Sunday, 10 January 2021
They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. Revelation 9:8
In the previous verse, John began a detailed description of the “locusts” that he saw. The symbolism was clearly that of modern-day jet fighters. To this point, one might include attack helicopters as well, though a later description seems to argue against that. What is presented is clearly that of jets, however. John is seeing them close up and from a distance, as if he is watching a movie about them. One minute he is looking right in the cockpit, and the next minute he is seeing them whir by overhead. Such is the case in this verse as he says, “They had hair like women’s hair.”
Women’s hair is long and flowing. The various locks will blow behind them in the wind, giving them a look of beauty and grace as they pass by. So it is with jets. Imagine the last time you were at an air show with jet fighters and the planes flew in all kinds of crazy ways and directions as the smoke-making device pumped away. What did it look like? Or when you watched an old-time WWII movie and saw hundreds of bombers flying to their targets, what did the skies look like as the contrails followed behind the planes?
In both instances, something like the long hair of a woman following behind was seen. At least, if you were John on the island of Patmos two thousand years ago, this is how you would describe the scene. In a battle of fighter jets flying to and fro, he would have seen locusts that “had hair like woman’s hair.”
And then after viewing the scene from a distance, he is brought close again to what he was just seeing from afar… a fighter jet flies by him! On the fighter are the traditional painted teeth of war pilots of battles past and battles yet to come. Some are painted like tigers or sharks and yes, some have teeth like those of the king of beasts. As John states, “and their teeth were like lion’s teeth.”
The lion is an animal that John was obviously familiar, both from Scripture where the lion is often described, and from his own personal witness (or he could not have made the comparison). As the locusts whirred by, he would see the terrifying painting on the fighter and stand in awe and wonder at what he was seeing in his prophetic vision.
Life application: From our modern knowledge of air forces and air war, it is apparent that when one stands back and reads these verses, they are not describing something spiritual, but rather something real. Real battles like this are coming to the land of Israel and the surrounding areas. What is being described is something John is being given a glimpse of. Great wars are on the horizon. They will affect the people and the nation of Israel and the nations coming against her.
John must have been dumbfounded and amazed at the sight he was beholding! We too should be amazed, but for an entirely different reason. What John saw so perfectly matches what we now know. It is impossible to not be amazed that the Lord presented it so clearly and precisely to him. It is as if John was in a cave on Patmos watching a modern-day movie, but with his limited knowledge of the world of the future. As such, he was excitedly penning details that would not be understood for a full two thousand years.
In this, the prophetic vision confirms the reliability of the sacred word. The word of prophecy points to the truth of God in Christ. He has come, and His name is JESUS!
Certainly, Lord, You are in control of the future. If You can reveal such startling detail of future events to men who lived thousands of years ago, and which are even today being fulfilled before our very eyes, then You have all things in Your mighty grasp. Why should we fear when You know the end from the beginning? We can look to You and feel the comfort of knowing that all things are under Your control! Hallelujah and Amen.