“And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.” (Revelation 19:3)
Most of us have seen the movie the Ten Commandments. I think Charlton Heston was by far the best ‘Moses!’ One of the plagues God poured out on Egypt was the plague of locusts. We are told in the Book of Exodus that the locusts settled down on the country in great numbers. They covered the ground until it was black. They devoured everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 10:15)
At present we are seeing titanic swarms of desert locusts resembling dark storm clouds descending ravenously on the Horn of Africa. They have been roving through croplands and flattening farms in a devastating salvo. Experts are calling this locust plague an unprecedented threat to food security. On the ground, subsistence planters can do nothing but watch, staring up with horror and at their fields in dismay. This plague is now spreading. Swarms are most intense in East African countries, including Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, but data from the FAO’s Desert Locust Watch documents steadily worsening infestations across Southwest Asia and the Middle East. Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uganda and Iran, are among those afflicted. One online secular publication has stated; “These locusts are a plague of Biblical Scope in 2020.”
Locusts are not only seen devastating Egypt in the Book of Exodus but are also seen in the Book of Joel but used as a metaphor for the enemies opposing God and His people. In the Book of Joel we see four consecutive plagues of ‘locusts’ mentioned. (Joel 1:4) In its historical context Joel was foreseeing the Babylonian Invasion of the Southern kingdom of Judah. The Babylonians invaded Israel four times and the fourth time the city of Jerusalem fell to them in 586BC. The Babylonians pulled everything down in their path even including uprooting trees and stripping the land of vegetation. It was an invasion that totally devastated the whole land not to mention the people of Judah.
In its prophetic context Joel was describing and end-time invasion of Israel and the Church by a demonic infestation. For Israel the locusts prophetically represent the invading armies of the man of sin (the antichrist) whose armies will cover the land of Israel like grasshoppers and destroy everything in their path. This will be the fourth beast empire of Daniel’s vision that we are told will be “terrifying and frightening and very powerful with large iron teeth and bronzed claws that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left and it was different than all of the empires before it.” (Daniel 7:7, 19) Historically this beast empire was Islam, which could not and still cannot, assimilate with any other culture of ideology.
This fourth beast empire is the same one as the first beast empire mentioned in Revelation Chapter 13 that after receiving a seemingly mortal wound is resurrected in the second beast empire. Historically the two ‘beasts’ in Revelation is the one and the same empire of Islam resurrected in the second ‘beast.’ The prophet Joel tells us that this ‘locust invasion’ with its large teeth of a lion and fangs of a lioness will lay waste God’s vine and ruin His fig tree and strip of their bark, throw it away and leave their branches white. (Joel 1:6-7) Today in Israel we see Israel stripped of its spiritual vegetation and fruit and its branches are white and barren spiritually speaking. Every foul spirit of deception is present in Israel today.
It is interesting that trees get their nutrition through the bark that causes them to bear fruit in their season but if they are stripped of their bark then there is no way for the nourishing sap to flow up through the tree trunk and out into the branches of the tree effectively causing the branches to bear no fruit. Joel mentions two types of trees. There is God’s vine and His fig tree. They both represent Israel and by extension and inclusion the Church. Both Israel and the Church are like two sides of the same coin, ethnically separate yet one. By and large Israel and Christendom have been “spiritually barked” by demonic forces today. God says that His vine (The Church) has spiritually dried up and His fig tree (Israel) spiritually withered. Because His vine and His fig tree have no real spiritual life and power so most of the world continues to labour under the power of sin and its overlord Satan.
We also see the world void of God’s power and in a state of spiritual drought with the weight of its sin lying heavily upon it. The world totters like a hut being blown by a strong wind due to the weight of its sin. (Joel 1:9-12) (Isaiah 24:19-20) In Israel you have secularism, abortion, sodomy, materialism, Orthodox Judaism that rejects the Messiah, political leaders striving for power and a leadership divided, looking to the ‘Egypt’ of this world for its security instead of looking to the God of our forefathers of faith Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
You also have spiritual deception creeping in to some Messianic congregations. Most of this spiritual deception is coming out of America. God’s fig tree is being “spiritually barked.” The Lord Jesus put it this way when He said; “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” (Matthew 24:28) He was speaking metaphorically in a prophetic context related to the backslidden spiritual state of Israel, Christendom and in the world at large. The ‘vultures’ are the false prophets and teachers ‘feeding off of spiritually decaying corpses.’ The prophet Joel gives us a bleak picture at the end of the age of the spiritual state of both Israel and wider Christendom and the spiritual aridness of the nations by and large. (Joel 1:9-12)
In Israel today you have some Christian organizations supporting Israel but not telling them the gospel or not telling them that judgement is coming if Israelis do not repent and believe in their Messiah for salvation and righteousness received by faith alone in Him, and in His atoning blood. (Ephesians 1:7) Then you have a huge movement originally out of America being the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) now calling itself ICAL (International Coalition of Apostolic Leadership) teaching Kingdom Dominion theology and a form of apostolic authority which is not Biblical, but that is another story. Having said this there are faithful Jewish and Gentile believers preaching the gospel of the kingdom in Israel knowing full well that the Time of the Big Trouble is coming for Israel. Satan knows his time is short and he is working overtime to strip God’s Fig Tree and Vine of their spiritual sustenance.
As for wider Christendom it is infested with ecumenism, interfaith, Charismania gone mad, hyper faith prosperity, kingdom dominion and seeker sensitive, seeker friendly theology and no end of ‘prophets’ (profits!) telling God’s people that they want to hear and scratching their itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3) And so John writes that in the last days a plague of demons will be unleashed out of the Abyss and John likens them to locusts. These are demon spirits that will cause havoc in the earth. People will be afflicted mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. These demons or spirit brings will use the media and the cyber world to hijack the minds and imaginations of untold millions upon millions of people especially this upcoming generation of young people. Already we see this happening now!
This demonic deception will circumnavigate the globe much more than it is even doing now. The blessed Holy Spirit is now restraining evil and the man of sin. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) However, the day will come when the Holy Spirit will remove His restraining power and the lawless one or the Torahless one will be revealed. We are also told he will ride in on the apostasy and come with all kinds of counterfeit miracles signs and wonders but will be destroyed at the return of our Lord Jesus! (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8-9)
Now Joel also tells us that if God’s people turn back to Him that He will arise up and throw back their enemies. (Joel 1:13-14; 2:12-22) God is calling today for His people both the ministers, leaders and the people to turn back to Him and to repent recognizing that there is a famine for the hearing the rightly divided Word of God. (Amos 8:11) Having said all of these things God is going to spiritually restore Israel and the Church and a faithful remnant will be delivered to enter into the Messianic kingdom. (Joel 3:17-20) The ‘vine’ and ‘the fig tree’ will spiritually revive and in bearing their spiritual riches will see the surviving nations also bearing spiritual fruit in the millennial kingdom. (Joel 2:21-27)
The army of ‘locusts’ are now on the move and will come up out of the Abyss but at the end the LORD will destroy all of Satan’s work including his demons and Israel will be saved and the Body of the Messiah raptured and resurrected to enter the Messianic age on earth. (Joel 2:20; 3:1-16) In that day we will see what the prophet Joel has prophesied when He writes; “For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, and the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls…The LORD dwells in Zion!” (Joel 3:21) “The Locusts are coming but so is the Lord!”