Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Creation Judged - Revelation 14:6-16

Revelation 14:6-16

As we continue with this week’s theme of Creation judged, Revelation 14:6-16 gives us an image of God’s love and judgment.
First, is the image of an angel flying overhead with an eternal gospel to proclaim.  The Gospel is the “good news” usually the good news of a victory in battle.  Here this angel brings news of a great victory for those who rely on God.  It is also called eternal because this good news of victory has always been God’s plan.  His anger and wrath are not things he resorts to willingly or because he has it out for people.  It is his great mercy and love which are His aim.

And this great eternal news of victory of Jesus Christ is for all people.  Everyone who dwells on earth.  To this, the angel instructs us to “fear God and give him glory.”  This line is usually used when God has acted for the salvation of his people in history.  When God rescued his people out of Egypt, we are told that the people feared God and were in awe at the power of the Lord to save them.  Here it is the same thing.
Fear and give glory because now it is time for judgment.  To give glory is another way of saying, “make a good confession of faith.”  Joshua told Achan this in Joshua 8, when Achan stole from God and Joshua tells him to give glory to God by telling the whole truth.  This is court language.

A second angel follows the first in verse 8 with more news to give, namely that Babylon has fallen.  Babylon has always been the enemy of God and His people.  Babel was the place where mankind gathered to make a great name for themselves.  Babylon would later, in the book of 2 Kings, come and destroy Jerusalem.

Babylon is another name for the world that is at odds with God.  Connecting this with the first angel is the idea that the eternal Gospel is God’s victory over the rebellion of mankind.  You can think of Jesus saying, “fear not, for I have overcome the world.”  Christ has conquered by his blood and death for us.  And this crucifixion of Jesus, is how God judges and overcomes the world and evil.  Here in Revelation, Babylon falls, she who caused all the nations to drink the wine of passion and of her sexual immorality.  Sexual immorality is an idea closely related in the Scriptures to idolatry, which comes up in the next verse.  Babylon is guilty of drawing all the people away to worship other gods.
A third angel then flies overhead with news concerning those who side with Babylon and the dragon.  Just as they longed to drink from the cup of Babylon’s pleasures, so now they drink from the cup of God’s wrath.

Jesus drank for us all of God’s wrath upon the cross, but for those who do not receive this victory, who side with the world and its ways, who are marked and set aside by the devil and belong to his kingdom, to them there can only be the cup of wrath.  To be outside of Jesus Christ, to not be a part of his kingdom, brings with it condemnation.  The back half of John 3 covers that idea.
Even worse, the folly of their rebellion and the suffering they endure is done in the sight and the presence of the holy angels and in front of Jesus Christ himself.  One can hear Jesus’ chilling words in the parable in Luke 19, “But as for those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.”  Luke 19:27

Revelation then presses forward after these three angels and their messages by saying, “here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and faith in Jesus.”  These words are given and said to give you certainty of what you have heard and confidence for what you believe in.
And the word to you who belong to Christ is this from Revelation, “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!”
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