Writer provides useful insights into the mysterious Book of Revelation


Because of Israel’s rejection of the King of kings, the blessings they had received would turn into curses. Jerusalem had been “swept clean” by Christ’s ministry; now it would become “a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird” (Revelation 18:2). The entire generation became increasingly demon-possessed; their progressive national insanity is apparent as one reads through the New Testament, and its horrifying final stages are depicted in the pages of Josephus’ The Jewish War: the loss of all ability to reason, the frenzied mobs attacking one another, the deluded multitudes following after the most transparently false prophets, the crazed and desperate chase after food, the mass murders, executions, and suicides, the fathers slaughtering their own families and the mothers eating their own children. Satan and the host of hell simply swarmed throughout the land of Israel and consumed the apostates.

The vegetation of the earth is specifically exempted from the destruction caused by the “locusts.” This is a curse on disobedient men. Only the Christians are immune to the scorpion-like sting of the demons (cf. Mark 6:7; Luke 10:17-19; Acts 26:18); the unbaptized Israelites, who do not have “the seal of God on their foreheads” (cf. Revelation 7:3-8), are attacked and tormented by the demonic powers. And the immediate purpose God has in unleashing this curse is not death, but merely torment, as the nation of Israel is put through a series of demoniac convulsions. St. John repeats what he has told us in Revelation 6:16, that “in those days men will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die and death shall flee from them.” Jesus had specifically prophesied this longing for death among the final generation, the generation of Jews which crucified Him (Luke 23:27-30). As God had said long before: “He who sins against Me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate Me love death” (Proverbs 8:36).

The frightening description of the demon-locusts in Revelation 9:7-11 bears many similarities to the invading heathen armies mentioned in the prophets (Jeremiah 51:27; Joel 1:6; 2:4-10; cf. Leviticus 17:7 and 2 Chronicles 11:15, where the Hebrew word for demon is hairy one). This passage may also refer, in part, to the Satanic gangs of murderous Zealots that preyed on the citizens of Jerusalem, ransacking houses and committing murder and rape indiscriminately. Characteristically, these perverts dressed up as harlots in order to seduce unsuspecting men to their deaths.

One particularly interesting point about the description of the demon army is St. John’s statement that “the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.” That is the same sound made by the wings of the angels in the Glory-Cloud (Ezekiel 1:24; 3:13; 2 Kings 7:5-7); the difference here is that the noise is made by fallen angels,

St. John goes on to identify the king of the demons, the “angel of the Abyss,” giving his name in both Hebrew (Abaddon) and Greek (Apollyon) — one of many indications of the essentially Hebraic character of the Revelation. The words mean Destruction and Destroyer; “Abaddon” is used in the Old Testament for the realm of the dead, the “place of destruction” (Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; Psalm 88:11; Proverbs 15:11; 27:20). St. John thus presents Satan as the very personification of death itself (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:10; Hebrews 2:14).

Clearly, for Satan’s entire host of destroyers to be let loose upon the Jewish nation was a hell on earth indeed. And yet St. John tells us that this outbreak of demons in the land is only “the first Woe.” Even greater horrors lie ahead.

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