Revelation 9 – The Plague of Locusts & Fewer People Believe in God

The following is probably true because even though “Christianity” is the largest religion in the world, the amount of “True Christians,” those that have given their life to Jesus, is the minority of the world.

I believe the reason of the decline in church goers is because most churches are ran by false teachers, con artists, retired Used Car Salesmen.  So tomorrow we’ll look at…

Revelation 9
The Plague of Locusts

So how do disbelievers explain the “singularity,” and how nothing became something; and in a meaningful and coordinated fashion?
Also how life’s complexities, the signature biochemistry and genetics of nature is directed.
How also can the atheist, nothing from nothing ask questions?
Atheism is on the rise not only in western societies but also in Africa.
An outspoken and aggressive publicity program has contributed to the appreciable growth of this particular thought bracket.
Atheism or Rebellion against God

The posture of today’s atheist is far from insular or reserved, but is staunchly aggressive.
Atheists can be found not only online, but in cities with large banners making provocative challenges and throwing insults at the faithful.

Millions of dollars are spent in promotional material on all media to discredit God and religion.

Popular atheists like Dawkins are seen raking in financial profits from writing books and arranging seminars to bash God and religion.

Atheism today is not a position of refusal, but a position of stark objection and fanatical condemnation.

The question sometimes asked is why atheists do not forget about God, but take up this obvious position to attack God and promote their doctrine.

This has made some regard atheism as a new religion with prophets like late Christopher Hitchens who died of throat cancer, and Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion.”

When one studies the behavior of atheists from a Biblical perspective, one sees the same example of atheists today in the story of the Nimrod (Hebrews), the first Pharaoh and Potentate on Earth, otherwise regarded as King Narmer or King Enmerkar to the Sumerians and the “Tower of Babel;” where the King denied God and yet invested all his time and the time and finance of his people in building a tower to ‘challenge’ God in the heavens.

The position of rebellion supports the theory of disappointment in God, thus designating God as an enemy to be combated.

The atheist however will not accept such qualification since he professes a belief in the absence of a God.

I understand the atheist as being a person that is insecure and lives in fear.

God is to much for a weak person to comprehend.

The majesty of God can be overwhelming, but it’s fabulous.

Without adventure there is no life,

Without God there is no adventure!

1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

“Star fall from heaven” – the star in 8:10 was part of a cosmic disturbance; here the star is a divine agent, probably an angel.

“Bottomless pit” – conceived of as the subterranean abode of demonic hordes.  The Greek word abyss means “very deep” or “bottomless, and is used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) to translate the Hebrew word for the primeval deep (see Gen 1:2, 7:11: Prov 8:28).

2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

“Locusts” – for background see the plague of locusts in Ex 10:1-20.  Joel 1:2-2:11 interprets the locust plague as a foreshadowing of the devastations that accompany the day of the Lord.

Locusts traveled in enormous swarms and could strip a land of all vegetation.

“Scorpions” – small creatures that injure or kill by means of a poisonous barb in the tail.  The description of these creatures indicates intelligence.  Many believe they are symbolic of demons.

4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

“Men which have not the seal of God” – the first woe does not affect the “servants of our God.”

5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

“Five months” – a limited period of time suggested by the life cycle of the locust or the dry season, in which the danger of a locust invasion is always present.

6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

“Seek death, and shall not find it” – Cornelius Gallus, a Roman poet living in the 1st century B.C., wrote:

“Worse than any wound is the wish to die and yet not be able to do so.”

Cf. Paul’s attitude toward death in Phil 1:23-24.

7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

“Faces of men” – the locusts appear to have the cunning of intelligent beings.  They do not simply use brute force.

8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

“Teeth of lions” – cruel, inhumane.

9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

“As it were breastplates of iron” – in Roman soldiers, thin iron pieces riveted to a leather base.

10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

“One woe” – 8:13.

13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

“Horns of the golden altar” – the horns were projections at the four corners of the altar (Ex 27:2).  Those fleeing judgment could seek mercy by taking hold of the horns (1 Kgs 1:50-51, 2:28).

14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

“Four angels” – apparently in charge of the demonic horsemen.

“Euphrates” – the longest river in western Asia (about 1,700 miles).  It marked the boundary between Israel and her historic enemies (Assyria and Babylon0 to the east.

15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

“Hour…day…month…year” – apocalyptic thought views God as acting according to an exact timetable.

16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

“Two hundred thousand thousand” – the reference could be general, intending an incalculable host rather than a specific number (cf. Ps 68:17; Dan 7:10; Rev 5:11). 

However, this number, 200 million, is not out of question in today’s world.  An army from the east (China, India and Asia) could easily number this many soldiers.

17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.

19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

“Neither repented they” – even physical pain will not change the rebellious heart.

“Sorceries” – involved the mixing of various ingredients (the Greek for this phrase is Pharmakon, from which comes the English “pharmacy”) for magical purposes.

Believers at Ephesus publicly burned their books of magic, valued at 50,000 drachmas (Acts 19:19).  A drachma was a silver coin worth about a day’s wages.

 

Fewer People Believe in God

According to the 2011 Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans who believe in God is still in the 90s… but there’s been a significant drop since the last time the question was asked in 1967, from 98% to 92%.

Of course this amount does not mean that many people are saved, only God knows the heart and only He knows which ones are saved or will be saved.

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).

“Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins” (Ps 7:9).

“The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Ps 11:5).

How Many Believe in God?

* 87% of people with a postgraduate education believe in God,

* 92% of people with only a high school education.

* College grads are at 94%,

* Liberals (85%) are less likely to believe in God,

* Conservatives are at 98%,

* Democrats (90%),

* Republicans (98%),

* Easterners (86%), and

* Southerners (96%).

According to more than half of all Americans, God is in complete control of everything that happens on our planet. Slightly fewer people, 44 percent, believe natural disasters, such as the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan are caused by an omnipotent power; but hey, it gets a little better – only 29 percent of Americans believe that God punishes a whole nation for the sins of a few individuals.

America never ceases to amaze me when it comes to things like this. Instead of wanting a rational but less desirable answer, people tend to go to the easier ‘God’s will’ approach.

“There’s just something about the randomness of the universe that is too unsettling,” says Scott Schieman, a sociologist at the University of Toronto.

“We like explanations for why things happen …many times people weave in these divine narratives.”

Remember, those percentages do not pertain to salvation; the question asked was if they believe in God, not if they believe in Jesus.  For example, the Catholics and Mormons believe in God, but not Jesus and if Jesus isn’t in your life then you are not saved:

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10, 12).

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6).

In my opinion, I would give a very low number of true believers to the liberals and the democrats, but now days most republicans are no different than the democrats.

I would think more people in the South would walk with Jesus than any other region, and I mainly say that because there are more liberals in those areas then in the South.

Christianity in the Modern World

Christianity, as a label, is the largest religion in the world. Over 2 billion people can be counted as “Christians.” Their actual practices, beliefs and lifestyles are another matter entirely.

There is no question about that,for example, a gay person can be saved, but a gay person that lives the gay lifestyle is doomed.

For the purpose of this study, “Christianity” is defined as the major world religion that includes beliefs such as the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a personal God, the second coming of Christ, and the need to accept Jesus as one’s personal savior for salvation.

This will also be referred to as “traditional Christianity” to distinguish it from newer sects and denominations.

The United States is among the most religious societies in the western, developed world. Yet the hold of traditional Christianity on people’s lives has been significantly eroded, even among people who call themselves “Christian.”

Belief in God is down: General belief in God has remained high and stable in the US since World War II, ranging from 92 to 98%. However, depending on the poll’s question wording, belief in God declines notably.

* In 2010, 80% of people said they believe in God, while 12% believed in a “universal spirit.”

* In 2006, 73% of Americans said they were “convinced God exists,” and

* 19% said God probably exists, but they have some doubt.

Self-reported Christians are down: From 1948 to 2008, the self-reported Christian population of America fell from 92% to 78% and the nonreligious population rose from 2% to between 13 and 15%. Nonbelievers have mostly come from the ranks of Christian defectors.

Church attendance is down: Over the last 40 years, Americans have attended church less and less frequently.

* In 1972, the majority of people attended religious services once a month or more frequently.

* In 2008, a majority attended several times a year or less often.

This Tuesday “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” was splayed across 800 buses. And next week, the campaign will move underground, where 1,000 ads featuring quotes from Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, and Katharine Hepburn will ride the subway. Of course, you can’t help but notice it says there’s probably no god. What kind of atheist says that?

Why does an atheist hesitate on the nonexistence of god? “Probably” was an edit made to add ambiguity and appease British advertising guidelines.

“There is no god” would, after all, be inaccurate to those who believe.

When asked, 40 to 45% of Americans claim they attend church weekly. However, actual weekly church attendance is estimated at somewhere between 17 and 30%. The majority of Americans do not attend church weekly.

General importance of religion has fallen: The percentage of Americans claiming that religion is “very important” in their lives declined significantly from ¾ in 1952, to just ½ in 2008. Meanwhile, those saying it is “not very important” rose from 5 to 19.

Authority given to religion is down: The percentage of people saying that religion is old-fashioned and out of date rose from 7% in 1957 to 29% in 2009.

* In the 1950s 82% believed religion was relevant to modern questions.

* In 2009 the number had fallen significantly to 57%.

Decline of Christianity in the West

Among developed nations, a median of only 38% of people say that religion is important in their daily lives.

In 2007 and 2008, eight of the eleven least religious countries in the world were located in Europe, and all but one (Mongolia) were within the western sphere:

Estonia: 14% said religion is important in their daily lives
Sweden:
17%
Denmark:
18%
Norway:
20%
Czech Republic:
21%
Azerbaijan:
21%
Hong Kong:
22%
Japan:
25%
France:
25%
Mongolia:
27%
Belarus:
27%.

In the 1960s, 79% of the British believed in God; thirty years later, it was 68%.

Meanwhile, from the 1950s to the 1990s, those saying they did not believe in God rose from around 2% to 27%.

Eight in ten Swedes believed in God in 1947; in the early 1990s, it was down to 4 in 10. In recent years, the majority of people do not believe in God (between 50% to 85% depending on the study).

In France, the trend toward non-theism began much earlier, with the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Today about a third of French people state a non-belief in God, and far more can be considered agnostic or irreligious.

Modern Europe is generally considered to be “Post-Christian,” insofar as private beliefs and public policy are far less influenced by traditional Christianity than in the past. Christianity itself has also become secularized and modernized.

An example of this is Christmas, which is celebrated by many Non-Christians in the west, and for many Christians is the only time of year they engage in any serious worship, prayer or religious ceremony.

Most people, including true Christians, celebrate Christmas as Santa Claus being the main figure, whether they have kids or not.

Weekly church attendance rates are low across Europe: roughly 30% in Italy and 12% in France.

Less than 50% of Irish people attend mass even once a month. Weekly Church of England attendance is predicted to fall by 90% by 2050.

In 2004, only one priest was ordained in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Traditionally Christian countries are the least religious.

…False Prophets, Teachers and Leaders in the Laodicean Age.