Another gentle reminder not to read anything more into John’s vision than needs be. Just when you think it couldn’t get much worse, the horror chapters of his vision intensifies.
“The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.” (Revelation 9 v 1-12)
When you think we have reached the very gutter we discover there’s no depth to the evil of this world.
We know Jesus actually owns the keys to the Abyss. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (1:8) We now see that Jesus gives the key of the Abyss to this fallen angel whose name means ‘place of destruction’ (Hebrew Abaddon) and ‘destroyer’ (Greek Apollyon). It doesn’t take much guessing who this fallen star/angel is!
This is scary stuff! It is real. We must never underestimate evil but also we must not over rate it either. It is indeed destructive. Remember these judgments are challenges to the people to repent. God is saying to the inhabitants of the earth that if they keep searching and desiring destruction for their lives then He will give it to them. That’s the point here. He will give.
Who gave the key to the Abyss? Jesus! It wasn’t stolen from Him.
Who gave the power to the locusts? God did.
Who restricted the locust’s power to harm and kill? God did.
The point is don’t fear Abaddon and Apollyon. He is fallen. A failure under the control of our Saviour.