Sun, Jun 18, 2000

Hard Hearts: Revelation 9:13-21

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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HARD HEARTS!

REVELATION 9:13-21

On the morning of Lincoln’s death, a crowd of fifty thousand people gathered before the Exchange building in New York. Feelings ran high, natural enough in the circumstances, and there was danger of its finding expression in violence. Then a well-built man in [a] officers uniform stepped to the front of the balcony, and in a voice that rang like a trumpet call, cried:

"Fellow citizens! Clouds and darkness are round about Him. His pavilion is dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. Justice and judgment are the establishment of His throne. Mercy and truth go before His face. Fellow citizens! God reigns! And the government at Washington still lives!"

Instantly the tumult was stilled, as the people grasped the import of those sublime words. The speaker was General James A. Garfield, himself to become a martyr-president sixteen years later.

- Moody Monthly

That is something we must never forget, that God is in control. It doesn’t matter what you are going through, it doesn’t matter how chaotic things may look, God is and will always be in control, and that folks, should be a comfort to your hearts and your lives!

Remember our study last week, with the sounding of the fifth trumpet, we saw the release of the first of three "woes" that were to be released upon the inhabitants of the earth. It is with this fifth trumpet that we saw Satan, represented by a fallen star, given the keys to the bottomless pit by God. You see, Satan is bound by the sovereignty of God. In fact, this is made very clear to us in the book of Job.

Listen to this fascinating interaction between God and Satan in Job chapter 1, beginning in verse 6. We read "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on theearth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have youconsidered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless andupright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said,‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around hishousehold, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of hishands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand andtouch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ So the LORD said toSatan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ SoSatan went out from the presence of the LORD." Job 1:6-12.

Satan’s point was this. Since the Lord was blessing Job abundantly, of course Job was going to praise God and be obedient to Him. Why in the world would he do anything else? But if Satan could inflict a little pain, a little turmoil in his life, then we would see where his heart was really at, or so Satan thought. But again God set boundaries on what Satan was allowed to do to Job. The hedge speaks of the will of God. You see, no one can touch us without God allowing it. That is a fact, and that is a comfort to me, and it should be to you. If we can allow that truth to sink deep down into our hearts and lives, we then can have peace in the most difficult situations.

Several years ago a minister and his family, traveling to Wisconsin, hit a piece of road debris, which then caused their van to become engulfed in flames, killing their six children that were traveling with them. And you would think they would be angry with God. How unfair this was to them and their children. They had their entire lives ahead of them. And yet the words that came flowing from their lips were "The LORD is good!" You see, they understood the nature of God, that He is good. And they realized that their children were really God’s and that they were, in a sense, on loan to them for a time. They knew their children were at home with the Lord. And as much as they will miss them, as much as they grieved over their loss, they took comfort in the fact that their children are home with their heavenly Father. You see, God is in control. And for whatever reason, He allowed this to happen.

Now why does God allow these things to happen? You will have to ask Him. But many times it is to strengthen our faith. To cause us to draw closer to Him. To test our faith. And many times we will never know why, but He is sovereign and He knows what is best for us. You see, that is the thing we must remember, that no matter how dark and hopeless things may look, God is in control and thus, Satan can do nothing without His permission.

Thus, as Satan is given this key he unlocks the door to this bottomless pit and rising out of the smoke comes not military weapons, for none are locked in the center of the earth, but demonic locust-like creatures which come upon the face of the earth to inflict pain upon mankind for 5 months, upon those who are not sealed by God. And Jude tells us who these creatures are that are reserved for this time of Judgment. He said "And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day." Jude 6.

And so, in this fifth trumpet we see that for 5 months death takes a holiday. People will be writhing in pain, begging to die, and yet they will not be able to die for 5 months, which is the period of this judgment. But now, as the sixth trumpet sounds, the second woe begins, and with it we also see death and destruction. Death, which has been silenced for 5 months now comes back with a bloody vengeance. With this judgment we will see 1/3 of the inhabitants of the earth destroyed. It is another warning call, a call to repentance to the inhabitants of the earth. Will they respond? Let’s find out!

REVELATION 9

VERSES 13-14

These angels that are bound at the Euphrates River are not the same angels we saw in Revelation chapter 7, which were holding the four winds from blowing upon the earth, the sea and the trees. The big difference that I see is that these angels here in chapter 9 are bound. Thus, what we see here is fallen angels, while in chapter 7 we saw holy angels. You see, holy angels are not bound, but willing serving the Lord.

The River Euphrates begins by Mount Ararat in Turkey and flows for some 1700 miles before it empties into the Persian Gulf. The Euphrates River, besides being the natural boundary separating the east from the west is also the boundary of land given to the nation of Israel in Genesis 15:18. Also, in Genesis 2:14 the Euphrates River flowed from the Garden of Eden. Thus we see sin begin in this area. Murder began in this location. We see after the flood the tower of Babel erected in this area which later became the city of Babylon, which was the fountain-head of idolatry and occult practices.

Even today we see the spread of the militant religion of Islam that is spreading across the face of the earth. And it is out of this area that God will send forth His judgment, the second woe of the three woes is about to come to pass.

VERSE 15

Notice that these angels were prepared for a specific time period. Is that to say that this judgment will last 13 months and 25 hours? It may, but not necessarily. I believe that the point that is being made is there is a specific time coming when these angels will be unleashed to cause death and destruction upon the earth. There is a divine plan that is to be carried out. There is an exact hour of God’s judgment, and it will come to pass. Walter Scott put it this way in regards to these fallen angels who are about to be loosened, he said: "These angelic ministers of judgment act under divine control; they cannot act without express command."

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon speaks of God’s time-table in the life of men and women. He says beginning in verse 1 of chapter 3, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time torefrain from embracing; A time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time tothrow away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Solomon is saying that God has a set time for different things to come to pass. For us as Christians, waiting is one of the hardest things we can do. To wait upon the Lord to act by either changing our heart or to give to us the desires of our heart is very difficult, as we all know too well!

We all have wasted much time and energy being frustrated on how long it is taking for God to respond. And what happens is we become weakened through these times if we continue to be frustrated. But what can we do to be strengthened? The answer is simple and yet it is one of the most difficult things for us to do. We are told through the prophet Isaiah, "But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31.

Understand this, the time WAITING upon the Lord is never wasted time! It is a time of growth and preparation for the work He has called you to do. It should be a time of refreshing as you wait for God’s will to be done in your life. And as God begins to move, He will carry you. He will strengthen you. He will give you the energy and ability to do the work He has called you to do. Never forget that God has a plan for each of us, a time for certain things to be done in our lives. "To everything there is a season." Even His divine judgment which is coming upon the land!

We saw that with the fourth seal where 1/4 of the inhabitants of the earth were killed. That is over 1 billion people. And here with this sixth trumpet blast we see another 1/3 of the inhabitants of the earth killed. That is over ½ of the earths population are destroyed in these judgments so far. Again, we can’t even comprehend death on this scale, it is like a slaughterhouse. Imagine the carnage that will fill the land. And out of all this death I’m sure we will see more pestilence!

VERSES 16-19

With the fifth trumpet we saw demons unleashed from the abyss to inflict pain upon the earth dwellers. Here with the sixth trumpet some believe that these are demons also, unleashed to kill 1/3 of the inhabitants of the earth. If that is the way you interpret this passage, I have no problem with that. But let me give you one other way to look at this and you can then decide for yourself. You see, it is possible that these are humans influenced by demonic forces.

First of all I think that the number two hundred million is a literal number. And that is a huge and almost impossible number to consider for any army, especially when you consider that all the Allied and the Axis forces, ("Axis = the alliance of Germany and Italy (1936), later including Japan and other nations, that opposed the Allies in World War II"), at the peak in World War II they only amounted to 70 million. (Source obtained from The World Almanac 1971, p. 355).

Right now there is only one nation that can boast of having a militia of two hundred million. And, interestingly enough, Time magazine, from the May 21, 1965 issue, on page 35, states that Red China makes the claim of having an army of two hundred million. Napoleon said of this country, "China is a sleeping giant, and God pity the generation that wakes her up."

Corresponding to this sixth trumpet, I believe, is the sixth bowl judgment spoken of in Revelation chapter 16, where we read "Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the greatriver Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the eastmight be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth ofthe dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. Forthey are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and ofthe whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. ‘Behold, Iam coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.’ And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon." Revelation 16:12-16. What is located east of Israel? Red China!

Now the Euphrates River runs for some 1700 miles, as I have said, and is anywhere from 3 to 12 miles wide with the average depth being about 30 feet. So you can see that this river is a natural barrier between the eastern and western empires. Imagine what it would take to have 200 million soldiers cross this river by boat, it would be very foolish.

But God said that He will dry up the waters of the Euphrates River, in which there is now a great dam in Turkey which crosses the Euphrates river and has the ability to dry it up. These things are in place to stop this river at will, God’s will. But for what purpose will it be stopped? We are told in verse 16 of Revelation chapter 16, "And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon."

If you took 200 million soldiers, marching them shoulder to shoulder, you would have a massive troop movement, to say the least. It would be 1 mile wide and some 87 miles long. Now in the book of Daniel we are told that the Antichrist moves to take control of the world, not through peace any longer, but through war and power. And as he is down in North Africa, he gets word of a massive troop movement against him, and he turns back northward to deal with this insurrection. Daniel 11:44 says "But news from the east and the north shall trouble him;therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many."

As this massive army moves further westward, some of the troops will move in from the north, the other half from the east, to meet the Antichrist and his forces in the valley of Megiddo. This is the final conflict before Christ returns to set-up His kingdom on this earth.

The horse speaks of an instrument of war. Job chapter 39 speaks of this. We read beginning in verse 19, "Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword. The quiver rattles against him, the glittering spear and javelin. He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, 'Aha!' He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting." Job 39:19-25.

Thus, the horse is an instrument of war and in whatever form it is being used here in Revelation, we see that these men sit upon them. And as you look at the ferocity and destructiveness of these instruments of war, you understand God’s judgment is deep and complete. Their destructiveness are called plagues and is seen as fire, smoke and brimstone!

And you would think that after these destructive judgments of God that have come upon these rebellious people, that they would be ready to repent and turn back to God. But that is not the case. In fact, it has been said that "The two closing verses of this chapter reveal an astounding picture of human depravity."

VERSES 20-21

In these two verses we see five things in which they refuse to repent of. And these cover the two tables of the Law, that which dealt with man’s relationship with God and that which dealt with man’s relationship with man.

Verse 20 speaks of idolatry, which is nothing more than demon worship. How foolish people are. For instance, they go out to the woods, locate a piece of wood, bring it home, carve out a face, eyes, nose and a mouth. They then set it upon a table, light some candles around it and worship it as a living god! And yet that object is not alive except in the imagination of him who created it and him who worships it!

The Psalmist expounds on this point as he said in Psalm 115 beginning inverse 4, "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them." Psalm 115:4-8.

What a true statement that is. We do become like the god’s or God we serve. People whose god is materialism, sex, drugs, will manifest those characteristics. All you have to do is look at that person and you know where his heart is at, the focus of his life is. In fact, their life is consumed with trying to fill that void that is in their hearts with all kinds of things, that will never satisfy!

But if the Lord is the God you serve, then you will become more like Him. You will find rest, contentment, satisfaction in Him. For the earth dwellers, we see dead sinners worshiping dead idols! We worship the living God!

You see, our God is not dead, He is living and is able to respond to our hearts cry. The Psalmist said "I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications." Psalm 116:1.

Verse 21 speaks of murders, mind-altering drugs, fornication and stealing. You see, if your relationship with God is askew, then your relationship with man will be askew also. You see, this is not the fruit that is produced in the life of a Christian, but the fruit of the unsaved, and it is rotten! Paul tells us that the works of the unsaved are very clear. They do not have the Spirit of God to guide them down the right path. Thus, the things that are manifested in their lives no longer bothers them. Their conscious has been seared with a hot iron making them insensitive to what is right and what is wrong!

But if you are led by the Spirit, then the flesh will be kept under control. Not that we are perfect, but we will manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we will manifest LOVE! And it is out of that love that we see "...joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness, self-control..." Galatians 5:22-23. It is as Paul said, "...Walk in the Spirit, andyou shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Galatians 5:16.

But for the earth dwellers, they refuse to repent of their evil deeds. It has been said that "One of the clearest proofs of the depravity of man is his implacable hatred of the only solution to his greatest problem." It is as Paul said in Romans 1:18-23, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearlyseen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things." Do you see how blinding sin is and how rebellious man is towards God!

Jesus Christ is the only solution to man’s problem and yet many refuse the solution to their broken fellowship with God, their sin! Thus, judgment will come upon them. And at this point, many refuse to turn to the Lord, and they will see the third woe come upon them in the seventh trumpet judgment, which we will get to in a few weeks.

For those that know God, for those that know Christ, for those that are born again, these words in Revelation are comforting to us because we know that God is in control. But, if you refuse to come to Him, understand this, He will judge you for your rebellion, and you will lose! But the choice is always yours! If you are hungry, if you are thirsty this morning, meditate on these words of Jesus found in John 6:35, when He said "...‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." True satisfaction is only found in Him, and so, come, taste and see that the Lord, He is good!

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