With the cessation of Christ’s intercession in the heavenly sanctuary, the destiny of each individual is forever determined. The time has come for those who have spurned the gospel to experience God’s wrath in its fullness.
The seven last plagues mirror the plagues poured out upon Egypt (Exodus chapters 7-11). As the Egyptian plagues affected the Egyptians while the Israelites were spared, so God’s people will be protected during this time of trouble (Ps. 91:3-10; see The Great Controversy, pages 629- 630). The plagues on Egypt disclosed the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart and showed the Egyptians the inability of their gods to protect them. Similarly, the last plagues increasingly harden the hearts of the worshipers of the sea beast and reveal the powerlessness of Babylon to protect them from divine judgment.
Read Revelation 16:1-11. What is happening here, and how is it portrayed?
The first four plagues “are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off”. – Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 628. The first inflicts painful and loathsome sores exclusively on the worshipers of the beast. The second and third plagues affect the sea and the rivers and the springs of water, which turn into blood. Without water to drink, rebellious humanity cannot survive. The fourth plague affects the sun so that it scorches people, causing unbearable pain.
The unbearable pain inflicted by the plagues does not soften the hearts of unrighteous humanity so as to change their rebellious attitudes. Instead, they curse and blaspheme God, who executes these plagues. Nor do any of them repent.
In Revelation 16:10-11 (see also Exod. 10:21-23), we can see that the fifth plague strikes the throne of the beast. It was Satan who delegated the throne to the beast (Rev. 13:2). Now even the seat of Satan’s authority cannot withstand the force of these plagues. As people suffer in pain, they realize the inability of Babylon to protect them. However, they have set their minds against God, and even the terror of the plagues does not change their hearts.
|How can we maintain so close a walk with the Lord that, if tragedy strikes, we know enough of God’s love to trust Him even amid suffering?|