Today's Bible Reading: Revelation 9
Selected Biblical Text
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 description of the fifth and sixth trumpets of judgment set forth the work of the evil forces as well as the work of the forces of good. The forces of evil work against the good of mankind but cannot touch those sealed and protected by God. The forces of good are God's instrument of judgment and kill one-third of mankind. 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.
In an apocalyptic book, written to a people who were in distressing circumstances near the end of the first century, what did these figurative representations mean to them? What was 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 that is described here (8:4), do you think God still protects his people today from Satan? If God is protecting us, why are we sometimes enamored by Satan's activity and temptations?
Dear God, we marvel that you so often withhold judgment when it is due. We are grateful for your care and protection. Help us to seek you so that Satan will flee from us. Help us to seek the ways of escape that you provide. Give us understanding as we study difficult Bible texts like the book of Revelation, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.