Jacques Ellul saw this whole section of trumpets and woes as the center of Revelation. “It is there that we must situate what follows: in particular the judgment, because the judgment and the end of the world cannot be read or understood except in terms of the judgment which has fallen upon the Son of God; and those who are condemned in the final destruction are not men but the rebellious powers who are described for us in the central section, upon whom men depend and whom men represent only figuratively. It is indeed the action of these Satanic powers that in every circumstance provokes death in the Apocalypse, and not at all, never directly, the action of God upon men….
“Before studying the ‘plagues’ in the perspective that we have indicated, it is necessary to make at least two remarks. The first is that each act of God in Jesus Christ implies an aspect of catastrophe for the men enclosed in the world, in solidarity with the world, separated from God, and in conflict with him. Man is so much the prey of the powers, so closely associated with their work, enjoys himself so thoroughly to their profit, desires so much all that they offer, conceives his life to such a degree separated from God, that every approach of God, every positive work of God, appears to him as an unacceptable disturbance and finally an attack upon him. When God comes to deliver him, he does not at all perceive his liberation; he protests against the breaking of those marvelous objects, which are his chains or the doors of his prison, the adored chains….
“The second remark is that since Jesus Christ incarnates all humanity… all that which happens to him is in reality a catastrophe for the entire human race… But also, inversely, all that happens to humanity is in reality that which falls upon Jesus… Thus we must never read the plagues and judgments of the Apocalypse outside of this perspective of perfect, absolute, unbreakable association between Christ and men–all men, those of the past and of the future, those of all races and religions: man, the sole and unique Adam, come from the hands of the Father with his billions of possibilities, which are the billions of our visages.”