by John Lowe
Five: THEY ARE INTREPID. John says, “And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle.” Throughout the book of Revelation the horse is the war horse, a symbol of defiance. These terrible creatures from the abyss are like high-spirited steeds, seemingly straining at the bit and pawing the ground in their eagerness to fling themselves out of the blackness of hell and then to gallop forward on their mission of doom. Hence, these are not ordinary locusts such as plagued Egypt (Exodus 10:12-15), for they had no king over them (Proverbs 30:27), but those coming from the pit are intelligent beings who take orders from Satan (v. 11); and to top it off they are organized.
Six: THEY ARE INVINCIBLE. John saw that “on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold.” They conquer all in their path. Man has no weapon to use against them; no medicine, no psychiatry, no incantation, no discovery of science will avail. The medical associations of earth will confess that they baffled. Scientists will work around the clock seeking some wonder drug which will restore some semblance of sanity to men who are screaming in their agonies and delirious with torment. Everything will fail. These horrible demons are crowned with gold. They were not created by Satan, because God is the Creator of all. Rather, they are probably fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion. God limits what they can do; they can do nothing without His permission. Their main purpose on earth is to prevent, distort, or destroy people’s relationship with God.
Seven: THEY ARE INTELLIGENT. John says, “And their faces were as the faces of men.” A man’s face is the window of his soul. It is unique and expressive and brings to light his emotions and intelligence. No beast has a face so expressive of the hidden life within. “Faces like men!” It is a symbolic way of telling us that these fiends are highly intelligent. Their onslaught against the human race is the result not of blind instinct, but of rational thought.
Modern man professes not to believe in demons, but they exist just the same. Moreover, they are clever with a diabolical cunning. Man’s attitude toward the demon world may well be likened to man’s attitude in the Dark Ages toward bacteria.
Once the pit is opened, the world of men will be invaded by a virus far more dreadful than the bubonic plague, a virus all the more deadly because it is able to think and because it directs its attack against the soul rather than the body.
8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
Eight: THEY ARE INSIDIOUS. John says that “they had hair as the hair of women.” A woman’s hair is her glory (1 Corinthians 11:6-7); it is beautiful and attractive to the eye of the beholder. The long hair of these demon locusts suggests that there is something horribly and seductively attractive about them. The occult world has always exerted a fascination to men—even to those who profess to be enlightened and delivered from such superstitions. It may be that when these fearful beings are released from the pit, they will at first employ arts and wiles which will make their advent attractive to men. They are INSIDIOUS, however, and they use their attractions to lure men on to their doom.
Nine: THEY ARE INEXORABLE. We are told that “their teeth were as the teeth of Lions.” Woe befits those who become their prey! They will render and tear and destroy. The teeth of a lion inflict a terrible wound, and even when its bite does not kill, its teeth are so filled with infection that the wound rarely heals completely. From time to time it breaks wide open again. Nor can anyone rob a lion of its prey once it has sunk its teeth into its victim. Likewise, these fearful demons will fasten onto their human victims, and nothing will pry them loose.
9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
Ten: THEY ARE INSENSITIVE. John says that “they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron.” They are completely insensitive to the suffering they cause and the cries and agonies of their victims leave them unmoved. They are without heart, at least without a heart that can be touched by mankind. They know no mercy. Even the most INSENSITIVE person has some tender spot, some cord that can be cut, but these alien creatures are merciless. They feast on human pain as on a tasty snack. The shriller the shriek of pain, the more satisfying is the taste.
Eleven: THEY ARE INESCAPABLE. John says, “And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.” They travel like the wind, flying swiftly and surely toward their prey. The picture John paints is graphic enough. When these demon hordes are let loose out of hell, they will be INESCAPABLE. There will be no place to hide. Mankind has no refuge from them, none at all.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Twelve: THEY ARE INJURIOUS. John says, “And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.” Reference has already been made to their scorpion-like tails. When the Holy Spirit repeats a detail and does it within a few lines, it is because that detail is important. Here the fact is emphasized that these loathsome spirits have but a single aim—to injure men. For many years men have spurned the Holy Spirit of God, so they will be given over by a righteous God to the voracious appetites, the satanic hungers of evil spirits, the foulest and fiercest in the universe.
The description of these demon-locusts (vs. 7-10) is very similar to what locusts actually look like upon close observation (see Joel 2:4), but these locusts are exaggerated and much bigger than life—supernatural locusts. That they had human faces probably indicates that these were not mere insects but were intelligent beings. They were given power (they did not have it themselves—it was “given” by God) to torture people—but only their own people.
11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
Thirteen: THEY ARE INDIVISIBLE. John tells us, “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” Solomon, that shrewd observer of nature wrote, “the locust have no king (Proverbs 30:27). These demon locusts do. As if it was not bad enough for them to be intelligent creatures, they are capably and ably led by the satanic angel who reigns over the abyss itself. The king over these demons is Satan, who is described in both Hebrew (Abaddon) and Greek (Apollyon). Both words mean “destroyer.” The name being given in both Hebrew and Greek indicates that these judgments will come upon both Jew and Gentile, the only ones escaping being those who have the seal of God in their foreheads (v. 4). Paul stated clearly that the gospel of Christ is for both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 1:16), but that either who reject God’s Son must suffer (Romans 2:8-9). The purpose of Satan, namely to destroy, is the opposite of God’s purpose in Christ, which is to save. This unscrupulous prince of the demons is called by our Lord “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). After the Church has been caught up to be with her Lord, both apostate Jews and apostate Gentiles will suffer at Satan’s hands.
The first woe trumpets causes men to be afflicted with a satanically-inspired belief, propagated by demons from the pit. This doctrine of demons leads to anguish of soul like a scorpion’s sting, like a rattler’s bite. Man is now in the hands of demons that drive the human race from one insanity to another. Let me emphasize once more that these demon locusts are not to kill men. They are to torment them, tantalize them, and sting them, for five months.
In the Old Testament, the word woe always refers to coming judgment (it is also translated “destruction”). It gives the strongest exclamation of warning for coming judgment in the Bible (Isaiah 5; Jeremiah 4:13; 48:1, 46; Zechariah 11:17). Though carried out by demonic powers, these events are actually divine judgments. Satan is at the mercy of God’s power. At this point, the first woe has passed, but there are still two woes to come. God has His timetable for all these events, and nothing will happen too soon or too late (2 Thessalonians 2:6; note also Revelation 9:15).
My friends, I have not exaggerating the horrors of the coming judgment upon the earth, which is only a foretaste of an eternal hell to follow. Oh, trust the Lord Jesus Christ at once!
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