With each passing day Revelation chapters 9 and 16 make more sense to me. As I child I would read of the wrath of God being poured out — only to be stunned by the proclamation, “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands.” Obviously the judgments and plagues spoken of in Revelation are akin to that which was poured out upon Pharaoh in Egypt. They are foretastes of Hell itself. The events are in a sense a repeat of what happened to the Egyptians just prior to the Exodus. Sadly, the results are all too familiar. Rather than responding rightly to the plagues the people went from bad to worse. When we reach Revelation 16 the unrepentant not only refuse to turn from their evil, but are blaspheming God. Never underestimate what a person is capable of who is bent on rebelling against God.
The writer to the Hebrews warned us saying, “Take heed brethren lest there be in any of you and evil heart of unbelief in departing from the Living God.” An evil heart is one that refuses to acknowledge God. The process of how this plays out can be examined in Romans chapter 1 and 2. People simply refuse to acknowledge God as God. In the time of Jesus the chief priests (who didn’t believe in the resurrection) witnessed everything including a resurrection and they still refused to repent (change their mind). In fact, they plotted to kill Lazarus again after Jesus had raised him from the dead (John 12:10). They would rather destroy the evidence than repent. This is one example of an evil heart of unbelief and what it is capable of.
At some future time God is going to pour out His wrath on this earth. In Revelation 9 the people are subject to nightmarish judgments and they still refuse to repent. Imagine a third of all mankind dying and still the people refuse to change. In modern times that would be over 1.5 billion people. After 1/3 are dead they still will not repent. This tells me that God has reached “the final option” trying to deal with mankind. His goodness has been trampled under foot for centuries. All the “gentle Jesus meek and mild” preaching has utterly failed. Now it is time to face the judgment. God gave the inhabitants of the earth a space to repent and yet the people have not repented — but rather blasphemed God instead.
Again, this foretaste of Hell will be similar to what Pharaoh experienced in Egypt only 1000X worse. He was a “type” of Satan and Egypt was a “type” of the world. In Revelation 9 God is pouring out judgments on the world that have not been seen in the dreams of the most fevered minds. What do the millions or billions do? They harden their hearts in unity against God just like Pharaoh. Notice the list of sins that the people refuse to repent of.
But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:17–21 NKJV)
1. Demon worship
3. Sorcery (mind altering drugs)
4. Sexual immorality (illicit sexual activity)
5. Thefts (Gk. klepto)
These behaviors all relate to idolatry. They are being systematically legalized almost worldwide. To persist in these and other like behaviors is an affront on God in the worst of ways. God is here identifying the controversies that He has with the unrepentant. He tells us what He is trying to get the people to repent of. When repentance does not take place, God simply steps up the temperature (so to speak). Rather than change, the people grow angrier and more hateful towards God. Rather we know it or not, we are at an early stage of this hardening process right now. The crazy ideas and flagrant sin that goes on today is but an introduction to what fallen man is capable of. If society stays on this trajectory, sin is about to go to levels that have not been seen since the days of Noah. Thirty years ago no one would believe where we are today. Thirty years from now, should the Lord tarry, sin will be off the charts in ways we cannot now comprehend or imagine. We have a verse in Jeremiah that relates to these times…
God turned the temperature up on the Jews to the point that he burnt up the smelting bellows (figuratively speaking)! Still, there was no repentance. The people refused to agree with God, change their mind, and turn from their sin. In modern times, the world is being hardened and prepared for the fiery wrath of God. At the current trajectory, a showdown is on the horizon between God and this present evil world. It will be too late to spend time worrying about what Christians are saying about God judging high-handed sin. Whether He is doing it now or not only He knows. But one thing is certain; if the good book is to be believed — He is going to. The nice preachers can correct Him if they want to, but if they are wise they will stay out of His way and leave their comments about being disappointed to themselves.
This generation needs a baptism in the facts of the book of Revelation. God will not always tolerate the highhandedness of our times. Let the blasphemers — blaspheme. Let the false prophets — prophesy falsely. In the words of Revelation 22, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11 NKJV) They have Moses and the prophets… if they will not hear God’s word there is no other recourse to help them other than to pour out wrath. It is the final option before this present evil world passes into eternity.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19 KJV)
I have been fortunate enough to see enormous and spectacular double rainbows at a close distance. Being near them have caused me much fear and trembling. For I realize that even now a rainbow surrounds the throne in heaven — as a symbol of God’s mercy on the earth. In modern times that same rainbow has been twisted into a symbol for abominable sins. That is how depraved and flagrantly evil this generation is. The hostility towards God is gaining momentum. Yet a host of Christians are worried about fornicators being “judged.” Is there any wonder we read verses like, “ (…) that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19b KJV) When all humanity is in line to stand before the throne of God I doubt there will be much foolish talking that implies that God is somehow at fault and rebellious sinners ought to be defended. We need to be careful that we remember whose side we are on. Let God be true — not rebellious sinners.
The willingness of mortal men to all but spit in the face of God is accelerating. These unrepentant people talk tough and will continue to do so even to the very end. They are in for bad times — but the masses will refuse to be changed. They may even kill off all the true Christians employing the most dastardly means; but when God pours out His wrath they are going to beg for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of God. The days of gentle Jesus meek and mild will be over. The rainbow will be gone and the Great White Throne will be revealed. Mercy will be gone forever. Is there any wonder the writer pleads with us, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:7–14 KJV)