Satan, Plagues, and No Repentance
Jerry A Collins
· What is the identity of the locusts in this passage?
the 4 angels of the
· Why would men refuse to repent during these judgments?
I have never had such severe pain in my life. It continued into the evening. I laid in my bed trying to find any position t relieve me of the intense and throbbing pain in my side and abdomen. I tried to make it thru the nite—constantly tossing, turning and alternately laying in my bed or on the floor desperate to cope with the throbbing ache in my body. Finally, unable to take it anymore, my wife called the doctor early in the morning. She drove me to his office where I waited doubled-over in the waiting room, moaning, pale and jaundiced. The doctor arrived and asked several questions until it was obvious that something was wrong. I was admitted into the hospital and after having to wait for a few more hours in the waiting lobby, I was finally put into a room. The only thing I had an appetite for—the only thing I had been screaming for was relief from the debilitating pain. A nurse began to prod for a vein and her first attempt to intravenously administer pain killing drugs failed—so we had to go thru the whole procedure again. Amazingly, relief came and I immediately fell asleep—my body having endured nearly a day’s worth of unending pain. The next day they surgically removed a kidney stone. God’s judgment during the tribulation will bring unending pain to the earth’s population for 5 mos.
1. GOD’S JUDGMENT WILL BRING UNBEARABLE PAIN
This chapter includes the most occurrences of ‘as’ and ‘like’ than any other and reveals how difficult it was for John to describe the scene in this vision. So John is making descriptions in comparison to things he knows rather than giving a scientific description.
The shaft of locusts 1-3 John saw a star fall from heaven to the earth. This was a person—an angel described as having come down from heaven (like the angel with keys in Chp 20:1 with keys to the abyss—there to throw Satan in and here to let demons out)—called ‘him’ and not a literal star. He was given a key which opens an abyss or void. When opened first something resembling smoke billowing out like an active volcano darkened the sun and sky. Described as locusts, these creatures have power like scorpions to sting men.
The mission of locusts 4-6 Locusts
usually devastate vegetation but they are prevented from doing so by God vs 4. However, they are commissioned to inflict severe pain
on earth-dwellers—those who do not have God’s seal of ownership and protection
on their foreheads (7:3-8). The 144000 of
The characteristics of locusts 7-12 Here John uses ‘like’ to describe these scorpion-like locusts in comparison to things he knows. (1) Like horses prepared for battle. (2) Like crowns of gold on heads. (3) Like faces of men 7. (4) Like hair of women. (5) Like teeth of lion 8. (6) Like breastplates of iron. (7) Like sound of chariots and many horses rushing into battle 9. (8) Like scorpion tails and stings 10. Here is an awesome, ominous, verocious, grotesque and frightening description. Both in vs 5 and vs 10 the repetition to hurt and torture for 5 months stresses the awfulness of their power to inflict people. They have a king over them named ‘destroyer’ 11. This takes locusts from literal locusts to representing demons who have a real leader—apparently demons held in an abyss until this moment. God grants this lead creature permission to emerge with other demons in special judgment on unbelieving mankind. This confirms what Jesus described as great distress unequaled from beginning of world and never to be equaled again (Mt 24:21). There are more ‘woes’ yet to come!
2. GOD’S JUDGMENT WILL BRING UNPRECEDENTED DEATH
Four angels of Euphrates 13-15 Before
John ‘saw’ vs 1 now he ‘hears’ something—a voice from
throneroom instructing angel to release 4
angels-probably demons again since angels are not bound—at the Euphrates river.
Their release is minutely timed—hour and day and month and year—so hey can kill
1/3 of mankind. So this episode takes place in or near modern day
Army of 2 hundred million 16-19 This
loosing of the 4 angels results in this army—an overwhelming military force.
Combined Allied and Axis forces at
No repenting 20-21 Devastating and obviously from God, did not motivate men to repent. They continue to (1) worship demons (2) idols of gold and silver (3) murder (4) sorcery (5) immorality (6) theft. This trumpet produced pain and terror it did not produce repentance.
(1) Satan is always an instrument of God. He cannot initiate or do as he pleases and neither can demons. God is in control of demons. He dictates what they can/cannot do. Even demon possession is under sovereign control of God. The world is not a struggle between God and satan. What we see is God demonstrating His glory and He uses satan and demons to do that. They are unwitting servants of God.
(2) Clear evidence of the work of God (such as judgments of rev 9) will not bring about repentance among those who have chosen to not believe. Disaster and tragedy has natural response of anger and pain—not brokenness like 20-21. If you see brokenness as a response to pain, you have evidence of a supernatural act of God.
(3) Inevitable that God will judge mankind for rebellion and belligerance toward God.