|.Re 9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.|| Shapes
Literally "likenesses" For the horses, compare jl0204.
Crowns From stephanoi, victory crowns. The notes for this verse is below.
|8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.||Hair We draw understanding from the Old Testament story of Absalom. See notes.|
|9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.||Breastplates ... sound Running to the battle against God re1614, re1911. See notes.|
|.10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.||Tails like unto scorpions We think of backbiting. See notes.|
|.11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.||King ... Hebrew ... Greek We may think of universal understanding since these were the significant languages God's people were exposed to. I suggest that the name depends on how one serves the king. Notes.|
|.12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.||One woe A transition time. See comment.|
And the shapes [or "resemblance"] of the locusts were like unto horses
prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold,
and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair
of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates,
as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the
sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails
like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power
was to hurt men five months. (Rev. 9:7-10,
This is the first woe because v12 below says that one has passed.
Prepared for battle
Notice that they are not in battle. In verse 9, their wings sounded like "chariots of many horses running to battle" — still not yet fighting. This is significant in understanding the larger picture of the three woes. We will have more to say when we have looked at the sixth trumpet events. Joel recorded a similar scene as noted above.
Crowns like gold,
as it were
"And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the LORD commanded Moses. . . . And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And they tied unto it a lace of blue, to fasten it on high upon the mitre; as the LORD commanded Moses." (Ex. 39:1, 30, 31).
Did you notice the term in our verse 7 is "like gold"? The authority is counterfeit.
Remembering that we are looking at a power that was not permitted to harm those who were sealed re0903 and noticing the gold-like crowns, we may understand the locusts as a counterfeit priesthood or as an overwhelming religious force set on taking over a vast area. See da0708.
Faces like men
Horses, as we have seen, may represent people whose leaders are the riders re0601c. No riders are apparent here. The leader of all the horses is Abaddon or Apollyon, as we will see in verse 11. Still they are men ("people" in modern usage). "Face" means more than the front of a person's head. As you read the Bible passages using the term, we realize it represents their visible determination as would be seen in the expression of the face. The word, "men," may also emphasize the dependence on human direction da0708, re1318f.
Hair of women
This reminds us of a plot in ancient Israel to take over the kingdom.
But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his
beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was
no blemish in him. And when he polled his head [cut his hair], (for it
was at every year's end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on
him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred
shekels after the king's weight." (2
Sam. 14:25, 26)
"And it came to pass . . . that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king [his father, David] for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. . . . Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! . . . And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
"And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron. . . . And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. . . . And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword." (2 Sam. 15:1-14)
"And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak. . . . And ten young men that bare Joab's armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. (2 Sam. 18:9-15)
These locusts are carnivorous.
Breastplates of iron
Breastplates in general, apparently served the purpose of armored vests. The one worn by the high priest was for a special purpose. "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually." (Ex. 28:29). Each of the twelve stones represented a tribe of the children of Israel (the artist didn't count very well. The urim and thummim were also on the breastplate). The brestplate was also for judgment ex2815. We may understand that God would reveal a tribe in need of the priest's attention by somehow illuminating the particular stone. The true breastplate of the high priest represented Christ's ministry for us. He bears our names on his heart.
The breastplates of iron on the locusts under the fifth trumpet may be understood in the sense of the beast with iron teeth which represented the Roman government.
The image to the beast of Revelation 13 re1315a will be a political power supporting the ideas of the religious majority just as the beast of the Roman government, in the passage above, supported the atrocities of the horn which persecuted dissenters (called heretics) of the dark and middle ages. The locusts have breastplates of iron. The Roman beast had iron teeth da0719.
In our verse 9, ". . . the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle."
The imagery draws us to the sound of the cherubim wings in Ezekiel 10 which expands on the judgment of chapter 9 and points us to the final fury on this planet. We saw it in the fire from the censer being thrown down to the earth from the heavenly sanctuary in the conclusion of the summary statement about the trumpets in re0805. The scenes parallel each other. The sound of the locust wings may be seen to represent the forces of the evil one in response to the activity of the cherubim evidenced by the sound of their wings in the scene in Ezekiel ez1001-5.
"And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months." (Rev. 9:10)
We may see, in the stinging tails, the practice of cowardice — of stabbing someone in the back or saying evil things about them to others re1204a, ps01503, The enemies of God's people will be those who follow the majority religion as the world tries to unite in face of widespread calamities and chaos. They will probably use devious attacks to counteract the influence of those whose consciences demand a different path. Because followers of the apostate religious movement will have no basis of Scripture to support their worship, they will try to discredit the righteous by false accusations. We may expect to be betrayed by our own family members mt1036.
The king with two names
"And they [locusts] had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon." (Rev. 9:11)
". . . A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. . . . But his citizens hated him, and sent a message [delegation] after him, saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us." (Luke 19:12-14). Compare jn1915.
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. 6:16.)
So the locusts would be people and/or angels who yield obedience to the evil one.
Angel of the pit
Comparing with verse 1 shows this angel-king to be the one who fell from heaven. Jesus described Satan as a ruler and said that he would be cast out again. Here under the fifth trumpet call, Satan is now in charge of this earth but will soon be bound as its prisoner. (See re2001ff)
"Now is the judgment of this world; now the prince of this world will be cast out." (John 12:31).
Names for the king
Abaddon and Apollyon mean Destruction and Destroyer in their respective languages, Hebrew and Greek.
Only here and in re1616c, in connection with the word, Armageddon, is the Hebrew language mentioned in the book of Revelation. Because the book has many allusions from the Old Testament for which the original words could have been given, we take these two references to Hebrew as significant.
Consider for both, the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, who came as the would-be destroyer. His messenger spoke in the language of the people in an attempt to intimidate them so King Hezekiah would surrender is3611f. The story is told three times (in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah) and may be seen as a model representing God's final deliverance of His people. Mention of the Hebrew language is part of the evidence that turns our attention to the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib.
Our use of reference to the Hebrew language in understanding these two passages is in harmony with other interpretations. In re0209 and re0309, the term, Jews, may be seen symbolically to represent God's faithful people in contrast to those who only pretend to be true to Him, re0209. Of course, "Jerusalem" is another symbol in Revelation. Hebrew was certainly its language during the times we think of in reading passages that mention the city (including the time of Hezekiah).
So what does this mean? The star that fell from heaven v1 is Satan lu1018. He is the angel of the bottomless pit who has two names. Those who follow him as Abaddon do so because he speaks their language (Hebrew). They accept his deception intellectually (mark in the forehead). Those who follow him as Apollyon don't care what he says but follow to keep from being stung by the scorpions (mark in the hand). The marks in forehead and hand are symbols used in Revelation 13 re1316d.
This conclusion is part of a set of interpretations of this chapter where we see the fifth trumpet call as representing the threat of the end-time religious powers which try to force obedience (whether by mark in hand or head); while the sixth trumpet call is God's response in the time of trouble for the wicked. The two are pictured in Rev. 13:15 and in Rev. 14:9-11 respectively: re1315, re1409.
"One woe is past; and, behold,
there come two woes more hereafter." (Rev. 9:12) For the sealed people
of God, this will be the end of persecution. See re0813.