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Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 7

While looking for some videos for my recent post on AntiChrist I providentially found some which deal with Revelation 9′s vision and which promote the interpretation I have promoted and godly Protestant teachers of the past have promoted (locusts = Muslim Saracens) in the previous 6 posts of my “Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles” series of posts.  I provide here the links to the Youtube videos (each around 8-10 minutes each). By watching those videos (just 30 minutes of your time) or reading some of the eminent Protestant commentators of the past you will better understand the prophecy of Revelation chapter 9 than more than 95% of today’s professing Christians who prefer the porous presuppositions of preterism and the fantastic fables of futurism. Once you understand that the predicted historic events symbolized in Rev. 9 happened centuries after 70 AD and centuries before this modern era then you must automatically reject preterism and futurism if you would properly understand the blessed Book of Revelation.

Please note that my encouraging the viewing of these 3 videos does not mean I necessarily approve of other videos done or promoted by the same author – 1st Thessalonians 5:21 (“prove all things”). I have not checked out all his videos so there may be some points of disagreement. I will mention that one of the videos I quickly skimmed through seems to teach the error of soul sleep.  Please use caution and discernment.

video : The 5th Trumpet : Rise of Mohammed and Islam – Part 1

video : The 5th Trumpet : Rise of Mohammed and Islam – Part 2

video : The 5th Trumpet : Rise of Mohammed and Islam – Part 3

See also:

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 1

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 2

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 3

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 4

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 5

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 6

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Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 6

locust-rev9

Since the symbolic locust invasion of Revelation chapter 9 has a link to my series of posts on the “doctrines of demons” I thought I would write something concerning the idolaters mentioned at the end of chapter 9. If indeed the locust invasion of Revelation chapter 9 points figuratively to the rise and spread of Islam (as demonstrated Scripturally in parts 3, 4 and 5 of this current series of posts) then that provides us with a clue in understanding the identity of the men who are first tormented by these symbolic locusts.

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by THESE PLAGUES* yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship DEMONS (Greek word “daimonion”), and IDOLS of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21)

* the ones just mentioned in the same chapter; one could add the plagues of the first four trumpets as well

Notice that there is FALSE WORSHIP INVOLVING DEMONS** and WORSHIP OF LITERAL IDOLS (STATUES) MADE BY HUMAN HANDS.

** the original Greek word translated “demons” either meaning FALLEN ANGELS or DEIFIED MEN/WOMEN ACTING AS MEDIATORS BETWEEN GOD AND MEN ACCORDING TO ANCIENT GREEK RELIGIOUS VIEWS (see for example Plato’s “Symposium”; Augustine in his “City of God” when discussing paganism mentions mediators – called “demons” – between men and the gods)

Hermès-Hermes-Statue

There is also mention of murders, sorceries, fornication and thefts.  The Greek word translated “sorceries” only occurs one other time in the Book of Revelation in chapter 18 in connection with the Great Whore described in chapters 17 and 18. The prophetic symbol of a whore/harlot was used in the Old Testament in connection with APOSTASY and IDOLATRY:

“How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.” (Isaiah 1:21)

“For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers [false gods], that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.” (Hosea 2:5)

The Greek word translated “FORNICATION” occurs 6 other times in the Book. In chapter 2 fornication is mentioned for the first time in connection with a false prophetess (called “Jezebel”) teaching false doctrine among believers in Thyatira.  The fornication in chapter 2 refers to SPIRITUAL FORNICATION because the “bed” mentioned in connection with “Jezebel” (2:22) is not to taken literally. In the 5 instances where the word occurs after chapter 9 (chapters 14, 17, 18 and 19) it refers to SPIRITUAL FORNICATION.  So the 6 other instances of the word “fornication” all point to SPIRITUAL FORNICATION and I believe this is the same kind of fornication referred in chapter 9. SPIRITUAL FORNICATION is to be understood in connection with people who profess (or have professed) to know the true God (professing Christianity) so this “fornication” cannot refer in any way to Buddhists or Hindoos for example. SPIRITUAL FORNICATION involves IDOLATRY.

I would add before proceeding that the vision of chapter 9′s “locusts” can in no way point symbolically to evil spirits tormenting 1st century Jews as the preterist David Chilton teaches. As guilty as the 1st century Jews were for rejecting Christ it could not be said of them that they worshiped idols made with hands (Revelation 9:20-21) like their ancestors in the days of the prophets. Since literal idols are mentioned earlier in the book in connection with warnings to 1st century Gentile churches about avoiding literal idolatry we can’t spiritualize away the meaning of the “idols made by human hands” of chapter 9 to mean something other than literal idolatry. Especially when there’s nothing in the description of 9:20 to mean something other than literal, physical idols. Such a description of literal, physical idols was used by the prophet Daniel (Daniel 5:4,23). It would be most natural to expect God to warn 1st century Christians of the future rise of literal idolatry within professing Christianity (9:20-21) and of its deserved judgments as an added motivation for them to avoid idolatry in their own day.

At the time of the rise of Islam in the 7th century (fixing the timing of the vision of chapter 9) professing Christianity was mostly concentrated in Europe (Western and Eastern), in the Middle East and in Northern Africa. With the letter having been written to Christians and for the benefit of Christians we can say without hesitation that this chapter 9 vision has reference to those parts of the world just mentioned. That means for example that the “demon” worship of chapter 9 cannot refer to modern-day American Satanists. We must look at the first centuries of professing Christianity up till at least the 7th century.

Revelation 9:20-21 does not refer to modern-day devil worshipers

Revelation 9:20-21 does not refer to modern-day devil worshipers (or even Americans for that matter)

Which “demons” were worshipped at the beginning of the 7th century? Which idolaters were tormented by Islam in the first centuries of its rise? Was there a part of professing Christianity guilty of spiritual fornication at that time? To the point of committing literal idolatry (making images) and being recognized as idolaters by the first Muslims?

Is there a prophecy in the New Testament pointing to “demon” worship in association with apostasy from the truth which could help us out?  Yes there is!  I will quote this prophecy from the New American Standard version :

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times SOME WILL FALL AWAY FROM THE FAITH, paying attention to deceitful spirits and DOCTRINES OF DEMONS, BY MEANS OF the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, MEN WHO FORBID MARRIAGE AND ADVOCATE ABSTAINING FROM FOODS…” (1st Timothy 4:1-3a)

These doctrines CONCERNING/ABOUT “demons” (Greek word “daimonion”, the same word used in Revelation 9) are promoted/taught instrumentally “by means of the hypocrisy of liars… who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods…” (v.2a,3a). CELIBATE ASCETICS (APOSTATES) who use lies (legends, fables, false visions, dreams) to spread these doctrines.  Were there such men (or women) prior to the rise of Islam in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East? Yes! Here’s the 5 letter answer: M-O-N-K-S.

monk-praying

What kind of “worship” did these celibate, ascetic monks advocate? The visible worship of the devil and his fallen angels or visible worship of saints (deified men/women – “saints” – acting as mediators between God and men)?  I believe the answer is pretty obvious to those who know history and the true Gospel.

Let me first quote Joseph Mede :

“But now I come to shew how this prediction of our apostle bath been accomplished; how the cozenage and feigning of liars was the means whereby the doctrine of demons was advanced in the Church ; I mean the deifying and worshiping of saints and angels, the adoring and templing of relics, the bowing down to images, the worshiping of crosses as new idol-columns, the worshiping of the breaden God or any other visible thing whatsoever upon supposal of any Divinity therein : all which I have proved to be nothing else but the Gentiles’ idolatrous theology of demons revived among Christians…. began to appear in the Church presently after the death of Julian the Apostate, who was the last heathen Emperor. The grounds and occasions whereof were most strange reports of wonders shewn upon those who approached the shrines of martyrs, prayed at their memories and sepulchres ; devils were charmed, diseases cured, the blind saw, the lame walked, yea the dead revived, and other the like : which the doctors of those times for the most part avouched to be done by the power and prayers of the glorified martyrs, and by the notice they took of men’s devotions at their sepulchres ; though at the beginning those devotions were directed to God alone, and such places were merely chosen for the stirring up of zeal and fervor by the memory of those blessed and glorious champions of Christ. But while the world stood in admiration, and most men esteemed these wonders as glorious beams of the triumph of Christ ; they were soon persuaded to call upon them as Patrons and Mediators, whose power ‘with God, and notice of things done upon earth, they thought that these signs and miracles approved.”

“Besides the silence of all undoubted antiquity about any such sepulchral wonders to have happened in the former ages, the very manner of speech which the fathers living in this miraculous age used, when they spake of these things, will argue that they were then accounted novelties, and not as continued from the Apostles’ times.”

“The second particular I named of the hypocrisy or feigning of liars, was fabulous legends of the acts of saints and martyrs. This was also another means to advance the doctrines of demons. For the true acts and stories of the martyrs being extinguished for the most part by the bloody edict of Dioclesian, they now began to supply again that loss by collecting such tales as were then current of them, and adding thereto such miracles as were fabled of them after death ; fashioned all to the best advantage of what they meant to promote in the Church, and which was already on foot in the same.”

“But when the idolatry of image -worship came to be added to that of saints, whether monks and friars, were not the chief sticklers therein, judge, when you shall hear how it fared with them in that great opposition against idols in the east.”

Let me quote again from Philip Mauro’s book “Things Which Must Soon Come to Pass”:

“It is not, however, because of the amazing spread of Islam in so short a time, or because of the absolute and tyrannical character of its rule, that place is given it in these visions of God.  Rather it is because by it the judgment of God was executed upon those parts of the earth which had been illuminated by the Gospel from its beginning, but which had turned that heavenly light into a darkness worse than that of Paganism… [quoting Isaac Taylor] “What Mahomet and his caliphs found in all directions whither their scimitars cut a path for them, was a superstition so abject, AN IDOLATRY SO GROSS AND SHAMELESS [emphasis : mine], church doctrines so arrogant, church practices so dissolute and so puerile, that the strong-minded Arabians felt themselves inspired as God’s messengers to reprove the errors of the world, and authorized as God’s avengers to punish APOSTATE CHRISTENDOM. [emphasis : mine]“”

Let me add some Albert Barnes’s observations concerning Revelation 9:20-21 :

“That they should not worship devils – Implying that they practiced this before. The word used here – daimonion- means properly “a god, deity”; spoken of the pagan gods, Acts 17:18; then a genius, or tutelary demon, e. g., that of Socrates; and, in the New Testament, a demon in the sense of an evil spirit. See the word fully explained in the notes on 1 Corinthians 10:20. The meaning of the passage here, as in 1 Corinthians 10:20, “they sacrifice to devils,” is not that they literally worshipped devils in the usual sense of that term, though it is true that such worship does exist in the world, as among the Yezidis (see Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, vol. i. pp. 225-254, and Rosenmuller, Morgenland, iii. 212-216); but that they worshipped beings which were inferior to the Supreme God; created spirits of a rank superior to human beings, or the spirits of people that had been enrolled among the gods. This last was a common form of worship among the pagan, for a large portion of the gods whom they adored were heroes and benefactors who had been enrolled among the gods – as Hercules, Bacchus, etc. All that is necessarily implied in this word is, that there prevailed in the time referred to the worship of spirits inferior to God, or the WORSHIP OF THE SPIRITS OF DEPARTED PEOPLE [emphasis : mine]. This idea would be more naturally suggested to the mind of a Greek by the use of the word than the worship of evil spirits as such – if indeed it would have conveyed that idea at all; and this word would be properly employed in the representation if there was any homage rendered to departed human spirits which came in the place of the worship of the true God. Compare a dissertation on the meaning of the word used here, in Elliott on the Apocalypse, Appendix I. vol. ii.”

images“The word rendered “sorceries” – pharmakeia- whence our word “pharmacy,” means properly “the preparing and giving of medicine,” Eng. “pharmacy” (Robinson‘s Lexicon ). Then, as the art of medicine was supposed to have magical power, or as the persons who practiced medicine, in order to give themselves and their art greater importance, practiced various arts of incantation, the word came to be connected with the idea of magic sorcery, or enchantment. See Schleusner, Lexicon. In the New Testament the word is never used in a good sense, as denoting the preparation of medicine, but always in this secondary sense, as denoting sorcery, magic, etc. Thus, in Galatians 5:20, “the works of the flesh – idolatry, witchcraft,” etc. Revelation 9:21, “of their sorceries.” Revelation 18:23, “for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” Revelation 21:8, “Whoremongers, and sorcerers.” The word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament; and the meaning of the word would be fulfilled in anything that purposed to accomplish an object by sorcery, by magical arts, by trick, by cunning, by sleight of hand, or “by deceiving the senses in any way.” Thus, it would be applicable to all jugglery and to all pretended miracles.”

“The statement that they worshipped devils; that is, as explained, demons, or the deified souls of people. Homage rendered to the spirits of departed people, and substituted in the place of the worship of the true God, would meet all that is properly implied here. We may refer, then, to the WORSHIP OF SAINTS*** IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC COMMUNION [emphasis : mine] as a complete fulfillment of what is here implied in the language used by John. The fact cannot be disputed that the invocation of saints took the place, in the Roman Catholic communion, of the worship of sages and heroes in pagan Rome, and that the canonization of saints took the place of the ancient deification of heroes and public benefactors. The same kind of homage was rendered to them; their aid was invoked in a similar manner, and on similar occasions; the effect on the popular mind was substantially the same; and the one interfered as really as the other with the worship of the true God.”

*** the “demons” of the 1st Timothy chapter 4 and Revelation 9 prophecies

881_150pxLet us not forget that in chapter 9 it mentions that the locusts were not to torment those who had the seal of God. Remembering the important principle that Scripture interprets Scripture we should note that the same kind of language and symbolism is found in the Book of Ezekiel (chapter 9). In the context of Ezekiel’s vision was the seal a distinction between racial Israelites and racial Gentiles or was it not rather a distinction between Israelites who feared God (the Israel of God, the elect, the godly remnant) and apostate, idolatrous Israelites (professing Israel with no true love or fear of God)? When we consider that in the vision given to Ezekiel in the Old Testament God had given instructions to His servants to kill the guilty people in Jerusalem (not a Gentile city) and to start the killing in His sanctuary (the temple) should it then not be natural to suppose that vision given to the apostle John, a Jew, in Revelation chapter 9 should concern the judgment of false Christians, idolaters among those who profess to know God. Did not the apostle Peter echo the thought found in Ezekiel that judgment is to begin in the house of God (1 Peter 4:17)? Let us remember Christ’s rule of prophetic hermeneutics given in chapter 1.  He used an Old Testament symbol, the candlestick, and gave it a New Testament meaning (church).  In Revelation we should not think in terms of racial Israel but in terms of spiritual Israel. In other words the Israel of God which contains both Jews and Gentiles.

See also:

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 1

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 2

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 3

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 4

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 5

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Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 5

locust-rev9Different learned Protestant commentators of the past have understood the important prophecy of the Revelation chapter 9 locust invasion as pertaining to Islam in its initial rise :

Albert Barnes : “All that is necessary to say further on this point is, that on the supposition that it was the design of the Spirit of inspiration in the passage before us to refer to the followers of Muhammed, the image of the locusts was that which would be naturally selected. There was no other one so appropriate and so striking; no one that would so naturally designate the country of Arabia.”

Jonathan Edwards : “First, the Saracens, who were some of his followers, and were a people of the country of Arabia, where Mahomet lived, about the year 700, began dread- fully to waste the Roman empire. They conquered a great many countries belonging to the empire, and continued their victories for a long time. These are supposed to be meant by the locusts that we read of in the ninth chapter of Revelation.”

Adam Clarke : “Locusts – Vast hordes of military troops: the description which follows certainly agrees better with the Saracens than with any other people or nation, but may also apply to the Romans.”

Thomas Coke : “The Arabians likewise are properly compared to locusts, not only because numerous armies frequently are so; but because swarms of locusts often arise from Arabia. In the plagues of Egypt, to which constant allusion is made in these trumpets, the locusts are brought by an east wind (Exodus 10:13), that is, from Arabia, which lay eastward of Egypt; and in the Book of Judges, the people of Arabia are compared to locusts or grasshoppers for multitude; for, in the original, the word for both is the same. As the natural locusts are bred in pits and holes of the earth, so these mystical locusts are truly infernal, and proceed with the smoke from the bottomless pit.”

John Gill : “The eastern locusts are the Saracens, and who are chiefly designed; and who were to harass and distress the eastern empire, and prepare for its ruin, which is brought on under the next trumpet by the Turks. These are fitly signified by locusts, because the locusts generally come out of the eastern parts: it was an east wind which brought the plague of locusts into Egypt, Exodus 10:13; and the children of the east, the Arabians, are compared to grasshoppers, or locusts, in Judges 7:12; and one of the names of a locust is “Arbeh”, not much unlike in sound to an Arab. To which may be added, that it is a tradition of the Arabians, that there fell locusts into the hands of Mahomet, on whose backs and wings were written these words: “we are the army of the most high God; we are the ninety and nine eggs, and if the hundred should be made perfect, we should consume the whole world, and whatever is in it.” And it was a law established by Mahomet, ye shall not kill the locusts, for they are the army of the most high God”

Matthew Poole : “I therefore rather agree with the learned and judicious Mr. Mede, with whom I also find John Napier and others agreeing, that by these locusts are meant the Turks and Saracens. 1. Their time agreeth; for they first appeared formidably to the world about the year 620. 2. They were always very numerous. 3. They came the locusts’ road, from Arabia, and the eastern parts. The Arabians (which the Saracens are) are called the children of the east, and said to be like grasshoppers for multitude.”

Thomas Newton : “At the sounding of the fifth trumpet (ver. 1 3.) a star fallen from heaven, meaning the wicked impostor Mohammed, opened the bottomless pit, and there arose a smoke out of the pit, and the sun and the air were darkened by it ; that is, a false religion was set up, which filled the world with darkness and error; and swarms of Saracen or Arabian locusts overspread the earth. A false prophet is very fitly typified by a blazing star or meteor. The Arabians likewise are properly compared to locusts, not only because numerous armies frequently are so, but also because swarms of locusts often arise from Arabia : and also because in the plagues of Egypt, to which constant allusion is made in these trumpets, the locusts, (Exod. x. 13.) are brought by an east-wind, that is, from Arabia, which lay eastward of Egypt: and also because in the book of Judges (vii. 12.) the people of Arabia are compared to locusts or grasshoppers for multitude, for in the original the word for both is the same. As the natural locusts l are bred in pits and holes of the earth, so these mystical locusts are truly infernal, and proceed with the smoke from the bottomless pit. It is too a remarkable coincidence, that at this time the sun and the air were really darkened. For we learn from an eminent Arabian historian, that ” in the seventeenth year of Heraclius half the body of the sun was eclipsed, and this defect continued from the former Tisrin to Haziran, (that is, from October to June) so that only a little of its light appeared.” The seventeenth year of Heraclius coincides with the year of Christ 626, and with the fifth year of the Hegira ; and at this time Mohammed was training and exercising his followers in depredations at home, to fit and prepare them for greater conquests abroad.”

H. Grattan Guinness : “The next two trumpets give events in the East instead of the West, the fifth predicting the Saracenic con- quests of the seventh and eighth centuries (symbolized as the ravages of an army of locusts), and the sixth the Turkish invasions of eastern Europe, which extended from the middle of the eleventh century to the middle of the fifteenth. These, and the intolerable misery they occasioned to the Greek Churches of the East, are symbolized under the sixth trumpet by the career of the Euphratean horsemen in the ninth chapter of the book. This vision brings down the prophetic history to the fall of Constantinople, the capital of the eastern empire of Rome, before the Turks in A.D. 1453; and the remainder of the fifteenth century seems covered in the prophecy by the statement that ” the rest of the men who were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood.” This description of continued obdurate and inveterate apostasy and idolatry applies both to eastern and western Christendom at that time.”

E. B. Elliott : “Next I shall expect that he will take up the first or scorpion-locust Woe; and distinctly encounter my main argument, from the asserted fact of all the characteristics of that symbol answering to the Mahomedan Saracens of the seventh century, so as they can be shewn to answer to no other nation that ever existed on the face of the earth…. First, and chiefly, the locust, the ground- work of the symbol, is peculiarly Arabic. So the sacred history of ancient times informs us. ” It was the east wind,” it says, “which brought the locusts” on Egypt from which the inference arises, that the country they issued from must have been that which, in all its extent, lies east of Egypt, that is Arabia. Such too, in modern times, is the testimony of Volney ; ” the most judicious,” as Gibbon calls him, “of Syrian travelers.” “The inhabitants of Syria,” he observes, ” have remarked that locusts come constantly from the desert of Arabia.”… Again, as of the locust, so of the scorpion, the native locality was by the Jews considered the Arabian desert. Witness Moses’ own words to the Israelites, on emerging from it, after forty years wandering ; ” that great and terrible wilderness wherein were fiery serpents and scorpions.” — And who knows not, if facts so notorious be worth mentioning, that it is Arabia, still Arabia, that is regarded by naturalists as the original country of the horse*…”

Thomas Scott : “There can scarcely remain a doubt, in the mind of an attentive enquirer, who has competent information on the subject, that these verses predict the rise and progress of Mohammed and his successors, as ruling over the Arabians or Saracens.”

Joseph Mede : “The first woe trumpet is long since passed. It sent forth those horrid troops of locusts, issuing from the smoke of the Tartarean abyss, now opened by the work of Satan, to devastate the globe; that is, the Saracens, or Arabs, (a nation as populous and numerous as locusts), were excited to the destruction of so many nations, by the astonishing false prophecy of Mohammed.”

Christopher Wordsworth : “This Vision of Locusts, is, I believe, rightly interpreted as representing the rise and progress of the Arch-Impostor of Arabia (A.D. 611); and the fierce retribution which was executed by God through him on degenerate and idolatrous nations. Mahometanism was, and is, a scourge on the world for its neglect and abuse of Christianity. It was a child of hell; but it avenged the cause of Heaven.”

Alexander McLeod (or M’Leod) : “Truth is light. Error is darkness. A system of misrepresentation and falsehood, originating from the father of lies, and deceiver of nations, is the smoke of the pit by which the sun and the air were darkened. Such are the doctrines of the Koran…. The symbolical locusts under consideration, issued from the figurative smoke, that is, were excited to their destructive excursions by hellish delusions. We are, therefore, to look for the fulfillment of this prophecy, to some fierce and barbarous people, who appear after the close of the 6th century, in the eastern empire, influenced to cruel warfare in immense multitudes, under the auspices of a system of false doctrines contrived by the instrumentality of some “fallen star”. The history of Arabia, the natural seat of the locusts, furnishes the interpretation of the prophecy in the conduct of the Saracens.”

Louis Gaussen : “These three woe trumpets are described so fully and exactly, that it is one of the best understood parts of the Apocalypse, and that almost all interpreters are agreed in recognizing, at least, in the fifth, the trumpet of the Saracens, and in the sixth that of the Turks.—Observe the beautiful accuracy of the symbols of the fifth trumpet, which point out Arabia, its clouds of fierce horsemen, its diabolical fanaticism, and its vast ravages!—A cruel and unnatural religion, “a smoke arising out of the bottomless pit” has given them birth; they fall upon Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Africa, Persia, Asia Minor, like those clouds of devouring locusts, which each year are brought from Arabia by the strong winds of the desert, and which, after hiding the light of the sun, carry desolation alternately into all the countries of the East. The description is so accurate, that one seems to see these terrible horsemen of the desert, with their “long hair like women’s,” floating on the shoulders, their “faces as those of men,” bearded and moustached (the Goths also let their hair grow, but, contrary to the Arabs, shaved their faces, except perhaps the Lombards; I inadvertently spoke of their beards in a former lesson, I ought to have remembered the passage where Jerome describes them, “with their women’s face, pursuing sword in hand the bearded Romans;”) the national diadem on their heads, their cuirasses, or coats of mail, celebrated in history, their long teeth of dazzling “whiteness like those of jackals or ounces,” says Chateaubriand; and especially their fierce fanaticism, and the deadly poison which they left upon their tracks. How can we mistake these children of Mahomet, when everything is described, even to the duration of their invasion, and of their devastating progress—150 prophetic days, that is to say 150 years, from the year 612, when their false prophet publishes his mission, to the year 762, when these devouring locusts settle themselves, lay their eggs, lose their wings, and build upon the Tigris, Bagdad, their city of peace, as they have called it ?”

William Cunninghame : “It will scarcely be disputed by those who have given a close attention to the analogies of the language of symbols, that the universal prevalence of the false doctrines [within professing Christianity inside the bounds of both the Western and Eastern Roman empires], which are described in the foregoing extracts, might be fitly symbolized by a black smoke rising out of the pit of the abyss, or the infernal regions…. An army of locusts, in the language of symbols, signifies an army of hostile invaders. The locusts mentioned in the prophecy of Joel were so understood by the ancient Jewish interpreters, who were well qualified to judge of the meaning of their own symbols. In the present instance, no doubt is left on the subject, as we are informed afterwards, that “the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle”… The whole of this highly hieroglyphical description is exactly applicable to the rise of the Mahommedan religion and power; and it is very remarkable that Mr. Gibbon, in describing these events, makes use of language, with respect to the state of the Christian Church, at the time when Mahomet appeared, which might almost be supposed to have been borrowed from the Apocalypse. “The Christians of the seventh century had insensibly relapsed into a semblance of paganism; their public and private vows were addressed to the relics and images that disgraced the temples of the east: The throne of the Almighty was darkened by a crowd of martyrs, and saints, and angels, the objects of popular veneration ; and the Collyridian heretics, who flourished in the fruitful soil of Arabia, invested the Virgin with the name and honours of a goddess.”… It may be affirmed, almost without the danger of dispute, that Mahomet could not have succeeded in his imposture in an age of light; and that if superstition and gross darkness had not previously overspread Christendom, either his impious fraud had not been attempted, or had been destroyed in embryo. It is, therefore, quite agreeable to the nature of the symbolical language and style, that the army of locusts should be represented as issuing out of the black smoke which had previously pervaded the symbolical atmosphere.”

Joseph Benson : “All these circumstances are suitable to the character of the Arabians, the history of this period, and to the particulars of this prophecy.”

Thomas Goodwin : “In c. ix. 4, when these Saracen-locusts, under their ring-leader Mahomet, were first set loose, and had their commission, then comes in this clause of exception, “That they should hurt only those men that were not sealed,” which privilege of sealing, then and there only mentioned, argues the chief intent and accomplishment of their sealing to have taken place under the blasts of these locusts, though in the vision it comes in here beforehand.”

Charles Daubuz: “Locusts fly in such prodigious numbers, as that they form a great cloud, and darken the sky, and then falling upon the earth, make a most terrible havock of all the fruits thereof; and so are a proper symbol to signify and army of enemies coming in vast multitudes to make an excursion, in order to plunder and destroy a country: and therefore very properly represent here the Arabians or Saracens…”

Pierre Jurieu : “The sequel of the history, and the characters of this prophecy, persuade me, that by the locusts we are to understand the Arabians (who made no figure in history until the year 622, when, under their new name of Saracens, they followed Mahomet, as their prophet and general, and made considerable conquests); for after the great decline, or almost total eclipse of the Imperial dignity in Italy, the greatest event which next happened (with respect to the fourth monarchy and to religion) was the Arabians, who seemed to be raised up by Providence (for one purpose at least) to harass and torment the Western Roman empire, which was already very much disjointed or unhinged; but more especially for the punishment and degradation of the Eastern Empire at Constantinople. We are now to see, how well the words of the prophecy agree with those modern-named people, the Saracens.”

James Bicheno : I shall only observe, that by these locusts we are to understand the Saracens, the disciples of Mahomet, who, for so many years, were the scourge of the Greek and Latin churches, Asia and Europe.

Robert Fleming : The locusts that came out of this smoke were the Saracens, that followed Mahomet, who compiled the model of his religion, by the help of Jews and Christian heretics, especially of Sergius a Nestorian monk, whom the Arabian and Turkish writers call Bahira. These Arabian locusts, (whose Hegyra is dated from Mahomet’s flight from Mecca, an. dom. 622, a little after the Pope got the title of universal bishop, an. dom. 606,) did in a little time so increase, that they conquered or over-run a great many countries in a very little time.

James Frere : “The fifth, or first woe trumpet, begins with the irruption of the Saracens into the territories of the eastern Roman empire, in 632, the figure of locusts being used to designate armies from the east, or country of locusts. The sting in the tail is the emblem of false doctrine, “the prophet that speaketh lies, he is the tail”…”

Edward Bickersteth : “Sounding of the fifth trumpet : Locust, or Saracen woe, Revelation 9:3″

John Cumming : The birth-place of these locust propagandists must be the East; we read in Exodus, “the east wind brought locusts” into Egypt. Volney says, “The locusts come from the deserts of Arabia,” and Arbe, the Hebrew [word] for an Arab, is almost the same as arba, the Hebrew [word] for a locust. Hence, as in Judges vi. 5, “they come as arba, or locusts.” The scorpion, in the next place, is always traced in Scripture to Arabia. Moses says, “the wilderness, where fiery serpents and scorpions are.” The horse, I need not say, is popularly an Arab symbol. Arabia is his home. We read of the Arab steed, as the model of a horse. The whole zoology of the symbol is strictly Arab.

George Stanley Faber : “As that devastating insect the locust was brought by the east wind out of Arabia, to constitute one of the plagues of Egypt; so a swarm of locusts is employed by the prophet, with the strictest hieroglyphical decorum, to represent those innumerable hosts of destructive Saracens, which, under the guidance of Mohammed and his successors, alighted upon the apocalyptic earth or the territorial Roman Empire.”

Drue Cressener : “The Saracen troubles must then have been the first woe [in other words: the fifth trumpet]“

David Steele : “Locusts constituted one of the plagues of Egypt, and they are the emblem of a destroying army. (Exod. x. 14-19; Joel i. 4-6.) And this is their import here. They represent the deluded and destructive followers of Mahomet, who in vast multitudes laid waste the nations of western Asia, southern Europe, and northern Africa. The Saracens, originating in Arabia, the national locality of the literal locusts, in great multitudes like clouds, laid waste the fairest and most populous portions of the earth for a succession of ages. These symbolic locusts have also the property of scorpions, a poisonous reptile, resembling in some degree a lizard combined with a lobster, armed with a sting in the end of its tail. Wicked and impenitent men are compared to scorpions. (Ezek. ii. 6.)”

* Wikipedia : “With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. IT IS ALSO ONE OF THE OLDEST BREEDS, with archaeological evidence of horses that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years.”

My comment : is it just a coincidence that the same prophecy would contain the symbols of horses, locusts** and scorpions which together fittingly point to Arabia?  The Book of Revelation was written hundreds of years before the 7th century rise of Islam.  Was there anything in the 1st century AD when the Roman empire was dominant to suggest that Arabia would become a great world power through the spread of a new religion?  No one could have foreseen that except by revelation of God.

** NASA : “Rain falling on the arid soil of the Arabian Peninsula brings a brush of green to the landscape. It also provides the key ingredient in initiating an outbreak of desert locusts.”

Though John Wesley , Matthew Henry and Johann Bengel did not believe the locusts at the beginning of Revelation chapter 9 specifically referred to Islam they all believed that the latter part of the same chapter pointed to Islam (Wesley and Bengel : Saracens, Henry : Turks).

Isaac Newton, the famed scientist, also held the same view. He wrote the following concerning Revelation chapter 9 : This plague began with the opening of the bottomless pit, which denotes the letting out of a false religion: the smoke which came out of the pit, signifying the multitude which embraced that religion; and the locusts which came out of the smoke, the armies which came out of that multitude. This pit was opened, to let out smoke and locusts into the regions of the four monarchies, or some of them. The King of these locusts was the Angel of the bottomless pit, being chief governor as well in religious as civil affairs, such as was the Caliph of the Saracens. Swarms of locusts often arise in Arabia and from thence infest the neighbouring nations: and so are a very fit type of the numerous armies of Arabians invading the Romans.”

Francis Nigel Lee in the following message does give a list of Bible teachers who did interpret the prophecy of chapter 9 as pointing to the historic rise of Islam :

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=9130243446

Though William Kelly of the Plymouth Brethren believed there was still a second fulfillment to come of the fifth trumpet he did agree with the application made by past Protestants of the locust symbol to Muslim Arabs… at least as a first fulfillment of the prophecy according to his view of the Book of Revelation : “For my own part, I do not doubt that the common application of the locusts to the Saracens and of the Euphratean horsemen to the Turks is well founded.”

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Before I end this post I want to ask a few questions and I also want to talk about the historical fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 – QUESTIONS TO MOSLEMS:

a) The Quran teaches that Allah gave the Bible (Judeo-Christian Scriptures) according to Sura 2:136 and Sura 3:65 of the Quran for example.  In the Torah, it says that new revelation cannot contradict previous revelation (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).  The Gospels testify that Jesus was crucified while the Quran denies this (Sura 4:157).  Even the Jewish Old Testament predicted the sufferings of the Messiah (Psalm 22, Isaiah chapter 53, Daniel chapter 9) hundreds of years before the crucifixion of Jesus. There are other examples where the Quran (supposedly a new revelation from God) contradicts the Judeo-Christian Bible.  How then in light of these facts could Mohammed be considered another prophet of the God of the Bible? How could it be believed that the Allah of the Quran and the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible are the same being? How can the Quran be trusted? Was Allah unable to make sure that the new revelations of the Quran would not contradict previous revelations?

b) The Quran calls the Bible the “Word of God” (Sura 2:75).   The Quran also teaches that the words of Allah cannot be altered (Sura 10:64).  If the Bible has supposedly been corrupted by Jews and Christians as Moslems claim then does that not mean necessarily that the Allah of the Quran was not powerful enough to prevent his words being altered? If the Bible has not been corrupted and if the Quran contradicts the Bible then how can the Quran still be true?  If the claim that the Bible was corrupted is true then that creates a problem for the reliability of the Quran because the same Allah who could not prevent the Bible from being corrupted (if the Moslem claim is true) is just as likely to not be able to prevent the Quran from being corrupted.

c) If the Allah of the Quran is unknowable then how can one know this?

d) God is holy and just and He must punish sin.  How can you erase all of your past evil works? How can you have perfect and lasting peace with Allah? How can you have peace in your conscience knowing that you have done evil works that you cannot erase? No one can pay off a debt with money that is already owed. Good works are already required of us by God so we cannot erase sins with what we already owe God (good works).

e) If the theory that Judas Iscariot was crucified instead of Jesus is true then does not that imply that the Allah of the Quran willingly deceived the disciples of one of his prophets (Jesus)? Isn’t that self-contradictory behavior?  Could you trust a god who lied to the sincere believers of one of his prophets? How do you know that the Allah of the Quran is not deceiving you right now?  Would Judas (a traitor) on the cross have cried out the following words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)?

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2 – THE HISTORICAL FACT OF THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

The historical event of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is a strong proof of the deity of Christ.  All of the counter-theories (e.g. Christ survived the crucifixion, the apostles stole His body) that have been brought forth in the past to explain away the resurrection are not able to give a coherent answer which can plausibly explain everything that happened after the resurrection (e.g. appearances of Christ, rapid spread of the Gospel).

If the resurrection was just a carefully crafted lie invented by the apostles then how can anyone explain that the apostles (and disciples of the centuries preceding the Constantinian corruption of the Church) chose to die atrociously (e.g. devoured by lions, burned, crucified) rather than renounce their faith in Jesus Christ?  Who would want to die ignominiously and very painfully for something they know is a lie?

If no resurrection happened then how does one explain the appearances of Jesus Christ before many witnesses at the same time (e.g. over 500 witnesses at the same time – see 1st Corinthians chapter 15) and at different settings during the 40 days after His resurrection? Not only the apostles saw Jesus but they also touched Him and saw Him eat food. If those appearances of Christ were merely “collective hallucinations” (as if it were possible that many different people could simultaneously hallucinate about the same thing at the same time!) then how does one explain that the “hallucinations” ceased suddenly after 40 days?

How does one explain the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (the apostle Paul before his conversion) who was a fierce persecutor of the early apostolic Church?

How does one explain away all of the many lives transformed (i.e. ex-alcoholics, ex-junkies, ex-prostitutes, ex-thieves, ex-occultists, etc…) throughout the centuries, in different cultures and on different continents by the Gospel message which is founded on the resurrection of Christ if Christ did not rise from the dead but was merely a man?

The empty tomb was never contested by the Jewish enemies of the Church in the first century because their accusation that the apostles had stolen the body of Christ presupposes an empty tomb. If the Romans and the Jewish enemies of the Church had wanted to destroy Christianity they needed only to present the dead body of Christ publicly to the people of Jerusalem if they had had it in their possession.  If the apostles had truly stolen the body then one would have to believe the testimony of the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb of Christ who had to be asleep at the time of the supposed “theft”. How could someone who was asleep be a good eyewitness when his eyes were shut?!

Can someone seriously believe that after all the torture Christ endured over many hours He survived it all and had enough strength to remove the large stone in front of the tomb’s door and then overpower many Roman soldiers?

Even a counter-theory widely spread amongst Moslems that Jesus had not really been crucified but had been secretly delivered by the Allah of the Quran (who is NOT the triune God of the Bible who saves sinners by grace) and which teaches that Judas Iscariot or someone else, who resembled Jesus or had been made by Allah to resemble Jesus (I forget the exact details of this theory), had been crucified instead of Jesus is even more problematic for the people who promote it than other counter-theories:

First of all, the Quran does not EXPLICITLY teach this “substitution” theory. This theory is based upon a questionable interpretation of an obscure verse of the Quran.

Secondly, in Sura 19 of the Quran, Jesus predicted His death.

Thirdly, Judas Iscariot (or someone else crucified in Christ’s place) would have made a great effort to tell the public that they were crucifying the wrong person. Who would want to be crucified for 3 hours?! Think about it!  I would have screamed at the top of my lungs!

Fourthly, the mother of Jesus being near the foot of the Cross would have surely discovered that it wasn’t Jesus being crucified but another person.   That person had spoken to the mother of Jesus and told her the following words which Judas Iscariot (or another person) would not have pronounced: “Woman, behold thy son!” (John 19:26)  The mother of Jesus would have surely recognized the face and voice of her son.  Let us not forget that the enemies of Christ who are also near the Cross had a great interest in Jesus being the one crucified and not some other person. The apostle John, who knew Christ more intimately than the other disciples, was also near the foot of Cross and had heard the voice and seen the face of the person being crucified. Were they all simultaneously fooled?  Did Allah allow Mary the mother of Jesus to be fooled? That’s what one needs to believe prior to believing this “substitution” theory.

Fifthly, Joseph of Arimathaea, one of the disciples of Jesus, took time to cover the body of Jesus with linen clothes.  Shouldn’t he have been able to recognize Jesus up close? Again, for the theory to be true, one must believe that the Allah of the Quran deceived Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of one of his prophets (Jesus)?

Sixthly, if it’s true that the Allah of the Quran kept Jesus from being crucified then it means that Allah DECEIVED the disciples of one of his prophets (Jesus) if Islam is true!!! It also means that Jesus Himself would have participated in this DECEPTION if the theory was true. Why would the Allah of the Quran deceive followers of one of his prophets?  Isn’t that incoherent behaviour?  If this “substitution” theory is true then how can one know with certainty that the Allah of the Quran has not also deceived the disciples of his prophet Mohammed in the past? How could I trust such a god who has already deceived followers of his own prophet if Islam is true? If this theory is true then why did the god of Islam wait almost 6 centuries to reveal this so-called “work of deception” when this same “work of deception” led men to believe Jesus Christ is God which Islam strongly and ferociously denies?  If this theory is true then Christianity was a result of an “imposture” brought about by the actions of the Allah of the Quran and it would imply that the Allah of the Quran acted incompetently, having by his actions given birth to a rival religion.

Seventhly, this theory offers no answer to the appearances of Jesus to His disciples after the resurrection and it does not explain the empty tomb.

Eighthly, some of the words pronounced by the person being crucified would not have been pronounced by the traitor Judas Iscariot (or anyone else for that matter): “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46), “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) and “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Ninthly, the death of Jesus was prophesied by Old Testament prophets (i.e. Isaiah chapter 53, Daniel chapter 9, Zechariah chapter 12, Psalm 22).

Tenthly, very early New Testament manuscripts mention the death of Jesus so the whole theory that the Scriptures were tampered with in order to teach the death or resurrection of Jesus is bogus.

Eleventhly, non-Christian historians such as Josephus (1st century AD) and Tacitus mention the death of Jesus.

Twelfthly, the Jews who are enemies of Jesus and Christianity mention the death of Jesus in the Talmud despite the fact that they would have a great interest in denying the existence of Jesus, His crucifixion and their participation in His crucifixion because of all the persecution the Jews have faced throughout the centuries mainly by Roman Catholics.

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See also:

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 1

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 2

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 3

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 4

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 6

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Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 4

locust-rev9

In my previous post I quoted different Scriptures (mostly in the Old Testament) which mentioned locusts/grasshoppers and scorpions.  I made the following observations:

- the locusts of Revelation 9 have a king unlike natural locusts : locusts of Revelation 9 should not be taken literally

- the locusts of Revelation 9 do not destroy vegetation unlike natural locusts : locusts of Revelation 9 should be taken figuratively

- locusts mentioned in the Bible come from THE EAST

- locusts symbolize in the Old Testament a very large army of men inspiring terror and used by God to judge idolaters and wicked peoples

- scorpions are associated with the wilderness where children of Israel spent time (Arabian peninsula)

- scorpions symbolize in the Old Testament wicked men

- a tail symbolizes in the Old Testament a false prophet

I will now quote portions from Philip Mauro’s book “Things Which Must Soon Come to Pass”:

“The era of the fifth trumpet is manifestly one of relatively great importance for the purposes of the Book we are studying.  This appears from the space given to it, and from the character of the symbols.  It seems also that the era here foretold (“those days”, v.6) is one of considerable length.”

My comment : this fifth trumpet judgment is described in 11 verses with a good amount of symbolism while the first four trumpets together are described in a mere 6 verses (Revelation 8:7-12) so this fifth trumpet must be viewed as more important historically than the previous 4 trumpets; this vision is not even half-way in this 22-chapter book so if the Protestant historicist view is correct then it would be plausible to think that this prophecy had fulfillment in the distant past… at least partial fulfillment… probably in the Middle Ages period… and most likely in the East…

“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.” (Revelation 9:1-2)

Mauro : “The first action that immediately follows the sounding of the trumpet is the fall of a star from heaven to earth.  That this star represents a mighty spirit-being is clear from what has been already explained; and this is confirmed by the next words : “And to HIM [emphasis : mine]” – evidently a PERSON [emphasis : mine] – “was given the key of the bottomless pit.  And he opened the bottomless pit.”  None but a mighty spirit could do that.”

My comment : notice that the description of the fifth trumpet judgment starts in the SPIRITUAL REALM (“angel”, “bottomless pit”)

Mauro : “Out of the pit arose dense smoke, as the smoke of a great furnace… Clearly this smoke is spiritual.  It affects “the sun” (the power of government) and “the air” (the spiritual realm)*.”

* Ephesians 2:2 : “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR [the devil], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”

Mauro : “It is found in the last statement in the passage, namely, that these “locusts” have a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in HEBREW [emphasis : mine] and in GREEK [emphasis : mine] signifies “Destroyer”.  Thus it is plainly stated that this great host of locusts is ruled by an invisible king, a mighty one among the evil spirits.”

My comment : it’s possible that this mention of Hebrew and Greek in connection with this “locust” invasion is another prophetic clue that the plague of “locusts” would first (or primarily) affect the Greek-speaking world (Eastern world, Eastern Europe, Byzantine empire) and Jews/Hebrews but I’m just speculating

“And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” (Revelation 9:3)

Mauro : “In Joel THE ARMIES OF ASSYRIA [emphasis : mine] which were to overrun the land of Israel were FIGURED AS LOCUSTS [emphasis : mine]; and there too, as in the passage before us, it was said, “The appearance of them is as THE APPEARANCE OF HORSEMEN [emphasis : mine]” (Joel 2:4).  So it is plain that the LOCUSTS ARE CONQUERING ARMIES [emphasis : mine], sweeping over the earth in dense ranks.  Furthermore, from Daniel 10:13, 20, it appears that THE GREAT EMPIRES OF THE EARTH HAVE A PRESIDING ANGEL OVER THEM [emphasis : mine]; so that we have warrant for the view that the vision we are studying pictures THE COMING UPON THE SCENE OF A MIGHTY NATION [emphasis : mine], which was to have a supernatural origin, rising up mysteriously out of some obscure region, and which was to pursue a career of conquest, pouring over the earth in DENSE ARMIES, COMPOSED LARGELY OF HORSEMEN [emphasis : mine]; a nation that was to have over them a spiritual head whose name signifies “a destroyer”.”

My comment : battles with horses were more common in past centuries so we should not think of this prophecy of Revelation 9 as still unfulfilled… most likely it happened in past centuries…

Saracen conquerors on horses

Muslim Saracen conquerors on horses

Map of the Islamic Empire

Map of the Islamic Empire

Map of the Ottoman Empire

Map of the Ottoman Empire (Muslim)

Safavid Empire (1501-1722 AD)

Safavid Empire (1501-1722 AD)

Mauro : “But this conquering people was to be unlike the Assyrians, the “locusts” of Joel’s vision, in that it was to have SPIRITUAL POWER [emphasis : mine], as well as, and more prominently than, physical power.  The repeated reference to “scorpions” (vv. 3,5,10) emphasizes this.  Moreover, the statement of verse 10 is illuminating : “And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails”.  This may be read in the light of Isaiah 9:15 as indicating THE DEADLY POWER OF FALSE PROPHECY [emphasis : mine], or some special form of destructive falsehood.  For according to that Scripture “the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.”

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Mauro : “Briefly then, the various symbols here presented to our view all point, and in no uncertain way, to that marvel of history, THE EMPIRE FOUNDED BY THE FALSE PROPHET, MOHAMMED, AN EMPIRE OF VAST DIMENSIONS [emphasis : mine] that was established and extended through an unprecedented combination of stupendous military forces and mighty spiritual energies; in which latter was the secret of its amazing potency.”

angry-muslims

Philip Mauro : “a most extraordinary degree of religious fanaticism… without any parallel in the history of mankind”

Mauro : “For Islam is a mystery of the darkest character.  It defies explanation on any natural basis.  Its origin is so utterly unlike that of all the other empires as to leave no alternative but the view that it originated supernaturally; and its career is just as difficult to explain upon natural grounds as its origin.  It is manifestly a designed counterpart of Christianity; for its visible source was in a personal leader, who claims to be the sole representative and prophet of God, and in a book, that is venerated by its adherents as the word of God.  It has, moreover, the SUPERNATURAL POWER TO INSPIRE MULTITUDES [emphasis : mine], even of stern, fierce and bloodthirsty men, with A MOST EXTRAORDINARY DEGREE OF RELIGIOUS FANATICISM [emphasis : mine], rising at times to the pitch of frenzy.  IN THIS PARTICULAR IT IS WITHOUT ANY PARALLEL IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND [emphasis : mine].”

map_islamic_world

Currently there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world (22% of the world’s population)

I hope to continue this study in a future post because there is much to say about Revelation 9′s locust prophecy.  My goal is not to denigrate particular individuals because outside of the grace (unmerited favor) of God I would be no better than anyone else. My goal is rather to come to a right understanding (whether it be politically correct or not) of a divinely-inspired prophecy found in God’s Word, the Bible, wherever the clues may lead me.  The Bible condemns all men of all places and races as sinners before God. Sinful in actions.  Sinful in thoughts and desires and motives.  Sinful in speech.  Sinful in omission (not doing what God positively commands).  Men and women everywhere are in need of reconciliation with God and it can only come through a perfect blood atonement (the Death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God) because God is perfectly just and must punish sin without fail.  God cannot excuse sin. Fasting cannot erase sin. Rituals cannot erase sin.  Prayers cannot erase sin. We cannot erase sin through good works (e.g. giving alms) because we already are under obligation to God the Creator to do good works (perfectly without any taint of sin whether in thought/motive or speech or action) for His glory (and not for our own).  We cannot pay our sin debt to God with what we already owe Him (good works). Paying our sin debt to God by ourselves would require suffering eternal torment because we have offended and disobeyed an eternal, infinite, perfectly holy God. But here’s the Good News : Christ, the Son of God, equal with God the Father and co-eternal with God, came on earth out of love and compassion and took upon Himself human flesh to do for sinners what they could not do : 1) perfectly obey God’s law without sin and 2) suffer the judicial equivalent of what sinners would have to suffer for their sins against God and His creation.  By imputation sins were put on Christ (consequence : He suffered in the place of sinners as a sinless substitute) and Christ’s righteousness was put on the account of sinners.  By the shedding of Christ’s blood sinners were judicially made sinless in the eyes of God and by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness sinners are made positively holy/righteous in the eyes of God.  Jesus Christ alone is the Savior of men.  He alone can justify sinners before God. He alone conquered physical death. He alone can give peace to our consciences. Only Christ’s atonement can bring true peace : 1) in the heart of a sinner and 2) between God and a sinner.  Islam like every other false religion out there (modern Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc…) provides no atonement for sin and must be rejected not out of a spirit of hatred but out of a love for the truth.  Having read the Quran I found nothing in it that could bring inner peace or certainty about eternal life.  Only Jesus can bring true, lasting peace.  The Jesus of the Bible who died and rose again physically.  Not the Jesus of the Quran.  Christ calls us to repent of our sins and false religious thinking so that we live righteously for His glory and that we would believe in Him (His divine identity, His works and words) as He is revealed in the 66 books of the Holy Bible.  God wants our hearts filled with love, sincerity and truth.  God does not desire religionists who are careful about external rites and rituals but have no true love for Him or other men/women.

See also:

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 1

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 2

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 3

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 5

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Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 3

locust-rev9

Before I proceed I want to mention here 3 important principles in interpreting prophetic symbols :

1 – the Bible is sufficient (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) and interprets itself so we are encouraged to compare Scripture with Scripture

2 – we must use clearer passages to help us interpret the more difficult ones and not vice versa

3 – there is safety in a multitude of counsellors (Proverbs 24:6); it’s better to trust the consensus of doctrinally-sound, godly men over a long period of time rather than the arbitrary interpretations of one person

Now let us look at a few key passages in the Old Testament which mention locusts/grasshoppers or scorpions.

PASSAGE #1 : Proverbs 30:27

Solomon wrote these words concerning LITERAL locusts : “THE LOCUSTS HAVE NO KING, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” (Proverbs 30:27)

Let us compare this information with Revelation 9: 11 : “And they [the "LOCUSTS" of verse 3] 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.”

Literal locusts have no king over them but the “locusts” of Revelation chapter 9 do have a king so that tells us that the locusts in Revelation 9 are not to be understood as literal locusts.

PASSAGE #2 : Exodus 10:13

The first mention of locusts in the Bible is in the Book of Exodus and they were used by God as a PLAGUE AGAINST Egypt, a kingdom of IDOLATERS:

“And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, THE EAST WIND brought the locusts.” (Exodus 10:13)

The first mentioned locusts in Scripture come from the East.  EAST OF EGYPT.  One of the countries east of Egypt is ARABIA.

geography-of-saudi-arabia0

Let me quote part of Albert Barnes’s commentary on Revelation 9:1 :

“The symbol [of locusts] is ORIENTAL, and would most naturally refer to SOMETHING THAT WAS TO OCCUR IN THE EAST. As locusts have appeared chiefly in the East, and as they are in a great measure an Oriental plague, the mention of this symbol would most naturally turn the thoughts to that portion of the earth. The symbols of the first four trumpets had no special locality, and would suggest no particular part of the world; but on the mention of this, the mind would be naturally turned to the East, and we should expect to find that the scene of this woe would be located in the regions where the ravages of locusts most abounded.”

The connection of LOCUSTS with JUDGMENT AGAINST IDOLATERS is found in Revelation chapter 9:

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and IDOLS of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:” (Revelation 9:20)

PASSAGE #3 : Exodus 10:12

Literal locusts are associated with eating vegetation :

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and EAT EVERY HERB OF THE LAND, even all that the hail hath left.” (Exodus 10:12)

In Revelation 9:4 we read that the “locusts” in the vision will not eat vegetation :

“And it was commanded them that THEY SHOULD NOT HURT THE GRASS OF THE EARTH, NEITHER ANY GREEN THING, NEITHER ANY TREE; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”

This is another Scriptural clue telling us that the “locusts” in Revelation 9 are not to be understood as literal locusts.

PASSAGE #4 : Nahum 3:17

Men are compared to locusts/grasshoppers in the Old Testament.  The prophet Nahum wrote these words concerning the Assyrians, a people from THE EAST:

“THY CROWNED ARE AS THE LOCUSTS, AND THY CAPTAINS AS THE GREAT GRASSHOPPERS, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.” (Nahum 3:17)

We also have this verse in the Book of Judges which likens an invading army, a great MULTITUDE WITHOUT NUMBER, to grasshoppers:

“For they [the Midianites, the Amalekites and the CHILDREN OF THE EAST] came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came AS GRASSHOPPERS FOR MULTITUDE; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.” (Judges 6:5)

Notice again the Scriptural association of CHILDREN OF THE EAST with a figurative use of the word grasshoppers. And lest we forget this association the Holy Spirit guided the human author of the Book of Judges to repeat the figurative association of locusts with “children of the east” :

“And the MIDIANITES and the Amalekites and all the CHILDREN OF THE EAST lay along in the valley LIKE GRASSHOPPERS FOR MULTITUDE; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.” (Judges 7:12)

Among these “children of the east” were DESCENDANTS OF ISHMAEL. We read in the following chapter :

“And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were ISHMAELITES.)” (Judges 7:24)

It is also good to remember that the words “Midianites” (compared to grasshoppers in Judges 7:12) and “Ishmaelites” are used synonymously in the Book of Genesis for example. Let us compare the last verse of Genesis chapter 37 with the first verse of chapter 39:

“And THE MIDIANITES SOLD HIM INTO EGYPT unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.” (Genesis 37:36)

“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, BOUGHT HIM OF THE HANDS OF THE ISHMEELITES, which had brought him down thither.” (Genesis 39:1)

Here we see that the Bible uses the locusts symbolically to represent a large army of men.  The figurative use of the insect in reference to men should not be viewed as an offensive racial slur like “sand monkey” or “jungle bunny” but should rather be understood as conveying at least 3 pieces of information : 1) a very large army is intended and that army is 2) used by God to judge wicked men and 3) inspires terror and fear.  In the Book of Judges we see the symbolic use of locusts in reference to an INVADING ARMY FROM THE EAST used by God to PUNISH IDOLATERS among His people.  This means that it is possible that the locusts of Revelation 9 during this “time of the Gentiles” might have been used or will be used in judgment as an invading army (possibly from the East and possibly composed of descendants of Ishmael) against idolaters who profess Christianity (e.g. Greek Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church).  It’s a prophetic possibility in light of the Scriptural facts I have presented thus far.

Speaking of a GREAT MULTITUDE ASSOCIATED WITH THE EAST I can’t move on without quoting these verses concerning Ishmael, the ancestor of the Arab people:

“And the angel of the LORD said unto her [Hagar, the mother of Ishmael], I will multiply THY SEED exceedingly, that IT SHALL NOT BE NUMBERED FOR MULTITUDE.” (Genesis 16:10)

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and WILL MULTIPLY HIM EXCEEDINGLY; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20)

PASSAGE #5 : Ezekiel 2:6

Associated with the “locusts” of Revelation 9 are TAILS of SCORPIONS.  Scripturally scorpions can be used figuratively in speaking of wicked men:

“And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them [the rebellious house of Israel - see Ezekiel 2:3], neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and THOU DOST DWELL AMONG SCORPIONS: BE NOT AFRAID OF THEIR WORDS, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.” (Ezekiel 2:6)

Literal scorpions don’t speak words so this use of the word “scorpions” in Ezekiel is figurative.  Speaking of evil or false words A TAIL IS USED FIGURATIVELY OF A FALSE PROPHET who teach lies:

“The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and THE PROPHET THAT TEACHETH LIES, HE IS THE TAIL.” (Isaiah 9:15)

PASSAGE #6 : Deuteronomy 8:15

Scorpions in the Bible are associated with the wilderness.

“Who led thee through that great and terrible WILDERNESS, wherein were fiery serpents, and SCORPIONS, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;” (Deuteronomy 8:15)

What wilderness could that verse be referring to?  Where was Mount Sinai? The Apostle Paul gives us the answer:

“For this Agar is MOUNT SINAI IN ARABIA, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” (Galatians 4:25)

Clay rocks surrounding Riyadh City in Saudi Arabia

Clay rocks surrounding Riyadh City in Saudi Arabia

Screen capture of scene from "Lawrence of Arabia"

Screen capture of scene from “Lawrence of Arabia”

The scorpion is associated with the Arabian wilderness.  Here’s a photo of an Arabian scorpion:

Arabian-fat-tailed-scorpion-walking

Let us not forget that Ishmael like the scorpion is also associated Scripturally with the wilderness:

“And God was with the lad [Ishmael]; and he grew, and DWELT IN THE WILDERNESS, and became an archer.” (Genesis 21:20)

Though I may not agree with everything on the following website I find this archaeological article about Mount Sinai being in Arabia quite interesting:

http://www.wyattmuseum.com/mount-sinai.htm

I hope in the next post to continue my exposition of Revelation chapter 9 which is based upon the research and studies of godly Bible teachers of the past.  I am putting forth nothing new.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1st Thessalonians 5:21)

See also:

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 1

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 2

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 4

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 5

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Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 2

Before presenting what I believe is a correct interpretation of the locust prophecy of Revelation 9, a book containing mysteries, signs and similes, I thought I would mention a few modern interpretations which I would of course disagree with without hesitation because they are not based upon the Scriptural use of symbolic locusts : genetically-modified locust-scorpion hybrids (that’s taking a symbolic passage very literally!), Christian Science/Theosophy/Mormonism*, false doctrines**, demons/demonic possession***, military airplaneshelicopters/drones, human paratroopers equipped with special glider packs who are in the air trying to avoid the impact of a big meteor, a zombie apocalypse, viruses, and space aliens.

* natural locust invasions inspired fear and terror; does Mormonism or Christian Science inspire any kind of “terror”?

** I do believe after studying the symbolic passage that false doctrines are associated WITH the locusts but the locusts themselves do not figuratively represent doctrines (see Part 3)

*** Are locusts used elsewhere in the Bible to symbolically represent demons? Not to my knowledge.  “There came OUT locusts” : these locusts were something new that was to happen future to John’s time.  A new threat. Demons and demon possession existed in the days of Christ and His apostles so these locusts cannot refer to demons.  Demons could not be considered something new to come in the future. And this same argument would refute any attempt to associate the locusts with the Roman armies in John’s day or with any other existing threat in the days of John.  The “bottomless pit” mentioned in chapter 9 is the same “bottomless pit” mentioned in chapter 20. In both chapters a key is mentioned and if the “star” in chapter 9 speaks of an angel then that would be another connection between both chapters.  In both cases after a “releasing” or “freeing” a large army is gathered (locusts in chapter 9, God and Magog in chapter 20). (I do not believe that there is a perfect overlap between the predicted events of chapters 9 and 20). The large army in chapter 20 points to human beings. Why should not the “army” of locusts in chapter 9 also refer to human beings as well? Since locusts are used elsewhere in the Bible symbolically of men (not demons) this is a very probable interpretation. If demons were intended symbolically as an invasion of locusts ON EARTH tormenting men how could any believer ever discover the fulfillment of such an event historically? How could such a fulfillment be historically verified except in the imaginings and speculations of some theologians?

Charles Manson

Charles Manson

The silliest interpretation I’ve heard of this prophecy comes from that great 1960s “theologian”, Charles Manson. The following words are quoted from a website:

“Manson saw himself as “the fifth angel” (Verse 1) who would be given “the key to the pit of the abyss.”  (my comment : funny that a guy who’s been in prison for years would have a key to anything let alone the abyss!)

“Verse 3 says that “out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them.”  Manson believed that the “locusts” were in fact “beetles”–the English musical group, “The Beatles.”

The Beatles

The Beatles

“Manson found confirmation for the Beatles being the “locusts” of Revelation in verses 7 through 9.  Verse 7 refers to the locusts having “faces as were men’s faces,” but verse 8 says “they had hair as the hair of women”–which Manson took to be a reference to the Beatles’ long hair.  Also, verse 9 refers to the locusts as having “breastplates of iron.”  In Manson’s interpretation the Beatles’ breastplates were their electric guitars.” (my comment : are you laughing yet?)

breastplates of iron?

breastplates of iron?

“The “horses” that they rode (verse 7) were dune buggies.”

a horse?

a horse?

“Finally, Manson saw the “fire and smoke and brimstone” that came out of their mouths (verse 17) as being the powerful lyrics to their songs–especially those in the White Album.  Manson also at times saw the Beatles as “the four angels” of verse 15.”  (Warning: stay away from the “fire and brimstone” of “Back in the USSR” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”)

“The 200,000,000 persons comprising “the armies of the horsemen” (verse 16) who would spread destruction around the earth were, in Manson’s interpretation, motorcyclists.”

horsemen?

horsemen?

“Manson interpreted verse 4–”And it was said unto them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing”–as meaning that it was wrong to kill any living thing–except, perversely, people.  Manson would frequently upbraid family members for killing rattlesnakes or other creatures.”

“Manson believed that the entrance to “the pit of the abyss” (verse 1) was a forgotten cave somewhere in Death Valley.  Through this cave one could gain entrance to a wonderful land “of milk and honey” lighted by glowing walls and filled with warm spring water.”

source:

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/manson/mansonrevelation.html

How 4 musicians could be prophetically/figuratively represented by an army of locusts to anyone is beyond me! Crazy Charlie Manson!  In the natural world locust invasions are not comprised of a small handful of locusts (certainly not 4!) and where in the Scriptures are locusts associated figuratively with music or musicians? The Beatles lasted about 10 years not 5 months (if we are to take the 5 months literally instead of 150 prophetic “days” representing 150 years according to the Daniel chapter 9 principle).  How did they “torment” anyone to the point that men wanted to die? What did the “scorpion tails” represent? Ringo’s drumming? Oh boy!

For something way more serious about the Beatles may I suggest Ray Comfort’s “Genius the Movie”?  Click here to watch it for free.

See also:

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 1

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 3

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 4

 Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 5

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Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 1

Sadly because of much Scriptural ignorance (especially of the Old Testament) and a poor knowledge of the Scriptural usage of symbols (in figurative/poetic/prophetic passages) many kinds of arbitrary interpretations of the Book of Revelation have been put forth that do not take into account how the Bible elsewhere uses the same prophetic symbols.  Since most professing Christians today hold to a form of dispensationalist futurism (popular futurism : the events of Revelation chapters 4 to 19 are still future and are to occur within a limited time frame) they will totally exclude any possible past fulfillment of a symbolic prophecy and try to find something in the present.  Obviously if a prophecy in Revelation has already been fulfilled in the past then the futurist will necessarily make mistakes.  One prophecy which many Bible teachers in the past (of the Protestant historicist school) have understood as having been fulfilled historically in the past is the symbolic vision of the army of locusts of Revelation chapter 9.

“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.  And there came out of the smoke LOCUSTS upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” (Revelation 9:1-3)

Locust_from_the_plague_in_Palestine,_1915

Before we start giving an interpretation of what the prophetic symbol of “locusts” can mean let us remember that we are dealing with a book using symbolic language and this book was first given to predominantly Gentile churches in Gentile Asia Minor in the 1st century AD.   Let us look at the first verse of Revelation :

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ [this book is centered on Christ and not on stock market crashes and physical earthquakes], which God gave unto him, TO SHEW UNTO [the whole world? no! but particularly unto] HIS SERVANTS [redeemed people who have the Holy Spirit and spiritual understanding] THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS; and he sent and SIGNIFIED IT by his angel unto his servant John” (Revelation 1:1)

Now please notice 3 things in the previously quoted verse : 1) the Revelation of Jesus Christ is SIGN-ified, 2) the things described are meant to be shown unto true believers and 3) the things described first to believers in the 1st century AD should SHORTLY come to pass.

1) the Revelation of Jesus Christ is SIGN-ified:

Signify

One of the definitions for the word “sign” given by Merriam-Webster is the following : “something material or external that stands for or signifies something spiritual”.

The apostle John who was used by God to write the Book of Revelation uses the word “signify” 3 times in his Gospel :

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, SIGNIFYING what death he should die.” (John 12:32-33)

“Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, SIGNIFYING what death he should die.” (John 18:31-32)

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, SIGNIFYING by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.” (John 21:18-19)

In the King James Version the words “as” and “like”, used to express SIMILES (or SIMILITUDES), respectively appear in the Book of Revelation 83 times in 59 verses and 26 times in 20 verses.  Hmmm… 83 times in a book of 22 chapters doesn’t seem inSIGNificant, right? In the same English translation of the Book of Revelation the word “mystery” appears 4 times, “sign” appears twice (“signifying”, “sign”) and “vision” appears once.  In light of such facts are we to jump in and interpret everything literally?

The God of Israel : “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied VISIONS, and used SIMILITUDES, by the ministry of the prophets.” (Hosea 12:10)

In the very first chapter of the book Christ himself must tell John what the SYMBOLS of the stars and candlesticks truly mean.  If stars are meant to be understood symbolically/figuratively then what can we say about the moon or the sun which are also mentioned in Revelation?  If animals/beasts are used prophetically to represent kingdoms (see Daniel chapter 7) then how should we prophetically view locusts?

2) the things described are meant to be shown unto true believers

It is interesting to note that in each letter addressed to one of the 7 churches in Asia Minor we read the following words : “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22)  Christ who spoke those words recorded in Revelation spoke similar words during His earthly ministry with the only difference that the words “what the Spirit saith unto the churches” do not appear (e.g. Matthew 11:15 : “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”).  In the Gospel of Matthew for example, Christ used such words after having spoken in a PARABLE (see Matthew 13:9 and Matthew 13:43) or after having uttered a difficult prophetic truth not immediately grasped (see Matthew 11:9-15 and then read Matthew 17:10-13).

Wikipedia : “The word “parable” comes from the Greek παραβολή (parabolē), meaning “COMPARISON, ILLUSTRATION, ANALOGY”.”  (which means we don’t take a parable literally… the Kingdom of Heaven is not LITERALLY a pearl or a tree.)

John Gill wrote the following concerning Matthew 13:9 :

“Not externally only, but internally; he that has ears given him to hear, so as to understand, let him make use of them, and seriously consider of, and diligently attend to the use and importance of this parable. It is a way of speaking used by Christ, when anything of moment was delivered, and NOT SO EASY TO BE UNDERSTOOD, on purpose to quicken the attention of his auditors, and stir up in them a desire of understanding what was said; which effect this had upon his disciples”

The true understanding of Scripture has been given by God to true believers so we should not expect heretics and non-believers to give us a true and proper interpretation of certain prophetic symbols unless such people used plagiarism (e.g. Ellen G. White):

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Matthew 11:25)

“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them [unbelievers, non-elect] it is not given.” (Matthew 13:10-11)

Knowing that Christ himself used the words “He that hath an ear, let him hear” a total of 7 times in Revelation in chapters 2 and 3 (near the very beginning of the book) and knowing that those very same words are used elsewhere by Christ in connection to parables or difficult truths then how can anyone think that we can go into Revelation and take everything literally?

3) the things described first to believers in the 1st century AD should SHORTLY come to pass.

“… THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS… ” (Revelation 1:1)

The word “shortly” in the first verse of the book is a key word in understanding the time period for all of the prophecies of this book.  The Greek word “tachos” (think of a tachometer = SPEED meter) which means “speedily” or “quickly” is used in other places in the New Testament where there is no doubt as to the meaning of the word:

“And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up QUICKLY (GREEK WORD TACHOS, STRONG NUMBER 5034). And his chains fell off from his hands.” (Acts 12:7)  (to my knowledge Peter didn’t take his time to get out of prison… at least not 1900 years’ worth of time…)

“And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee QUICKLY (GREEK WORD TACHOS, STRONG NUMBER 5034) out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.” (Acts 22:18) (to my knowledge Paul didn’t take many centuries to leave Jerusalem… at least not 19 centuries…)

Let us consider the events of Revelation chapter 5 which occur before the opening of the seals:

“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Revelation 5:1-2)

Key question : who is worthy to open the book? We know that the One who is worthy is Christ.

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Revelation 5:5)

Why is He worthy to open the book and loose its seals?  Here is the answer:

“And they sung a new song, saying, THOU ART WORTHY TO TAKE THE BOOK, and to open the seals thereof: FOR THOU WAST SLAIN (which occurred in the 1st century AD), AND HAS REDEEMED US TO GOD BY THY BLOOD (which occurred in the 1st century AD) out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9)

Because of His death and the atonement it made for sinners Christ was worthy to open the seals in the first century after His ascension into heaven.  Am I believe that for 1900+ years Christ has not been able or willing or worthy to open the seals especially when we consider He earlier spoke of things SHORTLY coming to pass? Knowing that Christ’s Second Coming to judge all of the earth with fire (see 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1) is still future and believing that Christ was already worthy to open the seals in the first century AD I believe it is most plausible to believe that the prophecies of the book (from chapter 6 which mentions the opening of the first seal to chapter 20 which refers to the final judgment) refer prophetically to events extending from the 1st century AD to the Second Coming of Christ.  Prior to the mid-1800s that’s what most respectable Protestants and Baptists believed.  How then can we believe that a prophecy in chapter 9, not even half-way in the book, could refer to something over 1900 years away from the time of the writing of the book when we are to understand chapters 6 to 20 as spanning close to 20 centuries?

“What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven CHURCHES which are in ASIA [not Judea]” (Revelation 1:11b)

It is very important to note that the first groups addressed by this Book were predominantly GENTILE churches (not tribes of physical Israel) in a predominantly GENTILE land in the 1st century AD (not the 21st century AD).  Would it not be plausible to believe that most of this Book addressed to GENTILE Christians would be concerned with the 1900+ years of the “times of the Gentiles”?  Does not Christ himself in the first chapter of the book take an Old Testament object, the candlestick of the Hebrew tabernacle, and give it a New Testament meaning (“church”)?

See also:

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 2

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 3

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 4

Revelation 9′s Locusts Are Not Revolution 9′s Beatles – Part 5

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