This 2006 article mixes politics with prophecy (a volatile combination) and paints a grim picture of one possible future. Whether one believes in prophecy, or not, is almost beside the point; a great many people do. What is to stop anyone with an agenda from using such verses to his own advantage?
Not for the faint of heart.
Notes on John’s Revelation
The Apocalypse of Jesus
February 18, 2006
(VizReport) In analysing these verses, I’ll be using the King James Version (KJV) of the text because it’s generally the most widely known of the translations from the original Koine Greek — the language of the dream transcription penned by John on the island of Patmos. It’s possible that his personal copy was actually written in Aramaic, but no record of that document remains.
‘Koine’ means ‘common’ in Greek. Though ancient Greek literature was usually composed in the more formal Attic Greek form, the prevalence of Koine Greek increased dramatically following the conquests of Alexander with increased exposure to Macedonian (and other more easterly) influences. John was a native speaker of Koine, but it seems that he also read and spoke Aramaic and possibly Hebrew.
- Note: Aramaic itself was a hybrid of Hebrew and Syriac using the Hebrew alphabet and comprised of roughly 80% Syriac word content transliterated into Hebrew letters. The remaining 20% was Hebrew. The same development has occurred many times throughout the history of the Jews, even to the extent that dozens of Spanish dialects, including Catalan, are actually Hebrew hybrids. Yiddish, a Germanic-Hebrew hybrid, is the most familiar example of this linguistic trend.
Revelation 9:1 to 9:11
9:1. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
The star. A star that falls from heaven is often called a “shooting star” or simply, a “falling star”. In the Farsi language of Persia (Iran), this is called a “shihab” or “shahab”. Coincidentally, or not, the government of the Iranian Islamic Republic has adopted this name for their missile program. Their current series of missiles are named Shihab I, Shihab II and Shihab III. The Shihab IV, a longer-range missile capable of reaching much of Europe, is currently under development.
A person from that time (prophet or not) would have very little knowledge of technology; the grist mill was then still considered a very remarkable invention. Missiles, aside from spears, were unknown.
The fifth angel. Angels and stars are used almost interchangeably in the parlance of the Revelation, so it’s possible that the same is true here. Iran is reported to have at least one more significant missile in its arsenal — the air-launched, nuclear-capable, KH-55 cruise missile, which was apparently supplied covertly to Iran by a Ukrainian group. It has a range of more than 1,000 miles and a sophisticated guidance & targeting system. Janes Defence Weekly refers to the Iranian version of the KH-55 as the X-55, but it’s rumoured that some of the country’s Revolutionary Guard commanders refer to it as either the 555 or the Shihab V…the fifth “shooting star” or “angel”.
The key. Just as knowledge can act as a key to unlock a puzzle, technical knowledge can be used as a key to unlock the secrets of the universe. In this case, a highly technological (weapon) design would be a key that opens the door to the bottomless pit of nuclear power. That’s not just a poetic way of describing the dark side of atomic energy, but an apt technical description of the power and geometricity of matter.
The bottomless pit. A hole that’s infinitely large could logically contain an infinite amount of stuff. Theoretically, the smaller the hole, the less stuff it should be able to contain. Now, imagine an impossibly small hole packed with an impossibly huge amount of stuff. Well, there’s nothing impossible–or even improbable–about that…it’s called an atom. It’s not quite “infinite” or “bottomless”, but it’s the closest thing we can find to approximate it.
If you were to dig a hole in any spherical aggregation of matter, whether a ball, a planet, a sun, or an atom…that hole could not be bottomless because it would eventually exit the other side of the object. As a matter of fact, it becomes less and less “bottomless” as you pass the centre-point of the mass. The only way to be “bottomless” is to penetrate deeper and deeper into the “centre” of the object. There is no better description that I can think of for describing the breaching of the boundary that constrains the ultra-intense power of the atom.
9:2. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
Needs little explanation.
We’ve all seen movies of the immense, sky-darkening clouds, blinding flash and immense fireball generated by this sort of weaponry.
9:3. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
It makes sense that locusts might flee such an event, if they could, but how would such grasshoppers suddenly become as dangerous as scorpions? In a comic book plot, they would mutate, but in reality they would just die.
I think it’s fairly clear that John’s not talking about ordinary locusts here, but some type of armed machinery that flies low, like a locust horde, but which can sting like a scorpion – or worse.
But who–in their right mind–would fly a helicopter through the fallout of a nuclear blast? They would have to be suicidal.
- “The only tool against the enemy that we have with which we can become victorious are martyrdom-seeking operations and, God willing, our possession of faithful, brave, trained and zealous persons will give us the upper hand in the battlefield.”
- Mohammad-Reza Jaafari, Brigadier-General
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Commander, “Lovers of Martyrdom Garrison”
February 13, 2006
General Jaafari has been bragging that, at last count, he has more than 50,000 suicide operatives ready and willing to gain early entrance to Paradise. This doesn’t include the country’s paramilitary Bassij units whose members are claimed by officials of the regime to be in the millions. Now, some of this can certainly be ascribed to bravado…or machismo…or some other cool sounding word for “talkin’ big”, but this is the same government that has been sponsoring suicide operations in various locales for the past quarter century. When it comes to suicide, these guys have authored the most definitive text on the subject. And they’ve written it in red.
9:4. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Since John describes these craft variously as locusts or scorpions, he must draw a distinction between the “things” from the vision and the everyday insects with which his average reader would be familiar. He does it by stating that these “creatures” aren’t interested in eating the shrubs and grass of the best pasture land. Some interpreters have taken this verse to mean that the “beasts” will be environmentally conscious, à la… “Ooh, don’t hurt the earth, or anything green.” That’s not it at all.
He means that they are only given one instruction: “Seize the Infidels!”
9:5. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
The flying scorpions attack successfully and then are instructed to painfully torture the captive infidels for five months. I understand that the sting of a scorpion is similar to a highly acute burning sensation.
9:6. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
I don’t think that there’s any sort of “good” torture, but this sounds like the worst kind.
9:7. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
The word “shape” is one translation, but “form” is a better one. Like horses assembled for battle; arrayed as a group, armoured, and representing uniformity of purpose and action. These are not horses, though, but “flying scorpions”. The faces of men will be seen at the front. And above them… an impressive circlet of rotating metal.
9:8. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
Two translation issues here: This should be “manes” not “hair” to be consistent with the descriptive horse/lion theme. And, as in a certain part of Zechariah, where the word “woman” is routinely substituted for “fire” (Hebrew/Aramaic: ishah vs. a’isha or isheh), the same thing seems to be happening here.
These horses will have manes of fire, i.e., they will be military jet helicopters, with fire flowing out behind them.
And, like lions, they will be equipped to do battle.
9:9. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
Once again: armoured. And their blurred, locust-like wings would beat a loud rhythmic sound, like war chariots and their heavy horses charging to battle. (These verses really are beautifully written, but considering the content, it’s a cruel sort of beauty.)
9:10. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
Long tails, like scorpions…or helicopters. And, like the scorpion, possessed of a blade at the tip. Imagine a blade so sharp that it can cut the air. The duration of five months is restated, in association with the word “power”.
9:11. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
The king of all these weapons is the atomic. It is the key to the bottomless pit.
In Hebrew, the word Abaddon means “destruction” or “destroyer”, but events are sometimes named for the place at which they occur, like Hiroshima – a name synonymous with atomic destruction. This could be a double entendre.
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, upon witnessing the first successful atomic explosion, mouthed to himself (somewhat regretfully) this short passage from the Baghavad Gita; “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Reproduced courtesy of VizReport
8 responses to “The Foreboding Nature of Prophecy”
Tehran: It would only take four missiles to destroy Israel
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One thing I’ve always been intrigued by is the order of nature, and how delicately it’s all balanced. One thing can cause a domino effect on so many others. Great posts here!
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Thanks, Matt. I appreciate the feedback.
More interesting things on the horizon…