Summary: We come face to face with the ultimate source of evil
IN GOD'S IMAGE 79 - REVELATION 8-12 - THE DRAGON VS THE WOMAN
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
Last time we finished up looking at the message to the seven churches of Asia Minor.
• In each case there is the admonition to hold on to what you have and in some cases to repent of your ways, but this is followed up with the promise of future glory.
• We see the message is one of allegiance to the heavenly kingdom rather than to the conquering power of the Roman Empire.
• But the message of Revelation was not just for these churches in Asia Minor, it is a message that resonates for Christians down through the centuries, as we too have to live by our Christian convictions in an evil world dominated by malignant beastly powers.
• We also looked at the first six seals and through them identified a number of sources representing the malignant powers of evil that dominated the early church age.
• They were the despotic and cruel Roman emperors, his conquering armies, grasping businessmen, corrupt governments, politicians and agencies and false religious institutions.
• We finished with the sixth seal that was a divine warning to these evil forces.
• God is not going to stand by and let this repetitive evil process continue forever.
• He will use His divine power to bring it all to an end.
• But just before God steps in, there is a pause.
• It’s as if God is hoping people will come to their senses and He won’t have to use force to bring them to their senses.
• This pattern of foreboding, pause and hope is repeated throughout the book.
• However if they don’t respond, then sudden destruction is brought upon them.
We pick up the story in Revelation 8.
• The seventh seal is opened revealing the seven plagues that will befall these evil powers unless they repent.
• We need to be careful we don’t read too much into this scenario as though it is a fait accompli.
• Even though the souls under the altar cry out, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10), we need to remember God is about life and not death.
• We need to remember there are previous examples where people heeded God’s warning to repent and God relented, like the people of Nineveh.
• Jonah 3:9-10 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
• And again there is a caution in the story of Jonah for all Christians and that is we shouldn’t sulk like Jonah did when evil doers repent and don’t get what we think they deserve (Jonah 4:1-4).
• We like the angels in heaven should rejoice when sinners come to repentance (Luke 15:8).
• On the other hand, we have the example of Pharaoh during the time of the Exodus, although warned repeatedly, only relented after being afflicted with ten plagues.
• Before each plague, Moses was sent back to Pharaoh to warn him of the wrath to come.
• As we will soon see, this same scenario of warning is repeated here in Revelation.
• However it is during one of these plagues, the fifth, we see another source of evil added to our list.
• Revelation 9:11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).
• It is now that we encounter some of the more dramatic and vivid images of the book that have to do with Revelation’s portrayal of evil.