In the first chapter of the Old Testament Book of Joel,
God has foretold that at the close of the age Israel will witness
a plague of locusts unlike anything seen before in history. Of
that day of drought and locusts God declares in Joel 1:2, 15
&16, "Hear this, you elders and give ear, all you inhabitants
of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, or
even in the days of your fathers?...Alas for the day! For the
day of the Lord is at hand; It shall come as destruction from
the Almighty. Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and
gladness from the house of our God?"
Like all of the signs prophesied for these last days, God
has been demonstrating dramatic foreshadows of the events which
are to culminate the close of the age. On July 24, 04 the
Colorado Springs Gazette had an article which had the telling
headline, "Biblical' Swarms."
The article stated that, "The arrival of swarms of ravenous
locusts from sub-Saharan Africa into Senegal brought renewed
warnings from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
that this year's infestation is building to a plague of biblical
proportions. The agency warned that without immediate action,
entire fields of maize, cassava and other staple crops across
northern and western Africa could be razed to the ground. The
problem would be especially acute if the insects make their way
into Chad, Niger and western Sudan, which are facing severe food
shortages due to unrest in Sudan's Darfur region."
The request for immediate action to combat the locusts gives
rise to how helpless mankind will be before the plague of locusts
which will overwhelm the Middle East in the not too distant future.
The Aug. 6, 04 Denver Post article which headlined,
"Plague of locusts smites W. Africa" reveals the futility
of attempts to halt the relentless march of such a hoard; and
of added interest to prophecy students how it is a United Nations
agency based at Rome in the European Union that is at the heart
of the battle to protect the world's food.
We quote, "Clouds of locusts swarmed this West African
city Thursday, crunching underfoot, blurring people's vision
and causing traffic accidents as sub-Sahara's biggest plague
of the insects in more than a decade swept south from the desert.
Burning smoky bonfires of tires and trash, the people of Nouakchott
tried to fight back the onslaught of the crop-eating bugs - estimated
by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to be moving as
fast as 60 miles a day and settling at a rate of 200,000 locusts
per acre. Blankets of the insects covered houses, cars and roads.
"It's beautiful to see and funny, the locusts on parade
in the sky," marveled Aicha Bint Sadibouh, a woman in Noaukchott.
"But when they invade the streets and homes, it's disastrous
The locusts' descent on a major sub-Saharan city made vivid
a growing international warning: Unseasonably heavy rains up
north had spawned the northwest Sahara's largest locust population
Experts warned of threats to vital rainy-season planting now
and harvests later. They urged urgent international action for
an arid region perpetually on the edge of food shortages.
"Farmers are just now planting the seeds in the ground.
...Some farmers now are afraid to plant any more seeds - they're
afraid once seeds germinate and the little plants come up, they
will be attacked by the locusts," said Keith Cressman, a
locust forecast officer with the Rome-based U.N. agency.
"The last risk is that when the crops are ready to be
harvested, around September, that will coincide with the formation
of new swarms" from eggs being laid now, Cressman said.
"That harvest could be seriously disrupted.
At risk are sustenance crops of millet, sorghum and other grains
that feed millions in vulnerable Saharan states. Vegetable crops
for markets likewise were in danger."
The Book of Joel is fascinating in not only its prophesying
of literal locusts plaguing Israel, but also in its illustrative
application prominently put forth.
The mention of the fact that the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization is based in Rome brings further to mind how Rome
is central to the prophesied global control the Anti-Christ will
exercise at the close of this age and his particular hatred for
Israel. He will intend to strip Israel down to the root of it's
existence in God according to Daniel 9:22.
An Aug. 15, 04 New York Times article which headlined,
"European nations join forces to battle crime" revealed
how the police powers of the revived Roman Empire are preparing
a new era of global Roman law which, according to Revelation
13:17, will someday control the world's food distribution.
John Markey, a director of law enforcement assistance programs
for the State Dept. and the principal U.S. liaison for the regional
center, known as the S.E.C.I. Center stated that, "For the
first time, we have investigators from several countries working
together, we have prosecutors involved, and victims crossing
borders to provide testimony without resort to legal-assistance
With Joel's prophecy of the day of the locust we find reference
to one of the great men of evil and his army which will bring
devastation and suffering to Israel as they descend from the
north like locusts.
Of this man we are told in Joel 2:20, "But I [that is
the Lord] will remove far from you the northern army. And will
drive him away into a barren and desolate land, With his face
toward the eastern sea And his back toward the western sea; His
stench will come up, And his foul odor will rise, because he
has done monstrous things."
This immediately brings to remembrance God's prophecy against
the Russian leader over Magog called Gog and all his swarming
armies written of in Chapters 38 & 39 of Ezekiel. In verses
16 & 22 of Ch. 38 we read, "You will come up against
My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be
in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so
that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog,
before their eyes...And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence
and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on
the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones,
fire and brimstone."
Chapter 2 of Joel contains a fascinating mystery for Bible
students. Verses 1 & 2 makes it clear that at the close of
the age a group of people unlike any ever seen before in history,
nor will ever be seen again, will come into the land of Israel.
Verse 3 declares that they devour the land with fire and that
nothing can escape them. Verses 4 & 5 describes them as appearing
as, and running like horses. They make a noise like chariots
as they leap over mountaintops.
Just when we think Joel must be speaking of a modern mechanized
army we are suddenly thrown another curve as verses 6-9 describes
what more likely are a super race of locusts. They are unyielding
in their formations and never break ranks as they run on walls
and climb into the houses through windows in their assault.
In verse 8 it appears the Scripture suggests that they are
impervious to human weapons.
In Revelation 9:1-11 we are told of how during the days of
the Great Tribulation, demonic locusts will be loosed upon the
earth from the abyss. They too have the appearance of horses
and the beating of their wings likewise sound like chariots.
Joel's reference to them being like a strong people set in
battle array in verse 5 of Ch. 2 is frighteningly illustrated
in Rev. 9:7-9 where we are told the demon locusts have faces
like men, hair like women and will have breastplates like breastplates
While the burden of proof at first suggests that these demon
locusts are the same army described in Ch. 2 of Joel we must
remember that their individually described acts of terror do
The destroying army of Joel uses fire and of the effect upon
the vegetation we are told in Joel 2:3 that, "...the land
is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate
In contrast we are told of the demon locusts in Rev. 9:4-5
that their only means of attack is that they sting unsaved individuals
like scorpions and unlike natural locusts they will not harm
vegetation. Verse 4 reads, "They were commanded not to harm
the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but
only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads."
Without any other possibilities on hand we must go back to
considering a human army. Until recently the apparent invulnerability
of this human-like locust hoard was the main factor for questioning
anything short of a supernatural assault force. This has been
alleviated to a large extent by an Apr. 29, 04 Associated
Press report which headlined, "Scientists Working on Flexible
We quote, "Army scientists are working on a liquid body
armor for clothing that stays flexible during normal use but
can harden to stop a projectile when hit suddenly.
Researchers hope the liquid could be used in sleeves and pants,
areas not protected by ballistic vests because they must stay
The liquid, hard particles suspended in a fluid, is soaked
into layers of Kevlar, which holds it in place. Scientists recently
had an archer shoot arrows at it to see how well the liquid boosted
the strength of a Kevlar vest.
"Instead of the arrow going through the Kevlar, it is
completely stopped by the Kevlar vest and sometimes just bounces
right off," said Norman Wagner, a University of Delaware
chemical engineering professor who is working on the project.
Vests treated with the liquid have also blocked stabs from
an ice pick, and researchers are doing more tests to see if it
can stop bullets or shrapnel, too.
The project, which has been under way for about three years,
is a joint venture between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory
and the University of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials.
Eric Wetzel, a mechanical engineer who heads the project team
for the Army lab, said a "shear thickening fluid" is
a key component of the liquid armor. Hard particles are suspended
in the liquid, polyethylene glycol. At low strain rates, the
particles flow with the fluid, enabling clothing to stay flexible.
But when heavily strained, the particles become rigid.
"If it's impacted suddenly by a projectile or a knife,
say, it rigidifies and somehow restricts the ability of the fabric
to move," Wetzel said.
The transition happens very quickly, a millisecond or quicker.
Wetzel and Wagner are optimistic the liquid body armor will
be useful to local police and prison guards and perhaps it could
one day protect people in automobile and airplane crashes."
The Book of Joel does not leave the reader in despair. Although
the mere 3 chapters of Joel contains some of the Bible's most
disturbing prophecies for its size, the whole book is an overall
metaphor for Israel and all believers to expect the inevitable
restoration of that which was thought lost.
In the midst of all the horrifying apocalyptic forecasts God
promises His people in verses 25, 26 & 32 of the 2nd Chapter
of Joel, "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming
locust has eaten, the crawling locusts, and the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty
and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who
has dealt wondrously with you, And My people shall never be put
to shame...And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the
name of the Lord shall be saved..."
Throughout history mankind has had to live through the days
of the devouring locust. Destroyers come in all shapes as they
take away the good of life and leave behind nothing but desolation
and despair. The greatest of these and the last enemy of God
to be destroyed according to I Corinthians 15:24-26 is Death.
The eternal restoration of all things beautiful and glorious
awaits every believer in Jesus Christ. God has stored up treasures
of all who hope. Treasures to be revealed as everlasting rewards
in the day of His appearing. Hopes that are both alive and many
that are buried under broken hearts.
I was reminded recently of a saving story. Jesus demonstrated
on the cross to us the most powerful reason to never crush one's
own hope on the matter of a loved one who no one had ever witnessed
accepting Christ. He put power to the command that we are never
to place ourselves as judges on such holy and divine matters
such as the final determination of an individual (I Cor. 4:5).
Unless you were listening to every word ever whispered by a person
throughout their lives and were present as an individual denounced
Christ with their dying breath, you have no justification before
man or God to proclaim with any amount of certainly that at some
point a call to Christ was not made. Even the quietest sigh is
heard by the Lord.
Last minute salvation is found at the heart of the crucifixion.
As Jesus hung on the cross He was accompanied by criminals on
His right and on His left who were also being crucified, just
as was prophesied in Psalm 22:16-18 & Isaiah 53:12 (see Matt.
In Ch. 27:44 of the Gospel of Matthew we are told that even
the robbers who were crucified alongside Jesus mocked and taunted
Him as He hung on the cross between them. This is a picture of
utter contempt for God and all He stands for. If ever there were
men we might believe were beyond hope for salvation, these two
men should head the list.
But then we are shown in Luke 23:39-43 that an amazing thing
took place with one of the thieves as he approached the closing
moments of his life. As the one criminal continued to unmercifully
taunt Jesus in His suffering in verse 39, the other suddenly
spoke up in defense in verse 40 for the Savior as the beauty
of Jesus' purity and innocence touched his own dark soul.
In verses 41-43 the entire record and requirement of one person's
last moment salvation is recorded for us. The man first acknowledged
he was a sinner deserving of death and that Jesus was a sinless
offering when he stated, "...for we receive the due reward
of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."
The thief then accepted Jesus as the Lord and petitioned Christ's
forgiveness by his dying request to be allowed to enter into
His heavenly kingdom as is recorded in verse 42, "...Then
he said to Jesus, Lord remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
The Savior then answered the thief in verse 43, "Assuredly,
I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
There was no demand for the thief to confess all his sins
or do penance, no requirement to attend church service, have
a charismatic experience, be baptized, or to give tithes, nor
any of the countless other vain requirements foolish men ignorantly
attach to the blood bought grace of Jesus Christ for salvation.
Amazingly, men will still stand in contradiction with the
Savior's dying example on the cross for what men must do to be
saved, that is, to simply believe in Him, the Lord Jesus Christ
for forgiveness. It is upon the cross that we find the embodiment
of all that grace was and is - undeserved favor. No one deserved
it then and none deserve it now. All one needs to do to acquire
it is to want it.
Indeed, the days that were before the devouring locust will
be restored, and even that which many believed had been lost
will be found again, perfect in its joy forevermore.
The Apostle Paul recorded for us in Romans 8:35, "But
if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it
with perseverance." And again in Romans 15:4, "For
whatever things were written before were written for our learning
that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might
When hope wains, look to the cross and find restoration.