What does locusts symbolize in the Bible (Symbolism and Meaning)?

My teenage son likes spending a lot of time exploring nature after school. The other day, I found him staring at a locust outside our house, marveling at its ability to jump so high. As a pastor and Christian, this got me thinking about locusts in the Bible. Since I love teaching my son the word of God, I decided to give him a lesson on locusts according to the holy book. One of the questions he asked me was, “What do locusts symbolize in the bible?”

Most Bible scholars speculate that since locusts in the Bible are used as instruments of destruction (Joel 1:4), they symbolize an army. Jeremiah compares the army that would come to destroy the Israelites to an army of locusts in Jeremiah 51:14. Other Christians suggest that locusts in the Bible symbolize multiplication and bad luck.

In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the symbolism of locusts in the Bible. Keep reading to find out the bible verses about locusts and much more!

What are locusts in the Bible?

Locusts in the Bible are small insects that look like grasshoppers. The Bible suggests that locusts are strong creatures that cause misery to certain groups. Joel 1:4 suggests that there are different types of locusts, including the cutting locusts, the hopping locusts, the swarming locusts, and the destroying locusts.

Locusts in the holy book often show up during droughts and breed fast during the swarming phase. They travel in large numbers and consume lots of vegetation in their path. The Bible speculates that the damage that these insects cause is so brutal that they can destroy a nation.

The Bible also described locusts as winged insects that walk on fours and have jointed legs above their feet in Leviticus 11:21-22.

How are locusts used in the Bible?

What does locusts symbolize in the Bible?
How are locusts used in the Bible? Image source: Pinterest

Locusts are important figures in the Bible and are sometimes used positively and other times negatively. For instance, Mark 1:6 suggests that locusts were used as part of the food that John the Baptist ate. According to the Mosaic law, locusts were not among the unclean foods.

On the other hand, the Bible also negatively uses locusts to suggest that they are devastating insects. For instance, Joel 1:4 speculates that God used locusts to punish the Israelites for disobedience. In this passage, locusts destroy grapes, figs, olives, wheat, barley, fruits, and grain.

Locusts are also used in the Bible to speculate how bad the end of days will be. Revelations 9 suggest that God will use locusts with unique characteristics. In this passage, the locusts are speculated to terrorize humans. This book implies that the locusts during the end time will be so thick that they will look like smoke in the air.

Bible verses about locusts

Exodus 10:1-20 speculates that God used locusts as an instrument of destruction. He sent the Egyptians a plague of locusts to persuade them to free the Israelites from slavery. The Locusts in this passage are believed to have covered the face of the land such that no one could see the land.

Judges 7:12 also mentions locusts. This verse suggests that all the eastern people, including the Amalekites and Midianites, had settled in the valley. It describes them as thick as locusts. This passage is about Gideon and his servant spying on the Midianite camp in the darkness. The Bible verse describes the eastern people thick as locusts that were an entire army. It also suggests that the size of the enemy overwhelmed Gideon.

Locusts are also mentioned in 2nd Chronicles 7:12-15. In this passage, Solomon had asked God to be attentive to the prayers of his people, and this bible verse suggests that the Lord had answered his prayer. God promised that if his people turned from their wicked ways, he would heal their land, and locusts would no longer attack them.

Leviticus 11:21-22 speculates that locusts are clean insects that can be consumed. This Bible verse describes locusts as winged insects that walk on all fours.

Additionally, Amos 4:9 suggests that God sent locusts to the gardens of Israelites, but they still did not repent. So God goes ahead in Amos 4:12 to suggest that he would bring a major judgment on them. In this passage, locusts are still used as an instrument of destruction.

What Do Locusts Represent in the Bible?

Most Biblical scholars speculate that locusts in the Bible represent wisdom. This is because Proverbs 30:24-28 suggests that locusts may be small, but they are extremely wise. It says that locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank.

Additionally, some Christians believe that locusts in the Bible represent the wrath of God over sins that humans commit. We can learn from the story of the ten plagues God inflicted upon Egypt as punishment. One of the plagues that were quite severe was that of the locusts that consumed every crop (Exodus 10:4-5)

Some Biblical scholars also suggest that locusts in the Bible represent God’s power. We can learn this from the same story of the plagues. Exodus 10:2 suggests that God used locusts to punish the Egyptians so that they may realize that he was God and was all-powerful.

5 symbolic meanings of locusts in the Bible

What does locusts symbolize in the Bible?
Symbolic meanings of locusts in the Bible. Image source: Pixabay

Symbol of an army

The Book of Jeremiah 46:23 uses the term locusts as a metaphor to represent an invading tribe. Theologians speculate that locusts in the Bible serve as a picture of a military. They are a fierce group swarming for the main purpose of destroying anything they come across. Additionally, in Jeremiah 51:14, Jeremiah also speculates that an army would come to destroy the Israelites. He likens this army to a swarm of locusts.

A symbol of multiplication

Biblical scholars also argue that locusts in the Bible could also be a symbol of multiplication since the Bible mentioned how fast these insects multiply in Nahum 3:15-16. This bible verse refers to Nineveh’s materialistic culture, which was full of evil entrepreneurs that swarmed like locusts. It suggests that, like locusts multiply fast and destroy crops, evil entrepreneurs multiply and consume people’s fortune and interest.

A symbol of bad luck

Deuteronomy 28:38 suggests that despite the effort the people put into their farms, they experienced bad luck since the locust outbreak negatively affected their harvest. The locusts in this passage are believed to represent a curse from God to the Israelites due to their disobedience.

A symbol of restoration

Though the Bible speculates that locusts bring destruction, biblical scholars suggest that they could also be a symbol of restoration since there is a promise of relief from the bad times caused by the locusts. This is explained in Joel 2:25, where God promised that he would restore the years that the locusts had eaten.

A symbol of robbery

Some Biblical scholars also imply that locusts in the Bible symbolize robbery. They argue that Nahum 3:16 suggests that the merchants strip the land and fly away. The merchants, in this case, are compared to locusts that rob crops from gardens and then fly away.

What Role Do Locusts Play in Revelation?

What does locusts symbolize in the Bible?
What Role Do Locusts Play in Revelation? Image source: Pixabay

Christians speculate that locusts in Revelation play the role of foreshadowing the end times. The book of Revelation suggests that God will use Locusts to persuade people to repent at the end times. The locusts in this book are used to speculate how bad the end times will be. Additionally, the Book of Revelations suggests that God sends trials through things like locus to restore the relationship with people.

Biblical scholars believe that the locusts that John describes in the book of Revelation are not like regular locusts. Revelation 9: 5-6 suggests that, unlike regular locusts that swarm against the vegetation, the locust during end times would swarm against humans and torment them with excruciating pain.

The same book also suggests that the pain will be so unbearable that the people will long for death, but they will not find it. Biblical scholars interpret this to mean that the locusts in this book represent God’s judgment of those that refuse to repent.

Why are locusts associated with end times?

The Bible does not clearly explain why locusts are associated with end times. However, Bible scholars speculate that locusts are associated with end times since they are among the most destructive insects in the world.

Some also argue that locusts are associated with end times since locusts have always been used as a symbol of judgment throughout the Bible. Additionally, some Biblical scholars also speculate that locusts are associated with end times since they represent the fulfillment of prophecies. Revelations suggest that the locusts advance like a cloud that darkens in the sky and sound like the rattle of chariots. Christians argue that this is drawn from the vision of Joel regarding the locust invasion on Judah (Joel 2:2-10), which represented the judgment from God.

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