Locusts and Luther – Oh My!

luther-wittenbergChapter 9 of the Apocalypse opens with Saint John’s terrifying vision:

“And the fifth Angel sounded the trumpet; and I saw a star fall from Heaven upon the earth, and to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.

“And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit ascended as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun was darkened, and the air with the smoke of the pit:

“And from the smoke of the pit, there came out locusts upon the earth, and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” (Apoc: 9:1-3)

Devout Catholic Scriptural commentators for the past 500 years have seen in this vision a prediction of Luther and his Protestant Revolt.

Father Herman Bernard Kramer, in The Book of Destiny, explains, “Luther did truly open the pit and let loose against the Church all the fury of hell. Therefore modern interpreters almost universally see in this fallen star, Luther.”[1] Father Kramer references the eminent Scriptural commentator, Cornelius a Lapide as making this point.[2]

“The whole description of the locusts”, Father Kramer explains, “fits down to the last detail the kings and princes who established by force the heresy of the 16th Century.” He continues:

“When Luther propounded his heretical and immoral doctrine, the sky became as it were obscured by smoke. It spread very rapidly over some regions of the earth, and it brought forth princes and kings who were eager to despoil the Church of her possessions. They compelled the people of their domains and in the territories robbed from the Church to accept the doctrines of Luther. The proponents of Protestantism made false translations of the Bible and misled the people into their errors by apparently proving from the ‘Bible’ (their own translations) the correctness of their doctrines. It was all deceit, lying and hypocrisy. Bad and weak, lax and lukewarm, indifferent and non-practicing Catholics and those who had neglected to get thorough instruction were thus misled; and these, seeing the Catholic Church now through this smoke of error from the abyss and beholding a distorted caricature of the true Church, began both to fear and hate her.”[3]

As for Luther, he did “everything to instill hatred of the [Catholic] Church into the hearts of his followers.”

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Revelation 9:1-12
(1)  And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet: and I saw a star fall from heaven upon the earth. And there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit.
(2)  And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit arose, as the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit.
(3)  And from the smoke of the pit there came out locusts upon the earth. And power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

(4)  And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth nor any green thing nor any tree: but only the men who have not the sign of God on their foreheads.

(5)  And it was given unto them that they should not kill them: but that they should torment them five months. And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man.
(6)  And in those days, men shall seek death and shall not find it. And they shall desire to die: and death shall fly from them.
(7)  And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle. And on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold: and their faces were as the faces of men.
(8)  And they had hair as the hair of women: and their teeth were as lions.
(9)  And they had breastplates as breastplates of iron: and the noise of their wings was as the noise of chariots and many horses running to battle.
(10)  And they had tails like to scorpions: and there were stings in their tails. And their power was to hurt men, five months. And they had over them
(11)  A king, the angel of the bottomless pit (whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon, in Latin Exterminans).
(12)  One woe is past: and behold there come yet two woes more hereafter.