Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 13:11-18.

“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth;  and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.  He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence.  And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.  He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.  And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life.  And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.  And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom.  Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man;  and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”  Revelation 13:11-18.

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“Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast …”, so we will try.  But, as stated later in this devotion, whether or not we calculate correctly and understand the mystery of the beast and the number 666, our hope is not in our wisdom, our hope is in God. 

The number of man could be six based on the fact that God created man on the sixth day.  Genesis 1:26-31.

Nebuchadnezzar, a man and the king of Babylon made an golden image that was six cubits in height and six cubits in width and caused all people to worship it.  

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits;  he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. …  Then the herald loudly proclaimed: “To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up.  But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.”   Daniel 3:1 and 4-6.

These 3 sixes could combine to make 666, the number of the beast. Or, there could be a better way to calculate the number of the beast. But, in any event, the following Scriptures that we encounter pursuant to our calculation help our understanding overall.

Later, God humbled Nebuchadnezzar causing him to be like a beast.  

“All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king.  Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon.  The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’  While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared:  sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field.  You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’  Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled;  and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?
’” Daniel 4:28-35.

But, there is hope!

The hope is not in the wisdom of man in understanding mysteries such as the meaning of 666 or in man regaining reason or otherwise.

The hope is in God.  “He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth”.

“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 13:1-10.

“And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.

Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.  And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.  And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.  I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed.  And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;  they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast;  and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”  There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.  And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear.  If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes;  if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed.  Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.”  Revelation 13:1-10.

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“Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.”  That is, our names have “been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life”.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-7.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31.

“so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:5.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 12:7-17.

“And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon.  The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world;  he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,

“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.  For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them.  Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”

And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.  But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.  But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.  So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”  Revelation 12:7-17.

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We may feel forgotten and insecure like we are at the end of the line.  

At the head of the line, Christ was safe.  “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron;  and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”  Revelation 12:5.  

Next, the woman was safe.  “But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.  And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.  But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.”  Verses 14-16.

We may feel like “the rest of her children”.  “So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”  Verse 17.

But, there is hope!   

“… for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”  Hebrews 13:5.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Just as it is written,

“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 12:1-6.

“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail *swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she *had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” Revelation 12:1-6.

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First, today’s Scripture uses “rod of iron” language in verse 5 to emphasize Christ’s authority, sovereignty, and dominion over everyone and everything.

“Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
Psalm 2:1-9.

“6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.” Exodus 15:6-7.

“But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” Luke 19:27.

“19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!” Psalm 103:19-22.

Second, today’s Scripture uses “a place prepared by God” language in verse 6 to remind us that even in the most dangerous times, God remains our refuge and fortress, our dwelling place.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
8 You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:1-10.

“20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms
And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while
Until indignation runs its course.
21 For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed
And will no longer cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:20-21.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 21, 2021

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 11:15-19.

“Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;  and He will reign forever and ever.”  And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying,

“We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.  And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened;  and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”  Revelation 11:15-19.

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“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11.

“But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.” Psalm 115:3.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19.

“Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm chapter 2.

“Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” Revelation 19:6.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 11:1-14.

“Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff;  and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.  Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations;  and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.  And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”  These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.  And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies;  so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.  These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying;  and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.  And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.  Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.  And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate;  and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet;  and great fear fell upon those who were watching them.  And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.”  Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.  And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell;  seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe is past;  behold, the third woe is coming quickly.”  Revelation 11:1-14.

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Who is going to win the war?  The righteous or the wicked? 

At first, in today’s Scripture, we think the wicked are going to win, “and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”  Verse 2.

Then, we think the two witnesses are going to win.  “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies;  so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.  These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying;  and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.”  Verses 4-6.

But then, we think the wicked will win;  “the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.”  “And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate;  and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.  Verses 7 and 10.

Finally, we know the righteous won. “But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet;  and great fear fell upon those who were watching them.”  “Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.  And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell;  seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.”  Verses 11-13.

Likewise, at first, Jesus’ twelve disciples thought the wicked were winning.  The Romans had conquered and occupied their land.

Then, Jesus came and did all these amazing miracles, and Christ also sent out the seventy to also do amazing miracles.  ” The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”  And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.”  Luke 10:17-19. 

And, the people were rejoicing, intending to make Jesus their king, when Jesus entered Jerusalem.  “Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.  The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David;
BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;
Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:8-9.

But then, Jesus was crucified.  The disciples fled and wept, thinking the wicked won.

But after three days, Jesus was resurrected according to Jesus’ prophecy of His death and resurrection.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.”  John 16:20.

“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.

Scripture assures us and comforts us that God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage;  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them;  because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  1 John 4:4.

“Then the seventh angel sounded;  and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ;  and He will reign forever and ever.”  Revelation 11:15.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation chapter 10.

“I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud;  and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire;  and he had in his hand a little book which was open.  He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land;  and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars;  and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices.  When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write;  and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”  Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer,  but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.

Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.”  So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book.  And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it;  it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”  I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey;  and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.  And they *said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”  Revelation chapter 10.

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It is difficult to understand the visions and prophecies in this Scripture and other Scriptures in Revelation.  There is “the mystery of God”.  Verse 7.

It is also difficult for the prophets to prophesy about the wrath of God.  People do not want to hear about the wrath of God;  they tend to blame the prophet.  We have seen prophets scourged and even killed in Scripture.  Thus, in a sense, prophecies make the prophets’ stomachs bitter.  Verse 9.  But, there is the command:  “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”  Verse 11.    

But, there is hope!

God gives understanding to the prophets that prophecies reveal the sovereignty of God and the righteous and just works of God.  Thus, prophecies taste sweet in the prophets’ mouths and make them glad in the LORD.  Verse 9.

“19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!” Psalm 103:19-22.

“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
Let the many islands be glad.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.
4 His lightnings lit up the world;
The earth saw and trembled.” Psalm 97:1-4.

“31 Let the glory of the LORD endure forever;
Let the LORD be glad in His works;
32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth
And let the wicked be no more.
Bless the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD!” Psalm 104:31-35.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 9:13-21.

“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.”  And 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.  And 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.”  Revelation 9:13-21.

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It is amazing that we are given any time to repent.  

But, it is even more amazing that even after our sins, God shows us kindness and tolerance and patience (see Romans 2:2-8 below), giving us more time to repent.

But, it is a level even more amazing that even after such kindness and tolerance and patience, God warns us through today’s Scripture and other Scriptures about the just and righteous consequences of failure to repent, giving us even more time to repent. 

“And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”  Romans 2:2-8.

“2 … Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.” Psalm 97:2-3.

Do not think secretly in your heart:  “I am better than them and will escape the wrath of God.”  Jesus’ double strong warning applies to all of us.  “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  Luke 13:3-5.

But, there is hope!

Our hope is not in our own wisdom and our alleged free-will and our strength.  We recognize how many still to not repent even after experiencing God’s kindness and tolerance and patience, seeing God’s wrath, hearing God’s warning and call to repentance, and having time to repent. 

Reformed Doctrine teaches that our hope is in God Who grants repentance to His elect.  Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof. 

Article 3.  Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, incapable of saving good, prone to evil, dead in sin, and in bondage thereto, and without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature, nor to dispose themselves to reformation.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

Article 12.  And this is the regeneration so highly celebrated in Scripture, and denominated a new creation:  a resurrection from the dead, a making alive, which God works in us without our aid.  But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation, that after God has performed his part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted, or to continue unconverted;  but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable;  not inferior in efficacy to creation, or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scripture inspired by the author of this work declares;  so that all in whose heart God works in this marvelous manner, are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and do actually believe.  – Whereupon the will thus renewed, is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence, becomes itself active. Wherefore also, man is himself rightly said to believe and repent, by virtue of that grace received.

“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Acts 5:31.

“When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”  Acts 11:18.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 9:1-12.

“Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth;  and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.  He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace;  and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.  Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.  They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.  And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months;  and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.  And in those days men will seek death and will not find it;  they will long to die, and death flees from them.

The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle;  and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.  They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions.  They had breastplates like breastplates of iron;  and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.  They have tails like scorpions, and stings;  and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months.  They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss;  his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.

The first woe is past;  behold, two woes are still coming after these things.”  Revelation 9:1-12.

——————–

Let their be no doubt about the justice of God, the power of God, and even the creativity of God.  Today’s Scripture presents another vivid and terrifying exhibit of God’s wrath on the wicked.

“2 … Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.” Psalm 97:2-3.

“But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” Luke 12:5.

“6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.” Exodus 15:6-7.

“But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” Luke 19:27.

“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
Let the many islands be glad.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.” Psalm 97:1-3.

But, there is hope!

In today’s Scripture, we do notice that the army of locusts/scorpions did not hurt those who had the seal of God on their forehead, namely, God’s people. “They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Verse 4.

“5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
8 You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.

9 For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:5-10.

“10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 2:10-12.

Today’s devotion is Revelation chapter 8.

“When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.  And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.  Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth;  and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.

The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died;  and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.  The name of the star is called Wormwood;  and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”  Revelation chapter 8.  

——————

“2 … Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.” Psalm 97:2-3.

“6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.” Exodus 15:6-7.

But, there is hope!

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Romans 5:9.

“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1-3.

“Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 2:12.

“20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms
And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while
Until indignation runs its course.

21 For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed
And will no longer cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:20-21.

“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:13-14.

Even in today’s Scripture, a difficult chapter to read which is filled with God’s wrath, there is the hope that the LORD treasures our prayers. ” Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Verses 3-4.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
8 You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.” Psalm 91:1-10.

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