Revelation 9.1-12 – Why is this happening?

1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; 9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.

Yesterday four trumpets were blown and God’s judgement on a fallen world began. Today, the fifth trumpet is blown and things start to get intense…well, more intense.

An angel is given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from it all hell breaks loose, literally. Could this be satan? Most likely not, he is hell’s victim, not ruler, despite what pop-culture would depict him to be. He is real, for sure, but he is is not in charge of hell, he is sent there.

From the bottomless pit, then, come demons, not actual locusts. We know they are not actual locust because there is lots of likelike…Why locusts then? Well, throughout the Bible locusts are used as a tool of God’s judgement, quite prolifically through the Old Testament.

The obvious question (for me at least), is why is this happening? Why does God allow such severe suffering on His earth, suffering that makes people want to die, suffering that lasts for months on end?

The answer, as always, is to turn hearts and minds back to the Lord, to have people repent of their wicked ways and turn back to God. Think about being at home and having to discipline your children; if they knock over a cup and spill a little water you don’t flip out and send them to bed with no dinner, do you? I hope you don’t, anyway. But, if they repeatedly disobey your instructions, continue behaviour that you have specifically asked them not to, culminating in breaking a priceless gift you gave them, then your reaction would be more firm than a little spilled water, wouldn’t it?

These verses then are a last chance for those on the earth who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour to repent, to turn away from wicked ways, to seek God through Jesus for their Salvation. Sadly, the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues (that the trumpets bring about), 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.

If you are going through a tough time today, this week, this month, or this year then please know that God is not punishing you, your punishment was poured out at Calvary on the cross.

Please do not listen to the demonic deception that you should give in, give up, or just walk away.

Instead, take it to the Lord in prayer, seek out other believers who can come around you and offer guidance, who can cover you with spiritual protection through intercessory prayer, but don’t listen to the deception.

As hard as it is to read, passages like this should make us sure in our choice to live the Christian life. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. The troubles we face on earth are the worst it will ever get. Those who may live prosperously now are living their best life, now. Ours is hidden with Christ, and when He comes or calls us home, we will be justified in our choice.

Worldview 2/4 – Meaning

Last time we said that a worldview to has to answer four big, basic questions, and today, number two, Meaning; is there purpose to life?

Other worldviews would say no, there is no such thing as a ‘why’ question…we are but a brief spark in infinite blackness. That sounds kind of dreary and dull, no? One day, our spark will go out, as does a match, then, (insert noise of person blowing out match here as you so desire), its all gone. 

Philosopher Bertrand Russell said this…

“…only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

Macbeth seemed to agree, didn’t he…

… Out, Out, brief candle
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
and then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury signifying nothing. 

How sad. Nothing but despair, no meaning, no point…bleak.
Now I don’t know about you, but plodding through life with despair as your major outcome, the thing that your life is all about…no thanks.

Others would say that God gave the universe meaning and purpose, but we can never know that purpose…we must simply obey and do good.

But what does the God of the Bible say? Almighty God through His Word tells us that there is meaning to life…to glorify Him, to know Him…

Our very purpose is relationship, the meaning of our life is relationship…with God Himself…revealed in the person of Jesus (John 10.30, 14.9, Colossians 1.15-20).

Apologist Ravi Zacharias states

“The person of God revealed in Christ is the answer to life. And those who deny the existence of God and the Saviour provided by Him ultimately end up with no moral law, no hope, no meaning, and if they are wrong, no recovery.”

As believers, as followers of Jesus, we have a special place in bringing Glory to God. We are to begin glorifying Him by our life as we live it right now. Not when our earthly life ends…right…now. Being sure you’re going to heaven is great, if you’re dieing. If you’re living, what do we do?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

(1 Corinthians 10.31).

The Bible has specific instructions in many places on how to run our lives. It tells us how to run our marriage, our business affairs, our employed lives, and how to conduct ourselves in society and in the church…all in a way that brings glory to God through Jesus Christ. 

So what does this mean for us? 

This marvelous truth has important implications for all of life’s decisions. We cannot live as if we are independent and free to do whatever we might decide to do. If we are Christians, we don’t own ourselves (1 Peter 1.18-19).

When all of this is taken together, a balanced Christian life will emerge. We will not be either lazy or workaholics; we will have an ordered family with a loving atmosphere; we will serve God in every way as we week to know Him better. 

This is how life is to be lived — our life is not separated into our “private, religious life” and our “secular” life. The life of a Christian is to be one seamless tapestry, with all parts working together to glorify Him who made us, Him who saved us, and Him who changes us.