Lesson 360:

Revelation 9:13-21 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet [and] . . . . A third of mankind was killed . . . . The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols . . . . Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

These people remind us of Pharaoh, who saw the plagues on Egypt but refused to repent. His pride and hatred of God were so great that he rode his chariot into the sea, between the walls of water, only to drown when God withdrew his power (Exodus 14:26-28). Christians have been accused of being irrational, but nothing is more irrational than opposing the Almighty. 

Hardship is an alarm that turns some people to God, but not others. The same sun that melts the wax also hardens the clay. If we keep our hearts soft, we will be willing to repent whenever we are wrong. But if we harden our hearts, and fall into hell, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7), says Hebrews.

Revelation 10:1-3 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. . . . He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion.

This mighty angel is so wonderful that some think he is Jesus Christ. But that cannot be right, because John described him as another mighty angel–like the seven angels who sounded the seven trumpets. This is clearly an angel of rank, however, and reveals something about our future.

People were created a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5), but will be exalted above the angels, just as Jesus was made lower than the angels [but is] now crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:7), says Hebrews. People are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), but that is never said of angels. Believers are called children of God (1 John 3:1), but that is never said of angels either. Believers are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but that is never said of angels either. Do you not know that we will judge angels? (1 Corinthians 6:3), wrote Paul. When we consider the glory of this angel, we can begin to imagine the glory that God has in store for us.

Revelation 10:3b-4 When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.

So many things are revealed in Gods word that we are surprised when something is concealed. Likewise, the Apostle Paul was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell (2 Corinthians 12:4), he wrote. God has revealed much in his word, but not everything. It is also the glory of God to conceal a matter (Proverbs 25:2), says Proverbs. 

The Bible does not tell us everything we want to know, but everything we need to know. There is more to God than we will ever know, but we ought to know whatever he has revealed. The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever (Deuteronomy 29:29), wrote Moses. 

Revelation 11:3 I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth

These two witnesses are given remarkable power so that fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies (Revelation 11:5). They [also] have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain [and to] turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague (Revelation 11:6), wrote John.

This will not make them popular with those who refuse to repent, however, so they will be put to death. Their bodies will be left to rot in public, for three and a half days, while the world sends gifts to each other. Then they will go up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies look on (Revelation 11:7-12).

These two witnesses remind us of Moses and Elijah who did similar miracles. They also remind us of Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9). If the devil puts us to death, Christ will raise us up. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life (Revelation 2:10), he said.

Reflection and Review
Why does hardship turn some people to God, but not others?
Would you rather be a Christian or an angel?
Why doesn’t God reveal everything to us?