The Revelation of John; Chapter 9 – the Fifth Trumpet

1 Jul

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets

Chapter 9: 1-12

This chapter really begins the final tribulations. Remember that at the end of chapter eight the angel said “Woe, Woe, Woe” foreshadowing three great calamities that were to follow. These would be heralded by the last three angels and begin here.

 

Verse One

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to the angel was given the key of the bottomless pit.

 

Brother McConkie says that the star that falls here is Satan, who was a son of the morning that fell from Heaven (Isaiah 14:12-17, Luke 10: 18).

Smoke

After the star falls the angel opens the bottomless pit and out of it comes a thick smoke. This smoke is so pervasive that it not only darkens the sun, but also the air. In the Institute Manuel for the New Testament this smoke is compared to the mists of darkness in Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life (1 Nephi 8: 23). Remember that the mist represented the temptations of Satan (1 Nephi 12: 17). So the smoke in Revelation likely refers to an outpouring of Satan’s influence. And, considering that it comes from the bottomless pit makes this even more likely. So, this tribulation consists of all the false philosophies, temptations, deceptions, and attempts of Satan to destroy righteousness in the last days.

I think this calamity has already begun. The false philosophy of evolution has swept the world in the past century, so much so that many members have accepted it. I have even spoken to some who have begun to deny the scriptures in favor of the philosophies of science. Also, the temptations of sexual immorality has so permeated our society that casual sex is more the norm than commitment is, and living together outside marriage is commonly thought as the proper testing period for relationships. The greatest deceptions have been pushed on the public recently. People and governments have usurped our freedom through the deceptions of Progressivism that promises to make everyone equal. Only last week the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage holds up immoral behavior in the deception of liberty. I don’t think there has even been a time in the history of the earth when Satan has been so busy, or so successful (with the possible exception of the time just prior to the flood).

 

One result of the darkness created by the smoke is a time of unprecedented war. This is represented by something that John describes as locusts. One thing that is important to note is that the righteous are protected by the Lord. The Locusts are allowed to hurt only those who “have not the seal of God in their foreheads.” So, there will be protection for the righteous against these wars and calamities. That is not to say that none of the righteous will suffer or die. Joseph Smith explained “that it is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 253). In D&C 63: 33-34 we are told that in the wars that the Lord has decreed the “righteous will hardly escape.” Regardless of this President Hinckley has told us that if we are spiritual prepared we can expect the protection of the Lord (“If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,”).

There is also the command that the Locusts are not to kill anyone, but to torment them five months. Now, I don’t think this is literal. In the wars that are described people are going to die. But I do think the devastation will be great and cause many people that are not in the military to suffer greatly. Many of these people will suffer so much that death will seem preferable but they will not be allows to die.

 

Now the description of the locusts is very odd, but we can assume that it is not literal. Rather this is John seeing our days and trying to describe what he saw in the language of his day. He couldn’t very well speak of helicopters, trains, bombs, nuclear weapons, and the many other modern machines and inventions that the ancients had to words for. So, I am going to give a few speculations as to what John may have seen.

Locust

Description Meaning
Horses prepared unto battle This could refer to any war vehicle. As locusts fly I believe it refers to flying war machines, such as planes and helicopters.
Crowns of Gold Some have speculated that the glass windshields on planes and helicopters, especially when hit by the light.
Faces of Men Helicopters may appear to have faces from the front (with the windows as eyes, having a nose and so on. However, I have always thought of seeing the pilot through the windshield.
Hair of Women The spinning propellers. The Helicopter would make more sense, but this could also work for airplanes.
Teeth of Lions A representation of power (see Joel 1: 6)
Breastplates of Iron A representation of strength, especially for defense (and could be the literal metal used in making modern war machines)
Chariots of Many Horses A representation of speed and large armies, meaning that there were many of the locusts
Tails like unto scorpions Could be many things. As they are the torment of scorpions, I see this as the use of chemical weapons that cause extreme pain, but do not kill.
Abaddon or Appolyon The name of the leader of these armies is given, and means destruction.

 

Remember that this is only the first of three woes. Two more are to follow.

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