You would expect humans to heed the warning of God’s judgment and turn to God asking for mercy.
Instead, we read that the inhabitants of earth curse God, refuse to repent, or give God the glory he is due (Revelation 16.9-11).
In his commentary on Revelation, Robert Mounce explains that they have taken on the character of the false gods they serve.
He writes, “They have become one in character with their evil master, whose most characteristic activity is to blaspheme God and his followers.”
What Isaiah wrote about the king of Babylon has often been applied to Satan. When humans follow the evil one, they take on his rebellious nature.
How you are fallen from heaven,
O Morning Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
You said to yourself,
“I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
on the heights of Zaphon;
I will ascend to the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14.12-14)
The “I will” of self-assertion and pride dominates those who oppose God. When this characteristic becomes a human’s core character trait, cursing God replaces repentance.
Few will be as arrogant as the evil one in Isaiah’s description. However, we need to evaluate our lives and make sure that our pride and self-assertion are not a hindrance to repentance and obedience.
The Great Battle
In the Old Testament God’s great redemptive acts were often associated with the drying up of water. The sixth bowl dried up a river, not for salvation, but for battle.
The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great River Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east (Revelation 16.12).
The Evil One’s Deception
The dragon, the beast, and the false prophet spit from their mouths foul spirits.
And I saw three foul spirits like frogs coming from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet (Revelation 16.13).
The Book of Revelation pulls back the curtain that hides the invisible world from humans. It reveals the awesome authority and power of God.
Revelation also shows us the nature of evil behind world events. Let’s refresh our memory on three evil beings in verse 13.
Chapter 12 describes the dragon.
The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Revelation 12:9).
The beast is the one out of the sea in chapter 13. It represents every human system that stands in opposition to the purposes of God.
The rulers of Psalm 2 express the true nature of the beast, as they plot to live by their rules and not God’s.
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast their cords from us.” (Psalm 2.2-3)
The false prophet is the beast out of the earth (Revelation 13).
Robert Mounce observes: “The evil spirits come out of the mouths suggest deceptive propaganda that in the last days will lead people to an unconditional commitment to the cause of evil.”
Let’s not forget. The devil and his allies don’t appear with horns and a pitchfork. They deceptively use our inclinations to pride and self-sufficiency to draw us into their orbit.
These are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty (Revelation 16.14).
Jesus warned his followers to be aware of the evil one’s deception.
He warned us, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
Heed the Warning
Jesus warned us to “Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42 and 44).
The third beatitude promises the blessing of God for those who do as Jesus said.
“See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed, not going about naked and exposed to shame” (Revelation 16.15).
Satan and his servants are deception professionals. The best way to avoid being deceived is to remain close to Jesus.
Jesus’ message about living in a close personal relationship with him is the best protection against the schemes of the evil one.
Jesus said, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15.4-5).
Take a few minutes and meditate on Jesus’ words in John. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to incorporate the truth of his words into your life.
There may be other ways to “stay awake” in the face of enemy deception, but this is one of the best.
Rudy Ross and I discuss Revelation on YouTube today. Unfortunately, I have the videos out of order, so today’s video doesn’t match my article. The video is on the Bob Spradling channel.