Inhabitants of the Earth

The “Inhabitants of the Earth” represent the men omitted from the Book of Life because they embraced the Beast from the Sea. They are remorseless in their hostility to the “Lamb” and his followers, even rejoicing and exchanging gifts when the “Two Witnesses” are murdered. Unlike the “nations” and the “Kings of the Earth,” they are irredeemable, and therefore their names are excluded from the “Book of Life.”

The Greek term translated as “inhabitants” has negative connotations in Revelation. It is applied almost exclusively to the “INHABITANTS of the Earth,” the group hostile to Jesus and his saints.

Earth Artistic - Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash
[Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash]

Its first use was in the letter to the church of Pergamos, the place where 
Satan dwelt.” Jesus promised to keep the church of Philadelphia “from the hour of trial, which is going to come upon the WHOLE HABITABLE EARTH, to try the INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH” – (Revelation 3:10).

The term is borrowed from the Book of Daniel. After his downfall and restoration, King Nebuchadnezzar declared to the residents of his kingdom:

  • (Daniel 4:34-35) – “… All the INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH are reputed as nothing, and he does according to his will in the HOST OF HEAVEN, and among the INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH; and none can stay his hand or say to him, What are you doing?

In the sixth chapter of Revelation, Jesus opened the “Fifth Seal” revealing the “souls of them who had been slain for the Testimony they held.” They pleaded for vindication against the “Inhabitants of the Earth” who caused their deaths. Similarly, an “eagle” pronounced warnings after the first four trumpets: “Woe, for the INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH, because of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are yet to sound!” – (Revelation 6:9-11, 8:13).

The first four trumpets unleashed “plagues” against the economy of the Empire – its seaborne commerce, fresh water sources, and the like. The last three harmed the “Inhabitants of the Earth” themselves. “By these three plagues was the third part of men killed.” Nevertheless, they “repented not of their murders, nor their sorceries, nor their fornication, nor their thefts” – (Revelation 9:20-21).

TWO BEASTS


When the “Beast from the Abyss” killed the “Two Witnesses,” the “INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH rejoiced and made merry… for the two prophets tormented the Inhabitants of the Earth.” While it was the “Beast from the Abyss” that carried out the murders, the “Inhabitants of the Earth” took great pleasure in their deaths.

In Chapter 12, Satan was expelled from Heaven and “cast down to the Earth.” While Heaven “rejoiced,” a “great voice” warned the “Inhabitants of the Earth,” “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you that tabernacle in them. Woe for the INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH and the Sea because the Devil is gone down to you, having great wrath” – (Revelation 12:12).

Two groups are contrasted in Chapter 13. This is indicated by the verbs, “tabernacle” and “inhabit.” “Tabernacle” indicates something temporary like a “tent” pitched during a journey. “Inhabit” or “dwell” suggests something more permanent. Note the expansion of the expression to the “Inhabitants of the Earth and THE SEA.” Elsewhere, “Sea” is associated with the Abyss.

The expulsion of the Devil meant rejoicing to those who were “Tabernacling in Heaven.” For the “Inhabitants of the Earth,” it was ominous. The identity of the ones who “Tabernacled in Heaven” is provided by the context - the “Brethren” who “overcame the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb,” and the “Saints” persecuted by the “Beast” – (Revelation 12:11, 13:7-10).

The downfall of the “Dragon” was bad news for the “Inhabitants of the Earth” since his “time was short,” after which the final judgment would take place. Satan spent his remaining time venting his wrath against “those who have the Testimony of Jesus,” not the “Inhabitants of the Earth.” The term “Testimony of Jesus” links this group to the Martyrs of the “Fifth Seal” who were slain on account of “their Testimony.”

In Chapter 13, the rhetorical question concerning the “Beast,” - “Who is like him, and who can make war with him” – Echoes Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration about the God of Daniel: “He does according to his will in the HOST OF HEAVEN, and among the INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH, and none can stay his hand or say to him, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” The literary source of this question and the labels for the two competing groups is the passage in Daniel - (Revelation 13:4-10, Daniel 4:34-35).

The “slander” of the “mouth given to the Beast” was directed against “Those who Tabernacle in Heaven.” The reference was not spatial. The followers of the “Lamb” did not take up permanent residence on the Earth or in the sky, therefore, they were “Tabernacling.” They were pilgrims and sojourners. The Greek word means “tent,” and it signifies a temporary structure.

What identifies a man as an “Inhabitant of the Earth” is not his physical location, but whether his name is excluded from “the Lamb’s Book of Life.” In other words, all those who give allegiance to the “Beast.”

The second “Beast,” the “False Prophet,” was ascending from the “Earth” to deceive the “Earth and its Inhabitants.” This demonstrates the name “Earth” means something beyond the physical planet. Just as the “Sea” and the “Abyss” were sources of evil, so was the “Earth.”

The “False Prophet” had two horns “like a lamb,” and performed the same “signs” done previously by the “Two Witnesses.” He imitated the “Lamb” and his “Witnesses.” Similarly, the “first Beast” received the “stroke of death” but lived, a parody of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The deceptions of Satan’s earthly agents mimicked the true faith. In response to the “signs” performed by the “False Prophet,” the “Inhabitants of the Earth” took the “Mark of the Beast,” thereby sealing their fate.

In Chapter 14, an angel “flying in mid-heaven” proclaimed the everlasting Gospel to the “Inhabitants of the Earth” and every nation, tribe, tongue, and people,” demonstrating that the “nations” and the “Inhabitants of the Earth” were not identical. He summoned his audience to “fear God and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come.” Two more angels followed and pronounced judgment on “Babylon.” God had provided the “Inhabitants of the Earth” with ample opportunities to repent, but judgment was now inevitable - (Revelation 14:6-13).

Babylon” is described in Chapter 17. She was the one with whom the “Kings of the Earth” and the “Inhabitants of the Earth” committed “fornication.” The “Kings of the Earth” are likewise distinguished from the “Inhabitants of the Earth,” though both groups were corrupted by “Babylon.”

One constant factor is the hostility of the “Inhabitants of the Earth” to the “Lamb” and his servants, and their choice of the “Beast.” Their consistent refusal to give allegiance to the “Lamb” and embrace of the “Beast” explains why their “names are not written in the Book of Life.” At the final judgment, “If anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire” – (Revelation 20:11-15).

Their unrelenting hatred of the “Lamb” explains why the “Inhabitants of the Earth” are not found in the “City of New Jerusalem.” Though the “nations” and the “Kings of the Earth” occasionally resist the “Lamb,” they are found in the holy city worshipping the “Lamb.”  Unlike the “Inhabitants of the Earth,” they are not without hope, and their repentance is still a possibility - (Revelation 21:23-24).

As a group, the “Inhabitants of the Earth” are beyond redemption, not because God is powerless to save, but because they refuse His every offer of life. No matter how many plagues He sends, they refuse to repent.

Like the Pharaoh of Egypt, THEY ONLY HARDENED THEIR HEART - “And the rest of men who were not killed with these plagues repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and the idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood… They repented not of their murders sorceries, fornication, or thefts” – (Revelation 9:20-21).

Instead of venerating the “Lamb,” the “Inhabitants of the Earth… rendered homage to the Beast” and welcomed its “Mark.” They preferred the counterfeit religion offered by the earthly agents of the “Dragon” over the salvation provided by Jesus. Therefore, their names are excluded from the “Book of Life.” Their condemnation by God to the “Lake of Fire” will be fully justified, the fruit of their evil deeds.



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Mystery of Lawlessness - (The Mystery of Lawlessness is preparing the way for the unveiling of the Lawless One who will cause many believers to apostatize)
  • The Apostasy - (Paul warned the Thessalonians of the future apostasy which he linked to the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Destruction)
  • In the Assembly - (John identified false teachers in the church as ‘antichrists’, and their deceptive teachings confirmed that the Last Days had commenced)

Comments

POPULAR POSTS

Absent Church?

His Present Reign