“In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, and their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots” v7-9
John is describing a vision, full of graphic images and noises he can barely describe. Most commentators understand this as military warfare and on a scale we have never seen before. The world is in upheaval, not just physically, but in the spiritual realm. This is the tribulation, a judgement on a Christ rejecting world- a final collapse of all the things that the world has taken for granted. The gifts of the ocean, skies, weather, rain, health, seismology and life itself are being removed;
“angels who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind” v15
The elect are saved from these horrors, by having a seal- (“sealed with the gift of the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1.14)
The contrast between the destiny of those in Jesus and those outside his righteousness could not be starker. The idea of a lukewarm Christian, agnostic- “I’m not quite sure” is completely rejected- we are either in Him or not, sealed or not sealed.
Revelation judgement is reminiscent of the Exodus plagues, and the most devastating final plague of death is avoided by the mark of blood on the doorway to the Israelite house in the shape of a cross.
This chapter emphasises to us the urgency of these issues on our destination, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbours. One day all this physical world will be gone and our neighbour and we will be before Him our Lord- either as our Judge or our Saviour.
Lord, thank you for all the gifts of creation and for life itself. Help me to use my time and energies to show in what I do and say to be a witness for you. Thank you for your Holy Spirit seal, a beautiful gift to us.