Brains shift the field of evolutionary struggle into learning. In Revelation 9, the Most High adopts new methods to force animals to learn to cooperate. But selfish spirits liked the dinosaurs – they were wonderful machines. So when the Most High wiped out the dinosaurs, their ghosts took root in their successors: insects, birds and mammals. That spiritual infection troubles us even today.
Winter is cold and flu season, but every year we make appointments to get a flu vaccination. When the sore throat and sniffles start, we might wonder “Where was my cold vaccination?”
There isn’t any, and there probably never will be. The reason is that getting a cold is something that keeps our brains from freezing when the weather gets cold. A cold blocks up the nasal passages and sinuses that lie right next to the skull, keeping the cold air from flowing through them and reaching the brain. A cold is like temporary hair on the inside of our head.
Again, we might wonder “Why?” Why would the body adapt so that every part of it suffered so that the brain can stay alive? The reason is that in adults the body changes only slowly, and those changes aren’t passed on to babies. Conversely, the brain learns new behaviors daily, and those behaviors CAN be passed on to babies.
Like a mother teaching her daughter to put on a sweater and cap when she is cold.
When brains became standard equipment in larger animals, evolution happened millions of times faster than it did before. This is why the rest of the body is sacrificed for the survival of the brain.
In Revelation 8, the great extinctions are described as geological events. We heard of fiery mountains, poison seas, suns and stars blotted out.
In Revelation 9, a distinct shift occurs. The disasters are described as certain types of animals, animals that seem demonic in their nature.
This reason for this shift is that evolution had shifted to the brain. Life had learned to make bodies of all types. In the era following the fourth disaster, the era of sight described in the fourth day of Creation, animals swam in the sea, walked the land, and flew in the sky.
On the land and in the sky, those animals could succeed only because of vision: sensitive eyes sending pictures to large brains that could interpret them.
But there is more to the brain than just keeping track of what is going on in the outside world.
As well as protecting the brain from bruises and cold, the body is designed to keep the fluid around the brain extra pure. Special linings prevent harmful chemicals and germs from passing from the blood into the brain.
In that super-clean place – a kind of biological clean-room – the cells of the brain communicate along long fibers called axons and dendrites. At either end, the communication is just like in other cells: chemicals are sent from one cell to another. But along the fibers, the message is sent as electricity.
Remember that in Revelation 5, when the terrible scroll of seven seals is revealed, the angels are gripped by fear and dread. Here is the reason: angels are made of electricity without weight. This allows angels to change the signals that flow along the fibers of the brain. That can be used to change animal behaviors, but it also changes the angels.
Now if you go ask a scientist whether angels are “weightless electricity,” he would probably laugh. But the important point is that the angels are affected far more by brains than by other kinds of flesh. How do we know? Because in Revelation 8, there’s no talk of pain when the disasters occur. In Revelation 9, John describes the terrible suffering felt by the angels. That big difference is that after the fourth day of creation, evolution had shifted from a competition by muscle and bone to a competition of learning in the brain.
The suffering of the angels on earth also gave them a reason to fight against their lot. The greatest danger was that selfish angels might use brains to convert animal energy into spiritual power. If that power becomes great enough, they might conquer heaven. We’ll see their attempt described in Revelation 12.
Of course, the goal of the Most High, through the Lamb that was slain, is to fill brains with love. How would it have gone about that?
Time to turn back to scripture. Remember in reading John’s words, we have to remember that he sees connections between events across ages, and he sees the angels as people trying to use animals as machines. So when he talks about “mankind” or “people,” he’s talking about angels.
When the fifth trumpet is sounded in Revelation 9, an angel – described as a star – opens the abyss to release a horde of insects. As John describes them:
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. They had tails and wings like scorpions.
[NIV Rev. 9:9-10]
These pests are released upon the reptiles of the Triassic era. What would these selfish creatures have done about insects: the poisonous scorpions, blood-sucking ticks, and their flesh-eating larvae?
Look at chimpanzees and we see the solution to this problem: chimpanzees groom each other. Reptiles lack the parts of the brain that causes this behavior in chimpanzees. So the reptiles suffered:
[The insects] were not given the power to kill [the unsealed angels], but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of a sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
[NIV Rev. 9:5]
Worse, like all the creatures before them, the reptiles got stuck, filling up the entire world until no new kinds of life could arise. It was only a matter of time before a disaster destroyed them. Indeed, science tells us that volcanoes – described by John as a “great furnace” that darkens the sun and sky – caused the great extinction that ended the Triassic era.
The Triassic was followed by the Jurassic, the era of the great reptiles – the dinosaurs. While simple, these creatures had powerful bodies. The huge mouths of plant-eaters mowed through grasslands and brush, and the over-sized claws, jaws and teeth of the meat-eaters terrify us to this day.
The brain’s escape from these clumsy and destructive bodies began in the Cretaceous Era. Mammals and birds arose, and the flying insects that pollinate flowering plants. All of these creatures demonstrate the social behaviors sought by the Most High. Among the insects, bees and ants form colonies that work as one.
Birds and mammals birth helpless young with over-sized brains and feed them until their bodies are strong.
Love had taken root in life, and would not be denied.
This is the tipping point in the struggle against selfishness, and the Most High finally intervenes directly in the battle. In Revelation 7, four angels stood ready to “harm the land and the sea.” Now they are called to action by the sixth trumpet:
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.
[NIV Rev. 9:15]
Science tells us that no one disaster could destroy the dinosaurs. Their destruction required an asteroid, volcanoes and foraging by mammals and birds that ate the eggs in the dinosaurs’ unprotected nests.
But even as the dinosaur bodies were destroyed, they were survived by the selfish spirits that gloried in their age. These spirits were powerful, and took root in the successor species. John reports:
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.
[NIV Rev. 9:19]
This is the “serpent” that corrupted Adam and Eve in Eden. It is the “sin” that overcame Cain. It is the devil that tempted Jesus during his fast in the desert. John ends Revelation 9 with the acts that the serpents cause in men even to this day: demon and idol worship, murders, magic arts, sexual immorality and theft.
Let’s summarize today’s study.
Brains have two special properties: they allow animals to learn new behaviors, and they use electricity that affects angels. So where the great disasters of Revelation 8 are described as things that affect the land and sea, in Revelation 9 John describes the terrible suffering of the angels that were not sealed up by the Most High.
The reptiles that ruled the Earth during the fourth and fifth days of creation were unable to learn to take care of each other – their brains were not large enough. By directly acting to destroy the dinosaurs, the Most High allowed social creatures – insects, birds and mammals – a chance to cover the earth.
With love firmly in mind, the tide has turned against selfishness. The struggle is still difficult: the spirits of the dinosaurs survive, and try to influence us. As it was for Cain, they make it hard for us to stop hurting each other and the world that the Most High loves.