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Our Time to Stand - The Book of Revelation
Week 29, 2017
Now we come to Revelation 9:13-21, the sixth trumpet and the army from the East:
Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet,
"Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.
The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
This is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone.
A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths.
For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;
and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.
The Apostle John would have had no concept of modern weapons and he would have naturally described them in familiar terms, such as beasts that spew fire out of their mouths. This entire scenario seems like the plight of the world through the World Wars of the 20th century. During that time, the destructive power of human weapons multiplied many times over and millions died. A key point to this is that mankind does not repent of what they have wrought, and therefore continue hurtling toward ultimate devastation.
When I served on an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy, we were told that there was enough firepower on our ship to destroy all life on earth. In the entire U.S. Navy, there was enough to destroy the world twenty-five times or more. That did not include the Air Force’s capabilities with its nuclear bombers and ballistic missiles. Neither did it include the arsenals of our Cold War adversaries or allies. Winston Churchill lamented that mankind had grown in its destructing capabilities to the point where we could destroy the entire world, but had not grown in the corresponding wisdom or character to handle this power.
We have been in the most precarious place for a long time, with the most destructive conflicts of all time seeming to cascade down upon the world. Then something changed. The trend was toward increasingly devastating conflicts, and though we have had wars since World War II, they were contained and restrained. Could this be anything but the time when the Lord sends His angels to hold back the four winds of the earth until His bondservants are sealed, as told in Revelation 7? If this is true, then the sealing of the bondservants of God is the most important event taking place at this time.
There are judgments of God and the wrath of God that is clear throughout the Scriptures. These seem to be the result of the extraordinary grace and mercy of God being exhausted. However, much of what is blamed on God is man’s doing, not God’s. All the troubles in history and our present are the result of mankind thinking that we could run this world without God. They could probably be more accurately called “the judgments of man.” These are the result of the law of sowing and reaping, and mankind has sown bad seed.
The ultimate answer to all of our troubles is for man to turn back to God. As Revelation reveals, the great troubles coming on the world do not generally cause man to turn to God. Rather, they harden their hearts in rebellion, only increasing the troubles. Even so, the bondservants of the Lord that are being sealed will also have impact, as we will see. We can expect the winds to be released and the devastation to increase at some point, but there will be great lights in the darkness and “cities” of refuge from the devastation that in some cases will be nations of refuge.
This being said, safety is not found in a place, but in a Person. The safest place is in the will of God, regardless of our geographical location. The Lord Himself is our fortress.
We must keep in mind that as the times get darker, we are promised the revealing of the Lord’s glory. Ultimately, all of the nations will come to the rising of the Lord’s people, as we see in:
"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
"For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples, but The Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.
"The nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising."
So the most important thing we can do to prepare for these times is to:
1) ARISE. Stand up for the truth and never retreat before the darkness.
2) SHINE with His glory.
We must not be afraid to stand out from the darkness. This is our time to stand, as the great saints have in every age.
next week 30