Revelation 9:6

Friday, 8 January 2021

In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. Revelation 9:6

The translation here is lacking several definite articles –

“In those days, the men will seek the death and will not find it. They will desire to die. And the death flees from them.”

In this, it graphically personifies death, and it shows the miserable state of existence of these particular men. They are looking for Death, anticipating him. And yet, this same Death will be escaping out of their reach, fleeing from them though they long to embrace him.

With those changes noted, the words can be more precisely analyzed. John begins with, “In those days.” This is referring to the time of the locusts tormenting the men they target like the torment of a scorpion. It is a period of five months. From there, John says, “[the] men will seek [the] death.”

The death brought on by the locusts is what is anticipated. So constant, so maddening, and so terrifying is their sting that with each new attack, these targeted men will hope that the barrage will find them and destroy them. For five months, there will be no time of expected safety or calm.

Like a person enduring Chinese water torture, the attacks will come at any time without warning. Morning, noon, or throughout the night. Sleep will be impossible, mealtime will be a time of fear, and so on. The state of death will be preferred over continued existence. And yet, John says of their seeking death, that they “will not find it.”

Like soldiers stuck in a foxhole enduring a constant barrage of artillery, and who finally come to the point where they desire the next shell to end their existence, so will these people hope that the next air assault will be their end. The strain on the human physique, and the torture to the mind, will come to such an exhausted state that death will be preferable to life. Of this, John next says that “they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.”

The repetition here is a poetic tool known as parallelism. It is found throughout the Bible. A thought is stated and then it is restated in a similar manner. It is a means of intensifying the text to accentuate the emotion. It emphasizes what is being said and it draws the reader’s attention to the situation –

* men will seek death and will not find it
* they will desire to die, and death will flee from them

The obvious question is, “If they are seeking death and yet not finding it, then why don’t they kill themselves.” This is the paradox of human existence. Though we may long for something, we will often not actively pursue it.

Even when a person is faced with the hope of death, there is still such a strong will to survive that the thought of suicide is entirely excluded. Were it not so, the battlefields of history would be riddled with self-inflicted wounds. And yet, they are an almost insignificant number in comparison to the overall total.

And of those deaths that are self-inflicted during war, the majority of those are for reasons beyond the simple desire to end one’s existence. Soldiers will sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. Or they may fall on their own sword to avoid worse treatment while still alive (see 1 Samuel 31:4).

In this, one can see the absolutely horrifying nature of the attack by the locusts. Men will be driven to a point of desiring death and yet inwardly yearning to not die. This is where the parallelism of the passages finds its highest accentuation. Death, the feared entity of humanity, will be sought after as if a lover. And yet, he will flee from these men as if he were their greatest mocker.

Life application: There are many literary tools found in the Bible such as parallelism. They are given to help the reader understand the context, empathize with those referred to, find horror, suspense, or delight in what is being conveyed, and so on. Parallelism can be found in positive thoughts and in negative thoughts. A set of positive ones from the Psalms says –

“You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.” Psalm 139:2, 3

Taking the words of John, and comparing them to known history, can then help us to understand what is being conveyed. In the Gulf War, the Iraqi soldiers who had been captured from the front lines made statements similar to what we read in this verse.

They had been under precision-guided attacks by the American forces and sat in their tanks waiting and wondering when their time would be up. They had prayed for death and it didn’t come. The agony of the uncertain state they were in was so horrifying that all they wanted was for it to be over. They desired death, but it fled from them.

This is the same sentiment that will come again during this time of targeted attacks by the locusts of Revelation and the parallels are striking. One thing the people won’t do, just as they didn’t do in Iraq, was to commit suicide. The force and desire to live is strongest at one’s own hand, but the desire to die is stronger when another may take it. It is a terrible state to be in.

As we read the Bible, let us consider the various types of literary tools that are employed, and then let us compare what is being said to things we know from our own experience. In this, we will have a better grounding in both the context and how it is worked out in human existence.

This is a link to one site of biblical literary devices. Make yourself aware of them –

In knowing what is conveyed, we will be more responsible in our theology because we will be rightly analyzing what is stated. In this, we will then be rightly pursuing what the intent of the passage is. These things are given to properly unfold Scripture, and Scripture is given to properly reveal to us the One who came to lead us back to God. It is given to properly reveal JESUS!

Lord God, help us to get the message of Jesus out to the people of the world. It is a message of love, hope, and reconciliation with You. May we never tire in telling others of the wonder and majesty of the simple gospel of our salvation – Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day. Belief in this simple plan is what brings us back to You. Praise You, O God, for the simplicity of the gospel. Amen.


3 thoughts on “Revelation 9:6

  • Friday, January 8th, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Amen. Absolutely scary stuff here, thank god we are not appointed to wrath! What can be said anymore, the people are in full on rejection of God now. I can’t believe we will be here to see Biden sworn in. That is a front row seat to the rise of evil in this country and the world a seat I will pass on in favor of a seat at the wedding feast, that is the seat that counts.
    Just to clear up a comment i made the other day, no I am not an anti Trumper i was skeptical but hopefully. I even went to a rally that is how hopeful I was but my skepticism kept growing for two reasons 1: he seemed to be doing everything right for the people EVERYTHING, a good thing for sure. 2 : the swamp never drained if anything it was sustained. While conservatives were attacked and thrown in jail monthly it seemed all these democrats with reams of evidence against them and their treasonous ways just keep walking the streets with out a care in the world….Lock Her Up…..what a joke that was, just buzz words to keep the people pacified, hopeful and blind to what was really going on! Trump and the GOP never went on the attack they just stood there like a punching bag and took everything the Democrats threw at them. Hence my disappointment with Trump and vindication of my skepticism as to why he won in the first place. He could do something Hillary couldn’t drive the wedge that will break this country apart! The classic good vs evil accept they were working together on this and have succeeded in spades! The silver lining here is we have moved that much closer to the rapture Amen I felt I needed to share that with you because so many Christians were enamored with Trump and they lost the ability to be decerning about him, their focus was more on him to fix things than Jesus. No doubt God was using him to accomplish his purposes , again Hillary would never have moved the embassy to Jerusalem, Trump was gods man for that and the catalyst to bring us to this point in history! We see now why America is not in bible prophecy and will be unable to come to the aid of Israel when they need it most. It’s time we get our focus back where it belongs on Jesus because he is at the door ready to bring us home Trump has brought us to the door of the rapture and amen for that! Hope I didn’t offend anyone I just felt the need to share these view with my SW family and to emphasize where our focus should be right now.

    We are another day closer to home
    Grace, Mercy and peace on you and yours
    God Bless my friends we fly soon

  • Friday, January 8th, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Praise God. Let us patiently wait on him. Jesus Messiah of Nazareth. What a blessing to read his word and to worry about nothing, praying about everything. What a light we have, even when things become dark.

  • Friday, January 8th, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you Charlie! How insignificant our problems will be to those living during the tribulation. Had they only called upon Jesus, none would need to suffer.


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