Thursday in the Third Week of Easter

Revelation 9:13-21

And Still They Would Not Repent

What is truly amazing for the Christian to behold is the willful stubbornness of sinful man.  Revelation shows us this in stark colors in chapter nine.  We are bewildered at how men can endure such turmoil and still not turn to God.  It is similar to reading about the Pharisees in the gospels, wagging our heads at their trivial rules that get in the way of human need, or their blatant hypocrisies that are exposed by Jesus.  But if we are not careful, we find ourselves sitting in judgment, not remembering that we were at one time “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus [we] who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13).  We wag our heads at our peril.  Our only plea before the throne of grace is just that – grace.  Were it not for our Lord’s calling us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, our sinful natures would make our hearts just as hard and our eyes just as blind as those we pity in this passage.

The command is given to release the four angels bound at the River Euphrates.  They lead another hideous horde against unbelieving man, but these are allowed to kill one-third of mankind, whereas the locusts of the previous vision were only allowed to harm.  We are told something very significant about when these four angels were released: they were released on the hour, the day, the month, and the year for which their dreadful work was prepared.  If it be asked, “Prepared by whom?”  Revelation, and the rest of Scripture, answers, “Prepared by the Almighty.”  These judgments upon mankind are God’s judgments, and these awful agents are His agents.  That does not mean that these hideous beasts are God’s pets.  It does mean that all things are His creations and that each thing or being was created by Him for a particular purpose.  These creatures serve God’s purpose in judgment, and what God will do with them after that is His business.

But the significant point about this entire chapter is the sorry way it ends: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands….”  So we learn that one of the purposes of God’s dreadful judgments is that man might repent.  If he does not, he has no one to blame but himself.  We see that God is doing so much to warn sinful men; He still is.  God’s works of both judgment and mercy are before all people everyday to behold and ponder.  May the Church be so discerning that she may know what God is doing in her day.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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