The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
This may be one of the saddest verses in the Bible. As God continues His relentless revelation through judgment, the human race continues on its course against Him. Even as the very demons of Hell torture humanity, the people of the earth will not turn away from the worship of demons nor will they see that their worshiping hearts have been worshiping the wrong things. They refuse to take moral responsibility either.
There is a strength in disobedience that staggers the imagination. As I read a passage like this, I am amazed at how people can willfully continue in sin. Until I look deeply at my own heart. And I know that sin is a cruel master. And although I am now under “new management” in Christ, I find that sin can still be deceptive and my sinful choices can want to circumvent God’s truth. Self-deception is common in my own sinful struggles. So in that understanding, this continuance in a logically defeating religion is expected human behavior. We love sin too much.
The difference in the book of Revelation is that God is moving much more overtly. There is greater light. And His “witnesses” are on the earth as well, as well as those who bear His mark. So the world is not entirely Hell on earth during this time. Humanity may be characterized by open rebellion and unwillingness to turn from sin, but some have done so. There is a remnant, and a strong one, even during the scorching judgments of Revelation. So unbelief and lack of repentance do not ultimately go unchecked. It is sad to see them so flagrant. But God will continue to get the attention of rebel hearts, even if they refuse Him.