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Rebellion Against God: The Eternal Error Of The ‘Earth Dweller’

Pastor Dean Dwyer

Throughout the nations today, we see the rage and rebellion of a core group of people.  They go by many names and belong to many different groups, but they all exhibit the same hatred for God, His Word and His people (both Christian and Jewish).  Whatever name they claim for themselves, the Bible also has a name for them: earth dwellers.

We read of them in Revelation 3:10: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”  But this is not the only reference.  We also read of them in Revelation 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8; 13:12; 13:14; 14:6; 17:8.

To be more specific about the nature of earth dwellers, the first clue as to their character and belief system is found in the word “dwell”.  It is the Greek word katoikeo which refers to their desire to settle down and feel at home.  In other words, their focus and ambition is solely connected to the earth and the pleasures of it.

John 3:19-20: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

This hatred of the light is on full display in Revelation 13:6 when the Antichrist and no doubt all of his “earth dwellers” speak blasphemously against God and His “heaven dwellers”: “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.”

The world and its systems today are largely facilitating a constant supply of vices which appeal to mankind’s debauchery and his hunger for darkness.  Men who love darkness are not going to search for light.

In fact, they are going to do everything possible to ensure that light does not come.  This is evident in Revelation 19:19 at the scene of Christ’s Second Coming: “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”  The kingdom of darkness tries all it can to stop the manifestation of the kingdom of light.  But it stands no chance. 

In “Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse” (chapters 24 to 27) we are also introduced to those who act in rebellion, this time referred to as “inhabitants of the earth”.

Isaiah 24:1-6 reads: “Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants.  And it shall be: as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor.  The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, for the LORD has spoken this word.  The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away; the haughty people of the earth languish.  The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.  Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate.  Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.”

We also read of the reference in verse 17: “Fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.” And Isaiah 26:21 says: “For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.”

Now, good Bereans will point out that Isaiah refers to the punishment of the inhabitants of the earth and Revelation 3:10 refers to them being tested.  So, which is it – punishment or testing?

If they are to be tested, does it mean that they may somehow pass the test and escape the wrath of God?  No – there is no evidence of any earth dweller being saved because the term represents those who remain in rebellion against God in the Tribulation period.

The Greek word for “test” is peirazo and it refers to testing or trying people to determine, demonstrate or expose the kind of people they are.  In God’s righteous judgement, He demonstrates that salvation was available to all people (John 3:16) but since they chose to rebel against Him and blaspheme His holy name, His decision to punish them is vindicated. 

In simple terms, an earth dweller represents each unsaved person at the time of the end who steadfastly continues in his or her rejection of God.  Even though the target of the preaching of the gospel by an angelic messenger is the earth dweller (Revelation 14:6), not a single one will follow after the Lamb.  They will, as Revelation 17:8 testifies, marvel after the beast: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition.  And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

But even though the use of the word “katoikeo” in reference to the earth dwellers is in a negative sense, it is also a term of comfort to believers.  Ephesians 3:17 says:  “that Christ may dwell [may settle down and feel at home in] in your hearts through faith.”

Isn’t that amazing?  The heart that was once deceitfully wicked above all things, the heart that was at enmity with God, is the very same heart that, through a saving faith in Christ, is now open to Him in order to settle down and feel at home in.  John 14:23: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

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