Announcing God's Plagues (3)
As the divinely authorised trumpet calls ring out from heaven, so John sees the effect which God's plagues will have on the earth. The fifth trumpet announced another cosmic event with global consequences. Another great star (Revelation 8:10) fell to earth. Instead of a massive piece of extra-terrestrial matter descending through our atmosphere, the star seems to have an intelligent quality. It is authorised to open the world of the unbelieving dead and demons. This seems to be a reference to the devil (Revelation 9:11).
Pictorially, the shaft of the abyss is the way into a fuming cauldron from which smoke belched out to darken the sky. In John's vision he saw a swarm of ravaging locusts emerge from the smoke which had the ability to sting people. Unusually for locusts, they were forbidden to touch any growing plant. And they had the ability to know who belong to Jesus and those who do not. If the fallen star is Satan (Revelation 12:9) then the locusts are demons and all who are motivated by them, who are allowed to tyrannise the world.
That evil reign of terror is limited (five months represents a short period of time). And yet the suffering is so intense that death will seem preferable, but an option which God does not allow. The plague of locusts in Egypt (Exodus 10:14) ruined the crop and were unpleasant; this plague of evil will directly hurt all who are not marked with God's seal on their foreheads.
As with all divine plagues, they are designed to either bring people to repentance or to expose the depth of rebellion against God which they hold in their hearts. God does want all to repent and live (2 Peter 3:9), but to refuse to submit to Him when He has demonstrated the awesomeness of His power is to reveal the exceptional arrogance of sin. Pharaoh was given every opportunity to repent, but he had no love for God; only a love of his own importance. In the testing times, the humble get better and the proud get bitter. Where is your heart? In love with God and ready to endure, or in love with yourself and angry at God's interferences?
© Dr Paul Adams