Demon Locusts of Revelation 9 Demystified

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This article is going to be very controversial. The vast majority of Christians today are futurists in regard to Revelation. A futurist believes in a literal fulfillment of the book of Revelation sometime in the (near) future. By contrast, a preterist believes that all of the prophecies have already taken place in the first century a.d. These are the two main viewpoints of the prophecies of the book. There is a third view that is less popular today than it was during the Reformation, that is the view of historicism.

I subscribe to historicism, though I have studied very little of it in-depth. Historicism calls for a much more consistent hermeneutic than do the other two viewpoints. It utilizes the same interpretive method for revelation as for Isaiah and Daniel. The language of Revelation is symbolic, not literal, in the historicist interpretation. The identities of the characters (Two Witnesses, for example) within Revelation are subject to much debate among historicists; they only agree on the identity of the Antichrist (succession of Popes) and the Whore of Babylon (Roman Catholic Church itself).

Historicism is the belief that the events of history, beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire and proceeding to the present day have fulfilled the prophecies of Revelation. If you think about it, that makes the most sense of the three interpretations. It means God hasn’t been waiting in the wings for 2000 years with no prophetic words from above. It means that He has been working in history, and allows us to know that He is with us in history by proper reading of Revelation (hence the blessing to all who read it and understand it).

Since many people have found this site looking for an answer to the demon locusts of Revelation 9, I thought I would provide an explanation for what I think that this passage really means. This entry is really a summary of this article. It is in accordance with the typical historicist view of Revelation.

Of the demon locusts, Scripture says this:

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. (Rev 9:1-6)

Protestant scholars of the nineteenth century saw with amazing unanimity the rise and spread of Islam in this passage. Why? First consider where the locusts came from. They came from the “Abyss.” One of the finest Islamic scholars of the twentieth century, Abul A’la Mawdudi, wrote a book to introduce the English-speaking world to Islam. His subtitle called Arabia, the center of Mohammed’s activities, the “Abyss of Darkness.” The phrase “bottomless pit” in the above passage is actually the word for “abyss” in Greek. This prominent scholar used the exact words of the Bible when describing the center of Mohammed’s activity.

Why locusts? Because of the Arabs’ connection to the locust. The Ismaelites, forerunners of the modern Muslim, have as their national insignia a locust in the Bedoween romance “Antwar.” There is also a story of Mohammed that has locusts falling into his hands bearing the inscription “We are the Army of the Great God.” So here are two connections, but it doesn’t stop there.

Consider the appearance of the locusts:

The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. (Rev 9:7-11)

The Arabs were widely renown for their skill with a horse; according to Adam Clarke it was as if the horse and the rider were one. The Muslim wore a yellow turban as a crown, according to the poem “Antwar.” As for the face and the hair, according to Scripture a man is not to shave his beard (Lev 19:27), and the long hair of a woman is her glory (1 Cor 11:15). Arabs of the day were described as having shoulder-length hair and beards. The teeth of the lion probably represented their ferocity in battle. The breastplate reminds us of the Koran’s statement that “God hath given you coats of mail.”

The tails and the stings of the scorpion were likely references to the Muslims’ ability to shoot backwards accurately while in full retreat. The power of their tails probably represented the poisonous doctrines of Islam that they were spreading to the world.

Now, the Muslims tortured the world for more than five months. This, of course, is five prophetic months, based on the formula of one day = one year (cf. Num 14:34, Ez 4:6, and Dan 9:24). That means that the Muslim invasion lasted 150 years, which we see from history, is the exact time that the Muslims continued to invade territories. After a century and a half of conquest, they turned their attentions to literature and science, leaving the Christian world at peace.

What of the other limitations placed on the army? They couldn’t harm vegetation. The Koran commands the Muslims to leave the vegetation in invaded territories alone. Muslim armies were also commanded to leave the monks in the monestaries alone and monestaries were not to be burned. These people, the Muslims thought, had God’s seal of protection on them. The Muslims were not allowed to kill the church, only torture it. That is, they couldn’t destroy the church, but they did set a series of calamities on it for five prophetic months.

For further reading on this topic, I recommend historicst.com. There is a wealth of articles dealing with the fulfillment of the Revelation prophecies in historic events.

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian who prays that this blog will be used solely for furthering God's plan of salvation and for His glory. See my "About Us" page for further information about me and about my wife.

Posted on August 7, 2008, in Bible Thoughts, Theology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Cory,

    I haven’t been posting much over the last few months, how’s it going?

    This is my first exposure to historicism. Because of I see so much of our current times in Revelation, it would take a lot to convince me that it is not speaking of the future. However, it would not suprise me if Revelation were doubly fulfilled prophecy. Daniel is doubly-fulfilled, as are passages within Isaiah. I had never looked for that in Revelation before, but the thought certainly intrigues me.

    One thought that occurs to me: how do you interpret Jesus’ exhortation to live in a manner that makes us ready for His return (his bridegroom analogy), lest we take a place with the unbelievers? I do not believe it is a salvific message, lest the gospel be relegated to a doctrine of works, but a warning that if a Christian is not living as God wants, then He could miss the rapture, and end up having to endure the Tribulation. If however, historicism is solely correct, then I am not sure what Jesus was warning us of… was He only addressing man’s heart, but not prophesying about the future?

  2. In regards to the “star fallen from heaven to earth”… keep in mind I’ve done no research on this so it’s just observational on my part… but could that possibly be a description of satan (the morning star)? And what of the symbol of islam… the star in the crescent moon?

  3. Double fulfillment of prophecy isn’t very likely. For one, God is not the author of confusion, and two, prophecy is for a sign to God’s people. Therefore, so that there can be no mistakes, prophecies predict the exact year and sometimes the month of an event. For a wonderfully clear analysis of Daniel and Revelation, I suggest the works of Ellis Skolfield. Especially, The False Prophet. As it is written, “For every tree is known by his own fruit”. Mr. Skolfield is truly a generous child of God.

    Not the least of which, because all of his published works are available for free download in PDF format. For those that prefer a book to hold, his books can also be purchased from Amazon.com or directly from the ministry.

    I suggest reading the free copy, and if Christ opens your eyes and heart, purchase it directly, so that the ministry benefits. My favorite was The Shining Man With Hurt Hands, which details his ministry to those with DID/MPD. It brought many tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.

    Faithfully in Christ,
    Raven

  4. Caleb,

    Muslims worship a black rock, which is a meteorite (fallen star?), and is housed on top of the Temple Mount. See the Dome of the Rock article at Wikipedia. In fact, I believe this is the abomination of desolation as spoken of by Daniel, and Jesus himself. The English translation of the plaque within the dome states, “God forbid that he would have a son,” and whenever Muslims enter they recite the verses from sura Maryam 16:34-37, which strongly deny Jesus’ sonship to God.

    Faithfully in Christ,
    Raven

  5. @Geocreationist: As do many, I believe the Rapture is a false doctrine. If the Scriptures are read carefully and prayerfully they reveal a different truth. I pray that someday I’m able to suffer for Jesus’ sake, as have so many millions of Christians in history. At the hands of Muslims who follow the False Prophet and Catholics who worship saints, relics, statues, and the Mother of Harlots. Many today still confuse Catholics with Christians, which could not be further from the truth.

    Faithfully in Christ,
    Raven

  6. I’m not a futurist, a Pederast, or 7 D Adventist. I am a Christian and I have to tell you, this article makes more since toward the meaning of Revelation 9 then any thing
    i have read before. I think I will look into this historical view of Bible prophecy more closely.

    • It’s nice to have a compliment for a change. I’m glad that I could persuade you to investigate this point of view more thoroughly.

      • Cory…This topic has intrigued me for a long time. If you are not already aware, the government is funding development of micro drones that are multi-purposed i.e. can be used for surveillance, data gathering, search and rescue etc. Not much of a stretch of imagination to outfit them with stingers. Winged flight is much more efficient than propellers as the scale of the platform gets smaller. I have seen photos and may send more details if/when I get them. I’m a project manager and engineer working at a major National Laboratory, but this research is not being done at this Lab…Ted

  7. The August 1969 National Geographic carried a story about a locust plague. On page 212 is a map of the plague which exactly corresponds to the expansion of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries and below the author, Robert Conley, quotes an Arabic verse where the locusts say to Mohammed, “We are the armies of Allah…”

  8. Hi everyone.

    I have a different explanation of the Locusts. It can be found on this link.

    http://redskynews.com/?p=902

    The explanation forms part of this document which reveals a runaway greenhouse effect in the book of Revelation. (The trumpets and the bowls) Here’s the link to the whole document.

    http://redskynews.com/banners/UB6.pdf

    You can see these events building up by taking a look at the global meltdown archives on the home page below the news headlines. It all kicks off towrds the end of 2016.

    Thanks.

    Redsky

  9. They were commanded not to touch anything green. These are not organic locust. More of a machine or robots because they have breast plates “armor”. stinging tails are probably missles. Sound of the blades like thunder. Faces of men are probably the pilots inside. Many aircraft have painted shark teeth on the noses. Helicoptors maybe but if they come from the bottomless pit it means they are controlled by the antichrist Remember these writing are of visions and revelation of future events so they were explaning what they saw in their visions with what they know like breastplates lions thunder locust horses. like horses that breath fire out of their mouths. TANKS I think horses refer to people on or in them.

  10. I have recently updated the locusts article which now comes with a full scientific explanation of their strange appearance which has been vetted and approved by a Professor in genetics here in the UK for which I am very gratful.

    http://redskynews.com/?p=902

    There are a number of problems with the helicopter gunship idea.

    The first is that the locusts are released at God’s command just like all the trumpet and bowl judgements in this case by the angel blowing his trumpet.

    If these were helicopter gunships then it means that God is reliant on man’s ability to create a machine before He can bring judgement.

    Another problem is that John was very familliar with locusts and recognized these as such even though they looked different.

    And yet another problem is that the locusts were commanded not to kill. If the tails were missiles from aircraft and helicopters it would be impossible to fire these at men and not kill them.

    A further problem is that there are four other events before the locusts, burning hail, the cumbre vieja eruption with a third of the sea becoming blood, bitter waters and darkness from a further volcanic eruption none of which have happened yet, but aircraft and helicopters have been with us for a very long time.

    No, the locusts in Revelation are real locusts which are a combination of Jerusalem Cricket, Locust and various other arthropods where the common design template in use has been interfered with and an atavism occured due to toxic metals in the soil where they lay their eggs.

    I can now also put a more accurate timescale on all fourteen events (The Trumpets and Bowls). The first event, the burning hail will kick off around March 2017. The seventh event, the Jerusalem earthquake will take place around September 18th – 20th 2020 and the final event the Seventh Bowl will take place sometime in 2024.

  11. There was something else I forgot to mention. The scripture tells us that the plague lasts for 5 months of the year.

    The lifespan of the locust is 5 months so these are real locusts.

  12. Agree with this viewpoint

  13. Joel wrote concerning locusts about 900 years before Revelation was written.

  14. @ Cory, I am posting a link to the Messianic Jewish church I attend. I believe you will find this series regarding the views on end times, supporting your view point. So many people simply follow the futurist view, because that is what popular/nominal christianity supports and it sells books and movies. Context and historical understanding will lead the reader to the original intent. We must remember that the modern day, western, Greek minded church is 2,000 + years removed from the eastern Hebraic mindset….you loose a great deal of clarity when you deny that heritage. http://www.graftedin.com/sabbathpod.html
    @ geocreationist: You wrote (One thought that occurs to me: how do you interpret Jesus’ exhortation to live in a manner that makes us ready for His return (his bridegroom analogy), lest we take a place with the unbelievers? I do not believe it is a salvific message, lest the gospel be relegated to a doctrine of works, but a warning that if a Christian is not living as God wants,) One must remember Jesus did not come to condem those that were walking in God’s ways..keeping his Torah (first 5 books) ( The word he quoted that not ONE jot or Title should change from…he was refering to the Old Test, not the New) ..BUT, he was warning against those that had elevated man-made traditions, man made laws on how to keep God’s law…letting them know that HIS yolk was easy and burden light and His ways were those ancient pathways that he spoke of in the Torah. Jesus was warning against the fences mad had built around HOW to keep God’s laws and that they would no longer need an earthly bound system to attone for their sins…he was after THE LOST SHEEP of the House of Israel. Paul was not here to abbrogate God’s laws, as so much of the church teaches today. He was here to take the message to the gentile nations, and remind those gentile churches, many whom had returned to thier pagan ways, or elevated the “religion” of Judaism over God’s word…to COME out of Babylon, once again and return…. Salvation is a gift, God poured out Grace all over the Old Test….this was not a new personality of God. Because salvation is a gift…are we to return to the old pagan ways, man made tradition, follow our wicked hearts?? Paul warns us May it never be! Keeping God’s laws is NOT salvation by works…never was never will be. Deut 6: love the Lord Your God …keep HIS commandments. They are not works to earn, but instructions on how to HIT the Mark and live an earthly life of blessings, and be set apart from the nations, showing exactly whose MARK we live with.

  15. The title itself calls these locusts ”demon locusts”. But are they on the side of Satan the Devil and his demonic horde or are they on the side of God and His Son?
    Interestingly, the Bible tells us that these are not of a demonic nature at all. Their symbolic appearance may put that idea in some minds in the literal sense but let’s see what these verses truly say as to who’s side these locusts are on.

    The Bible tells us at verse 4 that the locusts are told ”not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree”, but, to deliver agony to ”only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” This verse helps us to understand that the locusts are not representatives of demonic forces. They are just the opposite. The locusts are actually sent by God to sting people that ”DO NOT” have the seal of God on their foreheads.

    Second, the locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. The locusts looks as if they are prepared for a battle. This battle is symbolic and not a literal stampede that goes off into a war or bloodshed. Third, on their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Crowns represents in the Bible authority always worn by kings. Those who are to inherit a kingdom usually wear a head piece not quite a crown but shows that in the future they will inherit a crown at a time yet off in the future after a period of time. Because the locusts are from God the resemblance of gold crowns tells us that God approves of what they are wearing. Faces that resemble human faces and the fact of knowing what has been presented thus far gives us the assurance that they have a heavenly connection just as angels have been noted to have faces resembling man. (Ezekiel 1:5)

    Their hair was like women’s hair. Long hair in the Bible always symbolizes submission to a person’s head; their head being their king (Revelation 9:11). Their long hair symbolizes their submission to God. Their teeth are like lions’ teeth. This too symbolizes not only how the teeth of a lion are sharp and piercing but also the teeth represents being able to eat not milk of the scriptures but solid food, meat of the deeper truths of God’s will. Their breastplates like breastplates of iron signifies righteousness and a protection that shields them in a spiritual warfare. (see Ephesians 6:14-18) The sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. Like stated earlier the battle in not of a physical bloodshed but of a spiritual war. While in their spiritual battle they make a great noise as they are out in battle. Remember, Revelation is a book that highly represents people and things in a symbolic reference so when we see these locusts having tails with stingers like scorpions, this symbolizes how their spiritual battle gives off a sting to those in a figurative way as they proclaim their mission throughout the earth. As a result, those that are in opposition to God and His Son with their defiance against obedience of the scriptures; these who do not have the seal of approval by God will feel agony in the sense of being exposed of their deeds and actions that are in direct violation of the scriptures. The tails have power to torment people for five months. This is where wisdom come in. The lifespan of a literal locust is 5 months and then they die. So when we see these figurative locusts who have been given authority by God to deliver these stings will do so for their figurative 5 months of their lifespan. Their 5 months is symbolic in the terms of their lifespan which means until they have died; the duration of their lifespan.

    So in conclusion we see that the locusts in Revelation are not one of the literal sense, but of a symbolic one sent not by the evil forces of fallen angels but that of Almighty God and His Son. They have been given authority to deliver symbolic stings of agony by exposing all men who are in opposition to the Kingdom of God which is everyone that has not received the seal of God on their foreheads (God’s seal of approval as to them being found in His favor.

  16. JesusismySavior

    Thank you for your article. it fits with what God has been showing me about Islam.

    but I do not agree with the typical view of the pope as the anti Christ. False Prophets and Anti-Christ(s) emphasis on the S there, yes, but the position OF the pope is the False Prophet while personally I believe that the BEAST OF THE EARTH also describes Islam but in Revelation 9 it describes them better. it fits them better but the Anti-Christ, “apollyon”, Aion, Abadon or any other name he goes by is Satan himself. he disguises himself as an “angel of light” and if you read Dante’s Inferno you see a more descriptive story via a poem about hell and you can go through the new testament and some of the old testament comparing and syncing the poem and the new testament together to see that there is no doubt a war between Heaven and Hell and Earth is in the middle.

    what I’m trying to get at is that the “angel” of the abyss” spoken on in Revelation 9 is Lucifer occupying the bottom of Hell for betraying God. it makes sense. Lucifer WAS an angel until he betrayed God and Lucifer became known as Satan, the fallen one, the father of lies, the father of deception which arabs are also masters at manipulating and magic which is complete deception. anyhow. thank you so much for this article.

    I don’t stereotype myself so I don’t know what you would label me as but I very much believe that only PART of Revelation has been fulfilled while we are living during revelations and that Armageddon is about to begin. I believe that God is fulfilling giving men and women and children all sorts of visions and that some of my “nightmares” are exactly that. visions.

    keep studying and may God Bless you. I can’t thank you enough. I can sleep more soundly now.

  17. JesusismySavior

    Egypt was stricken with plagues when God was hardening pharaoh’s heart to make pharaoh be more willing to let Israel go.

    likewise, even if there is a literal plague of locusts as there has been reported by satellites and military scientists and so forth, you forget that revelation and most of the bible for that matter was written by people who had been SHOWN the SPIRITUAL realm by God and you also forget that Satan poses as a god or as GOD himself to deceive anyone who doesn’t acknowledge to truth, not that they don’t KNOW the truth but that they refuse to accept it.
    the plagues are becoming physically manifested but don’t forget or dismiss the spiritual aspect of it. the physical and the spiritual are still under God’s authority regardless. evil is only allowed to do as much as God will let it but rebellious angels such as Lucifer/Satan/the beast, tries to do as he pleases and gets smacked down by God. so basically, Satan has no authority over Christians. Satan does have power, a very real power and really scary but Satan has no authority, Satan DOES NOT OWN Christians. period.

  18. It means demons coming up from hell. It doesn’t mean people on earth that are filled with demons.

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