v. 5-6 And they were not given the authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. And 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 judgment carries with it a grim twist: The absence of death for five months. While the locust-demons are given full authority to torment man with an excruciating pain, neither they, nor anyone else will be able to initiate death. Even those who attempt suicide (apparently a large number) will not die. “They will desire to die,” John says, “and death will flee from them.”
Why death is withheld is not explained. Perhaps the answer lies in what another has suggested: That it’s the grace of God to allow man a foretaste of hell-torment short of death, and temporarily, that some might repent and find salvation and thereby escape the place of eternal torment. (Check also—Jude 22-23).
v.7-11 And the shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like a women’s hair, and their teeth were like lion’s 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. And 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.
Because there is a king, we can assume that a hierarchy exists amongst the demons—demons of various rank with manifest power, authority, and evil. Moreover, we might be given an insight of how highly fierce, powerful, and severely lethal this king named Abaddon and Apollyon is by his name. In Hebrew, Abaddon means “destruction,” and in Greek, Apollyon means “the destroyer.”
It should be noted that some see this personage, the king over the locust-demons, as Satan. Yes, he is a destroyer set on destruction, but I don’t believe that it is Satan. In my opinion, because this demon-king is referred to as “the angel of the bottomless pit,” it’s more likely that he is the highest ranking, or perhaps most fierce, of all the demons released, and is subjected to Satan.
v.12 One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.
This recalls the three “woes” declared for the world by the flying angel described in the last chapter (Rev.8:13). This invasion of the locust-demons, with their power to inflict upon man bodily pain so excruciating that they will prefer death rather than to endure the pain, yet not be able to escape it by death, completes the first.
To assist your study, here are the two remaining: The second “woe” is another demonic invasion, along with a great earthquake that destroys a tenth of Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of God’s two witnesses (Rev.11:14). The third “woe” is levied upon the inhabitants of the earth because Satan is banished from heaven to earth, and thereby must endure his fury (Rev.12:12).