Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Revelation 9:1-6

Revelation 9:1-6
And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone.  And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

As we transition to the later trumpets, we meet spiritual characters and things not of this world.  The first of these characters is the star that falls from heaven.  Of course, this could be a literal telling of some kind of asteroid strike.  However, I think there is much more of a spiritual analogy going on here.  Think about it.  What event does this sound like?  A star fell out of heaven and was given the key to the Abyss!  This truly sounds to me as though John is retelling the fall of Satan.  When I read this passage, I see ask much of a look back into the past as I do a glimpse into the future.  The story of human rebellion against God is ultimately rooted in Satan’s great fall from heaven.  Out of His jealousy for God’s love of mankind, Satan fell from heaven and came to torment mankind and rip as many of us away from the love of God as possible.

Do you think that it is fair to say that the story of human rebellion against God begins with the fall of Satan?  How can this perspective be held while still accepting our own culpability?

Second Thought:

As the star falls and unlocks the Abyss, smoke rises up.  Locusts follow.  Let’s take a look at the analogy that John is making here.  What would the Hebrew people know about locusts?  For one, they would once more be reminded of the plagues of Egypt.  Naturally speaking, locusts are a creature that gathers in massive swarms.  When a swarm is large enough, they can strip a field bare of every living plant.  The sight of them flying through the air can literally darken out the sun.  The sound of their calls to each other can be maddeningly deafening.  What, then, might John be trying to teach us?  When Satan was cast out of heaven, he unleashed rebellion.  He introduced us to sin.  Think about what that sin does in our life.  Sin, especially in sufficient quantity, can strip away our life and our ability to imitate the Father.  Sin can darken the light of Christ in our life and our ability to see Him.  The effects of human sinfulness in our life can be maddening.  When Satan fell from heaven, he unleashed into humanity a great rebellion against God.  It is a rebellion that we have been struggling against ever since.

Where is your rebellion the strongest?  When are you most susceptible to the damaging infestation of sin in your life?  Do you think of a locust swarm as a good analogy to the influence of sin in our life?

Third Thought:

Notice what we are told about the locusts.  They are given the power to torment.  They are given the power to sting, but not to kill.  They are told to not harm creation itself.  They are told that they cannot have those who are sealed by God.  This is a really cool analogy to life in Christ!  Outside of Christ, the sting of sin will torment us.  Our sins will afflict us again and again.  Yet, our sin stays within us.  Creation may have to endure us and put up with us, but creation itself does not bear the mark of sin.  However, most importantly, the sting of sin is removed in Christ.  That does not mean that those who are in Christ are free from sin.  We do sin.  However, we are not tormented by our sin.  We can repent and find forgiveness from our sin.  In Christ, sin has no permanent hold over us.

What eternal difference does Christ make in your life?  What is the difference that Christ makes in your life on a daily perspective?  How do you resist sin?  Where are you blessed from not having to permanently feel the effects of sin?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 9:7-11
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