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 airplanes, helicopters/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?
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.”
“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?)
“The “horses” that they rode (verse 7) were dune buggies.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.