Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Hardened Hearts

The terrible blinding power of sin.

Week 6, Wednesday: Judgment does not always lead to repentance
The “woes” that come to human beings in a world infected with sin and ruled by demonic powers continue throughout the rest of chapter 9. This section appears to be a “detail” of what we read in verses 9-11 – the extent and effects of war on the human race.

The picture should make war a terrible choice for nations, which it is. However, sinful nations continue to turn to war, because they have not learned the way of peace (Is. 9.6, 7).

Read Revelation 9

Meditate on Revelation 9.13-21
1.      What can you see in this passage to connect it with verses 9-11 and with Revelation 6.3, 4? If you could diagram the relationship between these three passages, what might that look like?

2.      Meditate on verses 14 and 15. What kind of “angels” are these? What’s necessary for these angels to be set loose to do their terrible work? How does this remind us of Job 1 and 2?  

3.      Again, note that these “angels” do their terrible work through the agency of men – armies (vv. 16, 17). The Bible does not altogether condemn war (cf. Rom. 13.1-4). However, how should we look at the prospect of war? Should this affect the way we conduct war? Explain.

4.      The destructive effects of war are described in images of “fire, smoke, and brimstone” (vv. 17, 18). How are such “weapons” consistent as policies of Abaddon/Apollyon? What are the effects of these weapons (vv. 15, 18)?

5.      Clearly God intends war as a “message” to sinful men. What might that message be? Do sinful men receive the message? What evidence can you see that verses 20 and 21 describe an ongoing condition of humankind?

My Reflection
Meditate on verse 20. What makes “gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood” into “idols”? Am I in any danger of “worshipping” such idols (1 Cor. 10.12)?

The Glory of God
It is clear from this passage that God is “calling the shots” concerning the powers of sin, destruction, and death. He is able to use even wickedness and all the horrors of evil as aspects of His message to the sinful world. Is this a God to be loved, merely, or also to be feared? Explain.

Glory to Glory
God’s message to the sinful world seeks to bring people to repentance from their sins. How can I be more attentive to God when He is sending me this message as well (Heb. 12.3-11)?

Memorize
Recite your memory verses aloud: Revelation 10.10, 11. Share them with a Christian friend. Share any way that these verses have begun to affect your reading and study of the Word of God.

Closing Prayer
Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who plan evil things in their hearts;
They continually gather together for war.
They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;
The poison of asps is under their lips. Selah
Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
Preserve me from violent men,

Who have purposed to make my steps stumble.
The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set traps for me…
I know the LORD will maintain
The cause of afflicted,
And justice for the poor.

Psalm 140.1-5, 12

T. M. Moore

The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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