Revelation 9 records the fifth and sixth blast of the angelic trumpets. With each blast, another calamity is poured out upon a Christ-rejecting world. While each of these is intriguing in themselves, two things stand out to me as I read through them.
First, it strikes me, the judgment of God does not come in a single stroke. It is spread throughout seven trumpet blasts, the pouring forth of seven bowls, and a multitude of other expressions. The message screams at me, God truly does not want men to perish. Each judgment is strong enough to grab attention, while allowing many to have the opportunity to respond by crying out to Jesus for salvation. No doubt, many will respond during the tribulation. Sadly however, many will also reject, seeking death rather than conversion. The same is true today. Some, who hear of the love and grace of God, decide to follow Him, while others reject Him, thinking they can escape judgment by ignoring it. Don’t misinterpret the patience and mercy of God, by thinking His judgment can be evaded by ignoring it. Cry out today for Jesus to save and transform you.
Second, I am struck by the fact that God makes a distinction between those who belong to Him and those who do not. A mark is placed on the forehead of all who believe. We are not sure what this mark is or whether others can see it, but we do know it is a distinguishing mark, affecting how a person is treated by God. Those with the mark avoid the judgment. Currently, there is no mark on the forehead of genuine believers. Instead, the evidence of true conversion is the indwelling of the Spirit of God. The Spirit is manifested in that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. God has always been in the business of making a distinction between His people and those who do not yet follow Him. In Egypt, the Israelites avoided many of the plagues; in the tribulation, those with the mark of God, will avoid much of the calamity caused by judgment. Today, the child of God dwells under the mighty hand of God, in a place of sweet fellowship peace and comfort.