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The Works of Their Hands

15 Sep
Works of their hands

from Google Images

According to Revelation 9:20, they, who were not among the third of the population of the Jewish state who were killed, did not repent of the evil they committed that brought the Lord’s judgment upon them. The text says: they “…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” (Revelation 9:20). It is obvious, therefore, that the sin which the Lord judged was idolatry. 

The Lord’s judgment came against the works of their hands. This phrase is used twice in the Old Testament, but it concerns the same event (2Kings 22:17; 2Chronicles 34:25). There the Lord was committed to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple because of idolatry, but the king, Josiah, repented. Therefore, the Lord declared he would not judge the nation in the king’s lifetime. Thus, we are able to see from Scripture that national repentance will delay the occurrence of the inevitable. The problem with the first century Jewish leadership was: they refused to repent.

Notice that the text describes the works of their hands as the worship of demons and the worship of idols of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood (Revelation 9:20). Normally, the Lord doesn’t have a problem with the works of men’s hands (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:9-10). Rather, it is when one abuses this privilege and honors one’s own labor above God, himself, that the Lord finds it necessary to judge.

Throughout the human life of Jesus and throughout the ministries of the Apostles in the New Testament period, Herod’s Temple was in the process of being built. In fact, it wasn’t finished until 65 AD, or about one year before the beginning of the war with Rome. Although, if used rightly, the Temple was considered the house of God (John 2:16-17), it became a den of thieves if used for human purposes (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17).[1] In fact, Jesus finally referred to it as your house, i.e. the house of the scribes and Pharisees, whom he had just condemned (Matthew 23:37-38). Therefore, as it was then being used, it was an idolatrous house of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood, in that it was received and respected over Jesus, God come in the flesh. In addition to this it was preferred over the living Temple of God, which Jesus raised up to replace the physical Temple (cf. 1Peter 2:5; 1Corinthians 3:16; 2Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:20-22). And, their idolatry was committed, even when they knew the Scriptures claim God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48; cf. Isaiah 66:1-2; 1Kings 8:27).

As for demons (Revelation 9:20), a demon is anything that controls one’s behavior. A demon, therefore, could be alcohol or drugs, which control the lives of those who abuse their use. A demon can be a habit, which is a thing that one does so often that it is done without thinking. After awhile, one can no longer break the habit without help. A demon is a false teacher, which one follows, giving that one power over one’s own will. In such a state one no longer does the thing he does because he believes it is a righteous thing, but the thing is done, because the teacher says it is a righteous thing.

The scribes and Pharisees modeled their lives after the traditions of the elders, that is, after what the dead claimed was righteous, when they were in the land of the living. While there is nothing wrong with following a good example, Jesus claimed that following the traditions of the elders made the word of God of no effect in the lives of those who followed them. Therefore, those traditions were demonic and those who walked in them behaved as demons—i.e. the scribes and Pharisees. In other words, the dead in a sense reached out from their graves to control the lives of the living. All these things were the works of their hands.

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[1] The presence of money changers and animal markets within the Temple compound represented human enterprise capitalizing upon the worship of God. The fact that the priests didn’t really consider foreign coins an abomination is seen in the fact that one was readily obtained within the Temple compound when the Lord asked for his adversaries to produce one (Luke 20:1, 19-25).

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Posted by on September 15, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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