Reading Revelation 9:1-21
In chapter 8 we were introduced to the seven angels who are given seven trumpets. (8:2) After the silence of the Seventh Seal there is now a great cacophony of trumpet blasts, each with its own woes and judgements. The language here is highly provocative causing our imaginations to be inspired. Also, it is highly symbolic and surely comes with a health warning to those who want to interpret every detail: ‘Danger! Handle with care.’
There are many similarities between the seven trumpets and the seven seals of chapter 6. Both of them recount God’s judgement upon the whole earth, the evil and the idolatry of humanity. However, there are a number of differences: whereas the Seven Seals parallel Jesus’ words in Mark 13, the Seven Trumpets reflect the Ten Plagues which fell on Egypt under Pharaoh during the time of Moses (Exodus 7:1-11:10), there are four disasters on the land, sea, rivers and heavens, followed by a woe which brings pain but not death. At every moment there is an opportunity for people to repent, to turn to God and follow him.
Some people have asked, “How can a God of love do this?” Phillip Moore, writer and Pastor helps us here, he writes,
These judgments are the only right and fair response of the one true God to the self-seeking idolatry of humanity. Since God is on the Throne of heaven, with all creation at his feet, it is completely abhorrent that people on earth should be giving themselves to “worshipping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood –idols that cannot see or hear or walk”. (Revelation 9:20) Although we see sinful symptoms all around us in the form of violence, theft, magic, superstition and sexual immorality, (Revelation 9:21) Jesus is clear that idolatry is the root cause, and that these judgments are his gracious call for the world to repent before they share the fate of their demon-idols. This is why the Seven Trumpets echo the Ten Plagues through which God exposed the false idols of Egypt and drew many Egyptians to repentance and faith in him. (Exodus 12:37-38) The hail, the darkness, the locusts and the water turned to blood all remind us that God took on the false gods of Egypt and won, and that he will do so again with the twenty-first-century idols of our own age. (Straight to the Heart of Revelation by Phil Moore)
We must be careful that nothing in our lives usurps God’s place in our hearts. Nothing.
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (1John 5:19-21)
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (1John 5:21)
Father, I want to worship you and you alone. Where I have idols in my life show me, help me to name them and give me strength to turn away from them. Father, lead me in the way everlasting. In Jesus name. Amen.
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