What does Revelation 9:12 mean?
ESV: The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.
NIV: The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.
NASB: The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.
CSB: The first woe has passed. There are still two more woes to come after this.
NLT: The first terror is past, but look, two more terrors are coming!
KJV: One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
NKJV: One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.
Verse Commentary:
The final verse of chapter 8 warned that there were three trumpet judgments yet to come, worse even than the first four (Revelation 8:13). Chapter 9, so far, has focused entirely on the fifth trumpet judgment, which is the "first woe" of those three. Two more—the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments—lie ahead.

The word "woe" indicates severe suffering and distress. The tribulation is a seven-year period of severe end-times suffering and distress. The second half of this era, called the great tribulation, increases the severity of God's judgment on unbelievers as He pours out His wrath upon them. In His Olivet Discourse Jesus advised righteous Jews to flee to the mountains when an idolatrous image stands in the holy place. He remarked, "Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be" (Matthew 24:20–21). Believers today should be extremely grateful that God has saved us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
Verse Context:
Revelation 9:7–12 more thoroughly describes the locust-like beings which ascend from the bottomless pit. They appear like horses galloping into battle. They have something on their heads resembling crowns. Their faces are humanlike; their hair is like women's hair; and they have teeth like lions' teeth. Their chests seem to be iron plated, and the noise of their wings sounds like chariots and horses rushing into battle. They torment humans for five months, and their leader is Apollyon. Joel 2:1–11 prophesies an invasion of locusts, sharing similarities to the description in this passage, and adding details some suggest are references to modern machines of war.
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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