Revelation 9.5-6: 5They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
In our evening services we are going through the book of Revelation. Revelation 9.1-12 tells us that demonic forces led by Apollyon (Destruction) come up unbelievers and torture them for 5 months. (I hold that the time this happens is between the first and second coming of Jesus and they are not a literal army of locusts). The torture will be so horrible on unbelievers that they will long for death but it will elude them.
What is John saying? Satan will attack his own people, torture them and then bring them to hell with him. Awful. We speak of the natural human heart in many ways - dead, deceived, hard, wicked, sinful - and it is all true. But when we read Revelation 9, we need to add another to the list: self-destructive. The human heart, in its rebellion, destroys itself as it follows its master - Apollyon.
The master unbelievers serve is Satan but this very master they serve seeks to destroy those who serve him - he is the Destroyer after all. And so those who live apart from Christ live thinking they have found life but in reality are destroying themselves. Satan is not kind to his people and all we need to do is look around and see the trouble and turmoil in people's lives.
This leads to two thoughts: First thank God for salvation, His gracious calling and His kindness. Is our God not good to send His Son Jesus to die for sins? We read in comparison to the destructive ways of Satan, Jesus has come so that your joy may be complete. (John 15.11) He is good.
Second the desperate need to be about the business of speaking to others about the goodness of Jesus. Without Jesus people will destroy themselves as they are deceived by empty words (Ephesians 5.6) and enter hell for all eternity. When have you been able to share God's goodness to a "ticking time bomb world" ready to blow itself up?