And 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. And 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. And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And they were told that they should not 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. And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death flees from them. And the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads, as it were, crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. And they had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. And they have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon. The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.
Abaddon is an equivalent expression to Sheol, what in English is often called hell:
is Sheol before Him,
no covering. (Jb 26:6)
The record of Scripture is that rebellion and disobedience to Adonai's commandments brings nakedness and a new final home, some level of hell, perhaps the deepest of which is Abaddon, which is "bottomless." Adam and Eve had to be given coverings because they knew they were naked after they sinned. They could no longer access the Lower Garden, not an entirely physical realm. It was a realm where they needed a covering of obedience, or righteousness, and rebellion removed that covering.
As with the examples of Yeshua or certain righteous men like Phillip in Acts, those with a "covering" can move in and out of visible and invisible realms. Distance is not the same obstacle in the spiritual realm; it is only in the physical. Even spiritual realms, though, have boundaries and authority, and there are spiritual rules of the universe just as there are natural laws in the physical realm. Violate them, and death begins. The root of Abaddon, avad, is likely where Christians derived the word "lost" to describe someone without salvation. It can mean destruction, ruin, wandering, or to be lost.
The creature that torments the wicked at the sound of the Fifth Trumpet is most unusual. It is an inhabitant of Abaddon, the bottomless pit, yet its destructive power is harnessed and directed by God.
The sight and sound of the creatures as chariots and horses rushing to battle should be a reminder of something that Yeshua's disciples were commanded to practice from the time of the Exodus from Egypt. Every year, Israelites are to celebrate the Passover from Egypt and to re-tell the story of the plagues, Pharaoh's chariots, and the crossing of the Reed Sea. Like Moses and Miriam, they can sing, "I will sing unto the LORD for He has triumphed gloriously, the horse and the rider thrown into the sea."
Perhaps the sound of Abaddon's strange army of rushing chariots is a re-visitation of the Exodus. In Deuteronomy 7:23-24, Moses tells the Israelites:
HASHEM, your God, will deliver them before you, and will confound them with great confusion until their destruction. He will deliver their kings into your hand and you shall cause their name to perish from under the heavens; no man will stand up against you until you have destroyed them. (Sapirstein Ed)
Three points emerge in this promise.
First, He will confound the enemies who resist Israel's return to the Covenant Land with "great confusion." The transliterated phrase is: "...veh-ha-mam me-humah gdolah..." Hamam (Strong's H2000) is the Hebrew word for confusion. This matches the Exodus 14:23-25 text:
Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion [hamam]. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."
This is strange dialogue, as if the Egyptians are speaking about Egyptians as a people outside of themselves. Why not say, "the LORD is fighting for them against US"? Who are the Egyptians? Is is possible that the Egyptian army are speaking of their inspiration for the horse-and-chariot attack against Israel, a dark spiritual force known as "Egypt" [Mitzraim]? From a dark force called Egypt, where one has no covering, is spiritually naked, Adonai brings Israel to the wilderness to prepare them to cross into the Land, which still needs to be conquered:
Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' Know therefore today that it is the LORD your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the LORD has spoken to you. Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land.' (Dt 9:1-9)
The fire from Heaven destroys the sons of hell in Revelation, those who have seemed too strong to defeat. Instead, it is the wicked who ask, "Who is able to stand?" Their cities are fortified up to Heaven, which implies that the source of their strength is evil principalities and powers. Their sons were the Anakim, the giants, who according to extra-Biblical literature, were produced because the rebellious angels challenged the authority of the Holy One, saying that humans were weak, a faulty creation unable to overcome lusts of the soul.
The angels, however, sinned more grievously, leaving Israel to wonder, if even angels could not overcome, then how could we? Look at the size of these grapes! Because of this attitude, the wicked spies made their own weakness stronger than the salvation and forgiveness of Adonai! The whole message of Revelation is to overcome the unbridled power of the soul with the Holy Spirit.
When the saints finally overcome to inherit the physical Land of Israel, it will be a sign that it is because of the righteousness of Yeshua that they are also clothed in such a way that their citizenship in the Garden is restored. They received a taste of these special garments:
He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. (Dt 8:3-4)
Yeshua's wilderness temptations involved quoting the Word to the enemy, reminding the Adversary that he came to prove that a human being COULD overcome the desires of the soul: appetite, desire, emotion, intellect. He overcame by quoting the Word accurately and then obeying it. "It is written." Yeshua, the Word, is the Bread of Heaven, the received and obeyed Word that overcomes the world. One who accepts Yeshua's "garment of salvation" receives a garment that will not wear out. In fact, Rashi says of the Israelites in the wilderness:
The Clouds of Glory would rub their clothes and press them, making them look like freshly pressed garments. And their young, too, as they would grow, their clothing would grow with them, like the clothing of a snail which grows with it. (Rashi to Deuteronomy 8:4, p. 89)
No wonder that Yeshua is sometimes described in Clouds of Glory!
And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, 'This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!' (Mt 17:2-5)
Unlike the judgment of the Fifth Trumpet that darkens the sun and the air, blinding the wicked and causing confusion so bad that they don't even know how to die, Yeshua's Sukkot of Glory shine like the sun, clarifying everything in the Torah and the Prophets, Moses and Elijah.
Yeshua is right there demonstrating how his Sukkot of Glory (another name for Clouds of Glory) righteousness covers those who would otherwise descend to Sheol or Abaddon. There is an important reminder, though. Moses tells the people not to say it is because of their righteousness, for it is not! Only through Yeshua's atoning blood could their nakedness be covered and could they be delivered from Sheol or Abaddon to inherit the Land.
It is a similar attack on the wicked in Revelation 9:1-12. The attack comes from a hellish army that sounds like horses and chariots. This Egyptian-like army has been bound from some previous time until the day of torments to be inflicted upon the enemies of Israel. Just as hamam, or confusion bogs down and misdirects the chariot wheels of the Egyptian army, so the confusion causes the wicked to seek death but not find it. Suicide is not a difficult thing to do unless the mind is really confused.
Secondly, Moses prophesies that the "kings" will be delivered into the hands of Israel, "and you shall cause their name to perish from under the heavens." The Revelation text mentions the "king of the abyss," called Abaddon. His destructive army is delivered over for the good of Israel; Abaddon's evil flying bugs must torment and bring toward ultimate destruction the wicked. Throughout Revelation, "stars" fall from Heaven and are given missions of destruction against the wicked.
In Jewish tradition, spiritual beings with authority over a principality can be referred to metaphorically as stars or planets. Perhaps the pagan corruptions of worshiping planets and stars arose from this, warping the sign into the substance. At any rate, these rulers, like the King of Abaddon, must carry out Heavenly orders of destruction when they "fall" from the heavens. The machinations of destruction described in Revelation can be the very method of causing the names of these gods and demi-gods of old to perish from the earth. The "rebellious house," to use Isaiah's words, is destroyed. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, astrologers use the word "house" to describe components of their craft.
No Man Can Stand Against You
Finally, "no man will stand up against you until you have destroyed them..." has context in the words of the wicked who cannot escape their blindness and torment:
Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?' (Re 6:15-17)
There are people hiding from the wrath of the Lamb, including kings, and they ask, "Who is able to stand?" This is a third point of identification for the ultimate fulfillment of this passage of prophecy from Deuteronomy. The kings of the earth acknowledge that they cannot stand against the Throne, the Lamb, or Israel. This is found in Deuteronomy 7:24 describing the destruction of evil king: "...you shall cause their name to perish from under the heavens; no man will stand up against youuntil you have destroyed them all."
The Torah portion also describes certain judgments to be executed by "hornets" or "locusts" [depending upon translation], supernatural creatures called tzirah. Their behavior matches that of the swarming locust-like insects released from Abaddon according to the Jewish understanding of the creatures, primarily through blinding and confusing the wicked. We will address more about these hellish creatures in next week's online classes.