They Did Not Repent
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as somecountslowness, but is patienttoward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ~ 2 Peter 3:9
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by theseplagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worshipdemons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, whichcanneitherseenorhearnorwalk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts. ~ Revelation 9:20-21
In this section (Revelation 8:1-9:21), we once again see God’s sovereign rule on full display through the cataclysmic events described. Sadly, we also see humanity’s stubborn rebellion at its peak. That people experience such incredible events and remain steadfastly unmoved and unchanged—they did not repent—is a sobering reminder of our hopeless condition apart from Jesus Christ.
They did not repent are chilling and challenging words.
Hear these chilling words!
They did not repent of their works.
For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creatureratherthan the Creator, who is blessedforever. Amen. (Romans 1:25)
Where does our society place its greatest trust? Where are you placing your greatest trust?
They did not repent of their idolatry.
See Psalm 135:15-18; Isaiah 1:7-21; Habakkuk 2:18-19
They did not repent of their murders.
You shall not murder. ~ Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17
See Psalm 62; Hosea 4:2; Hosea 6:9; Matthew 5:21-26, 38-48; James 2:11; James 4:1-12
They did not repent of their sorceries.
You foolishGalatians, who has bewitched you, beforewhoseeyesJesusChrist was publiclyportrayed as crucified? (Galatians 3:1)
See Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10, 14; 1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chronicles 33:6
They did not repent of their immorality.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
They did not repent of their thefts.
They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating ox! (Psalm 106:20, NLT)
Professing to be wise, they becamefools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:22-23)
See Psalm 106; Isaiah 6:3; Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 48:11; Isaiah 60:1; Jeremiah 2:11; Daniel 5:2; Mark 8:38
Manasseh . . . did evil in the sight of the Lord. (2 Kings 21:1-9)
Therefore, to one who knows the rightthing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)
Here’s the challenge: (1) repent from all wickedness; (2) return wholeheartedly to God; (3) remain faithful to God, focused on God, fervent for God!
For thus the LordGOD, the HolyOne of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
O LORD, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have smitten them, but they did not weaken; You have consumed them, but they refused to takecorrection. They have made their facesharderthanrock; they have refused to repent. (Jeremiah 5:3)
Thereforesay to the house of Israel, “Thussays the LordGOD, ‘Repent and turnaway from your idols and turn your facesaway from all your abominations.’” (Ezekiel 14:6)
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the LordGOD. “Repent and turnaway from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumblingblock to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.” (Ezekiel 18:30-32)
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
From that timeJesusbegan to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
Then He began to denounce the cities in whichmost of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repentedlongago in sackcloth and ashes.” (Matthew 11:20-21)
“The men of Nineveh will stand up with thisgeneration at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:41)
Now afterJohn had been taken into custody, Jesuscame into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
They went out and preached that men should repent. (Mark 6:12)
Thereforerepent and return, so that your sins may be wipedaway, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19)
Or do you thinklightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of Godleads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4)
I nowrejoice, not that you were madesorrowful, but that you were madesorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were madesorrowfulaccording to the will of God, so that you might not sufferloss in anythingthrough us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as somecountslowness, but is patienttoward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
See also Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 15:7-10; 16:30; 17:3-4; Acts 2:37-40; 8:22; 17:30; 26:20; Revelation 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19; 16:9,11
Commentary on Revelation Chapters Eight and Nine
Judgments have already come to seize our attention; but surely greater judgments lie in store. Those who study both Scripture and the moral state of secular society can hardly think otherwise, though in our day, as in Jeremiah’s, there will surely remain false prophets of peace merely telling people what they wish to hear (Jer. 6:14; 8:11; 14:13; 23:17; See Ezek. 13:16; Mic. 3:5; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).
~ Craig S. Keener, Revelation: The NIV Application Commentary, p. 264.
The intended impact of Revelation’s images on those who deliberately reject truth is harsh: John is not like some refined modern preachers unwilling to “scare” someone into repentance. But few who reject Revelation’s message will read this far; its main audience is Christians, and its main message at this point may therefore be twofold. (1) Christians flirting with compromise with the world should think twice, because the entire social order will be destroyed in the awful catastrophes of war; Christ alone is an adequate security.
(2) Christians suffering at the hand of the world should never envy the position of their persecutors. Their persecutors will suffer too; invasions by other ungodly persons or spirits function as God’s judgments on a wicked society, hence active vindication of his persecuted people. Of course, Christians often die in wars, such as during the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. John does not promise specific, total immunity for God’s servants from all the ravages of war, but the demonic predators, at least, cannot touch them (9:4).
Furthermore, John provides one perspective on troubles in the world that complements other biblical perspectives: God is not absent in times of the world’s hardship, but remains in control. Christians must also recognize another biblical perspective that summons us to work to heal the pain around us: The cross testifies that God loves a world hostile to him and even shared our pain to ultimately liberate us from it. Yet we also need Revelation’s perspective, which addresses the stark division between God’s martyrs and their persecutors: God does not merely wait until Christ’s return to act in history on behalf of justice.
Finally, the message of repentance (9:20-21) is not only for the world, but for professing Christians who have grown too comfortable with the world’s values (2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19; cf. 18:4)
~ Craig S. Keener, Revelation: The NIV Application Commentary, p. 277-278.
Fearful damage is done to the land and its vegetation, the sea and the ships, the waters which men drink, and the light by which they see—their environment, commerce, resources, and vision. But the damage is partial (‘one third’), not total; which seems to show that the Trumpets are sounding not doom, but warning. The majority of mankind is allowed to survive, being shown God’s wrath against sin, and given the chance to repent. Paradoxically, therefore, the miseries . . . are really kindnesses. The Seals showed the suffering church pleading for justice to be done. But the Trumpets show the wicked world being offered mercy. The offer is not accepted, and the world will not in fact repent (9:20 f.); but let it never be said that God has not done all in his power, even to the devastation of his own once perfect earth, in order to bring men to their senses.
Men suffer indirectly as the first four Trumpets affect their environment. Since they are still impenitent, the remaining Trumpets will now affect them directly. God is using, to expose the true character of the wicked, the same method which in the case of Job was used to expose the true character of the righteous (Job 1:8-12; 2:3-7).
~ Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation, p. 95-96.
There is another thought here, namely that God uses the evil results of men’s sins to call them to repentance. From verse 20 we see that repentance is in mind. John sees the release of the demonic forces from one point of view as the results of men’s sin. But from another it is God’s chastening, and God’s chastening is not aimless. Rightly received it should lead men to amendment. John sees God, not the demons, as in control.
~ Leon Morris, Revelation, p. 126.
These people were so hardhearted that even plagues did not drive them to God. People usually do not fall into immorality and evil suddenly—they slip into it a little bit at a time until, hardly realizing what has happened, they are irrevocably mired in their wicked ways. Any person who allows sin to take root in his or her life can find himself or herself in this predicament. Temptation entertained today becomes sin tomorrow, then a habit the next day, then death and separation from God forever (see James 1:14-15). To think you could never become this evil is the first step toward a hard heart. Acknowledge your need to confess your sin before God.
~ Bruce B. Barton, et. al., Revelation: Life Application Bible Commentary, p. 107.
As Titanic sank, he pleaded, 'believe in the Lord Jesus!'
Posted on Apr 13, 2012 | by Douglas W. Mize
TAYLORS, S.C. (BP) -- It has been 100 years since Titanic, the greatest ship of its time, sank on its maiden voyage, killing more than 1,500 passengers. The "unsinkable ship" had done just that, and on the tragedy's centennial we stand captivated by the story. Many movies, documentaries and books have familiarized us with some of the passengers, such as entrepreneur John Jacob Astor IV or the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown. Yet one of the supreme stories of the Titanic involves a heroic pastor and his passion to save lives and souls.
When pastor and preacher John Harper and six year old daughter boarded the Titanic it was for the privilege of preaching at one of the greatest churches in America, Moody Church in Chicago, named for its famous founder Dwight L. Moody. The church was anxiously awaiting his arrival not only because of the pending services, but to meet their next pastor, as Harper planned to accept their invitation. Harper was known as an engaging preacher and had pastored two churches in Glasgow and London. His preaching style was suited for an evangelist as testified by the words of another local pastor. "He was a great open-air preacher and could always command large and appreciative audiences. ... He could deal with all kinds of interrupters, his great and intelligent grasp of Bible truths enabling him to successfully combat all assailants."
When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Harper successfully led his daughter to a lifeboat. Being a widower he may have been allowed to join her but instead forsook his own rescue, choosing to provide the masses with one more chance to know Christ. Harper ran person to person, passionately telling others about Christ. As the water began to submerge the "unsinkable" ship, Harper was heard shouting, "women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats." Rebuffed by a certain man at the offer of salvation Harper gave him his own life vest, saying, "you need this more than I do." Up until the last moment on the ship Harper pleaded with people to give their lives to Jesus.
The ship disappeared beneath the deep frigid waters leaving hundreds floundering in its wake with no realistic chance for rescue. Harper struggled through hyperthermia to swim to as many people as he could, still sharing the Gospel. Harper evidentially would lose his battle with hypothermia but not before giving many people one last glorious Gospel witness.
Four years after the tragedy at a Titanic survivor's meeting in Ontario, Canada, one survivor recounted his interaction with Harper in the middle of the icy waters of the Atlantic. He testified he was clinging to ship debris when Harper swam up to him, twice challenging him with a biblical invitation to "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." He rejected the offer once. Yet given the second chance and with miles of water beneath his feet, the man gave his life to Christ. Then as Harper succumbed to his watery grave, this new believer was rescued by a returning lifeboat. As he concluded his remarks at the Ontario meeting of survivors he simply stated, "I am the last convert of John Harper."
When the Titanic set sail there were delineations of three classes of passengers. Yet immediately after the tragedy, the White Star Line in Liverpool, England placed a board outside its office with only two classes of passengers reading, KNOWN TO BE SAVED and KNOWN TO BE LOST. The owners of the Titanic had simply reaffirmed what John Harper already knew. There are people who know Christ and will spend eternity with God in heaven and many others who will not.
For us, 100 years after the Titanic, may we be as zealous as Harper was with every opportunity to share Christ with the perishing.
Douglas W. Mize is minister of evangelism and discipleship at Taylors (S.C.) First Baptist Church. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp