The Weekend Word
Continuation of the Message from the 3 Angels
8 Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
- Isn’t this what the 70/72 testified to in Luke 10 upon their return? It is a done deal.
- Babylon the great whore – the object of spiritual adultery. Babylon represents sinners in deliberate rebellion and unbelief against God and the lamb who has been slain.
- Babylon is equated to the powers of evil and injustice – the powers of brutality. The political system, rulers and governments who ignore God and go against his will. In John’s day, Babylon was the code name for Rome.
- This kind of worship is called adultery and fornication – Jeremiah 3 & 13. This explains v.4.
9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
- The angel in v.8 was all about the fate of the city. This 3rd angel is to the individual. What is going to be the fate or the end result if everyone rebels against God?
- Here is the chilling reply – if you worship the beast and you take the mark – well, it is not going to go well.
- To be clear – these are those who have rejected the salvation that has been granted to them in Jesus Christ and who in turn worship the beast. This is the wrath that comes to them.
10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
- I don’t know what kind of wine we are talking about – a Merlot? a Manischewitz Concord grape? a cabernet? a zinfandel? Whatever it is it’s full of God’s wrath.
- This is the end – this is full strength wrath. If this is not the end, then I don’t what is left after full throttle anger / wrath?
- The wine of his wrath – Jer 25:15-16 — Psalm 75:7-8
- The cup of God’s wrath is spoken in a very particular place in the NT – the Garden of Gethsemane – Matt 26.
- Where are these verses from Jeremiah and Psalms fulfilled? On the cross. Jesus drinks the cup of God’s wrath. Jesus does this for you, me and everyone – he did not just sip as in polite company, but he gulped it down.
- For those who think they must sip some on their own, let me just offer this lecture – “Dear angry militant unbeliever; God has wrath towards you that Jesus has drunk for you. He staggered his way to the cross and died your death. You are free from that – forgiven. You do not need to endure that wrath anymore. Those who reject God’s mercy will endure God’s wrath.”
11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
- This should wipe out any thought that there is no eternal hell. These may be the most terrifying words we have read so far.
- Unlike the fire and sulfur in Genesis 19 which came and was over, this will consume and torment forever.
12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
- This should be proof that the church has not been raptured / removed. They are right here at the end. John is putting out a call for their endurance in the midst of God pouring out his wrath.
- Why is this a call to endurance? What are we called to endure? What are we enduring? Persecution.
- This is like something right out of the book of Hebrews where the writer is telling the believers to not leave their faith. He knows they are suffering, and that it is difficult and it is hard. Do not abandon Christ – do not turn back to the Old Testament Jewish religion (in this case the religion of the dragon and the beasts). Don’t go back to the shadows and types – remain in Christ as the entire OT was pointing to him.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
- John is hearing a present day (to him) divine voice from heaven. This is a blessing, a beatitude if you would, which is following on the heels of a curse.
- “from now on” = from the time of Christ – those who die as Christians. In John’s day as in our own, we have the promise of the Holy Spirit that we will enjoy the Lord’s eternal Sabbath – there will be rest for us.
- The sentence “Write this:…” would be a great funeral passage.