FIFTH TRUMPET, PART 1
the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To
him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit,
and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and
the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke
locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of
the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or
any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God
on their foreheads. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to
torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion
when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it;
they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. The shape of the locusts
was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something
like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like
women's hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had
breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like
the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. They had tails like
scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men
five months. And they had as king
over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but
in Greek he has the name Apollyon. One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes
are coming after these things. Revelation 9:1–12.
woes were pronounced on the inhabitants of the earth under the fourth trumpet.
This is the first woe.
we listened to the fourth trumpet we heard an angel crying out the woe message
and suggested that this angel was a precursor to the Reformation. There is a lot
of activity under the fifth trumpet. We see a star fall from heaven to earth; A
bottomless pit from which smoke rises to cover the earth; we see locusts coming
out of the pit whose task was to hurt men for five months; we learn of the
strange appearance of these locusts; and we get to meet the angel of the
fifth trumpet sounds bringing the Protestant Reformation into view and what do
we see? A star fall from heaven to the earth. This almost sounds like the third
and fourth trumpets. The truth is that the visible church-at-large liked the
tunes played by those trumpets as it drew further away from God over a period of
about 1000 years. Now we see the Reformation but we are quickly made to see that
even though God restored the light of the gospel under the Reformation, what
came out was not totally the restoration of the biblical church.
godly men took bold stands against the pope and the Roman Church; they
proclaimed justification by faith and sanctification through the new birth. But,
they were used to the man-rule that had become so much the part of the visible
church-at-large that they followed the pattern that had been set before them.
The result of this was a star falling from heaven and opening the bottomless
seems unkind and judgmental to classify men such as Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin
as a fallen star. These were devout men that feared God and loved the truth of
God’s word to the degree they were able to comprehend. There are certain
things attendant to their works that were wrong, but before condemning any of
them too strongly it must be remembered what environments they came out of and
the terrible circumstances under which they lived. They were not correct in
everything they taught or did, but God used them to revive critical truths of
the gospel and the work of salvation.
was not so much that these men were the fallen star, they were the beginning of
that star and it was those that followed them that descended from heaven to the
Protestant Reformation was active during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. It began in central Europe. It was a time of great conflict and
persecution for those that left the Roman Church. The negative of the
Reformation was directed at the corruption of the Church of Rome, papalism, and
religious practices that obscured the gospel, mainly the mass and the sale of
indulgences. The positive of the Reformation was the restoration of the gospel
truth of salvation emphasizing justification by faith and sanctification through
the new birth and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
the initial phase of the Reformation cooled a greater emphasis was placed on the
differentiation of the Protestant churches even though their creeds were quite
similar for the most part. Rather than one united Protestant church, Protestant
churches chose to become the state churches in the countries where they existed.
There were numerous attempts at unity, and there was a general acceptance among
the churches, yet they chose to remain separate.
Lack of Unity
lack of practical unity among the Protestants had an unintended consequence.
When Jesus established His church He gave it the keys of the kingdom of heaven
as recorded in Matthew 16:19, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of
heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you
loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Reformers understood that the keys to the kingdom of heaven means the preaching
of the gospel. As the gospel is presented to people, if they reject it that
rejection is recorded in heaven and they are bound to the consequences of
rejecting God’s plan of salvation. As the gospel is presented to people, if
they accept it that acceptance is recorded in heaven in the Lamb’s book of
life. The Reformers understood this, nevertheless their lack of practical unity
resulted in another key being given to them. Instead of the keys to the kingdom
of heaven they are given the key to the bottomless pit.
is the bottomless pit? The Greek word pit means a well or a pit dug in the earth
for water. The word bottomless means without any bottom. Putting the words
together it is a deep and obscure place the depth of which is unknown. This
bottomless pit describes the bulk of churches that came into existence during
built His church on a sure foundation. Paul affirms this foundation in 1
Corinthians 3:11, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is
laid, which is Jesus Christ.” In Ephesians 2:19–22 Paul reminds the Ephesian
church of their foundation so that they would not be moved off of it.
therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with
the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief
corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a
holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a
dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
that Jesus gave the church the keys to the kingdom of heaven, which statement
was made to the apostles. Here Paul includes that fact in the foundation: Jesus
Christ the chief corner stone and the work He did through the Apostles to
establish the church.
though the Reformation churches taught the gospel of salvation from sin through
faith, instead of receiving the keys to the kingdom of God they were given the
key to the bottomless pit. Instead of building the new churches on the
foundation of Christ and the Apostles they chose to take the state, the national
government of their various countries, for their foundation. Unintentionally,
the built their churches on a deep and obscure place the depth of which is
unknown: a bottomless pit.
only was their foundation wrong, smoke came out of this bottomless pit that
darkened the sun and the air. This smoke is the creeds that were devised to
document the various doctrinal positions of the churches.
Augsburg Confession is often thought of as the first Protestant creed. It was
written by Martin Luther in 1530. However, this creed was preceded by the
Sixty-Seven Articles of Ulrich Zwingli written in 1523 and Luther wrote a
catechism in 1529.
of the national churches had a creed, articles of confession, and/or a catechism
that were essentially the same as all the other churches with minor differences
in wording or the arrangement of the articles. However, there were some
significant differences that stood in the way of unity other than the national
The significance and meaning of the Lord’s Supper.
Predestination and perseverance of believers.
Church organization: episcopal, presbyterian, congregational.
addition to the national churches, many independent churches came into being.
Later in the sixteenth century there was a division in the Calvinistic churches,
especially the Dutch Reformed Church, over predestination and free will that
produced the Arminian Articles in 1610 and eventually led to the Wesleyan
revivals in England in the eighteenth century. Most of these creeds are
biblically sound and correct in most of their content but in spite of the truth
they contained they were smoke that obscured the sun and filled the air. The
truths they contained established their people in the gospel truth as they came
out of the spiritual darkness of Romanism. But in spite of plain teachings on
the church and its unity in Christ, the creeds were grounds for divisions that
prevented such unity.
the leaders of the Reformation died and new generations replaced them the
churches fell into the formality similar to what they had left. In most cases
they national churches functioned more as the religious arm of the national
government rather than as the white horse going forth conquering and to conquer.
In fact, the smoke of the creeds did not produce such horses; rather, it