John gives a description of the evil forces that were hurting the people so severely. These strange descriptions in the Book of Revelation are often a description of character.
So, like the insects called locusts, these evil forces gathered in vast numbers. Like horses in battle, they were strong and bold (Job 39:19-25). They wore gold crowns (royal hats); so they claimed authority over people.
They had human faces; perhaps that showed that they were intelligent. Their hair was like womenís hair (that is, it was long - 1 Corinthians 11:15). That may show that they were attractive. Devils tempt people to give them honour - in fact, people are doing that in verse 20. People often serve the images of false gods because they consider them attractive.
They had teeth like lionís teeth. That expresses great cruelty. Lions are fierce wild animals (Psalm 7:2; Psalm 22:13).
Plates of iron cover their bodies. There is a similar description, probably of the animal called the crocodile, in Job 41:15-17. Both passages refer to the way that soldiers protect their bodies in battle (1 Samuel 17:5). The meaning is that it is impossible to attack them.
They make a noise like a great army (Joel 2:5). In fact, much of the Book of Joel may describe the same, or a similar, event. They cause terrible pain with their tails, as the small animal called the scorpion does.
Many people have asked whether the descriptions in this chapter may refer to modern military equipment. Of course, John described everything by reference to what he knew. However, we must remember that these attackers come from hell itself (verse 2). They are devils and not men.
Next part: Abaddon or Apollyon (Revelation 9:11)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.