The first four trumpets brought natural disaster to the earth, but the final three will bring spiritual disaster. For five months the world will be subjected to a demon-induced torment at a level far beyond anything it has ever known. People will long to die to escape but be unable to do so. Then demonic plagues will annihilate whole populations, eventually destroying one-third of all who are alive. And, worst of all, Satan himself will be personally forced down onto the earth which begins a final period of the last days called the Great Tribulation. It seems hell itself will arrive on our planet, and thats the only explanation that makes sense of the terrible scenario that lies ahead. Apparently God will give the earth a foretaste of hell, in effect asking, Do you really want to spend eternity with this? And amazingly the answer from many seems to be yes! which is so illogical that it forces us to stop and ask the question, How do some people become so resistant to God? Why dont they simply repent and let Him save them? Though well try to answer this question, we wont stop there. Knowing that nothing is impossible with God we will also consider the ways He breaks through to hard hearts, so that we can better partner with Him in the process.
The Three Woes
Up until the fifth trumpet God has restrained the direct activity of Satan and his demons. As horrible as it may have seemed during the era in which we now live, only a limited number have been active. Gods hand still protects us. But when this woe arrives He will remove His hand. For three and a half years the earth will taste the atmosphere of hell.
the woes = the final 3 trumpet blasts.
woe #1 (5th trumpet): deathless torment for 5 months (Rv 9:12)
woe #2 (6th trumpet): widespread death from demonic plagues (Rv 9:15; 11:14)
woe #3 (7th trumpet): Satan is thrown down to the earth (Rv 12:12)
the third woe brings us to the final 3 ½ years called the Great Tribulation
metanoia: change of mind, not sorrow
Gn 2:15-17; 3:5
Who decides whats right and wrong: you or God?
Repentance: put the apple back on the tree
Repentance begins with a general decision to give authority back to God. After that we learn to apply this decision to every area of our lives. We learn a dependant lifestyle, daily humbling our self-reliance, trusting God instead (Pr 3:5,6).
Why do people become so resistant to God? Ro 1:18-32
1) they harden their hearts: silence the voice of their conscience, close their spiritual eyes to the revelation before them, refuse to listen to reason.
2) develop arguments against God or invent false gods.
3) in time God gives them over (Ro 1:24, 26, 28). At some point He stops wrestling with such people and gives them what they want thus accelerating the process until it shows its extreme side.
How does God bear witness to Himself?
1) Creation (Ro 1:20)
2) Conscience (Ro 1:19; 2:15)
3) Communication (Ro 2:12): His written and spoken word.
4) Christ (Jn 1:18)
Why dont people repent and turn to God?
1) they believe a lie about God (distorted God) the God they reject you would too.
2) they are still angry over the way Christians treated them.
3) theyre bitter at God for not answering their prayers.
4) they believe they have committed an unforgivable sin, i.e. adultery, murder, cursing God
5) they dont want to stop doing something they know He forbids.
6) they feel hopelessly trapped in a sin they believe they cant stop whats the use, I cant live the Christian lifestyle.
7) they fear the sacrifices theyll have to make to become a disciple.
8) they feel if they acknowledge the gospel they are admitting their deceased loved ones who never apparently repented must be in hell. Their loyalty demands they join them wherever they are.
9) they used to serve Jesus Christ, but have betrayed Him and walked away.
Can God break through to those who harden their hearts?
1) yes, but not by being scolded or threatened
2) steady intercession
3) being in the presence of the Holy Spirit
4) watching real disciples
5) getting solid answers to their troubling questions
6) when the pain of change is less than the pain of remaining the same