Do the Earth Dwellers Give God Praise?

Several verses in the book of Revelation feature a group called “those who dwell on the earth,” which students of Scripture generally shorten to “the earth dwellers.” This group follows after the Antichrist (the “first beast” in Revelation). They oppose Almighty God and His good plans.

They never repent of their wickedness nor of their worship of false gods. They close their ears to the gospel message.

What are we to make, then, of the great earthquake in Jerusalem at the sixth trumpet? The holy city, Jerusalem, has been given to the nations. The Gentiles are trampling it underfoot, except for the holy temple. These unrighteous Gentiles have opposed the ministry of the two witnesses. They throw a party when the Antichrist kills them:

And those who dwell on the earth {will} rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets [the two witnesses] tormented those who dwell on the earth. (Rev. 11.10 NASB)

These earth dwellers get the shock of their lives when the two witnesses come back to life again and ascend to heaven. Yet the earth dwellers are still called “enemies” of the two witnesses, not “converts” of them.

Here we come to the bit about the earthquake:

And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell [many buildings collapsed]; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Rev. 11.13 NASB)

It’s understandable that those living in Jerusalem will be terrified. Yet it is totally unlike the earth dwellers to give glory to Almighty God. We don’t see them praising God or repenting anywhere else in the 70th Week of Daniel or thereafter.

Do they really repent here? There are basically two options. One is that yes, the earth dwellers do give glory to God, but it’s not really the ascribing of worth to His holy name that is usually meant by “give glory to.” It’s a lesser form of praise. While the Greek words involved may technically allow for this option, it is not persuasive.

Could “the rest” refer instead to the Jewish remnant in Jerusalem? Only half of the city was exiled (Zech. 14.2), which implies that a large number of Jews remained in Jerusalem.

The Jewish remnant will not side with their persecutor, the Antichrist. All Israel will be saved, Paul says in Rom. 11.26. The 70 Weeks decreed for the Jewish people will end their transgression and usher in their everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9.24). So we see that those who give glory to God at the sixth trumpet are likely the Jews who have survived, and who sincerely praise their God and give Him the honor due His holy name.

Scripture taken, unless otherwise noted, from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, Updated Edition (NASB), © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Brackets mine (added to some verses for clarity).

Ephemeral Us

One of my acquaintances lost her adult daughter to an untimely and unexpected death today. This is, sad to say, a major part of life in this present age of the earth. We are hit by nasty surprises. Shocking and tragic events occur. Death hits all age groups. Sometimes there is an obvious cause – disease attacking a vital organ, a sin someone committed (murder or drunken driving), or a series of bad choices (addiction to cigarettes or drugs). Often, there is not. There is only the shock and the pain for those left behind.

We cannot expect to live forever, not in these bodies we were born with. They are corrupted and decaying. We must have new, fresh bodies to house our souls.

Our Lord knows this and has made provision for our need. If we will truly find Him, if we will truly follow Him, then we will have an eternity of living to look forward to. Real living, joy and bounty, love and liveliness. We will not lack for energy, intelligence, health, friends, or any other good thing.

Therefore, truly finding the Lord Yeshua is of paramount importance. With our always-too-short lives, we must expend whatever time is necessary to make sure we belong to Him. Tomorrow may be too late.