Lord, give me understanding as I study these Scriptures.
"But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols ... And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts." (Revelation 9:20-21
A third of the earth's population has just been wiped out by the sulphurous plagues of war (Revelation 9:18). You would think everybody else would fall on their face and cry out to God for mercy. You would think all this severe judgment would cause them to repent. But it doesn't. Instead of being horrified, they are hardened. They hate God. Like the demons themselves, their character is so frozen, so wicked, that in spite of their suffering, they still will not repent.
People are not changed because of punishment. You can put a person in prison, but it won't change the heart. If the love of God shown by the sacrifice of His own dear Son doesn't cause you to bow your knee and repent, suffering won't do it; it will only bring more and more rebellion. We see this demonstrated in the Great Tribulation as people refuse to turn to God, yet worship idols and demons.
The people of this day will be held in the grip of four mighty vices. Murder will abound as there will be no regard whatsoever for human life. The word "sorceries" in this verse comes from the root word "pharmakeia", and actually refers to drug use. The drug culture will thrive, as will sexual perversion and crime. Robberies and burglaries will be the norm of the day as all restraints are taken away and people get the permissive society they've always wanted.
This is a world reeling from the repeated blows of God's judgment. Yet people persist in the vain pursuits of their rebellious hearts. The stage is being set for the slate to be wiped clean and a new kingdom to come to earth.