Troublesome Topic: Locusts from the Abyss

Revelation 9:2


He opened

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the pit of the abyss

and smoke

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came out,


the smoke of a great furnace;

the sun and the sky were darkened

by the smoke

from the pit.

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He opened the prison of the place of the dead and the abode of demons and out came the evidence of destruction, like the signs of a great destructive force which destroys all it touches; indeed everyone, and every place was affected, the way people lived was changed and sources of great power were overwhelmed

by the proof of destruction that rose from the prison.

Revelation 9:3


And from the smoke


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onto the earth.

They were given

power like that of the scorpions


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of the earth.

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And from the proof that destruction had happened the very agents of destruction themselves came out, going to the dwelling place of men. They were given power to inflict intense pain on people, comparable to the most intense pain humans are aware of from an outside source.

Revelation 9:4


The locusts

were told they could not harm

the grass of the earth, any green thing or any tree,

but only the men

who do not have

the seal of GOD on their foreheads.


These agents of destruction were told they could not destroy man’s food supplies, rather they were only allowed to directly harm those men who do not have the demonstration of acceptance, approval and protection by THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS constantly in their focus as a top priority.

Revelation 9:5


They were not granted the power to kill anyone, but only to torment them for five months.

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The torment they caused was like the torment of a scorpion  when it strikes a man.


They were not granted the power to kill anyone, but only to torment them for a limited period of time involving legal pressure from ruling powers. And the pain they could inflict was the most intense pain known to man from an outside source.

Revelation 9:6


In those days, men will seek death but not find it; they will long to die but death will elude them.

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(the same as translation) In those days, men will seek death but not find it; they will long to die but death will elude them.

Revelation 9:7


The appearance of those locusts was as follows: They looked like

horses prepared for battle,

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with golden crowns on their heads, 

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and they had the faces of men

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Those agents of destruction demonstrated the following characteristics: They were dangerous and extremely effective in battle, they showed evidence of having been victorious in major conflicts,

and they were

intelligent and logical.

Some “experts” in prophecy have taught that the locusts of Revelation 9:1-11 may actually be attack helicopters. The biggest problem with that interpretation is that it violates both of the rules given earlier in this book: It takes things out of the context of its day, and it does not consider the meaning understood by the original audience, which could not have known about helicopters. What if it means something not yet invented? Then we would be lost in confusion as well.

Let’s take a look at how much of this symbolism can be applied to attack helicopters, and how much cannot.

  1. There are parts of the description in 9:7-10 that must be left out in order to get a picture of a helicopter. Do attack helicopters look like horses prepared for battle? Do they have the faces of men, or the hair of a woman? Do they have crowns of gold? (The spinning rotor blades could possibly be called silver, but not gold.) Where are the helicopter’s teeth? (Some people say that their machine guns are their teeth because they puncture and tear flesh. However, if people of ancient times saw something spitting fire, they would probably refer to it as something other than teeth.) Admittedly, the part about a breast plate of iron does fit a helicopter, as does the part about the noise caused by its “wings.” But how do helicopters “sting” people? Is it with their tails? (Attack helicopters have no offensive weaponry in their tails.)  Can we say that attack helicopters never kill people, they only injure people? If you got shot by an attack helicopter would you be in pain for exactly 5 months? When people take what they want from a passage and ignore the rest I call this “cherry picking.”
  1. Attack helicopters are flown by men, yet this passage refers to Satan and his demons.
  1. How will a helicopter, piloted by a human being, be able to discern who has the mark of God on his forehead and who does not?

In the Old Testament locusts were a common symbol for destruction and military attacks. Notice that the imagery bounces back and forth from locusts to cavalry.

This is the 5th of seven trumpets. These 7 trumpets, like the 7 seals, were demonstrations of Christ’s power. However, these appear to be Satan’s hordes, right? So how are Satan’s hordes demonstrations of God’s power? The point here is that they are subject to God’s limitations and He tells them what they can and cannot do. In this case God is not doing the punishing, but He is limiting it. Why would Satan attack his own? Satan hates all who were made in the image of God. While these that he has access to have all been faithful to him, he does not care about them, and he shows his hatred for God by attacking what God has created. God will not allow the anger of Satan to be poured out in this way on the saints, but He does allow it on those who have rejected Him. For them it should be a wake-up call. The one they have been following does not care about them and will turn on them and lash out at them for no reason at all other than his general hatred for God and anything made in God’s image. In this way God reveals Satan’s true character for all to see.

Let’s look more closely at those limits placed on these locusts. God will not let them harm His sealed ones, nor parts of His creation, such as green plants, they are only to harm those people who do NOT have the seal of God on their foreheads, those people who refuse to follow Him, and only for a limited time.

Notice that prophecy experts of today usually assume a literal mark of the beast upon the forehead, but I don’t hear them talk about a literal mark of God on the forehead. Why not?

The next lesson is: Streets of Gold


1: Who does “he” refer to?

Is it the 5th angel, or is it the one who was kicked out of heaven? It appears to be the one who was kicked out of heaven. For more, see Special Comment after Revelation 9:7 regarding the Appearance of Locusts.


Where there is smoke there’s fire. You know destruction has happened or is happening when you see smoke.

3: "from the pit"

This is a description of power. Think of a volcano. If its ash literally darkens the sky for hundreds of miles around for several days we know it was a powerful volcanic blast. The same is true here. This shows us that Satan does have considerable power, yet this passage will show how his power is limited by God. Because Satan is powerful we should not play games with him; yet we should not have an unhealthy fear of him, meaning we should not be paralyzed by him.


“Locusts” often destroyed entire crops, so they naturally became a symbol for destruction in general. They are often described as a cloud because that is what they looked like from a distance.

5: “scorpions”

One could argue about what source of pain is greater, and one might find something worse than a scorpion bite, but this is symbolism, don’t analyze it, just follow what was most likely the meaning for the original audience. In this case the meaning was an intense pain that many of them knew from experience.


The fact that earth is mentioned twice in this sentence places emphasis upon it; here “earth” refers to the place where men live and the realm that men know.


Five is half of ten, and ten is a symbol of completeness regarding ruling powers and legal pressure.


This verse utilizes parallelism just like the Psalms did. In it the same thing is said in two slightly different ways.


A well-trained battle horse was worth many infantry men. They were fast, powerful, brave and vicious. These horses relished battle. No horses alive today have been bred and trained in this way.


The “crowns” being referred to here showed victory over enemies, in contrast to the state crown showing governmental authority. But it was not a temporary “crown” like the leaves given to Olympic winners; it was a crown of gold. This indicates that the victory had been a big one and had given these destroyers a significant degree of prestige and authority. We know this is symbolism in part because the locust is prepared to go into battle and yet he is already wearing the victor’s crown—a contradiction if taken literally.

11: “faces of men”

This could refer to a number of characteristics of man, but context rules out the spiritual element associated with having a soul. The intelligence of man seems to be in focus here.