Reflections on Revelation #164

Day 164

“One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues—by the fire and smoke and burning sulfur that came from the mouths of the horses. 19 Their power was in their mouths and in their tails. For their tails had heads like snakes, with the power to injure people.”
Rev 9:18-19 (NLT) 

Remember that Prophecy contains very little literalness. Here we see presented the ups and downs that will accompany the gospel presentation. Israel rejected the Messiah because they had a literal interpretation of Prophecy. Revelation is a mosaic of the OT and apocalyptic symbols aim for overall effect rather than detail. The 5th trumpet had tormented with false ideas. The 6th trumpet kills. First comes the teachings of devils then the devils themselves. Compare this with Daniel 10 where Daniel is shown that earthly events were merely the outcome of the struggle between supernatural powers.

This description indicates that the plagues of the 6th trumpet are related in some way to those of the 5th. The power to harm in the 5th trumpet resided in the tail, in this trumpet the power to harm is in both the mouth and the tail. So there is an escalation of terror here. The good news is that the plagues of the trumpets are focused on the unsaved (Rev 9:4, 20-21), God is well able to protect His own we need not fear the fiery plague; our lives are in God’s hands.  

AS we prayed in our school staff group on Thursday I was mindful of the fact that we are in enemy-occupied territory and our school is an outpost of the kingdom of God. 

“20 But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Rev 9:20-21(NLT)

Using the language of Jeremiah who said Idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field (Jer 10:5); this is truly an amazing passage. The people in this passage have endured horrendous tribulations. Symbolically, they have been attacked by marauders numbering in the hundreds of millions (Rev 9:16). They have been assaulted by fire, smoke, sulphur, and apocalyptic horses with snake-like tails that bite. One-third of the human race is killed by all these tribulations. Yet they refuse to repent!

The astounding thing about our text is that it describes a moment in earth’s history when most of the human race still refuses to repent. It is possible to ignore the call of God, and ignore it again, over and over, until one reaches the place that even “hitting bottom” is no longer enough for God to get through to us. I’d rather pay attention to God in good times. 

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