Destroyer Locust Demon
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40. Destroyer Locust Demon
Revelation 9.7-11

"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 with stingers like scorpions, and in their tails, they had the 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' (that is, Destroyer). (Revelation 9.7-11)✞

Looked Like Horses

scorpion locustsRevelation describes the destroyer locust demon in vivid detail, for their heads are like war horses' heads. Their crowns of gold indicate their power to succeed like kings. Faces may also refer to their human-like intelligence. Locusts move like an army directed by their leader. "People have dug trenches, lit fires, and even fired cannons to stop them but without success. They come in a regular column that climbs hills, enters houses, and leaves scorched earth behind them. There is no more destructive visitation in the World than a plague of locusts."

Demons Devastation

Locust DestroyersJohn of Patmos sees the terrible devastation of the destroyer locust demons from the pit. They are different from any earthly insect he may have seen before and far more destructive. The locust demons' leader is called "The Destroyer." In Hebrew, this is "Abaddon," meaning "destruction." The same word in Greek is "Apollyon" but is not the usual word to translate "Abaddon." In Aramaic, "Abaddon" means "destruction or ruin." This play on words by John of Patmos may be an attempt to show that those who worship the god Apollo, who is one of the most important deities of the Greeks and Romans, worship locust demons. The Roman Emperor Domitian (51-96 AD) believes he is an enlightened leader destined to guide the Roman Empire into a new brilliant era. He also believes that he is the incarnation of this same god, Apollo. He is, however, a little mad. The play on the words "Apollyon" and "Apollo" may also be John of Patmos's way of referring in a subtle way to the terrible evil of the worst of the Roman Emperors.

Solar Eclipse

Solar EclipseIn Revelation, the destructive locust swarms produce darkness like a solar eclipse and terrible devastation on all living things. Deadly locust swarms breed in desert places and then invade cultivated lands for food. These insects usually are about two inches in length, with a wingspan of four to five inches. They belong to the same family as the household cricket and the grasshopper. Locust swarms, however, can be a hundred feet deep and as much as four miles long. The sky is darkened like a solar eclipse when such plagues appear. The destructive power of the locust swarms is almost beyond belief.

Destructive Insects

Locust in GrassWhen the destructive locust swarms leave an area, the land where the swarms settle looks scorched by a wildfire, as not one green plant nor a blade of grass or green vegetation is left behind. The locusts even strip the trees of their bark. A plague of locusts in Algiers caused the 1866 famine, which was so total that 200,000 people perished. The writer of Revelation explains the abyss angel name and the many types of scorpion locust sounds. Some scorpions do hiss, but most make sounds by rubbing one part of their body against another part. This process is known as "stridulation." Some scorpion locust sounds are like "the dashing of waters in a mill-wheel" or the "sound of a great waterfall." It may roar like the World's highest uninterrupted waterfall, the Angel Falls at 3,212 feet in Bolivar State, Venezuela. The sound of millions of locusts eating the ground vegetation is also described by witnesses as "the crackling of a prairie fire." Scorpion locusts on the march sometimes resemble "heavy rain falling on a distant forest."

Locusts Types

TerrorThere are many "locust" types mentioned in the Old Testament. Joel 2.25 lists several Hebrew names for scorpion locusts. Joel writes, "I will repay you the years that the locusts have eaten, the "great locust," the "young locust," the other locusts or "the cutter" and the locust swarm, the great army that I sent among you." The locusts here are also called "swarming locusts." The "great locust" is also known as "the hopper." The "young locust" is called "the destroyer." The precise meanings of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts are uncertain, but translators seek to differentiate between them. The King James Version of this passage reads, "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."

Characteristic Locusts

The characteristic of each locust accounts for its name. Strong's Concordance calls one type of locust "gazam" another the "gnawing locust," or the "shearer," which describes how it cuts down all living vegetation in its path. Another is named "arbel," or the "swarmer" and represents its immense numbers. Another is called "hasil," the "finisher," which pictures the utter devastation a swarm leaves behind it. Some locusts are named "solam," the "swallower," or the "Annihilator." "Hargol," meaning the "galloper," describes the scorpion locust's rapid progress over the land like a horse. "Tzelatzel," the "Creeker," explains the sound that a particular variety makes. In the Book of Revelation, it is not the vegetation which the demonic locusts attack. They launch their advance against people who do not have God's seal upon their foreheads. The king over the locusts is Satan, the Abyss angel, whose name is "Abaddon" in Hebrew or "Apollyon" in Greek. Both mean "The Destroyer, the Place of Destruction or Destruction" and refer to "Hell."✞

Scorpion's Tail Stings

ScorpionScorpion's tail stings torment people five months from birth, through the larval stage, to death. A whole generation of scorpions in this Revelation passage launches at once. The ordinary locust devastates vegetation and crops, but, thankfully, it is not usually harmful to human beings today. However, the Revelationdemonic locusts have the power of scorpions added to them. Scorpion's stings are still one of the scourges of Palestine. The scorpion is like a small lobster with claws to clutch its prey. Unlike the lobster, it has a long tail, which curves up over its back and head. A curved claw at the rear and a stinger called a "telson" inject its poison to paralyze its captive. Lobsters, shrimps, prawns, and horseshoe crabs also have the claw of the scorpion. Revelation's scorpion attack lasts for five months, which is almost the same as the total life-span of a "locust" The terrible suffering caused by the scorpion's sting would be so bad that men and women would long for death but would not be able to find it.

The Deathstalker Scorpion

Brown ScorpionIn Palestine, scorpions are up to six inches in length, and their claw can strike and secrete poison into their victims. They live in cracks in walls and literally under almost every stone. Campers in the Near East lift and examine every rock before pitching a tent if a "Deathstalker Scorpion" otherwise called the "Palestine Yellow Scorpion" is beneath it. A scorpion's sting is worse than the bite of a hornet. It is not necessarily fatal, but it can, in some instances, kill a human being. Only two of the 1,500 species of scorpion around the World, in Israel and Brazil, have venom capable of killing an adult human being.

Wish to Die

DeathThe prophet Job speaks in Job 3.21 of the supreme misery of those "who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure." Jeremiah 8.3 also tells of the day when people "will prefer death to life." A Roman orator called Cornelius Gallus in BC 70-26 adds, "Worse than any wound is to wish to die and yet not be able to do so."

"Destroyer Locust Demons"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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