Summary: My grandfather loved to watch gunsmoke. One of the episodes is of a man who would travel from town to town with a huge rattlesnake in a glass cage. He would collect bets that no one could place his hand against the glass and keep it there when the rattl
HELL ON EARTH
My grandfather loved to watch gunsmoke. One of the episodes is of a man who would travel from town to town with a huge rattlesnake in a glass cage. He would collect bets that no one could place his hand against the glass and keep it there when the rattlesnake struck.
All the gullible people would bet on the fellow citizen who had great courage. After all the bets were collected the man would take the cover off the cage, revealing the snake. The volunteer would move his hand towards the glass and place it there. The snake would then hiss and strike. Involuntarily the man would jerk his hand away.
The snake charmer collected all his money and moved on! He knew that the glass would hold. There was nothing to fear but fear itself. He played on fear to earn a living.
This story is a real picture of spiritual warfare. The snake is the devil, the glass Jesus. As long as we stay on the right side of the glass, we have nothing to fear. Real danger lurks on the wrong side of the glass. We are safe on the right side of the glass, no matter how fearful things appear.
In a world were we are at war with the demonic, we must put on the armor of God (last sermon) so that we can stand against the devils schemes.
Because our world is the theater where the story of redemption is played out, Satan and his legions have attacked the human race, turning the earth into the main battleground of the war of the ages.
Satan’s first attack was successful when he got Adam and Eve to disobey God. The consequences of that sin has had its effect on all mankind.
After the fall, God graciously promised a Savior who would destroy Satan and deliver people from his power. Satan countered by sending demons to cohabitate with women, attempting to produce a hybrid, demon/human, race of people for who Jesus could not atone. In response God destroyed that race with a powerful judgment, the flood.
Satan’s tormenting of righteous Job reveals his hatred for the godly. He threw everything he had at him in order to destroy Job and his faith. But Job remained faithful to God and God remained faithful to him, proving Satan’s attack unsuccessful. As he did with Job, Satan continually attacks believers!
No nation has experienced more of Satan’s assaults than Israel. Through out the Old Testament Satan tempted Israel and Judah to follow other gods, thus bringing on themselves God’s judgment. Israel and Judah were sent into captivity in Assyria and Babylon. In the Tribulation Satan will once again try to destroy this chosen people.
Jesus was a target for Satan’s attacks, even one of his disciples betrayed him. The church has also been a special target for assault. From direct frontal attacks to bringing unbelievers into it, mixing his tares among God’s wheat.
Please note that God sovereignly allows and oversees all of Satan’s assaults and fulfills His purposes in spite of them and through them.
During the Tribulation Satan will serve God’s purpose by being permitted to launch another deadly assault against the human race. That attack will come at the sounding of the fifth trumpet.
Fifth Trumpet vs 1-12
When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, the effect is focused directly on human beings. John sees a star that had fallen, not an inanimate object, but an angel. This angel is given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.
When the Abyss opened, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. So much so that it darkened the sun and sky. i.e. burning oil wells in Kuwait.
Scripture teaches that God has sovereignly chosen to incarcerate certain demons in this Abyss. These demons are undoubtedly the most wicked, vile and perverted of all the fallen angels. Jude describes them as not keeping their positions of authority, but abandoned their home - these he has kept in darkness bound with everlasting chains for judgment. 6-7
Out of this vast cloud of smoke, John sees locusts swarming out to plague the earth. The destructive power of locusts in noted several times in the Old Testament (Deut. 28:38; 2 Chron. 7:13; Ps. 105:34; Joel 3:25; Nahum 3:15).
The imagery of the smoke is a clear depiction of a locust plague, millions of the grasshopper like insects swarm so thickly that they can darken the sky and blot out the sun.
Real locust eat grain, leaf and stalk, right down to the bare ground and bring barrenness and desolation as far as the eye can see.
But these are not ordinary locust, they are demons bringing swarming destruction. John describes them as scorpions. Their sting will inflict horrible pain, but it is not lethal. They cannot touch any green thing, but will torment all those who do not have the seal of God on them for five months. Men will seek death and won’t be able to find it.