We have been going though Revelation and it has been an eye opening experience for me one could even say eye-popping as well.
And I must admit when I read this chapter I wondered in my heart where on earth was our minister going to go with this one?
It was all about locusts like scorpions that came out of an abyss that roamed the earth torturing people. All pretty ghastly really.
But the things that came out of all of this is really drawing back the curtain to reveal what our world is like - we certainly live in a crumbling and darkened world where satan seems to have the upper hand.
Revelation reveals to us what is going to happen in the last days and believe me it is not going to be pretty for those who do not heed the word of God and who haven't repented of their sins and turned to God who sent Jesus to pay the price of those sins.
Revelation 9 is really a revelation of what will happen if we do not turn from our sins and trust Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
But if we have given our lives to Him, then the most amazing things will happen - we will be washed clean even if we have committed the most dastardly deeds known to man.
Hans Frank (1900 - 1946) was a lawyer in Germany and before he took his final exams was an ardent supporter of the Nazi party. He finally worked his way up the Nazi ladder to become the personal legal advisor to Hitler.
At the outbreak of World War II he was appointed Governor General of Poland - occupied by the Germans. Frank became known as "The Butcher of Poland" and was responsible for the exploitation and murder of hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens.
He oversaw the distribution of grains and food stuffs from Poland transported back to Germany and mercilessly watched as the Polish people men, woman and little children literally starved to death because of food shortage. Every piece of food was transported back to Germany at the expense of the Polish people.
He was also responsible for putting down the Warsaw Uprising and running concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. In Poland alone, at least 3 million Holocaust victims perished under Hans Frank
The amazing part of Hans Frank's story is that at the end of the war while he was waiting in the cells after being convicted as a war criminal during the trails of Nuremberg, and due to a visiting priest, Frank became a Christian and through an amazing conversion process realised that what he had done was so so wrong and that even though God has absolved him of his sins, he still had to be held accountable here on earth.
After the war ended, Frank was put on trial, found guilty and hanged on 16th October, 1946. He willingly went to the gallows knowing that he had to pay the price for his past. His last words were "Jesus have mercy".
God hasn't any degrees of sin - what I mean by that is that God who is perfect cannot look on sin of any kind - and what he sees in us is sin - we ALL have sinned - each one of us - not one of us is perfect. And as it says quite plainly in Romans 3:23 is that "we all have sinned and fallen so short of the glory of God" - not one of us is exempt from that.
Once we have accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives, then we can expect that suffering here on earth will stop here on earth. Once we have given our lives to God and followed and focused on Him then, whatever happens to us on earth cannot go any further and God will see us righteous and holy only through the very blood of Jesus.
God is a righteous and holy God he is also a judging God - in fact the very holiness of God requires Him to pronounce judgement - that's justice. If he didn't judge and punish sin he would not be a holy God.
Before Jesus took the punishment for sin by dying on the cross, judgement fell upon all of us sinners. No matter what people did, no matter how many sacrifices they offered nothing completely and permanently satisfied the washing away of sin in their lives.
Only through the cross of Jesus did mercy triumph over God's judgement - from that day on every single person coming to God and asking forgiveness of their sins, their past, present and those sins in the future, God's mercy and grace washed them away completely, gone and forgotten, through the blood of Jesus.
So let's make sure we come to Jesus as we are right now, asking Him, to forgive us our sins, and fill us with His Spirit. That way we will never have to face the judgement that is surely coming to this wayward, self-centred and foolish world of ours.
Whatever Revelation chapter 9 stands for, I really feel, that great suffering tends to intensify whatever is in a persons character. If someone is already God-fearing and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives, then suffering may make him or her more so.
But if a person mocks God and is rebellious, scorning His name and all that He has done for us in sending Jesus to pay the penalty for their sins, then, I feel suffering may increase these characteristics in their lives.
So what can we learn from Revelation chapter nine? I now know that the end times are definitely coming and we as God's people need to be so prepared for them. They aren't going to be easy times for anyone let alone those who proclaim the name of Jesus.
So let us turn to Christ now while there is still time - Let Him heal our lives and change us into His likeness.
God bless you this week as you consider your life with Jesus - may he have your full attention as you step out with Him.