A big thanks to Laura for the inspiration for this post.
“1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.
2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.
3 And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.
4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
5 They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
6 During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces.
8 Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.
9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle.
10 They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.
11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.
12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.
13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God.
14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.
18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.
19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood – idols that cannot see or hear or walk.
21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. “
This is not your warm and fuzzy God of the New Testament that many Christians like to talk about. This is the sadistic, vengeful, homicidal god of the Old Testament. He’s back and he’s pissed!
How can a being who has any modicum of mercy or love in them possibly dream up such horrific tortures for “his children”. This is something that would get any parent locked up for life for child abuse. I can certainly say that man must have been created in this god’s image because he is a truly sick, evil bastard. Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Mao, the Khmer Rouge would all look at him, shake their heads and say, “Wow! That is one fucked up evil bastard!”
And the writer wonders why people didn’t fall down and worship God. Well, let’s see, he just killed two thirds of the population (that’s 4,488,000,000) people in today’s world! Yes, you read that right, that’s four and a half billion!!). And before that, he tortured them constantly for 5 months! Yes, that’s the one I want to worship. If anything, those people should be given kudos for not bowing do to a homicidal maniac.
But, you say, we don’t take it literally, it’s allegorical. What the hell is it an allegory for? Any way you slice it, horrible shit is going to be perpetrated on a whole bunch of people. And even if the angels are meant to symbolize evil people, leaders, plagues, natural disasters or whatever, it’s still God’s will being done, so at the very least, God is a passive/aggressive monster who gets off on seeing “his children” suffer unspeakable things. Sort of like that aunt who just loves talking about all the bad stuff that happens to everyone. She says how terrible it is, but you know she secretly gets her rocks off on it.
It is stuff like this that made me decide a long time ago that I just can’t offer up prayers to an entity that is so cruel and evil that it would torture and kill it’s own creation. I always hear how God is a god of love. Well, there isn’t too much love going on in Revelations. In fact, there isn’t too much love going on anywhere in the Bible, except for some of the sermons of Jesus and the Song of Solomon. And even Jesus turns out to be a frightening, avenging lunatic in Revelations. I’m not sure who people are praying to, but whoever they are, love isn’t their list of priorities.