The 2 Most Shocking Verses in the Book of Revelation

Posted on March 21, 2022


By David Ettinger

I suppose the title of this post is pretty bold considering that practically the entire Book of Revelation is shocking. This at-times terrifying, but ultimately glorious last book of the Bible covers the final 7 years of this age of human history, then closes with a wondrous and magnificent preview of eternity.

Revelation also deals with humanity’s reaction to God’s judgment being poured out upon the earth, which is God’s justification in judging the human race as harshly as He will. This is at the heart of what I deem as the two most “shocking” verses of this apocalyptical document.

A Basic Run-Through
By the time we arrive at these 2 shocking verses, it is necessary to take a quick look at what has already occurred.

First, we have the 7 seals of Chapter 6. This is not God’s judgment upon the earth, but the deadly consequences of humanity’s rabid sin and disobedience. The first 5 seals produced the following: 1. the emergence of the Antichrist; 2. war and death; 3. famine; 4. worldwide plague, violence, and more death; and 5. martyrdom of Christians. And, remember, this is before God pours out His wrath. This – God’s pouring out of His wrath – is announced in the 6th seal, cosmic disturbances (vv. 12-14), which is the sign that God is about to move (vv. 15-17).

Before He does this, however, God must do 2 things. The first is to call out the 144,000, which are designated as His “servants” (7:3), and the second, to rapture the Church (7:9-17). These 2 events will occur approximately 4 to 5 years into the final 7 years.

Once these 2 events have occurred, God will be ready to pour out His wrath upon the earth.

The Trumpet Judgments
God’s final judgment will come in the form of the 7 trumpet judgments followed by the 7 bowl judgments. Our concern here will be the trumpet judgments. (Note: The 7th of each judgment is actually the introduction of the next set of judgments. In other words, the 7th seal is the opening of the 7 trumpets, and the 7th trumpet is the opening of 7 bowls.)

The 6 trumpet judgments are described in Chapters 8 and 9, and are as follows: 1. Hail and fire mixed with blood hurled to the earth resulting in a third of the earth being burned up. 2. A third of the seas turning into blood. 3. A third of the non-ocean waters of the world turning bitter. 4. The sun, moon, and stars being afflicted so that a third of the day and night will be without light. 5. A demonic “locust” invasion.

The demons are to attack the people of the earth who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads (8:4). The locust-demons are not to kill anyone, but instead “to torture them for 5 months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it” (8:5-6).

6. The release of a 2-million being demonic army whose purpose is to kill a third of humanity “by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury” (8:18-19).

The Shocking Verses
Believe it or not, all of this does not constitute the “shocking verses.” Before I reveal them, consider this: Imagine having lived through and survived all of which has occurred until this point – the plagues, the famine, the illnesses, the environmental catastrophes, and the astronomical death toll. You would think that those who survived all of this would fall on their faces and cry out to God for mercy, forgiveness, and grace, but such will not be the case. Instead, we read these shocking words:

The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood – idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts (Revelation 8:20-21, emphasis added).

In other words, after experiencing the most cataclysmic era in human history, those who have survived will utterly refuse to repent and give glory to God. Rather, they will persist in all the evil practices which caused God to judge the earth in the first place.

Every time I read these 2 verses, I can’t help but be startled. To me, they are by far the two most shocking verses in the Book of Revelation. Though shocking, however, they do explain just how black and soiled the human heart is.

It is this blackness which has always existed in the human heart which will finally be judged, and with total justification. Revelation 8:20-21 serves as the epitome of what humanity truly is in its unredeemed state, and makes the greatest case for God’s absolute legitimacy in judging the world.

May we who have been redeemed by the Lamb be faithful in sharing the message of salvation in Christ to all whom God brings into our lives!

David Ettinger is a writer/editor at Zion’s Hope, Inc., and has written for Zion’s Fire magazine since its inception in 1990.