10* The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.
11* The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
Another reminder, we are dealing with symbols that effect the spiritual part of man. These symbols are not to be taken as representing things of a physical nature to
come, they represent things of a spiritual nature. This “star” falls on the “1/3” part of the rivers. Therefore this “star” is going to effect some aspect of the spiritual side of man.
In the Bible water is used as a symbol. In Jeremiah 2:13 God refers to himself as the “fountain of living waters.” God is the source of the spiritual water necessary to sustain spiritual life. Jesus could provide “living water” in John 4, He was the rock which followed the Israelites in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10).
Therefore the rivers and fountains of water represent the abundant teachings of those who attempt to direct the spiritual life of people on this earth. These rivers and springs of water are made bitter because the star named “Wormwood” falls upon them. This star was burning as a lamp which shows how it hurt the rivers and the springs. The star appeared to be a lamp, or a spiritual light, but in actuality, it was deceptive teachings from Satan. Remember the warning:
2 Cor. 11:14
“…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
In the Bible “wormwood” is a reference to that which is bitter (Proverbs 5:4) and it is used in Jeremiah to have reference to the false teachings of those who did not follow God.
The star that fell are the deceptive teachings of Satan which falls upon the spiritual waters of this world and causes their teachings to become bitter. God intended for His word to be pure. Men have polluted the water (see. Jer. 23:15) with the teachings of “wormwood” and because of this many die spiritually. When men listen to the teachings of men that take them away from the teachings of the Scriptures they lose their spiritual lives.
Today we see the teachings of Satan all around us, polluting the waters. False doctrines are everwhere. One of the false-doctrines existent in America today is that there is not such thing as “false-doctrine.” To hear some tell it, “I’m Okay, you’re Okay,” no matter what doctrine you follow.
Listen to the trumpet. This is a warning. Some of the spiritual teachings found in the world today can cause a person to loose their soul.
12* The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and
a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.
This chapter does not deal with literal physical things which will happen in the future. It is dealing with spiritual things that will happen all during the Christian age, using symbols to tell the story. The sun, moon, stars represent individuals (not specific individuals necessairly) who are responsible for giving light to the earth. The earth represents a mass of humanity. These spiritual lights are those people who preach, teach and guide people spiritually. If the “1/3” part, or the spiritual part of these lights cease to shine this would indicate that there will be times upon this earth when man’s spiritual lights will be darkened. There will be no one to stand up and proclaim the true light of the gospel. This has already happened during the period of time known as the Dark Ages and may very well be taking place in certain areas of the world today.
It is interesting to notice that “a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.” This means that there will be times on earth when virtually no spirituality will be found day or night because these lights cease to shine. There are indeed cultures and circumstances which have existed since John’s day in which there was little or no spirituality at all.
Listen to the trumpet. There will be times when the spiritual lights of men will cease to shine, and this will cause spiritual darkness upon the earth. Men will cease to be interested in spiritual matters. There will be no spiritual activities day or night. Christians are warned to “let your light shine” (Matt. 5:16).
13* Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
This is bringing special attention to the warnings to follow. This seems to be a dividing line in the series of trumpets. The events of the first four trumpets affect anyone upon this earth who chooses not to heed their warnings. The last three affect only those who are not Christians (see 9:4). In the series of seven seals and seven plagues there also appears to be a 4-3 sequence, although they are not as clearly defined as in this place.
The last three woes are directed to “those who dwell on the earth.” This shows that these events are to take place here on earth. These are events that are to take place during the “last days” or the Christian age, the age we are in today.
In Revelation the “earth” is at times used to symbolically represent the dwelling place of these who follow Satan (cf. 12:9, 12). We know that the “those who dwell on earth” refer to those who follow Satan in this passage because in Rev. 9:4 the fifth trumpet affects only “men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Those who are not sealed by God are sinners and they are symbolically referred to in this verse as “those who dwell on earth.”
Chapter nine is a continuation of chapter 8. These last three trumpets affect only those who follow Satan. These are warnings about what will happen if we do not avoid Satan by living a Christian life.
The fifth trumpet is the only one of the first six which does not refer to the symbolic “1/3” part of man, therefore, it deals with events which will affect man’s physical life. The sixth trumpet does deal with the “1/3” part of man. What these two warnings tell us is what will happen to those who refuse to obey God both physically and spiritually. The seventh trumpet describes events connected with the judgment and eternity. The final woe of the seventh trumpet is destruction in hell.
9:1* ¶ Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.
This is probably a reference to Satan because Rev. 12:12 says that the Devil has come down to you having great wrath. Rev. 12:9 also describes Satan as being “cast out into the earth.” Since Christ has cast Satan out into the earth it may very well be true that this verse and 12:9 are describing the same event because chapter 9 describes many of the ways in which Satan will torment the people of earth during this present Christian age.
Remember the purpose of the seven trumpets is to warn of forces and events here on earth that will destroy our spirituality and cause man to be lost if he is unable to overcome them. The events explained in this fifth trumpet are present in the world today because sin is present. The forces of the devil are always at work, and the things pictured here are the results or consequences of that sin.
2* He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.
The smoke must represent the false teachings and influences of the devil because it arises out of the bottomless pit, which , according to 20:3 is the dwelling place of Satan. In Rev. 15:8 smoke is used to show the completeness of the glory and power of God as it completely fills his temple. The smoke in verse 2 represents the power of the devil, showing that his influences cover a tremendous territory. Just as a thick smoke would cover the sun, a thick smoke of false teaching would cover the spiritual light of the world, which is the gospel.
3* Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
From the smoke, the false teachings of the Devil, came locust which were given power to hurt those people who do not have the seal of God (vs. 4). These locusts have power on the earth, which says that these forces are at work in the world today. They represent all those forces of the devil which constantly work in the world, causing people to follow the ways of the devil and to be “hurt” by the consequences of their sins.
The sting of these locusts is likened to the sting of scorpions which is extremely painful but seldom deadly. As people follow the devil many times they suffer painful consequences, both physical and mental, because of the sins they commit. Remember 1 Cor. 15:56
56* The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
There are many “locusts” in the world today causing people to believe there is no God. They teach that man is the supreme being and that he must rely on his own abilities to have the pleasures of this world. They cause man to follow the devil.
Notice that this power was given to the locusts. This indicates that God permits this to happen. All power lies with God but he allows man to choose whom he will follow. If one chooses to follow Satan, he also receives these consequences of sin. The phrase “power was given them” is used repeatedly in Revelation to show that God is supreme.
4* They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
The comparison being made here is between Christians and non-Christians. The scorpions are not allowed to hurt Christians. The trees, grass, and any green thing all represent Christians. Trees would represent those who are strong in the faith, while grass represents those who are weaker. Grass is shallow-rooted and weaker than trees and therefore would be more easily overcome by trials and temptations than the deep rooted trees.
Notice this carefully. We know that Christians are susceptible to all types of physical happenings on this earth just as non-Christians are, so the torments pictured in this fifth trumpet must be a direct result of the sinful state of the non-Christian. Those who live in sin today bring many hardships upon themselves because of the type of lives they lead. Examples include the pain and suffering which come to those who give their lives to alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, crime, etc. Christians should not have to deal with these sufferings because they no longer practice such things. They have put them aside to live their lives as Christ has directed.
1 Cor. 6:9-11
9* ¶ Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
10* nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
11* Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
This fifth trumpet warns us of the many types of pain and suffering which are associated with the practice of sin.