What does Revelation 9:1 mean?
ESV: And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.
NIV: 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.
NASB: Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him.
CSB: The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth. The key for the shaft to the abyss was given to him.
NLT: Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen to earth from the sky, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.
KJV: And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
NKJV: Then 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.
Verse Commentary:
When the fifth angel blows his trumpet, a star falls from heaven to earth and receives the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. Clearly, the "star" in question is not an inanimate object, but a person. Isaiah 14:12 refers to Satan's fall from heaven and calls him "Day Star." At some point prior to the dawn of human history, Satan, also referred to as Lucifer, rebelled against God and led other angels in the rebellion. Some of these fallen angels have been locked up in the Abyss, which is another term for the bottomless pit.

However, Satan receives the key to the Abyss and releases them. Some Bible teachers equate this event with the description of Satan's banishment from heaven in the middle of the tribulation. Cast down to the earth, Satan will relentlessly pursue Israel and hope to destroy her (Revelation 12:1–10).

It is important to observe that the key to the Abyss does not belong to Satan. This verse explicitly says that this key must be given to Satan. God permits him to have the key, and to unleash the means of this particular judgment, so sinners will see the end results of their own evil.
Verse Context:
Revelation 9:1–6 tells what happens when the fifth angel blows his trumpet. This trumpet judgment is more severe than the previous trumpet judgments. A star, presumably Satan, falls from heaven and receives a key to the bottomless pit. He uses the key to release a demonic force of locusts that torment unbelievers for five months. The torment is so severe that people seek death but are unable to find it. The verses that follow describe the locusts and tell what happens when the sixth angel blows his trumpet.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 9 tells us that under the fifth trumpet judgment John sees a star fall from heaven to earth. This ''star'' is Satan, and he is given the key to the bottomless pit. Using this key, Satan unleashes a plague of supernatural demons resembling locusts. They torment unbelievers for five months with such pain that people seek death unsuccessfully. They appear like horses prepared for battle, and they have a king, whose name is Apollyon, meaning ''Destroyer.'' Under the sixth trumpet judgment John sees four angels released from the Euphrates river. Their release coincides with a horde of two hundred million demonic mounted troops that kill a third of mankind. However, the survivors refuse to abandon their idolatry and to repent of their evil deeds.
Chapter Context:
The ninth chapter of Revelation continues the report of what happens when the seven angels blow their trumpets. Chapter 8 described the first four trumpet judgments; chapter 9 reports the fifth and sixth. The events in chapter 9 are much more severe than those which came before. The severity of judgments increases dramatically with each trumpet blast. These judgments precede the final series of events, called the bowl judgments. Revelation chapters 15 and 16 will reveal what happens under these judgments.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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