A Study of Revelation 9:6
And in those days shall men seek death,
and shall not find it; and shall desire to
die, and death shall flee from them.
The Great Tribulation carries with it one continuous distinction in Scripture and that is the horrible fact that during this time there will be little or no salvation to be obtained. There are many references or hints in the Old Testament to this time of distress and these come in the form of historic parables; true Old Testament historic events that carry within their descriptive verses a higher level of spiritual interpretation that will not be realized until the latter days. This period of time is also referenced many times by Christ in the New Testament. One mention, in particular, is the word night in which Christ used to describe the spiritual darkness that would engulf the earth at the end of time.
John 9:4 – I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Christ stated to His disciples that He was there to work the works of Him who sent Him, which is actually saying that Christ Himself was to do the work that the Father of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) had sent Him to do. This work is of course to proclaim the Gospel of Salvation…this is the work that Christ came to do and it is the work that believers will continue with until the last day.
So what really is the work of God that Christ assigns all believers to? Are we damned if we don’t hand out Christian tracts? If we don’t have a flock or steady stream of people to preach to have we strayed from the works of God? What really is the heart and soul of our salvation? Christ gives us the answer in the following verse:
John 6:29 – Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Be warned: This isn’t just some matter-of-fact belief that anyone can acknowledge from time to time depending on their mood. No, this belief will require physical fruit no matter who you are. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20,26), however we cannot earn our salvation by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). A thankful and repentant heart will show true belief. The work of every true believer is to believe on Christ the Messiah whom God has sent. But why did Christ state that the night will come when no man can work? It surely seems to be a clear indication of the time of the end of the age when God’s saving grace will be pinched off from the world. There can be no greater tribulation than to be in a world where there is no eternal hope. The work of God for every believer is to truly believe in Christ not only as the Son of God but as God Himself, the Anointed One – the Messiah for Jews and Gentiles both.
This hope of salvation is seen throughout Scripture as the only important factor in life that God commands us to seek after.
MEN WILL SEEK DEATH AND NOT FIND IT
I recently but accidentally caught part of a sermon on television that was discussing Revelation chapter nine. The minister was speaking to a massive crowd of hundreds and who knows how many were watching via television. People in his audience appeared to be weeping as he attempted to describe the day-to-day living conditions on this earth during the Great Tribulation. He described the locusts from the bottomless pit as literally coming up out of the earth and these locusts, he said, will be the size of horses with faces of men. Their tails will sting those living on the earth and for a period of five months these people will be in such physical agony, with boils and blisters covering their bodies, they will not be able to sit or lie down. There will be massive suicide attempts but not even one of them will be successful. It will be a time when men will desire suicide but God will not allow any suicides during this period. He continued on in his science-fiction-like interpretation of the Scriptures. He went so far as to say that the smoke from the bottomless pit would darken the earth to such an extent that the locusts will not be seen among these dark clouds until they are upon you. On and on he continued with this non-sense and yet the people in his audience seemed mesmerized by his theatrics. We are not bringing this to light in order to poke fun at this minister. We are discussing it because this is merely one isolated case among thousands probably seen daily somewhere in the world. Those poor souls listening to these potions of human concoctions need to ask themselves where is the precious Gospel in all of this?
We shall first look briefly at Habakkuk Chapter Two as we attempt to unravel the biblical phrase “…in those days men shall seek death and not find it…” Let us recall that God gave Habakkuk a burden and a vision concerning the Chaldeans, who would march through Palestine and destroy Jerusalem. These Chaldeans were Cushite tribes living in Babylonia and much of the information God gave to Habakkuk can be applied to the final attack upon God’s eternal Israel (the church). This ancient event most probably (in a higher level of interpretation) portrayed Babylon (Satan’s harlot; the Abomination of Desolation) entering into God’s house at the end of time.
Habakkuk Chapter two, Verses One Through Seven
1 – I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
2 – And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3 – For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
[The phrase “the vision is yet for an appointed time” may not necessarily be strictly in regard to the ancient destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., but could be signaling the final battle at the end of time when the religious world of Babylon invades the churches on a worldwide scale.]
4 – Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
[It is within the false congregations where the souls of the unrighteous are lifted up…but the just shall live by faith. As we quoted in the previous chapter…what is the wheat to the chaff?]
5 – ¶Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
[Many commentaries interpret this verse as teaching against those who get drunk through the drinking of wine. However, the invading Babylonian army of those ancient days seems to be depicting a spiritual invasion of the true Word of God housed by the Israel of God, or as we generally call it…the worldwide church. The invaders “transgress by wine” as verse five states. Wine is a symbol for God’s Word and Christ Himself; thus it would appear that the invaders abuse the true wine, and we know this to be a sign of what we see in today’s corporate church. Verse five continues on by declaring them to be proud. It seems to me that the more I see of men abusing Holy Scripture the more I notice the hidden pride in their souls. Their ambitions grow with every compliment they acquire from deceived listeners and followers…“neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell.” Verse five concludes with what I believe God seems to be saying in that these people are as death with self-promoting appetites that would encompass all nations to hear their delusions and false teachings. That is how large their ambitions are.]
6 – Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!
[Unsaved man is liken to clay: Isaiah 45:9 “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” These self-appointed ministers, pastors, clergy, etc. are all laden with thick clay; they are covered with man’s fallen motives and ideals.]
7 – Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?
[God seems to be speaking not merely to Habakkuk nor to Old Testament Israel, but ultimately God is speaking to the New Testament church. Yes, even amid these seemingly ancient texts there are words of wisdom for us today. All of God’s Word, Old and New Testaments, are there for our understanding and admonition. God is showing us how these end-time Babylonians (not secular but religious or spiritual armies) will suddenly rise up and bite those among the tribes of Israel. Of course the tribes of Israel again pointed to the New Testament House of God or the Church of Christ. These religious enemies of the cross will suddenly and spiritually BITE those who listen to them. What does this old Hebrew word for bite really mean? From Strong’s Hebrew we read: A primitive root; to strike with a STING (as a serpent). Doesn’t this sound like the scorpions of Revelation Chapter Nine? Their sting is figurative and not literal. It is a spiritual sting which is much worst than any literal sting upon the flesh. We see this same Hebrew word used in Micah 3:5:
“Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite [sting] with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.”]
Jeremiah 8:17 – For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite [sting] you, saith the LORD.
[The same word is translated as bite here. That fact that God sent serpents and cockatrices among Old Testament Israel was a way in teaching a spiritual truth. Perhaps among the literal serpents He sent to poison the rebellious Israelites were also poisonous priests and leaders just as there are in today’s end-time churches.]
When the children of Israel murmured against God while in the wilderness God thus sent among them fiery serpents that killed much of the Israeli camps. Numbers 21:6 – “And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit [sting] the people; and much people of Israel died.”
[The above word bit is the same Hebrew word used as bite in Habakkuk 2:7 meaning to sting. There are many references in the Old Testament that give literal accounts of locusts, serpents, or scorpions biting or stinging those among the rebellious House of Israel. These all seem to be telling us something about the time in which we live. God will not stand for rebellion in His New Testament Temple as well. These spiritual bites are not deadly in any physical sense of the imagination; worse off is the fact that they are deadly in the most eternal way, they bring about eternal death.]
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death. (Proverbs 21:6)
Who are these here in Proverbs 21:6 who seek death? Are they consciously seeking death? One can assume that God is speaking about those who lie for the sake of personal gain. For example, suppose I lied to a perspective buyer of my car; I told him it had never been in an accident when in fact it had undergone body work and a new paint job after the accident. Would this qualify for the getting of treasures by a lying tongue? Perhaps, but not in the real sense. The treasures that Scripture mentions usually point to or signify God’s spiritual treasures, which would be to understand much of the Word of God. Therefore it seems more reasonable to assume that this verse and others like it are speaking of a more serious matter than physical treasures.
Isaiah 45:3 – And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
Matthew 6:20 – But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Our treasure in this life is meant to be the things of God: His promise of eternal life; the doctrines of salvation; the hidden things He has revealed to us in His Word. Man cannot begin to know what all is covered in God’s treasures that He has granted to His elect. The above verse in Proverbs seems more aligned with Scripture by being understood in a religious or spiritual manner. The getting of treasures by a lying tongue seems to imply a false and careless declaration of God’s Word by those who seek death. Multitudes unknowingly seek death by abusing God’s Word; that is by adding their own words or self-declared visions or by omitting sections of God’s Word. To follow this careless path is to seek spiritual death, no less.
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. (Revelation 9:6)
There are several reasons why those who seek death in the above verse are not the same as those who seek death in the Proverbs twenty-one verse. These are the only two verses in Scripture that speak of seeking death. Those in the Proverbs verse appear to represent all who carelessly invent their own version of God’s Word with no concern for their eternal souls. They are seeking eternal death by their very lying words and deeds.
On the other hand, those in Revelation who are seeking death are doing so not knowing that there is no longer any death to seek. Let us explain:
Satan will be victorious, but only temporarily, in causing the Word of God to become non-effective near the end of this present age. God will have previously sealed all who are heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14) to endure this spiritual slaughter. As Luke 4:25 refers back to the days of Isaiah and the shutting of the heavens, when no rain was upon the land, likewise this is picturing the shutting off of the spiritual rain: the waters of the Gospel; the fountains of living waters; the rivers of living waters; the watering of the parch land and the springs of waters upon the thirsty land. This seems to be picturing the great famine when men shall seek to enter into the kingdom, but will not be able to.
No Strength to Bring the Children to Birth –
God reveals the spiritual condition of the time of the end through certain inklings or clues and whispers of indicators by and through the use of prefigures and foreshadows among Old Testament stories. For example, in Isaiah chapters thirty-six and thirty-seven we read of the siege of Judah and Jerusalem by King Sennacherib, the worldly king of Assyria. These two chapters are saturated with spiritual overtones concerning the wickedness at the end of the age. As King Hezekiah, king of Judah, is representative of God’s people, likewise King Sennacherib is typifying Satan in representing the wickedness of the world. He sends Rabshakeh, as his chief officer, to deceive the Jews. He comes into Jerusalem with a great army (Isaiah 36:2), just as Satan comes into the church with his army, posing as “ministers of righteousness,” and Rabshakeh begins to try and turn the Jews against King Hezekiah. He proceeds to tell them that there in no confidence in Hezehiah’s words, in which they have trusted. He tells them that Hezekiah’s words are vain (Isaiah 36:5). King Sannacherib comes into Jerusalem promising the Jews grand dividends; grand rewards if only they will worship him as king. Remember, this is ancient biblical history portraying a greater story and truth in showing forth the spiritual outcome of the New Testament Israel of God or the condition of the corporate church at the time of the end.
King Sannacherib comes into Jerusalem to deceive and mislead the Jews away from the living God, and into idolatry. Today’s deception within the churches is far from being this candid and direct; it is much more insidious, but the spiritual results are the same as they were during those days of Old Testament Israel. The Jews are told to trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen. Egypt, we must remember is representative of the kingdom of Satan – one being in spiritual bondage depicted by the Jews being in bondage in ancient Egypt. Hezekiah seems to clearly portray a representative of God Almighty, and yet we see in verse fourteen of chapter thirty-six the enemy of God telling the Jews not to be deceived by Hezekiah, for he shall not be able to save you. This is identical to what is being played out in today’s lukewarm and watered-down churches. They will acknowledge God and Christ while totally denying the true saving power of Christ. “Hearken not to Hezekiah,” Rabshaken tells them, “But make an agreement with me” and “eat every one of his vine” and “every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one of the waters of his own chstern,” (Isaiah 36:16). There is only one such type of water in Scripture that produces salvation, and that is the living waters of Christ. The Jews (being a portrait of the New Testament corporate church) are being told to drink the waters of their own cistern; and eat from their own vine, and from their own fig tree. All of these figures are symbolizing their own personal and vain beliefs, as opposed to the true belief in the one true Word of God.
Finally we read this statement in Isaiah 37:3:
“…This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of blasphemy; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.”
The children are ready for birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. When a person first comes to Christ, he is referred to as a babe or a child in Christ. When a person comes to Christ, he is perceived in Scripture as partaking in the “new birth,” or being “born again,” (John 3:7). There will be, during this time, those “would be” babes in Christ who will never become born-again. God will have ended His “day of salvation”; there will be no strength within the congregations to bring forth the fruits unto salvation. Of course salvation is of God and the church, no matter how faithful it is, cannot bring one into salvation. However, God has used the churches throughout the ages to proclaim His truth. Once this truth is eliminated within the congregations, they then will have become so corrupted that they will be totally ineffective as far as having the ability and desire to preach the true and narrow way of salvation. Repentance and other crucial doctrines that are pertinent to the Christian experience will no longer be embraced nor taught by most; therefore there will be no strength left to bring the children to birth. That is to say that there will be little or no strength to come to the birth (the Holy Spirit will have been removed, in as far as salvation is concerned, (see 2 Thessalonians 2:7).
The Ark Teaches Us the End of Time –
15 – And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 – And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
Once God shut the door to Noah’s Ark it was sealed and no one else was able to enter in. They were left to suffer God’s judgment. It is the same way at the end of time; once God shuts the door to heaven no one else will be saved. Some say that salvation will be available up to the very last day while others says only a trickle of souls will be saved after the commencement of the Great Tribulation. Yet others say that there will be absolutely no salvation after the Great Tribulation begins. Scripture seems to indicate that salvation will come to an end at the commencing of the Great Tribulation although it may not be wise to be too dogmatic about this since our job is to preach the Gospel until Christ returns.
God Shuts the Door
Luke 13:23-25 –
23 – Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 – Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25 – When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
In the above passages Christ answers the question…will many be saved? In doing so He urges His disciples to enter in at the strait gate and then states that many will seek to enter in and will not be able to. We aren’t too surprised with this answer, after all we know that Scripture teaches that “many are called but few are chosen.” This then isn’t a surprising statement that many will not be able to enter into the straight and narrow way.
Matthew 7:13 – Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
However, the above three verses in the Luke 13 account seem to span from the Gospel Age to the end of time when God closes the door to salvation. Christ speaks of the door to heaven begin shut in verse twenty-five. It appears from that point onward there is no more salvation. The question is…at what point in time will this door be shut? Will it be closed at the very last day or will it be shut months or years before the actual appearing and return of Christ? It would seem that at the point where God’s servants are sealed and prepared to go through the Great Tribulation – that also is the time wherein God will shut to door to salvation.
1 – And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
[This wind seems to be symbolic for the Gospel as a mighty rushing wind at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Upper Room, (Acts 2:1-4).]
2 – And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 – Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
[Before God will allow the wind or His Holy Spirit to be removed from the earth, He first seals all true believers living upon the earth. These are the servants of God and this reference seems to clearly indicate that there will be no more salvation once God has sealed His servants.]
At the Threshold But No Further –
It is in the Book of Judges and chapter nineteen that we find another clue indicating that men will seek salvation during the Great Tribulation, but salvation will no longer be possible. As the concubine played the whore against her master in this chapter, spiritual insights suggest clues to the dark times of the tribulation period. As the harlot would portray the corporate church (the harlot of Revelation chapter seventeen and eighteen), she is seen abusing herself with mankind during the night, which is probably an indicator for the Great Tribulation (night cometh when no man can work). However, before this night ends, this harlot tries to return to the safety of her master’s house, but is found lying dead at the door of his house, with her hands sprawled upon the threshold!
Yes, those hundreds of thousands within the so called “religious community,” yet not truly sold out for Christ and thus not being born-again, will merely continue with lip service to Christ while their hearts will remain far from Him. In the end, their hands will have only reached this threshold to the Kingdom, but sadly they will have fallen short upon the door to heaven.
“I am the DOOR; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture,” John 10:9.
“…many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able,” Luke 13:24.
“…men shall seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them,” Revelation 9:6.
Amos 8:11-12 –
11 – ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
[Here God is not using parables or metaphors, He is telling us in a straight forward way what He means…God is saying that there is coming a time of spiritual famine when the true Word of God will not be heard. Yes, there have been spiritual famines in the past but in the famine of the Great Tribulation will be unlike anything this world has ever seen before.]
12 – And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
[Revelation 9:6 – In those days men shall seek death and shall not find it.]
THE DEAD IN CHRIST
Let us now examine Scripture to determine the meaning of this “death” that will still be somewhat desired and sought after during the time of the end. We read in three different references in the Book of Revelation that men “repented not” of their sins as these judgments fall upon the earth. People will still desire salvation, but they will not truly desire salvation God’s way. To be a true Christian and a true child of God requires one being spiritually baptized with the Holy Spirit of God. God will do a true miracle in one’s life, whereby causing him to become a new creature in Christ. One must receive this spiritual cleansing of a new heart in order to be acceptable to Christ. It is not our doing, of course, but the spirit of God causes some to truly seek out the God of the Bible. Christ Himself said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath send me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day,” (John 6:44). When God truly draws a person into salvation, He puts His spirit within him, otherwise man would never come to God on his own free will; man would never strive to possess the spirit of God within him. For one to become a child of God one must become a “new creature in Christ,” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ told the Pharisee, Nicodemus, “ye must be born again.” He goes on to explain in John 3:8 the following: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Once God plants His Spirit within the believer, our desire is to become DEAD to this sin cursed world and ALIVE to Christ and His eternal promises. The following passages confirm the fact that the true Christian must become DEAD to himself and to this world:
Colossians 3:3 – For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
2 Timothy 2:11 – It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
Romans 6:2 – God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Romans 6: 8 – Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Romans 6: 11 – Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
4 – Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 – For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 – Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Galatians 6:14 – But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Yes, to desire what is good and righteous in God’s eyes is to spiritually desire to die from our old nature; to be crucified with Christ, to be spiritually renewed and regenerated into the spiritual new birth of a true child of God. We are still sinners in our physical bodies, we will continue to sin until the day we are given our resurrection bodies. However, we are to strive to crucify our flesh and to seek the death of Christ, that we will receive His resurrection unto us at the last day.
Christ says that His spirit will not always dwell with man. Likewise, Romans chapter one tells us that God, in dealing with the wickedness of mankind, will give them over to a reprobate mind, meaning perverted, degenerate or condemned. God will indeed give them over to these vile affections. Much more so during the time of the end when the transgressors have come to full (Daniel 8:23) and Satan shall be loosed. Scripture seems to indicate that this is the time wherein men will seek the spiritual DEATH of salvation but God’s saving grace will flee from them!
Men will seek death [the death of the cross], and shall not find it [God will have already sealed the fate of those living upon the earth at this time]; and shall desire to die [desire the death of the cross], and death shall flee from them [God’s Holy Spirit at that time will have been taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7)].
This is what Revelation Chapter Nine appears to be teaching.