becomes a person or a being that can open Hell itself. Notice in verse 11, the king over the locusts is also the angel of Abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek, Apollyon. Could this be the Devil or some other demonic being having great authority in Hell?
When the Abyss is opened, smoke pours out and blocks out the sun. This is the ‘smokescreen’ that is used to allow the escape of the demons. We on earth may see this as a hole in the earth’s crust that came from the asteroid hitting the earth. This may lead to the thought that Hell does exists in the center of the earth.
The demons are given instructions to not hurt any of the vegetation on earth - but to inflict pain like that of an scorpion sting on humans. This is to occur for five months! What I find amazing is that those who are getting stung, cannot escape the torture! They try to kill themselves - but death eludes them. That indicates these demons also have mind control of their victims.
However, some are spared from this. Those who have the seal of God on their foreheads. Who are these people? We can know that the 144,000 will have this seal - but so do believers! Catch Ephesians 1:13: When you believed and received your salvation, you are marked with a seal - the promised Holy Spirit.
So why does God send this affliction on the unbelievers? One of the reasons I think is because the mark of beast has not been implemented yet. This mark will show everyone who is loyal to the Antichrist and those who are not. Will this infliction of the locusts also do the same thing? The demons will know who has the seal and is a genuine believer. But we as humans, can only assume who are believers based on their fruits or actions. These scorpion stings will be a very real torture for those getting them, but also a sign as to who is a believer and who is not. I also don’t believe that there will be medication or a vaccine available to ward off the plague.
Later in the chapter the locusts are described in detail. This is how John sees them and they are extremely frightening. If the people on earth would be able to see them directly as John could - they would die from terror of the very sight of them! This will be a very frustrating plague for the unbeliever! Not being able to see what is stinging your body - but having the obvious result of it. I also believe that the period of five months is literal… plan on marking a calendar for this event!
This is my interpretation only. It is NOT meant to change or challenge another’s view, just to show a different possibility of what God is revealing through me.
Christine Weick is the author of the book, Explain This! A Verse by Verse Explanation of the Book of Revelation.