Key Verse: Revelation 9:20a
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands…
Jim and Kathy Cantelon write today’s 100 Words segment (originally published in Crossroads’ Day Unto Day devotional series)…
By now you’ve seen how difficult it is to try to analyze and systematize the content of apocalyptic writing. John is describing a vision, and in doing so is attempting to describe the indescribable. Scores of well-meaning attempts have been made over the years to tell us what John “really meant,” but all such efforts should be taken with a grain of salt. Especially if the would-be interpreter is dogmatic about his interpretation!
This is why it’s refreshing from time to time in Revelation to come across material that hints at the purpose of the vision. Look at verses 20 and 21. These two sentences follow a description of two of the three remaining trumpet-disasters. The fifth trumpet precedes a fallen star unlocking “the shaft of the Abyss,” out of which a dense cloud of smoke produces a plague of tormenting locusts (verses 1-11). The sixth trumpet releases a supernatural army of 200 million who destroy a third of mankind. What’s the point of these cataclysmic horrors?
Apparently repentance is the point. Verses 20 and 21 tell us that the “work of [mankind’s] hands” is sufficient to bring heaven’s wrath upon the earth. That “work” is idolatry, murder, occultism, and sexual immorality. The scope of the disasters shows how enraged God is at sin. Were it not for the gracious work of Christ, mankind would have been destroyed long ago. That’s why we should repent of all sin now – while there is yet time.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Almighty God, I pray for continuous grace so that I may live in a repentant state, deliberately turning away from sin and moving always toward You! Lord Jesus, may I take my stand beside You at the entrance to the bottomless pit, Hell, and by every means at my disposal, seek to rescue the perishing multitudes. In Your Name, Jesus, I volunteer! Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
As a Pastor for many years, I would take the opportunity at least once a month to speak at a gathering of our young people. On one occasion I passed around papers and pencils, asking that they would describe modern warfare…tanks, fighter aircraft, flame throwers, etc., but they were not allowed to use any language which was developed in the past 100 years. One by one, I saw the lights going on in their faces as they understood what their Pastor was getting at. They faced the same challenge as did John in Revelation, trying to describe a battle scene which was 2,000 years into the future (Revelation 9:7-10). John uses the word “like” four times here. This means it’s symbolic, not literal.
It’s confession time for me. The reason I chose to use Jim and Kathy’s commentary on Revelation, besides my high respect for them, is that I can sometimes be a chicken (the opposite of a lion) when it comes to this book. Surprised? As I shared in a recent blog, I think it has something to do with my Doctor of Theology Dad telling me when I was just a boy that he had visited a library in London, England, which had over 1,000 commentary books on Revelation and, according to the librarian, not one of them, as far as he knew, agreed 100% in their interpretations. Sometimes, we just have to wait and see. I remember coming home from grade 7 at Hopewell Public School, starting to cry when I saw my Dad, and telling him that my science teacher had made fun of me in front of the class because I had raised my hand and said that God created all things. My father put his hand on my shoulder and gently said, “Just wait David, God will prove Himself to you over the years.” I waited, and God has surely proven Himself to me over and over!
Yours for the blessing John promised we would receive from reading and hearing this book, even if we don’t understand everything at the present time,