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Tuesday, November 22 2011
Locusts In History And Prophecy
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a locust is "any species of short-horned grasshoppers that often increases greatly in number and migrates long distances in destructive swarms. In Europe, the term locust connotes large size; smaller acridids are called grasshoppers. In North America, the term locust and grasshopper are used for any acridid ... In 1869 desert locust swarms reached England, probably from West Africa, and a flight across the Red Sea in 1889 was estimated as 2,000 square miles in size."
Locust swarms happen all around the world, from Africa, southern Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and numerous nations in North and South America. Regardless of the location, the result is usually the same - as in this example from the 1875 "Grasshopper Year" in Missouri.
"It was the year 1875 that will long be remembered by the people of at least four states, as the grasshopper year. The scourge struck Western Missouri April, 1875, and commenced devastating some of the fairest portions of our noble commonwealth. They gave Henry [County] an earnest and overwhelming visitation, and demonstrated with an amazing rapidity that their appetite was voracious, and that everything green belonged to them for their sustenance. They came in swarms, they came by the millions, they came in legions, they came by the mile, and they darkened the heavens in their flight, or blackened the earth's surface, where in myriads they sought their daily meal. Henry County was visited from about the first week of May, and remained until the 1st of June, 1875, and during that time, every spear of wheat, oats, flax and corn were eaten close to the ground. Potatoes and all vegetables received the same treatment, and on the line of their march, ruin stared the farmer in the face, and starvation knocked loudly at his door."
Although grasshopper "plagues" are a natural event, they can also be miraculously timed and directed, as made obvious by the events of the Exodus (see also The River Of Moses and Why Did They Go To Goshen?).
"10:13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind [the parting of the sea was also done by an all-night east wind; see In The Day Of The East Wind and The Night Crossing] upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 10:14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. 10:15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt." (Exodus 10:13-15 KJV)
"10:16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. 10:17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
"The shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle ... the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle"
Locusts were declared by the LORD to be one of the few insects that were clean for food. The primary reason is that locusts are strictly vegetarian - whereas other insects do, or will, feed on disease-ridden carrion e.g. flies. John the Baptist, like everyone else in the area, "did eat locusts and wild honey" (see What Was Strange About John The Baptist?).
"11:21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; 11:22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. 11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you." (Leviticus 11:21-23 KJV)
Just as the Pharaoh learned, the people of Israel were also subjected to plagues from the LORD, as a means to get them to repent. Notice here in Israel's case, along with locust plagues, was slavery to massive debt owed to foreign nations ("He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail") - crippling debt and interest payments that consume the productive resources of the nation in the same way as a locust plague.
"28:38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. 28:39 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. 28:40 Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. 28:41 Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.
Repentance (obedience to God's Law; see the series of ten studies beginning with The Way To Salvation: Step 1) is the only way to stop a locust plague - of any sort.
"8:37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpillar; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be; 8:38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: 8:39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) 8:40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers." (1 Kings 8:37-40 KJV)
Locusts (as well as all other living creatures) have the "mind of God" in the sense that they live according to the way that the LORD programmed them to behave (humans are the only creatures who go against their God-given nature). As such, locusts are "exceeding wise."
"30:24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: 30:25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; 30:26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; 30:27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; 30:28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces." (Proverbs 30:24-28 KJV)
Locusts are also found in prophecy - actual locusts, as well as the flying war machines of many nations i.e. "the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array."
"2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 2:2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 2:3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. 2:4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. 2:5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 2:6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. 2:7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: 2:8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. 2:9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.
The Book of Revelation describes the same "locusts" as Joel in the verses quoted above - war helicopters: "the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle" (it's no coincidence that some military forces of the world use the term "cavalry" for their fleets of war helicopters) and "the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle." Those great battles will be fought by the forces of "Babylon," first by nation against nation, but then all together against the Messiah on the day of His Return (see the Fact Finder question).
"9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
Fact Finder: Why is the "Christian" world going to try to fight the Christ when He returns?
This Day In History, November 22
1220: Frederick II was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Honorius III at St. Peter's in Rome (see The Holy Roman Empire and Emperors and Popes). Frederick pledged to defend the Catholic Church and launch the next "Crusade" (see The Crusades).
1497: Vasco Da Gama of Portugal became the first navigator to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in his search for a sea route to India.
1718: Edward Teach, the English pirate known as "Blackbeard," was killed off the east coast of North America.
1757: Austrian forces defeated the Prussians at Breslau during the Seven Years War.
1830: The Belgian Congress voted to turn the country into a monarchy.
1878: In Afghanistan, the British under Sir Samuel Browne bombed and captured the Ali Masjid fortress, thus beginning the Second Afghan War.
1906: The International Radio Telecommunications Commission adopted "SOS" as a new distress call.
1942: The Soviet army completed the encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad during the Second World War (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1963: U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated at age 46. The shots were allegedly fired in Dallas from the Texas School Book Depository by Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, who himself was shot and killed 2 days later while denying the charge and claiming "I'm just a patsy."
1967: United Nations Resolution 242 was passed by the Security Council. It intended to provide Israel with secure frontiers, while at the same time requiring it to return "conquered" territories, and stated a need for a just solution for the Palestinian refugees.
1975: Juan Carlos was sworn in as king of Spain, the first Spanish monarch since Alfonso XIII went into exile in 1931. General Francisco Franco, who had ruled Spain since 1939, died 2 days earlier.
1990: Margaret Thatcher announced her resignation as British Prime Minister after 11 years in office.
2005: Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany.