The Revelation Given to John by Jesus Through the Angel
So far the trumpets have proclaimed judgments that used the elemental forces of nature. They have affected the earth, sea, fresh waters, and heavenly bodies – every part of the created universe. They are warnings of the destruction to come. Yahweh is not willing that anyone should perish; and is giving the human race a nudge toward repentance.
When Yahweh poured out his Spirit at Pentecost[i]it was a down payment to seal the Church until the day of redemption. When we believed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the Church – the purchased possession – is completely [ii]redeemed. Yahweh’s guarantee is good. We are sealed to him for all eternity, world without end, and no one can break that seal. It has the strength of the Father and Son behind it.
As we run this human race, we run as winners. Along the track we have come to many a calm sea were our ship rocked us gently on smoother waters. Mornings we woke from untroubled sleep and looked first at our Savior, Friend, and Guide. Bu then sometime during the day, our ship begins to toss about like a balloon on angry waves. The events of this cruel work take of our peace hold like vengeful waves. Fear of the future crashes down and threatens destruction with its turbulence. We fear for neighbors and loved ones and how they will fare in the world when these prophesy are fulfilled. Through the clouds and rain and wind we consciously turn our backs on the fear and unrest; and look into the face of our Savior and King. We see ourselves seated with Mashiach in places ruled by Yahweh – and we see that Mashiach’s death was enough. He paid the price for all the sin of the world and we can take our fears, and the future of our loved ones to Yeshua. He is not willing that anyone should perish. He loves our neighbors and family – all our loved ones –personally, even more than we do.
The next trumpets herald the judgments on unsaved mankind. But now there is a pause. A solitary eagle in the zenith of the sky, proclaiming Doom to everyone left on earth because of the remaining trumpet calls. And Yahweh’s people passionately and faithfully stand their ground[iii]. Yahweh uses nature to send his message to humans[iv].
John knows that something is changing drastically. The Church has the seal of Yahweh to protect it but the rest of the human race who have rejected Yahweh’s love and mercy are in for a Bad time. This is the beginning of a new period for the tribulation. This is what the Church has been sealed to protect it from. This is what we will see but not be affected by – except for the hatred of the unsaved and that’s “business as usual.”
Then John hears the fifth trumpet blow and sees a star fall from heaven to earth. This angel was given the key to the bottomless pit – the well of the Abyss. John knows that the name “Lucifer” means “Morning Star” and that the morning star fell from heaven[v].
Then John sees an ugly sight. The star unlocks the well of the Abyss and smoke pours out of it – billow after billow[vi]– so much so that the sun is blackened by the smoke[vii]. Locusts crawl out of the minute particles of carbon suspended in the vapor. They have the venom of scorpions. They are subjects of Apollyon (Abaddon), the angel of the Abyss[viii] – the Destroyer; however, they cannot overrule our god, Yahweh. They aren’t allowed to touch the chosen of Yahweh who are sealed by him.
The demon locusts are given instructions. They are not to hurt the grass or trees – only rebellious unsaved men and women. They don’t have the right to kill, but it seems the effect of their sting is to last five months – a long enough time, but not quite half a year. The time that the torture lasts seems like forever to the ones stung and they want to die, but when they try to kill themselves, they can’t die. They must be fearful that they will live forever in their pain – a little taste of literal hell.
John sees this is vengeance for what Yahweh’s people have been suffering at the hands of the world system through history.
Then he notices that the locusts look like horses ready for war with gold crowns (authority to conquer), human faces (may represent human agents), and woman’s hair (perhaps representing vanity). They seem to have the teeth of lions[ix], and iron breastplates (impenetrable protection). Even the sound of their wings reminds John of horse drawn chariots going to war[x]. I have always believed that these will be nasty little insects (not so little if they are the size of locusts). I even thought I saw one in the tall dry grass one day – but I do have a well-developed imagination.
Dr. Jeremiah[xiii]Calls this a spiritual plague fueled by the works of millions of demons. He points out that Hitler was demon possessed[xiv]and eludes to the fact that these demons from the pit may possess the bodies of the creatures whose likeness they bear in John’s vision.
Walter Scott is quoted by Jeremiah. He believed that the venom of the locusts was false doctrines, teachings, and principles. He said, “The scorpion-like tails of the locusts contain the moral poison which so awfully torments those who receive it.” The principle certainly is correct.
In Revelation 12:13-17 Satan is kicked out of heaven and goes after Israel, but Yahweh puts her in a safe place in the desert. After some posturing, he goes after the Church instead. Then, as recorded in chapter 13, he uses one of the world rulers to deceive the masses. I think this is what Walter Scott had in mind, but there is a difference. There are many locusts and they fly like an army to torment the unsaved human race for five months. On the other hand, the Beast is a world leader who behaves like a beast without a soul and deceives everyone left on earth that doesn’t have the protective seal of Yahweh. He is allowed to do anything he wants for forty-two months, not five. He works alone and doesn’t torment those who worship him.
Barkly[xv]reminds us that all through the old testament locusts are a sign of incredible destruction. Remember Joel 1:2. Locusts can be two inches long with a wing span of four to five inches. They travel in a column a hundred feet deep and as much as five miles long. Their heads resemble horses and they move like an army with a leader.
But these locusts in John’s vision are different in that they aren’t allowed to touch vegetation. Normal locusts don’t touch human beings. These do. They strike with their claw-like tails and insert a special poison that not only doesn’t kill but keeps the victim from dying. They don’t touch the family of Yahweh, only unprotected, unsaved human beings. The lifespan of a locust is five months[xvi].
Niebuhr[xvii]gives the Arab description of a locust. “In head like a horse, in breast like a lion, in feet like a camel, in body like a serpent, in tail like a scorpion, in antenna like the virgin’s hair.” Virgins kept their hair down until they married, then put it up. Reverend Randell says the locusts in Revelation symbolize heretics and infidels. Wordsworth applies the symbol to the Muslims. Reverend Randell suggests the torment will last through the natural period of unsaved man’s time on earth just as the locusts lifespan is five months.
Another speculation by Elliot is that the five months represent Mohammed’s conquest from A.D. 612-A.D. 162, a total of 150 years. The idea here is that 30 days represent one year and 5×30=150. Randell says that the statement that the ones that are stung long for death is an anguish of the mind and shouldn’t be taken literally. I don’t think Dr. McGee would agree with him and I say that longing for death is always an anguish of the mind.
I don’t believe that this prophesy has been fulfilled yet. When this happens I believe it will make it quite obvious that there is a difference between the saved and the unsaved; and hypothetical battle lines will be drawn. There was a mixed multitude that came out of Egypt with the Israelites because some Egyptians believed Yahweh would do as he said, and they sprinkled blood on their own door-posts and later left with the Israelites. They wouldn’t have been welcome in Egypt and we won’t be welcome here when it becomes obvious that Yahweh protects his own.
To be continued
[i] Acts 2:17; Ephesians 1:13, 14
[ii] Romans 8:30, 11:29
[iii] Revelation 13:10
[iv] Barkley, page 44
[v] Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18; revelation 12:7-9
[vi] This may look like a volcano to the world
[vii] Revelation 6:12, 13
[viii] II Peter 2:4
[ix] I Peter 5:8
[x] It reminds me of the picture of the “fighting Tigers”, page 31 of World War II. Of course those plans killed but there is a slight possibility that they are future planes with germ warfare gone terribly wrong (by the hand of Yahweh, of course.)
[xi] Page 967
[xii] Page 968
[xiii] Page 144
[xiv] Page 145
[xv] Pages 48, 49
[xvi] Ibid, page 51
[xvii] Pulpit Commentary, page 263