Yesterday we said that the fifth trumpet was blown to release tormenting demons onto the earth, the aim of which was to turn people’s hearts and minds to God. Sadly, this did not happen, and the judgement only gets stronger. Again, sadly, despite the situation getting so much worse, people will still not turn to God, even though they have seen possibly the worst conditions ever experienced on earth, possibly.
The passage yesterday finished, rather ominously, with ‘The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.’, and it does here.
13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.
16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths.
18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Yesterday torment, today death…on a huge scale. A third of mankind is upwards of two billion people, numbers we just can’t comprehend. The agents used in this are four angels who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year.
Are they good angels? Are they fallen angels? We don’t know because we aren’t told, but we can say that with such a big task comes a high rank. Whether they are good or bad, they are still serving God’s purpose, right? They had been prepared for this very task, this very year, month, day…this very hour. This is absolutely them doing God’s bidding, not rampant demons doing as they please. Whether they are good or bad, they are still serving God’s purpose, because He is sovereign, He is in control of His creation, all of it, every last being.
The saddest this is the last thing we read, the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
The remaining two thirds of people on the earth at this time carry about their business as usual, they forget God’s lessons oh so quickly. There are period pauses of judgement throughout this book for people to stop, look, remember, repent, turn to the Lord, and sadly, they are not used! Some are saved during this time, to be sure (7.14), but sadly, many continue about their business and continue worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Application for us? Be mindful of what God is doing in your life.
If you are getting pushback on something, persistently and progressively, it might be time to stop.
If a door has opened up for you, an opportunity has presented itself, take it.
God disciplines His children because He loves us, there is never any punishment (Jesus took care of that) only purification.
If things are going from bad to worse, be mindful of the fact God may be preparing you for something new, bringing a chapter to a close before opening a new one.
If things are going from strength to strength, praise the Lord!, and be mindful of what God is doing in your life and partner with Him. What a privilege we have to work together with our Lord for the good of His Kingdom.
We should be mindful of what He is doing, take encouragement from the fact that He is there with us during the bad, and that He is equally as present in the good, making straight our paths.
Be mindful of what God is doing in your life, and look around too, what is God doing in the lives of others in our church family? Some are hurting, some are suffering, some are riding high, some quietly going about their God-ordained business.
Come alongside people, pray with them, partner with them, be mindful of them.