Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. —Revelation 9:3, emphasis added
As the shaft leading downward is unlocked, the infernal smoke of the pit will billow out of the darkness and unleash the pent-up fury of hell. When that pit is opened, locusts will emerge like the smoke of a furnace. With the most destructive imagery known to man, the apostle John described the creatures as locusts.
Because locusts were such relentless destroyers, no plague was more fearsome in the ancient world. Truly, the day of the Lord, portrayed in this short prophetic oracle’s revelation through God’s Spirit, is a day that is to be heeded. God clearly demonstrates the need for repentance and the physical disaster that must follow moral disintegration.
As a vehicle of judgment, three times God uses locusts as a plague of horrific proportions:
Moses unleashed the eighth plague on Egypt—locusts that horribly devoured every green thing left after the hail (Exodus 10:4, 12-14, 19).
God sent a plague of locusts on Israel that horribly destroyed all that was green and thus caused economic devastation as well (Joel 1-2).
The fifth trumpet will sound the release from the abyss of horrible demonic hordes of locusts (Revelation 9:3, 7).
Today, few readers of the book of Joel are likely to experience a locust plague. With current eradication methods, a locust swarm in modern Israel is indeed a rare phenomenon. In ancient times, however, the land of Israel was frequently subject to invasions by the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria. Exodus 10:1-20 describes the locust as perhaps nature’s most awesome example of the collective destructive power of a species. Adult locusts weigh a maximum of two grams, and yet their combined destructive force can leave thousands of people in famine for years. The locust plagues were very much feared in ancient Egypt. So much so that the peasants were in the habit of praying to the locust god, for Satan likes to keep superstitious peoples enslaved to his demonic horde’s evil powers.
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