In Revelation 9:2 the star or the high priest was given authority over the key to the abyss. In other words he could either open the pit or leave it closed. The choice was his. We are told that, he opened the pit, and this caused smoke to arise immediately and darken the air and the sun. I am reminded at this point of Revelation 8:3-5, where Jesus, the High Priest, takes the prayers of the saints, represented in the smoke of the incense and casts them to the earth in a kind of judgment from God. In Revelation 9:2 the fallen star or a corrupt high priest seems to hide heaven with his prayer represented in the smoke. Apparently, the answer to this prayer was a foregone conclusion in that the nation rebelled and expected God to support their effort by sending their messiah—but not Jesus.
In the context of my previous studies, whatever the locusts are, they come out of the smoke, which came out of the bottomless pit or the pit of the abyss. They come in answer to the prayer evidenced in the smoke coming from the pit. They come out of the smoke, which came out of the pit. That is, the smoke came out of the pit, but the locusts seem to come in response to the smoke. The text doesn’t say they came out out of the bottomless pit. Instead, these terrible locusts, which brought evil upon the land (i.e. the land of the Jews) came out of the smoke.
It seems very clear that these locusts are not really locusts at all. Real locusts eat up vegetation, but these locusts don’t do that (Revelation 9:4). Rather, they have power similar to that of scorpions (Revelation 9:3, 5, 10). Many commentaries want to interpret these locusts as demons, or the rise of the armies of Islam etc., but the problem with this is Mohammed’s armies killed the people, but these locusts had power to hurt but not to kill men (Revelation 9:5), and this power was given them for a limited time: five months. For five months men were tormented in the manner that scorpions torment men with their sting. Some of the more severe symptoms of the scorpion sting mimic a state of fear, such as: numbness (light dose of paralysis, a state in which a fearful person is when he is afraid to act), also difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing are often associated with people in a state of fear.
Near the beginning of the Jews’ war with Rome in the eighth month of 66 AD, the Roman general and then president of Syria, Cestius Gallus, surrounded Jerusalem and broke down the north wall of Jerusalem and entered the city. Nevertheless, and without logical reason, the Roman armies retreated to Caesarea. The encouraged zealots left the city and followed him, engaging in gorilla type warfare, slaying many of his men on the fringes of his march toward the Mediterranean. While the zealots were gone from Jerusalem, the disciples of Jesus, remembering his command (Luke 21:20-21), fled Jerusalem, taking advantage of this opportunity. Interestingly, it took about five months for Nero to replace Cestius with Vespasian and for Vespasian to mobilize his forces at Ptolemais (from the eighth month of 66 AD until spring of 67 AD). During this time he did not engage himself in the war. Rather, he was preparing for the war ahead of him.
As mentioned above, the torment the unrepentant Jews were under during this period mimicked the state of fear. Aggressive action wasn’t taken by them. Rather the Jewish rebels mobilized for a defense only. All were in a state of fear and apprehension of the things they were facing. Many, indeed would have remembered the words of Jesus, if not out of personal experience, then certainly as they would have been warned by the Apostles and evangelists, as they preached the Gospel. When Jesus was carrying his cross toward Calvary, he warned that the days were coming when men would begin to say to “the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us’” (Luke 23:29-30; cf. Revelation 6:16). As I concluded in an earlier study, this was the manner in which warfare in the first century AD was conducted, when a weaker army faced a much greater military force.
They did these things out of fear. They couldn’t dare take the offensive, so they waited for the more powerful forces to come to them, while they took refuge in hills and caves. Job remarked how death was a welcome refuge of the weary from the wicked, of the prisoner from his oppressor and of the slave from his cruel master (Job 3:17-19, 21). A peaceful death would have been greatly preferred over the trouble one would see in the approach of the oppressive Roman military force but that kind of death would escape them (Revelation 9:6).
 See my previous study: The Smoke of the Abyss. There I sought to show how the high priest acted out of pretense in an effort to show what he was doing honored God, but rather showed he was in rebellion and acting in the place of God.
 Ibid. Smoke from a great furnace etc. nearly always represents the presence of God to save or to judge.
 Ibid. Again see my previous study where I show this kind of prayer / worship is nothing more than idolatry.
 Josephus: Wars, 2.20.1
 Josephus: Wars, 2.19.9 and Wars, 3.1.1-3; 3.6.1.
 Josephus: Wars, 2.20.3-4
 Josephus: Wars of the Jews; 1.16.4 (309-310).