Reading: Revelation 9
20The rest of mankind who 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. 21Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Rev. 9:20-21)
Reflecting and Thinking
The fifth and sixth trumpets of judgment detail the work of the evil forces as well as the work of the opposing forces of good. The forces of evil work against the good of mankind but cannot touch those protected (sealed) by God. The forces of good are God's instrument of judgment and kill one-third of mankind, but still the rest do not repent.
In view of the parallels between the trumpets of chapters 8-9 and the plagues which appear later in the book in chapters 15-16, it is interesting that the activity unleashed by the sixth trumpet (verses 13-19) is described as plagues in verse 20.
Again, in an apocalyptic book, written to a people who were in distressing circumstances near the end of the first century, what do these figurative representations mean? What is the message for them? What is the message for us?
What would it take for people committed to evil to repent? Are some people beyond repentance? Based on the protection from Satan's forces described here (8:4), do you think God still protects his people today from Satan? If God is protecting us, why are we sometimes prone to Satan's activity and temptations?
Dear God, we marvel that you so often withhold judgment when it is due in our world. We are grateful for your care and protection. Help us to seek you so that Satan will flee. Help us to seek the ways of escape you provide. Give us understanding when we face difficult texts like the book of Revelation, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.