🔼The name Apollyon: Summary
- From the verb απολλυμι (apollumi), to destroy: from απο (apo), from, and ολλυμι (ollumi), to terminate.
🔼The name Apollyon in the Bible
The name Apollyon occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Revelation 9:11, as the name of the elaborately designated angel of the abyss and king over a hoard of hellish locusts who have power like scorpions, and who waft out from the rising smoke of a furnace upon the blast of the fifth trumpet.
Apollyon, which is Greek, is known in Hebrew as Abaddon, meaning Destroyer or Destruction, and while most commentators confidently declare Apollyon to be an evil agent of satan, this is far from certain.
The angel of YHWH who smote all the first-borns of Egypt was likewise called Destroyer (Exodus 12:23). This Hebrew term for Destroyer derives from the verb שחת (shahat), to destroy, from which also comes the near-identical noun שחת (shahat), meaning destruction or decay (Psalm 16:10) or pit or grave (Job 33:22).
And like John the Revelator, the prophet Joel saw a vision involving a vast swarm of locusts descending upon the land and consuming and destroying everything. Yet Joel uttered the harrowing words: "Alas for the day! For the day of YHWH is near, and it will come as destruction (שד, shad) from Shaddai (שדי, shaddai)" (Joel 1:15, also see Isaiah 13:6).
🔼Etymology of the name Apollyon
The name Apollyon comes from the verb απολλυμι (apollumi), to destroy, which in turn consists of the common prefix απο (apo), meaning from, and the verb ολλυμι (ollumi), to terminate:
The verb ολλυμι (ollumi) means to terminate, kill or destroy, and verb απολλυμι (apollumi) means to destroy or exterminate, specifically by a removal from a natural environment or social collective (this word describes the proverbially "lost" sheep).
This verb may also mean to be extracted by merit of the destruction of whatever was holding one back, and as such it conveys an important principle of evolution, namely that future winners exist in evolutionary stasis as long as they remain overwhelmed by a majority of inferiors. The ancestors of mammals and birds existed long before they could finally arise, and could do so only when the great dinosaurs had been exterminated.
Noun απωλεια (apoleia) means a loss or extermination. Verb συναπολλυμι (sunapollumi) means to jointly exterminate. Noun ολεθρος (olethros) means a termination. Verb ολοθρευω (olothreuo) means to cause termination, and noun ολοθρευτης (olothreutes) describes a terminator.
The name Apollyon means Destroyer, but that was also the name of an angel of God. It also clearly reminds of the name Apollo, of the national deity of Greece (but see our article on Apollos for a closer look at Apollo).
🔼Welcome to the Metaverse, where all your dreams come true
As we discuss in our article on ονομα (onoma), meaning noun or name, the art of writing literally gave substance to otherwise intangible concepts: writing literally formed our modern human consciousness. The postal service was invented in Persia, most probably by the various wisdom schools, who were mostly Jewish and who wanted to maintain unified standards of knowledge by means of a systematically secured exchange of ideas and considerations. The Persian word for mailman, namely angaros, became the familiar Greek word αγγελος (aggelos), or "angel" in English. That means that Apollyon the angel is actually Apollyon the mailman.
From paper letters and a postal service by mounted couriers, it really does not take a huge leap of the imagination to foresee something like the Internet, which is essentially the same thing, just extremely efficient. That means that Apollyon the angel is not so much the towering winged ghoul from popular culture, but much rather an entity very closely akin our present Internet. And guess what? The Internet has just gotten a whole lot more immersive: the Metaverse has been conceived, and it's promising to make our deserts bloom, to hammer our swords into wikis, and troublesome spelling standards into cat memes. And what, you may ask, can possibly go wrong?
🔼Smoke from a furnace
The abysmal furnace from which Apollyon's locusts rise seems duly ominous. However, human modernity commenced with metallurgy (hence the Bronze Age as first step up from the Stone Age), and since metal doesn't melt in regular house-fires, the rise of metallurgy went hand in hand with the rise of furnace technology. Such technology, it should be emphasized, destroys the natural order of things, extracts the highly valuable and returns the worthless residue to where it came from.
That's not to say that technology is in any way unnatural, because precisely the opposite is true: technology comes from the mastery of natural law. A machine that tries to violate natural law (and thus do magic) will certainly lose that fight and blow up. A machine that operates faithfully within the limits set by natural law, will run forever. Mastery of law gives freedom-by-law, which is what the Greeks called ελευθερια (eleutheria) and venerated as the democratic ideal. The laws of creation, obviously, are the laws of the Creator. The Word of God sums up these laws (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16-18, 2:3) and thus sums up the Creator (Hebrews 1:3).
The word "metallurgy" describes the process of (1) separating ore from regular rock, (2) extracting metal from the ore and dumping the residue back with the regular rock, and (3) forging the metal into useful utensils. All over the Bible this metallurgic process is deployed as metaphor for the process of redemption, since it's highly similar to the complex process with which the Creator extracts his saints from creation — see our article on the verb αρνεομαι (arneomai), to artificially select, and metal-names such as Tubal-cain, Cyprus, YHWH-nesi, Zarephath and Ziklag.
God is not only the God of Life, he is also the God of Technology. The New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) is a city, which is a technological thing, and not a paradisal garden, which would be a natural thing. The earthly profession of Jesus was that of τεκτων (tekton), meaning Assembler (Mark 6:3), a word that is indeed very closely related to English words like text, textile and technology.
The Word of God is introduced as an autonomous character in the Bible in Genesis 15:1, where he first appears to Abraham, and tells him to have no fear because he is a shield to him. The word for shield is מגן (magen), from the verb גנן (ganan) to surround, cover or defend. A shield is of course a technological thing, the complimentary companion of the sword (Deuteronomy 33:29). Later, Paul would speak of the shield (θυρεος, thureos) of faith (πιστις, pistis), with which to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the slave-master (πονηρος, poneros). He also spoke of the breastplate (θωραξ, thorax) of righteousness (δικαιοσυνη, dikaiosune), which is relevant to our story because Apollyon's locusts have breastplates as well, albeit of iron (Revelation 9:9, Ephesians 6:14-17, Isaiah 59:17). Swords, shields and breastplates are metal objects, the result of highly sophisticated technology, which depends on thorough knowledge of the natural world and mastery of the laws that govern it.
Before the Word attained human form in Jesus (John 1:14), he attained technological form in writing and specifically alphabetical writing (see our article on YHWH), or more general: information technology (Psalm 16:10). Information technology has always been a subset of technology at large — meaning that people can't take to writing if these same people aren't also smelting metals; the whole of technology is like an ecosystem and the various specific technologies are like animals within that ecosystem, constantly evolving and always grazing or hunting the others. And so the Creator extracted Noah's family from the lost world at large by means of a ship, which is a technological thing (Genesis 6:14). And he began to meet humanity in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:22), which was filled with technology and bronze, which was made by technicians who were specifically inspired for this task by the Holy Spirit (Exodus 31:1-11).
But obviously, technology itself is neither good nor bad; it's humanity that does good or bad things with it. Noah's ark was technological, but so was the Tower of Babel. Jerusalem is a city, but so was Nineveh. Original high priest Aaron used his God-given metallurgic skills to create a malevolent golden calf (Exodus 32:4), yet his brother Moses used his God-given metallurgic skills to create a benevolent bronze serpent (called Nehushtan; Numbers 21:8).
The Hebrew word for bronze, the symbol of the beginning of technology, is the same as that for snake, namely נחש (nahash). The Greek word for snake is δρακων (drakon), from which English gets the word dragon. Yet this word for dragon relates to the verb δερκομαι (derkomai), to see, as both derive from the PIE root "derk-", to glance or see, making a dragon literally "one that sees". This is significant to our story because Hagar, the maid of Abraham and Sarah and the mother of Ishmael, first met the angel of YHWH at the place called Beer-lahai-roi, which means The Well Of The Living One Who Sees Me (Genesis 16:13-14).
The Psalmist sang: "The words of YHWH are like silver, refined in the furnace of the earth seven times" (Psalm 12:6). And when YHWH cut the great covenant with Abram of which Jesus would be the fulfillment (Galatians 3:29), he did so in the image of a smoking furnace (Genesis 15:17). Moreover, Isaiah spoke of YHWH "whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 31:9).
🔼Cats and dogs and bees and flies
Apollyon is an angel, and we moderns like to think that the word "angel" is a word like cat or dog or human, in that it describes a particular being from a specific genetic stock, but no, that's not the case. As we noted above, both the Greek word for angel, namely αγγελος (aggelos) and the Hebrew one, namely מלאך (mal'ak), simply mean messenger and describe anything whatsoever that conveys a message: first and foremost ordinary mailmen, but also heralds, burning bushes, wars and pandemics. Likewise, the Hebrew word for king (which is surprisingly similar to the word for angel), namely מלך (melek), and the Greek one, namely βασιλευς (basileus) don't particularly describe an individual but rather whatever it is that society stands or pivots on.
That means that an angel who is also king is not necessarily a person but may also be a shared principle (or signature lack thereof), a shared nature (for instance a selfish nature), or a collective modus operandi (say, blatant self-interest) that additionally conveys specific information to those individuals that do not partake in that modus operandi. But that's not all.
Flies, like locusts, are notoriously dismissive of central rule and are essentially all anarchists, which may seem wonderfully libertarian but amounts to very little in a world in which anything that is achieved is achieved via cooperation. This is why neither flies nor locusts have a language (which is based on convention and thus cooperation), whereas bees and ants do (for bees, see Karl von Frish and our article on Deborah; for ants, see Edward O. Wilson, and Proverbs 6:6).
Neither flies nor locusts acknowledge kings or lords. Subsequently, neither flies nor locusts have a house or care for their offspring. Flies spend their antisocial existence focused on dead things and excrement and produce little more than disease and more death. Bees, on the other hand, have a diversified society, a house, a language and products like honey. Bees provide care for their own offspring and help plants reproduce. Bees are essential to the global food chain and supply sustenance to a weary traveler who's willing to brave their stings (Exodus 3:8, 1 Samuel 14:27). Flies, on the other hand, are good for nothing but to serve as food for others. Flies are nothing but flying hot dogs, and Baal-zebub, or Lord of the Flies, is essentially a mock-name as much as King of Locusts is a mock-title.
Significantly, John the Baptist, the herald of the Christ (who thus is angelic; see Malachi 3:1), was known to eat honey and locusts (Mark 1:6). In other words, John the Baptist ate what bees produced but the locusts themselves. And that's no minor distinction.
🔼A king upon Zion
Imagine a vast plain, a desert, a huge grey and lifeless desert. And in the middle of that desert stands a solitary mountain, with a great round base, massive tree-covered slopes and an fiery-white sharp-pointed peak. Now imagine you are looking down upon that mountain from an air balloon suspended directly over the mountain's summit.
Below you, you see a huge bull's eye pattern, with a fiery white center, a broad green ring around the white center, and a greyish howling infinite around the green ring. You notice that the mountain is teeming with life, although you also realize that life is only possibly in the green zone, the Goldilocks Zone. Outside the Goldilocks Zone is the desert, and any living thing that ventures out into the desert swiftly runs out of energy and dies and disintegrates into lifeless atoms. That means that in the desert there is certainly existence; it's just not living existence, only dead existence. Life, you see, is a social thing. Just like language.
From our high balloon, we see that very far out into the grey desert, all existence is a mere mist of thinly spread quantum particles; particles that are all so exhausted that they have no energy to interact with their neighbors, let alone bind with them into structures that are greater than either. This is a condition that physicists call Heat Death (i.e. a death of heat, not a death by heat): which occurs when energy has dropped below the level at which any particle might move to catch up with any other particle, ever again. Heat Death is a state of permanent and irrevocable isolation, a vast prison complex where all reality exists in solitary confinement and where even the memory of society seems a mad hallucination. If a heat-dead particle could think, it would certainly think it was God — albeit a God relieved of the power to create or make things better or do anything beyond floating hopelessly motionless in the howling infinite of irrelevance.
Closer to the Goldilocks Zone, particles absorb energy and begin to bind with other particles: first into hydrogen atoms (the simplest atom) but the closer we get to the Goldilocks Zone, the more complex the atoms become. On the edge of the green zone, the vastly complex molecules of DNA form, and combine with certain lesser molecules to form the first and simplest forms of life.
Molecules, mind you, don't get any more complex than DNA. Material complexity reaches its upper limit at the edge of the grey desert, and the green Goldilocks Zone represents an existence that is beyond the comprehension of mere molecules, even the most complex ones. You could say that the edge of the Goldilocks Zone is an event horizon for material complexity (Luke 16:26). And that would put the whole of material complexity within a kind of black hole, with the first trickles of life like a kind of Hawking Radiation emanating like smoke from the abyss. (And in case you are wondering: a black hole has an infinite radius, and looks like a finite sphere to someone in the universe outside it. But someone inside the black hole, albeit not in the singularity, will experience the outer universe like a finite sphere that floats overhead. That means that a black hole and the universe at large are really two infinite spaces that are separated by a dividing firmament that curves around whatever space the observer is not inside of).
All lifeless objects absorb energy and so get warmer due to the individual motion of their atoms. They can't retain this energy and so continuously radiate whatever they have absorbed. The blacker the object, the more energy it absorbs and the hotter it gets and the more it radiates. A living thing is a thing that absorbs energy but doesn't get hotter and so does not radiate energy. Instead, the atoms of a living thing are able to harmonically work together and collectively transform energy into a chemical equivalent (in plants that would be honey). A living thing is a thing that is able to retain absorbed energy, without getting ever hotter and eventually burning up, which is of course rather marvelous (Exodus 3:3).
That means that a living thing is in effect blacker than blackest: transfinitively black (in a Buzz Lightyear sort of way). It also means that one's verbal expressions have a "thermal" spectrum that corresponds to one's most fundamental constitution (to do with etymological relations and poetic associations of the words of our language). And the difference between a language-based consciousness and a purely emotional mind (pre-language) is the same as that between an inanimate object (which reacts purely to what it experiences) and a living thing (which stores, grows and expresses at its own will).
Inward into the green zone, going up the hill, living cells become more complex. Then they discover themselves and each other, and begin to specialize and diversify, and soon they start to form colonies. Then they become multi-cellular, then they become conscious, develop speech, script, science and law. At the upper edge of the Goldilocks Zone, where green life touches the fiery white summit, biological life reaches yet another event horizon and cannot move any further. That means that no single living creature can reach the singular summit, and can thus review the whole of everything at once. All living creatures must always have a limited perspective, because their private perspective always relates to the view from a position other than the peak.
The Psalmist asked: "Who may ascend the Hill of YHWH? Who may stand in his holy place?" (Psalm 24:3).
No single living being can reach the unified top, but by binding their minds into the continuum of their living language, multitudes of humans may form a single spiritual being, and that collective being cannot burn (Daniel 3:25, Matthew 18:20). And so it can travel on, and reach the top of God's mountain and attain God's own omniscient perspective on creation (John 1:18, Hebrews 1:3).
Many people have tried to define God, and most have defined God the way we would define a cat or a dog or a human: according to some genetic stock that isolates the entity from that which it is not. But God is omniscient and omnipresent, so why would we seek a definition of God that depends on that what God is not? Here at Abarim Publications we find such definitions not very useful. Instead, we like to focus on the Divine Nature, because that Nature "is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:27-29; Deuteronomy 30:11-20). That Divine Nature "can be clearly seen and understood through what has been made" (Romans 1:20), and can even be partaken in by those who know this Nature and love this Nature and so become one with it (2 Peter 1:4, John 17:21-24, Ephesians 4:24, Hebrews 12:10).
God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4), and makes all things work together for those who love Him (Romans 8:28-29), who thus too become the radiant image of Him (Hebrews 1:3). The purpose of life — not some breathless philosophy but the core objective that is hard-wired into every atom, every speck of dust, every living cell and every human heart — is to unite. Like an interstellar cloud that slowly but surely contracts onto its collective center of gravity, so life is like a perfect machine that slowly but surely homes in on the laws of nature, and slowly but surely shaves off whatever stubbles and barnacles have managed to grow on its edges, like a fuzzy picture that gets sharper and sharper when the lens that projects it gets more and more perfect (1 Corinthians 13:12).
The laws of nature are one, and scientists hope that someday they will be able to describe all laws of nature in one single Grand Unified Theory or Theory of Everything. And why do they hope this? Because like atoms, specks of dust and paramecia, scientists too are driven by that innate urge of everything within creation to be one with everything else and so be natured by the nature of the Divine.
God is Love (1 John 4:8), which is not some mushy feeling but a measurable force that stimulates social convergence. Love is what entices us to cross our borders and face the unknown, the alien and the utterly other. Love causes us to respectfully imitate our unintelligible neighbors — and this is where the incredible miracle of human language comes from.
The exact same measurable force that produced language in humans (1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1, Philippians 3:17, Hebrews 13:7) also created theology in humans (Matthew 5:48, Ephesians 5:1). And theology, mind you, is not the study of God (because God cannot be measured and therefore not studied) but the study of everything; the study of Consilience, the study of the harmonic oneness of all things.
Philosophers will rightly insist that God is the Utterly Other, the Ein Sof, the Undefinable. But for all practical purposes, God, or that which can be known about God, or that which for all practical purposes serves as the God of all that exists, is the one thing that the whole of creation has in common: the Divine Nature, which is the Oneness of all things — and no, God is not "all things" but the harmonic working together of all things. All things that exist do so because they came from Oneness. Their whole existence and all their interactions are governed by Oneness. This is why what goes up must come down, why energy, momentum, electrical charge, baryon number, and so on, always balance out, why all bills must be paid and all debts must be settled.
Oneness means righteousness without play or margins, a perfect and perfectly predictable machinelike and emotionless righteousness, always the same (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17) and without preference or favoritism (Romans 2:11); a completeness and righteousness without which nothing can exist (Matthew 5:18).
🔼Deus Ex Machina
The machine that is the universe — within which life has its integrated existence, within which mind has its integrated existence; and matter, life and mind are self-similar: see 1 John 5:8 — draws all things to a state of oneness (John 12:32). That very often requires the breaking and crumbling of rocks that once found reason to form but have no lasting place in the oneness of all things. And that requires a Destroyer, a Cruncher, a Smelter. When all is One, and all that had to be broken has been broken, the Destroyer himself will have no more function and will exit the Godly realm as the last of the imperfect.
Monotheism is an astonishing intellectual achievement, and the first monotheist on record was Abraham, the one to whom the Word first appeared (Genesis 15:1). Monotheism is the view from the balloon over the mountain, and most people alive today are not in the balloon but somewhere in the Goldilocks Zone. Hence most people today are not monotheists, and are thus pre-Abrahamic.
The word "god", put simply, is that upon which reality pivots and hinges: reality's most fundamental principles and most dominant powers. The sun, moon and stars, planet earth, the wind, war, love, a bustling city, the emperor, his law, his law enforcers; these are all totally legitimate gods to non-monotheists (Exodus 18:11, Psalm 82, Jeremiah 11:13, 1 Corinthians 8:5), which is why polytheism is still the most common reality model among humans today. Polytheism understands reality from the perspectives of the living creatures that inhabit the Goldilocks Zone. The Greeks and Romans were polytheistic, and most forms of popular Christianity are based on the Greco-Roman pantheon.
Then there is dualism, which is the belief that all reality arises from a cosmic battle between good and evil, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. Dualism is a huge step up from polytheism and was perfected by Zoroaster, whose followers competed with those of Abraham, the monotheist. Followers of Abraham differed from the followers of Zoroaster in the understanding that darkness is not the opposite of light but the absence of it, and certainly not the presence of something else. Light is substantial but darkness is not. Light is a force (formally called electromagnetism) but darkness is not. Light propels and gives warmth and generates life. Light binds electrons to nuclei, gives living cells their soul, gives living minds their thoughts. Light carries information and comes in a variety of colors. Darkness is the absence of all that, but not the presence of something else.
Cold is the absence of heat, and not the presence of something else. Death is the absence of life, and not the presence of something else. Folly is the absence of wisdom, and not the presence of something else. Hate is the absence of love, and not the presence of something else.
The purpose of evil is not to combat whatever is good but to destroy whatever is destructible. As the Psalmist said: "Evil will slay the wicked" (Psalm 34:21). Through Jeremiah, God said: "When they ask you, "Where should we go?" then tell them, "Thus says the Lord: "Those destined for death, to death. And those destined for the sword, to the sword. Those destined for famine, to famine. And those destined for captivity, to captivity.""" (Jeremiah 15:2, Revelation 13:10). Jesus said: "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If satan casts out satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?" (Matthew 12:26). And Paul urged: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:3-6).
When we travel up the Mountain of God, we cross event horizons and attain new substance where none existed before. Then we perfect the potential of that new substance, until it hits an asymptotic ceiling and can improve no more. Whatever crosses anyway was never part of the old substance, but had existed within it, buried like gold in ore. Our new existence does not replace an old one, but rises above it, as the old one becomes death and the new one becomes life. Crossing event horizons means entering into life from death, and no dead thing can begin to imagine what life is until it transcends the only reality it has known and attains the unimaginable.
Through Isaiah, God says it like this:
"I am YHWH, and there is no other. Besides Me there is no God. I will gird (אזר, 'azar, see ζωνη, zone and Ephesians 6:14) you, though you have not known (ידע, yada') Me, so that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am YHWH, and there is no other; forming light (אור, 'or) and creating darkness (חשך, hashak), causing peace/wholeness (שלום, shalom) and creating brokenness/evil (רע, ra'). I am YHWH who does all these" (Isaiah 45:5-8).
🔼Birth and death
We humans have crossed two major event horizons. First we crossed the event horizon from matter into life. Whatever the "soul" may someday technically turn out to be, in practical terms, "soul" is that what makes the difference between our living body and a sack of mud of equal weight. Life and thus soul are mysterious things, but we do know that soul is based on electromagnetism, which is also what keeps atoms together (compare John 8:12 to Colossians 1:17). That means that soul is like gold that was extracted from the ore that is the matter of our body. Sunlight is light that is squeezed out of violently fused atoms. Soul is light that is eased out of harmonically cooperating atoms. The methods of extraction are quite different but what comes out is quite the same light (Exodus 34:29, Matthew 17:2, John 12:36).
Our living body and a sack of mud of equal weight have the same atoms, and a sack of mud can't tell the difference. A sack of mud has no means to imagine that our living body is in any way different from it. Our atoms are the same. Living things are a subset of material things, but no material thing knows this. Material things only know material things.
Our "soul" is our animated self: all living things have soul because "having/being soul" and "being alive" is the exact same thing. Hence Genesis 1:20, 1:21, 1:24 and 1:30 consistently speak of נפש חיה (nepesh haya), or "soul [that is] living". All animals are souls, and that means that they have exactly the same emotions as we do. They can't talk about them, but they do have them. The Greek word for soul is ψυχη (psuche), which derives from the verb ψυχω (psucho), to breathe. A "soul" is that what breathes. In Genesis 2:7, Adam became a living soul; he didn't get one, he became one.
When a living thing crosses back downward across the first event horizon, its soul (its condition of being alive and breathing), simply ceases to be — and in case you are concerned with the afterlife, imagine a living thing like a hurricane: when the energy abates and the hurricane stops to exist, its dust falls back to the earth it was never not part of, and its wind flows back into the atmosphere it was never not part of. When a living thing begins to travel down the mountain and crosses from soul back into matter, it crosses from life back into death and returns to dust and dissipates away. That is the first death, and there are two; see Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14 and 21:8.
🔼Second birth and second death
When we traveled upward and crossed the second event horizon, we crossed from life into spirit. Just like not all matter attained life, not all life attained spirit. Yet, like soul exists like ore in matter, so spirit too exists like ore within life. Whatever "spirit" may someday technically turn out to be, in practical terms, "spirit" is what makes the difference between a eusocial super-organism (a beehive, an ant colony) and an antisocial individual (a fly, a paramecium). The Hebrew word for spirit is רוח (ruah), which also means wind (John 3:8). The Greek word for spirit is πνευμα (pneuma), which comes from the verb πνεω (pneo), which means to blow.
Edward O. Wilson once famously claimed that the individual ant does not exist, because every individual ant derives its entire existence from the greater colony, and quickly dies when it's separated. Just like a single human cell cannot exist separate from the body at large, so an ant or bee cannot exist separate from its society at large. As Edward O. Wilson put it: the ant is the entire colony; the ant is a super-beast that comprises many individuals. Likewise, a bee and a fly may seem rather alike to a careless observer, but no, the bee is the entire hive, whereas the fly is a single individual. The difference between the bee and the fly is the same difference as between a multi-cellular organism and a single cellular one.
The Greek word for locust is ακρις (akris), which is identical to the word for pointy hill-top (hence the familiar name Acropolis, or City On The Hill; see Matthew 5:14). Noun ακανθα (akantha) means thorn or prick. Noun ακρον (akron) means extremity. Noun ακροβυστια (akrobustia) means foreskin, or someone who has one, which is someone who is not circumcised. And as we discuss in our lengthy article on περιτομη (peritome), circumcision, in classical antiquity, an uncircumcised man was inevitably an unmannered buffoon who had never learned to curb his various enthusiasms, and who progressed through life by following his (how shall we put this?) easily stirred instinctual nature.
And speaking of which, imagine the number 8: two circles, touching like soap bubbles. Both have a heart, or a singularity, if you like. The "will" of a man is the heart of his emotional self (lower circle). The "understanding" of a man is the heart of his rational self (upper circle). Both circles see the other as a sphere floating overhead. But if you can see stars all over the firmament, outside the other sphere, you're in the top one. If you see all stars huddled within the other sphere, you're in the lower one. See for more on this our article on φρην (phren), midriff.
More down to earth: locusts are the Bible's proverbial opportunists. They are normally as solitary as flies, but when the opportunities align, the individual locusts rise up in vast clouds of semi-congregated like-minded selfish pricks. A vast swarm of them is a phantomic pseudo-spirit, a demonic semi-super-organism that amounts to an apex predator; one that swoops in on the wind and gorges on everything organic, from plants to young birds. Apollyon's locusts have power like scorpions — the noun σκορπιος (skorpios), scorpion, obviously relates to the verb σκορπιζω (skorpizo), to scatter or disperse — whose sting is in their tail (reactionary, defensive) rather than, say, in their horns (confrontational, competitive) or even in the words from their mouths (proactive, offensive).
The difference between a swarm of bees and a swarm of locusts is that a swarm of bees is smart and a swarm of locusts isn't. In the 1990's, scientists began to discover that a so-called smart-swarm literally behaves like a single brain. An unsmart-swarm behaves like a sandstorm. A smart-swarm has a mind; an unsmart-swarm doesn't. An individual bee is a soul, but the bee is a spirit. An individual locusts is likewise a soul, but a swarm of locusts is a zombie.
Our modern human mind is exactly like an ant or a bee. Our celebrated consciousness runs largely on words, and words only exist in many heads at once. All words are little consensuses, little agreements on how to call a thing, and our "individual" consciousnesses are really bees in a much larger hive. Our "soul" is our animated self; our "spirit" is our social self, and a spirit always comprises multiple souls (Matthew 18:20; next time you see a flock of starlings, say: a spirit!).
A journey back downward across the second event horizon, causes the death of the spirit, which is the second death. In the second death, one's concerns for one's society stop to exist and one becomes wholly self-absorbed and self-oriented, a mere soul in the greater biosphere, an animal among animals (Psalm 49:20, 73:22, Ecclesiastes 3:18, 2 Peter 2:12, Jude 1:10). Just like a fly looks like an individual bee, your body still looks like a human, and you will still utter words like a human, but you won't have conversation because your spirit is dead: you're only half alive. You're a zombie.
Ask anyone what heaven is, and they will tell you that heaven is where you meet all your friends and loved ones, and where everybody lays around in abundance and bliss, where all your desires are fulfilled and not even the laws of physics get in your way. That means that when folks actually manage to create such a genuine magical kingdom, vast multitudes will flock toward it and willingly and eagerly enter it. What the eager multitudes won't immediately realize is that this version of heaven is the mental version of a Venus Flytrap.
The human mind is highly plastic and is constantly upgraded according to its experiences. A reality where all things exist in a perpetual harmonic Oneness will — very slowly but very surely — produce minds that are likewise wired to exist in a harmonic Oneness. A place where the governing rules are not One, is a place where God is not (or more precise: where God cannot be found). That won't sound very urgent to people who never knew God, but God (i.e. the Divine Nature that is the harmonic oneness of all things) is literally what keeps the human mind human. Without God there is no consistency and thus no humanity and hence only "eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power," as Paul dramatically puts it (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
Humanity in its present form is the common ancestor of two kinds of new humans: (1) a very large group that naturally draws toward the sweet tasting bliss of having everything their own way, and (2) a very small group that naturally draws toward that which they are not, that what must be painstakingly studied and whose congress must be painstakingly won.
Roughly between the ages one and seven, human children develop and perfect Theory of Mind, which is a theoretical understanding of the mental state of someone else, derived solely from observing that other person's behavior (including gestures and talk). And the key is that this understanding of someone else's state of mind also understands that the other person may have a totally different sense of reality, knowing things we don't. A properly functioning Theory of Mind is contingent on the more fundamental understanding that our own mind is limited and thus incomplete, and that therefore we need the other guy to be complete (hence Enosh, son of Seth).
All animals have emotions, but animals have no proper language because they have no or very little Theory of Mind — hence animals ask no questions, and asking questions is literally what makes a vast human population home in on the collective experience of things, which then become words, which then become conscious thoughts and hence the continuum of consciousness we homo sapiens are so celebrated for.
The Kingdom of Heaven is a kingdom whose atomic structure consists of bridges between minds, and those are built from weakness and dependency not from strength and self-sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Zechariah 4:6, Matthew 11:28). In the Kingdom of Heaven, every human is a Christ, which is a sovereign who died to his own soul and lives for the spirit in wide-eyed appreciation of everything strange and other. In the Metaverse, however, every human is a Caesar Augustus (or an Adolf, if you will) who simply deletes whatever he doesn't like — all the ugly, the different, the disturbing — until the whole world is pleasing to the user and made into his own image.
🔼Reaching the Metaverse
As Willy Wonka once sang so gaily, in the Metaverse, users can be whoever they want to be, and make the world into whatever they fancy. There nobody has to explain themselves, or defend themselves or will be forced to deal with society's tedious codes and constructs. In fact, in the Metaverse, users no longer even have to yield to God's obligating law, the one that demands harmonic unity, but can be a law onto themselves, like once the glorious Babylonians (Habakkuk 1:6-11). In the Metaverse, users can fly and walk on water, and even the sun, the moon and the stars will be obliged to yield to their omnipotence. They may literally be men of lawlessness, mighty sons of destruction, like true children of Apollyon (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
But it gets better! Sensors will measure the user's mood and hormones, and a dedicated AI will take on the role of preemptive Like-button, and adjust the user's environment before the user becomes aware of anything negative. Food and such will be delivered by drones, and served by bots, and experienced by the user as served in a Caribbean restaurant by a waitress who looks like Scarlett Johansson. The synthetic will vastly outperform the natural, and be continuously honed to the user's immediate appetites. All work and play will occur in virtual reality, and biological procreation will plummet very quickly very steeply.
Initially, the Metaverse will be a gathering place of avatars that are all based on living human individuals, but every user's own personal AI (i.e. Adolf Intelligence) will gradually reduce the organic human element and replace it with artificial intelligence according to the user's liking. That means that over time, the user's environment will contain only his own human input, amplified and diversified by algorithms. He might think he's surrounded by others, but nope, they're all Scarlett clones. He might think he has free will, but nope, he's playing AlphaGo, and he will never again be able to want something that AlphaGo doesn't want him to want. He will never want to want to get out of the game.
Whatever text remains will be replaced by voiceovers and reduced to clickable icons. Over time the user will forget how to read, which in turn will eradicate his imagination. Human speech will gravitate toward the user's own preferences, until this speech has become unintelligent to anyone but himself. Even if the user would want to (he won't), and could finally wrestle off his harness, his goggles and headset, his run-rack and sensor suit, he would have no common humanity left to engage a similarly escaped neighbor, if he can find one (which he can't). He wouldn't recognize another human being if he saw one, because she surely won't look like Scarlett Johansson, which is all he knows. He's lost his Theory of Mind, which is where his spirit commenced. He would think he's saying "good morning" in perfect English, but he will sound like a barking and snarling beast to anybody who could hear him.
The Metaverse is like booze for the mind. There's nothing wrong with the occasional swig, particularly when that lubricates social relationships (Deuteronomy 14:26), but too much too long will lead to isolation, delirium and irrevocable de-humanization. The Metaverse is the wind that will give rise to an impending locust super-swarm: a wall of death that's barreling down upon the human world. It won't be pretty when it gets here, but a zombie swarm like that is nature's way of ridding itself from a detrimental excess or plague, and like any storm, it will certainly burn itself out. The Metaverse will cause vast multitudes to experience a mental Heat Death, when individuals have drifted so far apart from others that they will never again be able to bond and create societies and language and consciousness (Psalm 35:5).
🔼After the great dying
Modern humanity is the common ancestor of fly-types and bee-types. The bee-types will continue the path of social evolution whereas the fly-types will first massively die off, and any survivors will regress and turn into something that resembles pink pigs. Humanity has known this subconsciously for decades; it's where the surprising popularity of the zombie-genre comes from, and evergreens such as The Fly (1986), The Matrix (1999), and Children Of Men (2006), which all play with these same themes.
Bees keep no secrets. Bees wholly know each other, because they are constantly around each other and imitate each other and so look, smell and behave the same. Progress is made from small deviations from the norm, which in turn is assessed by everybody else and either massively ignored or massively adopted. Bees know each other and bees never have to introduce themselves or verify their passwords or their user accounts. Flies, on the other hand, are known only by themselves and are aliens to everybody else. Flies are stopped at every checkpoint and asked for their papers — the verb for this is βασανιζω (basanizo), to be torturously checked; see Revelation 20:10.
Fidelity was once recognized as the only sound currency, but today the word trades in ruses, and the once so great human institutions are dropping like dinosaurs. Vast swarms of flies feast on the rotting carcasses, and whatever proto-hive the bee-type folks are trying to assemble gets continuously overrun by fly-type folks, whose only desire is to create tribes and feel good joints. Fortunately for the bees, the spiders of mass-delusion and the pitcher-plants of meta-masturbation are scooping up the flies by the truck load, and as long as the bees focus on the high flowers and not the corpses and excrement on the ground, they'll eventually be fine. Soon bees will find others and join into hives where no fly can ever hope to enter. It's highly unlikely that human speech is the best the universe can come up with, and the chances are more than excellent that the ceiling will be breached once more and the whole galaxy will wake up to an interstellar gathering of living spirits (Psalm 89:5, Isaiah 34:4, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, Revelation 6:14). The mind is a continuum, just like the biosphere and spacetime. Bees drift, you see.
Whatever will be left of the fly-types will scurry back into the forest and there live happily ever after among their own kind. The bee-type people will form a living Internet and a living Metaverse that will function like a large array antenna, and will pick up communications from other bee-societies, even very remote ones.
Above we mentioned transfinite blackness. That comes with speeds faster than light (see our article on the hypothetical particle called tachyon). And that will allow the formation of a reality that cannot possibly be imagined by the sub-lightspeed crowd. Remember the balloon from which we looked down? How far that little candle throws its beams!