by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Rev 8:1-13; Psalm 136:1-26
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Revelation 8:13 “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
Revelation 8:13 prepares the readers for what is to come in chapter 9, which speaks of the three dreadful series of judgments upon those who do not believe. When we read of the plagues and destruction in both chapters 8 and 9, we might ask the question: “Is God’s judgement against the unbelievers too severe?”
Personally, I do not think so. I do not think we serve a God who merely punishes or disciplines people for the fun of it. The purpose of God’s judgments, dreadful as they are, is to warn and leave room for unbelievers to repent and choose Him as Lord. So even as God is righteous and just (that is why the judgement must come), He is also compassionate and merciful. Unfortunately, Revelation 9:20-21 is a typical case of human sinfulness; where we are told that even as the judgements described seem very severe and dreadful, unbelievers shall continue to be unrepentant, worship other idols and indulge in sexual immorality.
Many years ago, someone asked me whether the book of Revelation is a “doom and gloom” book of the Bible. I answered that even though Revelation speaks of God’s judgments in the end of time; it also reveals God’s love and mercy for all people in this world. The fact that Revelation is given to us in this present age signifies that God wants us to understand this book; not to be overtly frightened by it; but to increase in our faith and worship of the Almighty.
For example, the seven churches were warned through John at Patmos to turn from their evil ways; this is so that when Christ comes back again, He will find them faithful. As we read about the seven churches, we ourselves might also be convicted of various sins in our lives and choose to repent. The very fact that we are able to do so in this present age is a tremendous blessing and grace from the Lord. May we remember this and not falter in our walk with our Abba Father.
In this Advent Season, as we await the Second Coming of the Royal Shepherd; may He who is able help us to “keep awake” and live a life that is true to Him. Amen.