12/18

December 18

Revelation 9

FIFTH TRUMPET: Locusts
As seen in verse 12, the locusts are the first woe (sorrow), with two more to come. Demonic beings, are released from the bottomless pit that cause five months of torment. The comparison to the locust is in reference to their approximate 5 month life cycle. These beings will torment, not kill, allowing opportunity for repentance of men and women. These demons work under the direction of the angel named Abaddon (Destruction) and Apollyon (Destroyer).

In just this trumpet description alone, the words “as” or “like” are used 11 times. John is describing what he sees:
Like horses prepared for battle
On their top was crowns like gold
Faces were like the faces of men
Hair like a woman’s hair
Teeth like a lion
Breastplates like iron
Wings with sound like chariots with many horses going into battle
Tails like scorpions

This could be the description of a military vehicle, perhaps a helicopter. The enemy could be behind some kind of army attack.

SIXTH TRUMPET: Four Angels at Euphrates
This is the second woe (sorrow). These angels are released to bring judgment on the earth, killing one third by fire, smoke, and brimstone.

John sees an army 200,000 million horsemen. Historians estimate that there weren’t even that many people living on the earth during John’s lifetime, and here John is seeing a vision of an army of that size. Then we see John trying to describe what he’s seeing. It sounds like a tank or a modern military vehicle, so John compares it to what he knows, which is a horse. He describes the front of the vehicles as like a lion. John said that out of their mouths he saw fire, smoke, and brimstone, perhaps the gun on the front of the military vehicle. John described seeing harm coming from their tails, again, another weapon from the back of the military tank or vehicles.

Even after all this destruction, the people do not call out on God for help. They are so dependent on themselves, that they don’t look beyond their own strength for a God to intervene. Instead, men and women continue in sin. Here is what Jesus sees in the people on the earth:
False religions
Murder
Sorceries (Greek is pharmakeia, compare with pharmacy, referring to drugs)
Sexual immorality
Thefts

This is why the world ends the way it ends. Throughout the history of mankind, sin has increased and culminated. This wasn’t God’s plan, but God allowed men and women to make their choices.

God allowed the human race to populate and fill the Earth with the mandate He gave us in the beginning in Genesis 1:28. He allowed the human race to use our will, and by our will we let Satan and sin have access. Every human being was born into a sinful world (Romans 5:12), and throughout time, sin has increased, and nations would rise and fall. New territories of the planet were inhabited, often by those looking to escape corrupt governments, and before long, sin would have its way in that country too (Acts 17:26). For example, the USA was formed on Christian principles, one the last inhabitable barren lands to be developed, and see how sin has increased in recent years. The increase of sin and hardened hearts is a sin of the end.

God has no other choice but to bring this sinful world to an end; however, He also gives the promise that He will come again, restore this world, and rule and reign over it in righteousness! Hallelujah!

Jonah

The story of Jonah and the big fish might be familiar to many of us. It’s a story of Jonah’s disobedience, resulting in being eaten by a large fish, then repenting and preaching in Nineveh. Jonah gives us an incredible lesson on the importance of obedience. What else can we learn about Jonah?

Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, Israel’s enemy. Assyria was a pagan nation that ravaged Israel’s countryside and took many Jews captive.

Jonah was a prophet that prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II. He was a strong nationalist that believed the Assyrians were deserving of severe punishment for their wicked acts, their false religion, and what they had done to Israel.

Jonah was called to prophesy to a Gentile nation. No other Old Testament prophet had been called to go into a Gentile nation to offer Jehovah’s forgiveness, let alone a nation that had brought such harm to Israel. Jonah wanted Assyria to come to an end, not to prolong their end through mercy and possibly extend their opportunities to harass Israel.

Jonah is an Old Testament book that reveals God’s heart to reach all nations, not just the Jewish people. Jonah is called the Missionary Book of the Old Testament because of the emphasis on going outside of Israel with a message of God’s grace. The Assyrians received the Hebrew prophet, a victim of their nation’s dominion who was coming with a message of salvation, and they surrendered to Jehovah. However, Jonah himself had some religious pride, not unlike the Pharisees of the New Testament. In fact, at the end of this book, we read that Jonah was angry with God for extending mercy to such wicked people, people that had brought destruction to his nation.

Jonah was hoping Nineveh would not repent, but that they would be judged in rejecting his message. He was angry that the Assyrians repented and turned to his God. Jonah even says that the reason for his running away to Tarshish was because he knew God was gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness (4:2). After their acceptance of God’s love, Jonah continues to hope that Nineveh would fail to fully receive God’s mercy turn back in their sinful ways. He builds a shelter on a hill on the east side of the city, waiting for judgment to hit. God tries to win the heart of Jonah. He caused a large plant to grow and become shade for Jonah. Jonah was grateful God had provided the plant to protect him for the misery of the sun’s heat. However, the next morning, the plant was removed and Jonah would have to endure the heat again. In fact, God caused an east wind to bring in extreme heat, so hot that Jonah was getting sun poisoning and hoped to die.

God gives Jonah a powerful message of His grace. He told Jonah that he never labored to cause that plant to grow and give him relief. It was God who had mercy on Jonah with the shade. Jonah was glad for himself. However, instead of celebrating the free gift of grace God had extended, Jonah was angry that this free gift was taken away. God used it to illustrate His grace for the Assyrians, men and women who repented in response to God’s love. God showed Jonah that the Assyrian people didn’t have knowledge of His love, His mercy, and His ways. All they knew was sin; sin was their normal. They didn’t know any better, so God sent a Hebrew prophet to tell them the truth so they could know His love, too.

God loved Jonah, and God wanted Jonah to grow in grace. I think that’s amazing. Talk about your mercy – God was extending mercy to the merciless!

I know Christians that struggle with extending grace and compassion. They come across as hard and judgmental to those in sin, pushing people farther away from God instead of drawing them closer to His mercy and grace – even their own children! They point to their success, as if they achieved those things by working the Word of God, instead of recognizing God’s great patience and lovingkindness with their Jonah-like stiffened necks. They are fault-finders, pointing out what isn’t right, then lifting themselves up as better than those who aren’t as righteous as they. It’s easy to find flaws in others. It’s not hard to point a finger of blame onto your pastors. However, a Christian who has matured in the grace of God is the person who expects God’s to move through the humble, show His strength through the weak, show His power through the unworthy, and magnify His wisdom through those who don’t have understanding. Come on somebody! Let’s celebrate that grace!

#covertocoverwithmelanie #covertocover #growchurches #bible #biblecommentary #melaniestone #readthebible #readingthroughthebible #biblereadingplan

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