20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. ~ Revelation 9:20-21
We come back to conclude our study of Revelation 9. As we have already discovered, the sixth angel has sounded his trumpet and a third of mankind was killed by three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of the mouths of the four angels who had been bound at the Euphrates river.
Even after the plagues that will be unleashed, the people will yet resist turning to God to worship Him. And, notice the first thing they do not stop worshipping are demons. Here are people who have been totally deceived and have chosen to believed the age old lie that we can make it without our Creator.
In 2 Thessalonians 2 the Apostle Paul referred to this as "a strong delusion" from the devil. They will believed this, and therefore they will be rendered unable to repent. Their worship of demons will lead them to this inescapable and never ending trap.
The worship of demons, John tells us in v.20, finds its expression in idol worship. In a humorous moment, John writes, "idols that cannot see or hear or walk." These things do nothing good for the people. They only open people up to the possibility of demonic influence in their lives. This superstitious submission to strange teaching is characteristic of the last days. These people will not change their lifestyles even under these terrible judgments.
According to v.20, they continue their murders, (which undoubtedly includes abortion). Have you noticed that in America for the past fifteen or twenty years the hardening of peoples heart with reference to abortion? Even after being shown through the test tube that the baby knows and feels what is going on during the procedure. Abortion is a big money making business throughout the world, and the worship of the idol of money fuels it on.
In addition, these who will be left on the earth, will also continue their "magic arts." The Greek word used here for "magic arts" is pharmakeia, the word from which we get our word "pharmacy." It really means drugs. This explains the awful drug traffic and use of today.
According to v.21, "their sexual immorality" will also continue. The Greek word used here by the Apostle for "sexual immorality" is porneia, from which we get our English word pornography. Indulging in pornography is immediately pleasurable, but that pleasure is fleeting. It leaves one feeling empty, unsatisfied, and yearning for more. This is why it is always associated with other evils like murder, drug addiction and theft.
The last evil that is accentuated here is "theft." Those who are addicted to drugs always are thieves. Consequently, they lose the trust of their friends and they lose the influence of their friend's love. No wonder they go so far under the influence as they do. Addiction is an inability to stop using a substance or engaging in a behavior even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.
This is why Luke 24:47 informs us that repentance is to be preached to all nations. In order for the addict to be freed from his bondage, he has to come to the place where he turns his back on the drugs. Most often, in order for him to be convinced of this, something very tragic must happen. This is where the judgment of God comes in and why it is an expression of His grace. Nothing else has turned these people away from that which is destroying them. And, in some cases, His judgment has been effectual at producing change. We have read about the millions that will repent in Revelation 7:9 due to God's judgment.
God's judgment make us listen to His grace. It makes us take seriously what He is offering as the way of escape. But, it is not when judgment threatens that we turn to God. It is when we see a suffering love that gives itself for us, that bears the hurt and agony and pain. This is what breaks and melts our proud hearts, silences our excuses and opens the door to our salvation. To reject that kind of grace is to render the heart unassailable and to make repentance impossible.
Here is a great number that judgment has not impacted. Judgment does not make them listen because their hearts are hardened. They are unable to believe. They are no longer able to heed because they have refused the grace of God. This is what produces this kind of hardness of heart.