The Last Three Trumpets
In Chapter 8, we read how during the sounding of the First Three Trumpets, great plagues will strike the land, the sea, and the trees in order to test the Inhabitants of the Earth. Rather than being humbled by these plagues, the Inhabitants of the Earth will respond to God’s warning by attacking Jerusalem, as described in the events of the Fourth Trumpet, and by killing God’s people in the events of the Great Tribulation.
When the full number of God’s people are killed in the Great Tribulation, it will fulfill the condition given to the Martyrs in Heaven who were told that their blood would not be avenged until the full number of their brothers and sisters were killed, as repeated below.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Rev. 6:9-11
After the full number of brothers and sisters have been killed in the Great Tribulation, the above condition will have been met, and the Last Three Trumpets will be sounded that will bring Three Woes to the Inhabitants of the Earth in order to will avenge the blood of the Martyrs in Heaven. Not on earth at this time will be the great multitude of God’s people from every nation, tribe, people, and language who will be killed in the Great Tribulation. Still on earth will be the 144,000 from all the Tribes of Israel, who will be set a part by the Seal of God placed on their foreheads and who will be protected from the plagues of the Last Three Trumpets.
The Fifth Trumpet
The First Woe to strike the Inhabitants of the Earth, will be announced by the Fifth Trumpet when a cloud of locusts that have the sting of scorpions will descend upon the earth.
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. Rev. 9:1-3
In the previous events of the Second Trumpet, Satan is described as a great star that fell to the earth. When the Fifth Trumpet is sounded, he is again identified as the star that fell from the sky, who will be given the keys to the shaft of the Abyss. When Satan unlocks the Abyss, a Plague of Locusts will cover the earth that will form a giant cloud that will darken the sky. The locust will be given power like that of scorpions and the agony resulting from their sting will cause people to long to die.
They (the locusts) 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. Rev. 9:4-6
The command given to the locust to not to harm the grass or any plant or tree is in contrast to the plagues of the First Three Trumpets, which will harm the land, the sea, and the trees, but not the Inhabitants of the Earth themselves. In this way the judgments of the First Three Trumpets will serve as a warning to the Inhabitants of the Earth, and the Woes of the Last Three Trumpets will judge the Inhabitants of the Earth.
In addition to being prevented from harming the grass or any plant or tree, The locust will also be forbidden from stinging those who have the Seal of God on their foreheads This is a reference to the 144,000 from all the Tribes of Israel, who will not be harmed by the plagues of the Last Three Trumpets.
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. Rev. 9:7-12
In these passages, the locusts are described in terms of an army, and Satan is identified as the angel of the Abyss. Following the events of the Fifth Trumpet, two more woes will strike the earth in the events of the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets.
The Sixth Trumpet
The sounding of the Sixth Trumpet will announce the release of Four Angels, who, in turn, will release a two-hundred-million-man army, and a third of mankind will be killed in the ensuing war.
The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand (two-hundred million). I heard their number. Rev. 9:13-16
The war that will take place when the Four Angels are released at the Euphrates River will bring about the Three Plagues of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur that will kill a third of mankind.
The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
In the First Century, horses were instruments of war. Accordingly, the horses with the heads of lions are a description of the modern-day weapons that will be used in this war and that will carry riders. The fire (red), smoke (blue), and sulfur (yellow), which will come out of the mouths of the horses, is a description of the fiery discharges that will come from these weapons and that will kill a third of mankind. From this, we can conclude that the Three Plagues of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur are a First-Century description of a Twenty First-Century war.
The reference to the river Euphrates, which formed the original eastern and northern borders of Israel, implies that the two-hundred-million-man army will come from the lands east and north of Israel. Accordingly, we can conclude that this war will be between the ruler that will attack Jerusalem, and a massive army from the east and north that will challenge his rule. (We will read more about this future ruler in a later chapter.)
Those Who Did Not Repent
As mentioned before, the events of the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets will occur after those who hold to their testimony of Jesus are no longer on earth, having been killed in the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed in the following passages which tells us that those who suffer through the plagues of the Last Three Trumpets will refuse to repent.
The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. Rev. 9:20-21
The rest of mankind, who are described in the above verses, are the same Inhabitants of the Earth who will ignore the warnings of the First Three Trumpets, which is why in the events of the Last Three Trumpets, they are described as those who still did not repent.
Order of Events of the Last Days
1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal)
– 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s kingdom defeated (2nd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan cast out (3rd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
3. The Great Tribulation
4. The Wrath of God is Poured Out (6th. Seal)
– The Plague of Locusts (5th. Trumpet)
– The Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur (6th. Trumpet)
– To be announced (7th. Trumpet)
5. Silence in Heaven (7th. Seal)
 Rev. 8:10-11